New Farm Deli & Café – A Brisbane Institution

New Farm is known for its Italian heritage and nowhere is this more evident than at New Farm Deli & Café. As ‘Brisbane’s oldest and most authentic Italian deli’, New Farm Deli & Café has been dishing up wholesome Italian goodies since 1975. As we were reminded on our recent visit here, there’s a lot to the place, as its deli is one of the best I’ve seen in Brisbane.  

A typically lively Saturday morning in New Farm Deli & Cafe

We first went to New Farm Deli & Café in 2016, when we first arrived in Brisbane, and I remember thinking, wow, this place is pretty special! We’ve returned a couple of times since then, but it’s certainly been a few years since our last visit. Having breakfast here just yesterday, the deli was as popular as I remember and going stronger than ever. Additionally, I felt lost in the deli’s food section, it’s that large!

The Atmosphere

I arrived with my partner at about 10am on a Saturday to a packed café, which has always been our experience here. There’s a large alfresco area out front, with ceiling fans, a wall of snake plants and an outdoor coffee bar, which is a new addition. We waited in line to be seated and were soon shown a table inside, which we wanted. Inside was spacious, lively and interesting and I felt we could have been in another city entirely.

The front of New Farm Deli & Cafe

Lightbulbs hung from wires attached to a wooden panelled ceiling and we sat on a checkered patterned floor with a wine rack on one side and a coffee bar on the other. As the place caters for a large number of people and the deli is comprehensive, there is a lot of staff on – possibly the most I’ve seen in a hospitality venue of this size.

There’s action everywhere you look and while I was wandering curiously about, trying to capture it all, the staff greeted me with smiles and attentiveness. I was asked if I needed help several times as I weaved my way past salamis, a myriad of cheese and too many gourmet goodies to mention (although I’ll mention some later). It dawned on me pretty quickly that New Farm Deli & Café really is a Brisbane Institution, as there’s nothing quite like it.

The deli that never sleeps

The Food – New Farm Deli & Cafe

Nikki and I typically go out for dinner, so I was happy to be dining out for breakfast. I ordered the vegetarian Omeletta Del Giorno, which came with fetta, mushroom and tomato. It was light and fluffy (as it should be), generously portioned and accompanied by buttery toast, just the way I like things. The omelette was delicious, in a subtle, simple kind of way and I particularly liked the chunks of fetta, which added to the variety of texture and gave it some character.

My Omeletta Del Giorno

My partner ordered the Funghetto, which came with field mushrooms, herbed butter, goat’s fetta, blistered baby tomatoes, avocado and toasted sourdough (which she had gluten-free). I tried a mushroom and it was juicy, tender and full of flavour. All I heard about the rest of the meal was how good the mushrooms and gluten-free toast were (gluten-free toast is often lacklustre). She enjoyed everything else too.  

Nikki’s Funghetto

The Drinks

I ordered a long black coffee (my usual) and it came out hot (a must), rich and strong. I was pleased. Nikki had a decaf long black – which she enjoyed – and I followed up my coffee with a decaf long black too, just so I could prolong my experience in this lively, colourful environment.

My long black

Our waitress Sinta kept topping us up with water and as we were sitting next to a wine rack, I enquired about ‘Sagrantino’ wine, which comes from Puglia, Italy, and which I’ve become mildly obsessed about. Upon enquiry, Teresa, the part owner, went out the back to grab someone – a young guy with an Italian accent who seemed to know his wines. It appears New Farm Deli & Café even have their own viticulturalist! This place continually impresses me.

Teresa and a staff member next to the wine rack

That was our personal experience with drinks, although of course there’s plenty more to be had. There’s a selection of smoothies made with coconut water, aqua mineral, bottled juices, fresh deli-made juices, lemon-lime and bitters and iced tea, amongst other beverages.  

The machine that never sleeps

The Service

I’m a pretty chatty, cheeky person, and right from the get-go I had fun with our Indonesian waitress Sinta. I loved how she always put Nikki first, with her ladies-first attitude. I completely agree with this but I saw it as a point to make fun of her and we had a good laugh. She was also attentive, smiley and professional, like everyone else we encountered at New Farm Deli & Café.

