Union of Genius

We're Good to Go
Union of Genius
8 Forrest Road, Edinburgh, EH1 2QN
  • Telephone 0131 226 4436
  • Opening times Mon–Fri 11am–3pm; closed Sat & Sun.
  • Seasonal times Fringe: Mon–Fri 9am–9pm; Sat/Sun 11.00am–9pm.
  • Food served Mon–Fri 9am–4pm; Sat 11am–4pm. Closed Sun.
  • Website unionofgenius.com
Photo of Union of Genius
Covid-19 precautions

Distanced indoor seating, perspex screen between seating and take-out area, staff wear PPE to serve sit-in meals. Toilet fully sanitised after each use. Contactless card payments strongly preferred. Sanitisation stations provided for customers. We’re serving all our sit-in meals in compostable Vegware crockery and cutlery. We want us all to be safe and happy!
Last updated: 30 July 2020

Union of Genius

Edinburgh’s premier soup café serves up comforting, wholesome soups for the lunchtime crowds, while also running social initiatives to help Edinburgh's homeless community.

Eating & Drinking Guide

The 2019/20 edition of The List's Eating & Drinking Guide is out now – only £5.95 (+p&p).

Beloved by students and local office workers, Union of Genius is a lunch spot with a conscience. Every month this cosy, unassuming eatery donates 150 litres of soup to the Bethany Trust for distribution among Edinburgh’s homeless community and customers can get involved too, by paying forward a bowl of soup or coffee that can be claimed later by someone in need. The menu changes daily but there are always vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options, as well as a couple of chilli bowls and salads. The vegan chilli is a stand-out, made with bulgur wheat for a deceptively meaty texture and piled high with cheese and sour cream, while the incredible hulk soup made with broccoli, spinach, and mint is both fresh and hearty and served in a charming little crockpot. Delicious and socially aware, Union of Genius is the best place in Edinburgh to feed both stomach and soul.

The List's rating






Anahit Behrooz visited Union of Genius on 7 March 2019
  • High point: The pay-it-forward scheme
  • Low point: Some portions are on the smaller side
  • Notable dish: Soup!
  • Average price: £7 (lunch)

Serving the best soup in Scotland; we make everything we sell by hand, to our own recipes, fresh every day. You’ll find 6 flavour-packed soups, fresh salads, chillies and vegan bakes on our daily-changing menu. We cheerfully feed everyone - meat-eaters, vegans, free-from - we always have full allergen info available for you.

Gluten-free and vegan cakes, superb Artisan Roast coffee and Chocolate Tree hot chocolate always available. We donate soup to Edinburgh’s Care Van, which feeds rough sleepers every night of the year. You can help us do this by adding £2 to your bill.

Text supplied by third party.

  • Provides: Vegetarian options (at least ¼ main courses), Children's portions, Outdoor tables, Free wi-fi
  • Music on stereo: Fun indie pop
  • Capacity: 18 (6 outdoors)
  • Open since: 2011

Reviews & features

Best cafés in Edinburgh

22 May 2019

From tea and coffee to cake and pastries, these Edinburgh hotspots do café culture right

Edinburgh's café scene continues to evolve and remains as vibrant as ever. These day-time foodies are often a source of real innovation, from coffee roasters to artisan bakers to scientists of salad, they push the boundaries of breakfast and lunch...

Halloween recipe: make your own Devilled Pumpkin Soup

15 Oct 2013

Elaine Mason, head soupmonger at Union of Genius, offers a warm way to spice up your autumn

I usually use Crown Prince pumpkins, or the little bright orange winter squash called Uchiki Kuri. If the only pumpkin you can find is the big ones people buy for carving, I'd suggest mixing that pumpkin with butternut squash 50:50 – those biggies have…

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the information displayed here is accurate, always check with the venue before attending (especially during the Covid-19 pandemic).