I’ve been spending a fair amount of time in Edinburgh cafes as of late; I now finish work at 1pm every Friday (which is pretty much the best thing ever, by the way), and I use these free afternoons as an opportunity to eat and drink my way around the city. After weeks of cafe-hopping, I’ve found a few that are standouts in my mind – most of which seem to have a common theme of quality coffee, artisan baked-goods, and/or locally-sourced food.
In no particular order, here are a few of my favourite cafes in Edinburgh.
Tucked just below street level on Frederick Street, Cairngorm is an inviting little cafe with a charming mix of rustic and modern decor – burlap coffee bags line the ceiling and iPads are stationed at some of the seats. I’ve heard they have excellent coffee, but I visited for a different reason entirely: food, of course. Their cheese toastie – a blend of three cheeses and chilli jam between two slices of fresh sourdough bread – is cheesy, gooey deliciousness. If you stop in for a cup of coffee, don’t leave without trying that sandwich!
If you’re looking for a cafe to linger, Wellington wouldn’t be my first choice – the interior is tiny, although there is ample outdoor seating, on and below street level. If a good takeaway coffee is what you’re after, Wellington is perfect. Quality coffee is the main focus here – there’s no food menu, and only a handful of pastries and scones on offer.
I love everything about Brew Lab – from the shabby chic furnishings, to the degree of precision and meticulousness that goes into their coffee-making process, and the mouthwatering array of breads, cakes and pastries supplied by local, artisan bakeries.
I’m not a big coffee drinker to be honest, but I love Brew Lab’s Cold Brew Coffee. Not to be confused with iced coffee – it’s brewed overnight in water and triple filtered, but never heated. They have cold brew and nitro cold brew (cold brew infused with nitrous oxide) on draught at the cafe, served black, or as a latte.
The nitro cold brew is more similar to a pint of stout than coffee; it’s smooth and creamy with a sweet finish, and noticeably lacks the acidity and bitterness you’d normally find in a regular cup of coffee. Delicious!
Located in the Morningside neighbourhood, Salt is a great little spot for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The food is really reasonably priced – most mains cost less than £10 – and the menu features local and seasonal food.
I recommend their Moules Frites – a generous portion of mussels in a white wine and parsley broth, with perfectly crisp, salted fries on the side. And at only £8.75, I’d say it’s a steal!
I’m not sure if it’s the friendly staff, the simple decor, or the location, but Filament instantly felt like a ‘local’ spot. Their bagels are freshly made and supplied from a local baker – served plain or filled with toppings like marmite and smashed avocado, or pear, gorgonzola and rocket. They also make fresh juices and smoothies, and have a small selection of cakes and sweet treats.
Have you been to any of these cafes? What are your favourite cafes in Edinburgh?