Glasgow is well known for a range of restaurants, but what are the hidden gems of the city?

We take a look at the top 25 places that are out of the way, relatively unknown and quirky in a way that only Glasgow can pull off.

From a ‘mad’ DJ chef, vegan square sausage and a hidden milk bar to sushi making at one of the biggest breweries, there’s something for everyone in the dear green place.

Big Feed food festival

(249 Govan Road, G51 5HJ)

Glasgow foodie things to do

Picture: Big Feed Facebook

Based in Govan and set up by a number of Glasgow’s street food vendors, the Big Feed launched in March this year. The market’s industrial indoor venue plays host to some of the best street food concepts and local brewers, set against a backdrop of live music.

On the menu at the market includes a selection of high quality street food, from authentic Asian and Mexican inspired cuisine and fresh Scottish seafood to delicious burgers, wood fired pizzas and vegan delights.

The warehouse location at 249 Govan Road is run by Glasgow the Caring City – a charity which supports children and young people in crisis at home and overseas in a number of ways, including providing skills to help them gain employment.

Big Feed will be supporting the cause through making use of the venue, as well as by commissioning some of the young apprentices in the programme to prepare the venue for the event.

Pick up produce at Partick Farmer’s Market

(Mansfield Park, G11 5QF)

Missed these markets. #farmerlife

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Looking to purchase some of the best fresh, local food and drink direct from those who have worked hard to produce them? There can be no better place to find all of this and more at your local farmers’ market.

Partick’s offering runs every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month from 10am-2pm, and plays host to local producers selling everything from coffee to meat, eggs and homemade bread and cakes.

Southside residents can pick up their local produce every 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month from Langside Halls from 10am-2pm.

Explore Finnieston’s many restaurants

Glasgow

Picture: Wikicomms, VegasGav7777

Now a main hub within the trendy west end, Finnieston is home to a variety of restaurants from fresh seafood at Crabshakk, seasonal fare at the minimalist The Gannet to an upmarket chippy , Old Salty’s. The Scullery is also worth a visit for a laid-back supper of Scottish treats.

A firm favourite is Six by Nico, which changes concept and menu every six weeks. Set to launch their Picnic offering from the 4th June, Six by Nico is right next to another gem, Alchemilla, which was recently voted one of the Sunday Times Top 100 Restaurants.

Wash all this excellent food down with a cocktail from the extensive list at The Finnieston bar, Brass Monkey or popular haunt Lebowski’s.

Have a milk cocktail in Panther Milk Bar

(10 Mitchell Lane, G1 3NU)

#panthermilkbarglasgow

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Cited as an ‘illicit drinking den’, the man behind Chinaski’s and Berkeley Suite, Fergus McVicar, opened the doors to his bespoke venue named Tabac in 2015. Situated in Mitchell Lane, formerly Bar 10, Tabac oozes a Parisian shabby-chic vibe with rustic industrial panelling and dark atmospheric lighting fitted throughout.

This hidden gem of a venue is definitely one for the adventurous type as it is also home to the Panther Milk Bar, open on Fridays and Saturdays. Illuminated with red neon lighting, The Panther Milk Bar plays host to a line-up of local underground talent from 9pm to midnight whilst serving up panther’s milk, a strong and infamous concoction of condensed milk, Cointreau, gin, rum, cinnamon and peppermint.

Find your brew at Pena coffee shop

(5 Eton Lane, G12 8NB)

Start your day with one of Pena’s many coffee creations. Usually serving blends from Workshop, The Barn and Coffee Collective, Pena offers diners a budget-friendly deal on toasties and coffee, brunch and coffee or an evening meal and coffee – ideal for the nearby Glasgow Uni crowd.

This hidden gem is decorated in a quirky style with chipboard, bunting and paper maiche decorations, making it a hipster haven but with such good coffee and cheap eats, it’s a must-visit.

Sip on rare teas at Tchai Ovna

(42 Otago Ln, G12 8PB)

Picture: Tchai Ovna House of Tea Facebook

Speaking of hidden gems and hot drinks, Tchai Ovna ticks those boxes and more. Despite being a Glasgow institution for years (locals petitioned to save Otago Lane, where the teahouse is located, from development), Tchai Ovna is still relatively unknown to visitors thanks to its out-of-the-way location.

Brewing a substantial range of loose teas, which are also available to buy, diners can look forward to a selection of homemade food, including veggie and vegan options, live music and a comfy seat in the living room style cafe. There’s also outdoor seating that overlooks the River Kelvin.

Tuck into Haggis Nachos at The Balcony Cafe

(534 Paisley Road West, G51 1RN)

Glasgow

Picture: The Balcony Cafe Facebook

To get to this wonderful little eatery you have to go on something of an adventure, entering the doors to a former church on Paisley Road West you find yourself in the middle of a climbing centre but head for the balcony and you’ll find what you’re looking for.

Bathed in beautiful light filtered through a full height stained glass window, you’ll soon discover a café that’s made the headlines for all the right reasons with its excellent dishes such as the must-try haggis nachos.

