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IN ASSOCIATION WITH

EDINBURGH & GLASGOW

EATING & DRINKING 24TH EDITION 2017/18

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EATING & DRINKING GUIDE EDITORS Jo Laidlaw, Jay Thundercliffe EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Donald Reid EDITORIAL ASSISTANTS Paul McLean, Keith Smith, Louise Stoddart, James Teideman COPY EDITORS Jo Laidlaw, Paul McLean, Jay Thundercliffe

REVIEWERS EDINBURGH Arts Venues & Attractions Katie Conaglen, Hannah Jefferson Bars & Pubs Miranda Heggie, Cat McCabe, Rebecca Monks, Jan Paterson, David Pollock, Nicola Pym, Arusa Qureshi, Claire Ritchie, Megan Welford Bistros & Brasseries Jennifer Alford-Thornton, Gabriella Bennett, Courtney Hyde Peyton, Rachel Kavish, Carol Main, Julie Morrice Cafés & Wee Places Tara Klein, Jan Paterson, Nicola Pym, Arusa Qureshi, Caroline Rye, Claire Sawers, Megan Welford Chinese & Far East Nick Dunne, Emma O’Bryen, Louise Stoddart Fish Yana Thandrayen French Colin Renton, Sylvie Docherty Indian Susan Smith, Gill Thomson Italian Ian Hogg, Robin Wu Mexican Barbara Adams, Kirstyn Smith Round the World Stan Blackley, Cat Crawford, Elaine Reid, James Teideman Scottish Will Bain, Tom Bruce-Gardyne, Jo Laidlaw, Chris Marks, Steve Morton Steakhouses & Burger Bars Ailidh Forlan, Murray Robertson Thai Louise Donoghue

W

elcome to The List Eating & Drinking Guide. We’ve been producing this comprehensive, well-informed and up-to-date guide to the dining scene in Edinburgh and Glasgow for the last 24 years, both in print and online at food.list.co.uk The reviews that make up the listings for both cities were freshly researched and written during the first three months of 2017. Our 80-strong team of local reviewers have eaten and drunk anonymously at over 800 venues: they are our eyes, ears and palates around town, helping us keep track of the movers and shakers in the ever-evolving eating and drinking scene. You’ll find all the notable new openings from the past 12 months in the guide (look out for the NEW logo) as well as our Hitlists – rigorous, independently assessed highlights of the best places to be found in each section. Our carefully curated Tiplists show you where good things are happening in the world of beer, bargains, breakfasts and much more, while our Table Talks focus on the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology and celebrate the contribution food makes to our shared experience and culture. This year, we’ve made a few changes to the way we cover bars, cafés and wee places. You’ll find more recommendations than ever before thanks to our Tiplists, plus full reviews of around 100 new places in these sections. You’ll also find full reviews of hundreds of bars, cafés and wee places online at food.list.co.uk We aim to celebrate all that’s good about eating out in Edinburgh and Glasgow and it has been a privilege to go for coffees, sip a few cocktails and enjoy hundreds of plates of food on your behalf, all with the aim of bringing you the very best both cities have to offer. Enjoy.

GLASGOW Arts Venues & Attractions Andrea Mullaney, Andrea Pearson, Emily Henderson Bars & Pubs David Kirkwood, David McPhee, Rowena McIntosh Bistros & Brasseries Malcolm Jack, Martin Cross Cafes & Wee Places Andrea Mullaney, Andrea Pearson, David Kirkwood, Ellen Renton, Jane Allan, Malcolm McGonigle, Piers Hunt Chinese Bronwen Livingstone, Jay Thundercliffe, Tara Hepburn Far East Bronwen Livingstone, Tara Hepburn Fish Andrea Pearson, Tiff Griffin French Kirsty Bush Indian Marta Matvijev, Robbie Armstrong Italian Jane Allan, Kirsty Bush, Laura Campbell Round the World Erica Goodey, Rory McGinley, David McPhee Scottish David Kirkwood, Malcolm McGonigle Spanish Tiff Griffin Steakhouses & Burger Bars Rowan Anderson

THE LIST EDITORIAL Yasmin Sulaiman (Editor-in-Chief), Scott Henderson, Rowena McIntosh (Content Manager), Murray Robertson, Alex Johnston, Henry Northmore, Kirstyn Smith, Louise Stoddart, Arusa Qureshi COMMERCIAL Sheri Friers (Partnership Director), Brendan Miles (Digital Business Development Manager), Chris Knox (Head of Account Management), Rachel Cree, Ross Foley, Jessica Rodgers, Jade Regulski, Debbie Thomson, Emma Thompson DIGITAL Andy Carmichael, Iain McCusker, Sharon Irish, Andy Bowles HEAD OF ACCOUNTING & HR Sarah Reddie DESIGN & LAYOUT Lucy Munro (Senior Designer), Stuart Polson, Carys Tennant CEO Simon Dessain

Published by The List Ltd HEAD OFFICE: 14 High Street Edinburgh EH1 1TE Tel: 0131 550 3050 list.co.uk email eat@list.co.uk

HOW WE REVIEW

DIRECTORS Robin Hodge, Peter Brown

The List Eating & Drinking Guide values its editorial independence. Unlike other restaurant guides which only cover venues that have paid to be included and where review visits are prearranged and carefully orchestrated, no entry in the Eating & Drinking Guide pays to be included, none is obliged to advertise and none is given sight of its review before publication. Restaurants covered in the guide are chosen on merit and reviewed incognito – to ensure our experience is that of any other diner. Each restaurant is freshly reviewed each year by a different writer from The List’s team. Our reviewers are experienced and knowledgeable, but they’re not professional food inspectors. They’re chosen to reflect an informed local diner’s viewpoint, and they are encouraged to express an unbiased and even-handed opinion. No special favours are accorded to the companies that choose to buy display advertising space in the guide – they are treated exactly the same when it comes to their review visit, write-up and Hitlist selections.

Extensive efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this publication; however, the publishers cannot accept responsibility for any errors it may contain. ©2017 The List Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission in writing of The List Ltd. ISSN: 1359-0693 This edition published April 2017. Printed by Acorn Web Offset Ltd, W. Yorkshire

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To all the reviewers, researchers, contributors, photographers, editors and members of The List team who have helped put this year’s guide together. A lot of effort goes on behind the scenes with IT, databases, websites, production, advertising sales, administration and accounts, and each part contributes to the success of the guide. Thanks also to our sponsors Birra Moretti, the Scotch Beef Club, Taste Our Best and the many other supporters of the guide.

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Introducing the guide.............1

Eating & Drinking Guide

Index ............................ 165–168

How to use the guide ........... 4

Awards 2017.......................6–8

10

CITY GUIDE

ARTS VENUES & ATTRACTIONS BARS & PUBS

SECTION

HITLIST

20

21

22

24

BISTROS & BRASSERIES

36

37

CAFÉS

44

44

CAFÉS: THE WEE PLACES

52

53

TIPLISTS BRUNCH

11

AFTERNOON TEA

11

OUTDOOR DINING

11

VEGGIE

11

GROUPS & PARTIES

12

BYOB

12

LATE DINING

12

VEGAN

12

SUNDAY LUNCH

13

SENSE OF PLACE

13

PRE-THEATRE

21

BARS & PUBS

23, 26, 28, 35

BURGERS

CHINESE

56

57

CAFES

FAR EAST FUSION, KOREAN, JAPANESE, MALAYSIAN, VIETNAMESE FISH

58 61

56

BUDGET DINING

58

61

GREAT WINE LIST

65

GOOD LUNCH DEAL

67

SOURCING

74

PIZZA

76

62

63

INDIAN

66

67

ITALIAN

70

71

75

75

76

77

SCOTTISH

82

82

STEAKHOUSES & BURGER BARS

90

91

THAI

94

95

ROUND THE WORLD

AFRICAN, AMERICAS, EUROPEAN, FUSION, KURDISH, MIDDLE EASTERN, SPANISH, TURKISH

43 45, 48, 50, 55

FAMILIES

59

FRENCH

MEXICAN

40

ICE-CREAM

DISTINCTIVE DINING

80

NEIGHBOURHOOD DINING

84

ROMANCE

88

TAKING THE DOG

91

SOCIALLY AWARE DINING

94

RUPERT WAITES NICHOLAS HOTHAM WENDY BARRIE SIOBHAN LEITH

32 46 68 78

11 BRUNTSFIELD PLACE, EDINBURGH, EH10 4HN

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96

CITY GUIDE

SECTION

HITLIST

ARTS VENUES & ATTRACTIONS

106

107

BARS & PUBS

108

108

BISTROS & BRASSERIES

119

119

CAFES

124

124

CAFES: THE WEE PLACES

128

128

TIPLISTS BRUNCH

97

SENSE OF PLACE

97

OUTDOOR DINING

97

ROMANTIC MEAL

97

GROUPS & PARTIES

98

BUDGET DINING

98

BYOB

98

TAKING THE DOG

98

SOURCING POLICY

99

LATE DINING

99

KIDS & FAMILIES BARS & PUBS

CHINESE

130

131

FAR EAST FUSION, KOREAN, JAPANESE, MALAYSIAN, THAI, VIETNAMESE

133

133

FISH

136

137

FRENCH

139

139

INDIAN

140

141

ITALIAN

146

147

151

151

SCOTTISH

155

155

SPANISH

160

161

STEAKHOUSES & BURGER BARS

162

163

ROUND THE WORLD

AFRICAN, AMERICAS, EUROPEAN, GREEK, MEDITERRANEAN, MIDDLE EASTERN, MONGOLIAN, POLISH, TURKISH

106 110, 112, 115, 116

PIZZA

120

CAFES

125, 126, 129

STEAK

134

GOOD LUNCH DEAL

136

PRE-THEATRE

140

BURGERS

143

FOOD ON THE GO

145

NEIGHBOURHOOD DINING

146

FISH & CHIPS

152

WINES BY THE GLASS

156

DIETARY REQUIREMENTS

164

RYAN JAMES CATRIONA MILLIGAN JAMES & LOUISE RUSK ANDREA PEARSON

122 128 138 144

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HOW TO USE Establishments are grouped first by city, then by section (Cafés, Indian, Scottish etc), then listed alphabetically. The information contained in each entry is explained below.

Name of establishment: The coloured asterisk indicates a Hitlist recommendation – our pick of the best in each section. ‘NEW’ indicates venues that have opened in the last year. Telephone number for bookings or enquiries, and website. No Kids: This indicates establishments where children are not allowed. NOTE: all venues licensed to serve alcohol are required by law to specify when and where children are permitted while alcohol is being served. By and large children under 18 are not permitted after about 8pm but the specific times and age groups vary slightly between premises by an hour or two. Most restaurants permit older children to dine with adults. If in doubt you should call the venue in advance.

The review: Our general description and independent overview of the establishment’s setting, background, ambience, décor and style of cuisine, including details about specific dishes, fixed-price meals and other relevant information. Plus/minus points: These symbols indicate our reviewer’s assessment of the high point and low point of their visit or the restaurant in general.

Address of establishment: This includes street address and city district. If there are several branches in the same city, these are normally listed together in one entry. Accredited Taste Our Best venue.

✱ NEW The Glutton 55 Raresteak Street, East End 0141 666 1111, glutton.co.uk | Closed Mon | No Kids | £12 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Deservedly popular, the Glutton has built up a loyal following over the past ten years. Set menus, decent choice, friendly, efficient service and BYOB – it’s all you really need in an informal restaurant. The staples are all here: seafood, red and white meat and vegetarian options. But what marks the Glutton out is the interesting use of sauces and accompaniments. So with your salmon, you might get couscous and an orange caramel butter sauce; a black pudding starter comes with toasted walnuts and a chilli dressing. + Unfailingly friendly service - Desserts a bit of an anti-climax

Days closed: Indicates days an establishment is not open for business. For full hours, check online. Meal prices: Where an establishment serves lunch and dinner, the average prices of a standard two-course meal for one from an à la carte menu are given, as calculated by our reviewers. If only set-price evening meals are offered, this is indicated. In the first instance, we’ve quoted the cost of a fixed price two-course lunch for one. Otherwise, we’ve given the average price of a two-course lunch from an à la carte menu. Drinks are not included in price calculations.

TIPLIST HUNGRY PEOPLE

Tiplist: Our suggestions under a wide range of different categories from best breakfasts to vegan ventures.

Indicates membership of the Scotch Beef Club.

• The Glutton 98 Has built up a loyal following for its food over the past ten years. • The Gourmand 93 Expect fabulous food of the Frenchiest kind – it’s just like being in Paris.

Page references: The full entry for the venue can be found on the given page, or online. W = You’ll find a full review of this venue online at food.list.co.uk

• The Gastronome W Meat, fish and vegetables – it’s all going on at the Gastronome.

For full details on each establishment listed in the guide, including food served times, child facilities, WiFi access, set menus and social media links as well as individual locator maps and various search functions, go to food.list.co.uk

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SERIOUS ABOUT STEAK

WWW.SCOTCHBEEFCLUB.ORG Visit list.co.uk/offers throughout the year for your chance to win exclusive Scotch Beef Club experiences @Scotchkitchen

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@SimplyScotch1

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EATING & DRINKING

AWARDS NEWCOMERS OF THE YEAR NORN

OSTARA

FOR ZEITGEIST DEFINING DINING

FOR SIMPLE NEIGHBOURHOOD PLEASURES

Dismiss the zeitgeist at your peril. It’s a harbinger of things to come as its trickledown effect eventually influences how we all cook, eat and shop for food. Freshly foraged, home-fermented, sharply seasonal, ultra-local – all good things have to start somewhere. And they start at an unassuming Leith side street, in the capable hands of Scott and Laura Smith. From the first mouthful of crusty homemade beremeal sourdough and hand-churned butter made with the kitchen’s own culture to the final sip of natural wine, Norn is razor-sharp. The result is beautiful, challenging plates – and plenty of evidence that contemporary Scottish dining is on the move. ■ See page 88

There’s no doubt that this cosy Leith corner, all high ceilings and huge windows, is warm and welcoming. So too is the food produced within it – hearty, wholesome hugs in a plate or bowl. But peer behind the counter: you’ll find a quiet, steadfast commitment to local sourcing, wholesome ingredients and creating a community of customers and suppliers to sustain and nurture each other in David McVey and Carey Morrison’s kitchen. Ostara is quite simply the kind of place that makes people happy. Our only real problem with it is that we don’t live next door. ■ See page 47

NEW BAR AWARD GOOD BROTHERS WINE BAR FOR INTELLIGENT, GAME-CHANGING WINE BY THE GLASS Wine is on the move. Across the city’s wine lists are a new set of standards: organic at a minimum, biodynamic as a preference, and natural as the ideal. But, until now, this movement has perhaps felt inaccessible to the casual bar-hopper. Step forward two wine-obsessed brothers. Rory and Graeme Sutherland’s new wine bar in Stockbridge is a relaxed corner where amazing things happen in the glass. Carefully sourced and equally carefully priced, their list brings the best of the new techniques alive for their customers, supported by a simple menu. Good Brothers Wine Bar – good job. ■ See page 29 6 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

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Our annual Eating and Drinking Guide Awards highlight and celebrate those who offer something genuinely new, inspiring and original. Our Newcomer of the Year Awards and New Bar Awards recognise the cities’ hottest new spots, while the judges’ Special Award appreciates the outstanding contribution of an establishment, enterprise, individual or family to Scottish food and drink. We’re also delighted to introduce The List Reader Award – voted for by our discerning readers, in association with Birra Moretti.

In association with

NEWCOMERS OF THE YEAR BILSON ELEVEN

A’CHALLTAINN

FOR INSIGHTFUL AND INVENTIVE FINE DINING

FOR CREATIVE FOOD CENTRED IN COMMUNITY AND CULTURE

The buzz in the East End went up a notch when word spread about a boutique restaurant opening in Dennistoun. No doubt a few people thought they’d misheard the word ‘Finnieston’, while others raised eyebrows at the idea of fine dining in the area. Any doubts were quickly dissipated when Nick Reitz finished work on the 1860s townhouse, opened Bilson Eleven and began delivering confident, creative and technically adept dishes. His compact, regularly changing menu celebrates Scotland’s larder while cleverly reflecting the tastes of the city. ■ See page 155

At the centre of Barras Art and Design (BAaD), the creative hub in the Barras Market run by Ricky Scoular and Brian Traynor, A’Challtainn taps into the social importance of our food and the way we eat. Imaginative, seasonal, affordable and beautifully presented dishes from head chef Garry Gill are the focus, but togetherness, neighbourhood and creativity are the wider aims. About much more than food, A’Challtainn – the old name for the area and Gaelic for ‘hazel wood’ – is the seed of an idea that is already rapidly taking root and flourishing. ■ See page 136

NEW BAR AWARD THE DRUGSTORE SOCIAL FOR DISPENSING RESTORATIVE COCKTAILS AND FOOD On a tranquil corner close to Kelvingrove Art Gallery, the Drugstore Social is one of several bars in Glasgow from local group Kained Holdings. It’s an indication of how far they have come in ten years. Beginning with Lebowskis, which trailblazed Finnieston’s current scene, they added stylish seafood and cocktail spot The Finnieston, steakhouse Porter & Rye and numerous bars across the city. Focusing on hearty rustic meats and foraged delights, the Drugstore Social’s small kitchen delivers big flavours, paired with top-notch wines and invigorating cocktails, all in a well-pitched pharmaceutical setting. ■ See page 113 The List Eating & Drinking Guide 7

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EATING & DRINKING

AWARDS THE LIST READER AWARDS

AWAR

D

We asked our readers what was hot and they responded in their thousands. Here are the restaurants making our readers happy in 2017.

THE SCOTCH MALT WHISKY SOCIETY

WINNER

WINNER

DISHOOM

THE GRILL ON THE CORNER

This fun, funky Irani café has had them queueing round the block since it opened in December 2016. With perky small plates that pack a spicy punch, a cracking underground bar and what’s already being touted as the best breakfast in town, our readers have bowed to the power of the bacon naan and voted Dishoom their top pick for 2017.

The twinkling lights signalling the Grill on the Corner have been illuminating a city centre junction since 2005 – long before the recent steakhouse revivial. With sister branches in England, the stylish Glasgow restaurant uses well-sourced meat and seafood for their surf and turf menu, served up in a lively atmosphere helped along by classy cocktails.

RUNNERS-UP

RUNNERS-UP

CIVERINOS ITALIAN STREET FOOD & PIZZA SLICE BAR

CAFÉ STRANGE BREW

It’s all about the dough in this bustling Italian pizza joint. Our readers rave about their sourdough slices, cool atmosphere and of course the much Instagrammed Nutella calzone.

‘Keep Shawlands strange’ is the mantra at this popular café, recently moved across the street to larger premises, such is the demand for its globally inspired dishes and great coffee.

BODEGA

BATTLEFIELD REST

This tiny Leith Walk tacqueria has built a fiercely loyal following among List readers, thanks to their perfectly formed collections of soft tacos that mix global flavours with abandon.

Housed in an iconic and elegant tram station at Langside, Battlefield Rest has been providing eager Southside residents with modern Italian food for over two decades.

Our national drink is redolent with marketing cliché and advertising budgets to match. Back in the eighties it felt like no one in Scotland was drinking the good stuff – the Scotch Malt Whisky Society was born out of the idea that they should. Phillip Hills bought a cask of malt and persuaded his friends to invest in it too. Since then, the syndicate has grown, become a members’ organisation, been owned by a distillery and finally passed back into private investment. But throughout decades of change, their commitment to demystifying wonderful whisky and focusing on what’s inside the glass has remained constant, most obviously by selling unnamed, unblended bottles of unfiltered cask whisky, with only the brilliantly evocative and slightly subversive writing of the society’s taste panel to help members make their selection. This year the society has refurbished its Queen Street premises, creating a new bar and dining area which aims to bring the best of whisky and its conviviality directly to members, casual customers and aficionados alike. This independent, democratic, inspiring spirit continues to infuse the society’s work – we salute it. ■ See pages 31 and 86

In association with

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OVE RESTAURR600 CAFES, BANTS, SHOPS AARS, POP-UPSND

THE FESTIVAL CITY

G

ood eating and drinking has become part of Edinburgh’s cultural fabric. With everything from fine-dining tasting menus to the perfect cup of loose leaf tea available, Edinburgh is firmly established as the UK’s second great eating city, second only to London in the depth and breadth it offers. The Edinburgh section of this guide covers everything from converted police boxes in public parks to the most sumptuous dining experiences. And with around 100 new openings this year – an average of two a week – it’s clear the desire to experiment, innovate and create great experiences remains strong. Edinburgh’s eating and drinking scene is diverse, but what links the best of it is a strong desire to keep Scottish sourcing and produce firmly on the map, showcasing the local larder on every plate. This isn’t restricted to the higher-end venues. Discerning diners can, and should, demand their

burger is as well sourced as their hand-dived scallops, foraging is becoming commonplace and complements the wealth of fresh fruit and veg grown around the city, while the rise in locallyproduced spirits, beer and soft drinks is certainly something to cheer about. It’s true too that we’re still drawn to global influences. Food from America to Africa, Eastern Europe to the Middle East, is explored on the pages that follow, while our equally diverse bars and pubs offer everything from a locally-brewed craft pint to an award-winning cocktail, often accompanied by a plate of food that’s as good as that from any restaurant. Our Wee Places section showcases some of the most innovative venues around, including a good handful of places that refuse to be pigeon-holed: here you’ll find everything from funky little wine shops offering a glass and a plate of charcuterie to vegan burger bars. Cheers!

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TIPLISTS THE EATING & DRINKING GUIDE TEAM’S RECOMMENDATIONS Colonnades

FOR BRUNCH

FOR AFTERNOON TEA

FOR OUTDOOR DINING

Bijou 36 Hearty brunches served right into the afternoon from this pintsized local hangout.

Anteaques W A simple afternoon tea where the focus is all on what’s in the cup – they do sell 80 different teas, after all.

Akva W Large, peaceful canalside garden with homely food, plenty to drink and family friendliness.

The Birchwood 36 Start your day right with French toast, pancakes and extra-nutty granola from this Marchmont café.

Colonnades 20 An opulent afternoon tea served in this stunning library is elegant, delicious, and excellent value.

Loudon’s Café and Bakery W Bright, airy, spacious café with a great line in eggs Benny served until 4pm at the weekend.

Palm Court W Afternoon tea served with a sense of occasion and finesse at one of Edinburgh’s grandest hotels.

Olive Branch Bistro 41 This classic Broughton Street spot also does a great brunch at the weekend – ideal for peoplewatching.

Red Bus Bistro 42 A vintage 1966 Routemaster bus hits all the iconic sights of Edinburgh while serving afternoon tea.

Ostara 47 Brunch is served all day, every day – it’s a perfect stopping-off point after a walk down the Water of Leith.

The Scottish Café 22 Scottish ingredients showcased in picturesque Princes Street Gardens – shake things up and try their high tea.

The Scran and Scallie W A divine brunch from this classy Stockbridge bistro, but book ahead: it’s only served on weekends.

Twenty Princes Street Grill & Smokehouse 89 Striking views across to the Old Town with a traditionally decadent afternoon tea.

Chaophraya Edinburgh 95 Lovely outdoor terrace, with an equally stunning glass box for when the weather doesn’t play fair. Earthy Market Café W The roomy backyard is an ideal showcase for Earthy’s farmfresh, local, organic and seasonal produce. The Magnum Restaurant & Bar 87 This intimate New Town bar and bistro punches well above its weight and has a large terrace too. Milk at Collective 21 Perched atop Calton Hill, it really doesn’t get more outdoorsy than this. The Royal Dick Bar & Bistro 42 The huge enclosed courtyard is safe for little ones and free from traffic noise too – a real treat.

FOR VEGGIES David Bann 37 Wholesome vegetarian food in a modern, convivial space that’s become an Edinburgh institution.

Juice Warrior 54 Cold-pressed juices, organic smoothies and smoothie bowls to get your five a day from.

Tanjore 69 Good-value South Indian dishes in a café-style setting – the dosas come highly recommended.

Earthy Market Café W Farm-fresh, local, organic and seasonal produce with lots of choices for veggies in this café and market.

The Pakora Bar 54 Small, quirky Indian street food bar serving vegan and veggie Punjabi food until the early hours.

Union of Genius W Edinburgh’s first soup café creates wholesome, comforting, better-thanhomemade soups.

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FOR GROUPS AND PARTIES

FOR LATE DINING

Checkpoint 37 Industrial-chic interiors with casual service and a menu to suit all-day dining and drinking.

New Chapter 88 This excellent neighbourhood restaurant has lots of different options for groups and parties.

The Refinery 32 A distinctively luxe landmark bar set over two floors in the heart of St Andrew Square.

Belted Burgers 90 Great burgers from the restaurant’s own farm down in Dumfries and Galloway.

Galvin Brasserie de Luxe 38 Swish and fun, this stylish brasserie is ideal for catching up with groups of friends.

Pomegranate 80 Middle Eastern mezze and vibrant shisha bar, with a generous BYOB policy too.

Tuk Tuk 69 This quirky, lively Indian street food restaurant serves small plates and is ideal for groups.

Dishoom 66 Cult Indian café, serving food all day and well into the night. The Jaffle Joint 31 Jaffle is Aussie for toastie and they’re served into the wee small hours in this fun Porty pub. Kebab Mahal 66 Venerable institution which has been feeding simple Indian food to loyal fans since 1979. OX184 W Grilled delights and craft beers are served in a smoke-scented setting ‘til very, very late. The Witchery by the Castle 90 Enjoy a post-theatre supper in this history-packed restaurant, famed for its atmosphere.

OX184

FOR BYOB Bodega 75 This Leith taqueria is the perfect place to sink some cold beers with fresh and fiery soft tacos. Buffalo 91 Superb steaks and gourmet burgers – now licensed but you can still bring your own wine.

Galvin Brasserie de Luxe

Hanam’s 77 Long-running Middle Eastern restaurant which celebrates Kurdish cooking.

FOR VEGANS The Auld Hoose W Lots of casual, stomach-lining, vegan options, including chips and vegan cheese at this laid-back bar.

Khushi’s 67 Still serving interesting, wellexecuted Indian dishes nearly 60 years after first opening.

Hendersons Vegan 40 100% vegan food presented with flair, creativity and integrity from the cradle of veggie food in Edinburgh.

The New York Steam Packet 92 Relaxed, fun venue with a goodvalue set menu and BYOB policy that’s great for groups.

Holy Cow 53 Vegan café building a buzz about its take on the burger – definitely expect to be surprised.

Roti 68 New kid on South Bridge serving Indian and Pakistani tapas with a heavy accent on the chargrill.

Moon and Hare W This vegan, gluten-free café in Bruntsfield shows that healthy plantbased food is exciting and vibrant. Paradise Palms W Good-time cocktail lounge vibe, where the veggie and vegan soul food has as much spirit as the drinks. Pumpkin Brown 47 Former market stall in the Grassmarket, dishing up raw and vegan food, coffee and cakes.

Paradise Palms

Bodega

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FOR SUNDAY LUNCH Chop House Market Street 92 It’s all about the steak – and the lazy Sunday afternoon – in this Old Town conversion of an historic arch.

The Salisbury Arms 32 This recently refurbished gastropub has a warm, homely interior and views of Arthur’s Seat.

The Cumberland Bar W Traditional Victorian pub with an excellent leafy beer garden in the city’s elegant New Town.

The Shore Bar & Restaurant 42 A classic Leith bar with reliable pub food and a steady crew at the helm.

Kyloe Restaurant & Grill 92 This prestigious steakhouse settles into an easier pace on Sundays for laid-back lunching.

The Walnut 43 Neighbourhood bistro where Sunday lunch is likely to feature delicious things like beef shortrib.

BEST ENJOYED WITH LEMONADE & A SQUEEZE OF FRESH LIME

Kyloe

FOR SENSE OF PLACE Colonnades 20 Elegant lunches and afternoon teas in the beautiful surroundings of the Signet Library. The Devil’s Advocate W This imaginative space makes the most of its setting in one of Edinburgh’s most distinctive closes. The Gardener’s Cottage 86 Social dining and seasonal cooking in an actual gardener’s cottage which dates from the 1830s. Milk at Collective 21 Climb the hill, take in the views, breathe the air. This casual lunch spot lays Edinburgh at your feet. The Pompadour by Galvin 65 The Caledonian Hotel’s elegant finedining restaurant offers stunning views and classic French cuisine. Twenty Princes Street Grill & Smokehouse 89 More than just a pretty face, but its stunning views do it no harm at all.

The Gardener’s Cottage

THESE FURTHER TIPLISTS CAN BE FOUND ELSEWHERE IN THE GUIDE: Pre-theatre Bars & Pubs Burgers Ice-cream Cafés Families Budget Dining Great Wine List

21 23, 26, 28, 35 40 43 45, 48, 50, 55 56 58 65

Good Lunch Deal Sourcing Pizza Distinctive Dining Neighbourhood Dining Romance Taking The Dog Socially Aware Dining

67 74 76 80 84 88 91 94

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12–14 MAY SCOTTISH STREET FOOD AWARDS The Pitt, Pitt Street, britishstreetfood.co.uk The inaugural awards for the chance to compete in the UK-wide competition in September.

George Square, edfoodfest.com Pre-festival appetizer with street food, stalls, producer demos, debates and picnics in the sylvan setting of George Square Gardens.

26–28 MAY MHOR FESTIVAL Monachyle Mhor Farm, Balquhidder, mhorfestival.net Activities including baking competitions, theatre and live music.

4–6 AUGUST FOODIES FESTIVAL Inverleith Park, foodiesfestival.com Michelin-starred and award-winning chefs cook up a storm at this year’s festival dedicated to epicureans, as well as offerings from local producers and workshops for food lovers young and old.

26–28 MAY EDINBURGH CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL The Biscuit Factory, Bonnington, edinburghcraft beerfestival.co.uk Scotland’s first global craft beer gathering with over 30 internationally renowned brewers. 27–28 MAY THE WHISKY STRAMASH Surgeon’s Hall, thewhiskystramash.com A relaxed, unstuffy atmosphere and special hands-on events.

The Pitt

2–4 JUNE JUNIPER GIN FESTIVAL Summerhall, summerhall.co.uk Top producers, gin talks, cocktails, food stalls and handmade fashions and crafts. 9–10 JUNE CURRIE BEER AND CURRY FESTIVAL Currie Community

Centre, cbdrt.com Curry in Currie? Brilliant. A weekend of real ales, wine, live music and, of course, plenty of curry. 17–18 JUNE THE POWER OF FOOD FESTIVAL poweroffoodfestival. wordpress.com Grassroots festival celebrating Edinburgh’s community gardens.

