The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the biggest arts festival in the world, with more than 3,500 shows. This year, Playbill is in Edinburgh for the entire month in August for the festival and we’re taking you with us. Follow along as we cover every single aspect of the Fringe, aka our real-life Brigadoon!
Between shows at Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the multitudes of delicious food options are amongst the best places to visit and fuel up before your next play. While almost any kind of food is findable between Edinburgh's many restaurants and Fringe-related pop-up food stands, I spent a lot of my time at the festival on the hunt for the city's best baked goods. And Edinburgh delivered.
From some traditional shortbread and scones to more exciting fare, the bakeries of Edinburgh are themselves worth getting yourself to Scotland with or without Fringe. Seeking them out also ended up being a nice way of perusing the various neighborhoods of Edinburgh, often offering a reprieve from the somewhat intense crowds that surround the Fringe venues.
Here are some of my favorite bakeries around Edinburgh.
Mimi's Little Bakehouse
You can find several of these in Edinburgh (including a pop-up in the Fringe's Pleasance Courtyard), but it was the Royal Mile location of Mimi's Little Bakehouse that I passed by most days on my way to shows. This quaint little space has some comfortable places to sit, serves a mean cup of tea, and has an array of really delicious baked goods to satisfy your sweet tooth. My personal favorite was a brownie topped with a schmear of speculoos. For the uninitiated, speculoos cookies might be better known as Biscoff cookies, familiar to anyone who's flown Delta. Warmly spiced, speculoos cookies are a particular favorite of mine.
But it really gets real when they make it into speculoos or Biscoff spread, which transforms the delicious cookies into a schmear with the consistency of peanut butter. I was introduced to its brilliance by New York's Wafels & Dinges food trucks, but it's not super common in the U.S. And thus, I was thrilled arriving in Edinburgh and quickly learning that Scots are big Biscoff fans—it's quite literally everywhere, and I ate it in almost every form I could get my hands on. If you've never had it before, do yourself a favor and fix that as soon as you get to Edinburgh—or better yet, now from home. Trader Joe's sells it as cookie butter, and sometimes you can find jars of creamy and crunchy (my personal favorite) Biscoff Spread at fancier grocery stores.
Mimi's takes things up a notch by also offering a full selection of ice cream, gelato, and sorbet. Sometimes the mouth wants something cold, and Mimi's is there for you.
I ended up in this cute little shop after seeing a video about it on TikTok. As I sat eating my selections, I heard no less than three other groups come in and share they too had found this gem via TikTok, so good job Preacher's for getting the word out—you're officially viral!
Now being run by the third generation of the Preacher family, Preacher's Patisserie specializes in breakfast, making it a great spot to start the day. You can get rolls with Scottish standbys like haggis and black pudding. But they also have a good old-fashioned bacon, egg, and cheese—all made fresh to order with uniquely Scottish ingredients. They're famous for their cherry and almond scones, which is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to delicious baked goods here.
A short walk from Edinburgh Castle in Old Town, this spot is also just down the street from Grassmarket Square. Hit the square before or after visiting Preacher's and you'll find several Fringe venues and some excellent shopping opportunities—its east side is the base of the famed Victoria Street (the real-life inspiration for Diagon Alley in Harry Potter).
In the U.K., baking doesn't have to be sweet. Europe embraces savory bakes much more than we do in the U.S., and honestly we're missing out. Mòr Bakehouse has locations throughout Edinburgh, most conveniently in Hunter Square just off the Royal Mile and in the heart of the Festival Fringe. It's the perfect place to go and tuck in to a delicious meat pie.
Now, as you are a Playbill reader, it should be acknowledged that musical theatre has some unfortunate points of reference when it comes to meat pies. But do not worry, Mrs. Lovett had nothing to do with sourcing ingredients for these goodies. And they'll still have you singing, "God, that's good!" Traditional meat pies, Mòr's speciality, are deceptively simple—consisting of steak, potatoes, and gravy all wrapped up in a deliciously flaky pastry shell. That might not sound exciting, but take a bite, they're incredibly satisfying.
Mòr has some other options if you're feeling more adventurous, like lamb and mint, Red Thai chicken, and even haggis. But you really can't go wrong with a traditional steak pie. They're also shockingly filling and just £6.25, the perfect grab-and-go treat as you're running from show to show.
This bakery, a bit off the beaten path down by Edinburgh waterfront neighborhood of Leith, is maybe the most Instagrammable bakery I've ever been to. Everything Krema Bakehouse bakes is beautiful, made with precision in delightful shapes and colors that make you want to eat just about everything in sight.
I tried a Krema Brownie, richly topped with chocolate icing, some speculoos, and a Biscoff cookie (have you figured out the trend in my taste yet?). Biting into it felt decadent and luxurious, though their prices are in line with the other bakeries on this list. Refined looks in baked good sometimes mean that bakers are more concerned with looks than flavor, but that's certainly not happening at Krema—these sweet treats taste even better than they look.
This is also a fun one to visit because it takes you away from the hustle and bustle of Fringe's busiest areas. Leith is the section of Edinburgh that sits on the coast of Scotland, offering beautiful views of the Norwegian Sea. Wandering this part of town is refreshingly quiet and not touristy—you feel like you're in real Edinburgh. Leith is also where the Playbill FringeShip will be docked next year. If you come along for Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2024, make sure you check out Krema on your way to or from the ship!
We don't discriminate against the gluten free here at Playbill, so I made sure to check out this local favorite with an entirely gluten-free selection of pastries. I can't lie—I'm a big, big fan of gluten, so I definitely checked this one out with a raised eyebrow. But I shouldn't have. This spot is delicious, maybe even my favorite of all the bakeries in Edinburgh.
SugarDaddy's offers mostly sweet pastries, but they have some savory options and lunch-appropriate sandwiches available, too. All of it is world class, and has been perfectly formulated and baked to give the gluten experience to the gluten-free crowd. I tried a cinnamon roll bar and a SugarDaddy O, and both are among the best baked goods I've ever had the pleasure of tasting. They're also both vegan, one of SugarDaddy's several items that are not only gluten free but vegan as well. The cinnamon roll bar was exactly as ooey-gooey as you want it to be. The SugarDaddy O, which looks like it's going to be a fairly simple donut-like confection, has a surprisingly complex flavor that keeps going even after it's gone down the hatch.
This spot has a pretty good Fringe-adjacent location, too, just around the corner from Underbelly's The Meadow venue (dedicated to all things circus). Whether you have a show booked there or not, make a point to visit this one. Even if you eat gluten with as much abandon as I do, you'll be glad that you did.