Steeped in culture and history, there’s a reason why Edinburgh is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the UK. Whether you’re visiting, or you’re a fully-fledged Edinburgh resident, brunch recommendations always come in handy. We’ve rounded up some of our favourites in the capital city below, to help kick-start your day (after a lie-in of course).
Brunch: the magically chaotic meal sandwiched between the normal times of breakfast and lunch. It is a meal time with no rules, so we can understand it's popularity. With more of us building our days around brunch, restaurants have listened; chefs have donned their thinking hats (or chef's hats, we should say), and got down to the important business of devising new, exciting brunch dishes. It’s safe to say that they have not failed us - with limited restraints on what actually classifies as brunch food, restaurants all over Edinburgh are serving up an incredible range of dishes. Fancy a meaty full English? No problem. Craving some sweet (or savoury) waffles? Eggs? Burgers? Or even a curry? Brunch is sure not to disappoint with its creative plates and combinations.
From famed, nationwide chains like The Ivy, down to small, independent café's like Snax Café, the streets of Edinburgh are packed with diamond brunches. Searching for the best brunch in the Scottish capital is an extremely difficult (and important) task, one that we take very seriously. We've tried countless pancakes, and scoured the city for shakshuka and avocado toast, from early morning to late afternoon, in order to bring together this list of Edinburgh's best brunch spots. That said, it’s not just the food that’s important, but the whole experience; these restaurants have speciality drinks, cosy interiors, charming atmospheres and, if you’re up to it, boozy brunch cocktails.
On that note, it’s time for us to share our findings and for you to pick next weekend’s brunch outing.
Best brunch in Edinburgh
The Ivy on the Square
What: One of several offshoots of world-famous The Ivy in London’s Covent Garden, this all-day brasserie is a welcome addition to Edinburgh’s St. Andrew Square. Weekend brunch here sees a varied menu of classic brunch dishes alongside heartier fare - think eggs Benedict or hot buttermilk pancakes, alongside Shepherd's pie or chicken Milanese. For dessert, indulge with a melting chocolate bombe or baked apple tart, while everything from smoothies to champers can be found on the drinks menu.
Where: 6 St. Andrew Square, EH2 2BD
Book Now: The Ivy on the Square
What: The timings of brunch at Urban Angel have become a little stretched since it started to become popular, but we're not complaining. At this Edinburgh mainstay, you can enjoy an all-day brunch, seven days a week. Classic options include French toast topped with bacon and maple syrup, but if you're looking for something lighter, you can instead opt for a smoothie bowl or hummus on sourdough toast. To drink, there are fresh juices for those on their best behaviour, and Bloody Marys for those on their worst.
Where: 121 Hanover Street, EH2 1DJ
Book Now: Urban Angel
What: Breakfast and brunch purveyors Loudons have two locations in the city, each offering up delicious brunch dishes to hungry locals. The best part of its brunch offering is the dedicated Benny’s menu, featuring different types of eggs Benedict. All served on homemade English muffins with herb salad, the 'Bennys' can be topped with beef brisket, mozzarella, smoked salmon and plenty more. Don’t forget to stop by the bakery counter on your way out and grab a slice of carrot cake or a chocolate and raspberry brownie.
Where: 94B Fountainbridge, EH3 9QA; 2 Sibbald Walk, EH8 8FT
Book Now: Loudons
What: With its US-via-Edinburgh menu and industrial-chic interiors, Smokestack thrills the crowds. Its brunch menu (served until 4pm on weekends) is best known for the homemade waffles, which can be topped with Canadian (bacon and maple syrup); buttermilk (chicken and maple syrup) or nutella (nutella and ice cream) options. You can throw it back to childhood by washing down your meal with a chocolate shake, strawberry split shake or even a Pepsi float.
Where: 53-55 Broughton Street, EH1 3RJ
Book Now: Smoke Stack
What: This group of Indian cafés already has a flock of sites across London, as well as another outpost in Manchester. At the Edinburgh site, you’ll find a brunch menu which is peppered with tempting meat dishes, along with a decent number of vegan options. The obvious choice is Dishoom's signature bacon naan roll, but there are other good options too, including date and banana porridge and the vegan Bombay breakfast: spiced (eggless) akuri, vegan sausages, vegan black pudding, grilled field mushrooms, masala beans, grilled tomato and home-made vegan buns.
Where: 3a St. Andrew Square, EH2 2BD
Book Now: Dishoom
Blue Bear Café
What: You won't leave feeling blue at this café, as the all-day brunch menu is practically guaranteed to leave you a happy customer. Pretty much ticking off every brunch need, Blue Bear Café’s menu features everything from a three-egg omelette to savoury croissants stuffed with ham and cheese and served with a sweet chilli jam. Elsewhere on the menu, you’ll find breakfast burritos and waffles topped with berries, while drinks range from freshly-squeezed juices to cups of Steampunk coffee, which is roasted locally.
Where: 9 Brandon Terrace, EH3 5EA
Book Now: Blue Bear Cafe
What: As they claim: 'if a thing is worth doing, it's worth doing well'. And they sure do brunch well. Using seasonal ingredients from local, sustainable producers and suppliers, Salt Cafe whips up a brunch that is up there with the best. You'll find all the classics as well as some special additions like pan fried hake, braised peas on sourdough toast and magic mojito fritters. Dog-friendly, child-friendly and breast feeding-friendly; this cafe is the perfect spot for the whole family to dig into a fresh, sustainably-sourced brunch.
