Where to eat between shows at the Edinburgh Fringe/Festival

Eating out during the Festival/Fringe

Where to eat at the Fringe? Edinburgh is full of great restaurants and bars so eating out shouldn’t be a problem, right? Wrong!

The majority of the main venues for the Fringe/Festival are on the South side of the city. Add in travel time between shows and you have to choose your food stops carefully to get the most out of your day.

No Fringe in 2020 so Edinburgh was amuch different place this August. But hopefully things will be back to some form of normal for 2021 and we will once again be planning our time at the Fringe/Festival  in Edinburgh.

From the outset I have to say most of the main Fringe venues.  Assembly, Pleasance, Underbelly and Gilded Balloon provide bars and are surrounded by food truck/ huts. They are offering everything from Scottish Angus Burger, Crepes, Burritos to good old fish and chips. The majority of which are a very good quality.

But I wanted to take the opportunity to highlight a few restaurants for you to support the local community. But also a place to enjoy good food and have a seat while you plan the rest of your day.


Some say the most important meal of the day. Well Loudon’s is a good start just off the Royal Mile about a 10 minute walk from the Pleasance venue. Somewhere even closer to that venue is Holyrood 9a as well as breakfast they do a great burger and have a superb selection of beers. As with majority of venues during the Fringe Holyrood 9a don’t take table reservations so it is on a first come first served basis. Checkpoint in Bristo Place is close to the Gilded Balloon Teviot, Underbelly and Assembly in George Square. City Café in Blair st has an American diner feel so offer pancakes, crispy bacon and maple syru. But do a good full Scottish Breakfast and is very close to the Gilded Balloon Patter House in Chamber St.

If you would like to combine breakfast with a show, then there is no better one to try than Shakespeare for Breakfast . You will enjoy a funny romp through a play by Shakespeare while enjoying a coffee and croissant. This year the show is at Venue 16 in George st on corner of Charlotte Square.

Coffee and cake

If cafes your thing then head to Brewlab or Black Medicine Coffee Co. which are right in the heart of the Southside. Black Medicine sits underneath Spoon which used to be Nicholson café frequented by JK Rowling when she was writing the Harry Potter novels. Both have a great range of cakes and coffee. In  Buccluech street behind George square you will find the Press Coffee. In Forrest road in an old opticians’ shop is Thomas J Walls coffee. On Middle meadow walk Soderberg bakery and coffee house. In Nicholson street is 1505 café owned by the Royal College of Surgeons. Who also have an interesting museum in the main building which is also a fringe venue behind the café.

City Restaurant Edinburgh

City Restaurant for Fish & Chips

Lunch into dinner

I have run these together as people will eat at odd times in between shows. Often going for maybe one course due to time constraints. However, this can add to the day with a starter in one venue, main course in another and dessert to finish with a show in between each. Ting Thai Caravan opposite McEwan hall. You won’t miss it there will be a queue outside. Serves up freshly and quickly cooked far eastern food. They have opened a sister restaurant a few doors down called the Saboteur. Keeping the oriental theme there is also the Red Box noodle bar in West Nicholson st.

Makars Gourmet Mash Bar

Haggis, neeps and tatties at Makars

Something more homely will be found around the corner in Forrest road. Mums’ hearty British fayre, sausage and mash. Or try Union of Genius with a great selection of soups. Lunch at the Outsider on George IV bridge is good value. It has lovely views of the Castle from the windows at the back of the restaurant. Near the Assembly on The Mound is Makars Gourmet Mash bar . They have a take away premises on the corner if you do on occasions have to eat on the move. Scott’s Kitchen on the upper level of Victoria street is good lunch time location. It has an outside seating area doubling the restaurants size.

For Indian/Malaysian food then you can’t beat Mother India in infirmary st. But Kalpna Indian vegetarian in Nicholson st or Tanjore on Clerk street are just as good. Mother India is good modern Indian restaurant now in Edinburgh after being a big hit in Glasgow. Kalpna offer an Indian vegetarian buffet at lunch time (12-2pm). Tanjore known for its great selection of Dosa. Tanjore don’t take credit cards or sell alcohol. So come with cash and your own beer or wine. They are happy to serve it to you for a small corkage charge.

For Fish and Chips in the Southside you can’t beat the City Restaurant . Next to the Festival theatre for fast efficient service and freshly cooked fish chips. It is pretty hard to beat especially with a nice cup of tea and bread & butter.

As always these are just a few of my own suggestions, there are many more great premises in the Southside area and beyond. For example, the other side of the Meadows is Victor Hugo’s good for sandwiches, cake and coffee if you have a show on at Underbelly Circus Hub.

We run less food tours during the Edinburgh Festival/Fringe as the venues we use are normally too busy to take more than one tour a day from us. So I suggest you book our tours early to avoid dissppointemt.

Let me know some of your favourites.