The best places to visit for food and drink during the Edinburgh International Book Festival

From decadent dinners, to social enterprise sandwiches, there's something for all tastes in and around this year's Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Published 13th Aug 2018
Updated 9 th Aug 2023

With the Edinburgh International Book Festival in full swing, we take a look at the best places to grab a drink or bite to eat if you're visiting the capital.

Social Bite

(131 Rose St, Edinburgh EH2 3DT and 89 Shandwick Place, EH2 4SD)

A not for profit organisation that offers tasty food at cheap prices, Social Bite is Edinburgh’s favourite social enterprise.

Frequented by those living on the street and Hollywood stars alike, this venue serves up well crafted meals alongside commendable social schemes which make a visible difference.

A quarter of employees are previously homeless and their rewards system ensures that with each purchase you contribute towards a free meal for someone in need.

Voyage of Buck

(29-31 William Street, EH3 7NF)

Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Picture: Voyage of Buck, supplied

Step back in time to the early 1900’s and join your host William “Buck” Clarence at his home, on William Street in the heart of Edinburgh’s fashionable West End.

The Voyage of Buck’s story begins when young William, then residing in London, fled the UK with Prince Albert Victor following the Cleveland Street Scandal of 1889.

After many years travelling the globe, Buck returned to his beloved Edinburgh bringing with him some flavours and experiences from his travels.

The Rosehip

(43 Rose St, EH2 2NH)


Picture: The Rosehip

For fresh, tasty pub food and a wee dram, you can’t go wrong with the Rosehip.

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There are over 200 single malt whiskies to choose from, as well as a whole host of delicious dishes.

The quirky decor is a delight, which is best enjoyed while tucking into line-caught haddock, expertly battered and served with chips.

You can’t go wrong with the pie of the day either, and make sure to look out for the seasonal mains too.

83 Hanover Street

(83 Hanover Street, EH2 1EE)


Picture: Tony McGuire

83 Hanover Street is the first dining project from the former Gleneagles restaurant manager and current 99 Hanover Street owner, Juan Jose Castillo Castro.

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Chilean born Juan says his newest venture will follow the same template as its sister bar accompanied by some modern South American cuisine.

83 Hanover Street offers a modern menu of small plates showcasing fabulous Scottish ingredients prepared simply and playing tribute to Juan’s multicultural upbringing with influences of Chilean and Swedish cuisine.

Brasserie Prince

(1 Princes Street, EH2 2EQ)

Brasserie Prince by Alain Roux

Picture: Brasserie Prince by Alain Roux

Opened in June, Brasserie Prince at the Balmoral Hotel has chef Alain Roux at the helm, with his father Michael Roux keeping a watchful eye over proceedings.

Diners should expect a strong French influence and chic surroundings, with dishes like onion soup, frogs’ legs and coq au vin on the menu.

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Indigo Yard

(7 Charlotte Ln, EH2 4QZ)


Picture: Indigo Yard Facebook

This west end restaurant and bar has long been a favourite of Edinburgh residents and visitors thanks to its range of cocktails and selection of good food.

This August tuck into the restaurant's latest artisan menu or enjoy a cocktail or two in the busy bar or terrace.

Panda and Sons

(79 Queen St, EH2 4NF)

Lose yourself in Panda and Sons – a hidden bar fusing the classic Prohibition style Speakeasy and a nod to the Vintage style Barbershop.

Located in the basement (behind a secret bookcase door) of a red painted, vintage style Barber shop on the corner of Queen Street, Panda and Sons has been very popular since its opening in 2013, and serves an array of cocktails, craft beers and more.

Waldorf Astoria

(Princes St, EH1 2AB)

The glamorous Waldorf Astoria Hotel, fondly known as “The Caley”  was originally one of the great railway station hotels of its time, and nothing says peace and quiet more than the grandeur of a stately, five star hotel.

Now visitors can enjoy Afternoon Tea in Peacock Alley, which was originally the old station concourse, fine dining in The Galvin Brother’s restaurant The Pompadour or a whisky or two in The Caley Bar.

Choose from classic cocktails, a wide range of Scotch Whiskies, fine wines and Champagnes, soft drinks and hot beverages, all served in the stylish, luxurious surroundings.

The Ivy on the Square

(6 St Andrew Square EH2 2BD)


Picture: The Ivy on the Square, Facebook

For an upmarket lunch, decadent dinner or a cocktail or two, head to The Ivy on the Square.

Opened last year, The Ivy on the Square is the Ivy Collection's first outlet in Scotland - with one in Glasgow due to open later this year.

To celebrate their sponsorship of the Edinburgh International Book Fair, the restaurant have recently introduced a limited edition dessert to the menu.

The Cranachan Chocolate Bombe – a sweet treat with raspberries, toasted oatmeal and vanilla ice cream encased in a chocolate dome, served with honey and whisky sauce – will be available at the restaurant from the 3rd to the 27th August.

At the venue


Picture: Edinburgh International Book Festival Facebook

Edinburgh Gin cafe bar

(Signing tent, Charlotte Square Gardens, EH2 4HQ)

Enjoy a G&T or gin cocktail in the grounds of the festival at the Edinburgh Gin cafe bar.

The cafe bar also serves up homemade dishes including a variety of breakfast items, summer salads, tasty soups and sandwiches, and freshly baked cakes.

Book shop cafe bar

(In the bookshop, Charlotte Square Gardens, EH2 4HQ)

A great place to start the day - thanks to their selection of Fairtrade coffees - the book shop cafe bar also has a range of homemade soups, sandwiches and cakes for an afternoon pick-me-up.

Spiegeltent café bar

(Charlotte Square Gardens, EH2 4HQ)

Relax in the 1930s-style bar, which serves signature cocktails and snacks including hot dogs, popcorn and corn nachos.

There's also a Spiegeltent, mini-bar, drinks pod that is open from 11am and is the perfect place to grab a hot drink, beer or wine from.

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