The best places to eat breakfast in Glasgow and Edinburgh

We select the best cafes for the most important meal of the day

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The best places to eat breakfast in Glasgow and Edinburgh

Spoon, Nicolson Street, Edinburgh

What did you have for breakfast this morning? A thin slice of processed white toast, smattered with vegetable oil-laced spreadable butter? A dry cereal bar, full of shrivelled fruit and bound together with sugary glue? Worst still, a Sausage and Egg McMuffin?

If you’ve forgotten all your mum’s advice about it being ‘the most important meal of the day’, The List has some easy-to-follow suggestions. Breakfast should be a celebratory event, boosting endorphins and fuelling your morning activity – or, if taken on the weekend, filling you up so much a return under the covers is required. We’ve put together a list of the best places to get your eggs, bacon, pancakes, smoothies, porridge or whatever else tickles your fancy before noon (or after, if you’re really that lazy).

In choosing our favourite early eateries we’ve tried to balance the charm of the old-style greasy spoon fry-up against the many health-conscious places where you can now take your five-a-day in one mushed up super shot of fruit and veg. We haven’t spent a long time deliberating on what the exact piquancy of a Hollandaise should be, we’ve just been getting stuck in, measuring our pleasure above all else, which, after all, is what breakfast should be about.

Our reviews are split into categories, though as many places cover multiple breakfast bases these should be used only as a guideline. We’ve also marked the places where breakfast is available before 9am for the benefit of the real early birds.

American

Tribeca

102 Dumbarton Road, Glasgow, 0141 576 0122. Mon–Fri 9am-4pm; Sat/Sun 10am–4pm
Their name comes from New York, and so do their breakfasts, which are remarkably egg-based (some contain up to five). Unless you’re only looking for protein, go for one of many interesting varieties of eggs Benedict served on a toasted bagel. (CM)

Heller’s Kitchen

15 Salisbury Place, Edinburgh, 0131 667 4654. Mon–Fri 8–11.45am; Sat 9am–3pm; Sun 10am–3pm
Go for the supremely fluffy pancakes with either bacon or berries and a pot of thick maple syrup. If you’re early, you’ll see freshly baked doughnuts being brought out to accompany the cupcakes in the window. (NW)

The Treehouse

44 Leven Street, Edinburgh, 656 0513. Mon–Sat 8am-5pm; Sun 9am–5pm
A good spot for a stack of pancakes with bacon and maple syrup, homemade muffins or exciting chocolate bar milkshakes. Portions don’t match that of the US inspirations, though this means you can actually finish without feeling bloated. (NW)

Special Mention: Café Pop (657 Great Western Road, Glasgow) for the Jimi Hendrix Eggs Experience.

Scottish

Stravaigin

28 Gibson Street, Glasgow, 334 2665. Sunday Brunch 11am–5pm
This Sunday brunch is in a league of its own. With full Scottish and vegetarian breakfasts for purists, the more adventurous can try spicy Indonesian nasi goreng or devilled kidneys, and chilli Hollandaise gives eggs Benedict a surprising twist. (CM)

Gusto and Relish

729-731 Pollokshaws Road, Strathbungo, Glasgow, 424 1233. Mon–Fri 9–11.45am; Sat 10–11.45am; Sun 10.30am–12.15pm
Owner Iain makes his own gourmet sausages and black pudding from rare breed pork, bakes the tattie scones and dry cures the bacon. And all the little piggies lived free-range, happy lives in the great outdoors. Beat that Jamie Oliver. (CM)

Scottish Café and Restaurant

National Gallery of Scotland, The Mound, Edinburgh, 226 6524. Mon–Sat 8–11.45am; Sun 10–11.45am
An Aberdeen butterie with a dollop of marmalade or Graham’s organic Porridge: perfect accompaniments to a cup of Scottish Blend tea. This is the place to start a day of culture, (the Gallery is just next door), or enjoy Wi-Fi and great views. (NW)

Spoon

6a Nicolson Street, Edinburgh, 557 4567. Mon–Sat 10am–7pm, Sunday brunch 12–6pm
Uneven touches of vintage decoration make this large space overlooking Nicolson Street warm and attractive. The fact that they home-bake their beans indicates the quality here – try lemony kippers on toast or ‘Scotch woodcock’ eggs with anchovies and capers. (NW)

