Now that the Commonwealth Games have come to a close *sob* – it’s time to focus on one of the biggest events in the Scottish Summer calendar – The Fringe Festival! Over the course of August, Edinburgh plays host to a range of comedy, music, theatre and lots more! The Royal Mile becomes a place where interactive adverts for shows fill the streets and the human traffic is almost unbearable.
So if you’re taking a trip through to the capital for a taste of the Fringe, here are two of my favourite Edinburgh restaurants to try when you need to refuel!
First up is Cafe Marlayne, which has two different spots within the city; one on Antigua Street just down from The Playhouse and a second in the centre of town on Thistle Street. The menu has changed since I last visited but has a lot of variety as well as being quite refined. Main options include lamb, guinea fowl, steak burger and a range of fish. The lunch menu is slightly shorter but still has a good mix of meat and fish. I had a stunning partridge dish with gnocchi, pancetta and peas – delicious! The desserts change regularly but I had a wonderful white chocolate and pistachio cake which was so light and moreish, I’ve been trying to find a recipe to recreate it ever since but to no avail! Price wise at Cafe Marlayne, two courses will cost you around £12-15 which isn’t too bad for the quality of food they deliver.
My second recommendation is quite possibly my favourite restaurant in Edinburgh and is situated right in the heart of the festival on Victoria Street – you’ll have to brave the human traffic on the Royal Mile to get to this little gem; The Grain Store. The evening menu is quite expensive, with main courses starting at just under £20, however, during the day, you can get three courses for a measly £15 – which is exactly what I did for my birthday on Friday.
The Grain Store is a small but stunning fine dining spot with brick walls and a really rustic feel to it. The thing that will rack your bill up at The Grain Store are obviously the drinks but the menu is great value for money and three courses left me feeling perfectly full! I had black pudding with apple to start which had a lovely texture and just fell apart. Main was pork belly with kale and mustard mash – I love pork belly – followed by vanilla panna cotta, yum!
Edinburgh has a lot of fine dining restaurants and there are many more that I still need to sample myself, these are my two picks to get you fine dining on a budget during the festival. Of course, if you don’t want to go fancy, there is plenty of street food to be had and lots of pub grub. If you are in Edinburgh this weekend, be sure to visit the Foodie Festival in Inverleith, including cooking demonstrations from professional chefs and lots of free samples!
Other places to try include Wedgewood on the Royal Mile for a more luxurious fine dining experience. Again, they have a lunch deal which includes three courses for around £17. Or, if you’re looking for good food on an even tighter budget, there’s always Ricks. Ricks is very central, located on Frederick Street and has great cheap menus – at lunch, two main courses for £10 or at dinner, two courses for £10. The food ranges from fish cakes to thai curry so will suit the more fussy eaters out there but the quality is good enough to satisfy the foodie looking for a quick meal.
No matter where you choose to eat, you’ll enjoy soaking up the great atmosphere of the festival and the many free events available on a daily basis. So don’t feel too sad the Commonwealth Games is over, there’s a month long festival just beginning!