Glasgow has an ever-evolving food scene and has gained a reputation for highly acclaimed restaurants. But fine dining doesn’t have to be formal, there are loads of great venues across the city that have a chilled out vibe while still offering up some of the best menus in town. Here’s just a small selection of what’s on offer.
Hanoi Bike Shop
Tucked away on the quirky Ruthven Lane in the city’s West neighbourhood is The Hanoi Bike Shop, which was recently named one of the '15 coolest places to eat around the world' (2019) by travel magazine Wanderlust. The restaurant, owned by Colin Clydesdale who also owns the award-winning Glasgow institution, The Ubiquitous Chip, can count Beyonce as a fan as she dined here during a recent UK tour. The food is fresh, vibrant Vietnamese street food, whilst the atmosphere is relaxed and friendly with fun décor featuring bicycles and paper lanterns hanging from the ceiling.
Virginia Court is one of the city’s hidden gems. A pretty, fairy-lit courtyard in the city centre that’s occupied by a small but quality selection of venues. Brutti Compadres has a Mediterranean inspired menu including a great selection of tasting plates from salt and pepper squid and angry prawns to haggis croquets! With its super chilled vibe and outdoor seating area, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were on the Continent when the sun shines on this little corner of town.
Established in 2014, Porter & Rye was the vanguard of the Finnieston community which is now considered ‘the hippest place to live in the UK’. The restaurant is renowned for their dry-aged beef and cured meats and commitment to locally sourced and foraged ingredients. The friendly staff are on hand to provide expert guidance on the menu and the various cuts of meat.
BAaD (Barras Art and Design) is a super-cool urban space housed in the heart of Glasgow’s world famous Barras Market. Home to various local artists and a weekend craft market, you'll also find A'Challtainn (pronounced A Cawl Tain, Gaelic for Calton, meaning “the hazel wood”), a restaurant and cocktail bar that serves the finest Scottish fish and shellfish, alongside carefully crafted meat and vegetarian dishes.
Chaakoo takes guests back in time to experience the incredible flavours, smells and atmosphere of a classic Iranian café with a colonial-style décor, ornate cornicing and dark woods. These cafes may be a dying breed in India but this is Scotland’s very first! Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the menu is a mix of the familiar and unusual with small plates allowing you to experience a range of exotic flavours.
Big flavours are the order of the day within the cosiest of venues, Julie’s Kopitiam (pronounced ko-pi-tea-am). Former Masterchef contestant, Julie Lin MacLeod has been serving up masterful Malaysian cuisine, as inspired by her mum’s very own recipes, on the street food and pop-up circuit for years before setting up a permanent home on Pollokshaws Road in the city’s South neighbourhood. Like their dumplings, Julie’s Kopitiam is small, created with love and packs a punch. You can't reserve a table but there are plenty of nearby bars to enjoy if you have to wait.
Blending the city's historic feel with the energy and vibe of the Hard Rock brand, Hard Rock Cafe Glasgow is housed in the restored, renaissance-inspired, 1891 Athenaeum Theatre on Buchanan Street. The world famous music bar and restaurant fits in perfectly in the UK's first ever UNESCO City of Music, with weekly live music events and famous memorabillia on display. The American inspired menu featuring legendary burgers and desserts is great for all the family.