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The interior of the High Dive in Edinburgh
Photograph: Ross Fraser McLean

The 12 best breakfast and brunch spots in Edinburgh

Whether you’re nursing a hangover or heading out for a treat, here’s our pick of the best places to grab breakfast and brunch in Edinburgh

Arusa Qureshi
Written by
Dayna McAlpine
&
Arusa Qureshi
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If you’re a morning person – or, indeed, a mid-morning person – you’ll no doubt have a discerning eye for a fine breakfast out. And Edinburgh is a city built to cater to all manner of morning diners, with eateries that serve everything from full Scottish breakfast, haggis and all, to healthy veggie choices so you’re ready to start your day right. Whether you want to reward yourself for being up with the lark or you’ve spent your night at one of Edinburgh’s many whisky bars or clubs and are in urgent need of recovery, visit one of these greasy spoons or more swanky joints for the best breakfast and brunch around.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in Edinburgh

Best breakfast and brunch spots in Edinburgh

Urban Angel
  • Restaurants
  • Cafés

If you’re feeling a little worse for wear, head here for a moreish health kick. For just under a fiver, Urban Angel’s smoothies blend mango and coconut water with nutrient-loaded things like spinach, spirulina and kale (there’s also a raw chocolate version, made with almond milk, cacao, banana and vanilla). The virtue continues in the superfood salads, organic lamb, pistachio and feta koftes, and delicate fish dishes. I 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. 

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Salt Cafe
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  • Bistros
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A firm favourite with the students that live in Morningside, Salt is located opposite the Church Hill Theatre. This spot is all about brunch, with seasonal ingredients and locally sourced produce used across the menu. Head chef Steve makes all of the bacon, sausages and gin-cured salmon from scratch, while head baker Liv is in charge of all cakes, jams and compotes. The hearty Butcher’s Breakfast (or veggie Greengrocer’s Breakfast) comes highly recommended if you’re looking for something delicious and filling.

The Edinburgh Larder
  • Restaurants
  • Delis

Just two minutes from the bustling Royal Mile, Edinburgh Larder is hidden down a side street. But those in the know are always richly rewarded. This cafe sells seasonal, locally sourced and tasty food, with its breakfast menu available until 3pm and featuring all the classics like eggs benedict, porridge and hash browns. If you’re in a bit later, try the Taste of Scotland Plate, which comes with Belhaven cold smoked salmon and hot smoked salmon, smoked trout pate, granary bread, Clava organic brie, salad and loads more.

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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). 

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If you’re not already taken in by Seven’s bright pink interior and stunning leafy design, the food will no doubt win you over. This cosy Tollcross cafe is perfect for a casual breakfast date, a full post-night out fry up or an afternoon pick-me-up with a pal. Whatever you choose to go in for, you won’t be disappointed with breakfast food served all day. You can't go wrong with the very reasonably-priced House Breakfast. 

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. 

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  • Cafés

This sweet-toothed sit-in café on the Shore lends itself to long breakfasts and informal parent-toddler clubs (a point worth bearing in mind if you’re feeling tender). Besides the variety of sweet things on offer, its savoury options are 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.

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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.

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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).

  • Restaurants
  • Seafood

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?

  • Bars and pubs

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...

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