A multi-venue mini-empire in the Merchant City, where you can feed on everything from oysters to pizzas
This Albion Street restaurant empire just keeps on growing. Founded way back in 1979 in the premises of an old cheesemonger’s by photography enthusiast Iain Mackenzie (the title Gandolfi comes from a classic camera brand), Café Gandolfi was a trendsetter in the Merchant City at a time when the area was still severely down-at-heel, and a long way from becoming the eating and drinking hotspot it is today. Since then the business has expanded to include Bar Gandolfi (opened 2002), Gandolfi Fish (opened 2007), and takeaway outlet Gandolfi Fish to Go (opened 2011).
With its rustic chunky sanded pine tables and fittings, stylish white-tiled walls, and mood of venerable glamour, the café remains the heart of the Gandolfi operation. It’s all about seasonal, local produce food-wise – from Cullen skink to haggis, neeps and tatties from Cockburns of Dingwall to smoked venison with gratin dauphinoise from Rannoch Smokery – while the wine list must be one of the longest in town. Upstairs, Bar Gandolfi does much the same food as at the café (the two share a kitchen), with the addition of a pizza menu, all served in much quieter, more discreet surrounds.
Gandolfi Fish inhabits its own ground-floor premises a few steps along Albion Street from the café, and does seafood from Scottish waters – particularly up around Skye – with a quality that’s rarely rivalled. Think Cumbrae oysters, west coast crab, whole sea bass and monkfish, each served with sides of your choosing from gratin dauphinoise to good old fashioned chips and mushy peas.
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64 Albion Street
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