Hmmm, I was quite surprised doing my little once over the previous reviews here on Yelp.
I've just popped in Elephants & Bagels and had a rather lovely experience. The service was great, the bagel delicious and smothered in cream cheese and the coffee surprisingly good. Rather expensive, I agree, but then, so are most things around the South Bridge area.
What I'd suggest is having a wee look for yourself, I rather liked it. The atmosphere was nice, no kids, which I personally favour in a coffee shop, and it seemed like a place to potentially curl up with a book.
All in all: omnom. Perhaps because I was hungry, but I'd definitely rate their bagels omnom.
Another "bistro" that is conveniently situated close to Campus and still in the city centre: Elephants & Bagels.
The name gives it pretty much away, they specialize in Bagels. At their bar you may choose a bagel (white, whole grain, poppy seed, etc) and then either select a combination from their bagel menu
(which is sightly overwhelming if you came in and "just" wanted a bagel... but if you "just" wanted a bagel then you could have made one yourself at home... couldn't you?)
or you go and build your own bagel with as many toppings as you like
!Careful, after two toppings it becomes rather challenging to eat the bagel in a civilized manner... but they are very tasty.
Combine the whole thing with a tea or a coffee and there you go (or sit in)
It's sad though that they only sell orange juice in little plastic bottles straight from Sainsbury's, they could work on their style there... maybe also invest in a bit broader range of coffee/tea selection to match their bagels?
What else it there to say?
Oh yes, the Elephants: well they are everywhere. The whole room is plastered with pictures and drawings of elephants that have been made by customers over the years.
I enjoy coming in and find new ones in every corner.
A decent-enough bagel and coffee shop.
Service was friendly.
Atmosphere is nice, pretty relaxed, would be a nice spot to hang out and talk with friends.
Good location right on the Uni campus.
Bagels are good enough by UK standards, but they are a bit big, bready and chewy and not in a good way. I also agree they arent toasted properly as my wet scrambled eggs and lox turned the bagel to mush inside.
Overall a decent option. The lunch bagel sandwich menu looks tempting, but I dont see this being the type of place Id go out of my way for.
A great place to go for a quick bite to eat! They had a large selection of bagels and various coffee/tea drinks. I was in a bit of a rush so I got my order to go but I wish I would've stayed. The atmosphere is perfect for doing a bit of studying or reading.
It's really good to have an independent bagel chain in Edinburgh, especially one which offers some good fillings.
I have a seeded bagel filled with roast vegetables and hummus, this was embarrassing to eat, and definitely represented good value, considering how stuffed it was. It was tasty, quite a good budget option, and quite unique for Edinburgh.
It was not as good as the many bagel shops I found in New York, unsurprisingly, where the bagels are really delicious and fresh. Here in kind of tasted like normal bread, a bit rubbery really. As Glen pointed out, they weren't toasted too well either, so it just wasn't crunchy or warm enough.
The sitting area is really quite pleasant though, near to the uni, it offered me a couple of hours of 'tranquility' (there were people chatting away, I zoned out) whilst catching up on some readings. The cakes looked decent, though I was too full up to try it. Service was friendly and I'd rather come back here than go to that bagel chain at the station.
The 3.5 star rating would be handy right about now. Plenty of people have said what I want to say about this place. I come here, I come here often... but I don't go out of my way to come here and I assume no one really would.
It's got 3 star coffee, 3 star bagels (3 star because of the price only really), and 4 star atmosphere. The elephant drawings are a-dorable and give a massive amount of character to an otherwise 'whatever' place.
The drip coffee price is fucking horrendously expensive - but they have it.
The bagel and cream cheese is weak on the cream cheese - but they have it.
The staff is obviously "at work" but they're nice enough in the "it's my job to be nice" sort of way.
It's a good place to meet. It's a great place to chat. It's a decent place to grab take away coffee. It's an ok place to grab sit in coffee...
Which takes me to the ONLY MAJOR ISSUE.
Guys, it's a COFFEE shop. It's called something + BAGELS. You sell COFFEE and BAGELS pretty much exclusively. I don't need coffee and bagels at 3pm when you're staffed to the brim. I need coffee and bagels at 8.45 am before I head off to that lengthy seminar on neuro-bio-whatever.
Be open earlier.
The most noticeable aspect of this cafe is the fact that it really does smell of hippie. Regardless of how good the food is, the scent of mung beans, sweaty sandals and free love is all a bit much for me and as a decidedly unfree spirit I prefer to sit at the outside tables when I visit.
And I do visit fairly regularly, as ill-informed lefties aside, it's pretty good. The bagels aren't always the best value but there's a lunchtime meal deal on for 5 pound odds that certainly fills the gap. There's a huge selection of fillings but I tend to play it safe and go for salmon and cream cheese option, a habit which I should really knock on the head on my next trip here.