22–25 JUNE THE ROYAL HIGHLAND SHOW Ingliston, royalhighland show.org One of Scotland’s biggest annual events, the Royal Highland Show is part agricultural show, part food festival, part family fun day out.

30 JUNE-2 JULY SCOTTISH GAME FAIR Scone Palace, Perth scottishfair.com Annual gathering for country sports enthusiasts with competitions, displays, stalls and food trailers. LATE JULY EDINBURGH FOOD FESTIVAL

5–15 OCTOBER EDINBURGH RESTAURANT FESTIVAL edinevents.com Now in its fourth year, this festival brings the city centre’s restaurants and neighbourhood bistros together to showcase Edinburgh’s dining scene with set-price menus, promotions and special events.

STREET FOOD & POP-UPS It used to be all about the corner; now it’s all about the collective. 2016 was the year street food got organised, banding together to create semi-permanent destinations for on-street dining. Whether the ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ nature of the classic food truck just didn’t play to the Edinburgh audience or whether the end goal was always to move to a more permanent set-up, with a few notable exceptions the street food scene now feels far less of a moveable feast. The charge was led by The Pitt – their street food markets became weekly in 2016. The team then set up Food + Flea, an ambitious, semi-permanent daily market. Both feature an evolving cast of solid regulars like Fresh Revolution, Shrimpwreck,

Food + Flea Market Barnacles and Bones, Barney’s Beer, Knights Kitchen and Rost. Meanwhile, over in Fountainbridge, Street Food Fridays made the most of the lovely setting of the Union Canal – while they closed

over winter, word on the street is they’ll re-appear when things warm up. And a few hardy vendors are still trucking on – Edinburgh’s police boxes are fertile proving grounds for people like Tupinquim

who have turned their little corner of the Meadows into a garden: see our Tiplist on page 48 for the best of the rest. The pop-up scene feels like it’s become more regular too, with pioneers like Dram & Smoke due to return for a full month of their immersive dining experiences in August, while funky foragers Buck & Birch are getting as much recognition for their wonderful aelder elixir liqueur as their occasional supper clubs. And of course, it would be churlish to stop the kids growing up – see funky Swiss dumpling purveyor Alplings (page 44) who have already started occasional evening openings in their new café space, as well as continuing to turn up at places like Stockbridge market at the weekend.

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Stockbridge Market

FARMERS’ MARKETS + FOOD ASSEMBLIES BALERNO FARMERS’ MARKET Balerno Main Street, balernovt.org.uk 9am–1pm, second Saturday of the month EDINBURGH FARMERS’ MARKET Castle Terrace, edinburghfarmersmarket.co.uk 9am–2pm, every Saturday GRASSMARKET WEEKLY MARKET Grassmarket, stockbridgemarket.com/grassmarket 10am–5pm, every Saturday LEITH FOOD ASSEMBLY Pick up: Mondays 6–7.30pm Jeremiah’s Taproom, 7–8 Elm Row LEITH MARKET Dock Place, stockbridgemarket.com/leith 10am–5pm, every Saturday MUSSELBURGH MARKET Ravelston House Hotel car park 10am–3pm, last Sunday of the month, PORTOBELLO MARKET Brighton Park, pedal-porty.org.uk/food/portobello-market 9.30am–1.30pm, first Saturday of the month SOUTHSIDE FOOD ASSEMBLY Pick up: Tuesdays 6–7pm The Royal Dick Bar, Summerhall STOCKBRIDGE MARKET Saunders Street, stockbridgemarket.com/stockbridge 10am–5pm, every Sunday

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OUT OF TOWN A SELECTION OF THE BEST PLACES TO EAT AROUND EDINBURGH ARCHERFIELD WALLED GARDEN Archerfield Estate, Dirleton, archerfieldwalledgarden.com With a quality café, onsite brewery, deli, gift shop, play area, a willow walk and a fairy trail, as well as a cosy log fire in the bar, you could easily spend the whole day here. Look out for collaborations with the ever-funky Rogue Village too.

BALLINTAGGART FARM Grandtully, Perthshire, ballintaggart. com Ballintaggart is owned by the people behind Edinburgh’s original supper club, Charlie and Evelyn’s Table. The two-room B&B holds regular feast nights – think seasonal, communal dining – and there are cookery classes which can be combined with an overnight stay.

Aberlady. It’s an ideal stop-off on the way back from the coast or as a special occasion destination; the pub is pretty decent too.

THE NEWPORT RESTAURANT High Street, Newport-on-Tay, thenewportrestaurant.co.uk This shiny new restaurant led by Masterchef: The Professionals winner Jamie Scott features inventive cooking and relaxed Sunday brunches, all with a strong focus on local produce. Stunning views and a handful of rooms complete the picture.

RESTORATION CAFÉ Dalkeith Country Park, Dalkeith, restorationyard.com Dalkeith Country Park has had something of a makeover, so head here for sustenance after tiring the kids out. An interesting breakfast menu is served right up until lunchtime, and if you’re just after coffee and cake, there’s a self-service casual café across the courtyard.

SECRET HERB GARDEN Old Pentland Road, Lothianburn, secretherbgarden.co.uk A truly magical place, with herbs, gardens, glasshouses and vintage furniture as well as a welcoming café offering simple lunches based around quiches and soups. Look out for their Full Moon Dinners – monthly magical pop-ups featuring cooking from some of Edinburgh’s hottest talent which run from April to September.

STEAMPUNK COFFEE

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Greywalls Hotel, Muirfield, Gullane, greywalls.co.uk Albert Roux oversees the menu here, so expect solid luxury and classical fine dining, all delivered in a pictureperfect chocolate box of a country house hotel, originally designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.

CRAIGIE’S FARM SHOP West Craigie Farm, South Queensferry, craigies.co.uk Farm shop with a busy café and yearround play area for the kids. There’s a butchers, plenty of produce from the farm and a carefully chosen range of groceries. Pick-your-own-fruit is popular in the summer – there’s even a wee tractor to help you get back up the hill afterwards.

THE DUCKS INN Main Street, Aberlady, ducks.co.uk This restaurant with rooms incorporates a popular pub, café and fine-dining restaurant in pretty little

The Warehouse, Kirk Ports, North Berwick, steampunkcoffee.co.uk Excellent coffee, chocolatey cakes and oozy cheese toasties, all served up in a hip North Berwick hangout – the perfect way to warm up after a shivery walk on the beach. Opens later on Friday evenings when Big Blu Pizza park their van next door.

THE SUN INN Lothian Bridge, Dalkeith, thesuninnedinburgh.co.uk Reliable former coaching inn that covers a lot of bases and does it well. There’s a cracking Sunday lunch, a great courtyard for when the sun shines and a new coffee shop planned for 2017.

WHITMUIR CAFÉ Whitmuir Farm, Lamancha, whitmuirtheorganicplace.co.uk Organic farm with butchery, bakery and a cute wee café. Stock up on amazing organic produce then enjoy a simple, tasty lunch based round what’s good from the farm. There are regular Saturday evening openings too.

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A SELECTION OF THE BEST PLACES TO BUY GOOD FOOD AND DRINK

WINE, BEER & SPIRITS THE BEERHIVE 24 Rodney Street, thebeerhive.co.uk Beers from around the world with a strong focus on Scottish producers. Refill your own bottles from their kegerator: they open a new keg every couple of weeks. CORNELIUS BEERS AND WINE 18–20 Easter Road, corneliusbeers.com One of the city’s most comprehensive beer collections accompanied by a smaller, though equally well thoughtthrough, selection of wine. DRINKMONGER 11 Bruntsfield Place, drinkmonger.com Clued-up staff talk through wine arranged by grape rather than country, and an Aladdin’s cave of spirits means the cocktail hour will go with a swing. SALT HORSE BEER SHOP & BAR 57–61 Blackfriars Street, salthorse.beer Laid-back bar with a bewildering array of beer from around the world in bottles and cans to takeaway. STEWART’S DOCKSIDE TAP 38 Bernard Street, stewartbrewing.co.uk A cross between a shop and a tiny tasting room, this is the place to pick up Stewart’s cans, bottles and growler refills. WOODWINTERS 91 Newington Road, woodwinters.com Thoughtful indy wine shop, who have branched out into their own whisky bottlings. Nice wee taster evenings too.

DELIS

GROCERS

CARINGTON MOUSE’S LARDER 21 Clerk Street, mouselarder.com Cute little café/deli with a surprisingly wide range of local produce slap-bang in the middle of the city.

DIG-IN BRUNTSFIELD 119 Bruntsfield Place, diginbruntsfield.co.uk Community-owned, not-for-profit greengrocer, stocking fruit and veg as well as baking and larder items.

GOYA23 30 North West Circus Place, goya23.co.uk Deli, wine and sherry bar with a stunning selection of good Spanish stuff – especially jamón Ibérico, their pride and joy.

EARTHY • 1–6 Canonmills Bridge • 33–41 Ratcliffe Terrace • 19 Windsor Place, Portobello earthy.co.uk Local, seasonal produce including fruit and veg, fish, meat and dairy, much of it grown in and around Edinburgh.

BUTCHERS, BAKERS & FISHMONGERS EDDIES SEAFOOD MARKET 7 Roseneath Street, eddiesseafood.co.uk Go where chefs in the know go for sushi-grade fish, seafood and shells. But do go early, especially at the weekend. SOMETHING FISHY 16a Broughton Street Traditional independent fishmonger, with a wide selection of fish and their own in-house smoker. BREADSHARE BAKERY • 4 Jane Street • 11–12 Seafield Road East breadshare.co.uk Cracking community bakery that believes real bread is for everyone, Breadshare ticks all the local, seasonal and organic boxes.

IJ MELLIS • 330 Morningside Road • 6 Bakers Place • 30a Victoria Street mellischeese.co.uk Cheese, cheese, cheese as far as the eye can see: strong, soft, squelchy, stinky, perfectly stored and stunning.

THE NEW LEAF CO-OP 23 Argyle Place, newleafcoop.co.uk Led by a workers’ co-operative, you can grind your own nut butters at this vegetarian wholefood shop and community hub.

RELISH 6 Commercial Street Uncomplicated local deli down near The Shore in Leith, with a decent, though small, range of cheese, charcuterie, olives and the like.

JORDAN VALLEY FOODS 8 Nicolson Street A Southside treasure trove of pulses, beans, grains, tea and spices plus a decent selection of grab-and-go lunch items.

VALVONA AND CROLLA 19 Elm Row, valvonacrolla.com The daddy of the delis, their enduring focus on the very best of Italian produce has stood the test of time – their cheese counter is one of the world’s wonders.

REAL FOODS • 37 Broughton Street • 8 Brougham Street realfoods.co.uk An Edinburgh institution, with a comprehensive range across their two stores of almost everything you need to eat and live healthily and ethically.

CROMBIES OF EDINBURGH 97 Broughton Street, sausages.co.uk Some come for the sausages, others for the steak pie; they make their own haggis too and it’s all good.

TATTIE SHAWS 35 Elm Row A proper, old-school greengrocers, Tattie Shaws has been standing firm at the top of Leith Walk since 1997, serving fresh, cheap produce.

GEORGE BOWER 75 Raeburn Place, georgebowerbutchers.co.uk Traditional family butchers in Stockbridge with a strong focus on local game.

VICTOR HUGO 26–27 Melville Drive, victorhugodeli.com Perfect for picking up a picnic before heading over to the Meadows, Victor Hugo has a large deli counter as well as salads and bakes to eat in or takeaway.

SÖDERBERG BAKERY SHOP • 31 Queensferry Street • 33 Simpson Loan, Quartermile • 45 Broughton Street soderberg.uk You’ll find sourdough, crispbread and the last word in cardamom buns here, as well as soups and salads to take away in this trio of Swedish bakeries.

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looking for

fresh ideas

EXPERIENCES BREWERY AND DISTILLERY TOURS STEWART BREWING Loanhead, stewartbrewing.co.uk Brewery tours take place Thursday–Saturday (drop-in on Saturday only) and include samples and snacks. If you’ve always fancied brewing your own, you can create your own recipe in the Craft Beer Kitchen. THE EDINBURGH GIN DISTILLERY Rutland Place, edinburghgindistillery.co.uk Cosy wee gin bar by night, working distillery by day. Edinburgh Gin offer tours, tastings and gin-making experiences where you can see their beautiful copper stills up-close and personal.

WALKING TOURS EDINBURGH FOOD SAFARI edinburghfoodsafari.com While TV personality and food writer Nell Nelson doesn’t quite go off the beaten track, she does steer clear of the tourist trail with two regular walking tours based around Broughton Street and Stockbridge. EAT WALK EDINBURGH eatwalkedinburgh.co.uk A walking tour with a side order of history; Eat Walk Edinburgh’s tours are based around the Old and New Towns and involve at least five sampling breaks per tour. FOOD HERITAGE TRAIL ewht.org.uk/visit/edinburghfoodheritagetrail This self-guided walk through the World Heritage Site reveals the hidden links between Edinburgh’s buildings and its food heritage. Use the trail to plan a wander, or stop off and eat at some stunning historic locations.

BUS TOURS THE RED BUS BISTRO redbusbistro.co.uk Afternoon tea (or a decent burger) combined with a bus tour – what’s not to love? The Big Red Bus Bistro’s tour goes round Edinburgh’s main historic sites, while serving up a traditional afternoon tea on their specially converted bus.

COOKING CLASSES EDINBURGH NEW TOWN COOKERY SCHOOL 7 Queen Street, entcs.co.uk From one-day family courses to getting those fledglings ready to cook for themselves at uni, there’s a lot on offer at this centrally located cooking school.

Look out for the Taste Our Best logo throughout this guide, proudly displayed as a sign that great quality Scottish produce is on the menu, prepared with care and delivered with passion.

BREAD MAKING BREAD MATTERS Macbiehill Farmhouse, Lamancha, breadmatters.com Bread Matters believe good bread is important to us all. They offer courses for people just starting out on their bread journey right up to those hoping to bake as a business.

From restaurants, B&B’s and hotels to visitor attractions, cafés and takeaways, you can sample famous fare made with the freshest, Scottish produce.

WHISKY TASTING

Choose from hundreds of accredited outlets at visitscotland.com/tasteourbest

The Forth Bridge, Edinburgh

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WHISKI ROOMS 4 North Bank Street, whiskirooms.co.uk A range of informal, fun whisky tasting sessions are available in the Whiski Rooms tasting chamber – they’re open to individual bookings or you can get a group together and organise a private event. THE SCOTCH MALT WHISKY SOCIETY 28 Queen Street, smws.com The society’s stunning new Kaleidoscope Whisky Bar is open to everyone and has a world-class selection of whisky, as you would expect. There are also regular events if you want to deepen your knowledge, most of which are open to non-members.

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TASTE OF

Edinburgh is an amazing melting pot of flavours, influences and techniques, but there are always going to be some things that just taste like home

FISH AND CHIPS Or perhaps more accurately, salt and sauce. Our favourite chippies include Leith’s Pierinos (pierinos.co.uk) and L’Alba D’Oro (lalbadoro. com) on Henderson Row – remember to ask for plenty of the sauce but don’t bother buying a bottle to take home, it’s just not the same.

GIN Edinburgh Gin (edinburgh gindistillery. co.uk) is of course named after the city it s produced d it’s no ot in, but it’s not botttle the only bottle block. on the block.

Pickering’s Gin (pickeringsgin.com) is hand-crafted up at Summerhall while Daffy’s Gin (daffysgin.com) starts out in France and is finished here. And while North Berwick Gin (nbgin.com) clearly comes from outside the city limits, it tastes really good so we’re claiming it as our own too.

BEER The craft beer revolution has seen some brilliant brewing talent setting up shop in Edinburgh. Boutique brewers Pilot (pilotbeer.co.uk) produce an interesting range from their home in Leith (most of which are vegan-friendly thanks to their refusal to add finings to their beer) and the Edinburgh Beer Factory (edinburghbeerfactory.co.uk) has picked up a raft of awards for their easy-drinking Paolozzi lager.

ICE-CREAM Luca’s ice-cream (s-luca.co.uk) has been part of the Edinburgh landscape since 1908. They have cafés in Musselburgh and Morningside, but their ice-cream is also widely available in shops, cafés and supermarkets. Mary’s Milk Bar (marysmilkbar.com) is in the heart of the Grassmarket and offers a twist on the traditional from their vintage-styled parlour. Very cool and mobbed on a summer’s day.

COFFEE OK, coffee doesn’t grow here. But do we need to drink a lot of it, living as we do on a cold, dark lump of volcanic rock. There’s a decent cup available on almost every corner these days, but it was Artisan Roast (artisanroast.co.uk)

uch to put coffee on the who did much Edinburgh map.

SWEETIES TIES Hard sweets ets were a Scottish ck in the day staple back and you’llll still find a ection in places good selection derson’s like Canderson’s sons. (candersons. atlast.net) down mobileatlast.net) h Walk. But the on Leith al has always real deal been Edinburgh Rock, which was ed from the rescued brink of extinction in 2015. Go buy some – yourr teeth won’t thankk you but your age will. heritage

SOFT DRINKS S E Edinburgh is positively fizzing w with non-alcoholic options. Kitsch (k (kitschdrinks.co.uk) make all-natural so sodas featuring grown-up flavour co combinations like rhubarb and Thai ba basil or cucumber and fennel, Roots So Soda (rootssoda.co.uk) have a slightly dar darker approach to their mixed fizzy drinks, while the revived B Bon Accord (bonaccordsoftdr inks. (bonaccordsoftdrinks. com) bottle tonic water, cloudy lemonade and ging ger ginger beer free of refined sugar r. sugar.

PLACES THAT HAVE CLOSED IN THE PAST YEAR

EDINBURGH LARDER BISTRO

NAWROZ

FIELD GRILL HOUSE

RAFAEL’S

FRONTIER RESTAURANT

SPIT / FIRE

JAMBO GRILL AND RESTAURANT

SUREE THAI

KAMA SUTRA

TÁPAME THE PORTOBELLO PALM TREET

AGOON PANI

BURGER MEATS BUN

ANFORA

CAFÉ CASSIS

KHUBLAI KHAN MONGOLIAN BARBECUE RESTAURANT

BISTRO PROVENCE

CLOUDS & SOIL

THE LEITH BEER CO.

V DEEP

THE BON VIVANT STOCKBRIDGE

C-SHACK

LEO & TED

WANNABURGER

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ARTS VENUES & ATTRACTIONS

list.co.uk

EDINBURGH

ARTS VENUES & ATTRACTIONS From the city’s grandest buildings and national treasures to quirky corners, arts collectives and social enterprises, Edinburgh’s arts venues often include marvellous places for musing and munching. Tourists will gladly stumble upon them and locals will return again and again for a good cup of coffee and an artfully constructed bun – even when there isn’t any time to take in the exhibition. Their menus are as varied as the venues themselves, yet they all have one thing in common: a unique identity shaped by the spaces and communities which host them. Reviewers: Katie Conaglen, Hannah Jefferson

Bon Papillon 15 Howe Street, Stockbridge, 0131 538 2505, bonpapillon.com | Closed Mon/ Tue | £4.50 (lunch)

Next to the phrase ‘hidden gem’ in the urban dictionary there may well be a picture of Bon Papillon, although going by the gaggle of happy customers munching their way through the door-stopper scones, it’s not that much of a secret. A bijou gallery, framers, and café serving a selection of soups, sandwiches, cakes and the aforementioned legendary scones, it’s as cosy a haunt as you could hope to find, where you can feast your eyes on the rotating roster of extraordinary work from local artists as you fill your tum with a hearty meal. The hot smoked salmon salad comes liberally dressed, with sun-dried tomatoes, olives and a thatch of fresh-baked bread in case you’ve a trucker’s appetite, or check out the satisfying, garlicky grilled halloumi sandwich. You’ll likely be replete after all that, but for the insatiable libertine, the baking should not be missed. The ginger cake is fudgy, dense but not dry, drizzled in honey and served with rich buttercream and vibrant fresh fruit. And those plumptious scones are as buttery light as they are bountiful. + Co-owner Ingrid’s artwork is as accomplished as Stuart’s baking - Such good food deserves a glass of wine as accompaniment

Café Modern One Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art One, 75 Belford Road, West End, 0131 332 8600, heritageportfolio.co.uk | £10.50 (lunch)

Bright, light, and airy, Café Modern One is the type of contemporary, open space where you can indulge in artistic daydreams while nursing a good, strong coffee. As part of the Heritage Portfolio group, who provide in-house cafés to many of Edinburgh’s cultural attractions, Café Modern One typifies the organisation, offering innovative, hearty meals with a minimum of fuss. A daily rotation of soups, salads, mains and filled rolls, featuring big flavours and healthy ingredients, are served canteen style. Miso roasted chicken smacks with umami flavours, the bird juicy and tender, while a coleslaw of cabbage, carrot and celeriac is vibrant and crunchy. A beetroot and brie pancake provides a fulsome vegetarian option, vivid pink and

oozing cheese. You can eat outdoors when weather allows, and overlook the gorgeous kitchen garden, the yield of which wends its way into the cooking whenever possible. Save room for pudding – there’s nary a dud option. A dark chocolate orange slice is smooth with a delightful citrus tang, like a right posh Terry’s chocolate orange. + Bountiful salads make for lush, filling sides - Negotiating the throngs at the till is a bit fraught

Café Modern Two Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Two, 73 Belford Road, West End, 0131 624 6273, heritageportfolio.co.uk | £10 (lunch)

This sophisticated cousin to the café at Modern Art Gallery One offers table service and a more sedate pace for lunch. Although the food is not elevated to anything far beyond café fare, there are some pleasing departures from the usual soup, sandwiches and salads. Mushrooms on toast is served on sourdough and a rich creamy sauce is textured with walnuts. Light bites also include a selection of considered choices from a Mull cheddar and leek tart to warmed goat’s cheese with figs. Desserts are an eye-catching array of traybakes and sponges including an orange polenta and rosemary cake. The highlight here though is undoubtedly the memorable dining surroundings, with Paolozzi’s huge iron man statue looming above the dining tables. Despite a decidedly grown-up feel, children are welcome and staff are notably friendly as well as efficient and well-informed. + Well-cooked food in beautiful surroundings - Food doesn’t come in a hurry

Café 1505 @ Surgeonshall 18 Nicolson Street, Southside, 0131 527 1686, heritageportfolio.co.uk | £8.50 (lunch)

Boasting its own craft beer with flavours of liquorice, bitter orange and cardamom, Café 1505 is putting in the effort to create a menu that sticks out among the city’s throng of cafés. An ethical bias when it comes to sourcing produce, along with a well-conceived lineup of lunch and dinner options certainly make it a good contender. Lunch ranges from a lamb hotpot served with a side of couscous and beetroot to a homely butternut squash, coconut milk and chilli soup. Everything is cooked from scratch. Seasonal salads and an array of traybakes keep a crowd of regulars from local offices and the nearby university returning. Positioned neatly to the side of the architecturally imposing Royal College of Surgeons, the café itself sadly doesn’t exploit its impressive surrounds but its bright contemporary interior is nevertheless a vibrant venue for lunch or a pre-theatre meal. + An ethical and creative approach - Not much elbow room

Café at the Palace Palace of Holyroodhouse, Old Town, 0131 652 3685 | Closed during the Queen’s residence in Holyrood Week | £12.50 (lunch)

On a sunny morning, the small café lawn at Holyrood Palace provides a serene spot for coffee with views across to the crags. In warmer months, a courtyard within the scenic grounds of Her Majesty’s residence also offers ample room for al fresco eating. Hungry tourists are well catered for with a nod to Scottish produce and a lineup of sandwiches in the fridge.

Milk at The Fruitmarket Gallery: one of the growing band of Milk venues

Mains are sturdy dependable choices such as lasagne or a vegetarian crêpe. An afternoon tea will no doubt please international visitors in all its traditional tiered finery. Pastries are baked inhouse and professionally turned out. Though the more seasoned afternoon tea connoisseur may find the general spread lacking a little in terms of creativity and contemporary refinement, elements such as a sticky sweet Ecclefechan tart are a notable treat and staff endeavour to add a sense of occasion. + Sunny dining in the orangerie - The trip across the courtyard to the toilets

Café Portrait Scottish National Portrait Gallery, 1 Queen Street, New Town, 0131 624 6421, heritageportfolio.co.uk | £10.50 (lunch)

With its grand gothic architecture and high ceilings, this venue emits a rarefied air. Odds are diners here have also come to explore the remarkable artwork, but the food is as varied and restorative as the portraiture. There’s a rotating selection of soups, salads, sandwiches and mains. Salads are particularly noteworthy – the courgette, feta and pea salad is zingy, peas sweet and fresh and courgettes lemony, while the carrot, nigella seed, almond and goat’s cheese salad is sweet and moreish. A pastrami sandwich, spicy and satisfying, comes with pesto, rocket and gherkin. The café has a reputation for its sweets and slices, and while the temple-achingly sweet cherry bakewell lacks depth of flavour, the scones are cloud-like in lightness and subtly cinnamony. Most impressively, a humble salted caramel brownie is reimagined as

a brownie millionaire’s slice (a layer of thick chocolate capping the fudgy saline caramel), and is every bit as brilliant as that would suggest. + Beautifully fresh salads, lovingly prepared - Sandwiches are fairly pricey

✱ Colonnades Signet Library, Parliament Square, High Street, Old Town, 0131 226 1064, heritageportfolio.co.uk | Closed Sat | £20 (lunch)

While Edinburgh has more than its fair share of grand spaces to eat in, a good proportion of them coast on their looks and skimp on delivering equally grand food. Not so at Colonnades. With its neo-classical balustrades, Corinthian columns and leather-bound books, it is absolutely drowning in pretty – and the food is just as sexy as the setting. Lunch is an absolute steal, and starts with surprisingly delicate, peppery spiced haggis gnocchi. Bouche amused, pan-seared cod flakes beautifully and is paired with delicious chorizo jam. Crispy polenta with heritage carrots whispers of Italian home cooking, with all the comfort that suggests. Dessert of apple compote with oat crumble is as spectacular to look at as it is to eat – and for a truly indulgent experience, be sure to wash it all down with lashings of Pommery champagne. There’s also a superlative afternoon tea, including a haggis, neeps and tatties pie and a swoonsome Black Forest macaroon. + Swigging champagne from coupés in a stunning library - Mirrored tables offer an unflattering view of your mug while dining

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In association with

EDINBURGH

✱ Dovecot Café by Leo’s Dovecot Studios, 10 Infirmary Street, Old Town, 0131 550 3660, dovecotstudios.com/gallery/cafe | Closed Sun | £10 (lunch)

Springing originally from the workshop of William Morris, the Dovecot Studio continues to hold its own in the world of contemporary art and design, producing weavings and tapestries and hosting regularly changing exhibitions. The building blends an imposing Victorian bathhouse with modern additions, with decorative spools of yarn and bright textiles on the café walls reflecting the site’s contemporary usage. A vibrant list of sandwiches, such as hummus with carrot, beetroot, tomato and coriander, can be combined with a homemade mug of soup. Alternative lunch options are also more than tempting, from a delicately constructed Vietnamese rice paper roll with chicken or avocado to daily changing stews. Run by Leo’s Beanery, good coffee and cake are taken more than seriously here. Try the memorable brownie alongside a cup of freshly ground coffee or a smoky Russian Caravan tea. + Relaxed, sophisticated food with great coffee - Not great for large groups

The Drill Hall Café 34 Dalmeny Street, Leith, 0131 555 7100, outoftheblue.org.uk | Closed Sun (depending on events) | £6 (lunch)

This repurposed drill hall is now home to creative spaces and a gem of a café which is about to celebrate its 10th year. As a community training café they aim to both feed and nurture the area, and it’s not just the ethos which is wholesome. Rolls from the Manna House are generously filled with a selection of well-sourced ingredients for both breakfast and lunch, while hot offerings change daily but are likely to include options like goulash and macaroni cheese. There’s plenty of choice for veggies and vegans and

TIPLIST PRE-THEATRE • CC Blooms W Edinburgh’s best-loved gay club also has a comfortable, relaxed café-bar just steps from the Playhouse. • Educated Flea 37 Creative menu offering new takes, twists and fusions on bistro classics in relaxed surroundings. 86 • Field Top-bracket contemporary Scottish cooking with a steal of an early-dining menu. • Hadrian’s Brasserie 38 High-end hotel brasserie, straddling the gap between bistro and fine dining. • Khushi’s Edinburgh 67 This Edinburgh institution delivers speedy dinners just over the road from the Playhouse. • Taisteal 81 A fusion approach to excellent Scottish produce with a bargain-tastic midweek market menu.

if you have other requirements, just ask. With reasonable prices, vintage china and a real community spirit, this social enterprise gives other cafés a run for their money. The accommodating nature of the space means dogs and children are welcome – but do note it’s a working environment so at times they will ask for noise to be kept to a minimum. Finally all that space is not only great for buggies, but means the venue is ideal for anyone with accessibility requirements. + Great quality food and fantastic value - Can be chilly, thanks to a big space and a glass ceiling

NEW The Festival Theatre Café 13–29 Nicolson Street, Old Town, 0131 622 8097, edtheatres.com/food-drink | £6 (lunch)

The Festival Theatre Café was taken inhouse by the theatre’s board of trustees at the start of 2017 and is undergoing a period of menu reflection and resetting. There’s a strong focus on working with local suppliers like Union of Genius, Alplings and the Manna House and while the current lunch offering is very much focused around ‘soup and a sandwich’ options, there are plans to extend the range of dishes on offer. Pre-theatre, the café will offer a range of light bites, all designed for a relaxed, casual experience before heading into the auditorium. Excellent Wi-Fi should see the bright, airy atrium becoming somewhat of a hotspot for lovers of lattes and laptops too. [Not open for full review at time of going to press]

Filmhouse Café Bar 88 Lothian Road, West End, 0131 229 5932, filmhousecinema.com | £9 (lunch) / £13.50 (dinner)

The Filmhouse Café and Bar does what it does so beautifully, and unassumingly, it’s easy to overlook what an impressive operation it is. Here’s a café that serves a wide selection of flavourpacked meals, catering for all dietary requirements, to up to 150 people, with the speed and efficiency required when people are about to head into a flick. Weekly specials keep an otherwise tried-and-trusted menu fresh for frequent visitors, but it’s hard to resist the temptation to re-order favourites – seriously great hummus, buttery garlic bread, wholesome veggie curry and enormous baked potatoes. Traybakes offer tasty pud options – the brownie is so squidgy you’ll be fighting the urge to lick the plate clean. All that and the bar selection isn’t shabby either – a wide choice of inexpensive, tasty plonk and a strong array of local and exported beers on draught, all able to be decanted to a plastic cup for your movie. True cineastes are advised to try their fiendishly hard monthly film quiz as well – such stuff as celluloid nightmares are made of. + Their full Scottish breakfast is one of Edinburgh’s finest - Gets awfully busy just before screening

