I’ve managed to visit this city twice in the span of a year, and when I think back on these trips, I covered maybe a handful of attractions, but more food establishments than I can remember. Not that I’m complaining – food and drink are reason enough to visit a place in my opinion! – so today I thought I’d share some of my favourite restaurants in Glasgow, featuring a little mix of everything.
We found this place by chance after visiting the University of Glasgow and we ended up having a delicious brunch. First up, the interior was super fun with a giant map of the world on the ceiling.
Sam had the Scotch pancakes with maple syrup and smoked bacon and it was a match made in heaven. The combination of the salty, crispy bacon with the sweetness of the maple was just perfect. Smoked bacon should always accompany pancakes!
I had the toasted sourdough with avocado smash and a poached egg (my go-to breakfast order), and nothing was left on the plate.
Address: 9 Radnor Street, Glasgow
Another great breakfast spot is Cafe Gandolfi. We ate there on our last day in Glasgow and I wish we’d come across it sooner because not only was their breakfast amazing, but the place also had a super warm and cozy vibe that made me want to linger long after I’d finished my food.
For my breakfast, I ordered the Gandolfi Vegetarian Breakfast, which came with fried halloumi, field mushrooms, tomatoes, potato scones, beans and eggs, with a side of sourdough toast. It was a fun twist on the traditional Full Scottish Breakfast, and I loved the combination of mushrooms and halloumi. It was so tasty!
To be honest, I could have ordered anything off their menu and been happy; they had french toast, pancakes, omelettes, muesli, and everything sounded amazing. I was that person glancing over at other people’s plates thinking, “Mmmm, I wouldn’t mind having a bite of that!”
Address: 64 Albion Street, Glasgow
Another favourite restaurant of mine was A’Challtainn, located inside Barras Art and Design (BAaD). The restaurant is set in an old market turned multi-functional space, which is home to cool murals, independent shops and a nice selection of eateries, but aside from that, the venue also hosts flea markets, concerts, and other events.
But going back to the restaurant, A’Challtainn means “the hazel wood” in Gaelic, and they specialize in Scottish fish and shellfish dishes, as well as a few meat and vegetarian dishes.
For my starter, I went with the dish of the day which was a squid ink risotto with sea bass. Their risotto was simply divine – rich and creamy, the way it should be! It almost made me wish they served it as a main because I would totally devour a plateful of that.
Then for my main, I had the lamb leg steak with baby carrots, beetroots, turnips, and seared tomato; the meat was tender, juicy, and flavourful.
And because the beauty of being married is that your husband has to share his meal with you, I also tried some of Sam’s roasted red pepper pearl barley risotto, which was served with zucchini, eggplant and the catch of the day – sea bass.
You’d think we’d be full after a meal like that, and we were, but their desserts sounded so delightful that we decided to share one. We got the lemon posset (creamy and similar to a custard) with a strawberry and pink peppercorn salsa. Again, simply wonderful!
Address: 54 Calton Entry, Glasgow
The Drugstore Social
If drinking your way to health is a thing, The Drugstore Social is the closest you’re going to get to this. This bar is all about experimenting with natural sweeteners, herbaceous garnishes, and ingredients that have medicinal properties. Their motto is “live well”, not only through food and drink in its nutritional sense, but also by bringing people together.
Also, coincidence or not, this bar is set in an old-fashioned pharmacy, which seems very fitting!
We had fun sampling a few different drinks; I started out with Heart Beet, a beetroot infused mezcal with Italian bitter liqueur and sake. It was a bit strong for my taste (I should have known this after doing a mezcal tasting session in Mexico last year!), but the drink lived up to its name – the giant block of ice in my glass really made it look like a heart!
Sam went with the Goodnight Kiss, which had pisco with coconut liqueur, honey water, lavender, lemon, whites and Prosecco. This one was an instant hit! After several trips to Peru, we’ve both grown to love our pisco sours and this was a fun twist on the drink, so I drank most of his.
If I were a local, I’d be hanging out at this bar all the time; the drink names were all so enticing and the combinations so unusual and fun.
Address: 67 Old Dumbarton Road, Glasgow
Another Glasgow restaurant I really enjoyed was The Finnieston, a seafood restaurant and gin bar.
The restaurant itself felt very historic; the building dates back to the early 1800s when it was used as a drovers’ tavern, and over the course of two centuries it has housed a cabinet-making workshop, a hotel, and even a dairy farmer and his cattle.
The restaurant had a small yet focused menu, and since seafood is their specialty, we went with that. I actually tried oysters for the first time and I don’t know what took me so long! I was making all these faces at Sam thinking I wouldn’t like them, but I did. In fact, I enjoyed my first oyster so much, I didn’t even remember to add lemon or tabasco sauce or anything they had brought to the table.
And since gin is their other specialty with more than 60 gins on offer, we had to get a little tipple to go with the oysters!
Address: 1125 Argyle Street, Glasgow
Porter & Rye
There’s one thing you come to Porter & Rye for and that is steak! Now I like to think I know my steak pretty well, especially considering I’m half Argentinean (meat is a religion in that part of the world), but I actually got to try something completely new: aged steak.