Treat yourself to afternoon tea at the Hidden Lane Tearoom

(1103 Argyle St Unit 8, G3 8ND)

Picture: The Hidden Lane Tearoom Facebook

If you’re a fan of tea, cakes and vintage china then you’ll enjoy an afternoon at the Hidden Lane Tearoom.

So called as it’s located down a lane (nestled amongst multi-coloured and higgledy piggledy studios), off the Finnieston strip on Argyll Street, this quirky cafe serves excellent homemade cakes alongside a selection of teas, coffee and lunch options that include homemade soups, stews and sharing platters.

Enjoy home cooking at the Black Sheep Bistro

(10 Clarendon St, G20 7QD)

When the Family come home from Australia there's only one place to go #theblacksheepbistro #obesity

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Maryhill may not seem an obvious choice for a meal out but the Black Sheep Bistro has been a firm favourite for years.

This family-run restaurant serves up seasonal, home-cooked comfort food such as Cullen Skink, beef olives, mac and cheese and lamb shank, making it well worth a visit.

Have a pint in one of the city’s oldest pubs, The Scotia Bar

(112 – 114 Stockwell Street, G1 4LW)

The oldest pub in town.#vscocam#vscocam#vsco_shot

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The title of ‘Glasgow’s Oldest Bar’ is hotly debated but it’s safe to say that it’s for good reason as the city has a rich past of brewing, distilling and imbibing and no shortage of amazing places to do so.

Currently no less than three pubs are contenders to take the crown and as a typical Glaswegian response, we think that’s the perfect excuse for a pub crawl.

We’d recommend the big three; first, the Old College Bar (dating back to 1515) on the city’s High Street, which has a plaque above its door proclaims it as “Glasgow’s oldest public house”, then moving onto the The Scotia Bar (1792) which sits on one of Glasgow’s four original streets and finishing off in Sloans (1797) on Argyle Street. Of course, if you’re still parched after all of that you could also visit The Clutha on Stockwell Street.

Splash out on a bargain lunch at the Star Bar

(537 – 539 Eglinton St, Eglinton Toll, G5 9RN)

The flat iron building of #govanhill #glasgow

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You can’t get much for £3 these days but you can treat yourself to a three-course lunch from Glasgow’s famous Star Bar.

The pub, located within the iconic Eglington Toll building in Govanhill, has been providing locals with lunch, drinks and live entertainment for over 26 years.

Serving up a starter of homemade soup, followed by traditional favourites such as roast beef, macaroni cheese and Scotch pie and a dessert of ice cream and fruit jelly or creamed rice with fruit, this is one for those who love a bargain.

Pay what you feel at Kinning Park Complex

(43 Cornwall Street, G41 1BA)

Known for his previous Audio Beef nights (as well as being in the kitchen at Bloc), Mad Chef Glasgow a.k.a Danny McLaren is now working with Kinning Park Complex to create community meals. Diners can head along from 6-8pm on Thursdays, and Tuesday for the lunch cafe and pay what they feel for their home-cooked fare.

The collaboration is also working on a waste not want not ethos by providing food for local food banks and also using surplus ingredients in their menu to avoid excess waste.

Pick your own meat at Porter and Rye

(1131 Argyle St, G3 8ND)

Glasgow food

Picture: Porter and Rye Facebook

Porter & Rye is a steakhouse that concerns itself with the very Heston Blumenthal-sounding practice of “molecular cooking”.

The food, as well as being ineffably excellent, is presented with an exacting and imaginative eye for presentation. And if you like to see what you’re about to eat before it’s cooked, the a seat with a view of Porter and Rye’s massive fridge will allow you to work up an appetite. Cuts are labelled by date and farm, and are the ultimate in butchery #foodporn – assuming you like it rare.

Batter your favourite chocolate bar

Somewhat of a mythical treat, Scotland’s notorious battered Mars Bar is actually hard to find (and not been tried by many locals).

If you really want to take the experience to a new level and try your favourite chocolate straight from the fryer then pop into a local chippie and just ask.

Gallowgate takeaway Pia’s admits to battering a Galaxy Caramel as well, and there are rumours of Mars Bars, Creme Eggs and more hitting the fryers at the Merchant Chippie, at Hillhead’s University Cafe and city centre eateries Pizza Crolla and Blue Lagoon.

Go nuts for doughnuts at Tantrum Doughnuts

(27 Old Dumbarton Rd, G3 8RD)

Glasgow food

Picture: Tantrum Doughnuts Facebook

Despite the stressful sounding name, Tantrum Doughnuts has made its mark on Glasgow’s west end culinary scene with aplomb after moving to Old Dumbarton Road earlier this year.

Selling handmade brioche and old fashioned doughnuts in imaginative, seasonal flavours such as Raspberry Jam, Almond Old Fashioned, Candied bacon and French toast glaze, Tiramisu and Pistachio and Hibiscus, Tantrum is an ideal place to go if you have a sweet tooth.

Sample a tipple with tastings at the Good Spirit Co.

(23 Bath Street, G2 1HW)

Not only is the Good Spirit Co. home to a vast array of bottles to buy (from gin to whisky, beer, wine and bubbles), it also hosts monthly tasting sessions in the purpose-built tasting room of the Bath Street store.

