Edinburgh may well have some brilliant fine dining restaurants, some awesome cheap eats and certainly some of the best Indian restaurants in the land, but sometimes, a full-on restaurant meal is too much – all you need to hit the spot is a cup of coffee, a sandwich and maybe a cheeky bit of cake for after. Luckily, Edinburgh's positively rife with good coffee shops and cafés, so make sure you don't miss out when exploring the city. You'll no doubt find your new favourite quick stop in our list of Edinburgh's best cafés and coffee shops, so take a look and sate yourself silly.
Edinburgh coffee shops and cafés
Brew Lab was a mighty four years in the making. Keen to get their vision just right, co-owners Dave Law and Tom Hyde took the time to explore the potential of the kind of café they might create – as well as how best to brew. Two filter coffees are brewed every day, as well as popular espresso blends that are roasted on a beloved Slayer Espresso Machine.
A small-scale café with a big heart and bigger ideas, this friendly little space offers up six homemade soups every day – all presented with a large wedge of suitably dunkable artisan bread (from local bakery, Dough Re Mi). Keen to source from nearby independent businesses and cafés, the tea comes from Eteaket and coffee from the ubiquitous Artisan Roast. Vegan cakes and gooey brownies are bought in from Love Pure Cakes and Lovecrumbs, respectively.
Café Portrait has quickly become one of Edinburgh’s best art venue cafés, and, with its striking gothic windows, consistently good food and creative buzz, it’s easy to see why. The menu is seasonal and changes daily, but the likes of Moroccan spiced salmon on a bed of chickpea and spinach, or goat’s cheese roulade won’t disappoint.
A slick little café/takeaway venture from the smart folks behind Edinburgh’s excellent Bon Vivant duo and The Devil’s Advocate, P&F is a great little addition to the east end of the city centre. The breakfast offerings merrily meander from well-stacked bacon butties and thick honey-laden porridge to flaky croissants and sweet pastries.
Aside from the great name, there’s plenty to like about Lovecrumbs. Mostly, that this cake-only café laughs in the face of savoury, and chooses to embrace only the sweet stuff. Sandwiches and soups are firmly off the menu, although teas, coffees and rather tasty hot chocolate are all on offer to wash that last little morsel down.
If there’s one thing the well-to-do area of Stockbridge isn’t short of, it’s decent spots for a sup and a nosh. Opened in 2012, The Pantry has found its place among the pack. The menu is seasonal and the owners and staff notably friendly. Wooden tables, quirky tiles and assorted wall art complete the look and feel of the place. In short, this is a relaxed neighbourhood hangout.
An attractive, spacious first floor café-restaurant with quirky retro décor, handy for the Festival Theatre across the street, Spoon has filled a niche on the local eating-out scene for more than a decade. Clearly it functions as a restaurant at lunch and dinner but one corner of the open-plan premises is given over to coffee drinkers, snackers and almond croissant nibblers. Very fine coffee it is too.