We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The Tripadvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Ratings and reviews

RATINGS
Food
Service
Value
Atmosphere

Mentioned in

About
Cafe Bar / Restaurant situated in the Heart of the Old Town of Edinburgh. Famous as a place of inspiration for authors such as J K Rowling, Ian Rankin and Alexander Mc Call Smith.
PRICE RANGE
$5 - $10
Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
CUISINES
Italian, French, Cafe
FEATURES
Takeout, Reservations
Reviews (2,760)
Filter reviews
2,072 results
Traveler rating
427
594
436
290
325
Traveler type
Time of year
LanguageEnglish
More languages
Traveler rating
427
594
436
290
325
Show reviews that mention
All reviews sandwiches harry potter fan hp fan coffee and cake graffiti castle novels
Sort and selected filters
Sort FilterEnglish
Updating list...
Reviewed October 2, 2021 via mobile

Worth a visit for Harry Potter fans. If possible visit in morning for breakfast. It gets very busy later on. We loved having breakfast in caffe

Date of visit: October 2021
Helpful?
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed August 28, 2021

The cafe suffered severe fire damage on Tuesday 24th August. It is unlikely to reopen soon; apparently still being assessed. Don't make a trip especially to visit this.

Date of visit: August 2021
Helpful?3  
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed August 23, 2021

We visited here mainly for the Harry Potter connection as we were visiting Edinburgh with our teenage daughter. Probably worth a visit just to read the Potter related graffiti in the toilets, but as others have pointed out, if you have children with you be...aware some of it is quite rude and sweary ! The food portions are not large but ample and good quality. I do love a good traditional breakfast, and the one here didn't dissappoint. Yes, you could argue the prices are slightly on the expensive side, but then again it is a bit of an up-market cafe, in a prime location with good views of the castle, so its not going to be as cheap as a greasy spoon, is it ? The staff were ok - not particularly over friendly but they do have to deal with tourists all day so you cannot expect them to be all singing and dancing and smiling every minute, can you ?! You do get a little bit of an impression that the place is capitalising on the HP connection, and therefore doesn't have to try too hard to pull in the customers, but hey they are a business after all so if they can do that, why not ? But likewise they have not sold out to the HP concept, they could have made it so tacky and covered the walls with HP stuff, but they have kept the decor tasteful and there are just a few photos and references to JK Rowling on the wall. I liked that they have a charitable ethos going on and like to sponsor projects that help disadvantaged people over the world. Great stuff. If only more businesses and people did this, what a better place the world could become ? I didn't hesitate to put my hand in my pocket and leave a donation. Also really liked the fact that they do NOT have wi-fi and ask customers to not use their phones and talk to each other like its the 1990's instead. You have got this SPOT ON ! Well done ! Mobile phones are, IMHO, ruining the world. We are breeding a generation of people who cannot engage in a normal face to face conversation, even when are sat next to each other, because they are glued to and addicted to their phones. And for what ? What do they learn from this, other than what their friends are currently doing or eating. So what, who cares ? So all in all we enjoyed our visit here.More

Date of visit: August 2021
Helpful?1  
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed August 21, 2021

It isn’t worth it. Bad food and extremely bad service. We faced racial discrimination as well as average food…. Wouldn’t recommend the food here. The workers were really ignorant/

Date of visit: August 2021
Helpful?2  
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed August 18, 2021 via mobile

Poor service attitude and average food. I saw that they have a problem of racial discrimination. Chinese people are required to line up outside the store, but the natives are queuing in the store. And the natives jumped in the line. nausea

Date of visit: August 2021
Helpful?3  
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed August 16, 2021 via mobile

Came to here for lunch on my own. I really like the fact it hasn’t been over ‘Potterised’. It was nice it was still a working cafe, and I could imagine JK sat in the corner writing chapters and having a cuppa

Date of visit: August 2021
Helpful?
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed August 16, 2021

Visited as a Harry Potter fan and dragged the family along with me for a drink. We were seated right away, it did seem busy in there but the service was very friendly and efficient anyway. Was very pleased to find out they do a...20% student discount. I had a hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows. Really nice atmosphere, the view out the back of the café was lovely and you can really see how the place might have inspired JK Rowlings writing. I recommend it to anyone who is/was a fan of Harry Potter, or anyone who would like a relaxed coffee in a café with a nice view.More

Date of visit: August 2021
Helpful?
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed August 14, 2021 via mobile

This cafe has become part of the history of the city and is even highlighted on the city tours. It’s pretty busy most of the time but is very spacious with plenty of seating inside. We love the idea that there isn’t any WiFi in...the cafe in order to encourage customers to communicate 👍🏼👍🏼 The orange juice was great, the coffee tasted a little bit burnt and not the best grind. Customer service was okay. We had the pancakes with berries and dashings of really good quality maple syrup and this was delicious! We also had their scrambled eggs which were equally as nice. The only reason we underscored is due to their hot drinks and the menu is a little limited in terms of brunch dishes. We would definitely visit again though for the food.More