The contrived beatnik shite is all a bit annoying, and I can imagine the owners sitting round a table before it opened, sniffing glue and mumbling stuff like "Elephants man, that's so like, random" when deciding on the name and general ambience. It doesn't take away from the good quality nosh though.
This adorable bagel shop sits on the corner in Nicholson Square just south of the Royal Mile.
They have lots of types of bagels and various toppings. They also have something called a 'stuffed bagel', not sure how that works.
There obviously has to be some sort of elephant connection right? There were kids drawings of elephants on the walls and several glass cases filled with elephant figurines. The place is always packed in August during Edinburgh's festival month.
I ordered the smoked salmon deluxe bagel on a sesame bagel. It was really good! I am a huge fan of lox and cream cheese bagels and they added a squirt of lemon juice and cracked black pepper.
A great place to grab a quick bite when running to a performance during the fringe festival!
They also have free wireless but you have to ask for the password at the counter.
Pretty typical decor with loads of young kids' drawings of elephants and Festival posters.
Fairly rubbish bagels, though. I'm not sure that poppy + sesame seeds count as "everything'.
Somehow the bagels are chewy without being the right kind of chewy. Here's a tip:
Make bagel dough. Form into shapes. Proof. BOIL NOT STEAM. Bake. Repeat.
TOAST THE BAGELS PROPERLY.
The (smoked) salmon was good & plentiful.
It was fine, but i tjust wasn't all that.
Aaah, Elephants and Bagels are two of my favourate things - so generally, right from the off, Elephants and Bagels is in my good books.
Its great then that this place lives up to its name, because aside from the large amount of elephants on the walls (not literally) there is also a huge amount of bagels to choose from. And thats just the actual bagels, not the fillings which you can put in them! The filling seem to go from the conventional to the crazy - but the best is the traditional smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel, which frankly is amazing.
The queue in here are always large, but this is a combination of being so close to the uni and the choices that must be made when creating a bagel. The wooden seats and tables are somewhat uncomfortable, and a bit too close together, but other than that its really nice - you can even take your food away if you are so intollerant of the chairs.
What's with all the elephants, guys?
Situated on the corner of Nicholson Road, Elephants & Bagel is a cosy, neighbourhood cafe that specialises in you guessed it, elephants and bagels. The former are dotted around the walls and counter and the latter come plain or toasted in a variety of flavours including sesame, poppy seed, onion, jalapeno and cinnamon and raisin. All the fillings are locally sourced and include smoked salmon, chicken, cheese and scrambled egg. I opted for a cream cheese and gherkin and whilst it kept my hunger at bay, I have to say the bagel was pretty lousy.
Maybe I was unlucky and got a random, extra doughy one but somehow, I suspect not. Maybe somebody should send the elephants to New York for a working holiday? If they spent a day in Murray's, they'd learn what a good bagel should look and taste like!
You'll often here the odd toff spurt out 'yah yah yah...meet in Elephant in Bagels for brunch?' when wandering around Edinburgh university's campus.
The shop seems to be more of a fashion statement that anything else but does nonetheless house some unique and tasty bagel concoctions.
Prices can be a little daunting and as a result Elephants & Bagels is often a lunching spot I often avoid.
Bagels were a pretty cool, add-a-bit-of-excitement to your lunch invention, let's be honest. Stick a hole in the middle of some bread material, then make it circular so it looks a bit more fun to eat, then fill it with a variety of tasty fillings so it never gets boring. Am I the only one who enjoys eating food more when what you're eating looks amusing? Probably.
Anyway, I'm sure there's much more to the bagel's history, recipe and formation than my simplistic description, but you're finding your staple cheese sandwich a bit boring and you want to shake things up a bit, then this is a great place to climb onto the bagel wagon. Any filling you require, and various different bagel varieties are provided here, and they're all very tasty. This is actually a really nice wee cafe for sitting in too, and they have free Wi-Fi, which can be hard to source in Edinburgh sometimes.
The clue for this place is in the name... The theme for the décor is all things elephant-related and bagels are what's on the menu.
What's good about this place is the sheer variety, not only of fillings to choose from but also the type of bagel itself. However, with almost 10 types of bagel to choose from, from seeded to sundried tomato to cinnamon and raisin, and the endless amount of fillings ranging from maple syrup to salami to peanut butter, the wait in the queue is often a long one.
What's more, the prices aren't as cheap as you'd think. The average bagel with three fillings can cost up to £6, which in my opinion is a little excessive for a midweek grab-and-go lunch. In addition, there are only 5 tables which usually means a takeaway is your only option, which again makes the price a little less appealing especially given how many other cafés there are within 2 minutes walking distance.
