Top places to eat and drink at Edinburgh’s Festivals 2015

Top ten places to eat in the festival? If only it was that easy! We have a wealth of fabulous restaurants and great street food vendors so whether you fancy a haggis pakora or a dozen oysters we have your number.

Our fair city is about to get busy again with the the summer festivals starting in August. To plan your festival fun times at all of Edinburgh’s 12 major festivals make sure you head over to, or and to plan where to eat after your shows read on!

Food from Pad BKK
Food from Pad BKK

Old Town, Grassmarket and Meadows Area

This is where you will find the Assembly Venues, the Fabulous garden of George Square and of course Underbelly’s famous purple cow – located on Geroge Sq too this year and the Circus area on the Meadows.

Mussel and Steak

A local’s favourite with great lunch deals – 2 courses for £10.95. 38 day hung steaks, mussels, langoustines and other Scottish inspired meals are available 7 days a week. Its located at the bottom of Victoria Street, perfect for watching the Grassmarket’s sights and sounds.

Hula Juice Bar and Gallery

Just over the road you have a fantastic juice bar for your detox needs. Hula is a perfect spot to recharge those festival batteries and sample some of the fantastic super healthy juices and smoothies.

Mary’s Milk Bar

Escape to the mid-20th century with this Art Deco style gelateria and sample some world class gelato or some seriously special hot chocolate. Flavours change daily and are inspired by seasons and experimentation. The salted caramel will make an impression.

Union of Genius

Up the road from the Grassmarket, next to the National Museum of Scotland is Scotland’s first ever soup café – perfect for a healthy festival lunch!

Wings Edinburgh

Edinburgh’s first chicken wing joint serving – yep you guessed it a lot of wings. In fact ninja level chicken wings, good beer, great prices, Doctor Who and Star Wars paraphernalia on the wall. Its cheap and awesome – that is all!


The Devil’s Advocate

Hidden down one of Edinburgh’s many historic closes off The Royal Mile, The Devil’s Advocate provides some of the best cocktails in town and food to match. Or if you fancy a dram, choose from over 100 on offer.

Ting Thai Caravan

Located just across the road from many main festival venues, Ting Thai Caravan is a perfect spot for a quick lunch or dinner in between shows. You may have to queue but the amazing thai street food is worth the wait! Ting Thai started as a pop restaurant doing the August festivals and is now a year-round culinary treat. Read my review here.


A festival venue in its own right the summerhall was also once the Small Animal Hospital of the Dick Vet School. Now creatively transformed into a completely unique destination bar/café and the perfect location for taking in a festival show or just lapping up the atmosphere. As well as being a major festival hub of performance, Summerhall is also home to Pickering’s Gin distillery and Barney’s Beer brewery!


Aizle is a Scottish Neo-Bistro on Edinburgh’s South Side. Aizle has no traditional menu – just a list of the night’s ingredients. ITs pretty cool and exciting not knowing what you are going to eat… try it, I dare you! Read my review here


Assembly Gardens George Square

Seven theatres, multiple bars, food, drink and lots of fun for the entire family. In this fabulous outdoor garden you can enjoy the sunshine and choose from a number of great street food trucks – my favorite is the brand new Kushi’s Indian Jingle bus. They serve toasty hot vegetable pakoras with mint sauce and chicken tikka wraps to die for. Also try the Stonefired pizza and old favourites Pad BKK for a superb pad thai.



Civerino’s is located just off the Royal Mile near the Tron Kirk in Hunter Square. The restaurant serves a fanatastic selection of family recipes handed down through Michel’s family, featuring Italian street food and of course pizza either whole or by the slice. In contrast to some of the overpriced Royal Mile tourist restaurants offering, as a general rule, fairly low quality food, Civerinos is the real deal and very competitively priced.


