Five of the best places for an early morning feed in Edinburgh

There are times you need a proper breakfast; a morning meal clearly defined as such (rather than brunch, which is a whole other world, unless you plan on publicly drinking at 8am). So while we wait for the inevitable arrival of Edinburgh's very own cereal café, here are five to try.

Published 20th Oct 2015
Updated 8 th Aug 2023

It's strictly no-frills and there's certainly no soya milk, but when only a Scottish breakfast roll will do, head to Snax. This great-value greasy spoon is friendly, efficient and the food does the job too. Triple-filled rolls (pick from fried egg, tattie scone, bacon, black pudding, link or square sausage) are £2 and suits, builders and all-nighter casualties alike stuff its two locations – one tucked away on West Register Street in the hidden treasure triangle behind the Apple store that includes Voodoo Rooms and Café Royal, where weekday opening time is 6.30am, and one on Buccleuch Street that opens at 7am.

The Manna House at the top of Easter Road makes the best viennoiserie in the city if you'd rather kick off your day with a Continental vibe. The croissants – regular, almond or cheese and bacon – and pains au chocolat are the main attraction, but the toasted banana bread with blueberry butter is more than worth getting up for too. Squeeze yourself into a seat if you can, or take it to go, from 8am Monday to Saturday and 9am Sundays.

Edinburgh Larder is open from 8am during the week serving healthy breakfasts using homemade ingredients made with seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. This all adds up to handmade granola, porridge made to order, smoked salmon with scrambled eggs and toast and homemade jam, or grab a gluten-free dark chocolate and ground almond brownie to go. Another bonus – the coffee is from Artisan Roast and the tea from Eteaket.

You might be better acquainted with Edinburgh institution The City Café as a pre-club checkpoint but its epic all-day breakfast menu is available from 9am. Diner-style dishes to match the 1950s Americana décor include pancakes, waffles and French toast with bacon and maple syrup, plus enormous and excellently priced fry-ups (with the oft-neglected but very important hash brown element, on top of the potato scones) or for a virtuous vibe there's honey-roast granola with berry compôte and Greek yoghurt – all with free tea and coffee.

Urban Angel's city centre location on Hanover Street makes it the perfect pre-work pit stop, and it's open for sitting in or taking away from 8am, serving fresh and healthy breakfast options such as quinoa fruit salad dressed in honey, lime and mint; porridge with goji berries and cacao nibs; granary toast with pink grapefruit curd; avocado toast topped with ricotta and broad beans or for something sweeter, cinnamon brioche French toast with bacon.

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