Fringe food: Pubs, cafes & food near Gilded Balloon

Heading to a show at Gilded Balloon or Pleasance Dome? Need somewhere to refuel afterwards? Here are our pick of the food and drink venues within a five-minute stroll, updated for the 2019 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Feature by The Skinny | 18 Jul 2019

Pubs and Bars near Gilded Balloon and Pleasance Dome

Paradise Palms (41 Lothian St, 1 min from Bristo Sq)
Paradise Palms, the hard-to-miss neon-lit dive bar literally opposite Pleasance Dome, serves up vegan soul food from Lucky Pig alongside whip-cracking cocktails. The entertainment doesn't just come from the food and drink, with shows and DJ sets scheduled for evenings throughout August. 

The Pear Tree (38 West Nicolson St, 3 mins from Bristo Sq)
The Pear Tree always tends to be on the bustling side, and during the Fringe is no exception. And with a huge, stone-walled beer garden, never more so that on the rare occasion that the Edinburgh sky decides to bestow some sorely needed rays of sunshine upon its pasty residents. 

Brass Monkey (14 Drummond St, 5 mins from Bristo Sq)
Brass Monkey offers all manner of delights. Tasty drinks, monkey art, iconic posters and an intimate back room – what more could you want? A room made of pillows for a relaxing mid-Fringe sit-down, you say? Well, turns out they have one of those as well.

Restaurants near Gilded Balloon and Pleasance Dome 

Ting Thai Caravan (8 Teviot Pl, 2 mins from Bristo Sq)
Having started life as an Edinburgh Fringe pop-up several years back, Ting Thai is now firmly established and judging by the constant flow of satisfied diners through its doors at all times of day and night, the people of the capital are keen to keep the Caravan in situ. Five-star food awaits, but be ready to queue at peak times. Still, it's the Fringe, you'll be used to it...

Ting Thai Saboteur (19-20 Teviot Pl, 3 mins from Bristo Sq)
Ting Thai Caravan has been one of your favourite restaurants ever since it opened its doors in 2013. In fact, there's still queues outside on a daily basis, which suggests that it's the sort of thing Edinburgh people are in to. Saboteur, the Vietnamese joint from the same team just down the street, isn't at those hype levels yet, so we recommend heading down as soon as possible. Because with delicious Vietnamese soups and curries, a pleasing rework of Caravan's interior look and outlandishly good prices, we reckon it'll be packed out constantly during the festival!

Checkpoint (3 Bristo Pl, 2 mins from Bristo Sq)
A great all-day option, Checkpoint throws its doors open at 9am for inventive breakfasts and coffee, stays open through lunchtime and the afternoon with a cafe-style selection of sandwiches and salads, then serves up smart, exciting mains in the evenings. Given that the Fringe laughs at conventional 'night follows day' thinking and the concept of a good night's sleep, it's good to know there are some constants kicking around.

Cafes near Gilded Balloon and Pleasance Dome

Brew Lab (6 South College St, 4 mins from Bristo Sq)
A perennial readers' favourite, Brew Lab is a handy half-way post between the Pleasance Dome and Courtyard. Brew Lab boast a selection of innovative brewing techniques in their quest to make the best coffee going, not least in their nitrogen-powered Cold Brew.

Thomas J Walls (35 Forrest Rd, 2 mins from Bristo Sq)
Taking up residence in (as well as the name of) the former opticians on Forrest Road, Thomas J Walls is a pretty grand place for a coffee. The decor's lovely, with dark wood and tiles everywhere, while the flat whites are pin-sharp. Rather pleasingly, Walls is also bloody enormous, so grabbing a seat is never too much of an issue even at the Fringiest of times. 

Kilimanjaro (104 Nicholson St, 5 mins from Bristo Sq)
An oasis for procrastination, Kilimanjaro is the perfect place to while away the hours between Fringe shows, while sipping on a deliciously-crafted coffee.

Soderberg (Simpson Loan, 4 mins from Bristo Sq)
An outpost of Swedish bakery Peter's Yard sat just off Middle Meadow Walk, the extensive outdoor seating will draw you in. What'll keep you there is the food – crispbreads, cardamom buns, sourdough breads, salads, sandwiches and more await. 

Takeaways and Food on-the-go near Gilded Balloon and Pleasance Dome

Union of Genius (8 Forrest Rd, 3 mins from Bristo Sq)
Soup-mongers extraordinaire, Union of Genius won the Good Soup's Guide 'Best Soup' in Scotland award 2013, and they've gone from strength to strength in the meantime. Perfect if you're in need of a filling meal, but the Edinburgh Fringe has left you too tired to chew.

Red-Box Noodle Bar (51-53 West Nicolson St, 5 mins from Bristo Sq)
Cheap and tasty noodle bar with a simple concept – pick your noodles, meat, veg and sauce and they'll fry it up and hand it to you in a "oh, look they have those square cardboard boxes you see on American TV..."-style. 

Civerinos Slice (49 Forrest Rd, 3 mins from Bristo Sq)
The second outpost of one of our favourite Edinburgh ‘zza-slingers, it's a great option if you're in town for a few days over the Fringe. Grab one of the New York-style slices on offer – standard sourdough, or their new ‘nonna’-style square pizza – and have a beer; come back later and try another slice with another beer, repeat at your leisure. 

George Square Food Trucks (3 mins from Bristo Sq)
Expect to find a raft of street food vans parked up in and around the George Square homes of Underbelly and Assembly. We recommend looking out/ crossing your fingers for The Buffalo Truck (black van, amazing fried chicken), Mimi’s (light blue, very nice cakes) and Pizza Geeks (glasses on the logo, brilliant pizzas).

Che (21 Forrest Rd, 3 mins from Bristo Sq)
Falafel can cure all ills, so if you’ve hit it a bit too hard the night before head to Che for a chickpea nightcap. Freshly-fried falafel, wrapped up with salad and pickles, will see you through.