Edinburgh’s rich, historic beauty makes it a dream staycation, although the steep cobbled streets and changeable weather mean it is best glimpsed between plenty of reviving pit-stops.
Here are five unique nooks, perfect for resting and watching the rain wash over the grand old sandstone buildings with some quality coffee.
Eteaket Tea Room
41 Frederick St, Edinburgh EH2 1EP
If coffee isn’t your thing, or you feel like a soothing leafy alternative, Eteaket Tea Room offers an impressive choice of black, green, white, herbal and even alcoholic teas.
This bright, elegant café is near the main shopping areas around Princes Street, and an excellent sanctuary to recuperate between shops.
Eteaket offers good value and delicious high tea options, original tea latte creations (try the Scotch Mist) and a selection of fun, tea-based cocktails. Stick to just one Chai White Russian though, unless you have finished your shopping.
23A Howe St, Edinburgh EH3 6TF
The small but charming Leo’s Beanery is nestled in magical Stockbridge, a suburb of Edinburgh’s new town which sadly doesn’t make it onto most itineraries because of its lack of castles.
Leo’s Beanery is a popular brunch and lunch destination, serving decent vegetarian options including the always delicious ‘frittata of the day’ and the always indulgent ‘Croque-mon-scones’.
If you struggle to get one of the café’s coveted seats, go for a takeaway instead. Then you can explore Stockbridge’s mysterious circular gardens, grand old Georgian houses and quaint curving lanes bursting with competitive flower boxes.
40 George St, Edinburgh EH2 2LE
For aficionados looking for a well-crafted speciality coffee, served by staff who know their cold brew from their single-origin filter, Lowdown is the place to go.
An urbane, pared-down interior is complemented by the warm atmosphere and friendly staff. And, there is a modest but quality range of coffees, teas and homemade cakes to choose from. Treat yourself to an intense cinnamon bun.
The modern basement coffee shop is tucked between the big designer shops on George Street, and makes a good pit-stop on your way to Edinburgh Castle in the old town, about a ten-minute walk away.
Black Medicine Co
2 Nicholson Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9DH
Not far from the historic Royal Mile is modern Nicholson Street, entrance way to the Arthur’s Seat hill walk and home to the macabre Surgeon’s Hall Museum.
After visiting either attraction you may need a stiff shot of caffeine for your nerves. Black Medicine Co offers a variety of restorative coffees, herbal teas, juices, cakes and bagels.
The thick stone walls, and a warren of booths seemingly carved into them, create an intimate, underground feel and a pleasingly muffled acoustic.
The café is one of a few in the city to boast that Harry Potter was not written there.
26 Forrest Road, Edinburgh, EH1 2QN
If you have somehow had enough of cakes and lattes for the day, you can pick up something more nutritious from the ‘fast-casual’ health food restaurant Kauai.
Kauai’s exotic offerings are surprisingly affordable, with most mains costing between £6-8. The menu is packed with fascinating veggie and vegan options like the Spicy Avo Greens bowl and Strawberry Stinger smoothie.
With a focus on fresh, healthy and local ingredients, a nourishing stop at Kauai should energise you to tackle all eight levels of the highly entertaining National Museum of Scotland, just a short stroll up the road.
Words by Katie Walsh
This article was published as part of The Indiependent‘s May 2021 magazine edition.
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