Stoats Porridge Bars

Farmers Market, Castle Terrace, Edinburgh, Sat 9am–2pm; Farmers Market, Mansfield Park (Corner of Dumbarton Road and Hyndland Street), Glasgow, 2nd and 4th Sat of the month, 10am–2pm
How much more Scottish can it get? These bowls of porridge-to-go taste deliciously homemade; customers can also buy oats to prepare themselves, and healthy-flapjack style porridge bars. You’ll have trouble deciding from the many imaginative options, including porridge with whisky or white chocolate. (NW)

Kilimanjaro Coffee

104 Nicolson Street, Edinburgh, 662 0135. Mon–Fri 8am-8pm; Sat 8.30am–8pm; Sun 9am–8pm
Fantastic full-Scottish which includes a good portion of peppery haggis, and even some marmalade to finish your toast. The Scots are not known for excellent coffee, but this proves to be an exception, with the owner being a champion barista. (NW)

Special Mention: The Bakehouse co. (32c Broughton Street, Edinburgh) for their tea service. Negociants (45–47 Lothian St, Edinburgh) for pleasing the students.

Brunch

Kember & Jones

134 Byres Road, Glasgow, 337 3851. Mon–Fri 8am–noon; Sat/Sun 9am–noon
An appreciation of good, simple pleasures is always applauded: here, this comes in the form of the best Poilâne sourdough toast with jam. Sitting overlooking the busy deli, you could also try a bowl of granola or a particularly fantastic pastry. (NW)

Toast

146 Marchmont Road, Edinburgh, 446 9873. Mon–Fri 10am–noon; Sat/Sun 10am–3pm
In a friendly, bustling environment, expect alternative takes on classics such as French toast or a waffle with goat’s cheese and sweet tomato chutney. Their eggs Benedict is reliably good, and there’s a tempting range of cakes for afterwards. (NW)

Urban Angel

121 Hanover Street, Edinburgh, 225 6215; 1 Forth Street, Edinburgh, 556 6323 Mon–Sat 9am–5pm, Sun 10am–5pm
In a rustic-goes-modern setting, (think stone walls, candles and vintage mirrors at the Hanover branch) the brunch options cover homemade muesli to eggs Benedict. Classics are executed perfectly using fresh, local produce, otherwise seasonal daily specials are always exciting. (NW)

Centotre

103 George Street, Edinburgh, 225 1550. Mon–Sat 7.30–11.45am, Sun 11am–12.30pm
In a magnificent, high-ceilinged dining room, this restaurant evokes the glamour of Milan whilst staying faithful to great Scottish ingredients. Italian omelettes are delicious, and their focaccia bacon butty arrives with an individual jar of brown sauce; true classiness. (NW)

Special mention: Elbow (133–135 East Claremont Street, Edinburgh) for great brunch served from 11am.

Continental

Nutmeg

25 Hillfoot Street, Dennistoun, Glasgow, 554 4177. Mon–Sat 9am–6pm; Sun 10am–4pm
A wee family-run deli whose home cooked menu includes the best roll and square sausage in the east end, no messing. For continental breakfast Scottish-style, try a slice of Gillian’s caramel shortcake with Illy coffee, the downfall of countless diets. (CM)

Peter’s Yard

27 Simpson Loan, Edinburgh, 228 5876. Mon–Fri 7am–noon; Sat/Sun 9am–noon
Swedish sophistication: four varieties of their freshly baked bread served with cream cheese, a delicious jam, and a pile of thinly cut Mull Cheddar. You’ll also find one of the best, strong coffees in town, or a cardamom hot chocolate. (NW)

Sonny & Vito's

52 Park Road, Glasgow, 357 0640. Mon-Sat 9am–noon; Sun 10am–noon
Take the papers for a leisurely, continental breakfast, with tables outside and Southern Alps muesli on the menu. Muffins are huge, inviting and distinctly cake-like, leading to willpower fail for all but the strongest. Their coffee is fair trade and delicious. (CM)

Heart Buchanan

380 Byres Road, Glasgow, 334 7626. Mon–Fri 9–11am; Sat/Sun 9am–4pm
This chi-chi café beside its much-loved sister deli does things in a très continental way, serving a French farmhouse breakfast at weekends, complete with dark chocolate. Croque monsieur or their delicious eggs Benedict will have to be sufficiently ooh-la-la for weekdays. (CM)

The Manna House

22–24 Easter Road, Edinburgh, 652 2349. Tue–Sat 8am until they run out; closed Sun/Mon
You’ll have to get here early so as not to miss the many different freshly baked breads that locals congregate towards. Loaves are stacked on wooden shelves behind the counter and beautiful pastries lined up below, bringing a touch of the French boulangerie to Leith. (NW)

Special Mention: Falko Konditerei (185 Bruntsfield Place, Edinburgh) for the pastries. North Star (108 Queen Margaret Drive, Glasgow) for the French toast.

