8 Local Shops to Visit in Portobello

Sarah Henderson ·August 23, 2023Reading time: 8 minutes

When you’re in Edinburgh city centre, it’s easy to forget you’re so close to the sea! Portobello (or Porty if you want to blend in with the locals) is Edinburgh's seaside neighbourhood and the perfect spot for an escape from the city. It’s full of character and a great place to spend an afternoon strolling along the seafront or browsing its catching shopfronts.  

In honour of Scotland Loves Local week, which promotes all our best local businesses, I'm sharing a list of some of my favourite independent shops in Portobello to visit. From grabbing an artisan coffee to discovering your next great read, there’s so much to explore in this friendly community that makes it well worth a trip. 

  1. Æmilia Portobello

    Giada and Kipras outside Æmilia’s

    © @viaaemilia

    It’s always a treat to walk past the glow of Æmilia’s windowfront, where you can watch Giada and Kipras, owners and pasta experts, prepping rows of hand-rolled tortellini, bundles of tagliatelle and neat portions of lasagna every morning. Let the smell of freshly baked focaccia draw you inside and indulge your pasta cravings! 

    Giada and Kipras (and latest edition, shop dog Rocky) created Æmilia’s with a desire to bring a piece of Italy to Edinburgh, showcasing the traditional dishes of the Emilia-Romagna region, such as Tortellini in Brodo (little pasta parcels filled with mortadella, prosciutto and parmesan served in a heart-warming chicken broth. Yum). Their passion for pasta is infectious and they’re always happy to help customers create simple and delicious meals at home. They love being a part of the Portobello community and their extended family of regulars and new customers.  

    Their top recommendation when visiting Portobello? Browsing the High Street! They love being able to find everything you need in one place - from the greengrocer, butcher and fishmonger, to coffee shops and lots more. 

  2. The Portobello Bookshop Portobello

    Portobello Bookshop

    The Portobello Bookshop is every book lover’s dream. The bluey-grey shopfront often has displays featuring artists and latest releases. Inside, the high ceilings and fresh, open space make you feel instantly relaxed. It’s easy to spend a lot of time browsing through their expertly curated collections and you can always rely on the staff advice to help you find your next great read (or two). They also regularly organise and host big book events, with the likes of authors including Zadie Smith, Kate Mosse and Maggie O’Farrell. 

    Take a piece of Portobello with you after your adventures with their Porty by Post boxes, featuring new releases with personal recommendations, custom gifts and treats.  

  3. Tanifiki Edinburgh


    Neighbours with Portobello Books, Tanifiki is an excellent spot to stop for a homemade bake and fresh coffee as you settle down with your new read. After moving to Edinburgh for his studies, Benjamin Murenzi was struck by the lack of African coffee options. Drawing inspiration from his Rwandan childhood, he founded Rafikï Coffee to roast high-quality African beans in the UK. Whilst trading he met Jonathan Quinton (of another Edinburgh favourite, Tani Modi) and they connected over their love for African coffees and partnered up to open Tanifiki.

    Exceptional coffee and pastries are a given – they’re supplied by local bakers fresh every morning – but what makes Tanifiki special is how it connects its customers with their product. The coffee is roasted in the shop and the barista counter sits in the middle of the relaxed, open space, which makes it an instantly friendly welcome to talk to passionate staff about their craft and production. As well as the independent shops and sea views, the staff at Tanifiki really recommend immersing yourself in the wonderful community by engaging with the Porty locals.  

  4. Smith and Gertrude Portobello

    Smith and Gertrude wine bar

    © @splintrdesign

    Following the success of their first wine bar in the Stockbridge area of the city, Amy and Duncan Findlater recently opened their hotly-anticipated Portobello store. With years of experience in the wine industry and travelling all over the globe, they were inspired to open up a wine bar that was really part of the community, creating a welcoming space for people to share food and wine together. I would highly recommend their charcuterie boards, which have a selection of locally-produced cheeses and meats. Make sure you ask their knowledgeable staff for your wine of choice to match to complete your visit! It’s also worth checking their website for latest events and experiences – keen readers, they even have a sophisticated book club run in partnership with Portobello Books.  

    The folks at Smith and Gertrude suggest visiting all of the independent shops in the area, which gives you a great flavour of the community that exists in Portobello. They also love being so close to the sea, particularly the rocky end of the prom near Joppa.  

  5. Tills & Company Portobello

    Tills & Company

    It’s hard to miss the cheery, bold shopfront of Tills & Company on the High Street! The large space, which includes a café and a bookshop, feels surprisingly cosy and intimate on the inside. Their second-hand books offer a snapshot of what Portobello is reading, plus they have a permanent collection of women in translation, which I highly recommend perusing between sips of your craft coffee or bright pink pot of tea.  

    The inclusive and peaceful space makes sense once you meet Amanda and Kate, who set up the new store alongside Kate’s husband, Joshua. After meeting on “Tinder for Mums”, the two became good friends and teamed up to combine their love for literature (Kate and Joshua also run Edinburgh’s oldest second-hand bookshop on the Meadows) and lattes (Amanda is the wizard behind the coffee bar) to create a community-focused space for others to connect. If you’re brave enough, they recommend a quick dip in the sea before warming up at Soul Water Sauna, the portable sauna on the promenade. 

  6. Twelve Triangles Portobello

    Twelve Triangles in Portobello

    © @twelvetriangles

    I actually can’t imagine visiting Portobello and not nipping into Twelve Triangles for a pastry to go! Their pretty navy shopfront is full of fresh green plants and (more importantly) an array of tempting bakes and pastries. They have a few stores scattered across the city, but the one in Porty is a firm favourite - the beach is only a quick stroll away to enjoy your treats by the sea.  

    Twelve Triangles was started by Rachel and Emily about 8 years ago with a desire to produce great bread and pastries with the best ingredients possible for the people of Edinburgh. Their Portobello shop was the second they opened – they picked Portobello very deliberately because they loved how laid back and neighbourly it felt. Like most other businesses on this list, their top tip for visiting Portobello is shopping locally and well, taking advantage of the High Street being such a great melting pot of independent stores.  

  7. Root Down Edinburgh

    Root Down shopfront

    Root Down is worth a visit for the shopfront alone – its quirky purple and green artwork and lovely lettering is incredibly photogenic. The corner shop greengrocers supply Portobello with high quality local produce and goods. If you’re staying in a self-catering property during your visit to Edinburgh, there’s plenty to take back to your pad to savour at home, from organic fruit and veg to local coffee beans and aesthetically pleasing jars of preserves.  

    The staff are super friendly and if you’re lucky enough to be a local, they even deliver veg boxes to help connect consumers to producers.  

  8. Beer Zoo Edinburgh

    Outside Beer Zoo

    © Beer Zoo

    Beer Zoo has one of the most fun shop fronts in Portobello, from its window displays to its retro signage and the spectacular wall art that wraps around the street corner. It’s a family-run business owned by husband and wife duo, Dominic and Fiona. They opened in 2016 to promote beer from small, independent producers with an emphasis on Scottish craft beer, although they also promote beers from further afield as well as craft wine, ciders and spirits. Their ethos of drinking less, but better has resonated with the Portobello community and beyond and is a great place to pick up a craft brew to take to the beach and watch the sunset.  

    They’re huge fans of Portobello, making the excellent point that a buzzing beachfront only 3 miles from Edinburgh city centre makes it a bit of a hidden gem! If you’re visiting Edinburgh, they recommend getting here with a short cycle from the centre or hopping on the bus to see what it’s all about.  

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