Too often overshadowed by its more immediately accessible neighbour Edinburgh, what Glasgow (allegedly) lacks in grandeur and tourist attractions, it makes up for in spades with character, humour and a cracking food and drinks scene. The hosting of the Commonwealth Games in 2014 did wonders to increase the profile of this underrated second city, which has particularly interesting vegan and vegetarian offerings. Glasgow is a great destination for a long weekend city break, or as a launch pad to the Highlands,islands and the wild of the rest of Scotland.
Tucked away in a residential area in the trendy west end of Glasgow, this is a great bet for proper weekend breakfasts and brunches. Top recommendation is their big veggie breakfast! Cafe Zique neighbours its sister establishment Deli Zique, where more continental fare and baked treats can be enjoyed.
This is truly a Glasgow institution, best known for evening time dining, but also a top notch brunch destination. Eclectic interiors, along with top notch Scottish ingredients make this a solid bet for breakfast and brunch near the beautiful campus of University of Glasgow.
Small plate, tapas style offerings in a location tucked away 5 minutes form the hustle and bustle of Buchanan Street. This friendly spot offers something of a novelty in terrace seating for the rare sunny day in Glasgow. Top tip-the Petit Pedro, a mascarpone ice cream with Pedro Ximinez sherry, simply fantastic!
Make like a foodie Glaswegian, and seek out this Vegan friendly bar within a stones throw of Central Station. Don’t let the slightly dingy alley entrance to put you off-you’ll get hearty and generous portions, and great people watching opportunities.
Kember and Jones
Byres Road favourite, hearty salads, quiches and fantastic cakes. Cosy with limited seating but well worth trying to beat the lunch time rush for this spot.
This budget friendly spot has restaurants in Glasgow and Edinburgh, and is a great option for good quality, good value Asian noodle dishes. A buzzy atmosphere and fun cocktails make it a fun place to start off your evening in the West End or City Centre.
Two Fat Ladies (all three)
Another Glasgow favourite, all three locations have an excellent reputation, but I can vouch for the fish restaurant in the west end! a bit more spendy but what a place for a treaty dining experience. Excellent cooking and service and the little touches, like homemade tablet with your coffee, make this a special spot.
Hanoi Bike Shop
Tucked away down Ruthven Lane, just off Byres Road, this West End gem is a cosy, bustling spot with top notch Vietnamese street food. Not many places this size can boast making their own, organic tofu from scratch, but you’re in for a treat! Also notable is the kitchen’s use of Scottish ingredients to create Vietnamese inspired delights that are really packed with flavour and punch. you’ll eat side by side with a vibrant Glasgow crowd and you’ll almost be able to imagine you’re in Hanoi enjoying the real thing. Not to be missed are the excellent cocktails- their ‘Spiced Gin’ is a favourite.
Indian food like you haven’t had before! A great spot to know about in Merchant City, this upstairs venue offers a unique take on the cuisine of South India. Their dosas are not to be missed. Dakhin is ideally located to take in the bars of Merchant City after your meal, or even catch a gig in the renovated Old Fruitmarket, just across the road.
One of three restaurants from this family business, the Fish venue is a great bet for excellent value Scottish seafood in Merchant City. Beautiful wood interiors and friendly service make for an atmospheric dinner venue,
There are a number of must-visit bars in the trendy Finieston area, but this is one you might miss if you weren’t looking for it! Inside the ‘shabby chic’ exterior lies a moodily lit, speakeasy style bar, with some tables for dining towards the rear and booths overlooking the bar. The bar staff know there way around a stiff drink and perfectly balanced mixed drink, and their wine list is impressive. In true Glasweigian style though, they do not take themselves too seriously in there and the welcome is warm.
This is a far more ostentatious prospect, with several different bar and restaurant areas comprising a club like set up. There is something for everyone in this city centre venue,with good cocktails, coffees and even a casino and night club area. Great for people watching and after work cocktails that might just turn into an all nighter…
A popular and well established Merchant City favourite, this busy spot is an easy going pub with decent pub grub and plenty of footfall to keep things interesting.
Though their eponymous lager may not still be brewed on site, this German bierhaus style pub and restaurant still has a good reputation for craft beers and easy dining. Set in the leafy Glasgow Green in the east end of Glasgow, brewery tours are also run here. Their beer garden is the place to be on a sunny day-and is one of the few in existence in Glasgow!
If you like your pub cosy and TV free, and don’t mind sharing the floorspace with the occasional pooch, then the Belle, in the university area of the west end is a great bet. Chilled out pub atmosphere and great beers.
Cork native turned Stirling resident Martha has been in Scotland 6 years, following stints in London and Milan. Cooking, scheming and enjoying food is one of her great passions and she particularly loves creative vegetarian cuisine. A brief period living in Glasgow’s West End allowed her to appreciate everything Glasgow has to offer. Maybe it’s the ‘second city’ vibe, or Glasweigians’ fierce pride in their city, but it feels just like her Leeside home…
Follow Martha’s fitness, food and family adventures on www.marthathon.blogspot.ie.