Milk at Collective City Observatory & City Dome, 38 Calton Hill, New Town, 0131 556 1264, cafemilk.co.uk | £6 (lunch)

A short schlep to the top of Calton Hill, and you’re rewarded with the finest vantage point in Edinburgh – clear views across the Forth, Holyrood Park, the Old Town and the New. In this spectacular spot for an open-air picnic, the Milk at Collective kiosk offers a small but perfectly curated selection of vittles – toasties, sandwiches, soup and a few sweet treats. The peppy pea,

mint and chilli soup will cut through the cold of the wind (the rotating soup selection is always vegan), and Isle of Mull cheddar toasties are robust and tangy. In terms of whetting your whistle, coffee comes strong and delicious, while wee ones will delight in the baby hot chocolates. A chewy, dark chocolate hazelnut brownie offers a smooth finish, or a piece of extremely pretty carrot cake, adorned with craters of buttercream. There’s always a glutenfree slice on offer, too. After lunch, take a gander at the free art gallery behind – every bit as stimulating as the view. Everything you need for the ideal al fresco jaunt. + There’s few pleasures in life as great as a terrific sandwich in a spot with a glorious view - The top of Calton Hill is not for those averse to a spot of weather

Milk at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop 21 Hawthornvale, Leith, 0131 551 5775, cafemilk.co.uk | £9 (lunch)

It may be controversial, but almost anyone can make bacon taste good. It’s an altogether more challenging culinary trick to turn kale and quinoa into a dish that will make you salivate. Such is the miracle of Milk at the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop, where, alongside lip-smacking BLTs and roast chicken sandwiches, there’s one of the finest selections of vegan, vegetarian and allergen-free foods in this fair city. Sweet potato, kale and quinoa fritters are bursting with flavour and gleefully orange, accompanied by sweet and slightly spicy cinnamon carrots. Carnivores aren’t given short shrift – the full breakfast is terrific (great value too), and the chorizo-crammed breakfast burrito is tasty and satisfying. The long, large tables and bright unadorned space give a sense that this is a place for artists to linger and labour, and there’s plenty of room for buggies and families. Sweets are up to the standard of the savoury – a vegan truffle slice has the faintest hint of coconut, making for an indulgent end to a delicious meal. + Nutritious food without a whiff of the virtuous to it - Picking a dish is tough with so appetising a menu

✱ Milk at The Fruitmarket Gallery Fruitmarket Gallery, 45 Market Street, Old Town, 0131 226 8195, cafemilk. co.uk/the-fruitmarket-gallery | £11 (lunch)

Health and happiness mingle harmoniously here, as do a plethora of contented customers from families with kids in tow to art lovers and lunching foodies. The Fruitmarket Gallery Café has a recognisable commitment to food that both does good and tastes good. Vegan, gluten and dairy-free traybakes are far from a poor relation when a chocolate truffle slice topped with nuts, fruit and petals is worthy of exhibiting in the gallery. Those with less of a sweet tooth are treated to a creative and thoughtfully constructed set of salads such as sweet potato, kale and quinoa fritters partnered with cinnamonspiced carrots, seeds and yoghurt. Sandwiches are enlivened by flatbreads and homemade chutneys; even breakfast options provide a refreshing departure from the usual suspects. Despite being one of a growing band of Milk venues in the city, the self-consciously stylish but friendly interior here can’t help but make its own unique mark. + Chocolate cake made with sea salt and olive oil - The lunchtime rush

✱ HITLIST

ARTS VENUES ✱ Colonnades Elegant food in an opulent setting, serving lunch or extravagant afternoon teas. ✱ Dovecot Café by Leo’s Smart, bright daytime café in Edinburgh’s world-renowned tapestry studio, serving freshly prepared soup, sandwiches and bakes. ✱ Milk at The Fruitmarket Gallery Milk brings great quality to Edinburgh’s arts venues; this location focuses on family-friendly, healthy eating. ✱ The Scottish Café Scottish ingredients showcased with the Contini’s high class in picturesque Princes Street Gardens. NEW Monkey Barrel Comedy 9–11 Blair Street, Old Town, 0131 225 5149, monkeybarrelcomedy.com | Closed Mon/Tue | £12 (lunch) / £35–£45 platter, prosecco and show ticket (dinner)

Greeted by ceiling-high paintings of Pete & Dud, Billy Connolly, and Rowan Atkinson on entry, you’re left in no doubt – Monkey Barrel Comedy is a paean to all things funny. The comedy venue hosts a variety of evening shows, from newbies to seasoned professionals, and intriguing spoken word events during the day. If you’re after sustenance with your stand-up, owner David Bleese has worked wonders in his oh-so-wee kitchen to ensure just about every whim is met. There’s a brief but choice breakfast menu, and a café-style selection throughout the day, including hearty chilli (veggie and beef), soups, quiche and sandwiches. A spiced falafel salad is pepped up with sweet roast squash, a lake of hummus at its centre. A remarkably gregarious barista promises the best coffee in town, and his boasting isn’t far off the mark – an americano is smooth and strong, while teas are creative offerings from Rosevear. In the evenings, there’s a variety of extraordinarily goodvalue meal deals, such as a mixed platter for two and a bottle of prosecco to be enjoyed during a show. Everything you’d want for a night out. + You’ll rarely get a warmer welcome in Edinburgh, particularly with a wee one - Having to pre-order evening meals requires a bit of foresight

Museum Brasserie National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Old Town, 0131 247 4040, nms.ac.uk | £10 (lunch)

This is such a lovely place to dine. The low, arched ceilings and exposed marble give the Museum Brasserie the sense of a culinary cloisters, the artwork on the walls a warm reminder you’re in an actual museum. It’s calm, spacious and serves great beer and food. What’s not The List Eating & Drinking Guide 21

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to like? The food is bistro fare, created using the cream of Scottish produce. The pulled chicken salad is fresh and wholesome, a protein party that would keep a bodybuilder happy, brought to life with the addition of sweet potato, pomegranate and avocado. It’s a winner. The beef burger is similarly satisfying, although the trimmings are so sensational – Isle of Mull cheddar, a perfect brioche bun – that the patty itself ends up over-shadowed. An in-house baker supplies treats – the raspberry and vanilla cake is a triumph of buttercream, jam, and fluffy sponge. Kids are particularly well catered for – crayons and colouring mats are produced on arrival, and the kids’ menu offers a happy medium between grub that is healthy and enticing to tots. + Such kind service, such satisfying food - If the patty was a notch better, it could be the best burger in town

St Giles’ Cathedral Café St Giles’ Cathedral, High Street, Old Town, 0131 225 5147, glenfinlas.com | £11.50 (lunch)

The medieval steeple of St Giles’ Cathedral on the Royal Mile is one of the most familiar features of the Edinburgh skyline, and if you’re a friend to beauty, take a look inside to see the building’s dazzling stainedglass windows. Eyes boggling, head to the crypt for the wholesome pleasures of its café, which serves a daily selection of fresh salads, soups, filled rolls, hot meals and baking. A bowl of traditional stovies is rib-sticking, liberally smothered with spicy haggis to fortify you against the Edinburgh cold. Altogether more mellow is a broccoli, mozzarella and tomato tart, with its wobbly cheesy filling and a crumbly shortcrust pastry Mary Berry would wax lyrical over. Baking stands out – buttery fruit scones crumble and make you go all Proustian for nana’s baking, while the sweetness of Victoria sponge is leavened with a tangy lemon buttercream. The clientele bear all the hallmarks of being regulars and there’s a gentle bonhomie to the post Sunday service crowd. Go in peace. + Victoria sponge - Salvation doesn’t come cheap – these are Royal Mile prices

✱ The Scottish Café National Gallery of Scotland, The Mound, City Centre, 0131 225 1550, thescottishcafeandrestaurant.com | £17 (lunch)

Overlooking Princes Street Gardens,

and housed in one of Edinburgh’s top attractions, it would be easy for The Scottish Café at the National Gallery to rest on its laurels. Happily though, it certainly doesn’t. The menu has Victor and Carina Contini’s recognisable creative and accomplished twists on traditional Scottish dishes. Aberdeen butteries are artfully combined with spinach, crowdie cheese and roasted plums and an open sandwich of hot smoked salmon is elevated by a rocket salsa verde and served with a citrus and carrot salad. Local and seasonal produce is the genuine article here and extra fruit, vegetables and flowers are supplied by the Contini’s own kitchen garden. The menu covers all bases and mains from fish pie to venison are well conceived and competently cooked. Suppliers are intelligently sourced with staff clearly enthused and on-board. Afternoon tea at a table beside the expansive windows is a definite treat. A chewy white chocolate macaron is memorable and everything from bread to jam is made on the premises. + Creative food in a picturesque location - Those seated at the back will be jealous of those feasting on a view

The Stand 5 York Place, New Town, 0131 558 7272, thestand.co.uk | No food Mon–Wed or Sun eve | £13 (dinner)

Tucked into a basement on York Place, The Stand is a bustling comedy club offering stand up comedy seven nights a week. With posters all over the walls and tiny tea lights on the small round tables lighting up an otherwise dark room, the venue has a shabby but upbeat feel to it. Be sure to arrive early (especially at the weekend) to grab a table near the stage. The food is hearty and only available from Thursday to Saturday in the evening and on Sunday afternoon, ahead of the laughs kicking off. Expect the cheesiest of nachos with jalapeños, guacamole and crème-fraîche; steak wraps with huge potato wedges; plus gut-busting burgers – essential lining for your stomach before taking advantage of the well-stocked bar. With lots of wines served by the glass plus tempting beer options, any unease you may feel about sitting in the front row will soon slip away. + The fun, lively atmosphere - Arrive early to get a table

Now run by Edinburgh charity Comas, The Story Café ploughs all profits back into its social initiatives, helping people in recovery and poverty in the city. An overarching philanthropic approach is reflected throughout, from the wall hangings made by Comas community members to the volunteers helping to run the place. Despite a tiny kitchen, the menu extends to some heartier options as well as the expected baked potatoes, soup and sandwiches. A bowl of dhal is simply cooked but flavoursome, topped with roast peppers and raw spinach leaves. This bright modern space, next to historic John Knox House, will no doubt always be a popular location with families and locals in-the-know as well as tourists trundling down the Royal Mile. It is also a dependable spot for sustenance after or before one of the many storytelling events at this busy centre. + All profits go to charity - Food doesn’t come in a hurry

Summerhall Café 1 Summerhall, Southside, 0131 560 1580, summerhall.co.uk/summerhallcafe | £9 (lunch)

Despite the many corridors and imposing doorways in this expansive old university building, the café at Summerhall nevertheless manages to create a friendly and inviting space for lunch. The menu is equally comforting and wholesome. Fresh pies are supplied by a local business based within the building and alternative lunch options range from a chicken and chorizo salad to nachos, as well as soup and sandwich staples. Gluten-free cakes include a peach, pear and yoghurt sponge or white chocolate and raspberry. Parents with toddlers in tow are clearly attracted by the bright spacious dining area and laid-back ethos. Even dogs are welcomed with open arms. A quirky shop and an eclectic mix of shows and exhibitions create the feeling that there will always be more to discover here. + Tempting for a relaxed weekend brunch - Cakes could be fresher

Tower Restaurant National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Old Town See Scottish

NEW Traverse Coffee The Story Café Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43 High Street, Old Town, 0131 558 1333, storycafe.co.uk | Closed Sun | £8 (lunch)

Monkey Barrel Comedy (page 21): comedy club with great-value meals

10 Cambridge Street, West End, 0131 228 5383, traverse.co.uk | Closed Sun | £5 (lunch) / £10 (dinner)

If you’re looking for a good value, nourishing lunch on a workday then popping into a theatre café might not be the first thing on your mind – but overlooking Traverse Coffee would be to miss a trick. This wee spot above the iconic subterranean theatre offers an ever-changing selection of freshly made soups, sandwiches, salads and hotpots, most at a screamingly low price. A robust salad of chicken, chickpea and chorizo is a harmonious tumble of flavours and a great example of what’s typically on offer. Coffee comes from Machina Espresso and is expertly made, while for afters connoisseurs of all things brownie will recognise Wood’s handiwork – the Valencia orange is chewy, studded with candied orange peel and worth risking the inevitable sugar crash for. Under new management, there are plans afoot for the space, including the downstairs bar: currently a low-key yet buzzing spot for grabbing one of many excellent beers or wines for a postplay analysis. + New management = a new lease on life - The upstairs café doesn’t feel like a spot to linger

BARS & PUBS Edinburgh is spectacularly well-served for watering holes – you’re never far from a worldclass cocktail, a cult craft beer and exactly the right ambience to suit your mood. All this choice extends well beyond what’s considered the centre of town. Some of our finest pubs are located here, there and everywhere – it seems it’s definitely time for the suburbs to shine. This year we’ve changed the way we cover bars and pubs. In the pages that follow, you’ll find full reviews of the year’s best new openings, rebrands and takeovers, plus more Tiplists than ever before – our insight into what’s good and great in the world of booze and bars. You’ll continue to find full, upto-date and objective reviews of hundreds of pubs and bars online at food.list.uk Reviewers: Miranda Heggie, Cat McCabe, Rebecca Monks, Jan Paterson, David Pollock, Nicola Pym, Arusa Qureshi, Claire Ritchie, Megan Welford

NEW Badger and Co 32 Castle Street, New Town, 0131 226 5430, badgerandco.com | £21 (lunch) / £21 (dinner)

With walls adorned with opulently dressed badgers and décor harking back to the heyday of Georgian Edinburgh, Badger and Co pays homage to the inhabitants of the Wild Wood and riverbank featured in Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows. As the birthplace and former home of the author, 32 Castle Street has undergone a metamorphosis into a chic New Town establishment with the charm of Grahame’s characters peeking through the bar’s elegance. The stylish yet unassuming interior is matched by the menu which includes an uncomplicated but effective choice of dishes and intriguing cocktails, with titles like Badger’s Java and Pimm’s in the Willows. The various pies on offer, as well as the desserts, are particularly well executed. In keeping with the characters that inspire it, Badger and Co is an ideal spot for a more sophisticated affair or formal get-together. + Wind in the Willows-themed cocktails - The price of the drinks

NEW The Baker’s Arms 87–91 Henderson Street, Leith, 0131 554 4444, thebakersarmsedinburgh. co.uk | £18.50 (lunch) / £18.50 (dinner)

Gone are the sticky carpets of The Baker’s Arms’ predecessor, stripped back to wooden floors, white walls and twinkly lights. Now this light, bright and inviting space is somewhere you could easily while away an afternoon or evening looking out over the Shore. With a real passion for good ingredients, owners Rhiannon and Jamie have got the basics very right. Beer and wine lists have been carefully chosen and menus change daily, offering local produce prepared with heart, including a roast on Sunday. Pub classics feature in new formats, alongside tasty, comforting options like steak and dumpling stew, special salads and sharing platters featuring fish, meats and pickles smoked and

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BARS & PUBS TIPLISTS

In association with

EDINBURGH

BARS & PUBS TIPLISTS THE EATING & DRINKING GUIDE TEAM’S RECOMMENDATIONS BEST BARS

THE OLD TOWN Andrew Usher & Co W Named after the father of Scottish whisky, this bar epitomises the craft beer revolution. Head down the stairs for a world of ales, ciders and more. The Bow Bar W What it lacks in fuss it makes up for in quality – simply the best beer and whisky den in the area. Ecco Vino W Wines by the glass, the bottle and anything else you can imagine, accompanied by Mediterranean small plates in this Cockburn Street staple.

Epicurean 29 Mixology meets art at this recently refurbished cocktail hangout. Bespoke drinks with Mediterranean-inspired bar bites. OX184 W Grilled meats (and other things) paired with craft beers in a suitably smoky setting, all served well into the night. Salt Horse Beer Shop & Bar 32 A beer bar-turned-bottle shop that holds its own as a cask ale heavyweight in the city. Excellent beer garden too.

The Bow Bar

Lioness of Leith

BEST FOR A GAME OF… Akva W Great canalside bar in Fountainbridge with a popular ping-pong table and regular Wednesday tournaments. Beer & Skittles W As well as actually watching sport, offers oldschool delights like a pool table, a dartboard and a Pacman video game machine.

Voyage of Buck

NEW BARS Barrelhouse Bar & Grill 24 The external décor certainly got everyone talking, but now it’s the cool North American vibes that are creating a buzz.

The Last Word

BEST BARS

STOCKBRIDGE Good Brothers Wine Bar 29 Charming new addition to the Stockbridge scene with good food and even better wine in a casual, convivial atmosphere.

Bryant and Mack 24 Cracking cocktails in a pseudo-detective agency hidden down a seedy Rose Street lane – bonus points for finding it in the first place.

City Café W Few landmarks are as unchanging as the City Café pool table, which is there from a lunchtime pint until you roll off to a club in the wee small hours.

Hectors W This well-established staple offers a little something for everyone without spreading itself too thin.

Dreadnought Leith 23 The craft beer revolution creeps beyond the city centre. This is a great, dog-friendly local bar.

The Last Word W This candlelit, sheepskin-lined basement bar serves excellent and unusual cocktails by the fireside.

Lioness of Leith W The bad news: the pinball machine has been converted into a table. The good? The Street Fighter 2 arcade machine is fully playable.

Good Brothers Wine Bar 29 Excellent and unusual wines, and exceptionally friendly and knowledgeable service at this Stockbridge newbie.

Rollo W A Stockbridge institution, this pocket-sized and convivial wine bar serving quality international tapas and Sunday roasts.

The Mousetrap 31 Enjoy retro arcade games to your heart’s content at this Leith Walk bar. Cheap cocktails too.

Kaleidoscope 31 The Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s reboot and refurb of their public bar has put whisky back on the Queen Street map.

Smith & Gertrude Quality music, cheese, charcuterie and wine at this laid-back reinvention of the contemporary wine bar.

The Voyage of Buck 34 This West End bar brings a creative, cohesive cocktail menu and innovative food choices to the cobbles of William Street.

The Stockbridge Tap W It's a busy, unpretentious boozer with good food and a great selection of cask ales and whiskies.

Nightcap 31 Hunt around for long enough at this New Town bar and you’ll find a table football machine to pass the time until you’re rescued.

W

W = full review online at food.list.co.uk The List Eating & Drinking Guide 23

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✱ HITLIST

southern fried chicken, and Philly cheesesteak with fries. And there are good times too, with weekly blues, rock ‘n’ roll and Americana music sessions. Staff are friendly and the commitment shown to making the large room look like a dilapidated but homely Louisiana roadhouse, as well as transforming the outside space into a large beer garden with space for summer barbecues and spit roasts, is commendable. + Stunning Black Forest cheesecake - The huge building is cold when not full

NEW Bennets Bar

BARS AND PUBS ✱ Bar à Vin The ground floor of the West End’s L’Escargot Blanc restaurant is home to this high-end bar specialising in French wine, cheese and charcuterie. ✱ Boda Bar Edinburgh’s original Scandi-bar: still going strong, still somewhere you’ll wish was on your doorstep. ✱ The Bon Vivant Atmospheric New Town bar and restaurant, offering smart, stylish and flexible eating and drinking choices. ✱ Brandon’s of Canonmills Impressively all-purpose pub serving brunch, lunch, dinner, wine, cocktails and rotating craft beer casks. ✱ Nobles Café, Bar & Restaurant One of Leith’s bestlooking pubs, serving good food and full of old-fashioned charm. ✱ Good Brothers Wine Bar This Stockbridge newcomer offers good wines, good food and a good place to discover something new. ✱ Kaleidoscope Whisky Bar & Shop Sophisticated contemporary whisky bar in the Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s New Town base. ✱ The Last Word Saloon Cosy, quirky basement bar specialising in quality cocktails in sophisticated, muted surroundings. ✱ Rollo Pocket-sized and convivial Stockbridge bar serving quality small plates with a cracking wine list. ✱ Smith & Gertrude Quality music, cheese, charcuterie and wine at this laid-back reinvention of the contemporary wine bar.

cured in-house. For the indecisive, the team are happy to chat about their favourites, share their knowledge and make recommendations. + Really flavoursome dishes - Binoculars may be required to read the menu board

NEW Barrelhouse Bar & Grill 35 Jocks Lodge, Portobello, 0131 661 0811 | £14 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

Hitting the press in its early days for its deliberately half-finished look, the Barrelhouse Bar & Grill is a great local bar – and not just because it’s the only contemporary choice around the Jock’s Lodge area. There’s good drinking, with decent beers, wines and cocktails. There’s good eating, with a menu based around North American-influenced food: chicken, chorizo and prawn-filled jambalaya,

8 Leven Street, Tollcross, 0131 229 5143, bennetsbaredinburgh.co.uk | £12 (set lunch) / £25 (dinner)

Taken over by the team behind La Petite Mort, things have changed at Bennets Bar. It’s still a busy, traditional and cheerful pub with a wide range of cask ales, whiskies, wine and cocktails. It’s popular with students and the rugby crowd and does a roaring trade in theatre-goers on their way to the King’s, as well as those who want to settle in for the night. But while the pub looks traditional, the food tells a very different story – succulent roast pork belly with smoked pork collar croquettes or perfectly pink neck of lamb served with dauphinoise potatoes are two choices from an interesting selection of mains flanked by equally enticing starters and desserts. Sharing a kitchen and corridor with La Petite Mort means customers can choose where to eat – just be prepared for a lack of tables just before matinee or evening performances. + Busy, friendly local - And extra-busy before performances

NEW Bryant and Mack 87–89 Rose Street North Lane, 0131 225 8225 | No Kids

You'll need to be a bit of a detective to find the place, but once you've navigated the cobbled lane and dark doorway it's worth it. Bryant and Mack’s private detective agency's muted teal and mahogany interior, classic jazz soundtrack and gorgeous glassware lends all the glamour and romance of a bygone age, but their cocktail menu (brought to you in a brown envelope marked ‘confidential') is seriously up to the minute. Smokey and the Bandito, a blend of black olive and rocket-infused mezcal, apricot liqueur, sherry and chilli bitters is a deliciously savoury concoction, with a slight hint of apricot sweetness. More standard serves are on offer, including the decadent French 75: Hendrick’s gin and lemon topped up with champagne. Beers and wines are available too, although this is definitely a place for the discerning cocktail drinker where (for once) the theme doesn't overwhelm the real quality behind the bar. + Crazy yet genius mixology - Tricky to find

NEW The Compass Bar 44 Queen Charlotte Street, Leith, 0131 554 1979, thecompassleith.com | £6.50 (set lunch) / £19 (dinner)

Recently under new management, this convivial Leith pub features an old-style long bar just begging to be sat at, a cosy wood-burning stove, exposed brick and comfy window seats. It’s proudly family (and dog) friendly too. As an all-day local it has its own rhythm: regulars propping up the bar throughout the day, nearby office workers popping in for lunch, parents taking time out over a mid-afternoon coffee and sports fans in for the big match at the weekend. Craft beers are well-represented by the likes of Beavertown, Five Points and Anchor Brewing and the food menu delivers competent pub-grub staples such as fish and chips, pie of the day and a weekend

The Bakers Arm's (page 22): a real passion for good ingredients

breakfast. A recent extension split the space – as well as the bar, there’s a more restaurant-style room through the back, all of which ensures this homely neighbourhood bar appeals to all sorts of people for all sorts of occasions. + Proudly family and dog friendly - Big screen TVs on during the day

NEW Daylight Robbery 26B Dublin Street, New Town, 0131 556 5967 | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Recently taken over by the team behind Safari Lounge, Daylight Robbery is a wee bit hidden in its corner of the New Town. Just off Queen Street and Broughton Street, although not visible from either, the bar (formerly Spit/Fire) is halfway below street level, with another sunken level below that forming an atmospheric, clubby basement used at weekends and for special events. The main room is decorated in an eye-catching combination of bright yellow and shiny white tiles, while the impressive range of craft ales behind the bar is equally modern and pristine. The bar menu mainly focuses on burgers and isn’t particularly extensive, but there are flavours that demand to be sampled, from small plates of Ethiopianspiced chicken wings and margarita firecracker chillis to mains like pork belly or pea bhaji burritos. + Inventive non-meat dishes - Not quite on the beaten track

NEW Dreadnought Leith 72 North Forth Street, Leith, 07876351535, dreadnoughtleith.com | No Kids

With The Shore’s bar scene continuing to scrub itself up as the craft beer revolution blows through, it’s high time North Leith got a bit more in on the act. The Dreadnought is a little too far out of the way to become a destination bar – and in fact, most customers are locals – but it absolutely deserves to be on the radar of beer lovers across the city. The bar

is made up of a single, high-windowed corner room, freshly decorated in a neutral, contemporary style where the beer is the star. This free house keeps a good and thoughtful cellar – they have a range of ten constantly-changing keg and cask lines, as well as 30 international bottles and cans. There is a link-up with local brewery Pilot, a fascination with gin – many from Scotland – and the hungry drinker can order a delivery from Leith Walk pizza joint Origano and even eat it on a plate. Come in North Leith – this is your time to shine. + A great beer-drinking local - Food is all that’s missing from a fine mix

NEW The Empress of Broughton Street 25 Broughton Street, New Town, 0131 556 6754 | £14 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

Not to be confused, or associated, with the Lioness of Leith, this new update of old Broughton Street favourite Mather’s has all you might want from a modern city centre local. There are two levels – a bustling bar area below and a quieter upstairs seating section. Customers can choose from a well-chosen range of six rotating craft beers, pale ales and dark beers and around 30 beers in bottles and cans. There’s also a strong list of bespoke and classic cocktails, made with an impressively diverse collection of rare malt whiskies procured from auction sites, small batch Scottish gins and other assorted spirits. Alongside a couple of standard pub food items like fish and chips or macaroni and cheese, the emphasis is on filled flatbreads and diverse, substantial burgers. Fillings include paprika-coated halloumi or Perthshire beef, the latter set off nicely by Orkney cheddar and smoked bacon in the signature Empress burger. + An unfussy, good quality welcome addition to Broughton St - Old regulars may bemoan the end of live sports on television

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BARS & PUBS TIPLISTS THE EATING & DRINKING GUIDE TEAM’S RECOMMENDATIONS MUSIC Bannerman's W Rock and whisky in the Old Town – it’s a winning formula. Bannerman's is compact and frequently packed-out for lively gigs. Leith Depot W Down at the foot of the Walk, this community-focused oldbar-reboot sees live music, open mic nights and all sorts of shenanigans going on. Sandy Bell's One of the last bastions of traditional folk music in Edinburgh and as such extremely worthy of your attention.

W

The Shore Bar & Restaurant W This sunny bar in sunny Leith features regular live jazz performances. Stramash W This huge, lively pub has an incredibly varied programme of gigs, from songwriter sessions to jazz-funk and everything in-between. Whistle Binkie's Live Music Bar W Open seven nights a week with at least four bands every night, Whistle Binkie’s commitment to up-and-coming musicians is commendable.

The Shore Bar & Restaurant

Nobles Café Bar and Restaurant

HAIR OF THE DOG Bennets Bar W This historic bar next to the King's Theatre has cask ales, fine whiskies and a modern brunch that will see you right. Brandons of Cannonmills W Smart craft beer gastropub, featuring pot plants, golden cornices, steak and eggs and salt beef hash. The Granary W This Shore favourite has brunch plates to perk you up, or hang out for their Sunday roast if it has been a big one. Hemma W Follow up a great brunch with a walk up Arthur’s Seat – that will blow the cobwebs away. Brunch options include French toast, scrambled eggs and croque monsieur. Nobles Café, Bar & Restaurant W One of Leith's best-looking pubs, full of old-fashioned charm and a brunch-based cure for what ails you. Treacle W A bowl of bibimbap (maybe with a cocktail?) will soon get you back on the straight and narrow.

Leith Depot

BEST BARS

LEITH WALK Boda W This Swedish-influenced local paved the way for Leith Walk’s explosion of new bars by offering strong drinks choice in comfy surroundings. Jeremiah’s Taproom W A craft beer bonanza in a relaxed setting with an American diner menu makes this smart boozer well worth a visit. The Joker and the Thief W A smart, comfortable bar with the added bonus of being able to order pizza from nearby Origano. Leith Depot W The compact upstairs room at this community-minded bar is becoming known as one of Leith’s best live music spaces. The Tourmalet W This corner bar just off the Walk combines a lack of pretension with an emphasis on quality, good drink and conversation. Woodland Creatures W Taken over by Krafty Brew, this Berlin-influenced speakeasy has a snug beer garden and a range of live music and arts events.

Bar à Vin

The Blackbird

WINE BY THE GLASS

BEER GARDEN

Bar à Vin W High-end stop for authentic French cheese and charcuterie and, of course, wine, with interesting choices and flights.

Barrelhouse Bar & Grill 24 This new bar’s beer garden is shaping up to be something sweet for summer – it's a huge space for drinking and relaxing.

The Bon Vivant W Atmospheric bar/restaurant in the New Town offering smart, stylish and flexible eating and drinking choices. Divino Enoteca 71 This Italian restaurant and wine bar is a haven for winelovers, with a wide selection and carefully chosen flights. Pickles W A simple, cosy and affordable wine-and-cheese cellar bar nestled at the end of Broughton Street. They even make their own pickles and preserves.

The Blackbird W This Bruntsfield bar is colourful and lively, with good craic, great cocktails and a smart outdoor space for you to soak up that Scottish sun. Guild of Foresters W Convivial pub with generous portions, Scottish ales, and possibly the best beer garden in Porty. The Jaffle Joint 31 Another Porty outdoor spot, this café-bar is full of games, music and toasties, and it's right beside the sea.

Rollo 32 Both the Stockbridge and Broughton branches are intimate and relaxed, with topquality wines on offer.

Teuchters Landing W Relaxing waterfront pub doing Scottish food and drink very well – great deck and free sunscreen too.

Smith & Gertrude W Excellent music, cheese, charcuterie, wine and knowledgeable staff at this laid-back reinvention of the contemporary wine bar.

Woodland Creatures W Craft ales by Krafty Brew at this Leith Walk bar, with live music and good food and a practically Narnian hidden entrance to their beer garden.

W = full review online at food.list.co.uk 26 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

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Hoot the Redeemer

The WestRoom

BEST BARS

BEST BARS

NEW TOWN

THE WEST END

Bramble W Still one of the best cocktail bars in the city: a snug basement atmosphere and drinks you won’t get anywhere else.

