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The Absolute Best Restaurants in Glasgow

Published On 05/13/2016 Published On 05/13/2016
porter & rye
Porter & Rye | Courtesy of Good Mint Media
Buddy's BBQ and Burgers

Best burger: Buddy's

South Side

Whether you go for a shredded chicken burger, a Creole fish burger, a veggie patty, or good old-fashioned beef, there are no bad decisions here. That said, take our advice and get the Bubba: a double cheeseburger with pulled pork, Carolina mustard sauce, and slaw. It's the best kind of messy goodness. The sides and fries are also amazing; make sure to try the sweet potato waffle fries with maple syrup. Yes, maple syrup.

Porter & Rye | Courtesy of Good Mint Media

Best steakhouse: Porter & Rye

Finnieston

Mixed in among the porterhouses and rump roasts on the menu, you'll find outlandish terms like "smoked bacon foam" and "foie gras emulsion," more at home in modern-style kitchens than a traditional steakhouse. That said, it's the dry-aged meat that really shines in this ornately tiled restaurant -- the fridges are in full view, and each piece is labeled so you can see exactly what you're choosing. Pro tip: go for the 10oz onglet with a side of salt-baked mash, or the 10oz rump with pickled artichoke, fennel, and mandarin salad.

Saramago Cafe Bar

Best vegetarian option: Saramago Cafe Bar

City Centre

You'll find Saramago within the Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA); it's one of the few purely vegetarian cafes/restaurants in Glasgow, and one of the even fewer spots whose offerings are good enough to be enjoyed by carnivores and herbivores alike. Try the beetroot & lentil kofta sandwich -- a flatbread topped with a fresh mint and cucumber yogurt, spring onion & mixed greens -- or opt for a linguine main with broccoli, hazelnut pesto, and mushrooms. Then, go and catch one of the exhibitions or shows at the CCA.

Number 16 Restaurant

Best fancy restaurant for when the parents are paying: Number 16

West End

In an area of Glasgow with no shortage of places to eat and drink, Number 16 has long been a standout. Seasonal, local produce is the order of the day here, so depending on when you visit, the menu will likely have changed. When we visited, there was a partridge starter with poached pear, rhubarb, and artichoke, while the star of the show was a venison main with Brussels sprouts, potatoes, and celeriac puree. If you're able, snag a table on the mezzanine level -- it's the perfect vantage point to watch your food being prepared in the open kitchen.

Lucky 7 Canteen

Best date spot: Lucky 7 Canteen

City Centre

The booth seating at Lucky 7 grants you and your date a certain degree of privacy, while the great tunes and relaxed service should mean that you'll always have something to chat about. Cleverly, some of the main courses cost £7.77 -- like the fish & chips, breaded chicken burger, and chili dog -- but the slightly higher-priced dishes (like fillet of sea bass or steak & ale pie), mean that there should be something to suit you both. Plus, the varied selection of wine and beer means that if the date's going well, there's no need to move from this romantic little spot.

Best comfort food: The Winged Ox Bar and Kitchen

Gallowgate

Located inside St Luke's, a beautifully restored church-turned-venue, The Winged Ox is open seven days a week and turns out an impressive range of stick-to-your-ribs fare. It's all about indulgence here -- the mac & cheese comes with fries (!) -- and while the "two hands sandwiches" will no doubt catch your eye, it’s the gumbo that's truly got us hooked. The Creole chicken, chorizo & prawn stew with spicy Cajun rice is perfect for those days when you just need a food-based hug.

Soho on Miller Street

Best pizza: Soho on Miller Street

City Centre

Although there are non-dough-based options here, pizzas are the go-to (obviously): they're super thin, crispy, and baked in a traditional stone oven. Try the Flaming Scotsman (haggis and jalapeños on top of the usual tomato & mozzarella base), or for something a bit spicier, go with the Chicken Dragon: sesame & soy chicken with fresh chilies, mozzarella, and hot Sriracha sauce rather than tomato. Also check out the Sunday brunch -- the all-day breakfast pizza, veggie or otherwise, is incredibly popular (for obvious reasons).

