Glasgow hardly lacks for café-bars or restaurants with haggis on the menu, Scotland's iconic pudding made from offal, oatmeal and spices. In the Merchant City quarter alone, there are at least half a dozen including the long-established Café Gandolfi on Albion Street while up the West End you find even more – not least Stravaigin on Gibson Street. Wherever you are in the city however, restaurant haggis is usually served with mashed swede (neeps) and mashed potato (tatties) or a mixture of the two (clapshot). This combo can be stacked with certain degree of artistry, it can appear in nouvelle scoops, it can be surrounded by whisky cream sauce or red wine jus. But where in Glasgow do you find the most iconic dish made from this traditional Scottish foodstuff? Is anyone serving it in new and innovative ways? Would it be sensible to hazard an opinion about the very best restaurant haggis in the city? Yeah, go on then…
97-99 Candleriggs, Glasgow G1 1NP, citymerchant.co.uk, 0141 553 1577. Open Mon-Sat noon-10.30pm, Sun 4.30pm-9.30pm
One of Glasgow's favourite restaurants for more than 25 years, the City Merchant has predominantly wooden décor, stained glass and something of a ship's cabin feel. Haggis crops up on the lunch and pre-theatre menus as well as the à la carte, hand-made in the restaurant kitchen. It stars on the plate in haggis, neeps and tatties but is also used in a supporting role to complement the flavour of other dishes: collops of beef for example. Some diners say that City Merchant does the best haggis bar none of any Glasgow eatery.
Mr Singh's India
149 Elderslie Street, Glasgow G3 7JR, mistersinghsindia.com, 0141 221 1542. Open Tue-Wed 5pm-10pm, Thu noon-10pm, Fri-Sat noon-11pm, Sun 3pm-10pm
Glasgow is very fond of its Indian restaurants, especially examples like Mr Singh's India which has been around for more than 20 years and remains a family business. The staff are friendly, the décor is modern while the menu takes haggis and makes a real go of Indo-Scottish fusion. This means a samosa stuffed with Indian spiced haggis, neeps and tatties; others starters incorporating haggis such as bhatura, pakora or poori; also main course curries of various types where you can choose haggis rather than the more familar chicken, lamb or prawn. It might sound weird but if you choose the right curry sauce, it works.
Republic Bier Halle
9 Gordon Street, Glasgow G1 3PL, republicbierhalle.com, 0141 204 0706. Open Mon-Sat noon-midnight, Sun 12.30pm-midnight. Food served until 10pm daily.
Now more than 15 years old, the Republic Bier Halle was a venue for craft beer before the phrase had been invented. In a basement near Central Station, the beer choice here is very wide indeed: there are Czech, German, Scottish and other types on draught; bottled beers from right round the planet. The food involves starters, salads, sandwiches, snacks and sharing boards but the main menu feature is 2-for-1 priced pizza, including haggis pizza. Far from being a gimmick, it's fabulous: tomato and mozzarella on a pizza base but with haggis from the award-winning South Lanarkshire butcher, Ramsay of Carluke.
12 Ashton Lane, Glasgow G12 8SJ, ubiquitouschip.co.uk, 0141 334 5007. Open Mon-Sat noon-2.30pm and 5pm-11pm, Sun 12.30pm-3pm and 5pm-11pm
Dating to 1971 and an absolute legend on the Glasgow restaurant scene, the Chip is far more than just a restaurant these days: it's a restaurant and brasserie with a number of dining areas, plus there are three bars on the premises – all with a distinctive Scottish flavour. Ever since the venue was launched however it has offered its very own venison haggis as starter. It comes with champit tatties, carrot crisp and neep cream – a vegetarian version is also available. Generations of Glaswegians have rhapsodised about 'the venison haggis at the Chip'.
Where The Monkey Sleeps
182 West Regent Street, Glasgow G2 4RU, monkeysleeps.com, 0141 226 3406. Open Mon-Fri 7am-3pm
Essentially a city centre takeaway with a few chairs for anyone who wants to grab a bite on the premises, this quirky little venue is big on rock music, bagels and panini. It does salads, soups and hot dishes too but there is an admirable ingenuity at work here that makes its sandwich fillings irresistible. Thar She Blows is a bagel with Macsween of Edinburgh haggis, red onion marmalade and mature cheddar; with the addition of chorizo it becomes the Meathammer bagel. Its Veggie Firewalker panini meanwhile has vegetarian haggis, mature cheddar, sun dried tomato, red onion, chilli and lemon juice. Those of simpler tastes could just choose a breakfast roll with haggis instead, served until late morning.