Edinburgh Festival Fringe comedians share their favourite restaurants, pubs and cafes in the capital

Jason Byrne, Nina Conti and others share their haunts

By Gaby Soutar
Wednesday, 27th July 2022, 4:45 pm
Updated Thursday, 28th July 2022, 4:36 pm
Jess Robinson Pic: Karla Gowlett
Jess Robinson Pic: Karla Gowlett

What do you call fake spaghetti? An impasta.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe’s veteran comedians are very welcome to this joke, which comes with guaranteed tumbleweed.

Although the below performers don’t focus on food-related material, their humour is fueled by the capital’s restaurants, bars and cafes. Nobody is funny when they’re hangry.

Jason Byrne

Here are a few of their recommendations in advance of this year’s event.

Jason Byrne: Unblocked at Underbelly, McEwan Hall, 5-28 August, 7.30pm, tickets £19.50 and The Paddy Lama – Shed Talks, Underbelly Jersey, same dates, 2.30pm, tickets £11.50

“1. Saltwater. It’s great to take your fish supper to the Meadows and eat while people-watching at the pitch and putt.

2. Canny Man’s is the best pub in Edinburgh. There is so much character – hours will pass in a flash looking at all of the stuff on the wall. The Sunday lunch of roast beef with all the trimmings is absolutely beautiful.

Nina Conti Pic: TT Crockett

3. The Sheep Heid Inn is a wonderful pub that looks out onto Arthur’s Seat. Everything I’ve had here has been tasty. I particularly remember the scallops and salmon – both cooked to perfection.”

Nina Conti: The Dating Show at Pleasance Grand, August 5-28, 6.30pm, tickets £16.50

“We lost the keys to our flat in Lothian Road, and I got take outs from Indaba whilst we waited for the locksmith. A neighbour happened to be throwing out their rug which turned it into a full stair picnic. The locksmith came and swiped us in with some kinda magic credit card and charged us five times what the dinner cost. The food was delicious and I look forward to eating there this year.”

Jess Robinson: Legacy at The Pleasance Courtyard, 5-28 August, 9.20pm, tickets £13

“I have to mention Cold Town House on The Grassmarket. It brews its own beer and the roof terrace has such stunning views of the castle. It's a great place to escape during the mayhem of the festival. As well as the atmosphere and beer, they serve THE BEST Neapolitan pizza. When you order this - and you must - don't wear white. It's quite a soupy, messy pizza with a thinner than thin base so it can be tricky to eat. But it's worth every yummy slurp and every delicious stain.

When I'm over in the New Town, Badger & Co is the place to be. Inspired by The Wind In The Willows, the atmosphere is cosy and more traditional. You know you'll be looked after. My favourite thing to order is the lobster roll - a butter-brushed toasted brioche stuffed with half a lobster, drizzled in more melted butter. It's insanely delicious and I swear that the butter cures a hangover. Lastly, when I'm in need of a bit of comfort, I go to Olly Bongo’s near Bristo Square. I've been back every year since 2014 and probably spend a third of August sitting in the window seat and watching the world go by. It's such a regular haunt that they know my name and order; simple but delicious homemade vegetable moussaka and fresh salad. It's reasonably priced comfort food which sets me up for my show. I just hope I can fit into my outfit.”

Sindhu Vee: Alphabet at Pleasance Courtyard between 18-28 August, 6.30pm, tickets £14

“I haven't been to the Fringe since 2019 so I’m worried that I won't get to eat and drink at some of these superb places. I’m doing daily prayers and manifesting exercises to counter my fears. As a vegetarian who hates vegetables or salad, Edinburgh during the Fringe is heaven for me. My daily stop is the Cheesy Toast Shack van outside Gilded Balloon, but whenever I feel I need vegetables I go to Tanjore in Clerk Street. Best dosas EVER. And as a Tamilian, I am an expert.

Drinks wise I am a whisky person so literally any place in Edinburgh is perfect. The Whisky Snug at Hotel du Vin almost finished me off in 2019, and I can't wait to be back.”

Jack Barry: Don’t Happy Be Worry at Monkey Barrel, 5-28 August, 10.40pm, tickets £8

“I'm licking my lips in anticipation of heading back to the finest eatery in Scotland: the Crepe & Waffle House van in George Square. I don't know where it travels for the rest of the year, probably around the world blowing people's minds, like the magic school bus, but with crepes. It stays open until 4am, so you can stop and watch them cook on the hot stones as you're drunkenly walking home. On multiple occasions I've left a night out early to make sure I can get a crepe before it shuts. I always get ham and cheese, because I'm basic. The Brass Monkey has got to be the best pub. It's so simple, there are beds for people to lie down on. Why hasn't everyone else thought of this? My two favourite things in the world are getting pissed and bed, and the Brass Monkey is the only place those two ideas can marry without people calling it a mental health crisis. Every pub in the world would be improved by 300 per cent with the addition of beds.”

Amy Gledhill and Christopher Cantrill of The Delightful Sausage: Nowt But Sea, Monkey Barrel Comedy, 5-28 August (not 17th), 12.45pm, tickets £7

"We’ve done the first show of the day at Monkey Barrel Comedy since 2018, so breakfast at The City Cafe has become part of our pre-show ritual. The staff are lovely, plus we’re big fans of Americana and full Scottish breakfasts. Although Chris learned the hard way that if you eat one every day for a month then you will do a burp that smells like a fart (fact-checked by his poor, poor wife).”