The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the biggest arts festival in the world, with over 3,000 shows. Playbill is currently Edinburgh during the month of August for the festival and we’re taking you with us. Follow along as we cover every single aspect of the Fringe, aka our real-life Brigadoon!
Anyone who goes to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe needs to eat—how else are you going to get enough energy to see multiple shows a day all over the city? Luckily, Edinburgh is a foodie's heaven with incredible restaurants. It is hard to find bad food in this town where restaurants are of incredible quality with loads of ambience.
My name is Molly Morris. I am the co-founder of Ghost Light Global. Along with my business partner, Chris Crouch, we have over 25 years of collective Edinburgh Fringe experience as producers, punters, and patrons (you can read our show recommendations for the 2023 Festival here).
We have made our passion for the festival into a business, curating travel for individuals, families, groups, and theatre organizations from around the county to the world’s largest arts festival in Edinburgh. It is our hope to demystify the Fringe for others, because we think everyone should experience it and love it as much as we do.
And that includes navigating Edinburgh's bustling restaurant scene. As experience Fringe-goers, here are some restaurants that have been our go-to for years. We have divided this list between the historic Old Town district (where the Royal Mile and Edinburgh Castle is located) and New Town (with its wide avenues and copious shopping opportunities). Both areas are located in the center of Edinburgh.
The Dome: This stunning building was home to the original Commercial Bank of Scotland and is a perfect spot for high tea or cocktails in a Greco-Roman masterpiece.
Scotch Malt Whiskey Society: In an old townhouse in New Town, you can savor the very best of Scotland. You won’t find the traditional Scotches here—each selection is unique to this establishment and cannot be tasted anywhere else. The haggis is also legendary.
Dishoom: If you’re feeling spicy, this St Andrews Square high-end-Indian-street-food themed restaurant is a UK favorite.
Baba: This rustic, warm, chic spot located in the Kimpton Charlotte Square offers Mediterranean dishes and cocktails.
Lady Libertine: Fantastic food and drink in an underground vault.
Panda & Sons: A speakeasy with a menu that combines science and mixology that will make your head buzz with delight.
Bramble Bar: If you can find it, you will absolutely love this gem of a cocktail bar. Good luck!
Devil’s Advocate: Nestled in cozy Advocate’s Close, this is a favorite spot for food and cocktails.
Hollyrood 9A: Near Pleasance Courtyard, this is a fantastic pub with great burgers and sandwiches. Off the beaten path, this cozy establishment is a great place to escape the crowds.
Under the Stairs: My hands down favorite restaurant in Edinburgh. It's tiny spot that is very hard to find. Good luck!
The Outsiders: This is a really beautiful restaurant with fantastic food and views on George 4th Bridge.
Luckenbooth: This classic menu features fresh local fare in a beautiful setting on the Royal Mile.
The Witchery at the Castle: This bewitching restaurant offers a bit of historic atmosphere to enjoy a fancy dinner on the Royal Mile. The building dates from 1595 and the restaurant takes its name from the hundreds of witches who were burned nearby.
The Royal Dick: Summerhall is one of the Festivals only year-round arts venues; it used to be the home of the "Dick Vet" Veterinary School. The Royal Dick is decorated in honor of the veterinary sciences. Expect to see some very strange things while sipping Barney’s Beer and Pickering’s Gin which are both brewed on site.
Chris Crouch and Molly Morris are the founders of Ghost Light Global. Ghost Light Global’s Edinburgh FRINGE Adventure is now booking for 2023 private clients. And for 2024, we are very excited to curate VIP group Fringe experiences in partnership with the Playbill FringeShip. Learn more about us at Ghostlightglobal.com.