The best cafes in Glasgow & Edinburgh

Cafes and coffee shops come in many shapes and sizes, so let’s look at your five favourites from this year’s survey and see what makes each of them stand out.

Feature by Peter Simpson | 05 Jan 2016

Papercup Coffee Company

We’ll start with the serious coffee buffs amongst you, and with Papercup Coffee Company on Glasgow’s Great Western Road. Back in your top five for the second straight year, Papercup has everything the modern coffee lover could desire. They roast their own beans to get the flavour just right, supply and train up baristas at cafes across the city, and between doing all that they still find the time to make a tasty flat white.

North Star Cafe

If you’re on the lookout for a friendly neighbourhood cafe, head across the Kelvin to North Star. An quirky little cafe and bistro with an eclectic vibe, it combines cafe standards – such as action-packed breakfasts and inventive cakes – with a fresh and exciting Italian menu. Expect delicious food, a solid cappuccino, and just the right amount of chit-chat to get your day off to a flying start.

The Glad Cafe

For those of you who like a cafe to do more than dose you up on coffee and fire you out the door, there is The Glad Cafe. A Southside staple, it’s made its way into the top five in this survey in each of the last three years, and it’s easy to see why. The Glad Cafe is a genuine hub for the Southside community, with gigs, art exhibitions, film screenings, festivals and its own twice-yearly zine among the many projects hosted by the GC. This is the kind of place where the breakfast features homemade bread, the coffee is delicious and locally-sourced, and everything comes with an enormous side of artistic inspiration.

Riverhill Coffee Bar

When our Glasgow readers fancy a coffee but find themselves outside the leafy wonders of the West End or the up-and-coming delights of the Southside, a favourite city centre hideaway is Riverhill Coffee Bar on Gordon Street. Duck out of the crowds and you'll find a counter thronging with cakes and pastries, delicious coffees, and a chance to decompress after running the Buchanan Street shopping gauntlet and coming out with only a third spare iPhone charger and some socks to show for it. It's fine – Riverhill will make it all better.


Meanwhile, over in Edinburgh, the world of eclectic cakes and quirky interior design choices that is Lovecrumbs has beguiled and delighted once again. The wardrobe full of sugary treats, with daily changes and new flavours to try, paired with excellent coffee and bespoke-blended hot chocolates make it an ideal stop for a sugar and caffeine-packed double whammy. It's bright, it's convivial, and the cakes are to die for, and sometimes that's all you really need.