Heads & Tales W Sip gin cocktails beside an actual distillery in this underground bar where gin is king, and that's no bad thing.

Hoot the Redeemer W Carnival-themed bar seconds from Princes Street, where the claw machine flavour selector and chilled cocktails bring the fun factor. The Magnum Restaurant & Bar 87 Half bar, half bistro, this long-standing cosy New Town establishment punches well above its weight. Nightcap 31 Good food, table beers and cocktails in an atmospheric multi-room underground den. Bryant and Mack 24 It’s not easily spotted but once found, it offers creative cocktails in a comfortable setting. six°north 32 Forty beers on tap, a cellar literally full of bottles, cocktails and good food in a relaxed environment.

Le Di-Vin Wine Bar W This elegant, airy and atmospheric wine bar is one of the West End’s well-kept secrets. Red Squirrel W One of the craft beer and burger pioneers, Red Squirrel is always a reliable choice for a good night out. The Voyage of Buck 34 This newish opening offers award-winning creative cocktails with a story and fine food with a twist. The WestRoom W A cosy neighbourhood bar with great service, perfect for those nights when you want to take it easy. Whighams Wine Cellars W An Edinburgh institution, this cellar wine bar and restaurant where business lunchers and the after-work crowd enjoy a glass of wine in good company.

Permit Room

Kaleidoscope

COCKTAILS

WHISKY

Bramble W A candlelit speakeasy basement bar, Bramble was an Edinburgh cocktail pioneer and still serves classy drinks for the adventurous cocktail connoisseur.

The Black Cat W Dragging up the standard of Rose Street’s variable bar offerings, the Black Cat has a range of 100 malts behind the bar.

Epicurean 28 Pretty and bespoke cocktails inspired by art are exhibited in this high-end reboot. The menu comes with a complimentary paintbrush! Panda & Sons W Tucked downstairs on a corner of Queen Street, this prohibition-themed cocktail bar offers unusual concoctions. Paradise Palms W The cocktails have spirit in this good-time lounge in the heart of student land.

The Bow Bar W Much-loved and resolutely oldschool bar with an extensive range of whiskies and good selection of ales. Kaleidoscope 31 The in-house bar of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society with a range of 200 branded and society-only whiskies that have to be experienced. The Montebar 31 This revived Southside bar has an impressive selection of whisky and craft beer, as well as decent coffee and pizza.

Permit Room 31 Intelligent, unusual cocktails come with a Bombay twist and are prepared with care in this underground bar.

Whiski Bar and Restaurant W Tourist-focused, with an extensive range of whisky and a focus on simple, Scottish food.

The Voyage of Buck 34 A whimsical narrative means the creative cocktail selections all work together well in this new West End haunt.

82 Amber Restaurant Beneath the Scotch Whisky Experience, so naturally there’s a huge choice: food pairings are encouraged too.

BEST BARS

UNIVERSITY AND MEADOWS Checkpoint 37 Industrial-chic interiors with casual service and a menu to suit all-day dining and drinking. W Dagda Bar Real ale and real whisky come first in this real old man's pub, popular with locals and students alike. W Greenmantle Traditional pub popular for its buffalo burgers, guest beers and live screenings of sporting events.

Paradise Palms W Good-time cocktail lounge vibe in the heart of student land, where vegetarian soul food has as much spirit as the drinks. W The Southern Appealing Southside local with a fantastic selection of burgers, plenty of craft beers and a relaxed atmosphere. Whistle Stop Barber Shop W Enjoyable central hangout with a great range of burgers, hot dogs, pizzas and chargrill steaks.

Greenmantle W = full review online at food.list.co.uk 28 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

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Epicurean: upmarket bar with a first-rate drinks menu

NEW Epicurean 1 George IV Bridge, Old Town, 0131 220 6666, quorvuscollection.com/gandvhotel-edinburgh | £18 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

This bar makes mixology an art – quite literally. The drinks list is inspired by watercolours (and yes, the menu does come with a complimentary paintbrush). Sadly, Sex on the Beach is off the menu – you won’t find traditional cocktails here. Instead, there is a range of bespoke drinks inspired by botanical Europe, like Lavender Fields and the Apple Jar. The tapas menu offers a selection of Mediterranean-inspired bar bites, such as calamari, chorizo and zucchini frites. The sharing boards are your basic meat and cheese varieties, but prove yet again that simplicity done well is always a good thing. This is an upmarket bar with a first-rate drinks menu – a perfect start to a night at next door’s hit Italian Cucina, or simply to be enjoyed on its own. + Exceptional cocktails - Tapas portions are a little small

NEW Foundry 39 39 Queensferry Street, West End, 0131 510 6766, foundryproject.com | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Everything is exposed in Foundry 39 – the brickwork, the pipes, the lightbulb filaments – but the exposure of the pizza oven’s flames adds warmth to the industry of it all. Said oven produces pizzas that would make an After Eight feel positively rotund. These wafer-thin morsels are juxtaposed by big burgers with flavoursome maple-cured bacon or additions like peanut butter and chilli jam. The generous sides and sharers include more traditional dough balls and wings alongside fried pickles. Washing it all down, the Foundry Project smoke their own spirits to lend a theme to their cocktails and rotating

beers range from the established to the innovative, including the likes of Campervan Brewery’s milk stout with a hint of roasted coconut. Live music at the weekend adds to the atmosphere for the West End crowd kicking off with Friday night drinks or those staving off hangovers with Turkish eggs. + Friendly service in a buzzing atmosphere - Some dishes oversell themselves a little

NEW Gin71 9 South Charlotte Street, West End, 0131 225 5808, gin71.com | £26 (lunch) / £26 (dinner)

Capital-dwelling gin lovers can now rejoice, as Glasgow’s Gin71 has expanded east to South Charlotte Street. Named after the number of gins it serves, the gin menu is split into sections according to flavour, and the knowledgeable staff are happy to help if you’re struggling to choose. A Martini mixed with Gin Mare and garnished with rosemary has a beautifully crisp, herbaceous flavour, while the more autumnal tasting Orkney Mikkelmas gin comes with orange peel and peppered ice cubes, and is topped with ginger ale for extra kick. Gin even appears on the food menu in the form of gin-cured salmon and gin-inspired breads, while a matching gin cocktail pairing is available with tasting menus. + Free popcorn! - Big room to fill

✱ NEW Good Brothers Wine Bar 4–6 Dean Street, Stockbridge, 0131 315 3311, goodbrothers.co.uk | Closed Mon | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Rory and Graeme Sutherland really love their wines, particularly those with something new to offer. Orange wine may not be for everyone, but it’s an interesting alternative to explore, and The List Eating & Drinking Guide 29

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there are plenty of other tipples on the 120-strong wine list here. Some of the price tags tip over the £100 mark, but there’s plenty of less costly drops to choose from, with by the glass options from just £4. The good brothers seek out a personal connection to their vintners and this convivial attitude is also reflected in the warm atmosphere of the bar and the sharing plates on the menu. Dishes range from simple but carefully sourced olives, cheeses and bread to more substantial prospects, with options like triple egg tagliatelle or buttermilk fried chicken with sprout slaw proving appetising and satisfying. All this combines to create a lovely addition to the Stockbridge scene. + Wines with a difference - Smaller tables struggle to accommodate sharing plates

NEW The Jaffle Joint 87 Portobello High Street, Portobello, 0131 657 2922 | £9 (lunch) / £9 (dinner)

It may sound like another speakeasy, but The Jaffle Joint is actually an homage to the humble toasted sandwich, ‘jaffle’ being Australian for a toastie – specifically those of the puffy pocket variety. This joint’s menu is all jaffles, all the time. The day begins with an Eggscuse me, filled with spinach, mushroom, eggs and cheese, or a Face full o’ breaky, with haggis, egg and bacon. There are also Avocuddle’s on offer (avocado, chilli flakes and feta), with pancake jaffles for dessert right up to 1am. Activities are many and varied, with Pacman, Space Invaders, crafts and live music for players of all ages. The drinks menu also reflects the family-friendly atmosphere, with a good selection of juices, milkshakes, teas and coffee in addition to beer, wine and cocktails. The traditional pub interior has been brightened up with colourful splashes of paint, but retains the cosy feel of a good boozer. + A fun, friendly place to visit at any time of day - Whipped cream from a can

✱ NEW Kaleidoscope Whisky Bar & Shop 28 Queen Street, New Town, 0131 220 2044, smws.com/kaleidoscope | No Kids | £20 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

For a long time known only as a members-only club, the Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s city centre offshoot is working hard to share its love of Scotland’s national drink to the wider public. The most apparent change is Kaleidoscope, the new ground floor public bar which has taken the place of the previous dining space. It’s a snug, semi-circular bar staffed by a knowledgeable crew and loaded with 200 malt whiskies, including branded varieties and examples of the society’s collection from around the world. Whisky cocktails and flights are also available, while the food is – perhaps unexpectedly – deserving of a visit all on its own. From the same kitchen as the upstairs Dining Room, the rich parsnip and cheddar tart, roast pigeon with winter vegetables, and sharing plates of fish,

Good Brothers Wine Bar (page 29): showcasing wines with a difference and carefully sourced sharing plates

cured meats or tapas create a range of bar meals as traditional as they are high quality. + Edinburgh’s best -stocked whisky bar - Much of the seating isn’t designed for dining

NEW The King’s Wark 36 The Shore, Leith, 0131 554 9260, kingswark.co.uk | £22 (lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Under new management since last spring, the King’s Wark has long been one of the most atmospheric of Leith institutions. Low ceilings, thick stone walls, dark wood and the open fire lend themselves to hearty servings of pub grub. Alongside archetypal fish and chips, burgers and steaks, seafood features heavily, from east coast langoustines and west coast oysters to North Atlantic monkfish and Shetland mussels. Given the tempting seasonal Scottish ingredients, and prices edging into the upper range, some dishes don’t quite live up to expectations. But there are some good flavours here, and the friendly team of staff are happy to steer diners in the right direction with helpful recommendations. + Fine Scottish gin menu - Light blue walls detract from the cosy atmosphere

remember the bar as the old Montague, but this new venture has upped the drink stakes significantly with a solid range of craft beers and single malts. There are also regular live music nights, plus a weekly quiz to keep those Southside minds ticking over. The bar staff are all well versed in the art of whisky (and gin, and just about any other beverage you care to mention) and if you need a perkup before the walk home, worry not: they serve excellent coffee, too. + Superb whisky selection - A wee bit out of the way

NEW The Mousetrap 180 Leith Walk, Leith, 0131 553 0220, facebook.com/themousetraped

The Mousetrap is a dive bar with a difference, offering possibly the cheapest cocktails in Edinburgh alongside a good range of beers, including the butter variety, with simple cheese toasties and Haribo for soakage. As the name suggests, games are a big thing. Punters let their inner child run amok in the back room on retro arcade games, while the main space is a larger than life-size tribute to childhood classics. If the nostalgia doesn’t knock you out, live DJs and acoustic open mic nights will have you up past your bedtime. + Transportation to a simpler time - Bargain cocktails are too tempting

NEW Nightcap 1–3 York Place, City Centre, 0131 556 5481, nightcapbar.co.uk | No Kids

Nightcap opened as a festival pop-up in 2016 and decided to keep going. It’s well worth a visit as it’s one of the most architecturally distinctive bars in the city – a sub-street level room with a warren of 10 alcoves and snugs stretching under the pavement. Anyone involved (it’s the same team behind the St Vincent bar) will tell you it’s actually two bars. Nightcap itself is in the higher level, serving cocktails and table beers, while downstairs Feed offers a sit-down menu of meat and vegetarian burgers, ribs and chicken wings. The distinctions aren’t so visible late at night when the whole place opens up into an atmospheric drinking den, with a foosball table if you’re so inclined. + A great, atmospheric place to drink - The toilets are a bit cramped

NEW The Permit Room 3a St Andrew Square, City Centre, 0131 202 6406, dishoom.com/permitroom

For all that Edinburgh’s first branch of classy Indian restaurant Dishoom has created something of a buzz in the city, its basement bar – hidden away behind the booking table, the pass and a nondescript doorway in the wall – has gone somewhat unnoticed. Yet this

NEW The Montebar 81–85 St Leonards Street, Southside, 0131 662 0899, montebar.wordpress. com | £9 (lunch) / £9 (dinner)

Montebar may not look like much from the outside, with its fading red paint and ‘old man pub’ aesthetic, but on the inside it’s simple and stylish – not to mention a haven for whisky lovers. (Bonus points: they serve pizza too.) Locals will

ONLINE LISTINGS For full opening hours, further details on facilities, individual location maps plus web and social media links, go to

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THE LIONESS OF LEITH Leith’s award winning gastropub and cocktail bar 21-25 Duke St | Edinburgh | EH6 8HH ƏƐƒƐѵƑƖƏƔѶƏŇ|_;Ѵbom;vvoY;b|_ĺ1oĺ†h

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TABLE TALK

RUPERT WAITES ON GETTING BACK TO NATURE Why do we do this? It’s a compulsion really, a passion, something that’s always been ingrained in us. We want to showcase the untapped taste of Scotland, using ingredients from our woodlands, hedgerows, seashores and fields. We realised that there was potential for turning our obsession into an event so we put one on, and it was such a success that we’ve been doing it ever since. We serve simple things that people think are weeds, like bitter cress and dandelions; things like razor clams, which are there in abundance and are one of the finest things to eat. Likewise birch sap - it’s a real magic ingredient. Fresh birch sap just does something to people; to think youre drinking the blood of a tree sparks the imagination. In the past, you would have relied on nature, to feed yourself, gone foraging to collect your greens. But in the industrial world all that knowledge, that connection with the natural world was lost. I think people are wanting to get that back again. When you lift the ‘green veil’, you start interacting with green cover, you see things in a new way: that tastes like Pernod, this like amaretto. It does change your view of the world, it makes you value otherwise unvalued things. We’re a part of nature, not apart from it. We give as much of nature as we can in a 10-course tasting menu. We see it as a voyage, and we want to keep voyaging, keep broadcasting our message. ■ Rupert Waites is chef with The Buck and Birch, who run dining events in secret locations in Edinburgh, championing wild ingredients, and also produce Aelder Elixir elderflower liqueur. buckandbirch.com

The Voyage of Buck (see page 34): good food and award-winning cocktails at this West End newcomer

enclosed room, decked out in wood panelling and frosted glass dividers as though it were a waiting room in colonial India, is more than just a holding area for the restaurant upstairs (although it’s that as well). The table or bar service is excellent, as are the ranges of wine, beer (including their own Dishoom IPA), lassis and particularly cocktails; like the Debonair, featuring marmalade vodka, star anise and orange cream soda, or the Chai Paanch, a blend of Johnnie Walker, rum, liqueurs and house chai. + Excellent range of cocktails - Slightly odd mix of classy cocktail bar / restaurant waiting room

NEW The Refinery 5 St Andrew Square, City Centre, 0333 210 0017, drakeandmorgan.co.uk/therefinery-st-andrew-square | £19 (lunch) / £19 (dinner)

Part of the recent regeneration of the South side of St Andrew Square, the Refinery is the first Scottish emissary of London-based megapub chain Drake & Morgan. A distinctive, landmark bar set over two floors, it does a reasonable job of being all things to all customers, from daytime family-friendliness to a space for crowds of after-work drinkers and a clubbier, DJ-led atmosphere on weekend evenings. The bright, modern interior is good for large parties. Cocktails and wine lists are impressive, while the extensive food menu is a step up from standard bar food – salads, burgers, brunches and steaks are joined by specials like tender braised beef casserole served with creamy polenta. Fashionable sharing plates also appear, including chicken satay and a scotch egg with chorizo. All in this is a versatile, popular new entry for city centre bargoers. + Great for large groups of drinkers or diners - So versatile it’s hard not to feel it’s a little generic

NEW Rollo 14 Broughton Street, New Town, 0131 556 5333 | £17 (lunch) / £17 (dinner) | No Kids

Branching out from the original Stockbridge Rollo on Raeburn Place, this new Broughton Street venue stretches the definition of ‘bar’ just a little bit – it’s more of an upmarket local bistro with a great food menu. Yet its laid-back, informal vibe and love of good wine still ticks a few bar boxes, while the new location attracts a noticeably younger crowd than its big sister down the road. The long dining area is decorated with owner Ailsa Rollo’s own sculptures and is smart, but not ostentatious. Boats have been pushed out though for a well-sourced wine list including champagnes, cocktails and liqueurs. Separated into tapas-style bites (like a duo of goat’s cheese and roast pork gyoza), larger bowls and plates (the pan-seared beef fillet or fried monkfish are simple but well-prepared mains) and varied sides, the young, talented kitchen’s menus combine quality with reasonable prices. So, bar or bistro? Ach, who cares! Either way this is a laid-back, fun night out. + First-rate destination city centre bistro - Not the kind of ‘pub’ for an after-work pint

NEW The Salisbury Arms 58 Dalkeith Road, Southside, 0131 667 4518, thesalisburyarmsedinburgh.co.uk | £12 (set lunch) / £25 (dinner)

The Salisbury Arms manages to be both a local and a destination. A recent refurbishment sees comfy seating and painted wooden panelling adding up to a clean, calm, approach that is traditional with a modern twist. There’s a good selection of whiskies, real ales and 26 wines by the glass. If you wish to eat, tuck into mains like beer-battered linecaught cod, or why not skip straight to

the good bit and share a house selection of desserts? With a decent fixed-price lunch, Tuesday quiz, well-drilled staff and a fantastic outdoor space, the Salisbury does a good job of serving an area of town that’s not particularly wellsupplied with laid-back locals that tick a lot of boxes. + The house sharer dessert - Can be noisy near the front private dining area

NEW Salt Horse Beer Shop & Bar 57–61 Blackfriars Street, Old Town, 0131 558 8304, salthorse.beer | £12 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

Half bottle shop, half bar, Salt Horse is a lively new addition to the ever-expanding craft beer scene in Edinburgh. With 12 keg lines of foreign and domestic beer it’s a great place for fans of barley and hops – although sometimes the choice can be a little overwhelming (try checking the blackboard for the picks of the day if that sounds like you). Wine and spirit drinkers have a small but high-quality selection to choose from. If you’re after a bite with your booze there is a small, unfussy menu courtesy of BBQ specialist Jones & Son, which includes bar favourites such as pulled pork, spicy wings and burgers. If you want to escape the busy Royal Mile with a stylish city-centre drink, this Blackfriars beer haven is well worth adding to your little black book. + Cosy, casual atmosphere - Possibly too much beer choice!

NEW six°north 24 Howe Street, New Town, 0131 225 6490, sixdnorth.co.uk | £12 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

’The idea is to have fun, chat and imbibe,’ says the menu and it’s a philosophy this craft brewery and bar does well, with its group-friendly leather booths, tapas-style bar bites and

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extensive drinks range. The onus here is on Belgian beer, though house brews are made in Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire, located six degrees of latitude north of Belgium. Each table has a tome containing information on hundreds of beers, including their percentage, origin and what is available on draught. If you’re firmly committed to millennial culture though, you can ask to view this list on your smartphone or one of the bar’s own tablets. Beer fearers, needn’t worry: there’s also an impressive wine and spirits list, including over 20 varieties of gin. In a break with tradition, there’s now no need to hit up the kebab shop after a few pints: the kitchen serves everything from scallops to steak, though the meat and cheesefilled sharing platter is the real star. + Beers, beers and more beers - Big booths make intimate drinks tricky

NEW The Voyage of Buck 29–31 William Street, West End, 0131 225 5748, thevoyageofbuckedinburgh. co.uk | £16 (lunch) / £22.50*7 (dinner)

Foundry 39 (page 29): new arrival on the scene, smoking its own spirits

It’s easy to imagine the fictitious William ‘Buck’ Clarence, appreciating what the team from Big Red Teapot (of Treacle, Hamilton’s and The Blackbird fame) have done with his old home. A lover of travel, he’d enjoy reliving his adventures through the extensive and entertaining cocktail list. Spreading itself across the cities of Buck’s expeditions, it’s a mini testament to many of the characters he met, like the delicious Anna May Wong. The food also reflects Buck’s appreciation of the finer things in life. Curious ingredients are combined in interesting dishes like guinea fowl, purple potato

skordalia, hazelnuts and pomegranate jus. Charcoal ash may not sound like an appetising addition to sea bream and langoustine bisque, but it works. A varied band of locals follow in Buck’s footsteps through lively weekend nights into relaxed brunches, guided by the enthusiastic and efficient team, in surroundings that echo the early 1900s beautifully. + Beautifully flavoured dishes and drinks - The cocktails button is too easy to press

NEW Veeno 76 Rose Street, City Centre, 0131 225 3239, theveenocompany.com | £5 (set lunch) / £12 (dinner)

Veeno is one of a fast-growing chain of Italian wine bars – but don’t let that (or the slightly dated, eighties décor) put you off. Based around the beloved Italian tradition of aperitivo (bars offering free snacks with after-work drinks which both staves off hunger pangs and makes sure things don’t get too messy), they import their own wine from Sicily and offer a range of simple but generous sharing platters. There’s free aperitivo on week nights and serious creds to a waiter who confidently recommends the house red as ‘representing the best of what we have to offer’ – all in, Veeno is just the thing for a picky nibbly chatty night with friends. + The house red - Slightly outdated décor

Vino 27 East Market Street, Old Town

See Cafés: Wee Places

Authentic Georgian Cellar Bar _ Freshly prepared and locally sourced seafood is our speciality Extensive wine list many by the glass, real ales and malt whisky Food served all day until 10pm _ Opening Hours Sunday–Thursday: Midday–Midnight Friday & Saturday: Midday–1am _ 13 Hope Street, Edinburgh, EH2 4EL T: 0131 225 8674 E: info@whighams.com

www.whighams.com

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BARS & PUBS TIPLISTS

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BARS & PUBS TIPLISTS THE EATING & DRINKING GUIDE TEAM’S RECOMMENDATIONS BEER Andrew Usher & Co W This basement bar in the heart of studentland is heaven for beer lovers, with its own microbrewery and lots of guest lines. BrewDog Edinburgh W They may divide opinion, but BrewDog definitely offer an interesting selection of beers at their brewery bar.

The Guildford Arms

Beer & Skittles

WATCHING SPORT Beer & Skittles W Stylish basement bar with a fine selection to accompany televised football, rugby, NFL, horse-racing, darts and much more. Caley Sample Room W This homely easy-going local is also the ‘home’ pub for fans of nearby Hearts, where diners and football-watchers have found an equilibrium. Finnegan’s Wake W This good old-fashioned massive Irish bar doesn’t break the mould, but it’s brilliant for big-screen sports including Gaelic football. Teuchters W The city’s rugby fans know this pub is in love with the game. Six Nations and World Cup days are heaving and good-natured. The Three Sisters W Spacious Grassmarket bar aimed at a younger crowd with a large courtyard screen for watching big events in summer. The Tourmalet W This pub was inspired by a love of the Tour De France, and if it’s that time of year it’ll be on the screen.

The Guildford Arms W One of Edinburgh’s most beautiful old bars which quietly takes the quality of its beer very seriously. Expect lots of guest lines and tap takeovers.

The Hanging Bat W This craft beer pioneer with its own onsite microbrewery still leads the way – smaller measures allow wider sampling and there's a decent selection of hot dogs too. Salt Horse Beer Shop & Bar 32 A beer bar-cum-bottle shop that holds its own as a cask ale heavyweight in the city. There is a small, unfussy menu courtesy of Jones & Son. six°north 32 This new Edinburgh venue has 40 lines of tap and a cellar full of bottles, as well as cocktails and food.

The Blue Blazer

Brandon's of Canonmills

Sofi's

BEST BARS

BEST BARS

BEST BARS

CANONMILLS & BROUGHTON

TOLLCROSS & BRUNTSFIELD

THE SHORE

The Basement 75 It has been around for a generation, which definitely means the Basement qualifies as an icon in Edinburgh’s fastmoving bar scene.

Akva W Edinburgh's Swedish chain takes on its biggest venture yet, and gets everything right with good food, drink and family friendliness.

Brandon’s of Canonmills W A versatile and dynamic destination local, with wideranging and well-prepared food, beer and cocktails.

Bennets W This modernisation of a beautifully traditional pub gets more or less everything right.

The Empress of Broughton Street 24 New bar at the top of Broughton Street, serving quality cocktails, craft beers and flatbreads for sharing. Rollo 32 This recent arrival to Broughton Street is part wine bar, part bistro, and all good times. The Street W Welcoming pub with a friendly buzz, outdoor seating, late food and a weekend basement nightclub. Treacle W Forward-thinking bar aimed at a younger audience, with a preclub feel and a strong range of Asian-inspired food flavours.

The Blackbird W Colourful, lively bar popular with students and workers alike for its good craic and great cocktails. The Blue Blazer W Grab a pint of cask ale, order some nibbles and learn why the regulars struggle to part with this one.

Dreadnought Leith 24 OK it’s on the very edge of the Shore, but this craft beer free house is worth the trek to North Leith. Dog-friendly, laidback community hangout. The Lioness of Leith W This Leith favourite could be lifted up and plonked down in hipster-filled Brooklyn and not look out of place. Malt & Hops W Right on the Shore, this quintessential local has a warm welcome, reasonable prices and CAMRA approval. Noble's W Beautiful re-imagined Victorian space filled with colourful mismatched furniture. Elegant food and strong drinks choices.

Brauhaus W An epic selection of bottled beers from around the world, plus a few drafts and spirits to keep everyone else happy.

The Roseleaf W The lovechild of an old school boozer and an old ladies tea room, full of chintzy clutter, board games, beer, comfort food and cocktails.

Montpelier's of Bruntsfield40 Contemporary-styled bar and bistro at the heart of its neighbourhood, with lots to shout about from early in the morning until late at night.

Sofi's W A laid-back, chummy livingroom/pub with plenty of activities on offer and a free back room for small parties.

W = full review online at food.list.co.uk The List Eating & Drinking Guide 35

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BISTROS & BRASSERIES We all have our favourite places that take care of us after a tough day and act as our second home when we want to embrace the ephemeral pleasures of life. Bistros and brasseries – warm, cosy places where you can hide away from the world for a few hours with pals or people-watch from behind a plate of something tasty – form the central nervous system of Edinburgh dining. Combining memorable settings, friendly staff and kitchens that don’t limit their ambitions with good value and a sense of ease, here is some of Edinburgh’s most enjoyable dining. Reviewers: Jennifer Alford-Thornton, Gabriella Bennett, Courtney Hyde Peyton, Rachel Kavish, Carol Main, Julie Morrice

features ever-changing specials and giant sharing plates. The kitchen produces a diverse range of international dishes highlighting the well-sourced ingredients. Corn pakoras are the perfect vehicle for the chilli jam which accompanies them while spicy red Thai chicken isn’t shy of a chilli or two. A generous haunch of venison is tenderly pink and expertly cooked, paired well with a mound of creamed kale and artichoke mash. Desserts are big enough to share and feature a host of intriguing ice-cream flavours commissioned by the restaurant from Langshaw Farm. If you’re feeling adventurous, try the white chocolate and horseradish or blue cheese varieties, and don’t forget to cast your vote on the marmite ice-cream: you’ll either love it or hate it. + Eclectic, modern, and experimental dishes - When the menu says spicy, it means spicy

The Apprentice Edinburgh College, Granton Campus, 350 West Granton Road, Leith See Scottish

The Atelier A Room in Leith 1a Dock Place, Leith See Scottish

159–161 Morrison Street, West End See Scottish

August_21 Bistro A Room in the West End 26 William Street, West End See Scottish

Aizle 107–109 St Leonard’s Street, Southside See Scottish

The Apartment Bistro 7–13 Barclay Place, Southside, 0131 228 6456, apartmentrestaurant.com | £12 (set lunch) / £24 (dinner)

A big red wall dominates the main dining room at The Apartment and bears more than a passing resemblance to a piece of abstract art. The creative theme continues throughout this airy and stylish bistro which has occupied this location between Tollcross and Bruntsfield since 1999. Under new ownership, Karen and Ruori Stewart have retained some of the popular elements from the old menu such as the ‘chunky healthy skewers’, and introduced briefer à la carte and all-day set menus. Regular headliners like steak and fries sit alongside meat and fish specials. A juicy haunch of locally sourced venison is well-cooked and generously portioned, served with kale, walnuts and a beetroot gravy. The monkfish tail, crème-fraîche salad and shellfish bisque is similarly well-treated, but the moist fish lacks zing. The drinks list is thoughtful and includes regular wine specials which trial newbies alongside the well-established herd. Friendly staff, proximity to the King’s Theatre and a good value pre-theatre menu all ensure The Apartment’s continued reputation as a bit of a player. + Good value, generous portions - Lack of seasoning lets down some excellent ingredients

135 Comiston Road, Southside, 0131 629 4044 | Closed Sun/Mon | £6.50 (set lunch) / £22.50 (dinner)

The second branch of August_21 (the first is on Causewayside) is a welcome new eatery on this part of Comiston Road. Serving brunch, sandwiches, soup and cakes during the day, in the evenings the candles and wine glasses come out to transform the place into a cosy neighbourhood bistro. A starter of Indonesian-style pork satay skewer is tender and just the right size while juicy lamb chops spiced with cumin are served with a rich rosemary reduction. Many of the vegetables are organic and meat and fish are from Scottish suppliers. BYOB adds to the appeal and there are two off-licenses nearby if you forget to bring your own. If you’re local, it’s a great addition to the area; if you’re not, it’s certainly worth checking out if you

feel like exploring a new part of town. Friendly service adds to the appeal and it’s ideal for couples, small groups or even first dates looking for casual dining that delivers on flavour. + Imaginative cooking in a relaxed atmosphere - Some tables for two are quite small

Badger and Co 32 Castle Street, New Town See Bars & Pubs

The Baker’s Arms 87–91 Henderson Street, Leith See Bars & Pubs

Bia Bistrot 19 Colinton Road, Southside, 0131 452 8453, biabistrot.co.uk | Closed Sun/Mon | £9.50 (set lunch) / £22.50 (dinner)

Since opening in 2010, so many good things have been said about the charming, neighbourhood Bia Bistrot. Happily they remain true, as husband and wife team Matthias and Roisin Llorente continue to deliver the goods with style and confidence. The welcome is warm, the atmosphere comfortable and relaxed, and the menu diverse and pleasing. Now a Bia tradition, the roasted bone marrow glistens as it is spread onto sourdough toast, heightened by caramelised red onion jam and sea salt. From the daily specials, grilled pigeon on a bed of salad is gamey but delicate. Tender and sweet confit of pork belly with glazed apples is countered on the plate by turnip sauerkraut and Morteau sausage, while savoury lamb rump is served classically pink. Silky smooth chocolate & chilli crème brulée is partnered with wee chocolate chip cookies and poached pear, with hints of fennel, is a soothing finish, served up with frangipane bake & crème fraiche. + The roasted marrow alone is worth booking ahead - Pre-theatre menu ends a bit early

