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A tightly packed tray of knotted Scandinavian buns, with cardamom, cinnamon, vanilla, and raspberry Söderberg [Official Photo]

Where to Eat at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Coffee when you need it, sustaining lunches, special occasion meals, and more

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The Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2022 sees a kaleidoscope of restaurant needs jostle during one, very busy, very tiring, very expensive August — for those taking a show up for the duration and flyering up and down the Royal Mile, it’s a hotbed of drama, comedy, and tragedy — and that’s just the food. For visitors, whether for a day, a weekend, or longer, Edinburgh and its famous festival, which officially begins for 2022 on Friday 5 August, can be a whirlwind, and it’s all too easy to be trapped by convenience and decision fatigue at lunch and dinner after deciding what to see from thousands of options, schlepping from the Pleasance, to Underbelly, Bristo Place, Gilded Balloon, Summer Hall, C Nova, Assembly Rooms, and the city’s litany of fringe festival venues.

A guide to eating at the Edinburgh Fringe, then, is necessarily not a list of Edinburgh’s Best Restaurants — dining during a festival is quite simply a different beast to a casual city break. This list of restaurants, coffee shops, and cafes fulfils a few basic needs while guaranteeing quality: there are places for a snaffled lunch during flyering; pre-and-post show dining where a group of people with wildly different tastes will be just fine; and a couple of fancy places, for when things go well or escape is required. The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is a wonderful thing, so eat well.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

The Little Chartroom

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One of Edinburgh’s best new restaurants is on the walk out to Leith, in a tiny, blue room. Dinner is a starters, mains, desserts structure, so a good bet for anyone not enamoured with small plates, and the food is of that quietly brilliant kind that weighs its cleverness with nourishment. Dishes might include an exquisitely wan and green cucumber gazpacho with white asparagus, or a sea trout dish with brown shrimp and butter that gets its surprise from smoked aubergine. Book, and early.

Edinburgh Fringe 2019 restaurant recommendations include Little Chartroom, on the way to Leith The Little Chartroom [Official Photo]

Valvona & Crolla

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London has Lina Stores; Edinburgh has Valvona & Crolla. Established in the city since 1934, Philip, Mary, Francesca and Olivia Contini’s deli, coffee bar, and restaurant serves a multitude of purposes: if wanting a fancy shared house accommodation dinner, get some cheeses and meats; if wanting a sandwich stuffed with Milan market vegetables and also more cheeses and meats at lunch, get one; if wanting a low-key dinner with the likes of tagliata, panzanella, and even borlotti beans: get that.

Edinburgh Fringe 2019 best restaurants include Valvona & Crolla deli Valvona & Crolla [Official Photo]

Baba Budan

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Baba Budan is a wonderful cafe, but Edinburgh has plenty of wonderful cafes. What plenty of Edinburgh’s wonderful cafes don’t have, is doughnuts made on the premises. Recent fillings include blackberry, white chocolate and violet cream, peach melba, red berry fool — the perfect flyering fuel, or an instant-fix late breakfast after a particularly heavy night. On the shows, of course.

Best restaurants at the Edinburgh Fringe 2019 include Baba Budan cafe Baba Budan/Instagram

Bross Bagels

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Montreal-style bagels here: for the uninitiated, the dough contains eggs, they’re boiled in honey water, and they’re smaller and denser than the more famous New Yorker. Basic bagels start at £2 and go up to £3.50 for a schmear; hulking lunch affairs might be filled with pastrami and monterery jack, or scallion schmear and hot smoked salmon. Also in Leith and Portobello Beach.

Best restaurants at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019 include Bross Bagels Bross Bagels [Official Photo]

The Baked Potato Shop

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Edinburgh has a tendency to become a bit much. The Baked Potato shop puts a stop to this, with a baked potato. A kaleidoscope of toppings are available, it’s sustaining, filling, and has been going for 36 years. For the hungry and the weary, be they performers or spectactors.

