Whether you’re up at the crack of dawn or opening your eyes as the clock strikes midday, Edinburgh’s full of places that can give you a hearty start to the day. You may be after a hair of the dog, when only a full fried Scottish breakfast and a Bloody Mary will do, but there’s an excellent array of do-good fruit and yoghurt-centric breakfast spots here too. From greasy spoons to swanky weekend blowouts, the following is a list of the best places for breakfast and brunch in Edinburgh – perfect for nursing a hangover after a big night out (those Edinburgh whisky bars and surprisingly banging clubs can be a tad tempting, after all).
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Best breakfast and brunch spots in Edinburgh
If you’re feeling a little worse for wear, head here for a moreish health kick. Urban Angel’s smoothies blend mango and coconut water with nutrient-loaded things like spinach, spirulina and kale for just under a fiver (there’s also a raw chocolate version, made with almond milk, cacao, banana and vanilla). The virtues continue in the superfood salads, organic lamb, pistachio and feta koftes, and delicate fish dishes, but if any of this sounds like joyless, penitent eating, you’d be dead wrong – the flavours are straight from heaven.
Brunch enthusiasts, hangover-sufferers and families alike flock in their masses to Loudons every weekend. Its simple, relaxed interior can lend itself to any sort of occasion, whether business breakfast, quiet solo brunch or chatty mums’ meet-up. This place is famed for its eggs benedict, served in 14 different forms (each one a marvel). Expect to battle a queue of Loudons loyalists for a seat, but do wait it out – any Edinburgher will tell you it’s worth it.
This café-bar may look like a pub – because it once was – but it had a serious facelift for its 2007 launch and has menus that would put many Edinburgh restaurants to shame. As you sit among the old wooden fixtures and fittings, enhanced with the odd ornamental eccentricity, you can browse the all-day brunch selection, daily from 10am, including choices like poached eggs on toast with wild mushrooms fried in butter and rosemary, decent porridge, eggs benedict, and big fried breakfasts.
This no-frills greasy spoon is an Edinburgh institution, cherished above all for its hangover-diminishing breakfasts. Don’t expect smoked salmon or smoothie bowls here – Snax Café is the definition of no-nonsense. Portions are served in big, bigger and biggest (the latter suitable only for the super-hungry).
If you like pizza and can also get behind the idea of brunch, this excellent restaurant may well tempt you. Forget all things fruity and green – the High Dive’s speciality is pizzas dripping with breakfast toppings and hybrid doughy fry-ups. Pair your pie with a cup of strong joe.
If you hadn’t guessed by the ruddy great Eiffel Tower adorning the wall, there’s a French influence at large here – with flaky croissants and pains au chocolat just as popular as the traditional fry-up and black pudding butty. All-day ‘snacks’ range from the likes of croque monsieur to paninis and salads.
Spoon may not be the most obvious choice for breakfast – it’s a first-floor café-restaurant with very little street-front presence. However, it does offer a short and good-quality breakfast menu from 10am from Monday to Saturday, and from noon on Sunday. In its spacious, open-plan premises, with retro furniture and fittings, you might choose a croissant, fruit salad with toasted almonds, eggs benedict, a very good breakfast roll with bacon, black pudding, fried egg or sausage – or, if you’re feeling particularly hungry, the full grill available in carnivore and vegetarian versions.
This sweet-toothed sit-in café on the Shore lends itself well to long breakfasts and informal parent-toddler clubs (worth bearing in mind if you’re feeling tender and heading there to get rid of a hangover). Besides the variety of sweet things on offer, their savoury options are equally impressive, with a giant vegetarian breakfast of leek and cheese sausages with eggs, tomatoes and all the trimmings, thick slabs of French toast with bacon and maple syrup, or soft baguettes with black pudding, sausages or bacon.
If there’s one thing the well-to-do area of Stockbridge isn’t short of, it’s decent spots for a nosh. Opened in 2012, The Pantry has now found its place among the pack. At the weekend, it’s regularly packed out with folks sampling the brunch menu, which includes treats such as wild East Lothian mushrooms, pancetta and poached egg on toast and a breakfast burrito.
The King’s Wark has carved out a solid reputation for top-notch cooking using ingredients sourced straight from Scotland’s larder. On weekends, it’s packed out with a merry mix of patrons, including families, couples, students and young professionals indulging in the Wark’s bevy of brunch choices (such as the gargantuan ‘Bigger Breakfast’ fry-up, or the spinach crêpe with brie).
The décor at this seafood restaurant by the Water of Leith involves lots of wood and has a maritime theme, but if you rock up between 9am and 11am you’ll find a daily breakfast menu with a certain touch of class. Think whisky-smoked salmon with scrambled eggs, Stornoway black pudding with herb rosti and a poached egg, or a glass of champagne to start the day.
And that drink you’ve got planned later?
Think Edinburgh, think cheap whisky and pints of Tennent’s? Time to reassess – there’s so much more to the city’s pub scene than just the stereotypes. With quality beer flowing from the taps and smart bartenders pouring endless drams of single malts, this city can very much do classy...