12 of the best breakfast spots in Edinburgh

It's hard to say no to a full English
It's hard to say no to a full English
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Edinburgh is full of fantastic places to enjoy breakfast, whether you’re in the mood for a full fry-up or a sweet stack of pancakes. Let Alex Watson be your guide to the most important meal of the day.

The City Cafe

Butternut Squash's breakfasts will set you up for a brisk walk along the beach at Portobello. Picture: Stewart Attwood

Butternut Squash's breakfasts will set you up for a brisk walk along the beach at Portobello. Picture: Stewart Attwood

Fully decked out 1950s-style diner by day, quirky cocktail bar by night – The City Cafe is a hidden gem just off the Royal Mile. Breakfast is served all day, every day here, and tea and coffee re-fills are free. There’s everything from pancakes to French toast (with optional bacon) on the menu, as well as what might be Edinburgh’s best value full fry-up for both meat eaters and vegetarians. Visit: 19 Blair Street, www.thecitycafe.co.uk


Notorious for their ‘pot-tails’ (cocktails served in a teapot) rustic cafe bar Roseleaf in Leith also have some extremely tasty morning treats in their repertoire. The star of the breakfast show here has to be their enormous selection of eggs Benedict, served with everything from spinach to black pudding. Visit: 23/24 Sandport Place, www.roseleaf.co.uk

Nobles Bar

The City Cafe is a hidden gem serving up everything from pancakes to French toast all day

The City Cafe is a hidden gem serving up everything from pancakes to French toast all day

This Leith establishment has all the eggs you could ever dream of on their menu. Scrambled, Benedict, florentine – you name it, and Nobles will whisk, poach or fry it up for you. On Saturdays and Sundays they break out the big brunch guns and add a full Scottish breakfast and brioche French toast into the mix. Visit: 44a Constitution Street, new.noblesbarleith.co.uk


There’s everything you could ever require to start your day right on the menu at Piecebox, as well as some intriguing extras, such as smoky barbecue beans and sweet potato courgette fritters. Visit: 2 Polwarth Crescent, www.piecebox.co.uk

The Caffeine Drip

Perfectly located for West End commuters during the week, it’s definitely worth stopping in South African cafe and bakery The Caffeine Drip when you have the time to sample their breakfast offerings. Create your own cooked breakfast here, choosing your preferred toast, eggs and any number of both familiar and unusual additions – they even have boerewors sausage and fried banana. For something a little healthier, opt for porridge, an omelette or even a totally vegan-friendly breakfast. Visit: 10 Melville Place, www.thecaffeinedrip.com


Milk open their doors early (even at the weekend) and you can go for anything from a chorizo breakfast burrito to a classically satisfying full breakfast. Simple and stylish, yet warm and welcoming inside, you’ll never want to leave once you get comfortable. Visit: 232 Morriston Street, www.cafemilk.co.uk


Relaxed but effortlessly cool, you can start the day at Checkpoint any time before 5pm with hash browns and eggs, eggs florentine or something even more adventurous. Anyone suffering the effects of a big night out can wash it all down with a refreshing bloody mary cocktail. Visit: 3 Bristo Place, checkpointedinburgh.com

Salt Cafe

The go-to breakfast location in Morningside has to be Salt Cafe – a fashionable licensed cafe serving food all day and night. There are eggs galore on the breakfast menu here (even with toast soldiers for anyone who wants to get nostalgic) and a substantial full breakfast that gets high praise from locals. Visit: 54-56 Morningside Road, salt-cafe.co.uk

Butternut Squash

After a brisk morning walk on Portobello beach, stop off at comfort food restaurant Butternut Squash for an extremely affordable breakfast. Unusual (but no less delicious) menu items include beans on toast, filled croissants and kippers cooked with some fantastic flavours. Dog-friendly and with genuinely welcoming staff, both this place and its breakfasts are legitimate hidden gems by the seaside. Visit: 10 Bath Street, butternutportobello.co.uk


Small but central and with a reputation that precedes itself, you’ll have to time your breakfast pilgrimage just right to get a table at Papii. There’s no full breakfast on offer, but you can have eggs any way you can imagine, as well as filled breakfast rolls, paninis and bagels. The buttermilk vanilla waffles and freshly made fruit smoothies steal the show, though. Order waffles with the works to experience the taste sensation of bacon and fresh strawberries together. Visit: 101 Hanover Street

Word of Mouth

It’s all about the all-day breakfasts at Word of Mouth cafe in Leith, and the portions are wonderfully generous. The place is small and popular so can get busy at peak times, but the breakfasts are absolutely worth the wait for a table. Visit: 3a Albert Street

Breakfast, Brunch & Lunch

This one really does what it says on the tin, but by no means is that a bad thing. Pleasance-based cafe Breakfast, Brunch & Lunch has a fully vegan breakfast in their repertoire, alongside their popular vegetarian and full Scottish offerings – all for less than £6 each. If you’re not hungry enough to tackle a full plate, you can go for a filled roll for under £2. Visit: 65 Pleasance, www.bbl.me.uk