Best restaurants at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019 include The Baked Potato Shop Happy Cow

Down a perilously steep alley off the Royal Mile, find nearly 80 riffs on chicken wings, some of which are alcoholic. Go in a group, order three too many bowls, and get ready to need napkins. Also a reliable lunch stop if slinking off the Mile during a fruitless flyering session — standouts include ‘garlick kiev,’ ‘smoke show’ — hot barbecue — and ‘the skywalker’, which is just ranch.

Best restaurants at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019 include Wings Wings/Instagram

Mother India's Cafe

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It would be easy to assume that a restaurant advertising ‘Indian Tapas’ would be the misguided creation of some gap year fantasists. Mother India’s is not that. Located winningly close to the Fringe thoroughfare that is Cowgate without ever really feeling like it, its karahi, pakora, and dosai are unfussy and excellent. A good lunch spot if time isn’t pressured.

Best restaurants at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019 include Mother India’s Cafe Mother India’s Cafe [Official Photo]

Brew Lab Coffee

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Edinburgh’s coffee scene is thriving, and it would be remiss to not shout out a few more: Lowdown, for its forensic attention to detail and basement hideaway; Fortitude, for unfailingly warm service. Brew Lab is here for a few reasons beyond coffee : it’s open until 11p.m during the Fringe.; it serves Union of Genius soups (more on those later); it’s focussed on delivering a quality experience at speed, despite being near-permanently rammed during Fringe season.

Best restaurants at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019 include Brew Lab Coffee Brew Lab [Official Photo]

Timberyard

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A spectrum of tasting menus in an old warehouse, Timberyard could suit all manner of occasions. Lunch and pre-theatre a la carte for ox tartare with watercress or razor clams with vermouth, then hake or lamb — even if, at the Fringe, every menu and every meal is pre-theatre. If visiting at dinner, choose from four, six, or eight courses, and settle into one of the most comprehensive beer lists anywhere if that’s the jam. One to book, one for a special occasion.

Best restaurants at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019 include Timberyard Timberyard [Official Photo]

Chop Chop

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Much like Jen Cafe in London’s Chinatown, on a menu of 100 options, there are really only two: boiled jiaozi and pan-fried guotie dumplings. The former come in piles of eight or 16, the latter four or eight; soy sauce, black vinegar, and chilli oil are ready to mix as diners wish. Standout fillings are lamb and cumin or pork and prawn, and takeaway’s available.

Best restaurants at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019 include Chop Chop Gary Punty

Checkpoint

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Checkpoint’s enviable Bristo Place location makes it ideal for those visiting Underbelly, The Pleasance, and Gilded Balloon, as does its 12 midnight closing time. The menu’s a relatively standard journey through normcore breakfast, brunch, and dinner, but the food is near-universally better than it needs to be, pricing is keen, and the lack of complication is perfect for the post-four-shows-in-a-day fug.

Union of Genius

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Another handy lunch stalwart: six soups, two of them vegan, with a chilli with a reputation, good bread from local bakery Dough Re Mi, and a van that hangs out on George Square for those bustling between shows. Fill up, as the menu ranges round the globe in an actually discernible fashion, discrediting similar supermarket soup ranges everywhere.

Best restaurants at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019 include Union of Genius Union of Genius

The Original Mosque Kitchen & Cafe

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There are two Mosque Kitchens in Edinburgh. One is on Nicholson Street; this one on Potterrow; the two are parallel to each other. One claims to be ‘Original,’ the other does not. Both serve excellent homestyle dal, pakoras, and curries in a canteen set-up. The ‘Original’ is outside, which can be good. The other is inside, which can be good. They’re both great, so visit.

Söderberg The Meadows

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A walk through the Meadows is an Edinburgh essential to get away from the Mile’s din, and Soderberg — which recently opened a cafe in Soho — is worth a stop. Coffee, sandwiches, and salads are all fine, but the must-orders are the buns. The fruit ones are decent, but the kanelbulle and kardemummabulle, cinnamon and cardamom, are the two best. Cardamom is number one.