✱ Bijou 2 Restalrig Road, Leith, 0131 538 0664, bijoubistro.co.uk | £11 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Every now and then you find a little neighbourhood bistro elevating the art of dining and service – Bijou is just

that find. Owner James Harrison, along with his staff, make you feel instantly welcome, like you’re already a regular. Befitting its name, the space is small and chic, evoking the spirit of a little Parisian bistro with gilded cornicing and ornate touches. The daytime menu offers generous breakfasts, well-filled sandwiches, and Brazilian coffee in an oasis of calm by Leith Links. At night the place transforms, offering weekly specials to rival any city centre brasserie. Well-sourced Scottish meat and fish feature heavily, with thick-cut 28-daymatured sirloin, pan-fried sea bream, queenie scallops, and juicy chicken supreme served with onion purée, potato dauphinoise and a morel jus that is simply luscious. Lemon curd brûlée makes for a decadent yet refreshing pudding, as does the berry compote with coconut cream. If sweets aren’t your thing, there’s always cheese and charcuterie boards for nibbling while you finish your well-chosen wine. + Great tunes, great company, great food, all on Leith’s doorstep - Trying to get a table for the popular wine tasting events

✱ The Birchwood 146 Marchmont Road, Southside, 0131 446 9873, thebirchwood.co.uk | £12 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

The cool, neutral décor of the Birchwood immediately soothes the soul as you step inside. Happily, it’s not a fleeting feeling: a visit to this Marchmont café is a thoroughly chilled affair due to unflappable staff who dot from table to table during peak times without missing a beat. Thanks to a dedicated brunch menu, daytime scran is where The Birchwood comes into its own, but there are plenty of tempting evening options too. The former includes porridge with toasted nuts and berry compote, seedy smoked salmon bagels and stacks of spongy pancakes, while the latter takes influences from further afield by way of a sweet potato and chickpea tagine. For those in search of something lighter, owner Emma Hilder has ensured that the café’s coffee and cake offerings make it a destination in its own right. Homeroasted beans from Edinburgh-based Mr Eion and homebaked slabs of carrot cake

Apiary Restaurant 33 Newington Road, Southside, 0131 668 4999, apiaryrestaurant.co.uk | £10 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

There’s a buzz about this place, and it’s nothing to do with bees. The warm atmosphere lends itself to lingering lunches, family get-togethers, and romantic dinners huddled in the cosy booths. High ceilings, mismatched chairs, and natural light give this airy bistro a comfortable, casual feel. Well-priced lunch, brunch, and pre-theatre menus offer exceptional value while dinner

The Rabbit Hole (page 41): neighbourhood brasserie with confident menu

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at the counter hit the spot every time. + Sweet presentation and a killer brunch menu - Book ahead: gets super busy at weekends

Bisque Bar & Brasserie Bruntsfield Hotel, 69 Bruntsfield Place, Southside, 0131 622 8163, bisquebrasserie.com | £16 (lunch) / £19 (dinner)

Maybe it’s the way Bisque is set back from the road, or perhaps it’s that the sunken formal dining area feels a bit like a refuge. Either way, first impressions of this Bruntsfield eatery are zen-like, albeit in a slightly corporate setting. Despite being housed in a Best Western Hotel, Bisque is privately owned. The capacious dinner menu includes the usual burgers, steaks, pasta and sandwiches, but there is evidence of careful sourcing such as produce from the owner’s orchard which is used to make a zingy spiced apple compote. The eponymous bisque is wellseasoned and plentiful, though purists might argue that pickled mushrooms are a puzzling accompaniment to a starter of chicken liver pâté. A wild mushroom rigatoni uses them better: delightfully crispy fried mushrooms act as a foil to its creamy sauce, while the ribeye steak is cooked perfectly. New this year is a refurbished private dining room in a pretty Victorian conservatory, while the hidden beer garden remains an enduring classic. Eating in either space come summertime is recommended. + Soothing environment with slick service - Dining space lacks character

Blonde 75 St Leonard’s Street, Southside, 0131 668 2917, blonderestaurant.co.uk | £12.90 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

Simple, clean lines meet the eye at Blonde, bright in the daytime, candles enhancing intimacy in the evening. A quiet confidence hums around a bistro that knows what it’s about – Blonde is settling into its 17th year but doesn’t take anything for granted. A warm, moist salad of Stornoway black pudding is accented with tangy goat’s cheese and dried cherries. The unctuous risotto of beetroot, blue cheese and pine nuts is creamy but not heavy, and freshened by rocket. Needing comfort? Casserole of venison is enriched with red wine, chocolate and root vegetables, while grilled fillet of cod spills over its smoked cheddar mash into a pool of velvety creamed leeks. For something lighter, there are lightly dressed but generous salads laden with pan-fried strips of beef, crab meat and crayfish, or mozzarella, artichoke and sun-blushed tomato. Warm and cold puddings delight and tempt while a canny wine list keeps most options under the £20 mark without sacrificing quality or interest. + A menu and wine list to tempt the palate without testing the pocket - Wish they did brunch!

The Brasserie at the Glasshouse Hotel 2 Greenside Place, New Town, 0131 525 8200, theglasshousehotel.co.uk | Closed Sun/Mon | £24 (dinner)

Yes, it is a trek from the foyer just off the top of Leith Walk to the second floor brasserie. Maybe leave a trail of breadcrumbs to find your way back, just in case. But staff couldn’t be nicer in guiding guests to ultimately arrive at this sleek green and woodtoned restaurant. Creamy cauliflower chowder nestles piping hot in its neat sourdough bread bowl. A tasty play on stovies delivers a chunk of corned brisket beef sitting alongside mashed

potatoes strewn with black pudding. Mains are hearty and satisfying. Border lamb rump is deliciously pink, seared outside to a carmelised finish, but almost overwhelmed by the richness of the surrounding bacon and wild mushroom ragù. Deep, creamy, Jerusalem artichoke velouté melds gently with haricot, butter bean and mushroom, and ribeye steaks arrive beautifully cooked and presented. However, the show is stolen by a pudding of warm forced rhubarb with crunchy stem ginger crumble and tangy rhubarb and vanilla sorbet. Overall, nice for prePlayhouse dining. + A confident hand in the kitchen delivers with skill - Pity the Observatory on Calton Hill isn’t illuminated at night

Café Marlayne 76 Thistle Street, New Town See French

Checkpoint 3 Bristo Place, Old Town, 0131 225 9352, checkpointedinburgh.com | £11 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

Checkpoint achieves the delicate balance of being achingly hip without being pretentious. The high ceilings, large windows, and open-plan dining room provide a sharp canvas for the slick, design-led features. Lighting imported from old Berlin subway stations adorns the walls while an orange shipping container-cum-dining area creates an intriguing focal point. Open from 9am, a daytime menu of brunchy pancakes, eggs, subs, salads, and filled brioche buns is served until 5pm alongside good coffee. The dinner menu starts with a selection of savoury bites and bowls which serve as starters or nibbles with drinks. Mains are well balanced, with steaks, chops and filled baguettes weighing in alongside large salads, fish and vegan tagines. The breast of pigeon with confit duck potatoes, black pudding bonbons and purple broccoli is as rich and substantial as the quinoa, apple, pickled beetroot and pomegranate salad is fresh and wholesome. The vegan puddings are well worth a try, especially when whipped coconut cream stands in for the traditional dairy alternative. + A menu that suits all dietary choices - The acoustics in the shipping container

Côte Brasserie 51 Frederick Street See French

David Bann 56–58 St Mary’s Street, Old Town, 0131 556 5888, davidbann.com | £18 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Back in 2002, David Bann swam against the tide to create his vegetarian-only restaurant and, over the years, the St Mary’s Street address has become something of an Edinburgh institution. The music-free space feels calm and convivial from the outset. Muted maroons, dark woods, well-spaced tables, and much-coveted booths create a modern minimalist atmosphere. With global ambitions, the menu spans India, Mexico, the Mediterranean and Thailand to name a few. Goat’s cheese tartlet is light and delicate with contrast provided by caramelised onion and a sharp balsamic dressing. The chickpea pancake with quinoa chilli and chocolate sauce is warming and filling, if a little lacking in spice. A thoughtful wine list, with a particularly strong house offering, will satisfy most budgets, and a well-curated selection of vegan beers reinforces their proudly held vegetarian credentials. With consistently good ingredients, the results are always wholesome and hearty and diners will leave sated. But

with vegetarianism no longer a culinary outlier, it might be time to push the flavour boat out. + Convivial space with welcoming staff - Light touch when it comes to seasoning

✱ HITLIST

The Dogs 110 Hanover Street, New Town, 0131 220 1208, thedogsonline.co.uk | £11 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

For almost a decade now, Dave Ramsden’s no frills, no fuss first-floor dining room in the New Town has been ploughing its idiosyncratic furrow for proper British food, a decent bottle of wine and canine-themed décor. It’s one of just four places in town to hold a Michelin Bib Gourmand for ‘good quality, good-value cooking’, and regardless of what’s been hip and trendy over the years, The Dogs has been pretty dogged in its convictions regarding what constitutes a good meal for a good price. It’s mostly pretty robust stuff, from devilled ox liver with onions and bacon to fish pie or rabbit, sausage and bean stew, fish and chips or steak and chips. Vegetarian options, such as stilton, mushroom and walnut tart with vegetarian haggis and layered potato, are equally committed, and wines range from a bunch of quaffable bottles under £20 to some seriously punchy numbers for around double that – an expanding choice that plays to rumours of Ramsden’s designs on opening a wine bar near the art college serving small plates, charcuterie and an engagingly wide range of drinks. + Determinedly hearty British food - Lacks the puppyish energy of old

The Dome 14 George Street, New Town, 0131 624 8624, thedomeedinburgh.com | £16 (set lunch) / £30 (dinner)

Resplendent seems a fitting description for The Dome on George Street. This former bank makes a big first impression with gleaming crystal chandeliers, Corinthian columns, pristine marble and stained-glass ceiling dome. Giant flower displays are artistically lit on the elegant central bar, setting the finer-dining Grill Room apart from the main space. Despite the high-vaulted ceilings, the use of rich décor and soft furnishings create a cosy dining experience which cleverly avoids the dreaded echo one might expect from a such a cavernous space. Proudly Scottish, the menu is a celebration of local sourcing. Angus venison fillet is tender and accompanied by a perfectly judged blackberry and honey jus. A grass-fed Buccleuch fillet is gamey and rich. The crispy goat’s cheese and black pudding starter is well textured and competent if a little lacking in wow factor. The confident wine list delivers a broad selection of Old and New World which will suit most tastes and budgets. With a nod to the old-school grandeur of times past, this impressive venue provides a special and reliable dining experience. + The setting is pure old-school - Classic cooking comes at a price

Earthy Canonmills 1–6 Canonmills Bridge, Stockbridge, 0131 556 9696, earthy.uk.com | £12 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Tightly packed with all manner of local and seasonal goodies, Earthy’s store at Cannonmills extends beyond the freshly baked bread and organic wines to reveal a rustic bistro. Reclaimed woods, Edison lightbulbs and mismatched chairs ensure all the hip boxes are ticked. Locals enjoy coffee and pastries while watching the world go by; lunch sees things heat up as nearby office workers forage for salads and sandwiches and, as lightbulbs dim,

BISTROS & BRASSERIES ✱ Bijou A pocket-sized gem among the city’s bistros, open for business from breakfast right through to dinner. ✱ The Birchwood Marchmont café with a bright, fresh interior showcasing strong breakfast and brunch choices and an appealing dinner menu. ✱ Forage & Chatter West End eatery with hipster hallmarks that delivers on innovation and flavour combinations. ✱ Galvin Brasserie de Luxe Swish and fun, a stylish classic brasserie in which to while away the hours. ✱ The Outsider Classy, confident cooking served in a casual bistro with sharp service. ✱ Salt Café Quirky reclaimed interior packed full of character, where daytime café culture seamlessly stretches into informal evening dining. ✱ Three Birds Restaurant Deservedly popular, cosy neighbourhood bistro with an inspired menu. ✱ The Walnut Wonderful things come in small packages at this exciting and cannily-priced favourite on Leith Walk. Fairtrade wine corks pop. The tight allday menu features several dishes ideal for sharing. Sweet potato fritters with feta are sweet carby goodness with flashes of salty cheese, complemented by a creamy yoghurt sauce. Spiced chickpea burger with halloumi and chipotle mayo is hearty and comforting and comes with moreish hand-cut chips. Service can sometimes wander a little, but this spot on Canonmills Bridge continues to prove a popular draw. + Local and seasonal ingredients in a cool setting - Service can feel overly casual at times

NEW Educated Flea 32b Broughton Street, New Town, 0131 556 8092, educatedflea.co.uk | £12 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

Birds do it, bees do it, now Educated Flea does it in lively, foodie Broughton Street. From the team that brought Edinburgh the bistro delights of Three Birds and Apiary, the hits keep coming as Educated Flea completes its first merry year. Nibble on some crispy pigs ear and aioli or feta and pistachio dip while debating the creative menu options and sipping The List Eating & Drinking Guide 37

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wine. Venison haggis meatballs, browned and juicy, enjoy the tang of whisky jam but a lobster salad, while tasty, is a bit slim on the seafood. Seared lamb rump is cheerfully pink, on a bed of garlicky hummus and dressed in honey-smoked yoghurt. Daily specials include rare sirloin of beef with onion jus and market fish served with rose harissa butter and cumin polenta fries. Mangorita mess tosses toasted meringue and ginger nuts with mango and tequila cream in a surprising twist that leaves Eton in the shade. Simpler tastes may opt for one of the many flavours of homemade ice-cream. Scoop of smoked jalapeno, anyone? + Classics given a new edge and a bit of fun - Not having enough room for ice-cream

EH15 The Club, 24 Milton Road East, Portobello See Scottish

L’Escargot Blanc Restaurant & Wine Bar 17 Queensferry Street, West End See French

Field 41 West Nicolson Street, Southside See Scottish

First Coast 97–101 Dalry Road, West End, 0131 313 4404, first-coast.co.uk | Closed Sun | £13.50 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

Don’t let the name or the nautically tinged interior fool you. First Coast is about more than just fish. The blue and white tongue-and-groove walls hint at a menu packed with seafood options, but there is much from the land that will tempt, such as pork from Gorgie City Farm and succulent venison haunch served with pink fir potatoes. The

decision to venture from the city centre to this Dalry favourite is rewarded when a beautifully plated octopus, black rice and saffron aioli starter arrives: its tender tentacles provide the perfect foil against the crunch of the grain. Contrast is again key in a generous gurnard fillet served with crispy polenta squares, given a boot up the backside with a sweet salsa rosso. Thankfully, portions are well-considered at First Coast, meaning it’s possible to enjoy something decadent from the pudding list after two courses. The jam roly-poly and custard has the ability to temporarily transport diners back to childhood, before coming back to reality with a liqueur from the well-curated selection. + Great neighbourhood dining at good prices - For some, it will be a trek from the city centre

✱ NEW Forage & Chatter 1A Alva Street, West End, 0131 225 4599, forageandchatter.com | Closed Sun/Mon | £14.95 (set lunch) / £25 (dinner)

A breath of fresh air in an area heavily populated by chain restaurants, Forage & Chatter gave gourmands new reason to go West (End) when it opened at the end of 2016. Its trendy décor is a mixture of reclaimed wood and tweed upholstery, but any fears of style-over-substance prove unfounded when the food arrives. A starter of squid and barbecue pork shoulder is lifted out of a protein reverie by the addition of comforting cauliflower, while cured trout with fennel, herb pesto and aioli is a veritable spring garden on a plate. Mains pack a serious punch as well: a breezeblock-sized chunk of oxtail comes encased in a delicate herby crumb while toasted seeds add depth to mouthfuls of curried butter monkfish and winter squash. There are signs the South African head chef knows his way around a Scottish hipster’s store cupboard, too,

with the presence of Douglas fir on the pudding menu. + Ambitious, adventurous cooking with style and flair - When quiet, service can be a little overbearing

Forth Floor Brasserie Harvey Nichols, 30–34 St Andrew Square, New Town, 0131 524 8350, harveynichols.com | £18 (set lunch) / £30 (dinner)

Bustling and purposeful, there’s sometimes an air of upmarket departure lounge in this big space. Thankfully though the food is far more interesting than anything you’re likely to get courtesy of Prestwick. Borders steaks and a temptingly fresh seafood selection are on offer throughout lunch and dinner. The seasonally changing menu has salads in starter and main sizes as well as several dishes offering a twist on standard bistro food. The Dingwall black pudding is a fabulous black velvet treat, sweetened with a dollop of apple sauce, while pan-fried pollock is enlivened by a rich saffron risotto with just the right amount of bite. Pavlova moves up a gear with bittersweet cranberries. Stick to the prix fixe menu and you can have three courses and a cocktail at prices nowhere near sky high. + Top-floor panorama makes it a unique venue - Can feel rather crowded when busy

✱ Galvin Brasserie de Luxe Caledonian Hotel, Princes Street, West End, 0131 222 8988, galvinbrasseriedeluxe.com | £17.50 (set lunch) / £30 (dinner)

What a pleasure. Leave Princes Street behind and give yourself a treat at Galvin Brasserie de Luxe in the Waldorf Astoria (or the Caley as it’s better known to locals). Spread over a series of rooms, a central circular bar divides the

main dining space, where crustaceans, displayed on their icy bed, draw the eye as readily as the row of waiting champagne flutes. Appetite piqued? Start with a cloud of ocean-fresh white crab meat, seasoned lightly with mayonnaise, or wide ribbons of hand-rolled pappardelle, perfectly al dente, nestling in chunks of rich hare ragù. Old Spot pork cheek is fork-tearingly tender, the accompanying duo of roasted and puréed Jerusalem artichoke mellow and earthy. Rosy pinks slices of Spey Valley venison haunch are accented by bright jewels of pomegranate seeds and the bitter edge of braised red chicory. Buttermilk panacotta has a refreshing, slightly tart edge, melding smoothly in flavour and texture with blood orange jelly, while rhubarb soufflé mesmerises with its grand height, warmly delicate body and clean fruit flavour. Absolutely superb. + You don’t have to leave because they have rooms upstairs - Going home

Good Brothers Wine Bar 4–6 Dean Street, Stockbridge See Bars & Pubs

Hadrian’s Brasserie The Balmoral, 1 Princes Street, City Centre, 0131 557 5000, roccofortehotels. com/the-balmoral-hotel | £17.95 (set lunch) / £30 (dinner)

Behind strategically positioned blinds, diners sit hidden from prying eyes on Edinburgh’s North Bridge. The calm interior fuses sage greens, polished woods and several whimsical touches to create a confident elegance. The Balmoral’s smoked salmon ‘from the trolley’ adds theatre to proceedings; generously portioned, the delicately cured fish is well complemented by a selection of fine dressings and lightas-a-feather bread. Allandale Estate venison is yet another example of their astute sourcing. Meltingly tender meat is accompanied by sweet braised red cabbage and rich jus delivering a truly standout main. Desserts feel a little heavy-handed with one too many elements added to gild an otherwise perfectly adept lemon panacotta. Hotel guests make up a significant portion of the diners with locals in-the-know popping along to take advantage of the competitively priced lunch and early-dining offers. Despite the grand surrounds, the service never feels stuffy and, while some hotel restaurants suffer from a certain stigma, thanks to the high-quality Scottish produce and deft hand in the kitchen, this hotel brasserie is certainly worth a visit. + High-quality Scottish produce handled expertly - Desserts would benefit from some economy of ingredients

Hellers Kitchen 15 Salisbury Place, Southside, 0131 667 4654, hellerskitchen.co.uk | £16 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Otro (page 41): great all-day offering in the West End

A quick glance through Hellers Kitchen’s glazed frontage reveals what seems to be a low key, relaxing café in which to have a quick bite and a cup of tea, but it would be a mistake not to explore further. Lunch consists of a pleasant range of light dishes and interesting sandwiches, but dinner is a solid performance of culinary confidence heightened by a changing list of daily specials which demonstrate flair. Piled high, crunchy deep-fried squid are tender alongside the bite of lemon aioli, while equally generous mussels are heaped into bowls of basil and cream broth. Pan-roasted venison, darkly seared outside and ruby pink inside, is trickled with a deep red wine jus alongside velvety dauphinoise potatoes. Chargrilled

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In association with

“Apart from the food, the atmosphere, the service and the approachable flexibility of the menu, the other commendable thing about David Bann is that his prices represent good value. ” Joanna Blythman, The Herald

56-58 St Mary’s Street, Edinburgh (off The Royal Mile and The Cowgate) www.davidbann.com

0131 556 5888 Eating and Drinking Open 7 Days from 11am

BISTROS & BRASSERIES

Bisque Brasserie is your local neighbourhood restaurant serving casual gourmet food We’re open for brunch, lunch and dinner with a menu of classic brasserie favourites. The bar serves great cocktails, local beer and a wide selection of wine by the glass. For details and menus www.bisquebrasserie.com Tel: 0131 622 8163

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EDINBURGH

sirloin steak gives way softly under the knife, adding its meaty juices to the stack of hand-cut chips and the fresh bite of a rocket and parmesan salad. The cleansing tang of lemon tart with passion fruit sorbet closes the meal neatly. + A Southside bistro that punches well above its weight - Lighting could be softer in the evening

Hendersons Salad Table 94 Hanover Street, New Town See Scottish

Hendersons Vegan 25 Thistle Street, New Town, 0131 225 2605, hendersonsofedinburgh.co.uk | £16 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

A haven of vegan food and drink presented with flair, creativity and integrity, Hendersons Vegan is a round-the-corner offshoot of the longestablished family firm who have always set the bar high in the field of plant-based dining. The cooking, bar, serving and eating areas are all in the same room which makes for a cosy intimacy, brightened by lively décor and plentiful natural light. The ingredients are all organic and locally sourced. A sharing platter of tomato and basil hummus, fig tapenade, olives and herbed cashew cream cheese makes for a substantial starter. Cauliflower is a staple, coming in chunkily sliced steaks with mushroom as a base for its peppery sauce accompaniment. Scottish pearl barley and parsnip risotto is hearty, with a topping of crispy pieces of kale, pickled apple and sorrel giving an air of finesse. + Turmeric latte is a coffee revelation - So many enticing smells makes it harder to chose

Home by Maison Bleue 7–8 Queensferry Street, West End See French

The Honours 58a North Castle Street, New Town, 0131 220 2513, thehonours.co.uk | Closed Sun/Mon | £28.50 (set lunch) / £40 (dinner)

The slick bar makes a stylish first impression in Martin Wishart’s New Town brasserie, with gold discs adorning the walls, warm lighting overhead and leather banquettes to lounge on. In the long, high-ceilinged dining room, the atmosphere buzzes as friendly waiters quickly assuage any concerns about stuffiness. As you’d expect from Wishart’s pedigree, the food is highly accomplished. Starters include the palatetingling tuna tartare – fresh ruby jewels dressed in a savoury butter sauce with creamy avocado mousse whet the appetite and leave room for courses to come. The onglet of Black Angus beef is top-notch. Perfectly pink meat topped with a heady bone marrow crust is complemented by an intense red wine sauce. Everything about The Honours is polished, from the mirrors on the walls to the well-trained staff. There are competitive deals to be found in the lunch and early-dining menus and the wine list displays a great range of new and old-world gems to suit most pockets. But, while The Honours succeeds in feeling less formal than its Michelin-starred Leith mothership, the overall result is undoubtedly special. + Polished, stylish dining without feeling stuffy - At the pricier end of the bistro spectrum

Hotel du Vin Bistro 11 Bristo Place, Old Town, 0131 247 4900, hotelduvin.com/locations/ edinburgh/bistro | £16.95 (set lunch) / £30 (dinner)

Marchmont, Edinburgh Neighbourhood Brasserie & Wine Bar, serving excellent food with warm welcoming service.

In today’s cosy bistro world, the dining room aims to be as comfortable as your own sofa, the waiter does a plausible act as your new best friend and the food is as satisfying and easy as your favourite box set. Hotel du Vin eschews such upstart ideas and harks back to a dark brown, dimly lit version of French bistro-land with courteous, professional staff and classy interiors. The menu changes seasonally and is a meeting of tradition and innovation that can be a little hit-andmiss. A navarin of Lake District mutton is cooked to meltingness and a slab of sea trout is accompanied by a delicious stew of green pulses bathed in cream, but scallop ceviche don’t quite deliver that familiar sweetness. There’s a genuine desire to please here, but also a sense of uniformity, with little opportunity for individual creativity. + Upmarket ambience - A little bit soulless

Howies (Waterloo Place) 29 Waterloo Place, New Town See Scottish

Iris 11 Roseneath Street Edinburgh 0131 229 7953 www.therabbitholerestaurant.co.uk TheRabbitHole

47a Thistle Street, New Town, 0131 220 2111, irisedinburgh.co.uk | £16 (set lunch) / £25 (dinner)

Holding its own in one of Edinburgh's most successfully foodie streets, Iris has a sleek, calm, understated atmosphere. The lighting is low, the wood surrounds are dark, the seating is comfy . . . but don’t drift off because the menu deserves your attention. Seared king scallops are anointed with a mellow carrot purée which balances the sweetness of the carmelised shellfish. Slow cooked Ibérico pig cheek melds with puy lentils and kohlrabi to create a satisfying pseudocassoulet. Pheasant supreme stuffed with apricots is temptingly soothing,

Forth Floor Brasserie (page 38): seasonally changing menu and killer views

while the baked salmon fillet on chorizo, broad beans and courgettes makes for satisfying eating. Pleasingly the whole boneless sea bass with hot ginger and lemongrass prawns has a clean, fresh heat that doesn’t overwhelm the delicacy of the fish. Puddings offer variety, from a deep chocolate beetroot cake with orange cream perfumed with cardamom; to a delicate slice of tart lemon and ginger baked cheesecake; or crunchy mounds of pistachio meringue with tangy lime cream. A canny wine list offers both interest and good value, rounding out a truly satisfying meal. + Contributes to Thistle Street’s culinary expertise with style - Vegetarians need some of this action

Laila’s Bistro 63 Cockburn Street, Old Town See Round the World

Monteiths 57–61 High Street, Old Town, 0131 557 0330, monteithsrestaurant.co.uk | £21 (lunch) / £27 (dinner)

Those of the taller persuasion may require a tilt of the head when entering the fairy-lit archway to this underground restaurant and bar. The interior is warm, with décor that reflects an eclectic mix of styles from the tartan banquettes to Scandi-chic animal skulls and fur-strewn chairs. Post-work suits prop up the bar while diners get down to business in the cosy dining area. Generously portioned scallops are plump and juicy after only the briefest of visits to the pan. The lamp rump arrives atop the ubiquitous slate with two fist-sized portions delicately seasoned to let that meaty richness come to the fore. There is little need to chew this tender cut with texture provided by the biltongstyled lamb bacon. Although the dessert menu is strong, the Rum ’n’ Raisin Old Fashioned cocktail is a thing of wonder. The deeply layered flavours provide a rich digestif which will send you home with a spring in your step – just watch your head on the way out. + Great cocktails and food – what’s not to love? - Some portions do err towards the modest

Montpeliers of Bruntsfield 159–161 Bruntsfield Place, Southside, 0131 229 3115, montpeliersedinburgh. co.uk | £19 (lunch) / £23 (dinner)

Every neighbourhood needs a great, consistent bistro where locals can bring guests, loved ones or just themselves to soak up the convivial atmosphere.

Montpeliers is Bruntsfield’s. It’s a smart space, split into a bar and more formal eating areas, which neatly separates diners and drinkers. Some elements of the menu are a trifle formulaic – step away from the burgers and nachos. Instead, Scottish shin of beef with spring onions, bacon potato cake and crispy capers is a fantastic amalgamation of flavours and textures. Goat’s cheese, caramelised red onion and crispy pancetta crostini shows off simple ingredients to create a stellar starter. The topping on the apple and blackberry crumble could do with a bit of torching, but the banoffee pie is top notch – there’s also a fine selection of apertifs if you prefer dessert to be made of stronger stuff. + Outside tables great for peoplewatching - Music occasionally feels like a dad rock symposium

TIPLIST EDIN-BURGERS • The Cambridge Bar W Edinburgh’s love affair with burgers basically began here; the original and, some say, still the best. • The Holyrood 9A W A modern yet traditional Old Town bar where good burgers and good beer dominate. • Lebowskis W Quirky bar where it’s all about the burger – and the White Russian. • The Mash Tun W Unpretentious neighbourhood sports pub with good beer, good grub and a good pub quiz. • Shebeen 81 Perhaps better known for their steaks and exotic meats, Shebeen’s burgers also pack a mighty flavour punch. • The Whistle Stop Barber Shop W Enjoyable central hangout with a diner-style range of dogs, pizzas, chargrills and especially good burgers.