In theory, it's a great concept but in reality I would say it's one of those places that has been around for years and has become a bit complacent as a result. I wouldn't say avoid it, but nor would it be my first choice.
What a great sandwich shop! The name first got me interested in the shops - what an odd combination - but I think that's precisely what they were going for. An odd combination! You can have anything your heart desires in this small-ish bagel shop. I always have a simple ham and cream cheese on a poppyseed bagel with pomegranates and it's delicious. My only criticism is how difficult it is to eat the darn things! I used to nip across here when I was in the University Orchestra and i would always have to take myself to the bathroom, shamefully with pomegranate all down my front.
I would definitely advise you take-away too, because in all the times I've been I've never once seen a seat free.
I was always thought the name for this place was quite strange, but when I walked in it all made sense. The decor inside is filled with all things elephant related and bagels are their speciality.
Situated just across the road from the University students playground, George Square, Elephants and Bagels is an incredibly handy place for students to go for their breakfast or lunch on their way to classes.
I come here quite a lot to feed my bagel addiction as their bagels are truly amazing. Elephants and Bagels sell a vast variety of different flavoured bagels including onion, cinnamon and raisin, multi-seed, sesame seed, tomato, and of course, plain. There is an even bigger selection of fillings to put inside, ranging from the traditional fillings such as ham and cheese, to the more obscure such as tuna and chicken curry. I have always loved the food at Elephants and Bagels, and they have a huge selection of drinks available too.
Perhaps my favourite aspect of this place is the FREE Wi-Fi - I can't think of a better place to go in Edinburgh to bring your laptop and to work whilst eating delicious food. The coffee available here is also worth a mention as it is really fresh and tastes delicious.
The staff are always super friendly and willing to accommodate any requests you have. Definitely worth a look.
I've been to Elephants and Bagels several times over the past yhear and it always delivers the same great service, tasty and decent prices. It's linked to the restaurant 'The Elephant House' next door, but distinguishes itself through its bagels.
The interior decor is inviting whilst the service is friendly and efficient. They serve a range of sandwiches, soups, paninis and salads which all look delicious. I usually go for the tuna mayonnaise sandwich which is served on tasty bread with kettle chips. It only costs about £3 and goes perfectly with a cup of tea or coffee.
Elephants and Bagels is great for its central location, cosy environemnt and delicious food.
Elephants & Bagels could never be done for false advertising. As soon as you walk in to this relatively tiny bagel shop you are encountered with hundreds of elephants and an entire wall of bagels. Fortunately for food lovers the bagels are real, the elephants are not.
This place is positively charming and I've spent many hours here drinking the excellent coffee with a lovely home-made cake. The walls are adorned with pictures of elephants that customers of all ages have proffered to the eatery making it a colourful and cosy place where you can pass the time reading all the messages and taking in all the elephants.
The bagels are a whole different thing. There is an extensive menu, including breakfast bagels with scrambled eggs and the like, and you can choose what kind of bagel you'd like with whatever fillings you'd like. From simple options like plain with butter to as deliciously complex as an olive & jalapeno bagel with pesto, melted mozzarella and salami. Almost everything is less than a fiver and it's ruddy luscious. The only problem is that I always want more, and oh, if you don't like bagels you probably won't find much to your liking.
Fantastic bagels, really very good. However it is let down by its grumpy staff. Something that seems to be a common theme with the elephant cafes. They always seem like it is such a chore to serve you.
Other than that, the bagels are great, as is the coffee. Perfect for a quick sit down lunch.
I love this place too. A range of drinks. Free wifi (to customers!). A cosy little cafe with a collection of wooden chairs and tables that wouldn't look out of place in your granny's living room. And the bagels. Well. I got there at 4pm today and there were 3 left. But first thing, you can choose from sesame seed, poppy seed, onion, multi-seed, tomato, cinnamon and raisin, plain (why would you?) and the list goes on. Fillings galore also.
I would recommend roasted peppers, cream cheese and pine nuts. But I'm a terrible creature of habit.
The elephant themed cafe (sister to the elephant house) is the perfect place to chill out. The laid back staff and bright elephant themed decor make this a welcoming and homely place to be!
Be amazed by the enormous selection of bagels (my faves are spinach or cheese and jalapeno) and the inventive selection of fillings (can i recommend cream cheese and pesto? amazing!!!)
Then sit back and marvel at the number of paintings and drawings of elephants all over the walls (or even draw one yourself with the provided art materials!)
This is truly a great place for a Saturday morning leisurely breakfast. It reminds me somewhat of Einstein's Bagels in America, before they got all corporate and lost their soul.