But why would you want to eat aged beef, you ask? Well, beef ageing is a process that results in the concentration of the meat’s natural flavour, plus you achieve a very tender cut of meat. It’s quite the process, so it’s not a very common practice outside steakhouses, but the results are undeniable.
Sam and I sampled two different steaks for dinner that night: one that had been aged 50 days and another that had been aged over 120 days.
Having heard other people talk about their experiences eating aged steak, I was expecting it to have a very strong flavour, almost a little too overpowering, but on the contrary, I found the intensification of flavours present but subtle enough.
As for sides, I tried another new-to-me dish that night: bone marrow macaroni and cheese. People have been telling me to try bone marrow forever and I finally know what the fuss is all about! The result was a dish with a creamy and slightly buttery texture. Another fantastic meal!
Address: 1131 Argyle Street, Glasgow
Now going back to seafood, another restaurant I really enjoyed in Glasgow was Gamba.
This restaurant is located at basement level right in the heart of Glasgow’s city centre and they specialize in fresh, local and sustainable seafood.
For my entree, I had the yellowfish tuna sashimi, which was served with filleted king scallops, wasabi, pickled ginger, and a tamarind dipping sauce. And having already tried the scallops, I knew what I was getting for my main: the seared king scallops with celeriac puree (it looks like a cross between a celery and a turnip!), Stornoway black pudding and pancetta crumbs. It was a bit unexpected to have black pudding in a seafood dish, but it added a nice saltiness to the meal, plus how very Scottish.
And to drink, of course, I got some more gin (my gin obsession began on last year’s trip to Scotland). This time around I tried Daffy’s with a fresh mint and lime garnish. Refreshing!
Address: 225A W George Street, Glasgow
I’ve been talking lots about food and gin, but what about Glasgow’s craft beer scene?
That’s where Drygate Brewery comes in!
This is a place that Sam had been to on our last trip to Glasgow and he had nothing but praise for the beer, so I too was excited to visit.
We did the ‘Through the Glass Tour’, where you get to learn about the whole brewing process from behind the glass, just like the name suggests. Since we were going to be sampling some beers, we also turned this into a lunch and ordered some food to go along with our drinks, but let’s start with the beers.
First of all, I have to say, I loved the names of Drygate’s beers! They were quirky and inventive, and it turns out most of the names had a story behind them; the Disco Forklift Truck involves a little incident at the brewery, but you’ll have to take the tour to find out the story.
We sampled 4 of Drygate’s core beers including:
Chimera – an India Pale Lager that was light but a little bitter at the end.
Disco Forklift Truck – A pale ale that was fruity and tropical thanks to someone’s genius idea to add mango juice. This one was my favourite of them all!
Ceol Mor – A Scotch ale that had a bit of sweetness that reminded me of baked bread and toffee.
Orinoco – A breakfast stout with coffee and chocolate hints, which I think makes it socially acceptable to drink for breakfast.
And to go along with my 4 beers, I ordered the jerk ox cheek sandwich with smoked cheddar, the house slaw, and watercress. I first tried ox cheek in Laos and I hadn’t seen it on a menu since, so it was time to order it again! The meal was served as a fix it yourself sandwich board with sourdough bread, so I made mine an open face sandwich and happily feasted.
I also ordered a side of truffle mac and cheese which was amazing! Seriously, Glasgow is on a roll with its gourmet mac and cheese dishes – my KD dinners are forever ruined.
Address: 85 Drygate, Glasgow
Glasgow’s Southside may not be a tourist hot spot, but the beauty of having local friends is that they can introduce you to some great local eats. One such find was The Bungo Bar & Kitchen.
I got the Goan seafood thali which had fish, mussels and prawns in a delicious masala curry, with saffron rice, papads (thin, crispy wafer), spiced onions, mint raita (yoghurt-based sauce), and garlic pickle. Aside from the great food, the restaurant had a very lively atmosphere and it was packed, so it’s a nice place to go with friends.
Also, I should mention that they have set menus every night of the week (except weekends) and Mondays are beer and curry night, so all the more reason to go!
Address: Nithsdale Road, Glasgow
The Crafty Pig
And I’ve saved a super casual one, but one of our favourites, for last: The Crafty Pig!
We discovered this spot on our very first visit to Glasgow and it instantly became one of our go-to restaurants. It’s one of those places where we tried one dish, it was amazing, and we just kept coming back for more of the same. The culprit: their pulled pork sandwich. So tender, so juicy, and slowly cooked to perfection. What’s not to love?
Throw in some chilli cheese fries and their massive milkshakes, and there was basically no getting rid of us for the duration of our time in the city.
But seriously, if you go, also try the cookies and cream milkshake with vanilla ice cream, oreos, chocolate chip cookies, and whipped cream. It may result in a temporary food coma, but no regrets.
Address: 508 Great Western Rd, Glasgow
And there you have it, those are some of my favourite restaurants in Glasgow based on two visits. Clearly, we spent a lot of our time eating! If you have any other restaurants that you think are worth checking out, feel free to add your suggestions in the comments section so we can all find new places to eat in Glasgow!
What are some of your favourite restaurants in Glasgow?