Fringe Festival 2011 roundup – where to eat & drink

The Festival has started and Edinburgh is teaming with festive tourists and locals looking for shows, fun and food. If you take the Festival seriously, seeing shows can keep you away from home all day. So where do you turn for sustenance if you want more than a burger? (Nothing against burgers but there’s more to life than a meat patty in a bun.) This post lists a few places in the Fringe-heavy quadrant between the Pleasance, the Royal Mile and the Meadows.



An oft-missed gem in the middle of Fringe Festival territory is Spoon Cafe Bistro at 6a Nicholson Street. It offers light bites and coffees during the day and dinner and drinks in the evening. They can usually find space for you, even at peak times. Spoon offers tasty, unpretentious local ingredients with Mediterranean and Eastern twists.

For those who have limited budgets and want their food hearty to last them all day, check out the Mosque Kitchen, on Nicholson Square. Generous plates of curry are served for a surprisingly small amount of money. This review tells you more.

When budget isn’t an issue and if you like seafood, Ondine, 2 George IV Bridge, is a good destination. Like Spoon, it is elevated above the maddening crowds in the street.

For a roundup of vegetarian places, look at my post from last year: David Banns, Kalpna and Ann Purna are all in the Fringe quadrant.

Drinking & hanging

If you want to soak up the atmosphere, have a drink and watch the world – and maybe the odd celebrity – go by, the Pleasance Courtyard, 60 Pleasance, is a fun spot. Be warned: it gets very busy as it is a collection of drinking spots in the courtyard of the buildings that house many of the Fringe’s comedy venues. The posh little bar in the back made a great French Martini last year and the front bar does a brisk trade in beer and cider every year. It’s one of my favourite spots for pretending to be part of the festival and talking to the many your hopefuls that sell shows to you is a treat.

I was going to list a standard, economy and luxe venue, as I did for the restaurants, but the truth is that I don’t know any cheap drinking places. Especially not during the festival. Instead I’m going to encourage you to explore. One of the fun things about the Festival is how much Edinburgh changes during it. Bars and venues pop up like daisies on a sunny spring day. If you find a gem, please report back!

If you want to get away from it all, try the Courtyard Champagne Bar at Hotel du Vin, tucked discretely behind the Bedlam Theatre. You can enter from 11 Bristow place, or go round the back and get straight to the courtyard. Here you can have a glass of Veuve, something to eat, and relax after – or during – a hectic day.  (Their front courtyard isn’t bad either.)

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About Caroline von Schmalensee

Cooking, eating and drinking is fun as well as necessary. I do food for fun and I write for a living. Good food makes the world a more delicious and satisfying place. Good writing, meanwhile, can make the world a less confusing place.


  1. Pingback: Where to have tea - Edinburgh Festival Fringe | Edinburgh Foody

  2. This is really helpful! We’ve been in the city for a few months now and have our favourites, but with friends descending on us soon we are looking for other suggestions on how to dine and eat during the festival!

  3. Hi Caroline – thanks for the linkback! Hope you have a great time over the festival weeks to come. Good sustenence most definitely required!

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