The Scottish tourist office claims that you'll find more restaurants per person in Edinburgh than in any other town in the UK. Judging by the array of Michelin-starred restaurants, casual diners, local bars and pubs, and the myriad ethnic joints that line Princes Street, the Royal Mile and every other thoroughfare around them, we wouldn't be too surprised if that's the case. But where are some of the best places in Edinburgh to grab a simple soup-and-sandwich meal, or reach for a little perk-me-up in the form of tea, coffee and an assortment of divine pastries and cakes? Let us delve into the cafe scene in Edinburgh and discover what it has to offer!
Edinburgh's cafes offer various ways to give your mornings that much-needed boost and those who take their first meal of the day seriously might want to check out Southern Cross Cafe's full Scottish breakfast or, for the ravenous, their Big Belter with double the number of items you'd find in the former. If a warming bowl of porridge is how you'd prefer to start your day, you can't go wrong with the ones at Mimi's Bakehouse – sprinkled with your choice of delicious coconut, banana or jam toppings – a standout among the cafes in Edinburgh. Feeling cheeky? The Bloody Mary at Checkpoint complements all their breakfast options nicely, whether you feel like pancakes, bagels or sausage with eggs. Beat the early birds and begin the day stress-free by booking a table at Edinburgh's finest cafes with Quandoo.
Arguably the most popular cafe in Edinburgh, The Elephant House draws curious Harry Potter fans far and wide to its location on George IV Bridge in the Old Town to see where all the magic began. From the back room at this Edinburgh cafe, author J.K. Rowling penned her first novels, which went on to become one of the world's bestselling series. Situated close to Edinburgh University, The Birchwood constantly buzzes with students and Marchmont residents eager for a taste of the homemade starters, mains and desserts – making it one of the best cafes in Edinburgh to people-watch and while away the afternoon. And since Edinburgh averages 191 wet days in a year, you'll want to keep a cafe in mind should the rain put a dent in your plans. For that, Lovecrumbs provides a lovely respite at the edge of the Old Town with quaint interiors that feature vintage, upcycled furniture and a dizzying variety of scrumptious cakes and other goodies fresh from the oven. Spoil yourself silly with treats like salty peanut butter chocolate tart, chocolate and rosemary cake and vegan brownies, to name a few. This Edinburgh cafe is a local institution for baked delights and one visit here is never enough.
It wasn't so long ago when the coffee scene in Edinburgh was nothing to shout about, but how things have changed. These days, many Edinburgh cafes boast artisanal methods of production, taking coffee-making to new heights. Pioneering this trend was Brew Lab, Edinburgh's first coffee bar which features rotating single-origin coffee brews and a generous selection of brunch, lunch and pastry items. A short walk away on York Place, bean-aficionados find themselves a haven at Fortitude Coffee, an Edinburgh cafe that doubles up as a shop to take home brewing equipment, as well as excellent beans from Workshop and other quality labels around the world. So what are the cafes near you right now? Locate the closest one and reserve a table with Quandoo – it's that easy!