Date of visit: August 2021
Helpful?
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed July 31, 2021 via mobile

Being a huge Harry Potter fan, we queued here for breakfast, Clearly playing on the JK Rowling fame, it is very expensive for what you get Full English breakfast, 1 sausage, a torn up piece of bacon, half a tomato, some beans n a small...portion of scrambled eggs, all of which had clearly been sat in holding trays ( ready for the queue waiting outside) £10.95 Nearly £30 for two breakfast n two drinks! Definitely wouldn’t returnMore

Date of visit: June 2021
Helpful?4  
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed July 19, 2021

I visited this cafe after being told that JK Rowling spent a large portion of time there to write her novels. My boyfriend and I decided to try out the food, which was alright. There were not many gluten free options in the mains part...of the menu, which made it a little more difficult for my boyfriend to decide on a meal. In the end we decided to share a plate of nachos and had two slices of cake afterwards (they have gluten free cake options). The food was good, not the best I have ever had however. On the bright side, the views from the back of the cafe are absolutely spectacular and worth seeing, as well as the Harry Potter fan graffiti in the toilets.More

Date of visit: July 2021
Helpful?1  
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed July 11, 2021 via mobile

This was my first trip alone with friends and I have never been to Edinburgh. Staff were super lovely and helpful and made us feel welcome. I had the chocolate orange cake and it was incredible. Cannot fault this place and would recommend anyone to...visit.More

Date of visit: June 2021
Helpful?
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed June 24, 2021 via mobile

Staff were a little off. We wanted a quick bite and they just couldn’t grasp the ‘quick’ element. Played on the fact that it was where JK Rowling started writing her first novel…some article state that she declined this rumour however… Cake and coffee was...nice. Probably wouldn’t return as it was a once a visit, that is fine.More

Date of visit: May 2021
Helpful?
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed June 15, 2021 via mobile

We visited the cafe due to being a huge Potter fan, staff were friendly and welcoming we could not fault thr service at all. Food for me was average but the others in our party didn't enjoy it that much. The prices are very expensive...here compared to other cafes, for example piece of cake was 4.50 which wasn't bad but hot drinks and things like sandwiches etc were quite pricy. Some of the messages on the wall in the male toilets were absolutely discusting and in my opinion she be painted over. Unsure on women's but if there are you children in your party be warned. Overall I actually enjoyed it but I think mostly its because its related to Harry Potter, but don't think I would rush to go back. BTW view of castle at the back of the cafe is just beautiful.More

Date of visit: June 2021
Helpful?1  
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed June 11, 2021

Not sure why many bad reviews. Food was amazing (had the Scottish pancakes with bacon and syrup and the scone with clotted cream and jam). Super fresh, tasty and good size! Prices are reasonable. And I got JKR’s same table 😍 with lovely views and...peaceful around. I just loved it! Yes, you’ll have to bear the stares from the rest of the people around that will just want you gone to have the table 😂More

Date of visit: June 2021
Helpful?
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed June 10, 2021 via mobile

This may have been a good place in the past, I cannot say...but today it is absolutely awful!!! Horrible tasteless and badly prepared food. It became a tourist trap. Do not waste your money and time going to this place.

Date of visit: May 2021
Helpful?1  
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
View more reviews
Best nearby
Old Town
Few Edinburghers live in the Old Town, but its
labyrinth of dank alleys and steep streets suggests
this was not always the case. Today, it’s mostly
visitors, tartan-flavored souvenir shops, and pipers
that you’ll find on its cobbled streets. This is the
place to get a feel for Auld Reekie (Old Smelly), as
the town was once nicknamed, and stroll the Royal
Mile, the thoroughfare that links the castle with the
...More
Best nearby hotelsSee all
Radisson Collection Hotel Royal Mile Edinburgh
3,652 reviews
.10 miles away
Stay Central Hotel
2,085 reviews
.11 miles away
Grassmarket Hotel
2,875 reviews
.11 miles away
Virgin Hotels Edinburgh
52 reviews
.12 miles away
Best nearby restaurantsSee all
The Cellar Door Restaurant
1,585 reviews
.02 miles away
Revolution Bar
1,080 reviews
.04 miles away
Divino Enoteca
1,274 reviews
.01 miles away
Vittoria On The Bridge
2,894 reviews
.02 miles away
Best nearby attractionsSee all
Greyfriars Kirkyard
829 reviews
.05 miles away
Greyfriars Kirk
1,399 reviews
.05 miles away
Greyfriars Bobby
2,916 reviews
.05 miles away
National Library of Scotland
174 reviews
.07 miles away
Is This Your Listing?
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.
Claim Your Free Listing
Frequently Asked Questions about Elephant House

Yes, Elephant House offers takeout services.

Elephant House is rated accordingly in the following categories by Tripadvisor travelers:
  • Food: 3.5
  • Service: 3
  • Value: 3
  • Atmosphere: 3.5