Here’s my selection of the best places to grab a bite during the festival this August. There are actually more than ten top places listed – I got a bit carried away!
Everyone loves the Pleasance and with 16 spaces for acts to perform it’s got a lot going on. Many people hardly leave this fringe staple
The Courtyard has become a definitive staple for thousands of Fringe-goers and with three cafés and seven bars on site, it’s not hard to understand why. You feel right in the heart of the festival here, with plenty of famous comedians milling around, and parents can feel free to bring the little ones, as there’s a dedicated kid’s zone section to boot.
60 Pleasance, EH8 9TJ, more info
Assembly George Square Gardens
Another festival spot to sit out and enjoy the sunshine and to be honest it’s my favourite place to sit and soak up the atmosphere. It is run by Assembly, and home to eleven of their venues – you can surely find something fabulous to go to! Plus the bonus is that there is loads of space settle down for a pre or post show drink with friends in their outdoor bar area. There are some fantastic food options available here – try the nachos and homemade guacamole from the Mexican Kitchen, Fabulous Pad Thai at BKK or the Sweet Potatoes at Scoop.
George Square, EH8 9LH, more info
St Andrew Square and George Street
Full of great options and some fabulous street food from Nusou and also Henderson’s you can relax in the Gardens on stripy deckchairs, do a spot of shopping and take in a show! Festival sorted. The Assembly Rooms is the biggest venue hosting some really big names but don’t forget to head to the Stand Comedy Club too to see some old favourites and new faces taking their turn on stage.
Underbelly’s Udderbelly Pasture
‘You just head down the road and turn right and the big purple upside down cow!’ The tourists looked at her like she was a nutter… no honestly I am not joking! It’s a festival favourite hanging out at the cow on Bristo square before going to see one of Underbelly’s comedy acts. We can recommend heading to Stocks for a proper burger – the cheese and bacon is my favourite!
Bristo Square, EH8 9AL
Gilded Balloon Teviot
During August the Gilded Balloon take over the massive and labyrinthine Edinburgh University Student Union building in Bristo Square – meaning anyone can get in, no student card needed. They have nine performance spaces and bars and a café open all day, serving a wide selection of food and drink. There’s also a beer garden, juice bar and food area.
Bristo Square, EH8 9AJ,
Pommery Bar Edinburgh
For fizz, lobster, burgers, afternoon tea – what more can I say
Signet Library, just off the Royal Mile
Summerhall are open all year round and are the site for many other festivals and shows. They do go the extra mile in August with their outdoor bar in the courtyard, which is often the centrepiece of some of the theatrical performances. They have a Pickering’s gin tent and serve their own Barneys beer both of which are brewed on site. Make sure you try their set menu which is excellent vale at just £13.50 for 3 courses and features dishes such as scallops and black pudding, followed by duck breast and dauphinioise and blood orange zabaglione for desserts.
1 Summerhall, EH9 1PL,
Ting Thai Caravan
Started as a temporary street venue in the summer festival – Ting Thai was so popular that they decided to stick around. If you’re looking for friendly service and great Thai-style street food then look no further. Ting Thai’s interior is minimal and industrial, the music on the playlist is always good. Try the bubble prawns and Pad Thai – awesome!
8-9 Teviot Place, EH1 2RA,
This is an Edinburgh institution! Offering generously sized dishes of tasty Indian food with no frills or pretension. A perfect choice if you’re around Bristo Square and you’re looking for a more reasonable alternative to the Fringe food vans.
33 Nicolson Street, EH8 9BX,
For simple but wholesome veggie food, Henderson’s is hard to beat. One of the first vegetarian restaurants to open in the UK, it has gone from strength to strength, with a restaurant, shop and bistro on Hanover Street, and a café at St John’s church at the corner of Princes St and a fringe outlet in St Andrew Sq.
94 Hanover St / 3 Lothian Road,
A really great Mexican lives in this tiny little restaurant on Leith walk. Choose from well-priced burritos, fajitas, quesadillas and tacos. If you’re seeing any shows away from the normal Fringe hubs or you’re just looking to explore Leith, then this is a perfect pit-stop mid journey.
281 Leith Walk, EH6 8PD,
The menu gives a really great selection with around a quarter of the dishes vegetarian or offering a vegetarian option. The theme is Indian road and railway street food as eaten by the real tuk tuk wallahs. They suggest 3-4 dishes per person as they are served in smaller size portions, and that was definitely more than enough for us.
The bright orange entrance and Bollywood movie posters make for interesting viewing and the staff are always extremely pleasant. Tuk Tuk is how Indian food should be and you should be checking it out.
1 Leven Street, EH3 9LH,
A local favourite since opening in late 2012, The Hanging Bat is a perfect spot for those looking for a quick bite to eat – they offer a selection of North American style dishes such as pulled pork, nachos and a fine selection of hot dogs. All this tasty food can be washed down with a selection of craft beers with over 20 on draft.
133 Lothian Road, EH3 9AB,