With one restaurant winning the city’s first Michelin star in eighteen years, Glasgow’s dining scene is quickly shifting. Here are this year’s top picks for restaurants accepting reservations right now.
1. Julie’s Kopitiam
Offering Glasgow’s residents a taste of Southeast Asia, Julie’s Kopitiam opened in late 2017 — and despite a table limit of four, is still running strong.
In Malaysia, the name “Kopitiam” means traditional coffee shop. Like so, this is a snug spot with a fast table turnover.
Bars, cafés, and boutiques all collide for space on Pollokshaws Road, south in the city, where owner Julie Lin McLeod has found this restaurant’s home. Small — but well-formed, offering guests a uniquely delectable atmosphere.
The menu specialises in a quirk for Glasgow’s restaurant scene: south Asian cuisine. “Like putting on a favourite woolly jumper,” said one writer in an ecstatic review, this food brings an “air or warmer climes”. This is a place for fans of comfort food recipes.
Expect traditional foods, such as sweet and cheerful nasi goreng dishes — a type of fried rice — and fiery chicken curries. Rest assured when you enter Julie’s Kopitiam, you’re getting the real deal: owner Julie even regularly visits Malaysia for new recipe ideas.
Julie’s Kopitiam currently accepts orders and operates at a reduced capacity. Their booking platform uses Carbonara App, completely free, working in conjunction with their website. Table operations are quick and stress-free.
Figure 1. Nasi Lemak at Julie’s Kopitiam
2. Ox and Finch
Take a leap across the River Clyde and you’ll find one of the most prominent places among restaurants in Glasgow city centre: the Ox and Finch.
A former Formula 1 chef is the head of this operation. It deals in style and top-grade presentation.
Their menu hosts several traditional dishes that neighbour a tray of surprises. If you visit, stick to the seafood dishes. Flavours sparkle on specialties like the soused mackerel, a pickled pleasure cooked with carrots, or spiced Hake dipped in herb yoghurt.
Hard-pressed interiors — black walls, leather booths, and stone corners — may evoke a casual atmosphere, but when it comes to bookings, this is certainly not the case.
Typically, guests will need to book well in advance for a table, using the restaurant’s online portal. However, the restaurant’s increased business hasn’t amped up the pricing: a full course will barely touch twenty pounds GBP.
The chefs at Ox and Finch put a careful amount of consideration into developing dishes — check out what they’re working on now!
Figure 2. Image via Ox and Finch’s website
3. La Lanterna, Hope Street
Seeking restaurants in Glasgow city centre, you can go more up market. Some places serve customers willing to spend a pretty penny or two on luscious Italian dishes.
The sandstone Victorian facades of Hope Street — one of Glasgow’s busiest roads — overlook La Lanterna, a family-owned restaurant set below the street in a warm, white-walled basement.
This multi-award-winning venue never ceases to amaze happy diners. Reviews are flavoursome, eager to share the good news. “A true pleasure,” said a happy diner, fully satisfied.
However, popularity brings with it a heavy booking list. Soon-to-be customers can use the website’s booking system to take a table in advance, as this is a booking-only venue.
4. The Gannet
An equal on the award pedestal, the Gannet boasts a rich menu of gourmet treats and toothsome square meals.
A minimalist setting masks the deluxe service the Gannet provides — from Scots-based cuisine to a select wine list, served from a large bar.
This is a top-notch restaurant where cooking standards are impeccable.
The team consists of a group of serious chefs who draw on a “thorough classical training” as one review puts it, delivering a unique menu.
A series of curiosity-stirring choices will surely spin your tastebuds: rabbit agnolotti; wild garlic ravioli, Mayan Gold potatoes with free-range guinea fowl. Unexpected and delightful, the Gannet is Glasgow’s treat.
5. Hanoi Bike Shop
If you’re looking for somewhere more out of the way from restaurants in Glasgow city centre, then Hanoi Bike Shop is for you. It’s about a 10 minutes journey by train. Scheduled for reopening on 7 October 2021, this restaurant is a must visit.
Remarkably Hanoi Bike Shop was Glasgow’s first-ever Vietnamese restaurant, launching into the scene in 2012.
A comfortable interior presents piles of endless dishes for eager diners. In this restaurant, a unique way of doing things eliminates both mains and starters — guests receive food whenever it’s ready, and staff provide a crash course upon arrival.
Pho noodles — a broth-based flat noodle dish — is this restaurant’s specialty.
A Michelin star guide describes the team as charming and knowledgeable. However, Hanoi Bike Shop’s website lets guests know that they are currently understaffed, dealing with a common experience across today’s hospitality world. An online reservation system will take bookings for its big reopening.
6. Ubiquitous Chip
A commonly loved spot among restaurants in Glasgow, the Ubiquitous Chip is a gem — less a common eatery, more a national institution.
Unlike some of the previous entries in this list, this restaurant prides itself on Scotland’s national cuisine. A menu that harks back to generations of traditional home cooking has kept this restaurant open for fifty years.
“Some thought us daft,” owner Ronnie Clydesdale reminisced on the restaurant’s opening, “and saw eating out for Glasgow and Scottish cuisine preposterous”.
Their menu showcases local produce, including Argyll venison haggis, a touchstone of Scottish food served with pureed potatoes. An extensive selection of fish-based dishes (salmon in tartar, bass with courgettes) and red meats are also available on the restaurants à la carte menu.
The restaurant is open for bookings. A health and safety protocol has opened the bar for walk-ins, but keep in mind that everything is currently operating at reduced capacity due to hospitality staffing problems.
7. The Finnieston
Located near the Gannet, this seafood eatery is easy to spot. A deep-blue front looks small among its giant tenement neighbours. Inside it looks like a ship cabin: wooden with a sea-brushed feel.
Figure 3. Image via The Finnieston’s website
Local Scottish produce fills out the menu here, changing according to seasonal availability.
It’s the best place to get seafood in the city without having to travel to the Mediterranean, ranging from mussels sourced from the nearby Shetland islands and lobsters from the east Scottish village, Pittenweem.
Also, the bar’s gins and cocktails are a favourite among locals, so make sure to book in advance if you’re in town.
Searching “Glasgow good restaurants” can yield intimidating results — especially if their websites produce lengthy reservations calendars.
All restaurants in Glasgow city centre can employ a free reservation system to operate their websites, saving them both time and money. Find out more about our work with current restaurants.
Eager to try it out? Simply contact us today.