Nine Days in Glasgow
Hi Chowhounders! My wife and I will be coming to Glasgow on Tuesday for 9 days. We're staying at the Glasgow Menzies Hotel, and we're looking for recommendation for lunches and dinners. My wife is of Scottish descent on both sides, and would like to sample some traditional fare. Additionally, she and I are particularly looking for smoked salmon, good pubs for camaraderie, good drinks and good food, scotch eggs, good seafood, Indian or Thai food.
We are on a somewhat limited budget, but we're looking for what local insiders know to be good places to eat. Please advise.
Thank you all for the great tips. No, I didn't know that Scottish eggs aren't Scottish. But, I've never been to Scotland, and I only had them at a small "Scottish" cottage outside of Philadelphia. We will try many of your tips.
We will also be spending 3 days in Edinburgh. Any suggestions about where to eat there? What area of town to stay in? Hotel recs? Thanks.
PS: We live in southern Illinois in the US, about 360 miles south of Chicago. Strictly meat and potatoes country.
Edinburgh is likely going to be quite busy. I recently had a couple of nights in the holiday inn near the zoo and it was pretty good - ok, just a holiday inn, but you can get good deals with them I know and if you are on a budget, at this short notice hotels in July in Edinburgh can be quite expensive. I am much better with Edinburgh than Glasgow these days so here goes:
Drinks: Bon Vivant and ecco vino - not traditional pub, more wine bars/cocktail bars but good atmosphere.
Cloisters - more of a traditional pub serving a good selection of real ales, but gets busy
Food: Castle Terrace is really good and has an excellent set lunch menu - plenty of amuse bouche - go for the wine pairings, great value lunch for a MIchielen star on a budget. As for other fancy meals, I haven't been to Wishart or Kitchen's but I have had some food at an event from Mark Greenaway's restaurant, so that might be worth a look as well - again, I'm sure you can get a good priced lunch or set menu pre theatre deal
Seadogs and the Dogs are pretty good, though recently I don't think the Dogs has been as good as it was, and perhaps the wine is not fantastic....
Sweet Melinda's in Marchmont used to be a favourite with us, but I haven't been for a while so I am not sure..
If you want some snacks/sandwiches/light lunch:
the chain that owns Wellington coffee is really good,
hula juice bar also has good sandwiches,
Toast in Marchmont is really solid;
Peter's Yard has really good Sandanavian cakes and pastries;
Union of Genius is a good soup bar near the university;
Urban Angel is good for breakfast
You are spoilt for choice in Edinburgh - it is such a great city!
ETA - you should also swing by the farmers market in Edinburgh if it is on when you are there - there is usually smoked fish, a really good burger stand, and lots of local producers where you can get stuff for a picnic/eat on the go.
You may be able to get good Scotch Eggs in Scotland as there is a revival in them and a lot of good food pubs in England serve them freshly made with just set eggs and fresh mince (sometimes venison). They may have made it up north but it isn't a national dish of Scotland, better to search out some good Haggis which may sound touristy but if good is a a wondrous food. However, you will definately find Scottish eggs as they are simply eggs from Scotland and will be fried or poached with breakfast.
Rogano - I was very disappointed in Rogano a few years ago when we had the huge seafood platter for lunch. I kid you not, it was mostly spongy shrimp and a far far cry from the great seafood we have eaten in the East Coast of the US and in France (which is ironic because Scottish seafood is amazing... anyway, I digress...)
I haven't been for a while, but Gamba used to be a very solid bet, and from comments from friends, seems to still be a good option, often having deals on for pre theatre
Cafe Gandolfi is always good - lovely wooden furniture and stained glass. We often eat in the bar upstairs and it is equally good.
Agreed that the Sisters and Two Fat Ladies are great and I love where the monkey sleeps.
+1 for Balbirs - Mother India used to be good, not so much any more if the Edinburgh location is anything to go by.
Avenue G on Byres Road does good coffee and cake
Pizza - I really like Biere Halle on Sauchiehall Street
Only been a couple of times and a wee while ago now, but Fanny Trollope's on Argyll Street but in the west end was a great meal.
It could be worth signing up for 5pm.co.uk, often you get a free glass of wine, or a deal on dinner. If your budget is tight you might get a good deal on that. Don't know where you are from, but it is a bit like Open Table, if you are from the US.
yeah, totally forgot about stravaigin, good solid food. if aiming higher in terms of cost, there is the ubiquitous chip. also there are a few newish places like the butchers grill (sic), the ivy, and so on. no. 16 used to be decent, but haven't been since the change of ownership. I'm a big big fan of small cheap places like where the monkey sleeps, a great sandwich shop in the city centre, and coffee shops like artisan roast. more as I think of them.
There are quite a few previous posts on Glasgow chow, but I would mention the following:
Scottish: the sisters in Kelvingrove or Jordanhill, very good value. roastit bubbley jocks and Cail bruich are also well worth a look. also the Ian brown restaurant in giffnock
seafood: two fat ladies and crabshakk, as well as rogano. wee lochan may be worth a look, it's changed hands a whole ago so can't comment
French: la vallee blanche is very well reviewed.
expensive Michelin starred: wishart at loch lomond
Indian: hmm everyone usually recommends mother India, I'm not a big fan, akbars has a branch here, worth a try. as is balbirs, and banana leaf in the Yorkhill area.
other Asian: Asia style, rumours and the other banana leaf in cowcaddens area. and opium.
I should add most of these are good value, and a handful are quite expensive.
there are a lot of other choices worth a look, feel free to contact if these don't suffice
Spyke23 has pretty much hit the nail on the head, the only others I would add would be Piece on Sauchihall St towards Finnieston for very good made to order sandwiches and Stravaigin for a pub/bar with decent food- fish and chips and haggis are consistent and the rest of the menu can be quite creative.
Agreed on Mother India. It's over-rated, overpriced and the service can be really poor when it's busy (which is frequently).
If you're looking for "modern" British-Indian food like Mother India does, I agree with spyke23 that Balbir's on Church Street is a better bet. It's not exactly cheap either, though.
For traditional Glasgow-style curry, both The Shenaz and the Koh-I-Noor are only a fifteen minute stroll up the hill from your hotel. Both have been in business since the early Sixties.
The curries at the Shenaz are amongst the best in town (try the Lamb Rogan Josh or the Special Beef), although if you don't like your naan bread swimming in ghee, you might want to ask them to leave it off.
The curries at the Koh-I-Noor are solid, if not quite up to the standard of the Shenaz. But they're worth a visit for the superb naan breads alone.
In the same area is Mr. Singh's, which isn't as good as it used to be but might be worth a trip for the kitsch appeal of the kilted Asian waiters.
Also a fifteen minute walk away from your hotel in a nice location on the banks of the Clyde is India Quay, which does a reasonable evening buffet Sun-Thurs for £12.95.
As you're on a limited budget, you should check out the many lunch and pre-theatre deals on offer. The Koh-I-Noor does three courses for £7.95 1200-1500, rising to £10.95 from 1500-1800. As it includes one of their enormous naans, the lunchtime deal is a particular bargain. The Shenaz does three courses for £12.00 from 1600-1830.
As for smoked salmon, if I was on a limited budget I'd be buying a good pack in a deli and having a feast back in my hotel room with a bottle of white wine !