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In association with

EDINBURGH

Mums Great Comfort Food 4a Forrest Road, Old Town, 0131 260 9806, mumsgreatcomfortfood.co.uk | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Kicking hangovers squarely in the unmentionables since 2003, Mums started life as Monster Mash before changing name seven years’ ago. Happily, the basic premise has endured: comfort food like you’d get at your parents’ minus the Spanish inquisition about your love life. Sitting in the retro-inspired diner alongside students slurping their boozy milkshakes, it becomes clear this place is about as far away from fine dining as it is possible to be. But that only works in Mums’ favour: it serves delicious, unpretentious classics quickly and in huge portions, set to the soundtrack of a bygone era. You can pimp the café’s famous sausage and mash to your own specifications thanks to a variety of banger and potato options (the veggie sausages and black pudding and apple mash are highlights), while shepherd’s pie with lamb shoulder mince proves that Mums’ chefs know their way round the salt and pepper shakers. A fun, informal alternative to the city’s upmarket establishments that never teeters into parody. + Hangover food with quality ingredients - Portions so large it’s hard to find room for pudding

Museum Brasserie National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Old Town See Arts Venues

New Chapter 18 Eyre Place, New Town See Scottish

Olive Branch Bistro 91 Broughton Street, New Town, 0131 557 8589, theolivebranchscotland. co.uk | £14 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Homely yet sophisticated, the Olive Branch Bistro on Edinburgh’s bustling Broughton Street is an ideal spot for a quick lunch when in town, a more leisurely evening meal, or brunch at the weekend (their brunch menu is served until 4pm). With large windows looking out onto the street, it’s great for people-watching, and the muted décor and sanded floors create a relaxed vibe. A special of mussels in Thai broth has just the right amount of kick, while a main of pan-fried sea bream is beautifully offset with sweet, vibrant toasted cherry tomatoes. Sitting on a bed of crab mac ’n’ cheese, it’s a lovely balance of stylish cuisine with good old comfort food. Rump of lamb arrives perfectly pink with a deliciously smoky flavour to the parsnip purée. The wine list is nicely varied and modestly priced, although if you’re celebrating, prosecco is the only option for fizz. For pudding, the cheesecake changes daily, alongside a standard range of desserts, or try cheese served with the Olive Branch’s own chutney and pickles. + High quality, unpretentious cooking - Only one sparkling wine

One Square 1 Festival Square, West End, 0131 221 6422, onesquareedinburgh.co.uk | £15.50 (set lunch) / £28 (dinner)

Dining at the Sheraton Grand Hotel isn’t just elegant afternoon teas and business lunches. One Square flaunts the best of Scotland’s larder with a stunning backdrop. The (almost) floor to ceiling windows offer a spectacular view taking in the splendour of the Usher Hall with Edinburgh Castle looming above. The tables are well-

spaced and the service professional yet casual, making for a relaxed, wellpaced meal. Seared hand-dived Orkney scallops are served swimming in a cream sauce adorned with a delicious confetti of crisp pancetta. Steak tartare is butter-soft and served with a confit egg yolk and crisp sourdough toast. Scottish meat and game feature heavily for mains with aged steaks, wood pigeon, duck and lamb on offer, as well as pan-fried sea bass and vegetarian dishes featuring wild Scottish mushrooms and crowdie cheese. Save room for pudding, if you can – the chocolate soufflé with mandarin orange sorbet and bitter chocolate sauce is exceptional. Visit on a Sunday afternoon for the ever-popular carvery buffet with live jazz. + The bar’s large gin collection and generous cocktails - Rich and decadent dishes can be a bit heavy

Ostara 52 Coburg Street, Leith See Cafés

NEW Otro 22 Coates Crescent, West End, 0131 556 0004, otrorestaurant.co.uk | £13 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Having proved themselves with New Chapter in Eyre Place, Matthew Korecki and his team have opened Otro (meaning ‘other’), a brand-new brasserie in the large West End premises once occupied by the Indian Cavalry Club. Open all day from breakfast to dinner, Otro’s appeal lies in its casual approach to quality dining. The space is fresh and bright, painted in on-trend shades of grey with a seashore-inspired mural on the main dining room wall. Efficient staff introduce a menu focused on brasserie-style classics, from fish and chips with mushy peas to a towering aged Scottish beef burger stacked with maple-cured bacon, Isle of Mull cheddar, caramelised onions and pickles. There are tasty-sounding vegetarian options like truffle macaroni cheese, as well as dishes using Scottish fish – the Loch Etive sea trout with parsley mash, samphire and mussels is a standout. The set lunch menu is definitely worth a look too. This is a confident opening from a team who clearly know what they’re doing. + Great all-day offering in an underserved area - Concentrate on your companion - the street view isn’t inspiring

executed. Puddings combine comfort and sophistication – a white chocolate fondant is gently spiced with cardamom and studded with chunks of honeycomb. + Fabulous fish - Can get noisy when really busy

Petit Paris 38–40 Grassmarket, Old Town See French

La Petite Mort 32 Valleyfield Street, Tollcross, 0131 229 3693, lapetitemortedinburgh.co.uk | £11.95 (set lunch) / £24 (dinner)

Named after the owner’s favorite James album, La Petite Mort offers intimate, adventurous dining in the shadows of the King’s Theatre. The stage is set with candlelight, exposed brick, and decorative relics found in the basement. A small cast of characters inhabit the menu allowing fresh ingredients, culinary skill and a casual fine dining approach to tell the tale. For an opening monologue, the Green Tomatillo Bloody Mary is an exquisite award-winning twist on the classic cocktail. A first act of honey-glazed pork belly, black pudding, and pancetta is melt-in-yourmouth tender and well supported by its co-star of crunchy apple. The second act of parma ham and chorizo-crusted cod is almost upstaged by its accompanying Cullen skink arancini, while generous desserts make for a fitting curtain call. With well-priced lunch and pre-theatre options, a thoughtful menu, and a carefully curated drinks list, La Petite Mort is worthy of a standing ovation. + Great drinks selection from the adjoining Bennets Bar - Limited selection of starters and sweets may leave some wanting

La P’tite Folie Tudor House, 9 Randolph Place, West End See French

The Rabbit Hole 11 Roseneath Street, Southside, 0131 229 7953, therabbitholerestaurant. com | Closed Sun/Mon | £12 (set lunch) / £24 (dinner)

Independent shops, produce framing doorways, queues of chatting customers winding out of Eddie’s Seafood Market – all these underpin the clear sense of friendly neighbourhood in this stroll-able Marchmont street. Amid this, The Rabbit Hole has dug in and made a home for itself. Popular with locals and those travelling across town to share in the good mood and good food, the dove grey interior and gentle lighting puts newcomers at instant ease. A balance of meat, fish and vegetarian options demonstrate the creative flair co-chefs Antonella Esposito and Mo Boulay exercise in their kitchen. Every layer of the crab lasagne is distinctive; crab meat stands out, never swamped by its fish béchamel. Seared pigeon breast punches with cranberry dressing and the crunch of walnuts. For mains, the rabbit, leek and chorizo pie could do with a wee bit more rabbit but is a hearty, creamy plateful. Duck breast, seared and perfectly pink, with caramelised skin, strikingly rests on grilled purple carrots. Puddings could benefit from something tart after the richness which comes before but many will be happy to indulge. + Out of the ordinary menu executed with flair and confidence - Can get noisy on busy nights

✱ The Outsider 15–16 George IV Bridge, Old Town, 0131 226 3131, theoutsiderrestaurant. com | £12 (lunch) / £22 (dinner)

The dark bustle of The Outsider on a Saturday night has an edge of excitement, surprising for a restaurant that has been on the scene for 15 years. Once an outsider, always an outsider, perhaps, but there is no resting on laurels here – instead there’s the sense of an outfit always pushing the boundaries and absorbing new ideas. The menu offers great choice for meat and fish lovers; perhaps not quite so much for vegetarians although starters and mains can be adapted to suit. Impeccably cooked hake comes on an orange and coconut risotto studded with little crayfish and crunchy pak choi. The resulting fairground of flavours works beautifully. Lead chef Will Dale seems to have a knack of putting unusual things together and making them sing: pigeon marinated in coffee and brambles, mussels in a light cream with bacon and pine nuts – everything carefully judged and beautifully The List Eating & Drinking Guide 41

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The Raeburn

The Royal Dick Bar & Bistro

112 Raeburn Place, Stockbridge See Scottish

1 Summerhall, Southside, 0131 560 1572, summerhall.co.uk/the-royal-dick | £13 (lunch) / £13 (dinner)

NEW Red Bus Bistro

Summerhall, off the Meadows, is a special place and increasingly a fixture on Edinburgh’s cultural map. The venue’s own Royal Dick Bar & Bistro has built a loyal following as people discover this lovely spot on their adventures around the arts complex. Overlooking a courtyard, there’s plentiful outdoor seating for nice days too. The Dick showcases Barney’s Beer and Pickering’s Gin, both of which are made on-site. A sharing platter of cured meats, seasoned olives, hummus and crunchy fried sticks of Orkney cheddar are just the ticket with a pint of one of the four Barney’s beers. If hunger precludes much sharing, try the 14hour slow-cooked oxtail and Barney’s Porter stew, piled high on creamy chive mash. Equally appealing, the Royal Dick meatball marinara is massed onto a brioche bun which is only slightly let down by a less than robust portion of chips. Cheesecake of the day is fun if you can manage to squeeze it in. + Good drink and yummy food to make you smile - Not immediately easy to find

Waterloo Place (Stop ZF) Bus Stop, New Town, 01355 229 448, redbusbistro.co.uk | Afternoon tea £34.50

If you’re entertaining out of town guests, the odds are they’ll want two things: a good meal and a tour of the town. Hurrah then for the Red Bus Bistro, which kills both birds with one stone with its on-board afternoon tea package. Two tours a day leave from Waterloo Place (noon and 3pm, with a burger tour at 5.30pm) and the tartan carpet is rolled out for your arrival. Once aboard you’re shown to a fully set-up table, loaded with cakes, macaroons and finger sandwiches. You can bring your own bottle of fizz for a modest corkage fee if you’re so inclined, otherwise you’ll be given a plastic glass of the stuff. If you’re after actual tea you have to ask for it – but know that it comes in a sippy plastic travel cup. Pesky health and safety. The bus (which tours Edinburgh on a 1.5hour loop), is rather basic – but it’s all great fun. Just don’t squint too hard at the sellotaped fairy lights or well-worn seats. Instead focus on the scenery around you – you’re in for a unique day out indeed. + Unique, fun concept - More attention could be paid to the décor

Rollo 14 Broughton Street, New Town See Bars & Pubs

✱ Salt Café 54–56 Morningside Road, Southside, 0131 281 1885 | £8.50 (one course) (lunch) / £28 (dinner)

Salt’s hipster-ish qualities might seem somewhat incongruous within the prim surrounds of Morningside, but this selfassured bistro has a secret weapon in the kitchen. Over the course of a day, the space undergoes several transitions, morphing seamlessly from funky café,

to brunch hotspot, to cosy diner. A reclaimed theme features, with knowing winks to the sea – including an actual boat protruding from a whitewashed brick wall. Food is surprisingly formal given the cool, relaxed tempo and demonstrates an assured sense of adventure and skill as evidenced by the deftly cooked tandoori scallops with light-as-a-feather tempura oyster. The Worcestershire-marinated rump steak is tender and juicy, complemented by a cheeky pair of blue cheese bonbons. The only slip in an otherwise perfectly cooked piece of venison is a slightly cloying chocolate sauce. The wine list is confident and interesting, and the beers (on tap and by the bottle) show a real interest in the ever-developing craft beer movement. Salt offers fine dining standards delivered without fuss in a space that positively encourages you to linger long after the desserts have been cleared. + Adventurous and skilful cooking - Having to vacate the cosy booth and head home

The Shore Bar & Restaurant 3 The Shore, Leith, 0131 553 5080, fishersbistros.co.uk | £15 (set lunch) / £30 (dinner)

The Shore is an institution: locals and tourists rub shoulders in its dark-wood interior, soaking up its well-cured atmosphere, regular jazz sessions and a menu of reliable stalwarts. Seafood is a speciality and the restaurant’s own whisky-smoked salmon is as tangy and fulsome as a single malt, its richness cut with crisp curls of sweet-cured cucumber and soothed with lemon crème-fraîche. Fish and chips is always on the menu along with seasonal fish dishes, steaks and pies. The kitchen is not a whirlpool of innovation: a generous catch of mussels comes in a traditional warm bath of white wine, cream and garlic; a pork, mushroom and bacon pie is pure comfort food; conventional vegetarian dishes are on a separate menu. But the service is adept and charming and the dining room is as lovely on a summer evening as it is cosy on a dreich winter day. + Traditional dining in a charming interior - Food can be on the stodgy side

The Skylark 241–243 High Street, Portobello, Portobello, 0131 629 3037, theskylark. co.uk | £9 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

The Skylark’s quirky little character has firmly embedded itself in the heart of Portobello. It’s perfect for local weekend brunches with colouring pencils and toys for the kids, bowls of water for the dog, and a small selection of French wine and Scottish beers to keep the larger humans happy. The space is comfortable and homely. Little ones are looked after with storytelling and afternoon films, weeknights you might find an art exhibition or pub quiz, and weekends are for live music, kitchen takeovers, and the chef DJing. The menu combines French flair with Scottish produce. Weekends and daytimes showcase artisan breakfast rolls, croque monsieurs (and madames), fresh soups, and scones with homemade jam. At night, the steak-frîtes, spiced lamb burgers and bowls of mussels come with good tunes, sweet cocktails and relaxed service. Vegans and vegetarians are well looked after with crisp, savoury, beetroot and broad bean falafel served with tahini and pickled vegetable salad, or frîtes différentes; tempura carrots and parsnips with a harissa yoghurt dip. + Relaxed, family-friendly dining near Edinburgh’s seaside - Service can be a bit slow when busy

Smoke Stack 53–55 Broughton Street, New Town See Steakhouses & Burgers

Spoon 6a Nicolson Street, Old Town 0131 623 1752, spoonedinburgh.co.uk | £12 (lunch) / £21 (dinner)

In a light-filled first-floor room with views across to the the Festival Theatre, Spoon holds its own as a reliable venue for generous breakfasts, healthy lunches and veggie-friendly dinners. The large open space cleverly uses curtains and offbeat décor to create the illusion of multiple, intimate areas. The eclectic, decade-clashing mix of charity shop furniture and carefully curated curios gives the interior a quirky feel to which the laid-back service is well matched. The menu is a jack of all trades, suiting most dietary requirements and tastes. Brunch is served daily alongside a daytime menu which smoothly transitions to pre-theatre and dinner. Fillet of sea bream with roast cauliflower, lime, chilli and peanuts is a delicate, well-textured lunch main or evening starter while chestnut mushroom and barley bolognese is a tasty meat and wheat-free twist on the classic dish. The dessert menu feels like an afterthought following the generous savoury mains; try finishing your meal with one of the liqueur coffees featuring delightful roasts from Luckie Beans instead. + Watching the world go by through the large, ornate windows - Spending too long in the ladies reading the 70s magazine adverts on the doors

Sylvesters 55–57 West Nicolson Street, Southside, 0131 662 4493, sylvestersedinburgh. co.uk | Closed Sun | £13.95 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

How many times have you headed down West Nicolson Street to see something at the Fringe and passed Sylvesters without a second glance? Well, that’s a shame as this little gem deserves some attention. Kieran Sylvester has put his all into creating a restaurant serving the kind of refined food he cut his teeth on while training under award-winning chef Neil Forbes. In fact, his whole family are devoted to the cause, with mum providing the décor, dad selecting the wine list, and his wife handling the correspondence. While the music selection could do with a tweak and the lighting needs to be toned down, the food is why you’re here. The menu is Scottish with a twist, featuring perfectly seared west coast scallops with a coconut and coriander dhal, Pickering’s gin-cured salmon with punchy grapefruit espuma, homemade haggis with pickled turnips, and panfried sea bass served on a delicious leek rösti floating in vanilla sauce. It all gels and makes for interesting, well-executed dishes. Portions are generous and filling, but do persevere; the rhubarb trifle is worth it. + The excellent wine list - Can lack atmosphere on quiet nights

Ten Hill Place 10 Hill Place, Old Town, 0131 662 2080, tenhillplace.com | £30 (dinner)

In the heart of Edinburgh’s Southside, Ten Hill Place nestles in a peaceful Georgian oasis just off the ever-bustling Nicholson Street. Owned by the Royal College of Surgeons, profits are reinvested into the College. Maroon walls, thick-pile carpets and cosy seating bode well, but these touches struggle to compete with a brightly lit kitchen pass, breakfast buffet station and incongruous

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BISTROS & BRASSERIES

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EDINBURGH

catching planters outside its entrance, a streamlined new menu and some clever zoning (additional to the main restaurant is a snug and bar area, adding intimacy to the space). Dishes will appeal to guests who want the convenience of being able to mosey down from their rooms and tuck into traditional burgers, fish and chips and veggie risotto, as well as city types in pursuit of a well-priced dinner. The mac and cheese beef burger is a highlight – its juicy patty moistened by gooey pasta is big on both calories and flavour – while those with a sweet tooth won’t be disappointed by the peanut butter brownie. You’ll get more inventive options elsewhere in Edinburgh, but for comfort food and carbs, The Turquoise Thistle serves up the goods. + Handy central location - No music in the snug when football is on

The Voodoo Rooms 19a West Register Street, New Town, 0131 556 7060, thevoodoorooms.com | No Kids | £20 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Earthy Canonmills (page 37): continues to prove a popular draw with its local and seasonal focus

background music. Popular with tourists and conference attendees and priding itself on the use of local and seasonal produce, the menu is appealing. Tartare of Highland venison loin with confit egg yolk looks pretty but the seasoning is inconsistent, while breast of wild grouse with Stornoway black pudding displays cheffy techniques and processes which don’t quite live up to the well-sourced ingredients. The keenly priced wine list is the star of the show, featuring an impressive 28 wines by the glass as well as the ‘Surgeon’s Cellar’ selection of classic French vintages at their peak. + A great wine list - The menu never quite lives up to expectations

TIPLIST ICE-CREAM • Affogato W West End ice-cream parlour with a wide selection of artisan icecream, cakes, waffles and coffee. • The Beach House W Bright and roomy Porty café ideal for an ice-cream and a stroll along the prom-prom-prom. • Hoot the Redeemer W Shh – this one’s for grown-ups only. Get your fab Senor Scoop boozy ice-cream from the vending machine in this fun bar. • Mary’s Milk Bar W Quirky vintage-styled hangout with daily-changing ice-cream flavours and artisan chocolates. • Peter’s Yard Café W Stockbridge Traditional Swedish goods including deliciously smooth icecream to takeaway. • S Luca of Morningside W Southside outpost for the traditional Musselburgh-made ice-cream which was a childhood treat for most Edinburgers.

The Voyage of Buck 29–31 William Street, West End See Bars & Pubs

✱ Three Birds Restaurant 3–5 Viewforth, Bruntsfield, Southside, 0131 229 3252, threebirds.co.uk | £12 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

Neighbourhood restaurants are often known for being cosy, casual and friendly, but rarely adventurous. Three Birds in Bruntsfield happens to be all that, and more. The intimate dining room seats 36 and booking is essential, even on weeknights. Its popularity might have something to do with its inventive menu, quality ingredients, and attractive price point. The naturally gluten-free menu is peppered with international flavours and bolstered by a daily-changing specials board. A starter of pulled lamb shoulder with mole is subtly chocolatey and intensely spicy while roast cauliflower with tahini and pomegranate is fresh and delicate. A delicious fillet steak rendang, served with bone marrow satay, features on the mains beside cardamom-marinated prawns and crevettes with curried potatoes, and market fish with harissa butter. The global flavours continue with a coconut and ginger crème caramel and a rich chocolate brownie with smokey jalapeño ice-cream. With attentive, spot-on service and culinary flair, a meal at Three Birds negates the need to get your passport stamped anytime soon. + Kids’ menu with all the classics - Trying to get a last-minute booking

Tigerlily 125 George Street, New Town, 0131 225 5005, tigerlilyedinburgh.co.uk | £15 (set lunch) / £25 (dinner)

Pink champagne, sparkles and a proudly bling interior make for quite the first impression in this George Street hotel, bar and restaurant. Once you navigate the eyepopping entrance, the space splits out into several cosier lounge areas complete with snug seats and intimate nooks to sip your cocktail and partake in the ever-popular sport of people-watching. The restaurant area has a calmer quality. Well-lit with comfortable booths, the stage is set for a cute afternoon tea with your girlfriends or to take advantage of one of their early dining offers. Prawn salad bursts with heat and Thai flavours and squid is crisp and

tender with a tart ponzu dressing. ‘Three little pigs’ sees pork done three contrasting ways, from a crispy croquette to succulent cheek to oil-rich belly, all well-balanced with a sharp cider sauce. Regular food and drink offers include a Wednesday Cocktail Club where staff will help you pair your menu choices with the perfect tipple. + Confident bistro food with regular food and drink deals - Bling has to be your thing

Timberyard 10 Lady Lawson Street, West End See Scottish

Tony Singh at Apex Grassmarket 31–35 Grassmarket, Old Town, 0131 300 3456, apexhotels.co.uk/apexgrassmarket-hotel/dining | £9 (set lunch) / £13 (dinner)

You have a hotel. It’s in the heart of one of the busiest streets of one of the best dining cities in the world. How do you entice your guests to use your restaurant? Perhaps a partnership with well-known TV chef will do the trick? Bingo! Tony Singh’s eponymous restaurant at the Apex Grassmarket is a bright, airy, colourful room with seriously killer views to the castle and its sharing concept is spot-on for a casual, any-time meal. Some of the food delivers Singh's promised mash-up of culture and flavour: fish koftas are crunchy, salty little balls and a Scotch egg is impressively runny. But some dishes don’t quite make the grade and it’s hard to decide if it’s a failure of execution or concept. Tandoori-glazed momos, Jospergrilled to within an inch of their life, have a ginormous identity crisis for such wee dumplings. Still, it’s a good-natured sunny spot for a quick lunch, especially if you enjoy having to check the menu to identify your food when it arrives at the table. + Handy central location - No music in the snug when football is on

The Turquoise Thistle Hotel Indigo, 51–59 York Place, New Town, 0131 556 5577, hiedinburgh.co.uk | £16.50 (lunch) / £16.50 (dinner)

In a New Town pocket populated by upmarket venues, it can be tough for hotel restaurants to stand out. The Turquoise Thistle, part of the four-star Hotel Indigo, gives it a good go with the help of eye-

On paper some might say black leather, gold and mirrored surfaces are not the most obvious of bedfellows for a 19th-century period property. Yet, in the same spirit of adventure adopted by the Voodoo Rooms’ mixologists, the interior mash-up just seems to work. The main bar is the heart of the operation, which also includes live music, fringe and event spaces. The vibe is buzzing – folk wait for their gig to start, office workers enjoy a post-work tipple and tired shoppers kick back in one of the booths for a snack or a bottle of something fizzy. The menu is competitively priced and delivers good quality bistro staples in an intimate, and slightly Gothic, dining room. Smoked venison with goat’s cheese and cucumber salad; plump scallops with rich black pudding and chorizo sit among the starters. The gourmet burger is hefty, its well-seasoned beef served in a crisp brioche bun with skinny fries. There are few surprises on this solid menu, but everything is executed with confidence, leaving the more experimental activities to the other side of the bar. + Bling-tastic interior worth the flight of stairs - Service can feel a little strained at busier times

✱ The Walnut 9 Croall Place, Leith Walk, Leith, 0131 281 1236 | Closed Tue | £10 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Located on the site of a former run-ofthe-mill Leith Walk caff, The Walnut has little in common with its predecessor besides a shared postcode and, possibly, some leftover décor. Mismatched furniture, charming tea-towel napkins and a chalkboard menu create a casual, and cool, first impression. Informed staff are on hand to open your wine (whether you bring it yourself or select from their concise wine list). Food is categorised into smaller and larger plates. A salad of roast carrots delivers caramelised roots, with bites of ripe goat’s cheese providing a creamy foil to the sharp sherry vinaigrette. The ever-popular beef short-rib is unctuous meaty joy, and a supremely satisfying main. Pan-fried hake, served in a skillet, delivers moist and tender chunks of fish atop a bed of braised greens. Sprinklings of crayfish and unexpected pockets of garlic aioli create an exciting range of complimentary flavours. With great prices and a steady stream of eager diners, The Walnut brings neighbourhood dining up a notch and makes a formerly humble address seem positively aspirational. + Great food at a great price - Choosing from such a diverse menu

Whiski Rooms 4, 6 & 7 North Bank Street, Old Town

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CAFES

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EDINBURGH

CAFES Edinburgh’s independent café scene goes from strength to strength. Coffee enthusiasts are never more than a few blocks away from that perfect flat white, while Chemex, pourover, direct trade and single origin coffee are fast becoming a fixture on the café landscape. Gluten and dairy-free options are becoming the new norm, with many cafés specialising in whole menus of allergy-free or plant-based options. This year, we’ve changed the way we cover cafés. In the pages that follow, you’ll find full reviews of the year’s best new openings, rebrands and takeovers, plus more Tiplists than ever before – our insight into what’s good and great in the world of tea and cake. You’ll continue to find full, up-to-date and objective reviews of hundreds of cafés online at food.list.uk Reviewers: Tara Klein, Jan Paterson, Nicola Pym, Arusa Qureshi, Caroline Rye, Claire Sawers, Megan Welford

✱ NEW Alplings 16 Henderson Street, Leith, 07527 634 964, alplings.co.uk | Closed Sat/Sun | £9 (lunch)

The food of the mountains is now available at sea level, just off The Shore in Leith. After popping up in festivals and markets Alplings now have a permanent home: a small, bright mountain hut of a restaurant with pine furniture, decorative hanging frying pans and soft furnishings in a wholesome shade of pale pasture-green. The cooking reflects owner Martin Auer’s South Tyrol roots – so as well as the signature vegetarian alplings which come in delicious beetroot, cheese or spinach varieties, there are spätzle (Austrian egg noodle) dishes with carbonara and four cheese sauces; vegan ‘kuku’ tart; pepper goulash with polenta; sweet vanilla pancakes; and soft pretzl rolls. The fresh, crunchy sauerkraut puts wishy-washy supermarket versions to shame too. For dessert, they do Viennese sachertorte, a popular house apfelstrudl or a shot of intense hot chocolate topped with a dollop of cream. Flavours are rich, portions are satisfying and the atmosphere relaxed. Take-home dumplings are a healthy lazy option for the freezer too. It may look like a

nondescript sandwich shop from the outside, but inside, the alpine menu is a breath of fresh air. + Log cabin vibes and mountain cooking - Closed at weekends, when they’re out on the food truck

NEW Boardwalk Beach Club

ciabatta come filled with the likes of goat’s cheese, honey and walnuts; seafood cocktail; or roast ham and emmental, or you can buy a baguette to shove under your arm and take home with you. Their tempting plum and almond tarts, fluffy pains aux chocolats and selection of traditional patisserie are very reasonably priced considering the quality and portion sizes. + Quality baking in a classic French style - No gluten-free options

50 Marine Drive, Silverknowes, 0131 336 2661 | Closed Mon/Tue | £12 (lunch)

NEW Colonial House

Baba Budan East Market Street, Old Town See Cafés: Wee Places

This husband-and-wife-run beach café opened in March 2016 and has grown arms and legs since – with a huge outdoor seating area (the original 30 chairs weren’t enough – there’s now room for 300), and plans to add al fresco barbecue and ice-cream facilities in time for the summer. Due to its very easy-on-the-eye location, down on the shore looking out onto Cramond island, it’s a popular spot for dog walkers, kids on bikes, tourists and general lovers of fresh air. All are made welcome – with 40 dog ties, water bowls and free biscuits for canine customers, sandwich boxes for kids and a menu of stromboli, ciabatta, wraps, panini, bacon on brioche rolls, hotdogs and a soup of the day for everyone else. Breads are from artisan bakers around Edinburgh, cakes are from the people who supply the Harvey Nichols Chocolate Lounge, and they stock a big range of Luca’s ice-cream too. Service can be slow on busy days, but you’ll probably be too busy taking in the sea air and views over the Forth to care. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for seasonal opening hours, and news of daily specials and events. + Enjoying an ice-cream with a sea view, even on a dreich day - The place can get swamped at peak times

NEW Café Praline 91 Leith Walk, Leith | £8 (lunch)

This new spot at the foot of Leith Walk comes from the couple who also run Le Petit Français, a French bakery that does wholesale and delivery out of its premises in nearby Swanfield. The café was opened in October 2016, giving customers a place to sit in and savour their homemade bread, pastries, quiches and cakes, as well as functioning as a takeaway bakery too. White subway tiles and the greenery of pot plants keep the décor simple and minimal, and there’s a beat-up antique bookcase full of children’s books, toys, chess sets and leaflets from local yoga classes if you’re looking for distraction. Their excellent poppy bagels, rosemary focaccia and

305 Leith Walk, Leith, 0131 629 0045, colonialhouse.coffee | £5 (lunch)

With influences from Africa, Colonial House shows recycling at its best. Half a dhow wood fishing boat from Tanzania takes centre stage as the counter and is surrounded by reclaimed and recycled tables and chairs. There’s further seating downstairs too, albeit via a very steep staircase. It all adds up to an inviting, welcoming space whether you’re taking time for a coffee and a slice of cake (coffee and walnut, lemon slice or chocolate macaroon) or sitting down for a filled roll and soup at lunchtime. Whatever, don’t miss the coffee mocha – it’s served in a hand-painted mug with a tiny mini grater so you can add extra chocolate. + Coffee mocha extra chocolate - Watch out for those steps

The Colony Gourmet 58 Home Street, Southside See Cafés: Wee Places

NEW Cup Tea Lounge 9 South Charlotte Street, New Town, 0131 225 5808, cuptearooms.co.uk | £13 (set lunch)

With a name like Cup Tea Lounge, you better know your cuppa from your crema. Thankfully, with around 50 specially selected and hand-blended teas on offer, Cup Tea Lounge have got the tea covered. Choose from black, fruit, herbal or special health blends, all of which are delivered with a timer (to perfectly time your brew) as well as a bone china cup. There’s a compact, if a touch pricey, breakfast menu; lunches based around salads, sandwiches and toasties; and a range of cupcakes. In the evening, the venue transforms into Gin71, where you can enjoy a drink of an entirely different flavour. + Well-sourced and interesting tea - A cuppa, toastie and cake adds up to a pricey casual lunch

NEW The Early Bird Coffee & Tea House 39 Home Street, Tollcross, 07447 933387 | £5 (lunch)

✱ HITLIST

CAFES ✱ Alplings After supplying their Austrian dumplings around the capital’s street food markets, the Alplings team now have their own restaurant in Leith’s Henderson Street. ✱ August_21 Coffee House Cool little neighbourhood café offering breakfast, lunch, hot drinks and home baking from quality suppliers. ✱ Earthy Market Café An atmospheric café and an indoor food market, Earthy showcases farmfresh, local, organic and seasonal produce with a difference. ✱ Milk More than just your average café – Milk has inventive choices for breakfast, lunch and a sweet treat. ✱ Ostara Friendly new Leith cafébistro with an engaged attitude to its local neighbourhood, suppliers and good, fresh food. ✱ Peter’s Yard Café Quartermile The home of Swedish baking, strong coffee, open sandwiches and conversation. ✱ The Roamin’ Nose Everything you could want in a neighbourhood café and bistro: delicious food, great atmosphere and a warm welcome.

A newcomer to Tollcross, the Early Bird should become a firm favourite. From the grey walls and bird wallpaper in the front room, to the green shaggy carpet and yellow beanbags in the back, the décor is pretty and modern and the atmosphere relaxed. The owners obviously care very much about what

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CAFES TIPLISTS

In association with

EDINBURGH

CAFES TIPLISTS THE EATING & DRINKING GUIDE TEAM’S RECOMMENDATIONS BEST CAFES

free-range eating.

