Coffee, Cakes and Comfy Breaks: The Cream of Edinburgh's Cafes

Exploring the picturesque Old Town, walking around the castle and following The Royal Mile down to Holyrood Palace can be exhausting. Shopping on Princes Street is thirsty work. Zooming around from show to show through the festival bustle necessitates the odd break. Thankfully there is a veritable multitude of Edinburgh cafes where you can recharge those batteries with a tasty treat and quench your thirst.

If you are on the hunt for a really great cup of coffee, expertly prepared by skilled baristas then you'll head for Artisan Roast. If you want something more substantial to keep you going then the options are endless from the wonderful Union of Genius to the ever popular Elephant House on George IV Bridge. If it's cakes that you crave then Love Crumbs will satisfy your appetite.

Wherever you happen to be in Edinburgh, a great cafe is never far away. Take a load off, find a comfy couch, regroup and plan the rest of your day with a snack and a brew. If the weather is good then grab your sandwiches and coffee to go, there are plenty of great outdoor spaces to sit and watch the world go by.

The ever present chains litter the main streets but with a little spirit of adventure you can uncover tea rooms and coffee shops with real character and atmosphere. Don't settle for what you know, try out some of the cafes on our list for a real taste of Edinburgh cafe culture. 

The Water of Leith is a great bistro style cafe which has gained a huge local following and become one of the most popular eateries in the Cannonmills area. The cafe has a relaxed and extremely welcoming ambiance and the French style food is...  Read More

You'll find a South African welcome at The Zulu Lounge in Morningside. This cosy cafe has a huge menu that includes all the traditional Scottish favorites along with a range of soups, salads, bagels, wraps and toasties. You'll also find some...  Read More

If you are in search of a great scone and an even better cup of coffee, then it's time to depart for the Southside. You'll find both, along with great service at Kilimanjaro Coffee. It's fairly small but it is comfortable. There are a lot of...  Read More

Love Crumbs is a quirky and inviting cake shop and cafe in the West Port close to the Grassmarket area of the Old Town. If you are looking for a savory meal, look elsewhere because Love Crumbs is unashamedly a cake shop – they do not do...  Read More

Photo courtesy of Simon Hill

This Sicilian delicatessen is also a great cafe and it has a warm, family friendly atmosphere. You'll find a wide array of tempting homemade breads, soups, salads and pasta dishes. They also make a mean cup of coffee. It's a family run affair...  Read More

If you are hunting for a really great cup of coffee then you'll find the best that Scotland has to offer right here. Artisan Roast import their own, high quality, flavorsome coffee beans and then roast and grind them to produce outstanding cups...  Read More

Located on George IV Bridge, just off the Royal Mile, The Elephant House is a warm and welcoming café with a great range of teas and coffee and plenty of tasty treats. It is ideal for a snack or a meal and it is open from 8AM until 11PM every...  Read More

The union of Genius is Scotland's first soup cafe. If you think that sounds uninspiring, then you have not yet sampled their soups! Every day they offer six globally themed soups paired with a selection of locally produced artisan breads. These...  Read More

Le Cafe Bleu is a cozy and friendly cafe located in the Grassmarket close to the Royal Mile. The interior is pleasantly eccentric with a changing gallery of art works adorning the walls and a large fish tank taking center stage. Owned and run by...  Read More

Curious Tea Rooms is a lovely city center cafe inspired by Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. In one room a beautifully detailed mural depicts the Mad Hatter (as brought to life by Johnny Depp in Tim Burton's film) and in another the walls are...  Read More


Meet Simon Hill

Simon has lived in various corners of Edinburgh over the last 18 years. He fell in love with the city as a small child after visiting the castle and returned to study Scottish History.

After...  More About Simon