Where: 54-56 Morningside Road, EH10 4BZ
Book Now: Salt Cafe
The Edinburgh Larder
What: A hidden gem for a hearty, delicious brunch. The Edinburgh Cafe serves up fresh dishes with locally-sourced ingredients until 3:30pm, so you don't need to rush out of bed. The eggs Benedict, royal and florentine are a picture of elegance served up on thick, buttery granary toast. Opt for the waffle that combines a classic blueberry compote with a pistachio and cardamom butter or choose the savoury and sweet option of bacon and syrup; all beautifully-presented with a dusting of icing sugar.
Where: 15 Blackfriars Street, EH1 1NB
Book Now: The Edinburgh Larder
What: The breakfast menu at this minimalist spot is served all day on weekends, and its bench-style seating makes it perfect for a group brunch outing. On the menu, you'll find unique riffs on brunch classics, including a breakfast brioche with bacon, Comte cheese and sage. There are sweet classics too, such as a granola bowl or banana bread with honey and yoghurt; for savoury breakasts there's a traditional full veggie or vegan breakfast.
Where: 232 Morrison Street, EH3 8EA
Book Now: Milk
What: This quirky family-run bar and café is split into two distinct areas and is kitted out with ‘pre-loved’ furniture and other random trinkets. If you fancy a pre-brunch tipple, you can grab one in the lively bar at the front, before heading to the quieter back of the venue for your food. The menus change often, but you might find the likes of French toast made with homemade bread and topped with bacon, as well as courgette and sweetcorn fritters with poached eggs, served with charred broccolini and a spinach and almond puree.
Where: 23-24 Sandport Place, EH6 6EW
Book Now: Roseleaf
What: An independent coffee, brunch and lunch spot in the centre of the city that has truly made a name for itself as a fantastic place to stop for brunch. The menu is so extensive that we're sure there will be something to everyone's tastes. Feast on various sizes of the traditional breakfast or a hot baguette or wrap. Go for a fully Scottish experience with the haggis breakfast roll or, for a more lunch-style option, the haggis burger with chips. Also serving salads, paninis and chips with various toppings - it is clear why this has become a popular place, especially with hungry students just round the corner.
Where: 15 West Register Street, EH2 2AA
Book Now: Snax Cafe
What: Fancy a slice of cake with your brunch? Then, Mimi's Bakehouse is the place. A feel-good, award-winning bakery with locations across the city, Mimi's serves up an all-day brunch menu alongside afternoon tea and a range of speciality drinks. These aren't just your normal brunch dishes, Mimi's includes brunch beans (think a fancy, smokey beans on toast); a taste of the mediterranean with its houmous, pepper and chilli toast; as well as freshly baked banana bread with homemade mixed berry jam. You better save room to try one of their baked-goods for dessert though!
Where: 1 Market Street, EH1 1DE
Book Now: Mimi's Bakehouse
What: Serving breakfast until 11am and then an all-day brunch menu, The Pantry is a reliable source for a delicious start to your day. With the breakfast menu serving up the traditional full English, hot rolls and matcha French toast, it is no surprise that the brunch menu also offers some incredible dishes. Stand-out choices like sunshine on stockbridge (sweet potato, tomato, courgette, avocado, eggs and a drizzle of sriracha) and the mighty duck (duck and orange baked beans, potato rosti, poached egg and parsnip crisps) can both be combined with incredible sides. Nacho breakfast chips are surely worth a trip, right?
Where: 1 North West Circus Place, EH3 6ST
Book Now: The Pantry
What: Known as Edinburgh's first wine cafe, Toast is open from early till late offering a casual dining experience with simple, yet imaginative plates. At brunch, guests can enjoy their food alongside a cold-pressed, traffic-light themed juice menu; with green, amber and red juice filled with fresh ingredients. Simple classics like pancakes, eggs Benedict and avocado toast lie alongside more creative options that give a hint at why the cafe is named 'toast'. They prove that anything can go on toast with their masala-spiced haricot beans and poached eggs on sourdough toast or smoked Scottish haddock, pak choi and poached egg on sourdough. Covering every cuisine with its huevos racheros and shaksuka options, nobody is left out at Toast.
Where: 65 The Shore, EH6 6RA
Book Now: Toast
What: Montpeliers Bar and Brasserie is well-known for it's 'Full Monty' breakfast and its obvious why - including chargrilled chicken, pork sausage, bacon, eggs, a potato scone, minute steak, haggis, black pudding, tomato, mushrooms AND baked beans - we think we know why it's been called the full monty. If you're not sure you can tackle that, Montpeliers also dishes up breakfast butties, pancakes and eggs Benedict. After 11am, guests can enjoy a £5 cocktail when they order a breakfast item, sip on a cafe signature or a stone cold classic like a bloody mary or mimosa.
Where: 159-161 Bruntsfield Place, EH10 4DG
Book Now: Montpeliers
Want to dine in the Scottish capital at any time of the day? Take your pick from our selection of the 10 best restaurants in Edinburgh.