They have a wide selection of bagels and and even wider selection of what can be put on them. From bacon to cream cheese to sandwiches made out of bagels, toasted or not, the list seems endless.
But they also have excellent coffee, hot chocolate, and tea. They do good soup as well. And there's a wide range of vegetarian and vegan options.
The whole place is (obviously) decorated with an elephant theme and is cosy and cheerful. If I could possibly say anything negative about it, the only thing I would say is that the location is too small for the number of people who try to fit in on typical Saturday mornings.
if i had never lived in nyc and eaten bagels daily i wouldnt be so immensely unhappy with the bagels here. actually, even if i had never had a bagel ever, i would still not be impressed with the bagels here. theyre a step up from lenders bagels from the grocery store but a step down from the lowly brueggers bagels. but they do have some pretty tasty sandwich meat/item/condiment ideas. too bad they overcharge the fuck out of any of them.
it is a cute place, often packed and often with no tables free. warning: full of american undergrad students as its a block from the univ and for some reason they are too young and inexperienced in the world of the bagel to know these dont cut it.
i so want a good bagel in this city. i am unaware of other options, but this place aint it.
i don't mean to sound like a whinging yank, but these bagels kinda suck. i understand that i am not in new york city so i'll be generous and give them 2 stars since it was nice to find a bagel at all so far from home.
if you think i'm being harsh, just imagine you're from here in scotland and you go to america and order some haggis. how many stars do you think it would rate?
well enough from me... i'll quote the first to review this place, hillary r.:
"if i had never lived in nyc and eaten bagels daily i wouldnt be so immensely unhappy with the bagels here. actually, even if i had never had a bagel ever, i would still not be impressed with the bagels here. theyre a step up from lenders bagels from the grocery store but a step down from the lowly brueggers bagels. but they do have some pretty tasty sandwich meat/item/condiment ideas. too bad they overcharge the fuck out of any of them."
i'll add that their cream cheese was really not good at all. the best part of this place were the cunningly cute customer drawings of elephants that adorned the walls. it may have been pachyderm paradise but it was far from bagel bliss.
Being an American, I have been in search of a good bagel shop ever since I moved to Edinburgh. I have found it! I went there based on the reviews on this site. It was everything I hoped for...a large selection of bagels, cream cheeses and bagel sandwiches. Though most reviews say it is, I didn't think this place was pricey for Edinburgh. The place has a nice feel to it. It is definitely a place to go.
great place for a slightly different lunch, with the mix and match bagels. A bit more expensive than a takeaway sandwich, but less than a pub lunch
A lovely cafe on the George IV bridge - not the biggest cafe, but the tables are a good size if there are a few of you, or if you want to bring a laptop and do some work. The food is really tasty and while this isn't the trendiest place in Edinburgh, it is quaint and interesting. The walls have art work which is from around the world, so there is plenty to look at while you are eating. The selection of food, particularly snacks, scones, tray bakes etc is really good, but the coolest think about this place is that it is (apparently) where JK Rowling wrote the first harry potter book - definately worth a visit!
A really unique coffee/bagel shop. It is right next to the university campus so has a lot of students frequenting it, and also means that it can get quite busy at lunchtimes so it might be hard to find a spare seat.
The decor, as the name of the establishment suggests, has a lot to do with elephants and you will find little statues and drawings of elephants inside.
There is a range of bagels to choose from, and then there are lots of topping to choose from and you can also choose whether you want to have it hot or cold. There are also cakes and different beverages on offer.
I really love this place, it is different and unique compared to some of the larger names and I really like bagels. Just time your visit carefully so you get a seat!
Lots of folks enthuse about this place but I've always been disappointed here. I like Bohemian untidiness, but Elephants and Bagels always seems a bit less clean than I would like. The coffee is very uninspiring and the snacks, although sometimes good are not always consistently so. I usually leave feeling my visit could have been so much more pleasant if only the staff paid a bit more attention.
It's a cool idea but I wasn't blown away with elephants and bagels. I was a bit disapointed with their selection of fillings and they're always out of soup when I go. However, my husband thinks they do the best BLT bagels in Edinburgh. The decor is awesome and the elephant pics will keep you entertained. It's right in the student hub so great for grabbing lunch after lectures. The cafe is tiny and securing a seat can be difficult so always go along with a plan B!
Mr Law is right: the bagels are excellent, the coffee is pretty good, but the staff are miserable, clearly not having born the brunt of serving several thousand students very well. It's pricey, you'll be lucky to get a seat at lunchtime but if you want a bagel and you're around George Square it really can't be beat. Try to ignore the snotty notice about wifi being turned off at will.
A strange name, but a really cool place. Elephants and bagels cover the walls, in such a small enviroment this creates a real homely vibe.
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