The Skinny Food & Drink Survey 2018: Best Cafes

The day-walking cousin of the pub, cafes are where we go to meet pals, get brunch, and then take photos of that brunch. Here are your favourites...

Feature by Peter Simpson | 03 Jan 2018

Man, you guys love a good brunch. That’s the first thing we noticed upon digging through this year’s favourite cafes as voted for by your bad selves – can’t say we blame you, as a decadent halfway house between breakfast and lunch that lets you still eat the meals either side is our kind of innovation.

Of course, food isn’t really brunchworthy if it can’t be photographed and stuck on Instagram, and Cafe Strange Brew (1109 Pollokshaws Road, Glasgow) does a great line in visually attractive and impressively inventive dishes. It’s the baked eggs in the lovely little cast iron dishes; the outlandish piles of pancakes and packed high with toppings; the delightfully over-the-top dollops, flourishes and dabs of condiment on everything. It was one of your favourites last year, is back this year, and looks set to continue in the same vein for some time – top stuff.

At the other side of Queen's Park, POTLUCK (38 Nithsdale Rd, Glasgow) also offers up exquisitely 'grammable and culinarily exciting dishes for all tastes. Have a sweet tooth? Hotcakes with various fruits, parfaits and other toppings await. Big egg fan? Chili-laced scrambled eggs with salmon and broccoli over here with your name on it. Do you like to have lots of very nice things, all at the same time, in a big bowl? Grab yourself a mezze bowl, marvel at the dips, and then crash through the whole thing like the Cookie Monster.

Over in the capital, Ostara Cafe (52 Coburg St, Edinburgh) offer up a similarly exciting range of brunchy wonders, with a focus on local suppliers. Whether you like your cafe treats sweet or savoury (baked eggs feature once again), Ostara have you covered. Also, if you’re busy mid-morning or manage to sleep in ‘til the early afternoon, they also stay open for supper on Fridays and Saturdays. 

Head across the Water of Leith and you'll find The Hideout (40 Queen Charlotte St, Edinburgh). Nice salads, lovely chairs, a great location at the start of Leith's run of great cafes and restaurants, and an intriguing range of pastries and sandwiches if you don't fancy the salads. Everything you could need from a neighbourhood cafe, basically. 

Back in Glasgow, you lot also voted for a pair of cafes that manage to strike the occasionally tricky balance between a strong focus on diet and still being, you know, the kind of place you'd want to go for a relaxing Saturday morning. At Primal Roast in the city centre (278 St Vincent St), the M.O. is 'clean-eating', which luckily means things like sweet potato hash browns, fritattas, and gluten-free cakes as well as top-drawer coffee.

Over at the fantastically-titled Soy Division in Shawlands (51 Kilmarnock Rd), it's an all-vegan menu that manages to throw in versions of everything from sausage rolls to cheesecakes without a single animal product in sight. Cafes may be the natural habitat for the budding food photographers among you, but when there's things like cheeseless cheesecakes to be had, you're better off putting your phone away and experiencing them in real life.