Why go? For appallingly good fine dining, and some of the best contemporary Scottish cuisine in, well Scotland.
There’s little doubt that The Ubiquitous Chip, opened by Ronnie Clydsedale back in 1971, is among the very best of Glasgow’s restaurants. Clysedale’s family still runs the place, and the Chip holds its own on the West End’s picturesque Ashton Lane. It was one of the first places in Scotland to champion contemporary native cuisine, and in many respects remains the last word on the subject. If you feel like splashing out, go the whole hog and eat at the main restaurant, situated on the ground floor in the wonderfully ambient courtyard, where you dine amid ponds and greenery.
Why go? For solidly reliable plates of Scottish produce with a Mod-European spin at a veteran restaurant.
Despite the name, there are in fact several of the proverbial fat ladies all over Glasgow – since the first was launched at 88 Dumbarton Road (hence the bingo-based name), it has expanded to a handful of locations. This one – Two Fat Ladies at the Buttery – took over from a destination diner in 2007 and of all their branches is the most formal.
Why go? For a slice of Brooklyn-esque cool on one Finnieston’s buzziest streets.
Recognised as one of the top contenders in Argyll Street fine-dining (an area transformed from scruffy to hip in recent years), The Gannet should be on every Glaswegian foodie’s list. Less than a year after it opened its doors, it bagged a Bib Gourmand award for quality dining at moderate prices. The owner-chefs, Peter McKenna and Ivan Stein, preside over slick contemporary Scottish plates.
Why go? For elegant dishes in an upscale West Regent Street location from a seasoned chef at the top of his game.
An upscale spot spearheaded by Brian Maule, a veteran of Michel Roux Jr’s Le Gavroche in London. This classy West Regent Street dining room strikes the perfect blend of style and substance – with just the right touch of decadence applied to the Scottish haute-cuisine plates. A great spot for those occasions where the boat requires some further pushing out.
Why go? For excellent pub staples at a hip West End café-restaurant with a roughspun feel.
Taken from an old Gaelic word that means ‘to wander aimlessly with intent’, Stravaigin’s vibe is kind of stylishly rustic: exposed stone walls, an open fire, timber roof beams and an iron staircase. The café-bar menu sticks to pub-grub classics, while options from the restaurant menu include mains of za’atar-spiced mackerel, ras el hanout lamb neck and pan-seared cod.
Why go? For a fresh, casual, canteen-style setup at Glasgow’s first Vietnamese restaurant.
This canteen-style establishment opened in 2012 to a chorus of buzz. And it really is irresistable: wooden benches, bright plastic stools, and a decidedly informal vibe. Food comes out as and when it’s ready, so make sure you order to share. Oh, and pay attention to their formidable cocktails list.
Why go? For uber-affordable vegan plates and buzzing weekend nights.
This Finnieston haunt does the whole vegan not only deliciously but affordably too. Big plates cost between £7 and £9, and students can get a 20 percent discount every Tuesday. Standouts include the (oh-so-trendy) jackfruit shawarma and the Japanese tofu curry, and there’s a sizeable list of beers on offer here too. It’s open until 1am on Friday and Saturdays, when DJs and other musicans offer a soundtrack.
Why go? For proudly sourced Scottish seafood at a suitably rustic Argyll Street location. Their kilo of mussels is the perfect sharing plate, along with something from the cocktails list.
Having opened in 2011 in what used to be Café Bayan, this seafood restaurant-cum-cocktail bar crested the wave of new openings (if you’ll forgive the sea pun). With its wooden beams, cosy booths and general weather-worn feel, this place does have the feel of a seasfront cabin. And the menu duly follows suit: the West Kilbride oysters, blue shell Shetland mussels and suchlike are all Scottish-sourced and as fresh as can be.
Why go? For excellent brews and a big beer garden to enjoy them in – alongside a requisite bratwurst.
This Bavarian-style microbrewery and beer hall/restaurant prides itself on a ‘Glaswegian Heart’ and ‘German Head’ – and it’s a marriage that clearly works, since WEST is hugely popular. The food, drawing on both traditional Bavarian and Scottish cuisine, is great, from gherkin salads to schnitzel to, yes, bratwurst. As it gets more lively in the evenings to the sound of clinking steins, it really does have the feeling of a genuine Teutonic beer hall.
Why go? For a dining experience in swish neoclassical classical surroundings with (no hate) distinctly un-Glaswegian dishes.
Blythswood Square’s resident restaurant is among the fanciest places to eat in Glasgow. The à la carte here does the typical line in steak and fish dishes, but with all the flair and sophistication you’d expect of haute cuisine – dishes are just as pretty as the boutique-style surroundings.
Why go? For what’s still a relative rarity in Glasgow: a genuinely good Japanese food spot, albeit one with plenty of deep-fried treats on the menu to keep the townsfolk happy.
You’ll find Nanakusa situated behind an unassuming, slightly odd looking wood-panelled frontage. The ethos here is a curious blend of traditional Japanese and Scottish cooking techniques. They do a particularly decent range of bento boxes, which offer a great cross-section of the menu: miso soup, chicken teriyaki, tempura, sashimi, steamed rice and more.
Why go? To get a piece of Glasgow’s reigning curry house, and a few Scottish-esque treats like oven-spiced haddock.
