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Top 5 Edinburgh Cafés

Brew Lab

Acclaimed by industry professionals and food critics alike Brew Lab was a slow burner which took real mastery and planning to launch. In fact, co-owners Tom Hyde and Dave Law spent four years planning before their launch, ensuring when Brew Lab was opened, it was perfect. Offering the best brews roasted with love on a Slayer Espresso Machine, Brew Lab has a relaxed atmosphere which attracts a student crowd, local workers and people popping in for a takeaway lunch. Queues out of the door are commonplace during peak periods, which can only be a good sign and there are plenty of changing specials to enjoy.

The Elephant House

Becoming a tourist attraction in its own right, The Elephant House has a charming quaintness to it but more than that it is known for helping well-known authors including J.K. Rowling and Ian Rankin get their juices flowing, with words penned sat at one of the tables in this shop. Warm mugs of coffee and locally sourced Scottish food make The Elephant House even more popular, although most visitors are turning up to enjoy ‘The Birthplace of Harry Potter.’ If you’re visiting Edinburgh as a tourist then it won’t take long to pick up your Edinburgh Easirent hire car, drop it off at your hotel and pop into The Elephant House for a brew.

Hula Juice Bar

Voted the best café in Edinburgh in 2013, the Hula Juice Bar also incorporates a gallery and it’s popular with creatives looking for a great spot for a bit of early morning creativity. It’s brightly decorated with tons of natural light and as the name suggests it has a focus on all things juicy – with healthy food options and fresh juices available all day every day. They also offer a great range of hearty breakfast choices including traditional Scottish porridge, granola and bagels. It’s a place that is designed to inspire creativity as well as offering up tasty meals and drinks.


Marketing itself as a café-restaurant Spoon is a quirky and retro styled eatery which is perfectly located for enjoying something to eat or drink before heading over to the Festival Theatre. It’s been a niche venue for over a decade and combines some of the finest coffee in the city with plenty of snacks, pastries and light meals to offer too. They also ensure that at least 25% of the menu is vegetarian so every type of diner is satisfied.

Café Portrait

Taking its name from the venue it calls home, the Café Portrait is the resident eatery in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and it offers up seasonal and Scottish cuisine which is perfect for enjoying after a browse around the gallery. The menu changes every single day and brings in both locally inspired dishes and those a little more exotic, including Moroccan and Indian inspired dishes. They also provide convenient ready-packed sandwiches and they have a fantastic salad bar, making putting together your perfect meal a cinch. There is also a small but hand-picked alcohol selection.

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