Being the largest city in Scotland, Glasgow is renowned for its stunning architecture, vibrant nightlife and thriving arts scene. Over the years it has also gained a reputation for its extensive range of highly acclaimed restaurants. We list ten established places offering culturally inspired food with a Glaswegian twist.
The Hanoi Bike Shop
The Hanoi Bike Shop is located down the cobbled Ruthven Lane, home to many vintage arts and craft shops. This unique Vietnamese restaurant is wonderfully decorated with old bicycle tyres on the walls, and features an upstairs dining area filled with a multi-coloured sea of lanterns. Relaxed in style, there are no starters or mains on the menu, but instead visitors are encouraged to share between two, and the food is brought dish by dish when ready. Stand-out dishes include five-spice chilli prawns, served with an unusual soy salad cream, coconut and rice flour pancake and savoury spiced pork and minced prawns. From the ‘pot’ dishes, chicken is marinated in a pungent chilli and ginger glaze surrounded with a savoury salt caramel sauce. The special Vietnamese coffee is delivered by a French drip into a glass containing condensed milk.
The Hanoi Bike Shop: 8 Ruthven Lane, Glasgow, G12 9BG. 0141 334 7165
As Glasgow’s only Belgian-themed bar, (named after the Belgian singer-songwriter Jacques Brel) Brel is an upmarket bar on the West End’s renowned Ashton Lane. There is a wide selection of Belgian beers on offer, and on the menu, small plates are of a consistent quality with the pork belly and Belgian flammekeuch (toasted cheese and ham) notable highlights. Brel is most famous for its Moules Frites — Scottish steamed mussels served with homemade soda bread.
Brel: Ashton Lane, Glasgow, G12 8SJ. 0141 342 4966
A Scottish icon, Ubiquitous Chip is set over a few floors with a terrace and a downstairs restaurant that has been wonderfully decorated to resemble a rainforest. Complete with a lake and humungous plants visitors can cross the wooden bridge upstairs and take a seat overlooking the jungle below. The Chip was opened by Ronnie Clydesdale in January 1971 at a time when Scottish cuisine was confined solely to the home. The menu is inspired by regional Scottish dishes using solely Scottish produce.
Ubiquitous Chip: 12 Ashton Lane, Glasgow, G12 8SJ. 0141 334 5007
This award-winning upmarket eatery is far removed from the rustic style of cooking found in the roadside cafés after which it is named. The Dhabba offers a popular menu with regal origins — the dum pukht dishes are a highlight where thin layers of roti bread are used to create a sealing lid for pots in which curries are slowly oven cooked whilst the gosht dum nazakat offers succulent lamb within the warmth and creaminess of a saffron and cardamom sauce. The chefs here have previously cooked for India’s rich and famous bringing with them a refined knowledge of North Indian cuisine. Based in Glasgow’s Merchant City on Candleriggs, Dhabba was one of the first Indian restaurants in Glasgow to concentrate on regional specialities rather than Anglo-Indian staples.
The Dhabba: 44 Candleriggs, Glasgow, G1 1LE. 0141 553 1249
A compact little neighbourhood bistro, Fanny Trollopes focuses on honest and seasonal Scottish food that is locally sourced and skilfully prepared. The menu changes daily depending on what is available from local producers and quality meat features regularly, such as in dishes like the Perthshire Venison casserole served with honey roasted root vegetables, the Cullen Skink — a pigeon breast with parsnip, red cabbage and wine reduction and seared scallops with a smoked chorizo salad — or the Ramsays of Carluke belly of pork with colcanon potatoes. Fanny Trollopes is located in Finnieston half way down the West End side of Argyle Street. Advance booking is usually required.
Fanny Trollopes: 1066 Argyle Street, Glasgow, G3 8LY. 0141 564 6464
An established award-winning restaurant in the heart of Glasgow’s West End, Number 16 has become a neighbourhood favourite. The menu changes regularly and the dishes often have an international flavour such as the pan fried sea bream, fennel, cucumber and olive salad with pesto and gremolata or the braised leg of Gressingham duck with mashed potato, bean cassoulet, orange and sherry broth. Desserts include the Lavender panna cotta with poached plums and rhubarb and the dark chocolate and raspberry tart with hazelnut praline and vanilla ice cream.
Number Sixteen: 16 Byres Road, Glasgow. 0141 339 2544
First opened in 1990, Mother India has played a major part in pushing the boundaries of Indian cuisine in the city in those intervening years. It has introduced exciting seafood such as halibut and monkfish to the standard Scottish-Indian menu. The chefs experiment with flavours, successfully combining more unusual herbs such as fresh dill with chilli and ginger. The owner, Monir Mohammed, has also been key in gathering the team of chefs to compete in national Curry King contests.
Mother India: 28 Westminster Terrace, Glasgow, G3 7RU. 0141 221 1663
The Cottiers restaurant is situated on the first floor of a former church on Hyndland Street in the West End of Glasgow. With its shimmering gold ceilings, original salvaged church chairs and bespoke, handcrafted gilt mirrors, this restaurant also features exterior views of the illuminated church steeple and the mature gardens below. The venue is considered somewhat of a landmark as the building houses a theatre and bar as well as the restaurant. The menu offers Scottish cuisine with the occasional modern twist using freshly sourced produce including seared Islay scallops with a pork, bacon & Stornoway black pudding roulade and apple cider puree.
Cottiers: 93-95 Hyndland St, Glasgow, G11 5PU. 0141 357 5825
The Grosvenor Cafe
The Grosvenor is made up of an independent cinema, The Lane Vinyl Bar and The Grosvenor Cafe. This award-winning restaurant features a menu offering such classics as venison sausages with mash and thyme gravy and steamed mussels in white wine, garlic & parsley, along with more international dishes like Malaysian chicken skewers and tomato, coconut and chilli chicken curry. This vibrant hub also hosts events such as family friendly afternoons at the weekend with arts & crafts and face painting and a Friday night DJ playing funk and soul music.
The Grosvenor Cafe: 24 Ashton Lane, Hillhead, Glasgow, G12 8SJ. 0845 166 6028
Two Fat Ladies
Two Fat Ladies in the West End of Glasgow is part of one of the most celebrated seafood restaurants in the city. First opening in 1989, the menu serves a wide selection of well-balanced dishes which include roast salmon which comes atop a tomato risotto. The daily-changing platter allows three different catches to be sampled and desserts such as the glazed lemon tart with crème fraîche sorbet or the peach and apricot crumble with vanilla ice cream are a popular choice.
Two Fat Ladies West End: 88 Dumbarton Road, Glasgow, G11 6NX. 0141 339 1944
Scotland celebrates the life of the National Bard, Robert Burns every 25th January with Burns Night. Many restaurants and venues around Scotland commemorate with songs, recitals, tributes and a hearty feast, including haggis.
By Eleanor Cunningham