Best brunch: The Bungo

South Side

Another South Side favorite, Bungo thoughtfully serves brunch from 10am to 4pm every damn day -- none of this "weekend-only" nonsense. If you’re feeling upmarket, try the Super Deluxe: scrambled eggs and wilted spinach on toast with truffle oil. Or, if you're feeling a bit more adventurous, go for the Lebanese breakfast: shakshuka (poached eggs in a tomatoey chili sauce), harissa halloumi, batata harra (fried potato & peppers seasoned with chili, coriander & garlic) with toasted pita. Whatever you try, have a Bloody Mary, breakfast martini, or Buck's Fizz for the full brunch experience.

Bier Halle

Best cheap eats: Bier Halle

City Centre

Descend the dark stairs to an underground haven of hot dogs, sandwiches, salads, and (most importantly) two-for-one pizzas. That's right: you can grab any two pizzas from the menu, most of which are also available as gluten-free options, for less than a measly £8 each. Go for the black pudding and poached egg pie, or try the caramelized onion and bacon "white" pizza -- the latter uses ricotta, rosemary, and mascarpone sauce in place of the normal tomato base.

And then, of course, there's the matter of the 90+ different beers on offer from around the world.

Best late-night food: Opium

City Centre

Serving food 'til 10pm during the week and 11pm on the weekends, Opium's dimly lit ambience and fusion-style food are perfect for a late-night meal after a show, or between cocktail venues. Start things off right with some dim sum: the scallop, asparagus, and carrot dumplings served in a classic steam basket (with a chili paste on the side) are excellent, and for our veggie friends, the cordycep flower (a type of fungi), edamame, and tofu dumplings with truffle dressing make for an unusual and delicious combo. Oh, and while you're there, try the Qi Gong cocktail -- it's tequila and guava juice, and it is SO good.

Piece

Best sandwich spot: Piece

Finnieston

Named after a Scot's slang word for everyone's favorite bread-based snack, Piece's... well, pieces, are available on baguettes, ciabattas, bloomers, and flatbreads -- or, you can go outside/inside the box with a salad box. The Fat Boy -- hand-cut ham, egg mayo, mature cheddar, garlic & Dijon mayo, and pickles is a great meaty choice, while the Falafarama is our veggie choice, coming with baked falafel, salsa, Asian slaw, toasted seeds, harissa, yogurt & mint dressing!

Best breakfast: Cafe Gandolfi

Merchant City

The great thing about breakfast at Gandolfi is that there's something for everyone: from a healthy bowl of muesli to a cholesterol injection with the full Scottish breakfast. At last count, the cafe had a choice of seven different egg-based breakfasts, like egg-white omelet on sourdough toast, poached egg with smoked haddock and toast, and eggs "Hebridean," which comes with delicious Stornoway black pudding.

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1. Buddy's Bar Diner Grill 677-681 Pollokshaws Road, Glasgow, G41 2AB

Buddy's Bar and Diner serves class American fare in a casual ambiance with plush red booths. Whether you go for a shredded chicken burger, a creole fish burger, a veggie patty, or good old fashioned beef, you can't go wrong here. That being said, take our advice and get The Bubba: a double cheeseburger with pulled pork, Caroline mustard sauce, and coleslaw. The sides and fries are also amazing, but make sure to try the sweet potato waffle fries with maple syrup.

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2. Porter & Rye 1131 Argyle Street, Glasgow, G3 8ND

Mixed in among the porterhouses and rump roasts on the menu, you'll find terms like "smoked bacon foam" and "foie gras emulsion," which are more at home in a modern-style kitchen than a traditional steakhouse. That said, it's the dry-aged meat that really shines in this ornately tiled restaurant -- the fridges are in full view, and each piece is labelled so you can see exactly what you're choosing.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
3. Saramago Cafe Bar 515 Sauchiehall St, Glasgow, G3 7DL

You'll find Saramago within the Contemporary Center of Arts (CCA): it's one of the few purely vegetarian cafes in Glasgow, whose offerings are good enough to be enjoyed by carnivores and herbivores alike. The casual spot also has a charming outdoor terrace, and serves a variety of quality beers, ciders, wines and juices.