A tightly packed tray of knotted Scandinavian buns, with cardamom, cinnamon, vanilla, and raspberry Söderberg [Official Photo]

27 Elliott's

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Open every day from 5 August — 27 August for breakfast to dinner, in a typically enterprising use of festival hours, 27 Elliott’s is in platonic ideal territory for a neighbourhood cafe. Seasonal, inventive riffs on breakfast and lunch, with an attitude that says if it can be made by the cafe, the cafe will make it — ice cream, jam, ferments, sodas. Londoners: if Stoke Newington’s Esters is already a haunt, then head straight for this place. Everyone else: trust the process.

Dishoom Edinburgh

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For lost Londoners in need of grounding. It’s Dishoom. Eat a bacon naan, or better, head to the small plates section for bhel and vada pau.

Best bacon sandwiches in London: Bacon naan at Dishoom Dishoom [Official]

Lowdown

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A sleek, stylish, very modern espresso bar in a George Street basement, Lowdown gets a shout-out in BrewLab’s listing — because the latter is more geared to Fringe Coffee — but this mature addition to the city’s scene deserves one of its own. A wide spectrum of roasters and changing food menus means that a long-time visitor could visit daily for the whole festival and never have the same thing twice, but be guaranteed it will be expertly made.

The Little Chartroom

Edinburgh Fringe 2019 restaurant recommendations include Little Chartroom, on the way to Leith The Little Chartroom [Official Photo]

One of Edinburgh’s best new restaurants is on the walk out to Leith, in a tiny, blue room. Dinner is a starters, mains, desserts structure, so a good bet for anyone not enamoured with small plates, and the food is of that quietly brilliant kind that weighs its cleverness with nourishment. Dishes might include an exquisitely wan and green cucumber gazpacho with white asparagus, or a sea trout dish with brown shrimp and butter that gets its surprise from smoked aubergine. Book, and early.

Edinburgh Fringe 2019 restaurant recommendations include Little Chartroom, on the way to Leith The Little Chartroom [Official Photo]

Valvona & Crolla

Edinburgh Fringe 2019 best restaurants include Valvona & Crolla deli Valvona & Crolla [Official Photo]

London has Lina Stores; Edinburgh has Valvona & Crolla. Established in the city since 1934, Philip, Mary, Francesca and Olivia Contini’s deli, coffee bar, and restaurant serves a multitude of purposes: if wanting a fancy shared house accommodation dinner, get some cheeses and meats; if wanting a sandwich stuffed with Milan market vegetables and also more cheeses and meats at lunch, get one; if wanting a low-key dinner with the likes of tagliata, panzanella, and even borlotti beans: get that.

Edinburgh Fringe 2019 best restaurants include Valvona & Crolla deli Valvona & Crolla [Official Photo]

Baba Budan

Best restaurants at the Edinburgh Fringe 2019 include Baba Budan cafe Baba Budan/Instagram

Baba Budan is a wonderful cafe, but Edinburgh has plenty of wonderful cafes. What plenty of Edinburgh’s wonderful cafes don’t have, is doughnuts made on the premises. Recent fillings include blackberry, white chocolate and violet cream, peach melba, red berry fool — the perfect flyering fuel, or an instant-fix late breakfast after a particularly heavy night. On the shows, of course.

Best restaurants at the Edinburgh Fringe 2019 include Baba Budan cafe Baba Budan/Instagram

Bross Bagels

Best restaurants at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019 include Bross Bagels Bross Bagels [Official Photo]

Montreal-style bagels here: for the uninitiated, the dough contains eggs, they’re boiled in honey water, and they’re smaller and denser than the more famous New Yorker. Basic bagels start at £2 and go up to £3.50 for a schmear; hulking lunch affairs might be filled with pastrami and monterery jack, or scallion schmear and hot smoked salmon. Also in Leith and Portobello Beach.

