Where to eat in Glasgow, Scotland
Glasgow’s food scene may once have conjured up rubbery black pudding or deep-fried Mars Bars, but och aye, how things have changed. The Scottish city has shaken off such stereotypes and evolved into a true dining destination – giving the likes of Edinburgh and London a run for their money.
With the Glaswegian streets now crammed with more than 2,000 restaurants, intense competition from non-stop openings is keeping standards high. Very high indeed. With Scottish provenance in rich supply, menus dance with locally-sourced ingredients – including exceptional seafood, game and beef.
Alongside countless innovative eateries springing up across the city, there’s also a burgeoning pop-up vibe with street food festivals filling the summer months come rain or shine. But while the weather can never be relied upon in bonnie Scotland, your tastebuds are guaranteed a good time.
Here’s a pick of where’s hot in Glasgow right now…
London’s loss is Glasgow’s gain, as renowned Ottolenghi chef Rosie Healey recently swapped the capital for the buzzing Finnieston strip. This newbie on Argyle Street is achingly hip, with a must-have open kitchen, warm candlelight and lots of bare wood.
Food wise, it’s all about regularly- changing (and only occasionally divisive) ‘small plates’, but it pays off. Dishes to devour include roasted cauliflower with tahini and pomegranate; chilli sea bass ceviche; burrata draped with Swiss chard and a deliciously indulgent butter and nutmeg risotto…
Set in a Grade-A listed former hospital on Ingram Street, Hutchesons’ pièce de résistance is its stunning upstairs brasserie, boasting a double-height ceiling and enormous windows. There’s a jazzy, Cuban-esque vibe, while the menu is based around seafood and steak – including lobster, oysters and succulent Scotch beef.
Veuve Clicquot’s Summer Series brunches must be the most happening event in town right now. Set over three bubbly-fuelled courses, we tucked into confit duck leg ‘doughnuts,’ scallop ceviche with zingy lime granita, an exquisite ox cheek eggs benedict with shaved horseradish, and a strawberry and white chocolate délice.
One of the most eagerly-anticipated openings of recent months, Ardnamurchan on Hope Street celebrates food from the west coast of Scotland. Its menu will literally have you drooling across the table – think huge, freshly-landed Hebridean langoustine, Shetland mussels and halibut caught off the coast of Kintyre.
Meat isn’t given short shrift either; the Ardnamurchan estate venison with gnocchi dumplings comes with a punchy gin and blackberry jus, and there’s even Arran haggis, neeps and tatties for traditionalists.
But skip dessert in favour of the all-star cheese board, which features Isle of Mull cheddar, Hebridean blue and whipped, creamy Crowdie.
If you’re craving simple rusticity, Paesano has single-handledly shaken up Glasgow’s artisan pizza scene. A second branch recently flung open its doors in the West End, offering a fairly short but refreshingly authentic range: the yeast and sourdough pizza bases prove for at least 48 hours, and are cooked at 500ºC in custom-built Neapolitan wood-fired ovens.
Toppings include silky Calabrian mozzarella and bufala, fiery salami and Tuscan fennel sausage, plus daily specials. Inside, the look is industrial-chic with long sharing tables, but do get there early as there are strictly no reservations.
The Spanish Butcher
Another new kid on the block, this Merchant City joint is a carnivore’s paradise. As its name suggests, there’s a strong Iberian theme, and everything is top quality – right down to the plump Gordal olives and toasty, salty padron peppers.
But the Spanish cuts of meat are where magic truly happens. The divine Bellota jamon really does melt in the mouth and the colossal Rubio Gallega prime rib is served pink, tender and gorgeous. That said, the charred bone-in monkfish for two, with chorizo and caper butter sauce, is an unexpected delight. And the manchego truffle fries are a thing of beauty, too.
As for the interior, owners James and Louise Rusk have converted a decrepit shell into a classy Manhattan-esque haven. The atmospheric little bar stocks a cracking selection of Spanish bubbles and wines.
Down to Earth
A novel idea, this one. Down to Earth, on Dumbarton Road, is Scotland’s first completely organic restaurant. The inventive, nutritious fare has proved wildly popular since last month’s launch. Hearty brekkies include bircher muesli with seasonal fruit, or a full Scottish blow-out complete with traditional tattie scones.
Daily specials might feature the likes of a harissa chicken burger or baked cod, with black bean and beetroot salad, while the 100% organic Sunday lunch showcases local farmers’ fare nicely. There’s a pretty fierce range of treats, too – not least this vegan chocolate cake with mint chocolate chip icing, cacao nibs and a crown of fresh mint…