Best places for a quick bite to eat during the Edinburgh Festival
There’s nothing worse than a long wait for food after a hard day of Fringe fun. Whilst the rituals and rigmarole involved in eating out can be enjoyable if you have the time to relax, it can also be stress-inducing if you have a show to catch and a hungry belly.
Thankfully there are plenty of places in Edinburgh to grab a quick but decent meal that distill the eating out experience into a simpler and quicker process, including a number of pop-up restaurants and venues during August.
Here are some of the best choices when it comes to grabbing a quick bite.
Ting Thai, Lauriston Place
A current favourite of the WOW247 team is the Ting Thai pop-up restaurant at Lauriston Place, handily across the road from Fringe hub Bristo Square. It has moved from its former home at Checkpoint Charlie, another temporary venue around the corner last year.
It’s strictly no frills, but with a great selection of tasty food for takeaway or to sit-in, including Pad Thai, Wok fried garlic noodles and sea bass and beef dishes. Expect a queue, but the service is very fast and the atmosphere is buzzing – make the most of it whilst it’s here.
La Favorita, Leith Walk and The Royal Mile
La Favorita’s restaurant on Leith Walk is definitely one of Edinburgh’s best spots for pizza and Italian food, and thankfully they also have their own van slam-bang in the middle of the Royal Mile (outside the Tron Kirk) – perfect for Fringe-lovers who are short on time and craving a substantial snack.
Pizza slices are reasonably priced and better than average, but again you can expect queues, especially at peak times.
The Mosque Kitchen, Nicolson Square
The Mosque Kitchen at Nicolson Square is reminiscent of a school canteen, with rice, curry and other options ladled out onto paper plates. The food itself is delicious however, and very reasonably priced – and there’s no waiting around so if you’re between shows it could be a lifesaver.
If the queues are looking intimidating, then you’ll find a similar setup at the ‘original’ mosque kitchen at Edinburgh Central Mosque (50 Potterrow) where the food is equally delicious.
Illegal Jack’s, Lothian Road
It may not be near the main venues, but it’s worth taking a detour to Lothian Road to sample Illegal Jack’s quality Tex-Mex fare. Whether it’s burritos, tacos, quesadillas or fajitas you’re after, it’s a simple, predictable menu but each option is customisable and the service is also very speedy.
With a good choice of beers and soft drinks to accompany the meal, and a laid-back atmosphere, Jack’s is the ideal place to get well-fed and watered. Prices are reasonable, although perhaps slightly over-priced given the bare bones service.
Henderson’s, Hanover Street and Lothian Road
For simple but wholesome veggie food, Henderson’s is hard to beat. One of the first vegetarian restaurants to open in the UK, it has gone from strength to strength, with a restaurant, shop and bistro on Hanover Street, and a café at St John’s church at the corner of Princes St and Lothian Road, the site of the West End Fair during August.
The Hanover Street restaurant, downstairs from the shop, is another canteen-style affair. It gets busy but there’s plenty of tables, and the food is filling and reasonably priced – expect to pay around a tenner per main meal. Their bistro has table service and their menu is a little fancier but booking is advisable.
Other options for quick bites are two late-night refuges for the hungry and weary; Cappadocia Kebab House on Forrest Road and the infamous Cafe Piccante at the top of Broughton Street, surely one of the only fish and chip shops to have a resident DJ.
If it’s a café you’re after, Loudon’s and Peter’s Yard come highly recommended (see our Edinburgh Foody Guide to Eating Out) and Porto & Fi’s and Brewlab were the top tips included in our guide to spending 24 hours at the Fringe. Also worth a look is our guide to the best Indian restaurants in Edinburgh.