Fringe Festival 2011 roundup – street food

The thing about the Edinburgh festivals is that they keep you entertained and busy. Your head is kept very busy indeed with ideas, inspiration and impressions. But who looks after your tummy? Eating out during the festival can become expensive. It can also become repetitive. These days, there are better options for street food than just a few years ago. Here a round-up of what you can expect from some of the main venue’s outside “food courts”.

I'll be back for more: more mussels, more frites. More wine too, more than likely.

I’ll be back for more: more mussels, more frites. More wine too, more than likely.

Assembly, George Square

Gather round, gather round, there are mussels to be had.

Gather round, gather round, there are mussels to be had.

There are a lot of different food on offer around and in Assembly, George Square. My favorite by far is the moules et frites served by Mussel Men (aka Oyster Boys). It’s not the biggest portion of moules I’ve ever had, but it was tasty and a welcome option in a sea of burgers and pizza. For £8.50 you get moules et frites and a glass of white (£6.50 if you skip the wine).

The Outsider at Assembly does a variety of Western and Eastern foods. They do a kicking beef salad which has a fair chili hit and a lovely amount of nam pla adds savour. It is filling and tastes great with a cider or a lager to cool you down. They also do churros with a chocolate dip (nicer without if you ask me) and satay skewers. All good stuff.

The Outsider's menu offers food from west and east.

The Outsider’s menu offers food from west and east.

There are lots of different restaurants and outlets at Assembly. If you want a burger, Well Hung are here, as are Urban Angel, with paninis and coffee. There’s pizza, smoothies and other options too. Street food in the festival isn’t always great. George Square offers the best options around at the moment, in my opinion. Of course, there’s food in the other large Fringe centres too, Bristo Square and the Pleasance.

Bristo Square

Waffles or burgers? It's your choice.

Waffles or burgers? It’s your choice.

Bristo Square houses the purple cow that is the Udderbelly as well as an extension of the Pleasance: the Dome. In the various sponsored beer gardens you’ll find soups, good-looking wraps (the salmon and the award winning spicy lamb look fab) as well as the ever-present burgers, much of it provided by Laughing Stock venue catering. There’s a good variety and the wraps looked well-stuffed and tasty. If you like pizza, the ones here are by La Favorita, a popular pizza restaurant and deliverer.

In the Gilded Garden, Well Hung and Tender do the burgers. Their stand smells rather better than the other burger outlets around. The Gilded Garden is a fun little place: it has a Disney inspired old-world look to it and as well as burgers you can buy waffles and beer here.


Crags barbie at the Pleasance. Good when you're drunk.

Crags barbie at the Pleasance. Good when you’re drunk.

If you’re going for comedy, chances are you’ll spend some time at the Pleasance. Although they now have a kid zone with small rolls, a changing station, ice cream and paninis for the adults, there’s not all that much good food on offer here. If you have time, sit in and take a meal in the Archway Cafe, but unless you’re really keen on burgers I’d suggest eating before or after visiting the Pleasance.

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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: My Journey to a happier healthier me September 10 2011 part 2

  2. Just opposite Bristo Square there’s a wee Brazilian crepe stand (it’s in the old Police Box) that does the most amazing crepes! They’re gluten-free as well, and if you speak to the owner he’ll tell you the story of how they’d started out making regular wheat-flour crepes, but when him and his wife had a new baby (who has a wheat-intolerance), they decided to switch over to gluten-free as they had started the business for him. They do savoury and sweet, though I have to say my favourite is one he does with roasted pumpkin, jalapeno, spinach, sundried tomatoes and cheddar. They’re inexpensive as well, and you always get good chat from the folk who work there.

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