In a city that has yet to bag a Michelin star, Glasgow’s culinary scene is eclectic, vibrant, diverse, uninhibited and most importantly, evolving.
Edinburgh’s unstuffy sibling has suffered from a “food is for fuel approach” over the years, yet Glasgow is slowly waking up to the Scottish larder on its doorstep with a slew of ambitious chefs keen to carve out a food identity.
In a city already littered with Italian trattorias, curry houses and fast food joints, where you can pick and choose between Vietnamese, Spanish, Greek or Malaysian at any time of the day or week, there’s an uprising of modern and bold food to be found in pockets across this friendly city, just waiting to be discovered.
Here are a few of the best restaurants that have caught our eye on a visit to the city.
This relative newcomer is a welcome addition to the hot bed of independent bistros on this stretch of Argyle street. The bright and friendly interiors are matched by an equally approachable and colourful menu of sharing dishes. The head chef is Yotam Ottolenghi trained Rosie Healey and it shows in the Middle Eastern-influenced flavours, think tahini yoghurt, dukka, chilli and orange. The magic happens in an open plan kitchen behind the counter. And if you’re on your tod, you can pull comfortably pull up a pew at the counter and rejoice that you don’t won’t have to share the salted chcolate torte.
1126 Argyle Street, Glasgow G3 8TD
2. The Gannet
Cross over the street and discover The Gannet, Glasgow’s award-winning gastropub. It opened a few years ago putting Glasgow on the culinary map for its modern Scottish cooking. The menu champions locally sourced ingredients with dishes like Cairngorm red deer, black garlic, egg yolk, crisp shallot, potato galette and Shetland squid with smoked mussels and salsify, to be enjoyed in the industrial styled interiors.
155 Argyle Street, Glasgow, United Kingdom, G3 8TB
Heading back down the street towards the city centre you’ll find Crabshakk. A simple seafood restaurant with minimalist interiors, championing whole brown crab amongst other local seafood. Get there early to bag a spot at the counter – the place is tiny.
1114 Argyle Street, Finnieston Glasgow G3 8TD
4. Mother India
Glaswegians love affair with Indian food means that this city is not shy of choice when it comes to great curry houses. Probably one of the finest and most popular remains the Mother India empire. The restaurant first opened first opened in 1996 and has been serving up memorable dishes ever since. While Mother India Café located across from Kelvingrove Art Gallery in the West End offers a “Twist on Tapas”.
Mother India Cafe – 1355 Argyle St, Glasgow G3 8AD
Mother India Restaurant – 28 Westminster Terrace, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow G3 7RU, Scotland
5. Finch and Ox
Almost opposite Mother India café is the ever popular Finch and Ox, which seems to be full most hours of the day. The open plan kitchen kicks out accessible yet bold sharing dishes to an informal crowd seated in banquettes. Expect big flavours and honest cooking with a twist in dishes like smoked haddock, truffle polenta, pancetta and poached egg. Don’t miss the chips with aioli!
Finch and OX
920 Sauchiehall Street / Glasgow G3 7TF
6. Ubiquitous Chip
This historical venue set in cobbled Gibson street was one of the city’s first restaurants to champion Scottish cuisine when it first opened in 1971. It’s been hitting the high notes ever since and regularly features in the city’s best restaurant lists. There’s a bar, brasserie and restaurant. Scottish ingredients take pride of place on an uncomplicated menu. The novelty factor is being amongst fountains and greenery.
12 Ashton Lane, Glasgow, Lanarkshire G12 8SJ
This West End favourite is open from breakfast until dinner,for Sunday brunch or more serious dining downstairs. Set just the other side of the park it’s a perfect place to settle down with the papers and brunch or tuck into some more traditional Scottish dishes like the must try homemade haggis!
28 Gibson Street, Kelvinbridge, Glasgow G12 8NX
8. Cail Bruich
Next to Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens, this Nordic influenced restaurant name means ‘to eat well’, and the modern seasonally influenced cooking sets out to do just that. Dishes like sea bream, white turnip, apple and oyster and venison, black pudding, cabbage, blackberry and chestnut, are enough to excite as well as satisfy.
725, Great Western Rd, Glasgow, Lanarkshire G12 8QX
The Butterfly and the Pig
And last, but not least, back in the city centre there’s the Butterfly and the Pig set inside a Georgian townhouse. The quirky tea room inspired setting is open for a full Scottish breakfast and prosecco afternoon tea or live music in the evening. It’s simply a great place to warm up with a scone and homemade strawberry jam or take your pick of comforting high tea, late lunch or dinner dishes.
The Butterfly and the Pig
153 Bath Street, Glasgow G2 4SQ