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Not simply Haggis. The place to eat in Glasgow.

Everyone has heard of haggis, but Glasgow is not all about that ubiquitous Scottish food. Haggis has been banned in the US since 1971, so most people who visit Glasgow go to a pub and order it right away. But there is much more to the Glasgow food scene and we recommend taking a tasting tour of the best restaurants in Glasgow. As Scotland’s largest city with over half a million residents in the city center and another 2 million outside of it, Glasgow is without a doubt a fun city. Located on the west bank of the River Clyde, the city has historically been one of the most important economic centers in Great Britain outside of London. The area has hosted various communities for ages as the River Clyde was a center for fishing. The area was first established as part of Roman Britannia, and in the 6th through 18th centuries the city grew exponentially and with it came much wealth, which is where many of the aesthetics associated with the city eventually emerged in the Victorian era.

While the city experienced a small economic decline in the 1960s to 1980s, the city has since grown and expanded with various ethnic communities settling and immigrating here, bringing their culinary traditions with them. In fact, Glasgow has been dubbed the ‘curry capital of Great Britain’ and while there are plenty of them, Glasgow does not shy away from dishes with great taste. When in Glasgow for a bite to eat, make sure to check out these fantastic places to eat and drink.

The ubiquitous chip

Colloquially known as “The Chip” by the locals, The Ubiquitous Chip is regularly referred to as Glasgow’s best restaurant. The eatery was opened by Ronnie Clydesdale in 1971 and is still run by the same family who serve some of the best food in town. But what makes The Chip the legendary place that has stayed open for over 40 years? For one, the place is quite large with several floors dedicated to different things. Not only does The Ubiquitous Chip serve amazing food, it is also home to some of the coolest bars in town. The upstairs Big Pub is a casual place for a few pints and conversation, while the downstairs dining area and terrace allow guests to dine among fountains, ponds, and greenery. The Corner has a selection of award winning wines, while the Wee Whiskey Bar has the most whiskeys in Scotland per square foot.

The menu itself consists of classic Scottish dishes influenced by the country itself. But that doesn’t mean it’s just fish and chips or haggis. Decadent dishes such as Tweed Valley Lamb, Argyll Venison, and Isle of Gigha Halibut will make you question everything you know about top Scottish cuisine.


Known as Scotland’s largest bar and restaurant, this place is an interesting indoor location in the heart of the city and is located just below Glasgow Central Station. The vaulted brick walls and ceilings make you feel like you are dining in some sort of secret underground bunker, while the large tables and common areas allow plenty of friendly conversation over a few pints and plates. The Food Hall has its own microbrewery and guests can even order food and drinks directly to their table via the restaurant’s app or website.

The Shish Mahal

According to legend, the first known recipe for meat in a spicy sauce with naan bread appears on a cuneiform text from ancient Babylon from 1700 BC as one. The founder Ali Ahmed Aslam, simply referred to by the locals as “Mr. Ali ”came to Glasgow in the 1960s and brought the flavors of India with him. The restaurant was a novelty at the time as the waiters wore tuxedos and dishes with flavors that most Glasgow residents would not have been familiar with at the time.

The concept of “Indian Food” is extensive. India is big and the food from the north does not resemble that of the south. The food around the Himalayas does not resemble the dishes of the fiery Madras plains, but one thing that many Westerners consider a quintessentially “Indian” dish – the Chicken Tikka Masala was invented here at the Shish Mahal in Glasgow. From Indian restaurants in New York to Sydney, it seems almost strange to go to an Indian restaurant and not see Chicken Tikka Masala on the menu, but in fact the dish was invented here in the 1960s. The story goes that Mr. Ali invented the dish after a customer walked in and complained about the dryness of his chicken. The cook then took tomato soup, added some seasoning and the rest is history. A Glasgow MP is working on a campaign for the legal recognition of the origin of the court.

While the Shish Mahal is home to the Chicken Tikka Masala, there are absolutely other fantastic dishes to try here, after all, there’s a reason it’s been open for over 50 years. Try a tasting menu or take a break for lunch and watch the special.

Kimchi cult

What began as an inconspicuous food stand in a London street market has grown into one of the most popular Korean hotspots. The original location opened in 2011 and in 2015 Kimchi Cult opened its first brick and mortar store in Glasgow’s West End. For over a decade, Kimchi Cult has provided delicious Korean-inspired dishes with unique foods, reasonably priced, and bold flavors.

