Ailsa Sheldon selects her pick of the best food stops in the capital for hungry festival-goers...


The tagline is ‘big hot sandwiches’ and these are a joy to behold. The huge wedge sandwiches are made with freshly baked focaccia and never hold back on fillings. Try the fried chicken caesar: garlic buttermilk chicken, bacon butter, caesar mayo, house pickles and salad.

94 Buccleuch Street


Over the last few years the food offerings in the southside have flourished in response to the diverse student population – great news for everybody. Korean Munchies sells a range of deep fried Korean comfort foods, but also zesty fresh bibimbap bowls with sushi rice, crunchy vegetables, a choice of protein and a fiery gochujang sauce.

26 Nicolson St


You’ll find this Grassmarket ice cream bar by looking for the queue. It’s worth joining: the gelato is incredible and the scoopers are very efficient. Along with a few familiar flavours, expect the unexpected: chocolate with cayenne and cinnamon, mango and cumin, bergamot and figs. Mary makes the gelato daily and the flavours are always changing: a good excuse to get back in the queue.

The National:

19 Grassmarket


Another great venue where the name doesn’t leave you guessing. The deep bowls of noodles have full flavoured broths and fresh noodles. Service is quick and fuss-free, with wipe-clean menus and pictures of the dishes on the walls. Students love it, and you will too.

23 S. Clerk St. Tel: 0131 662 1222


ESF makes street food easy: grab a table then order using the app from 12 permanent and a handful of visiting street food vendors (paper menus and low-tech ordering also available). Favourites here include Bundits bao buns and Softcore ice cream and cookies.

The National:

Leith Street


Now offering a great lunch menu all week, the grand dining room at Hawksmoor is a refuge from the busy city centre. Steaks and burgers are the specialty with high-welfare meat always on the menu. The express menu is available at lunchtime and early evenings every Monday to Saturday. On Sundays take some time away from the fray and book in for a roast.

23 West Register Street


A student staple for decades, Palmyra still hits all the right notes and has saved many a night out. You can’t go wrong with a falafel and salad wrap with hummus wrapped in a giant khobz wrap.

22 Nicolson St,


The broth at Ikigai Ramen is cooked for eight hours, but you’ll only wait a few minutes to tuck into a deep bowl of home made ramen packed with pork, egg and vegetables.

The National:

29-30 Southbridge


With day-glo decor and an upbeat vibe, Paradise Palms is a great spot to refuel right beside all the action at Bristo Square. The menu is based around burger and fries, and is vegan by default (veggie by request). Warning: you may find the cocktail menu makes you stick around longer than planned.

41 Lothian Street


To get you going in the morning or for a mid afternoon pick me up, head to Modern Standard for a Momentum espresso. Don’t miss an opportunity for an incredible sourdough pastry from Wild Hearth. Relax in the café or find a leafy spot on nearby Bruntsfield Links.

49 Barclay Place


Leftfield is the perfect neighbourhood bistro, and will provide a welcome balm after a long day of shows. Cosy, elegant and welcoming, with enviable views over Bruntsfield Links, this family run restaurant never fails to charm.

Try chargrilled octopus, red pepper tapenade, pickled cucumber and potatoes, or slow cooked beef brisket with buttered kale, Lanark white and truffle oil, with a glass of organic wine.

12 Barclay Terrace


A brilliant spot for a feast, but also possible to be in and out quickly if you’re pushed for time. The tapas-style Indian dishes are great for sharing and have a brilliant depth of flavour. The aloo saag dosa is a speciality.

The National:

3-5 Infirmary St


Sometimes you just need sugar. Considerit doughnuts will give you the delightfully decadent boost you need, and they’re all vegan. I don’t know how they do it (probably magic). Is yours a matcha and pistachio, or strawberries and cream?

3, 5A Sciennes


I think there’s always time for oysters, and these are the finest in town. A seat at the bar and a dozen of the best is a real treat. Oyster happy hour is Tuesday to Friday, 5.30pm – 6.30pm. Book your table, and shows, accordingly.

The National:

2 George IV Bridge


Freshly moved into larger premises, we can’t wait to see what Pomelo have on their summer menus. The award-winning chef is famous for his fat hand-ripped noodles, but there’s never a dull dish on Jun Au’s Sichuan-peppercorn infused menus.

27 Sciennes Road


I expected good things from Junk, winners of the European Street Food awards and one of the most exciting vendors at Edinburgh Street Food. But this, the team’s first restaurant, exceeds every expectation and deserves to be very busy this summer.

A cool but comfortable industrial-style interior gives little away about what’s to come, all the excitement is kept on the menu. Junk is sharing plate style with a brief description of each dish so we happily dot around the menu.

The National:

First up a wafer-thin filo cone of barbequed langoustine with a cherry hot sauce, and a teaspoon of Bloody Mary granita to scoop on top. It’s a little comical, with a serious flavour hit.

An addictive hot and sour soup follows, with pickled ginger, cucumber and Thai basil. It arrives with a large crispy ball full of tender Loch Fyne crabmeat and potato. Sensational. Also a hit is the pulled lamb ‘taco’, rich barbecued meat between two crunchy dumpling shells, garnished with pickled onions.

Crispy mushrooms on a gochujang pancake with a chive and chilli hollandaise is another success: I don’t know why it works, but the combination is incredible.

Each dish dazzles: somehow we devour a whole barbequed mackerel in rich coconut cashew Rendang sauce. The juicy fish easily yields from the bone and the barbeque char is a harmonious match for the sweetness of the sauce.

The National:

In short, Junk is a dining experience that should not be missed, the couple behind Junk clearly have fun creating and naming the dishes, but the culinary skills and complex flavours at play are show-stopping, and the hospitality is top notch. The best way to experience Junk is to go for the ‘Dealer’s Choice’. At £25 at lunchtime and £32 in the evenings it’s incredible value. The chefs will prepare you their best dishes plus some off-menu surprises.

58 South Clerk Street