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4. Number 16 Restaurant 16 Byres Road, Glasgow, G11 5

In the West End of Glasgow, Number 16 has long been a standout. Seasonal, local produce is the order of the day here, so depending on when you visit, the menu will likely have changed. If you're able, snag a table on the mezzanine level, decorated with white exposed brick and red walls -- it's the perfect vantage point to watch your food being prepared in the open kitchen.

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5. Lucky 7 Canteen 166 Bath St, Glasgow, G2 4TB

Lucky 7 has a relaxed ambiance with booth and communal seating, serving well-priced comfort food like the fish & chips, breaded chicken burger, fillet of sea bass, or steak and ale pie. This cozy and romantic spot always has fun music playing and offers a varied selection of wine, cocktails, and beer.

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6. The Winged Ox Bar and Kitchen 17 Bain St, Glasgow, G40 2JZ

Located inside St Luke's, a beautifully restored church-turned-venue, The Winged Ox is open 7 days a week and turns out an impressive range of fare. It's all about indulgence here, with options like the mac and cheese- which come with fries- the "two hands sandwiches" and the Creole chicken, chorizo & prawn stew with spicy cajun rice.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
7. SoHo 88 Miller St., Glasgow, G1 1DT

Soho is a casual Italian restaurant with a rustic vibe and great cocktails, known for serving delicious super thin, crispy pizzas baked in a traditional stone oven. Try the Flaming Scotsman (haggis and jalapeños on top of the usual tomato & mozzarella base), or for something a bit spicier, go with the Chicken Dragon: sesame & soy chicken with fresh chillies, mozzarella, and hot sriracha sauce rather than tomato.

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8. The Bungo 17-21 Nithsdale Rd., Glasgow, G41 2A1

Bungo is a popular local Southside neighbourhood restaurant serving delicious home cooking all day long. This stylish bar and kitchen has a minimalist interior vibe with a contemporary menu that changes seasonally. It offers a variety of food options from breakfast to snacks, to heartier innovative lunch and dinner dishes. Another major plus: brunch is served seven days a week.

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9. Republic Bier Halle 9 Gordon St, Glasgow, G1 3PL

Descend the dark stairs to an underground haven where you'll find 90+ different beers from around the world, hot dogs, sandwiches, salads, and two-for-one pizzas, with gluten free options also available. Go for the black pudding and poached egg pie, or try the caramelised onion and bacon ‘white’ pizza -- the latter uses ricotta, rosemary, and mascarpone sauce in place of the normal tomato base.

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10. Opium 191 Hope Street, Glasgow, G2 2UL

Located in the heart of Glasgow city center, Opium is a sleek Asian-fusion restaurant with dim lighting, serving food ’til 10pm during the week and 11pm on the weekends. They offer a mix of traditional Dim Sum and dishes with flavors that find their roots in China, Malaysia, and Thailand.

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11. Piece 1056 Argyle St, Glasgow, G3 8LY

Piece is a hip cafe decorated with work by local artists in a simple dining room, specializing in sandwiches available on baguettes, ciabattas, bloomers, and flatbreads. The Fat Boy -- hand-cut ham, egg mayo, mature cheddar, garlic & dijon mayonnaise, and pickles is a great meaty choice, whilst the Falafarma is our veggie choice coming with baked falafel, salsa, Asian ‘slaw, toasted seeds, harissa, yogurt & mint dressing.

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12. Café Gandolfi 64 Albion St, Glasgow, G1 1NY

Cafe Gandolfi in Merchant City is decorated with heavy oak furniture and stained glass, serving only the best of specially sourced Scottish ingredients. On the menu, there’s something for everyone: from a healthy bowl of muesli to a cholesterol injection with the Full Scottish Breakfast. However, we highly recommend the delicious Stornoway black pudding, with mushrooms sourced from Macleod.

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