UNIVERSITY AND MEADOWS August_21 Coffee House W Cool little neighbourhood cafe serving colourful sandwiches, free-from baking and good coffee. Cult Espresso W Hip, split-level venue with a laser focus on coffee – and a decent bacon roll. Earthy Market Café W The Causewayside original outpost of calm and wellbeing promoting seasonal, local, organic and

Filament Coffee W Cool coffee hangout with great coffee, excellent cakes and decent pastries too. Peter’s Yard Cafe Quartermile W Lovely light-filled space with loads of outdoor seating, due to rebrand to Söderberg at some point this summer. Victor Hugo Delicatessen 52 Lively classic deli-cafétakeaway on the edge of the Meadows with a firm focus on the nicer things in life.

August_21 Coffee House

Urban Angel

Twelve Triangles Kitchen Table

The Milkman

Earthy Canonmills

BEST CAFES

BEST CAFES

BEST CAFES

THE NEW TOWN

THE OLD TOWN

Cairngorm Coffee W The friendly team at this Frederick Street venue clearly take great pride in their product.

Baba Budan 52 Excellent coffee shop and ‘donutterie’ serving fresh brunch and lunch dishes under Waverley Arches.

CANONMILLS AND BROUGHTON

Castello Coffee Co W Neat and compact, delivering lovingly-prepared snacks, coffee and tempting cake in the heart of Edinburgh’s shopping district.

Brew Lab W Excellent coffee from meticulous baristas, with food from local suppliers like Lovecrumbs and Union of Genius.

Fortitude Coffee W Compact, welcoming space run by knowledgeable owners. Coffee dominates but tea and food also find a place.

Edinburgh Larder Café W Friendly and bright daytime café proudly showcasing Scotland’s seasonal and local produce.

Ostara 47 A warm welcome, great food and lots of attention to the details mean Ostara is a star in the making.

Lowdown Coffee W Minimalist décor showcasing single-origin espresso and filter coffee with craft and creativity.

Red Kite Café 47 Stylish, inventive, inviting – Red Kite uses Indian and Eastern flavours to create food that delivers.

Urban Angel W Perhaps better known as a restaurant, Urban Angel has a few café seats at the front with lots of dishes available to take away.

Gannet & Guga 53 Another winner in Waverley Arches – Gannet and Guga specialise in brilliant build-yourown banh mi.

Twelve Triangles Kitchen Table 52 Communal dining, brilliant breakfasts and baking – this Duke Street newcomer is set for great things.

Wellington Coffee W An old faithful producing the best coffee they can coax from a bean, complementing brownies, scones and tray bakes.

BEST NEW CAFÉS Alplings 44 From the dumplings to the hot chocolate, this fabby Austrian café is heading for the heights. The Early Bird Coffee & Tea House 44 An inviting café paying loving attention to loose leaf tea, coffee and a small but beautiful lunch, food and cake selection. Mimi’s Bakehouse 47 Mimi’s bring their brand of lush baking to St John’s Road – all of Corstorphine rejoices. Expect great brunches and fantastic cakes and baking.

Artisan Roast W The original Artisan Roast speciality coffee shop remains a busy, buzzy coffee pit-stop. The Bearded Baker 52 Hurrah! The Bearded Baker has finally taken the plunge, opening their very own bagel and bakes-focused café in Canomills. The Blue Bear W Family and dog-friendly café where the Big Bear breakfast will definitely set you up for the day. Di Giorgio W This smart, friendly family-run deli café adds a modern twist to traditional homemade Italian favourites.

Lovecrumbs W The focus is on the cakes, but this relaxed tea and coffee house near the Grassmarket also does a fine line in savoury food.

Earthy Canonmills 37 This cool café-bistro has a strong ethical approach to sourcing and is in a great spot for watching the world go by.

The Milkman W More a coffee stop than a café, this wee place still gets everything right – especially its coffee.

The Roamin’ Nose W Everything you could possibly wish for in a neighbourhood café and bistro – delicious food, great atmosphere and a warm welcome.

W = full review online at food.list.co.uk The List Eating & Drinking Guide 45

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EDINBURGH

TABLE TALK

NICHOLAS HOTHAM ON EDINBURGH’S TERROIR TRADITION The Food Heritage Trail reveals the links between the city’s unique built heritage and its culinary traditions. Visitors and residents alike can live this heritage by dining in historic venues and discovering the city’s little-known food history. For example, did you know that in the mid-1700s, Edinburgh produced a series of celebrity chefs, each running their own cookery school and publishing their own best-selling recipe book? Today this heritage continues. In fact, I think we’re seeing a food renaissance. People today are interested in the provenance of food, its background and its origins – whether it’s sustainable, whether it’s locally grown. And there are so many good restaurants emphasising fresh, locally produced Scottish food. In France, the emphasis on local produce from the earth - 'la terroir' - is a great part of food culture, and it’s true of Scotland as well. We have a tremendous heritage in locally grown, high-quality ingredients, produced over thousands of years. It fits with the local landscape: grains and cereals, game, dairy products – they’re all eminently sustainable, and delicious, and reflect the terroir of Edinburgh and the Lothians. In Auld Reekie in the 16th and 17th centuries, with such proximity to wild places, foraging was an important part of people’s diets, and a part of growing up. Oysters from the Forth, mushrooms, wild game, berries and fruits – all food that varied by season. We were a nation of farms and foraged food. That heritage is being revived today. Hopefully the trail been part of that renaissance. ■ Nicholas Hotham is head of external relations at Edinburgh World Heritage. ewht.org.uk/visit/ edinburghfoodheritagetrail

Twelve Triangles Kitchen Table (page 52): delicous breakfasts and lunches from the Twelve Triangles team

they’re doing, with attention paid to the details, right down to the water temperature of the tea (70 degrees for green tea) and coffee that’s just as lovingly made. The speciality is Hungarian chimney cake – a deliciously soft, cylinder-shaped Danish pastry dusted with cinnamon, iced, or even savoury. Food is mainly sandwiches, soups and savoury croissants with vegetarian and gluten-free choices. Once you’ve sunk into a beanbag and supped the perfect cup of tea, it becomes very difficult to leave. + Careful, courteous staff - You may stay longer than planned

The Festival Theatre Café 13–29 Nicolson Street, Old Town See Arts Venues

NEW Five Degrees Café 39 Barclay Place, Southside, 0131 478 5318, five-degrees.co.uk | £7.50 (lunch)

A new addition to the dining options surrounding Bruntsfield Links, Five Degrees is a compact, friendly local café serving breakfast, hot drinks, lunch and bubble tea. Inside, the décor is fresh and contemporary with a cute seating area to the rear. The menu features filled croissants, healthy bircher muesli or more indulgent breakfast rolls plus home baking, well-brewed coffee and a selection from Edinburgh-based Shibui Tea. Lunch offers up a good range of bagels, paninis and salads and there’s refreshing bubble tea in a variety of flavours (plus advice on how to order it). Especially handy for dog walkers, there’s even a special doggie menu for hungry hounds. + Great parkside location, especially for takeaway - Space limited, so bigger groups should book ahead

NEW GF 37 Dalry Road, West End, 07515342420 | Closed Sun | £5 (lunch)

You’ll find GF just a short walk up Dalry Road from Haymarket Station – yet more proof, if it were needed, that Dalry Road is very definitely the new black when it comes to food and drink. Every single thing in GF is gluten free: panini, rolls, home baking – the whole kit and caboodle. Where items contain other potential allergens they are clearly marked and staff are only too happy to discuss. Some rolls and panini are ready-filled for grabbing and going, but there’s also a wide range of fillings to make your own to order. Home baking exceeds expectations with a light Victoria sponge, generously filled caramel shortbread and crisp shortbread biscuits. To add to the fun, anyone who goes by the randomly selected name of the day gets a free coffee and cake – check the blackboard (or Twitter, if rolling the dice of randomness before leaving the house isn’t your thang). + You’d never know the panini was gluten free - Home baking sells out fast

NEW Grams 16 Haymarket Terrace, West End, 0131 337 3599, gramsedinburgh.com | Closed Sun. | £12 (lunch)

Combining his passion for health and baking, owner Lewis Gill began selling raw vegan cakes at various Edinburgh markets, before opening this small Haymarket café which also offers hot and cold fast food. Featuring simple white-tiled walls and green plants, the venue reflects the clean and healthy food made from natural whole ingredients. The all-day breakfast/brunch menu features protein pancakes and smoothie bowls, while lunch offers baked sweet potatoes or

boxes with meat/veggie/fish options, and daily soups. A warming soup of shredded chicken and sweet potato is satisfying, thanks to a touch of chilli and homemade stock. The hard-toresist cakes take pride of place at the counter, with clean lines and beautiful finishes. Vanilla fudge and hazelnut ‘cheesecake’, featuring a cashew-based filling on a nutty base, sweetened with pure maple syrup, tastes as good as it looks. + Soup made with homemade stock - No dressing on the salmon health box

The Jaffle Joint 87 Portobello High Street, Portobello See Bars & Pubs

NEW Larder Go 11 Blackfriars Street, Old Town, 0131 556 2350, edinburghlarder.co.uk/ lardergo | £8 (lunch)

The original Edinburgh Larder has been serving up honest ingredients and friendly service to tourists and locals alike since 2009, but even its biggest fans were known to have a quiet moan about the venue’s lack of space for takeaway customers waiting on their lunches. That’s all changed with the Edinburgh Larder Go, their newest incarnation. Just a couple of doors up from the original Larder, the food offering is very similar: expect locally sourced soup, sandwiches, salads bakes, bacon rolls, porridge and the like, but the whole set-up is more geared towards picking up and eating elsewhere. That said, there are a handful of window seats if you’re worried your colleagues will pester you for a bit of your brownie or if you just need five minutes of quiet time before bursting back onto the fray. + There’s always a great soup on - Things do sell out at busy times

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CAFES

In association with

NEW Machina Espresso 80 Nicolson Street, Southside, 0131 629 9825, machina-espresso.co.uk | £5 (lunch)

It’s kind of nice to see a decent coffee establishment opening up at the top end of Nicolson Street, which (with a few honourable exceptions) tends to be a great place for picking up cheap eats, with perhaps less emphasis on quality. Machina Espresso’s new café and shop is bright and airy, all raw wood and serious barista art. There are filled bagels, bakes and the likes, but really the focus is on the coffee. Whether you’re after your morning pick-me-up, looking for a bag of beans for the flat, or planning to invest in some equipment – which ranges from the domestic to the industrial – this is the place to come, with friendly advice from baristas who really do know their Arabica from their elbow. + A sweet, well-proportioned flat white - It’s a serious coffee temple

NEW Mimi’s Bakehouse 277 St John’s Road, West End, 0131 334 7474, mimisbakehouse.com | £13 (lunch)

Corstorphine plays host to a more suburban outpost of Mimi’s, the cake and tart emporium that also has branches down on the Shore and Canongate. The selection of filling breakfasts, savoury lunches to sit in or takeaway, giant slices of cake smothered in frosting – it’s all there, with attentive staff that will look after your needs, whether you need less gluten, more napkins, no caffeine or extra maple syrup. Gift vouchers are available too, which can come in handy for sweet-toothed friends or relatives, and they also do a champagne afternoon tea for two. Traybakes for parties, batches of cupcakes, wedding cakes and gluten and dairy-free options are also available for collection and delivery, via the online bakery. Keep an eye on social media for updates on what’s in the cake cabinet that day, including seasonal specials like the Baileys cream truffle cupcakes for St Patrick’s Day, or banana pancake stacks for Shrove Tuesday. + Heaven for fans of fancy cakes - It can be a long bus ride from the city centre

Monkey Barrel Comedy 9–11 Blair Street, Old Town See Arts Venues

NEW Organic Delicious Café 26 Morningside Road, Southside, 0131 629 9861, organicdeliciouscafe.com | £12 (lunch)

The Organic Delicious Café in Morningside serves an entirely organic and vegetarian daytime menu, with a strong emphasis on local and healthy food. The clean and bright interior, with pale creams and French greys, natural wood and vibrant greenery, reflects the café’s healthy

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ethos. All menu items are adaptable for those with special dietary requirements, and many of the handmade sweet treats are both gluten-free and vegan. While more seasoning and spice would enhance the lentil soup, the matcha green tea balls bear testimony that healthy and nutritious can also be delicious. A blend of cacao butter, coconut and cashew, sweetened with pure maple syrup, provides a wickedly rich, white chocolatey ball of goodness; the perfect accompaniment to a fragrant verbena and mint loose-leaf tea. For a nutritional boost, an array of smoothies and juices are on offer, and kids can choose from their own appealing healthy menu. + Plenty of gluten-free and vegan options - Some dishes a little pricey

✱ NEW Ostara

mass-produced coleslaw feel like they could easily be improved, to up their game in such a competitive strip of great café options. + Roomy spot for catching up with friends - Sometimes let down by ordinary ingredients

NEW Pumpkin Brown

a work of art. Seasonal salads include pad thai, packed full of carrots, peppers, salad leaves and courgette spaghetti and seasoned with a gloopy almond butter and soy dressing. The amazing thing is you can follow that up with a chocolate raspberry vanilla slice, totally guilt-free. + Clean culinary creativity - Wi-Fi is a human right for vegans too

16 Grassmarket, Old Town, 0131 225 2728, pumpkinbrown.com | £8 (lunch)

NEW Red Kite Café

Billing itself as Edinburgh’s freshest café, Pumpkin Brown sees the clean eating trend firmly establish a foothold in the capital. Its beautifully creative menu is all gluten-free, dairy-free, raw and vegan. Don’t be surprised to see customers clicking away with their cameras before digging into the colourful butterfly smoothie bowl, presented like

7–8 Cadzow Place, Leith, 0131 656 9005, redkitecafe.com | £8 (lunch)

This spacious urban café provides a welcome boost to Edinburgh’s Abbeyhill area. Inside, minimalist light bulbs drape from high ceilings, with exposed ornate cornicing and brickwork. Old wooden floorboards and rustic furniture complement hues of scarlet red and

52 Coburg Street, Leith, 0131 261 5441, ostaracafe.co.uk | £9 (lunch)

At Ostara, high ceilings and ornate features are made cosy by soft lighting and rich plum hues. Mismatched furniture and colourful artwork create a quirky and fun ambience, reflecting the friendly service and inventive food here. Brunch takes centre stage, served all day, alongside daily specials, soup and sandwiches – using locally sourced and seasonal ingredients, with most dishes adaptable for dietary requirements. Roast sweet potato with hot smoked salmon (from Welch’s Fishmonger) comes with a colourful salad of alfalfa sprouts, yellow and pink beetroot, pickled cucumber and leaves. Inventive specials, such as venison haggis and potato cake topped with friedegg, offer something new on every visit. Homemade sweet treats, like apple and blueberry crumble, complement coffee from Williams & Johnson or Pekoe loose leaf tea. There’s also wine and Scottish craft beer / cider, or fresh cold-pressed juices. Overall, a neighbourhood treasure worth discovering in Leith. + The all-day brunch menu - Not open in the evenings

NEW Owl & Deer 26 & 27 Haddington Place, Leith Walk, Leith, 0131 556 1672 | £9 (lunch)

This spacious café at the top of Leith Walk is popular at breakfast time, especially on sunny days when its front steps make a good spot for people-watching as you drink a smoothie or coffee. The service is warm and helpful, and the menu offers breakfast options until noon, or all-day soup, sandwiches, wraps, cakes and traybakes. While some of the dishes come with thick slices of fluffy bread, others are let down by bland ingredients – basic slices of supermarket white bread and sliced, processed ham make for a disappointing croque monsieur – and details like shop-bought vinaigrette or

Scotland’s original Caffè Bar (VWDEOLVKHG

The Valvona & Crolla Caffè Bar has been hit-listed 5 times in the last 8 years and 12 times in 21 years since 1996. If we have not yet had the pleasure of your company please come and visit Scotland’s original Caffè Bar. 19 Elm Row, Edinburgh, EH7 4AA 0131 556 6066 - sales@valvonacrolla.co.uk Shop online at www.valvonacrolla.co.uk for mainland UK free delivery

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CAFES TIPLISTS THE EATING & DRINKING GUIDE TEAM’S RECOMMENDATIONS BEST CAFES

served with a touch of 1950s glamour.

THE SHORE Alplings 44 Unique café with log cabin vibes serving healthy Alpine dumplings, spätzle noodles, pretzel rolls and cakes. The Haven W Colourful homestyle café bringing quality homemade breakfasts, lunches, coffee and cake to Newhaven.

Porto & Fi

Tupiniquim

Falko (Konditormeister)

BEST STREET FOOD

CAKE

Cobolt Coffee W Marchmont Terrace police box specialising in great coffee with food from local heroes like Union of Genius.

Café Praline 44 Excellent cakeage at the foot of Leith Walk from the people behind local French bakery Le Petit Français.

The Counter 53 Police boxes around town (Usher Hall, Tollcross, Morningside) and a gorgeous narrowboat on the Union Canal, near the Leamington lift bridge.

Deadly Donuts W OK, doughnuts aren’t cakes but Deadly’s are absolutely brilliant and well worth an allocation of your calorie allowance.

The Food + Flea Market 14 Just off the Canongate, this daily street food market features a revolving cast of traders and trucks. The Pakora Bar 54 Quirky Indian street food bar serving vegan and veggie Punjabi food until the early hours. Red Box Coffee W It’s great to be able to pick up an ethically sourced small batch coffee in the heart of Haymarket Station. Tupiniquim 81 A little box of joy – fabulous Brazilian street food and a micro festival venue too.

Mimi's Bakehouse W This naughty-but-nice family café whips up spectacular cakes and comforting savouries,

Cairngorm Coffee

Porto & Fi W This Newhaven stalwart is a brilliant destination in an area that’s underserved for quality eating and drinking. Twelve Triangles Kitchen Table 52 This new venture from the Twelve Triangles team has hit the ground running, with a concise menu and one wooden table for communal eating.

Pekoe Tea

BEST CAFES

TEA

THE WEST END The Caffeine Drip W South African coffee house and bakery serving authentic, freshly made food in the heart of the West End. Cairngorm Coffee This Melville Street coffee shop has passionate staff, generous sandwiches and great brownies.

Ostara 47 Wonderful café bistro that gets everything perfectly right.

W

Falko (Konditormeister) W German coffee house with flamboyant cakes and breads made to Falko’s exacting standards.

Milk W Super-handy for Haymarket station and more than your average breakfast, lunch or sweet treat.

Fieldwork 53 Stylish independent Fountainbridge café creating innovative and delicious sweet treats.

Noir W Accessible speciality coffee with a strong pedigree in an elegantly open space.

Lovecrumbs W Relaxed tea and coffee house near the Grassmarket with excellent, inventive cakes and biscuits.

Red Box Coffee W You’ll now find excellent, ethical coffee inside Haymarket station, ideal for topping up the caffeine before jumping on a train.

Red Kite Café 47 Urban café in Abbeyhill with delicious treats and an emphasis on provenance and seasonality.

Social Bite W Breakfast and lunch with a difference, serving sandwiches, hot food or coffee and cake to support good causes.

Anteaques Charming tea room and antique shop serving and selling 80 fine teas in delightful surroundings.

W

Casa Angelina W Vintage-style café with excellent tea, cakes and one of the best afternoon teas in town. The Early Bird Coffee & Tea House 44 This inviting space pays loving attention to loose leaf tea, coffee and a small but beautiful lunch and cake selection. Eteaket W This intimate basement café is a tea drinkers' delight with a treasure trove of brews served to exacting specifications. New retail store in Rose Street too. Pekoe Tea W A tea lover’s dream, dedicated to the art of enjoying the humble leaf in all its glory. Rosevear Tea 54 This Bruntsfield tea house offers quality loose leaf teas and sweet bites.

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aged blue. The food is just as stylish and inventive. On weekdays, enticing breakfast and lunch menus are available, while the weekend brunch menu offers the widest choice. Specials, alongside classics like the full and veggie breakfast, are often influenced by Middle Eastern and Indian flavours, such as vibrant lemon-roasted aubergine, chickpea, tomato and coriander stew with crumbled feta, garlic yoghurt and bread. Daily home bakes, like a dense bittersweet chocolate and prune brownie, accompany well-executed coffees and quality loose leaf teas. Provenance and seasonality of ingredients is important with an emphasis on local artisan goods. It’s really hard to find anything wrong with this gem. + Inventive and appetising weekend brunch menu - Not currently open in the evenings

NEW Roundsquare Roastery Coffee House 132 Morningside Road, Southside, 0800 999 2101, roundsquareroastery. co.uk | £8 (lunch)

Ostara (page 47): a neighbourhood treasure worth discovering in Leith

Roundsquare Roastery’s first foray into Edinburgh sees them opening a coffee shop and roastery in Morningside Road. The focus is very much on the coffee – machinery and training are available. The minimalist space is set up with bar stools and high tables, ideal for plugging in the laptop and lingering over a latte, or getting into bit of coffee geekery chat with the enthusiastic baristas. Apart from the coffee, Roundsquare are keeping things simple: cakes and pastries come from Grace & Co and the very local Bakery Andante, while toasties ooze with IJ Mellis Cheese.

+ Coffee made with knowledge and

passion - Chairs not designed for lingering

NEW Söderberg Pavilion Café Söderberg Quartermile, 1 Lister Square, Old Town, 0131 228 1905, soderberg.uk | £12 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Set a little further into the Quartermile development than their sister venue (Peter’s Yard café), this pizza restaurant and working bakery is found in Lister Square, the slightly corporate-looking hub of restaurants in this ever-evolving neighbourhood. Although the glass buildings and surrounding office blocks might not be everyone’s cup of tea, the Söderberg folks have done their best to make this a welcoming spot, with sheepskin rugs and soft blankets dotted around to keep customers warm (handy for the outdoor tables), a burning oven in the centre of the room, low hanging lights and candles on tables. Besides the hygge touches, they also take great care over their food and drink; there are jugs of water at the door, filled with cucumber, fruit or fresh mint, a tempting short cocktail menu, and three separate brunch, lunch and evening menus (check website for serving times, it gets a bit complicated). Breakfast might be a simple cinnamon bun and black coffee, or a sharing basket of sourdough rolls, chocolate muffins, Swedish crispbread, l’Escure butter, clotted cream, jam, charcuterie and Mull of Kintyre cheese. The thin-based pizzas come highly recommended, topped with creamy mozzarella, chorizo, spinach or specials like roast sweet potato. + Slow pizza dinner with wine and candlelight - Slightly soulless part of town

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Brew Lab

Valvona & Crolla Caffè Bar

COFFEE

BEST CAFES

Artisan Roast W Some credit them with starting Edinburgh’s coffee revolution and there’s no doubt each of Artisan Roast’s three cafés all serve reliably excellent coffee.

Café Bellina 53 Italian-focused café featuring a host of delicacies as well as traditional rolls and Scottish breakfasts.

BREAKFAST ON THE GO

LEITH WALK

Brew Lab W Brew Lab lives up to its name, using scientific methodology and precision equipment to meticulously craft their coffee.

Café Renroc W Expect a warm welcome at this brilliant neighbourhood café just a few steps from Leith Walk.

Fortitude Coffee W A compact, welcoming space run by knowledgeable owners, where coffee dominates but tea and food also find a place.

Century General Store 53 A beautiful, bright room doing gourmet breakfasts and artisan coffee, with a small, cherry-picked selection in their shop.

Lowdown Coffee W Just because you’re in the city centre doesn’t mean you need a chain – Lowdown serves excellent coffee in the heart of George Street.

The Bearded Baker

Red Kite Café 47 Stylish urban café providing a welcome boost to the underserved Abbeyhill area.

Machina Espresso 47 Haven for serious coffee drinkers and gearheads who like their wares served with a smile.

Twelve Triangles W This Brunswick Street sweet spot serves extraordinary doughnuts and other sugary treats, as well as breads and hot drinks.

The Milkman W Right at the bottom of Cockburn Street, this tiny wee pit-stop coffee shop serves excellent coffee with charming service.

Valvona & Crolla Caffè Bar W Edinburgh’s oldest delicatessen has a café at the back, ideal for long, Italian meals with quality ingredients.

The Bearded Baker 52 After supplying their handbaked bagels around town for a while, the Bearded Baker has now opened their very own café in Canonmills. Brochan 52 Who knew porridge could be this inventive? Fresh, natural oat and grain-based dishes. Larder Go 46 This new takeaway outlet from the Edinburgh Larder team promises fresh, local and ethically sourced food to go. Milk W More than just your average café – Milk has inventive choices for breakfast, lunch and a sweet treat, and it's super-handy for Haymarket station too. Mint Café W Café serving homemade soups, sandwiches and brekkies to regulars and nearby office workers. week. Söderberg Bakery Shop 56 Each of Söderberg’s three bakeries serve fabby breakfast pastries and their own granola.

DIETARY REQUIREMENTS Archipelago W Exceptionally flavoured and textured breads made with organic flour alongside other bakes in this small New Town veggie café. GF 46 This small Dalry takeaway shop and bakery is completely gluten-free.

Union of Genius

Grams 46 Baking and health enthusiast Lewis Gill sells raw vegan cakes alongside hot and cold food in this Haymarket café.

Summerhall Café

CAFÉ CULTURE Art & Vintage 52 Part gallery, part café and part shop, enjoy interesting vintage finds and contemporary art works with your coffee. Bon Papillon 20 This café/gallery showcases local artists’ work – there’s even a little gallery in the loo. And the scones are amazing. Dovecot Café by Leo’s 21 A seamless blend of café and the renowned tapestry studio it’s part of means there’s always plenty to feed the soul. The Drill Hall Café 21 There’s always something interesting going on at the Drill Hall. Café-goers can just as easily strike up a conversation with an artist as get involved in the exhibitions. The Story Café 22 Run by charity Comas, this bright, child-friendly space is very much part of the Scottish Storytelling Centre. Summerhall Café 22 Inviting café where Summerhall’s eclectic mix of shows and exhibitions means there’s always something new to discover.

Hendersons Holyrood W Bringing decades of veggie cooking know-how into new, upbeat surroundings at Holyrood. Moon & Hare W Vegan, gluten-free Bruntsfield café demonstrates that healthy plant-based fare is joyful and delicious. Union of Genius W Six soups a day, always with at least one vegan option, and allergies carefully highlighted means Edinburgh’s first soup café is a winner. W = full review online at food.list.co.uk

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Organic Delicious Café (page 47): fresh, organic, local and all vegetarian

NEW Spilt Milk Social Club 125 Great Junction Street, Leith, 0131 555 4094 | Closed Mon | £7 (lunch)

Tasty Buns 67 Bread Street, Old Town See Cafés: Wee Places

Tempo Tea Bar

@VictorHugoDeli

Arch 4, 7 East Market Street, Old Town See Cafés: Wee Places

NEW Summit Café

NEW Thomas J Walls

Tiso’s Outdoor Experience , 41 Commercial Street , Leith | £4.50 (lunch)

35 Forrest Road, Old Town, 0131 225 7242 | £9 (lunch)

Tucked away at the back of Tiso’s on Commercial Street, the Summit Café is worth seeking out. It’s a beacon for

Located in the former opticians of the same name on Forrest Road, Thomas J Walls has thankfully retained the

ONLINE LISTINGS For full opening hours, further details on facilities, individual location maps plus web and social media links, go to

list.co.uk/food

VH

Expect a steady stream of musicians carrying guitar cases and bits of kit down the stairs to the music rehearsal rooms below. Upstairs on street level, this café on Great Junction Street is a small, friendly spot for enjoying an indulgent milkshake (try their Hershey’s cookies & cream, fresh strawberries & white chocolate or peanut butter cup, served in a chunky glass jar and topped with cream), or get a cup of strong coffee and a slice of mint chocolate tiffin. The food menu is limited but good; simple tuna melt or cheese toasties on granary bread, panini, soup of the day, salads, or breakfasts of scrambled eggs with salmon or avocado. It’s a relaxing place to check emails or idle over a cup of tea, but the bright, narrow room doesn’t have many seats – if it’s a full house, takeaway is also an option. + Cheery service, feelgood milkshakes - Toilets are buried deep in the basement

locals, Tiso shoppers and customers using the upstairs Leith Therapy Clinic. Roomy and rustic, there’s decent coffee (with dairy-free options) available for sitting-in or grabbing and going. Breakfast is served right up until midday and ranges from a healthy bowl of porridge to a full Scottish, ideal for keeping you going if you’re heading up a hill after stocking up on crampons. As well as pre-made sandwiches and at least one hot special, lunch centres around ‘choose your own’ sandwiches, baguettes, panini and baked potatoes: choose from a range of meat and veggie fillings, add salad and sauce and you’re good to go. + Warm, buzzy feel - Not a huge variety of hot food

NEW COFFEE LOUNGE & PROSECCO ROOM AVAILABLE FOR GROUP BOOKINGS, PARTIES, PRIVATE FUNCTIONS

“greatdeli food”

26/27 Melville Terrace Edinburgh EH9 1LP Tel: 0131 667 1827 www.victorhugodeli.com

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original shop interior with its vintage glass, panelled walls and wooden flooring. Food options include a fresh, photogenic and well-executed brunch menu featuring foodie favourites like avocado, sriracha and shakshuka. Coffee is from Square Mile Coffee Roasters and there’s good quality soy milk for dairyfree drinks. It’s a decent-sized space if you’re trying to find a seat at a busy time and the sunny tables in the window are perfect for watching the world go by. + Open until 7pm every day - Service a bit hit-and-miss

NEW Twelve Triangles Kitchen Table 148 Duke Street, Leith, twelvetriangles. com | Closed Mon–Wed | £10 (lunch)

The Twelve Triangles team have expanded their popular mini empire beyond the original Brunswick Street doughnut/pastry shop and second Portobello outpost into an ex-greasy spoon on Duke Street. It’s a narrow room, with one large wooden table for communal, daytime dining, and standout ingredients on a concise menu. Breakfasts are highly recommended – attention is paid to the small details, so a sandwich of sweet and salty, oaksmoked Puddledub bacon comes on black charcoal sourdough bread with ricotta and homemade smoked tomato ketchup. Or try deliciously runny scrambled eggs from Gloagburn farm, spicy beans on toast, fresh juices, or bowls of yoghurt and coffee-stewed prunes. Their pastries are available to sit in or takeaway, with afternoon tea options including citrus loaf with blood orange curd or scones with kefir-cultured cream. You’ll need to visit another branch for doughnuts though – this one sets itself apart from its siblings with an impressive selection of homemade rhubarb relishes, crunchy kimchi and sharing bowls of dukkah seasoning instead. Chunky ceramic plates and glass coffee jars continue the simple, but well chosen theme, with a few air plants and potted herbs for greenery. A very welcome, neighbourhood addition to an often walked-past part of Leith. + Relaxed but delicious breakfasts and lunches - Only open Thu–Sun for now