Best restaurants at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019 include Bross Bagels Bross Bagels [Official Photo]

The Baked Potato Shop

Best restaurants at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019 include The Baked Potato Shop Happy Cow

Edinburgh has a tendency to become a bit much. The Baked Potato shop puts a stop to this, with a baked potato. A kaleidoscope of toppings are available, it’s sustaining, filling, and has been going for 36 years. For the hungry and the weary, be they performers or spectactors.

Best restaurants at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019 include The Baked Potato Shop Happy Cow

Wings

Best restaurants at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019 include Wings Wings/Instagram

Down a perilously steep alley off the Royal Mile, find nearly 80 riffs on chicken wings, some of which are alcoholic. Go in a group, order three too many bowls, and get ready to need napkins. Also a reliable lunch stop if slinking off the Mile during a fruitless flyering session — standouts include ‘garlick kiev,’ ‘smoke show’ — hot barbecue — and ‘the skywalker’, which is just ranch.

Best restaurants at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019 include Wings Wings/Instagram

Mother India's Cafe

Best restaurants at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019 include Mother India’s Cafe Mother India’s Cafe [Official Photo]

It would be easy to assume that a restaurant advertising ‘Indian Tapas’ would be the misguided creation of some gap year fantasists. Mother India’s is not that. Located winningly close to the Fringe thoroughfare that is Cowgate without ever really feeling like it, its karahi, pakora, and dosai are unfussy and excellent. A good lunch spot if time isn’t pressured.

Best restaurants at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019 include Mother India’s Cafe Mother India’s Cafe [Official Photo]

Brew Lab Coffee

Best restaurants at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019 include Brew Lab Coffee Brew Lab [Official Photo]

Edinburgh’s coffee scene is thriving, and it would be remiss to not shout out a few more: Lowdown, for its forensic attention to detail and basement hideaway; Fortitude, for unfailingly warm service. Brew Lab is here for a few reasons beyond coffee : it’s open until 11p.m during the Fringe.; it serves Union of Genius soups (more on those later); it’s focussed on delivering a quality experience at speed, despite being near-permanently rammed during Fringe season.

Best restaurants at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019 include Brew Lab Coffee Brew Lab [Official Photo]

Timberyard

Best restaurants at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019 include Timberyard Timberyard [Official Photo]

A spectrum of tasting menus in an old warehouse, Timberyard could suit all manner of occasions. Lunch and pre-theatre a la carte for ox tartare with watercress or razor clams with vermouth, then hake or lamb — even if, at the Fringe, every menu and every meal is pre-theatre. If visiting at dinner, choose from four, six, or eight courses, and settle into one of the most comprehensive beer lists anywhere if that’s the jam. One to book, one for a special occasion.

Best restaurants at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019 include Timberyard Timberyard [Official Photo]

Chop Chop

Best restaurants at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019 include Chop Chop Gary Punty

Much like Jen Cafe in London’s Chinatown, on a menu of 100 options, there are really only two: boiled jiaozi and pan-fried guotie dumplings. The former come in piles of eight or 16, the latter four or eight; soy sauce, black vinegar, and chilli oil are ready to mix as diners wish. Standout fillings are lamb and cumin or pork and prawn, and takeaway’s available.

Best restaurants at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019 include Chop Chop Gary Punty

Checkpoint

Checkpoint’s enviable Bristo Place location makes it ideal for those visiting Underbelly, The Pleasance, and Gilded Balloon, as does its 12 midnight closing time. The menu’s a relatively standard journey through normcore breakfast, brunch, and dinner, but the food is near-universally better than it needs to be, pricing is keen, and the lack of complication is perfect for the post-four-shows-in-a-day fug.

Union of Genius

Best restaurants at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019 include Union of Genius Union of Genius

Another handy lunch stalwart: six soups, two of them vegan, with a chilli with a reputation, good bread from local bakery Dough Re Mi, and a van that hangs out on George Square for those bustling between shows. Fill up, as the menu ranges round the globe in an actually discernible fashion, discrediting similar supermarket soup ranges everywhere.

Best restaurants at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019 include Union of Genius Union of Genius