Grit in your food is usually the worst – the chip of stone in your cheap bag of basmati; the unspeakable shard in your spag bol mince – but Glasgow grit is a different kettle of fish. Here are six venues with great food and great people.
Together with The Gannet (you have to try their caramelized chicken wings), head chef Rosie Healey’s offerings at Alchemilla have helped make Finnieston Glasgow’s foodie hotspot. She served her time at London’s Ottolenghi, but what all three restaurants have in common is excellence.
Grub is of the on-message, small-plates variety (oh my, that ox heart…), and the interior decor is just-so (pale wood and Pantone colours). But there’s not a hint of pretentiousness here – staff and fellow diners get stuck into conversations and food with true Glasgow gusto.
Glasgow has a rich Italian heritage and Dennistoun’s Celino’s does it proud. Founded in 1982, the East End stalwart is a bit of everything – deli, restaurant, takeaway – but it pulls each role off with aplomb. It’s set to open a second branch this year out west in Partick. Other Italian highlights include Eusebi’s and pizza maestros Paesano.
3. Babu Bombay Street Kitchen
The influence of immigration from the Indian subcontinent on Glasgow’s culinary scene is a match for the Italians. Mother India is the big mamma of the restaurants, but Babu Bombay Street Kitchen is the plucky newcomer.
This small, cheerfully decorated basement café in the grand environs of Blythswood Square is as good for breakfast and brunch as in the evening. The chai’s highly moreish.
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4. Babbity Bowster
A pub-with-rooms, Babbity Bowster (named after a traditional wedding dance) is the place for simple but classy accommodation in the city. The pub’s traditional music sessions, suntrap patio, excellent beers, whiskys and well-executed Scottish grub go down well too.
The neighbouring Riverhill venues are solid choices for reliably good coffee and breakfast/brunch/lunch eating. Other honorary café mentions include Gordon Street Coffee, tucked into the Glasgow Central Station building, and the Merchant City’s McCune Smith, named after local abolitionist and the city’s first African-American student.
6. Big Feed
Glasgow has been relatively slow on the street food uptake, but the Big Feed is gaining traction. With a permanent base south of the river, not far from Rangers’ Ibrox Stadium, Big Feed offers all the fun of the street-food fair, plus a range of off-site one-offs.
Images top to bottom (left to right): TreasureGalore/Shutterstock; Neil McQuillian; People Make Glasgow; Karen Munro/Flickr; Scotclicks/Alamy; Adam Wilson/Flickr; East End First Saturdays; Pixabay/CC0; Alchemilla; Neil McQuillian; Tony Webster/Flickr.