Restaurant reviews

Edinburgh cheap eats: Elephants and Bagels brings fresh, fast food to foodie scene in Edinburgh

Caroline recommends the quirky Elephants and Bagels for their food, unusual decor and free wifi…

If you’re looking for a quick snack lunch in Edinburgh, perhaps after a trip to the museum in Chambers Street or a wander on the Royal Mile, look no further than the Elephants and Bagels Cafe in Marshall Street (just off South Bridge).

As the name suggests it majors on bagels and the decor is all elephant-related – the walls are full of pictures of elephants (some drawn by customers, old and young) and there are elephant ornaments on display shelves too.

Elephants and Bagels in Edinburgh

The choice of bagels and fillings ensure that there is something to suit all tastes. Bagels are available as plain, sesame seed, cheese and jalapeño, poppy seed or even cinnamon and raisin whilst the fillings range from the traditional cream cheese and smoked salmon to the more off-beat pastrami, melted cheese and salsa. The staff are accommodating and if they have the ingredients they will make any combo that you request.

When we were there last week I ordered my usual favourite, smoked salmon and cream cheese which is perked up with some black pepper, a squeeze of lemon juice and some capers which complement the oiliness of the smoked salmon beautifully. I had chosen a cheese and jalapeño bagel which I thought could have been spicier but was nevertheless tasty. My husband had a Brie, bacon and chutney filling on an onion bagel which he enjoyed hugely.

Elephants and Bagels in Edinburgh

Elephants and Bagels in Edinburgh

The cafe isn’t that big and the queues can be long, partly because of the wide range of choices which can make customers take ages to read and partly because everything is made to order. Lots of customers opt for a take-away so the likelihood of getting a table is still good if you want to eat in.

If you do find a table you might be glad to know that there is free wifi for customers. J K Rowling used to sit at the sister cafe, The Elephant House, writing the first of the Harry Potter books so if you have work to do or a novel just waiting to be written Elephants and Bagels could be your ideal lunch venue. They are open from 8.30 to 5.30 (9.30 on a Sunday) so provide a good option for breakfast or an afternoon snack too.

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