After a welcome cocktail, one of the owners (who met while working in Oddbins) will talk guests (up to 30) through six different types of spirit or wine – the most popular being the whisky and gin nights, though wine and sherry make a regular appearance – before tasting each.

Enjoy a brilliant dinner at Knightswood Community Centre

(201 Alderman Rd, G13 3DD)

Glasgow food

Picture: Charlotte Spiers

Not just for the locals, Knightswood Community Centre has been serving up seasonal, home-cooked meals for the last few months. Dishes range from homemade soup to salads, noodles and veggie offerings, all from £2.

Usually busy with mum’s and kids’ attending the evening classes, it’s worth popping in to sample the menu as it changes every week.

Learn how to make sushi at Tennent’s Academy

(161 Duke St, G31 1JD)

One of Scotland’s most well-known breweries is not where you’d expect to master the art of cooking but the Tennent’s Academy offers just that.

With a range of classes to choose from, such as Italian cooking, gluten free masterclass, making macarons, Indian cooking and sushi making, there’s something for all tastes and experience levels.

Give a helping hand at 111 by Nico

(111 Cleveden Rd, G12 0JU)

Glasgow food

Picture: 111 by Nico

Celebrated chef  Nico Simeone opened 111 by Nico on Cleveden Drive with a simple concept, as quoted on the restaurant’s website: “My vision is simple: firstly to create a unique dining experience for my guests. The second is to give young people who’ve faced enormous challenges the opportunity to share my passion and drive for cooking, to teach them my gift and philosophy and hopefully change their life for the better.”

So not only can guests enjoy a reasonably priced, tasting menu of seasonal dishes, they can leave knowing that the staff are being given a great chance to improve their lives.

Cool down with ice cream from a 50s parlour

(515-517 Victoria Road, Queen’s Park Glasgow G42 8BH)

Picture: Queens Cafe, Gordon Barnes Flickr.com

A Glasgow institution, Queen’s Cafe is one of the few 1950s style ice cream parlours left in the city. The giant ice creams in the window, art deco interior and leather booths hark back to another era when these types of cafe’s were ten a penny.

Serving up freshly made Ginesi’s gelato, some the flavours are more modern than the cafe. Think salted caramel, bubblegum, peanut butter and jelly and Kinder Bueno. But there’s always a place for good old fashion vanilla topped with raspberry sauce, just like the old days.

Have a curry at the home of Tikka Masala

(60-68 Park Road, G4 9JF)

Chicken tikka masala and biggest garlic naan of my lifeeeee??

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Legend has it that the Tikka Masala was invented in Glasgow, a status that a local MP was arguing for recognition of in 2009. And popular Indian restaurant, Shish Mahal claims to be the place that created the popular dish.

Therefore it’s a must-visit for any curry lover, or those wanting to sample the ‘original’ masala.

Tuck into award-winning Mac and Cheese

(Nithsdale Rd, G41 2AL)

Glasgow food

Picture: The Bungo Facebook

The Bungo recently won the coveted award of best ever mac and cheese at the third, southside Pastaval festival last month.

The city’s only dedicated mac and cheese festival named The Bungo the best, ahead of other popular Glasgow venues – The Butterfly and the Pig South, Waverley Tearoom, Millbrae Hill Cafe, The Bungo and Buddy’s.

Try Glasgow’s favourite pizza at Paesano

(94 Miller St, G1 1DT and 471 Great Western Rd, G12 8AB)

Glasgow food

Picture: Paesano Pizza Facebook

No visit to Glasgow would be complete without trying the city’s favourite pizza place. Such is Paesano’s popularity, they’ve recently opened a west end branch as a sister outlet to their Merchant City home.

Serving traditional style Napoletana pizzas cooked in a wood fired oven, (and at purse friendly prices) with toppings ranging from burrata to smoked sausage.

Try a vegan roll and square sausage at Rose and Grants

(27 Trongate, G1 5EZ)

Glasgow is fast becoming the place to eat if you’re vegan (and veggie), and local Trongate deli, Rose and Grants, recently threw their hat into the ring with their vegan square sausage roll.

The cafe started selling the vegan version of Scotland’s favourite comfort food, after one of their workers came up with the idea while she was travelling in Australia.

The famous cornered sausage is made with nutmeg, pepper, cumin, finely chopped onions and some bread crumbs and a bit of olive oil to hold together.

Brew your own beer at Drygate

(85 Drygate, Glasgow G4 0UT)

Glasgow foodie

Picture: Drygate Facebook

Describing themselves as the UK’s first experiential brewery, there’s no doubting the seemingly endless levels of interaction available at the bar, restaurant and brewery site located on the outskirts of the Tennent’s Wellpark Brewery in the east end.

From simply drinking great beers to full on brewery tours, Drygate is well worth a visit but the real fun comes with the onsite studio kit and the DIY brew options.

Create everything from the lightest of golden ales to the strongest of stouts using your own recipe in a truly hands-on experience. The Drygate team will also be on hand to dispense advice and take your beer through fermentation, conditioning and on into the packaging of your choice.

 

 

About The Author

Rosalind Erskine

Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind writes for The Scotsman on all things food and drink related.

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