Not only is Mother India – as the name suggests – the ruling matriarch of all Glaswegian curry houses, it ranks among the best in Britain. This is chiefly because it eschews all the usual BIR suspects in favour of more leftfield dishes: look out for fiendishly plates of chilli garlic chicken dosas or a lamb raan sharer for two.
Why go? For top-notch cooked breakfasts at a top-notch, all-purpose Hyndland Street diner.
Coming in the wake of the deli, Delizique (now relocated to two doors away on Hyndland Street), this is one of the few places in Glasgow that has every meal of the day absolutely covered, from its slap-up cooked breakfasts to its fresh quiches and salads to its signature house burger. Morning, noon or night, you’ll be fine at Cafezique.
Why go? For swish, lesser-experienced Indian plates at a self-respecting restaurant.
Another off-kilter curry house, Dahkin has been delivering Southern Indian dishes to the natives of Glasgow for over a decade. The signature order at this swish, well-presented spot is undoubtedly the dosa: Indian lentil-based, griddle-cooked crepes that are filled with all manner of tasty, spicy fillings.
Why go? For the tapas-focused facet of the behemoth of the Glasgwegian curry scene, and tried-and-tested classics done to perfection.
This offshoot of Mother India puts a charming tapas spin on its Subcontinental cuisine – and trust us, the format works. Fish and potato fritters, vegetable pakora, lamb karahi, aloo gobi with green beans: they’re all delivered matchlessly at this Argyle Street location.
Why go? For a seat at one of the city’s best seafood restaurants, and a daily specials board that’s always worth a gander.
This being Scotland, you’ll never struggle to find somewhere in Glasgow that sells seafood. But the Finnieston-based Crabshakk is known above others for serving some of the best Scottish-sourced seafood in the city. It does often get quite cheek-by-jowl in here on a busy weekend night, but it all adds to the informal buzz.
Why go? For plates that are hard to pin down in provenance, but are all fun, inventive and tasty.
Ox and Finch opened in the spring of 2014, and to a swift impact. It wasn’t long before this Sauchiehall Street restaurant bagged a Bib Gourmand commendation for good food at affordable prices in the following edition of the Michelin Guide. Its small plates have a Mediterranean-meets-Scotland feel, and are all perfect to tuck into with a group of pals.
Why go? For proper sleeves-rolled-up plates and (of course) a formidable drinks selection at this US-style dive.
This upscale bourbon joint and restaurant – named after Charles Bukowski’s liquor-soaked literary alter-ego Hank Chinask – is a damn sight classier than the kind of Los Angeles dives in which the grizzled old barfly would routinely haunt. Food is modelled after crude truckstop staples, but are executed with sophistication, while there’s a huge selection of whiskies and other spirits to take your pick of.
Why go? For ever-changing Scottish cuisine that showcases locally sourcest, highest-quality ingredients.
Cail Bruich opened in the West End in 2006, and remains a decidedly upmarket proposition for the folks of Glasgow. They take the seasonal menu approach very seriously here – only British produce is used, while the drink selection comes from Scottish traders. But if you’re unsure where to start, give their highly affordable tasting menu a go.
Why go? For seafood dishes given an international spin in a chic West George Street location.
Gamba resides in a basement location on West George Street, and with unassuming confidence serves up a variety of playful, inventive seafood dishes. It’s hard to name the origins of this various plates, but flavours like wasabi, pickled ginger and fig jam keep it all zingy and appetising. Their pre-theatre menu is a great shout for those who want to drop in earlier in the evening.
Why go? For slick Modern European plates at a destination diner – with a great prix de fixe if you don’t want to break the bank.
A slew of different food ventures have opened and closed on these premises over the years – and in 2006, the Hotel du Vin chain came along to try their luck. Vegetarians will be pleased to know they have their very own à la carte menu to choose from, while everyone else will also be plenty happy with confit sea trout, lamb saddle and other delicious offerings.
Why go? For cosy vibes and a surprisingly affordable à la carte menu at this Byres Road cubbyhole.
This sweet little two-level venue has been around since 1999, and has garnered a dedicated crowd of patrons. If you don’t mind rubbing shoulders a bit, you’ll have a lovely time here tucking into the ever-reliable Euro-bistro menu, featuring dishes like braised ox cheek and pan-roasted fillet of halibut.
Why go? For sumptuous art-deco surroundings in a decades-old Glaswegian institution that serves a line of seafood classics.
Surely the oldest restaurant on our list, Rogano’s 80-odd-year lifespan is at least one sign that it’s getting stuff right. And, okay, if its reputation has risen and fallen with succeeding waves of management over the years, it’s currently on a high. The à la carte dishes here contain seafood and roast classics –and yes, the bill will be at the higher end of the spectrum, but you’ll understand in such surroundings.
Why go? For seared Barra scallops, grilled sole fillet and other soul-nourishing seafood at a coolly confident newcomer in South Glasgow.
The phrase ‘south of the river’ is still one that a lot of Glasgow gourmands will balk at – but given that Fish People is next to door to Shields Road subway station, which is just a few stops from Buchanan Street station in the town centre, it’s really very little effort to get here. Don’t let the mention of café in the name suggest this is purely a daytime spot: it has a sophisticated à la carte, plus a bar.