Tasty and quick near Charlotte Square, Edinburgh
We'll be coming to Edinburgh in August, mainly for the book festival and probably some fringe shows thrown into the mix. This is not the trip for lingering 4 course meals, but we'd still like to eat something delicious and not-to-be-found-elsewhere. Your recommendations for pub meals, ethnic food, good picnic supplies, all gratefully received.
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For "picnic supplies" with an Italian flavor, the famous Valvona & Crolla deli is highly recommended.
I find Valvona & Crolla sells things at a significantly higher price than other shops and the deli counter is not very diverse. I'm partial to their chocolate donuts and white sourdough. Given its location it would be a trip to the other side of town for its own sake, which I don't think its worth it and the bread products can be found at the Farmers Market which is a good place to pick up picnic supplies - open Saturday mornings. I like a pork pie and scotch egg from Ballencrief stall (rare breed pig people - not there every week).
Not far from Charlotte Square - ten minutes at the most is Stockbridge. There's a producers market on Thursday afternoons and Sunday Mornings. Stockbridge has a few delis for supplies, Henri's a french place and Herbies (I think its still open) does lovely bread and IJ Mellis for cheese (be prepared to spend a fortune). Peters Yard has just opened up (not popped in yet) - if they have their full range of bakery items a cardamon bun or any of their buns are good to pick up. For cheese track down some Biggar Blue/Dunsyre Blue/Lanark Blue at the producers market if you can - that's not something easily found elsewhere, my favourite at the Moment is the Biggar Blue. There's nice pubs with a wide range of beers - Stockbridge Tap often hosts beer events and Kay Bar on the way to Stockbridge from Charlotte Square does whiskies.
Next to Charlotte Square is the Cambridge bar which is known for its burgers and always busy. Bit large for me, I prefer the ones at Red Squirrel which is five minutes from Charlotte Square or Holyrood 9A which will be near the Pleasance for the fringe. Good ever changing beer selection. If you're around the Pleasance for the fringe then you'll be near the indian places - Mother India Cafe and Tanjore for your fried chilli idli and dosas.
For things not found elsewhere - you'll need a full breakfast with stornaway black pudding and haggis - Urban angel is the most central place I can think of that does both.
David, I'm not sure that I could recommend another store like V and C, never mind an Italian deli. V and C is certainly an experience however I would also agree with Orchid's comments that it is very pricey. There are other top end delis around Edinburgh such as Victor Hugo and Henri's that do not have the tourist premium although they do not stock as much either.
Going back to the OP, I'm not sure what you'd class as unique to Edinburgh. Orchid has certainly covered off some good places. In the location of C square, I'd consider Illegal Jacks for their lunch offer on burrito. Cheap and perfect for a flying lunch. If you're looking for Scottish experience then you want some of the pubs such as the Guildford Arms. Food is ok but it's secondary to the beer!
Thanks so much for all yours suggestions. I was feeling sad about getting in too late on a Saturday to go the the Farmer's Market, so am glad to know abut the Producers' Market on Sunday! And it's great to have some specific cheeses to watch out for. I will certainly try to fit in brunch at Urban Angel as well. I'm also relieved to have some well-regarded pubs to pick out from the bewildering array! And the posts in the recent "Good everyday dinner" thread have been very helpful, too.