Teresa and staff dealing with the ever-lingering lineup of customers. Not a bad problem to have!

I was also impressed with Teresa, one of the owners of New Farm Deli who always appeared to make time for people, as busy as she was. She answered my questions and when she heard we hadn’t been in a few years, we had a chat about the developments of the deli since then (more on that later). And as I mentioned earlier, the deli staff were exceptionally helpful.

Good food and smiles at New Farm Deli & Cafe

Nikki and I were talking about this later and she remarked that everyone here is down to earth and friendly, ‘so they must be treated well’, she said. It certainly seems that way.

Attentive service and more smiles at the deli

The Deli

After our meal, I was keen to explore the deli, as this is such a big part of New Farm Deli & Café. As the name implies, it’s a deli first and a café later! Running along one side of the building is an enormously long counter that houses sandwiches and olives of all varieties, along with an extensive selection of meat and cheese, amongst many, many other things.

The deli is a bit of a maze you could get lost in!
Cheese central – and this is only one wall!

It was interesting watching the exchange between customers and the staff. It felt like a pleasant, cultured environment – a real foodies haven! Check out my video at the end of this post to get a better idea. To be honest, I was a little overwhelmed with the deli section, it was that extensive. However, I’ll mention a few of the things I marvelled at:

Those tomatoes look good!
Crab lasagne!

I loved the fact that New Farm Deli & Café has ‘crab lasagne’, which I haven’t seen before. It also has a fridge full of fresh pasta and pre-made pizzas, including gluten-free pizza bases. Their variety of tomatoes were impressive, as were the cheeses, meats and the large amount of sandwiches and cakes on display. So much fresh food! How do they have the time?!


New Farm Deli & Café’s popularity means they need A LOT of staff to massage the large selection of food of every description. The whole thing is quite impressive. When I said to Teresa that her family business was a Brisbane Institution, she couldn’t help but agree!


A Brisbane Institution – A Bit of History

As you’d imagine from a place that’s been open since 1975, it’s had its fair share of trials too. Teresa told us the place burnt down in 2019 and the only thing that’s remained since our last visit is the back wall you see in the picture below. Everything was rebuilt from the ground up. Quite amazing as they managed to largely keep the character intact! The only real discernible difference for me was the coffee bar out front, which is a new addition.

The wall at the back is the only part of the old deli that remains

I love the fact that the deli has been with one Italian family virtually the whole time. The Anello family even sold their business at one point, only to buy it back again! Over its long and popular years as a New Farm staple, New Farm Deli & Café has seen the likes of Jamie Oliver, Richard Wilkins and Kate Ceberano visit, amongst many other famous faces.

The seemingly endless variety of gourmet goodies on offer at the deli

The New Farm Deli & Café’s website says: ‘it has been said by many that New Farm is not New Farm if it does not have ‘The Deli’. One visit here and you’ll see that this is true.

Final Thoughts

In case it’s not already obvious, Nikki and I love New Farm Deli & Café. There really is nothing like it in Brisbane! As we hadn’t been here in at least five years, I had to ask myself yesterday morning, why? The food is uber pleasant, the coffee rich, hot and strong (just how I like it) and the staff make you feel as if you’ve been invited, rather than you’re one of the many strangers vying to be a part of this Italian family business. Additionally, food lovers must check out the deli side of things, which is one of a kind!

It’s like a little slice of Europe in Brisbane.

Get down there if you haven’t been!

A Few Fast Facts

  • New Farm Deli & Cafe is open from 6am to 6pm Monday to Saturday and 6am to 5pm on Sunday.
  • New Farm Deli & Cafe is located in Merthyr Village Shopping Centre in New Farm.
  • The deli is accessible by bus and is roughly 25 minute’s walk from Fortitude Valley Station. You can also walk to New Farm Deli & Cafe from New Farm Park Ferry Terminal in around 10 minutes.
  • New Farm Deli & Cafe is less than five minute’s walk to another of Brisbane’s famous places, New Farm Park, which you can read about here.

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