Join the Breakfast club: The best places to get a healthy morning meal in Edinburgh

A healthy breakfast is the best way to start the day, says Cat Thomson as she picks out the best places to get a morning meal in and around Edinburgh.

Published 18th Jul 2019
Updated 12 th Sep 2023

Breakfast, the most important meal of the day? and nothing is finer than the first cup of coffee or biting into a slice of freshly buttered toast.

However, better than staying at home in your pj's, munching a bowl of cereal is the joy of a social get-together for the first meal of the day be that breakfast or brunch.

A healthy breakfast bowl Picture : Getty

Which type are you?

Seemingly there are two types of people, one who is always up at dawn, known as a lark or alternatively if you more comfortable staying up late then you are a night owl.

Up with the larks Picture : Getty

However, there is some evidence that being a lark, getting up early may have some additional health benefits. Research led by Dr Rebecca Richmond, a research fellow in the Cancer Research UK Integrative Cancer Epidemiology Programme and the MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit at the University of Bristol, discovered women who are “larks”, functioning better at the beginning of the day than the end of the day, and found out that they also have a lower risk of breast cancer.
This research was presented at the 2018 National Cancer Research Institution Conference which was held in Glasgow, although Dr Richmond said: “We would like to do further work to investigate the mechanisms underpinning these results" In other words, it may not be the case that changing your habits changes your risk of breast cancer; it may be more complex than that."
But if you can get yourself out of bed early enough.

So why should you eat breakfast?

Dr Raquel Revuelta Iniesta, Lecturer in Nutrition at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, said: "Eating breakfast can be beneficial for many aspects of your lifestyle. Studies suggest that it may help maintain healthy eating habits and regulate appetite, which in turn could help reduce the amount of food that is eaten in subsequent meals; however, eating breakfast alone does not cause weight loss."

Dr Revuelta Iniesta of Queen Margaret University

Get out of your lazy bed!

“Breakfast is defined as the first meal of the day consumed within two hours of waking up and before starting daily activities," says Dr Revuelta Iniesta.

The Good news

Dr  Revuelta Iniesta added: "Additionally, observational studies report that individuals who eat breakfast tend to be more physically active and that breakfast omission (or skipping breakfast) may reduce physical activity and endurance exercise performance throughout the day."

The Bad news

However...."It is important to note that the type of breakfast should be considered. Breakfast high in protein, fibre and low glycemic carbohydrates have the most beneficial effects on appetite regulation. Examples of these are; porridge with fruit, greek yoghurt with berries, nuts and seeds or boiled eggs and wholemeal bread."

The Benefits

Apart from regulating appetite, evidence suggests that a healthy breakfast may help improve concentration and academic performance in children and adolescents and work performance and mood in adults.”

So with lots to think about: Cat Thomson got up early and went on a mission to find the best range of breakfasts in and around Edinburgh.


(159 -161 Bruntsfield Place, Edinburgh EH10 4DG Telephone 0131 229 3115)

Montpeliers Photograph : Ian Georgeson

Opening in 1992, this place is an Edinburgh institution. It is the place to be seen at, if you can bag a table outside. It is famed for their meaty fry-ups,  called the Monty and the Full Monty, and an extensive bloody Mary menu, which surely that must count towards one of your five a day.

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The Stair Arms Hotel

(85 Stair Arms, Pathhead, Edinburgh EH37 5TX,  Telephone 0875 320 277)

Stair Arms Hotel vegetarian platter

Worth making the journey out to Pathhead on the A68 or dropping by if you are passing.

This highly recommended family-run establishment has fantastic vegetarian and vegan fry ups platters and wonderful service.

Snax Cafe

(15-17 W Register St, Edinburgh EH2 2AA , Telephone  0131 558 2624)

Snax Cafe

Sometimes basic is best and this place delivers - cheap and cheerful with plenty of options.

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Vesta Bar & Kitchen 

(7-8 Queensferry St, Edinburgh EH2 4PA, Telephone  0131 220 0773)

Vesta Brunch Bubbles

Virtuous and decadent with a menu ranging from eggs to burgers and pancakes with maple syrup, they’ve got something for everyone vegan to carnivore.

Add boozy brunch bubbles in the form of a Vesta Fizz, which is Chandon Brut, Edinburgh raspberry gin, lemon, a winning combination.

Leith Depot 

(138-140 Leith Walk, Edinburgh EH6 5DT, Telephone 0131 5554738)

Leith Depot Photograph : Andy O'Brien

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(24 Marchmont Crescent, Edinburgh EH9 1HG, Telephone 0131 629 2622 )

Porridge from

Drop-in following your early morning Meadows walk and have a healthy start to the day. Food choices at this cafe, are always filled with wholesome vibes.

Why not try the super healthy, Rye(s) and Shine smoothie featuring blueberry, banana, rye flakes, peanut butter, almond milk topped with toasted almonds or a warming bowl of porridge.

Hula Juice Bar

(94A Fountainbridge, Edinburgh EH3 9QA    0131 629 1441)

Hula juice bar, Fountainbridge Photograph : Alistair Linford

Go Green with a supercharged drink called Popeye made from Spinach, lemon, nutmeg, apple.

If that doesn't take your fancy how about Ginger jack Carrot, ginger, apple, orange or Pink Lady Apple, ginger, lemon, lime, they must get your juices flowing.

Rose Theatre Cafe

(204 Rose St, Edinburgh EH2 4AZ, Telephone 07807 909614)

Rose Theatre Cafe, Edinburgh

Why not make it a theatrical event of the first meal of the day, with an all singing and dancing affair by ordering a Rose Theatre full vegan breakfast.

Catriona is a freelance writer based in the Scottish Borders, and a nominee for Food and Drink writer at this year's Scottish Press Awards.
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