Of course, with a name like Kimchi Cult you can bet that their kimchi is homemade and amazing, according to a special regional Jeonju recipe that has been passed down through the generations. Kimchi is the inspiration for many dishes here such as kimchi burgers, kimchi cheese fries and other specialties like gochujang fried chicken and or soy garlic tofu.

The howling wolf

The Howlin ‘Wolf is a blues bar with a little American twist that takes a side from venues like Austin or Nashville. This is the kind of place to go out with some friends. The bar has live music seven nights a week with a strong focus on blues and jazz, but music isn’t the only thing on offer. The bar serves a wide variety of local whiskeys, as well as American bourbons and whiskey cocktails, while the meal service is more eclectic, with options like haggis pizza, cheeky wings, and cheesy nachos. The kitchen closes at 2 a.m. So if you’re from somewhere else and need a snack or have all the vibe to the live music and need something to soak up the booze, you won’t be starving in the restaurant early in the morning.

Ox and finch

Opened in 2014 by Chef Jonathan MacDonald (the head chef on the McLaren F1 Team), Ox and Finch offers a lot of Glasgow casual with fine dining and small plates. Nearby Argyll Street is a hot spot for the Glasgow food scene and since Ox and Finch is on Sauchiehall Street but has just as much business, you know they are after something special. If you want to eat here be sure to book in advance. Behind the olive-green facade in an interior with stripped brick walls, black leather niches, stone pillars and floor-to-ceiling shelves with wine.

The food here is a mix of Mediterranean meets Scotland, which makes for some interesting dishes. Dishes like harissa mackerel, ribeye carpaccio with peaches and pine nuts, and zucchini and feta fritters make Ox and Finch a unique choice for eating out. The attraction here are small plates to share, which dispense with the usual starter-entree-dessert method for a more tapas-like activity. Despite the upscale flair of some dishes, a full and satisfied exit shouldn’t cost more than £ 20 per person.


In the west end of the city, in the grand and opulent building built for a bank, comes the favorite, Paesano. The spacious and meticulously manicured Art Deco style restaurant is almost a direct juxtaposition with the rest of the restaurant, but that’s by no means a bad thing. As you walk in, you’ll notice the Italian marble columns, high vaulted ceiling, and dark wood accents that add a touch of class.

The place is noisy, popular with students because it’s cheap, and despite the building’s Art Deco elements, you think it’s not elegant. The house white wine is served in a water glass, but that doesn’t matter as Paesano has some of the best pizzas in town. There is no booking policy, but there is a bar with standing room while you wait for your table. Finally, when you take your seat, you have a full view of the open kitchen with its 500-degree C wood-fired oven that bakes pizzas in seconds. The crust is fluffy but chewy, and its charred edges are due to the 48-hour sourdough-style fermentation process, while the sauce is bold with its tomato-flavored and fresh basil flavors. Service is quick, not always attentive, but you can’t go wrong with cakes under £ 10.

Gandolfi coffee

Founded on Albion Street in 1979, the place that was here previously was owned by a cheese merchant. Café Gandolfi quickly became a trendsetter in the area and at a time when the city was a little unlucky and the concept of a “hipster café” was only included in the popular lexicon for the next 30 years. Today, Café Gandolfi is the original hotspot with other offshoots opening up under the Gandolfi name (Bar Gandolfi, Gandolfi Fish and Gandolfi Fish to go, in case you are wondering.)

With its rustic interior, pine chairs and tables, and whitewashed walls, the place has a homely feel and the food is filling and calming. Café Gandolfi is most popular during breakfast and lunchtime and offers typical Scottish dishes such as Hebridean eggs or smoked salmon and scrambled eggs. But if you prefer something more filling than the brioche french toast with walnuts and maple syrup and candied banana, you won’t disappoint. While breakfast is popular, you might want to visit for lunch or dinner with plates like smoked haddock risotto or a filling and cheesy lasagna.

Our last word

Glasgow is home to many people and cultures. It is one of the largest economic centers in the country and the UK and as such an absolute gem when it comes to groceries. Amazingly affordable options with palates and flavors that encompass not only the land of Scotland and its riches, but international flair is present around every corner. There is definitely no shortage of fantastic restaurants in Glasgow. And if you have to, go to the pub and try haggis, but don’t stop here on your food tour.

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