Healthy

Tapa Coffeehouse

721 Pollokshaws Road, Strathbungo, Glasgow, 423 9494. Mon–Fri 8am–noon, Sat 8am-6pm; Sun 9am–5pm
and
Tapa Bakehouse, 19-21 Whitehill Road, Dennistoun, 554 9981. Mon–Sat 8am–6pm; Sun 9am–5pm
Morning should always smell like Tapa’s newly roasted coffee beans and bread (gluten-free available) fresh from their Dennistoun bakehouse. The sourcing policy is as wholesome as the rustic interior; everything’s organic or local, even the ketchup on thick-cut bacon sarnies. (CM)

Cafézique

66 Hyndland Street, Glasgow, 339 7180. Mon–Sun 9am–5pm
‘Healthy’ is often as simple as eating good quality ingredients, and here you can browse them in the sister deli (Delizique) a few steps up the road. Big breakfasts such as eggs Benedict are pricey but of excellent quality – the ‘royale’ uses Inverawe smoked salmon. (NW)

Café Sejuiced

77 Hanson Street, Glasgow, 556 6733. Mon–Fri 8–11.30am
Based in the Wasps studio, a former tobacco factory, this family-run café is all about ethical eating. Great coffee, cinnamon pastries and maple syrup-drizzled pancakes make saving the planet tasty; porridge, scrambled eggs and yoghurt ensure it’s healthy too. (CM)

Zulu Lounge

366 Morningside Road, Edinburgh 466 8337. Mon–Fri 7.30–11.30am, Sat 8–11.30am, Sun 9–11.30am
This South African joint boasts ‘red espresso’, with rooibos tea, not caffeine. Made with love and a smile, a big bowl of yoghurt, grated apple and cinnamon is delicious and fresh, while chunky maize meal is an alternative to porridge. (NW)

Hula

103-105 West Bow, Edinburgh 220 1121. Mon–Fri 8am–5pm; Sat/Sun 8am–noon
This friendly juice bar also serves smoothies and fruit salads, or bagels and porridge for a more substantial breakfast. Hot dishes such as scrambled eggs make an appearance at weekends. Although tropically oriented, they do use local produce where possible. (NW)

Special mentions: CCA Bar and Cafe (350 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow) for simple, light, and delicious breakfasts.

Traditional

Hyndland Café

96 Clarence Drive, Glasgow, 334 2719. Mon–Fri 7.30am–5.30pm; Sat 8.30am–5pm, Sun 9.30am–4pm
This is the sort of place everyone wants around the corner. Choose between the cosy interior or picnic tables outside and have a bottomless pot of tea and a full fry-up. Weekend brunch specials include eggs Benedict. (NW)

University Café

87 Byres Road, Glasgow, 339 5217. Mon–Fri 6.30am–10pm, Sat/Sun 10.30am–10pm
Slide into a 50s style booth and take a comforting bite of nostalgia. When you’re feeling rough, the Uni Caff’s full fry-up with chips and a mug of tea has magical curative powers, even if it makes your arteries cry. (CM)

Snax

118 Buccleuch Street, Edinburgh, 662 9009. Mon-Sat 7am–6pm; Sun 8am–6pm
An institution amongst locals, Snax is the perfect place when all you want is a good fry-up and tea in a mug. Newspapers, wooden tables and friendly staff make it somewhere you would be happy to sit all day – or at least until the hangover slackens off. (NW)

Rio Café

27 Hyndland Street, Glasgow, 334 9909. Mon-Sun 9am–9pm
The long bar and booths with leather seats lend this place a retro appeal, and although the atmosphere is that of an American diner, their breakfasts are based around more local favourites, with great big fry-ups and also porridge. (NW)

Special Mention: Where The Monkey Sleeps (182 West Regent Street, Glasgow) for the breakfast rolls.

Comments

1. Ian (Edinburgh)26 Sep 2011, 1:26pm Report

I cant help but think you have made a mistake not mentioning The King's Whark's Bigger Breakfast. Awesome!

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