Best Cafés in Edinburgh
From tea and coffee to cake and pastries, these Edinburgh hotspots do café culture right
Yes, multi-national chain coffee-houses abound, but the independent café scene in Edinburgh remains healthy and strong. Many have their own story to tell: from ethical chocolatiers and tea hunters, to cat cafés, Italian-trained ice-cream makers and dedicated vegetable growers, the list is varied and long. Some of our canny bakers and baristas are making an impact on the wider world too, with elegantly packaged tea leaves, luxury chocolates and carefully selected coffee beans making their way across the UK and overseas. Meanwhile lucky locals can simply sit back and enjoy the pleasure of a good cuppa on the corner.
Best cafés in Edinburgh
91 Montgomery Street, New Town, EH7 5HZ
Neighbourhood café that welcomes diners like an old friend with a smile and a spread of simple, delicious food.
caferenroc.co.uk | read our review of Café Renroc
1 Brandon Terrace, Canonmills, New Town, EH3 5AE
Smart and friendly family-run deli café adding a modern twist to traditional homemade Italian favourites.
digiorgios.co.uk | read our review of Di Girorgio
Earthy Market Café
33–41 Ratcliffe Terrace, Southside, EH9 1SX
Causewayside’s original outpost of calm and wellbeing promoting seasonal, local, organic and free-range eating.
earthy.uk.com | read our review of Earthy Market Café
23a Howe Street, New Town, EH3 6TF
Friendly, cosy café serving award-winning cakes, wholesome lunches, and breakfasts worth getting out of bed for.
leosbeanery.co.uk | read our review of Leo's Beanery
155 West Port, Old Town, EH3 9DP
With a reputation for creative, well-executed bakes, this laid-back coffee house near the Grassmarket is a haven for the sweet-toothed.
lovecrumbs.co.uk | read our review of Lovecrumbs
The Roamin' Nose
14 Eyre Place, New Town, EH3 5EP
Everything you could possibly wish for in a neighbourhood café and bistro – delicious food, great atmosphere and a warm welcome.
theroaminnose.com | read our review of The Roamin' Nose
The Water of Leith Café Bistro
1 Howard Street, Canonmills, Leith, EH3 5JP
Head for the specials menu at this friendly riverside spot where the food exceeds the expectations of a neighbourhood café.
thewaterofleithcafebistro.com | read our review of The Water of Leith Café Bistro
Best wee cafés in Edinburgh
Here are the wee spots that are so easily missed, but are well worth discovering. Peppered across the city are the bite-sized patisseries, the police-box coffee-stops and the cool gelaterias. Seating is often sparse, but it’s usually worth waiting for a table or grabbing and going. From perfect pistachio macarons to artfully churned homemade ice-cream and expertly baked crusty bread, a lot of work is going into creating big reputations for these little places.
39 Dundas Street, New Town, EH3 6QQ
Artisan New Town bakery committed to delivering all the joys properly made bread can bring.
archipelagobakery.co.uk | read our review of Archipelago Bakery
42 London Street, New Town, EH3 6LX
A small tearoom with a big character, serving delicious homemade breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea in a vintage setting.
casaangelina.co.uk | read our review of Casa Angelina
3C York Place, New Town, EH1 3EB
Compact, welcoming space run by knowledgeable owners, where coffee dominates but tea and food also find a place.
fortitudecoffee.com | read our Fortitude Coffee
Union of Genius
8 Forrest Road, Old Town, EH1 2QN
Don’t tell your mum, but Edinburgh’s first soup café takes locally sourced ingredients to create wholesome, comforting, better-than-homemade soups.
unionofgenius.com | read our review of Union of Genius
Best arts cafés in Edinburgh
There’s been something of a quiet revolution in the eating places attached to Edinburgh’s arts venues. The days of the over-priced scone and wee metal teapot-for-one that dribbles all over the tablecloth are long gone – now, whether you’re visiting a small workshop or one of the city’s biggest attractions, you can expect to be served sustenance that’s worthy of a visit in its own right. Scotland’s larder is one of her biggest treasures; it’s fitting then that so many arts-based eateries around the city choose to feature the best of local produce on their menus, whether that’s a simple soup or a simply sumptuous afternoon tea.
15 Howe Street, Stockbridge, EH3 6TE
Surrounded by local art and friendly chatter, this is a lovely place to while away the hours over tea and scones.
bonpapillon.com | read our review of Bon Papillon
Scottish National Portrait Gallery, 1 Queen Street, New Town, EH2 1JD
Quality sustenance, worthy of the impressive architecture and distinguished residents of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.
heritageportfolio.co.uk | read our review of Café Portrait
Signet Library Parliament Square High Street, Old Town, EH1 1RF
Opulent lunch or afternoon tea in a hushed library; elegant, delicious and excellent value.
heritageportfolio.co.uk/cafes/our-cafes/colonnades | read our review of Colonnades