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Four volumes of SUITCASE Magazine, with a new issue delivered to your door each quarter
The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is in full swing. Between watching stand-up comedians and plays, improv and music events, choosing where to eat and drink can feel like unnecessary stress. To make your life a little easier, we’ve compiled the ultimate list of places to wine and dine in the Scottish capital.
An Instagrammer’s dream come true, 101 Bakery’s baby-pink and jade-green walls provide the perfect backdrop to the vast selection of cakes, buns, cookies and cupcakes immaculately presented inside the glass countertop. Order a cappuccino to accompany your perfectly iced bun, and admire the mural by Luke Edward Hall adorning one of the cafe’s walls.
This charming French bistro sits pretty Edinburgh’s New Town. Its subterranean location makes for an intimate dining experience, complete with red-and-white chequered tablecloths and traditional cuisine including French onion soup topped with gruyère croutons, and perfectly cooked steak with a heap of crunchy fries. Pair your meal with a bottle of the Montsablé pinot noir – or any of the bottles from the carefully curated wine list.
You’ll need to get to this popular brunch spot early to avoid queues. Once you’ve put your name down, nab a table outside in the August sunshine (read: Scottish drizzle) and sip on coffee made from beans from local roasteries. For breakfast, opt for traditional dishes with a twist, including eggs benedict with smoked sea trout or French toast with banana, yogurt, hazelnuts and chocolate sauce. If you’re nursing a hangover be sure to order the “recovery” smoothie made from coconut water, berries, banana and peanut butter and you’ll feel right as rain in no time.
Located in an industrial yard in Edinburgh’s Leith area, Pitt Street Market is open every Saturday and Sunday throughout the summer. Street food and drink stalls set up camp around warming fires and live music performances, selling everything from Vietnamese pho made inside Pitt Noodle’s bright-red tuk tuk to locally sourced fish and slow-cooked meat at Ròst Eats.
This neighbourhood pizza bar is a relatively new addition to the Edinburgh foodie scene, but it’s definitely here to stay. This is Italian street food done right. Enter the neon-themed dining room and perch on a bright-yellow stool before browsing the extensive pizza menu. Choose between a generous slice of the “Getting Piggy With It” (featuring tomato sauce, mozzarella, braised pork shoulder, charred pineapple and barbecue sauce) or the “Polar Pear” for a white base piled high with mozzarella, njduja, pancetta, roasted pear, pecorino and a pistachio crumb.
The only place you really need to know about during the festival, this cute kiosk sits just behind Fringe hub, Bristo Square. It serves gluten-free Brazilian crepes, and you can choose between sweet or savory fillings. We can promise that any future crepes you eat will pale in comparison.
Scotland’s first soup café, this cute restaurant offers true comfort food in the heart of the city. Slurp – or “souk” as the Scots say – away on any of its warming, daily changing bowls, or opt for the menu stalwart of vegan chilli for a tasty treat. If you’re looking for a quick meal in between shows, stop by its van, which is parked in Bristo Square at lunchtime.
This candlelit bar is located on New Town’s Thistle Street. Start your evening with expertly mixed cocktails (we recommend the Boudicca, a strong cocktail made with whisky, mead, bramble and lemon that’s sure to put hair on your chest) at the white marble bar, before settling down for an evening of inventive tapas and bistro-style mains.
Located at the end of Stockbridge high street, this award-winning restaurant plates up classic pub favourites with a Scottish twist. Interiors feature fabrics from the Isle of Bute and wallpaper designed by famed Scottish duo Timorous Beasties, while the menu includes Orkney King scallops or Smoked haddock rarebit.
This bustling Sudanese café is a firm favourite among locals and Edinburgh University students. Specialising in wraps with Middle Eastern and North African fillings including spiced chicken, falafel, baba ganoush, feta and hummus, it’s the place to queue up amid bright yellow walls adorned with African art and Fringe fliers. Ask for a “barry wrap” for the all the trimmings.
Serving authentic Thai street food in Edinburgh’s city centre, Ting Thai Caravan is an ideal stop off between shows. During the day, it Sun Up menu features fresh dishes such as zingy green papaya salad with long beans, crushed peanuts and grilled king prawns. Alternatively, stop by in the evening to taste the Sun Down menu for traditional pad thai, massaman curry or tom kha gai.
Hidden down picturesque Thistle Street, El Cartel serves authentic Mexican street food including homemade corn tacos, innovative tapas and frozen margaritas. While you can’t book a table, you can put your name on the list and pop over to the Bon Vivant (across the alley) for a cocktail as you wait, before ordering vast quantities of duck carnitas, ceviche and quesadillas. If you’re based in the Old Town, try its new branch located in Teviot Place.
Winner of Scotland’s Street Food Awards, this food truck is one of the Fringe’s best bites. Pop by George Square to nab yourself a perfectly crispy buttermilk fried chicken burger, crowned with your choice of toppings including black-garlic mayo and fermented-chilli hot sauce. Add its fringe-famous truffle and parmesan fries to make your meal even more epic.
Found on Edinburgh’s historic Fishmarket Close (no points for guessing what originally stood there), Wings serves just what it says on the tin. Choose between more than 80 different flavours, seasonings and sauces, before throwing all conventional eating etiquettes out the window and getting elbow-deep in hot sauce.
Hidden in plain sight, this subterranean bar can be found in a basement on Queen Street. Understated decor places emphasis on the bar’s extravagant cocktails, so settle into a deep leather armchair and browse the lengthy menu (found inside the covers of old books).
With exposed brick walls, rough wooden beams and a backlit bar, The Devil’s Advocate is a renovated Victorian pump house nestled down an alleyway just off the Royal Mile. Its 400-strong whisky shelf beckons in those in search of a wee dram. If you get a bit peckish, the extravagant food menu is enough to tempt you into buying hand-cut chips, garlic and maple chicken wings or even a chimichurri steak.
In a seemingly disused barber shop, descend the stairs and find the secret entrance through the bookcase to enter this speakeasy-themed bar. Huddle into a corner and order a Red Panda for a spicy mixture of tanqueray, tomato, sriracha, worcestershire sauce and Guinness foam, or opt for a safer option with a Panda Picnic – prosecco infused with peach, ginger and pineapple puree.
Right next to George Square, this pub is a firm favourite among locals and an ideal spot for a pint between shows. Huddle up next to the fire inside if the weather’s blustery or, on a sunny afternoon, nab a table in the beer garden, where The Garden Grill serves up heaped plates of burgers and chips.
This stalwart of a bar can be found right in the centre of the Fringe action. Come for innovative Scottish twists on classic cocktails (try the Aye-Tai or the Buckfast Daiquiri), or stop by on Fridays and Saturdays for fun-filled events including cabaret nights, cocktail-making classes and drag brunches.
Noticeable only by a red lantern hanging outside, this place transports visitors to 50s New Orleans. Fortune tellers, arcade games and ice cream machines are dotted around the venue, while cocktails are themed around different tarot cards. From the brains behind Panda & Sons, this speakeasy is just as fun (if slightly more wacky).
You know how you have that one incredible friend who knows their city inside out? That’s us. We take the world’s most dynamic destinations, hand-pick the best bits and give them to you in one place. This is the kind of guide that you don’t need to run by a local – it was written by one. Eat your heart out, shop until you drop, drink like a fish, dance your socks off, sleep – then repeat.
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