George Street and City Centre 

Edinburgh’s centre is packed with restaurants as well as the Assembly rooms and St Andrew square festival venues, plus the Book Festival’s home of Charlotte Square. I love going to St Andrew Square and enjoying a drink in their beautiful gardens by the water feature before catching a show in the Spiegel Tent.

Harvey Nichols Fourth Floor Brasserie

Towering over St Andrew Sq is Harvey Nichols, announcing the start of the city’s high end shopping street Multrees Walk. If you are feeling flush try the restaurant up here, but I love the brasserie’s simple menu with classic favourite dishes such as moules marinere, confit chicken and Pavlova, not to mention a great brunch selection and fabulous views of the city and the Firth of Fourth.

Café St Honore

Cafe St Honore is a real local’s favourite, it serves daily-changing, gluten-free and dairy-free menus using the best local, seasonal and sustainable British ingredients. The owner Neil Forbes is one of Scotland’s most interesting characters leading the slow food movement in Edinburgh, baking his own bread every day, writing columns in the national newspapers, teaching and cooking at lots of live events – surprisingly he still has time to make incredibly good food for the fans of Café St Honore!

El Cartel

I love El Cartel! Located on Thistle Street, El Cartel does Mexican street food very, very well. Specializing in Delicious, home-made Mexican food served with amazing Tequilas and Mezcals, El Cartel is a perfect pit stop when running between festival shows.

Cairngorms Coffee Co

Just off George Street on Frederick St is Cairngorm Coffee Co. An independently run Coffee Shop in the heart of the city of Edinburgh. It is full of character with lots of quirky decor and great coffee too. Best of all they serve 3 cheese toasties all day long – they are awesome!

Burger Meats Bun

Burger Meat and Bun!

If you want a burger that’ll blow your box, you’re in the right place. At Burger Meats Bun they are dedicated to producing the tastiest burgers, using only the best quality ingredients, served to you with a huge smile (and on a brioche bun). Try the spicy cheesy ships with Kimchi and the blue cheese smothered wings! Yum.

Hoot the Redeemer

Hoot The Redeemer is where your fortune comes in Alcoholic form, and ice cream with alcohol too – there is a theme here! Its a bar with a wonderful twist from the Award winning team that gave you Panda & Sons. Expect fabulous cocktails at this stylish dive bar and while food is minimal the ice cream vending machine is the business.

The Dome

What’s a trip to Edinburgh without a visit to the Dome for Afternoon tea or a cocktail or four? Located in the heart of Edinburgh’s New Town, The Dome opened its doors in 1996 and is well known to many as a bar and restaurant. Their menu is average but it’s the venue that speaks volumes.

The Lobster Shack

This summer’s star pop up for seafood lovers is the Lobster Shack. It is just outside the Dome on George Street. Hailing from North Berwick they serve up half and whole lobsters with chips and garlic butter, as well as your usual fish and chips, prawn cocktails and mussels too.

Lobster and Chips

Fancy a spot of Afternoon Tea? 

Colonnades at the Signet Library

Located in an exquisitely calm location just a few paces away from the hustle and bustle of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, Colonnades is set within the beautiful surroundings of the Lower Library which has been meticulously restored to its former glory. Tall fluted Corinthian columns line the salon surrounded by the gallery’s ornate balustrades in neo-classical style. Now you can enjoy drinks, a light lunch and the finest afternoon tea in Edinburgh, amidst this most awe-inspiring of settings


One Square has created a mouth-watering Afternoon Tea experience for the summer, drawing inspiration from the botanicals in handcrafted Caorunn Gin which hails from the Scottish Highlands. The Gin-Tastic afternoon tea can be enjoyed in the beautiful One Square Bar and Terrace which features picture-postcard views of Edinburgh Castle and some of the city’s main theatres and festival venues.

I would like to thank the fabulous @bouchierbants for helping write the list, suggesting many random watering holes and accompanying me to many of the above venues in mild to excessive states of inebriation. Long may it continue Edinburgh!

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