Clean eating is all the rage these days – and we like avocado toast and a green juice as much as the next person – but now and again you can’t beat a proper, old fashioned fry up or a hearty plate of something and chips.
When healthy fare just won’t do, the best place to go is one of Edinburgh’s long-standing greasy spoon cafes. They might not look pretty, but these eateries are serving up some wickedly naughty yet nice meals, and they’re cheap as chips too.
With two branches and a popular home delivery service, Snax are basically the top dogs when it comes to satisfying slap-up breakfasts in Edinburgh. The simple signage and hearty menu on the exterior of both Snax Cafes is the best indicator of the greasy spoon greatness waiting for you inside. We’d recommend the ‘Biggest’ breakfast and – as in any self-respecting greasy spoon – you can add chips to that if you fancy it.
15 West Register Street, EH2 2AA / 118 Buccleuch Street, EH8 9NQ – snaxcafe.com
Sea Breeze Cafe
Deliciously old school – with diner-style fixed seating and a retro menu to match – Sea Breeze Cafe in Leith is one of those establishments we hope never changes. Easily reached from both Princes Street and the bottom end of Leith Walk, this is the place to go when you get a hankering for something fried and satisfying. Long live one of Leith’s last surviving greasy spoons.
261 Leith Walk, EH6 8NY – facebook.com/Sea-Breeze-Cafe
A Nicolson Street institution and the place to go for a proper cup of builder’s tea, Babelon Cafe’s decor is stuck in an awesomely ’80s timewarp. The offerings here are filling and cheap, the staff friendly and the portion sizes generous. Plus, you can do some top notch people watching of busy Newington from Babelon’s window.
26 Nicolson Street, EH8 9DA – tripadvisor.co.uk/Babelon_Cafe
Cafe Caledonia is undoubtedly one of Gorgie’s secret weapons, hidden in plain sight on Gorgie Road. It may not look like much, but everyone in the area knows that the Caledonia is the place to go a cracking cooked breakfast or a slap up lunch if you’re passing by. Surprisingly spacious, accommodating and cheap, keep this one up your sleeve for a hungry day.
195 Gorgie Road, EH11 1TT – tripadvisor.co.uk/Caledonia_Cafe
It might look like your typical greasy spoon on the outside, but CJ’s Cafe in Dalry has a somewhat surprising classic Hollywood theme going on inside. Somewhere between a traditional Scottish cafe and an old school American diner, this friendly cafe and take-away offers large portions at low prices and is frequented by Dalry locals.
137-139 Dalry Road, EH11 2EA – tripadvisor.co.uk/CJs_Cafe
Unassuming and understated, Rumblin’ Tum is Corstorphine’s best known and most loved greasy spoon. They’ve managed to sneak quite a few healthy salad and baked potato options onto the menu here, alongside the expected full Scottish breakfasts and portions of fish and chips. There’s something for everyone here, which is probably why it’s always bustling.
235 St John’s Road, EH12 7XA – facebook.com/RumblinTumEdinburgh
An old favourite for city residents and Fringe visitors alike, City Restaurant was refurbed a few years back, but still has the same filling food and relaxed atmosphere. With everything from breakfast and burgers to gluten-free meals and banana splits on the menu, this place is one of the classiest greasy spoons in town.
35 Nicolson Street, EH8 9BE – thecityrestaurant.co.uk
Home to one of the best value breakfasts in Edinburgh, Roseburn Cafe in the west of the city is also a great place to stop off for lunch or just a well-made cuppa. Famed for their comfy interior and super friendly staff, this cafe is a great stop off before or after a day at the Zoo, or even pre-match at Murrayfield. Untouched by the last couple of decades at least, you’ll be treated to some good old fashioned service here.
8 Roseburn Terrace, EH12 6AW – tripadvisor.co.uk/Roseburn_Cafe
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Main image: Instagram / @barbaralaing7505