CAFES: THE WEE PLACES Size is no barrier to ambition. It’s testament to Edinburgh’s thriving food and drink scene that wee places – those imaginative, independent businesses – thrive on a smaller scale on our streets and spaces. Here you’ll find everything from canal boats to police boxes, espresso bars to street food, as well as a few places that defy compartmentalisation. This year we’ve changed the way we cover wee places. In the pages that follow, you’ll find full reviews of the year’s best new openings, rebrands and takeovers, plus more Tiplists than ever before – our insight into what’s good and great in the world of the small and the beautiful. You’ll continue to find full, up-todate and objective reviews of hundreds of cafés online at food. list.uk Reviewers: Tara Klein, Jan Paterson, Nicola Pym, Arusa Qureshi, Caroline Rye, Claire Sawers, Megan Welford

NEW Art and Vintage 3 Lyne Street, Leith, 0131 652 2433, artandvintage.co.uk | Closed Mon | £6.50 (lunch)

Setting up shop in a resurgent Abbeyhill, Art and Vintage was opened by a chef/ artist duo looking for a way to pursue their shared passions. Inside, it’s bright but cosy, with formica tables and original artwork on the walls. Food-wise, there’s a

breakfast menu, daily specials, soup and sandwiches, all made in-house. Colourful salad plates are piled high with veggies, pickles and slaw, all full of flavour and well-seasoned. The home baking is great, including a stem ginger and orange cake with tangy icing, a great match for coffee from Edinburgh Tea and Coffee in Portobello. Part café, part art gallery and part vintage shop, the latter offers a selection of pieces from late Victorian to mid-century, including glassware, ceramics and kitchenalia. Evening dinners and events with local makers and artists all strengthen a commitment to promoting an independent spirit in this part of Edinburgh. + Tasty, great value food in relaxed surroundings - Mid-century modern geeks may need to watch their wallets

✱ NEW Baba Budan East Market Street, Old Town, 07753 742550, bababudan.coffee | £6 (lunch)

Part of a raft of hip new businesses regenerating the Waverley Arches, this self-styled ‘donutterie’ offers coffee, breakfast, lunch and, er, doughnuts just a couple of minutes away from the train station. Coffee is sustainably sourced from Coffee Collective in Copenhagen and many ingredients come from local suppliers, with food cooked from scratch in the bespoke kitchen next door. All the doughnuts are made in-house and change daily, with over 40 different varieties in the kitchen’s repertoire – the earl grey option is surprisingly light and refreshing with not a hint of stodge. The breakfast menu includes an immense bacon and egg roll, smoky, runny and with plenty of crusty bread to contain it all. Live music on Sundays adds to the chilled-out vibe, making it a good spot to escape the hustle and bustle of the city centre. + A bacon roll worth hunting down - Might feel a bit too hipster for some

NEW The Bearded Baker 46 Rodney Street, Inverleith, 07541 849672, thebeardedbaker.co.uk | £7 (lunch)

Known as a supplier of hand-baked bagels around Edinburgh, the baker with the beard (Rowan Walker) has now opened a small café on Rodney Street. The bagels have earned themselves a deservedly good reputation, and are available filled with the likes of cream cheese, pickles, dill and smoked salmon; clava brie, homemade onion chutney and spring onion, or to takeaway plain for 80p a pop. Their home-baked doughnuts are also a highlight, available in Eton mess, affogato, lemon meringue and maple cinnamon varieties, depending on the daily specials (keep an eye on Twitter for updates). If the morning batch flies off the shelves, they’ll often bake up a fresh lot at lunchtime in their tiny bakery. The small, bright room has a couple of tables and a few bar stools in the window, with a wall of shelves selling their sourdough loaves, bagels and croissants to go, plus a small selection of jams and chutneys from Edinburgh social enterprise, New Caledonian Woodlands. There are local loose leaf Pekoe Teas plus dog biscuits from Harry's Treats in Portobello too (canine customers are made very welcome). The coffee from Williams and Johnson in Leith also gets two thumbs up. + Top drawer bagels and doughnuts - The baking sells out on busy days

NEW Brochan 24 Marchmont Crescent, Southside, 0131 629 2622 | Closed Sun | £5 (lunch)

This wee Marchmont café, with its bright white and pale blue walls, and Scandinavian-style furniture, is all about oats and grains – named Brochan after the Gaelic word for porridge. Forget any

NEW Victor Hugo Delicatessen and Victor Hugo Lounge 26–27 Melville Drive, Southside, 0131 667 1827, victorhugodeli.com | £10 (lunch)

Victor Hugo has sat on its corner of the Meadows for what seems like forever. But changes are afoot. Now firmly back under family management, an extension next door saw the establishment of the new Bottega Prosecco Lounge. Its giant round table and high-backed chairs seems a promise of fizz and fun to come. In the main deli you’ll find a huge selection of gourmet food to take out or sit in, served by efficient staff in a bustling atmosphere populated with families, friends out to chat and hungry workers. Pastrami on rye is the real deal, worthy of presentation in downtown Manhattan, while eggs Victor Hugo is a house speciality involving gently toasted muffin, soft smoked salmon, two perfectly cooked brightly yolked eggs and a shiny lemon hollandaise. A hot dish of duck confit satisfies larger appetites. Pear frangipane, with plentiful fruit and a light almondy pastry, is only one of several seductions in the baking section, going down especially well with own-blend coffee. + Woody Allen-authentic pastrami on rye - It’s busy, so get in early for a good seat

The Bearded Baker: top-drawer bagels and doughnuts in Canonmills

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notions of thin watery gruel however; owner and porridge enthusiast Elaine Morrison creates delicious bowls of healthy porridge from scratch. Organic oat groats are hand-rolled to provide the creamiest results. Toppings are inventive and delicious, and dietary requirements are well considered. An almond butter, strawberry chia jam and sliced banana porridge bowl is satisfying, while the lemon pistachio granola (made from gluten-free oats) with blueberry compote and coconut yoghurt is sweet yet sharp, creamy yet crunchy. Who said porridge and granola are just for breakfast? The menu also features toast, smoothies, soup and home-baking, which can all be enjoyed in this cosy spot or savoured as takeaway too. + Healthy and delicious homemade toppings - Closed on Sundays

NEW Cafe Bellina 33 Elm Row, Leith Walk, Leith, 0131 623 5012, cafebellina.com | Closed Mon | £7 (lunch)

Recently opened, Natalie and Nadia bring a taste of Italy to Elm Row. Café Bellina is small and the décor not obviously Italian. But the menu tells a different story: a selection of panini, pasta, and a weekly changing specials menu together with cakes and milkshakes. Even the dreichest Edinburgh lunchtime won’t deter customers when warm and welcoming Italian sausage and creamy mashed potato hits the spot like this. There are ten panini to choose from as well as a (not immediately obvious) range of cakes including tiramisu and cheesecake. Café Bellina opens early enough to catch both the breakfast and lunch-time trade – whether that’s cake and a coffee or a meat platter to share with a friend. They cater for both takeaway and eat-in – come early to bag one of only 16 seats. + The Mason jar milkshakes - Table menus don’t mention the delicious cakes

NEW Carington Mouse’s Larder 21 Clerk Street, Southside, 0131 662 6912, mouselarder.com | Closed Sun | £5 (lunch)

A mouse in the larder is not usually a good thing; however Carington Mouse’s Larder is an entirely different story. On a busy Newington street, this cosy deli/sandwich shop serves a hearty bowl of Union of Genius soup, rolls, sandwiches, and toasties to eat in or take away, using mainly Scottish (and where possible, locally sourced) ingredients. Manna House Bakery supplies their bread and rolls, resulting in a nearperfect smoked ham and mature cheddar toastie. Sit and enjoy a dense squidgy chocolate and walnut brownie (made in Leith) with a coffee (supplied by Clever Goat) or an Eteaket tea. The deli sells a range of ingredients; pasta, deli meats, oils, vinegars, preserves, biscuits and cheeses and, for that last-minute dinner party, pick up a bottle from their selection of organic and sustainably harvested wines, or even a packet of gin and tonic popcorn. + Chocolate brownie - Not much seating

NEW Century General Store 1–7 Montrose Terrace, Southside, centurygeneralstore.com | Closed Mon | £7 (lunch)

What began as a small but well-stocked general store in Marchmont is now a general store plus café in Abbeyhill. While the first (now closed) venue only had space for a few bar stools, the new

premises have more space for tables and chairs, including the best spot up at the corner windows, with an Anglepoise lamp and leafy pot plants bookending you as you sip the house espresso from London’s Assembly Roast, Edinburgh’s Fortitude Coffee or another of their monthly guest suppliers. For breakfast, there are pastries, granola with compote, banana bread with crème fraîche or fantastic brunch specials (Saturdays only); homemade hash browns with black pudding, spicy ketchup, fried egg and spinach is a particular highlight, served on a classic white enamel plate with blue trim. At lunchtime there are daily stews and soups, always with vegan and gluten-free options. Simple classics and clean designs are a theme in the excellent mini-shop too; look out for Lucky Cloud organic skincare, made just along the road in St Margaret’s House, t-shirt fabric macramé plant holders, well-chosen stationery and cacti and succulents for the home. Just up from Easter Road, it’s well worth the walk. They’ve also started putting on evening events like pop-up wine bars, Burns Suppers and the occasional book group. + The attention to detail - When the fresh pastries are gone, they’re gone

NEW Fieldwork

NEW The Colony Gourmet

Part of the massive New Waverley/ Caltongate development, this sandwich shop makes a real effort to stand out from the crowd. It’s in one of the converted arches by Waverley train station, and the rounded brick bunker has been decorated with origami birds on the ceiling and a tiny orange tree on the narrow bar – there’s only space for a max of eight stools, and they don’t take bookings, so be prepared to takeaway. Build-your-own banh mi is their focus. Choose bread, herbs and tofu, chicken, smoked haggis or prawn fillings, then customise with homemade pickles. Their gourmet sandwiches are top-drawer too – hot smoked salmon comes piled with filling and healthy avocado and beetroot. There are Vietnamese spring rolls, with vegan variations (swap crayfish tails for avocado) or low-carb style (without rice noodles), accompanied by delicious hoisin peanut dip. Salad boxes to go have proved popular with council workers across the road, and they’ll deliver soups, stews and sandwiches within walking distance (with 10% off for local businesses.) Leave space for an excellent peanut butter cup or millionaire’s truffle from Pinnies and Poppyseeds. + Small but serious about gourmet ingredients and ethical produce - Flat white fans beware – it’s filter coffee only

58 Home Street, Southside, 0131 228 1354, facebook.com/thecolonygourmet | £6 (lunch)

Step through the doors of The Colony Gourmet and experience a taste of the Portuguese colonies. The brick-walled front of the shop may appear small but it’s like a Tardis – walk through the corridor and it opens up into a bright high-ceilinged room, with a spectacular mural covering the full height of the back wall and plenty of books to browse and brush up on your knowledge of exactly where Portugal’s colonies were. Customers are greeted by Andres and Luis like old friends, and they’re only too happy to talk through the array of Portuguese and Brazilian-influenced pastries, savoury and sweet, created that morning. The custard tart, a true Portuguese classic, is the perfect marriage of warm cinnamon custard and crispy puff pastry. Alternatively, sit and enjoy a coffee with a slice of cake of the day, or a warming soup. There’s also a range of products to buy like favourite foods from those former colonies or prettily packaged Portuguese soaps, + The custard tart - Baking does sell out

NEW The Counter on the Canal Various venues, Southside

105 Fountainbridge, Southside, 07449336557, fieldworkcafe.co.uk | £6.50 (lunch)

Fieldwork loves a bit of experimentation, working with great ingredients to create innovative sweet treats. Their glutenfree carrot cake – sweet, moist sponge packed with spices, nuts, seeds and dried fruit, topped with tart cream cheese – is a very satisfying example, especially alongside a smooth, fruity long black. Aside from cakes and pastries, porridge bowls come with organic oats and four different topping options, such as mixed berry compote, toasted coconut flakes and yoghurt, all warming and nourishing. The interior is urban yet rustic, with exposed stonework, natural wood, artistically draped hanging plants, and creams against midnight blues. Rather than trying to do it all, limited offerings ensure top-notch quality, with Steampunk coffee, Anteaques tea, Chocolate Tree hot chocolate and Roots sodas keeping things local and artisan. + Top-notch food and setting - Limited space so not ideal for groups

NEW Gannet & Guga Unit 2, Number 3, The Arches, East Market Street, Old Town, 01315581762, https://www.gannetandguga.com | £7 (lunch)

✱ HITLIST

THE WEE PLACES ✱ Archipelago Bakery Artisan New Town bakery committed to delivering all the joy that properly made bread can bring. ✱ Baba Budan Hip coffee shop and ‘donutterie’ serving drinks, breakfast, baking and freshly made lunches under the arches near Waverley Station. ✱ Dough Stylish Rose Street takeaway and sit-in with fine imported ingredients and some of the best pizzas in town. ✱ Holy Cow Vegan café building a buzz about its take on the burger. ✱ The Milkman Tiny wee pit-stop coffee shop with excellent coffee and charming service. ✱ Union of Genius Edinburgh’s first soup café uses locally sourced ingredients to create wholesome, comforting, better-than-homemade soups. ✱ Vino Independent wine shopcum-café-cum bar: pick up a bottle to take home or pay a small corkage fee and drink it on the premises with a snack from nearby Food + Flea. ✱ NEW Holy Cow 34 Elder Street, City Centre, | £8.50 (lunch)

You come out of Holy Cow feeling like everything is a bit right-er in the world than it was before. It may be vegan, vegetarian and mostly gluten-free but the food is delicious. It may be in a basement but the interior design, if minimalist, is cheerful and pretty. The decorations are homemade and change with the seasons, as does the food. There’s always a choice of five burgers

The Counter on the Canal is a restored narrowboat serving coffee and sweet treats, moored just beside the Leamington lift bridge. The Counter also operates three well-placed converted police boxes at the Usher Hall, Tollcross and Morningside, but this is their first floating venture. With great branding and a fresh, colourful feel, this is a small but welcome addition to the area, with a couple of tables on the towpath for enjoying the canalside views. The excellent coffee is from Stockbridge roasters Mr Eion, while the baking includes brownies and biscuits all handmade by the owners. The salted caramel and pecan cookies are generous, rich and chewy, while the brownies are spot on. It’s worth noting they also take cards, so it’s handy for visitors and hurried commuters alike. + High quality coffee and baking in a great spot - Slightly limited range of bakes The List Eating & Drinking Guide 53

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(such as pulled jackfruit, which tastes much like pulled pork, apparently) five sandwiches on lovely, spongy homemade gluten-free bread and a soup, such as tasty beetroot and green lentil. Ingredients will change according to what’s available organically and in season. There are several huge, homemade vegan cakes and it’s very child-friendly. Seriously good, without being earnest. + Extremely tasty food - It makes other vegan cafés look bad

NEW Juice Warrior 15 East Market Street, Old Town, juicewarrior.co.uk | £9 (lunch)

Get all your five-a-day in one go with a visit to Juice Warrior, tucked into one of the revamped arches behind Waverley Station. There’s a choice of around a dozen of the cleanest smoothies around, all with names to reflect the vigour you’ll feel as you walk away buzzing with vitamins. Popeye would be delighted with the green Castaway which mixes spinach, coconut water and pineapple and offers a hint of mint and a ginger tingle. Frozen banana-based smoothie bowls, light snacks and refined sugar-free and vegan sweets, such as almond butter cups and faux-nuts, are also popular. + Smoothie-tastic - Drink on the move – you’ll struggle to grab one of the four seats

NEW L’Etoile Salon de Tea 44 West Port, Old Town | £7.50 (lunch)

L’Etoile Salon de Tea is a cute wee French café just off the Grassmarket. Serving breakfast, lunch, patisserie and strong coffee, the place is worth seeking out among the many touristy traps in this area. The tartines are fab, generous slabs of French sourdough bread topped with béchamel sauce, charcuterie, cornichons and melted cheese, well presented with a fresh little salad. Popular with the French ex-pat community, service is super friendly and brings a welcome little piece of France to this corner of the Old Town. + Tasty tartines - Easy to miss among the hubbub of the Grassmarket

NEW Nordic Affär 19 Haddington Place, Leith Walk, Leith, 0131 557 1396 | Closed Mon | £7 (lunch)

A small slice of Scandinavia at the top of Leith Walk, Nordic Affär serves coffee, Swedish baking, panini and waffles in a cosy room. Cinnamon buns are made to the owner’s traditional recipe and the focus is on homely and rustic rather than Nordic cool. Inside, it’s decorated with vases of fresh flowers and Swedish Dala horses, and the walls

Brochan (page 52): Marchmont arrival creating delicious bowls of healthy porridge and granola from scratch

are lined with works by local artists. Ideal for a quick caffeine pick-me-up or to satisfy a sugar craving, it’s also worth checking out for the outdoor seating on a sunny weekend. + Authentic Swedish baking - Menu leans toward the sweet-toothed

NEW The Pakora Bar 96 Hanover Street, City Centre, 0131 225 1115 | £10 (lunch) / £10 (dinner)

Although it’s open until 3am at weekends, there’s far more to this cheerful, orange-painted pakora bar than a late-night stop off for drunken, hungry revellers. Brothers Mark and Paul Singh run the business, with mum Rajinder doing the cooking. The family started off taking their Punjabi street food around festivals in a van, where long queues of enthusiastic punters made them realise they were on to something. Day jobs dumped, they’ve now set up on Hanover

Street full-time. Haggis pakora, served with mango and hint-of-chilli chutney is a speciality, but there’s a huge variety on offer, with lots of vegan choices like the brilliant cauliflower pakora. There’s chicken tikka, paneer and even bread stuffing as well as curry, wraps, spicy and warming soups and full Scottish or Indian (paratha and purgi) breakfasts. It’s BYOB, and there’s a DJ on the last Saturday of the month. + Fresh, home-cooked pakora - Seats at a premium

Pumpkin Brown 16 Grassmarket, Old Town See Cafés

NEW Rosevear Tea 100 Bruntsfield Place, Southside, 0131 261 9854, roseveartea.co.uk

Determined to bring good tea to more people, Rosevear Tea offers a welcome

alternative to the many coffee spots of Bruntsfield. The shop has a range of over 50 teas sourced from quality growers across the world, available to drink in or take away to brew at home. It’s a dainty little place with teas lining the walls and knowledgeable staff on hand to offer advice on what to choose. Teas include black, rooibos and green, such as the vanilla-scented Albius green tea, or the Bruntsfield Breakfast organic blend, a refreshing black tea that’s easy to drink without milk. There’s just a couple of sweet bites on offer but again, these are good quality, such as intense, rich, chocolatey brownies. There are regular tastings, talks and demonstrations and a smaller branch across town in Broughton Street offers the same range. + Great spot for exploring the world of tea - No alternative hot or cold drinks

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EDINBURGH

CAFES TIPLISTS THE EATING & DRINKING GUIDE TEAM’S RECOMMENDATIONS BEST CAFES

TOLLCROSS AND BRUNTSFIELD 181 Delicatessen W High-quality Bruntsfield deli/shop/café with a focus on sourcing great produce. Exceptionally family-friendly and gluten-free bread is available too. La Barantine W This bite-size café is a genuine taste of France and the perfect stop-off for a morning coffee and croissants.

La Barantine

Baba Budan

Falko (Konditormeister) W An inviting place to stop for a pot of Viennese coffee and a generous slice of something sweet.

Moon & Hare W Deliciously vibrant vegan and gluten-free Bruntsfield café. Try a socca waffle: a chickpea flour waffle spiced with tumeric and cumin.

The Pantry

BEST CAFES

HOT CHOCOLATE

Art & Vintage 52 This café, vintage shop and art gallery focuses on healthy seasonal food and home baking and is worth crossing town for.

Affogato West End gelato parlour with a wide selection of artisan ice-creams plus Valrhona hot chocolate.

Baba Budan 52 Doughnuts baked in-house and a killer bacon roll just minutes from Waverley station means this wee place is flourishing.

Alplings 44 Enjoy Alpine log cabin vibes and try the highly recommended shot of intense hot chocolate topped with cream.

Brochan 52 Who knew porridge could be so interesting? Brochan’s passion for oats is infectious as Marchmont's breakfast-eaters can attest.

Burr & Co W This continental-style café provides informal yet classy breakfast, lunch and coffee options plus well-balanced hot chocolate.

Holy Cow 53 Truly innovative, flavour-packed vegan food that makes you feel everything is right in the world.

The Chocolate Tree W This ethical chocolatier’s thick, indulgent chocolate shot with churros is the absolute bomb when you need a proper chocolatey hit to get you through the day.

Vino 56 Simply a brilliant concept – buy a bottle of wine to take home or enjoy on the premises with a snack from them or one of the equally great nearby places.

Meltmongers W This wee spot is devoted to cheese toasties – and that is a very, very fine thing indeed.

The Chocolate Tree

BEST NEW WEE PLACES

The Pakora Bar 54 Don’t write it off because it’s open till 3am at weekends – the food here is bright and bursting with flavour any time of the day.

Fieldwork 53 This new Fountainbridge cafe gets everything right. Cakes, pastries and porridge bowls in an urban yet rustic interior.

W

Coro The Chocolate Café W Truly chocolatey hot chocolate, plus waffles, crêpes and sweet fondues in Frederick or Howard Street. Mary’s Milk Bar W When it’s too cold for ice-cream (apparently that can happen sometimes?) warm up with a delicious hot chocolate here.

BEST IN STOCKBRIDGE Archipelago W Expect exceptional bread alongside breakfasts, salads, tarts and soup in this small New Town veggie café. Artisan Roast W The Raeburn Place branch now serves an expanded food menu as well as carefully prepared coffee from single-origin beans. Grounds of Stockbridge W Wee coffee shop with tasty sandwiches, soup and cakes from local suppliers, as well as decent coffee. Leo’s Beanery W Sunny basement café with charm and a clear commitment to good food. Cakes, wholesome lunches, and breakfasts to get out of bed for. The Pantry A popular Stockbridge gathering-place, dishing up casual, yummy food.

W

Peter’s Yard Café Stockbridge W Scandinavian artisanal bakery, producing traditional Swedish goods and sourdough pizza using organic ingredients.

W = full review online at food.list.co.uk The List Eating & Drinking Guide 55

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NEW Söderberg Bakery Shop • 45 Broughton Street, New Town, 0131 228 1905 • Quartermile, Old Town, 0131 228 5876 | Closed Sun • 31 Queensferry Street, West End, 0131 228 1905, soderberg.uk | £12 (lunch)

There are three branches of the popular chain of Swedish artisan bakery shops now – in the West End, the Meadows and now this newest incarnation in Broughton Street too. The shops make an excellent, if slightly pricey pit-stop in the morning – the coffee is excellent and they do a great range of Swedish cakes and baking (they’re the go-to place if you’re a fan of cream-filled semla buns which are traditionally eaten in the run up to Shrove Tuesday.) Bread is delicious, and can be purchased in half sizes to take home. You can sit in at Broughton Street (and Queensferry Street) if you want to spend time savouring your chickpea and coconut soup or fluffy scone, but the emphasis is on takeaway – seating is limited and there are no toilets. Regulars and those addicted to accompanying a flat white with one of their fantastic almond-filled mazarin tarts should pick up a loyalty card – there are rewards in the shape of free coffees and lunches. There’s a lovely ice-cream selection (try their affogato and cardamon flavours) from springtime onwards. + Delicious Swedish cakes and quality bread - It’s a pricey option

with heart and care on the premises and are also available to order for birthdays and special events. Inside, it’s a friendly and cosy atmosphere, deceptively bigger than the shop front suggests, with vintage lamps adding charm. Imaginative cakes in flavours such as pecan, cinnamon and bourbon come in generous wedges, while cheese scones are freshly made with good flavour. Coffee is from Stockbridge roasters Mr Eion and hot chocolate from Edward and Irwyn, while new savoury dishes and sandwiches are being launched in 2017. + Quirky baking meets friendly service - No disabled loo

NEW Tempo Tea Bar Arch 4, 7 East Market Street, Old Town, 0131 556 4763, tempoteabar.com

Yellow and orange glass bubble lights hang from the arched ceiling of Tempo Tea, reminding us that 7 East Market Street is all about bubble tea and fun. Originating in Taiwan, bubble tea is a tea-based cross between a drink and a snack, with added ‘boba’ – tiny, highly flavoured balls made of tapioca or fruit jelly. Customers are encouraged to play around with the huge range of flavours and boba – you can have it hot or cold, shaken with milk or fruit, with chewy bubbles or popping bubbles. Milk and coconut makes a Caribbean milkshake, while strawberry fruit takes you straight to a summer day. On the way out don’t forget to leave your message on a post-it note and stick it to the wall. + Coconut with apple boba - There’s not much seating

Spilt Milk Social Club 125 Great Junction Street, Leith See Cafés

Störtebäcker 10 St Ninian’s Drive, West End, 07752 186564, stortebacker.co.uk | Closed Sun/Mon & Thu

Störtebäcker is truly the smallest shop imaginable, based in The Wee Shop which has been on Corstorphine High Street since 1914. Blink and you’d miss it, which would be a real shame. What it lacks in size it more than makes up for in flavour. Judith and Kirstin sell a mouthwatering range of their favourite German baking, made in their home nearby. Try an almond croissant or a fruit crumble pastry, caramel shortbread or a huge cheese pretzel. Be prepared to queue on the pavement outside as there’s only room for one customer in the shop at a time (yes, it’s that small) – and make sure you go early to avoid disappointment as everything sells fast, even on a wet Saturday morning. + Caramel shortbread - Waiting and watching things sell out

NEW Tasty Buns 67 Bread Street, Old Town, 0131 228 6513, tastybunsbakery.wordpress.com | Closed Sun | £6.50 (lunch)

Bread Street and West Port are buzzing with independent shops breathing new life into this part of town and Tasty Buns is no exception. Offering quirky and often boozy bakes, all are made

Tupiniquim The Green Police Box, Middle Meadow Walk, Lauriston Place, Old Town See Round the World

✱ NEW Vino 27 East Market Street, Old Town, 0131 629 4282, vinowines.co.uk | £7 (lunch)

Capably demonstrating that the redevelopment of Edinburgh’s Waverley Arches site has brought some useful space back into creative good use, one of the largest arches has been turned into a lovely, glass-fronted wine bar and bottle merchant you’ll want to stop and hang around in, even if only for a classy carry-out. The high walls of this snug, but not oppressively cramped, space are piled high with over 100 wines and nearly as many beers by the can or the bottle, the latter mainly sourced from the UK, but also from America, Canada and Australia. With snack-sized boxes of cheese and charcuterie prepared by nearby Gannet & Guga, packets of Smally’s Suffolk biltong and an Enomatic machine to keep open bottles fresh – wine can be drunk by the glass or, with corkage, by the bottle – it’s hard not to recommend Vino for a cultured yet informal after-work drink. You can even bring in a snack from the nearby Food + Flea, or one of the other vendors along the row. + An eye-popping range of wine and beer - More food options might be nice

CHINESE The common misconception that the capital’s Chinese restaurants are all cut from the same cloth lingers. But dig a little deeper and you’ll find Chinese cuisine to challenge your palate as well as your preconceptions. Edinburgh boasts top-notch dim sum, as well as a plethora of Chinese dishes just awaiting discovery. That said, when ‘traditional’ is what you crave (and why not?) you’ll find that too. Whatever you seek, scratching the surface and ditching that battered chicken for something less familiar will pay dividends. Reviewers: Nick Dunne, Emma O’Bryen, Louise Stoddart

China Red 6 New Market Road, Slateford, West End, 0131 443 8883, chinaredbuffet. com | £9 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

China Red is a little out of the way from town. But if you live in the area or need somewhere to eat before or after visiting the Corn Exchange, it’s a handy place to keep up your sleeve. Food is all served on an air-conditioned, double-decker conveyor belt train, which offers both hot and cold Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Korean dishes. Sweet and sour chicken hits the spot, the noodles are well-seasoned and the sesame prawn toast stays crispy throughout. Dessert offers a variety of options from jelly shots to coconut pudding, or you may prefer to leave room for the chocolate fondue. While the concept is fun, in practice the choice of dishes isn’t huge, particularly when it comes to vegetarian options. + Laid-back atmosphere - Conveyor belts take patience: don’t come when hangry

China Red 30 Grindlay Street, West End, 0131 228 8688, chinaredbuffet.com | £12 (set lunch)

There’s only one problem with buffets and that’s knowing when to stop. China Red on Grindlay Street features bright, colourful décor and an extremely wide range of food. The two main sections in the centre of the restaurant feature traditional Chinese treats like crispy pulled pork pancakes and sesame chicken alongside more British favourites, such as chips and pizza. There really is something for everyone. The sushi bar is perhaps more refined, but if you really want to go for it then try the battered fruits dipped in syrup for dessert, or throw caution to the wind and get yourself over to the massive chocolate fondue fountain in the corner. Service is notably strong, which means as a family experience this is both easy and enjoyable. + So many options, something for everyone - Fast-paced eating environment

Chop Chop

ONLINE LISTINGS For full opening hours, further details on facilities, individual location maps plus web and social media links, go to

list.co.uk/food

248 Morrison Street, West End, 0131 221 1155, chop-chop.co.uk | £10 (set lunch) / £21 (set dinner)

Chop Chop aims to celebrate the varied regional specialities of Chinese cuisine. Food comes out as and when it’s ready and everyone is encouraged to dig in and share. Trusty chicken wings fried with Chinese peppercorns are crunchy and decent in size. Beef chow mein comes with hefty chunks

of beef seasoned with ginger, spring onion and coriander, while the noodles in pork sauce are simple, yet satisfying. Cucumber salad provides a light and refreshing palate cleanser, but really Chop Chop’s success has been built upon the dumpling. Served boiled (jiao zi) or fried (guo tie), there are a number of different options to try, all enhanced by a diner-blended dipping sauce which you mix for yourself at the table. + Generous portions and value - The setting is a bit like a school dining room

NEW Fusion Gourmet 14–18 Lady Lawson Street, Old Town, 0131 228 6463, fusiongourmet.co.uk | £7.99 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

If you’re tired of seeing nothing but chow mein and sweet and sour pork on the menu when you go out for Chinese, then Fusion Gourmet’s a real treat for the senses. From jellyfish and frog’s legs to stir-fried pig intestine and shredded tripe, they don’t shy away from cooking up animal parts the average chef wouldn’t dream of touching. The menu’s written in Chinese as well as English and the place is popular with Asian diners looking for a reminder of home cooking. The mixed meat dumplings are packed full of flavour and the spring rolls, although a little bland, are still enjoyable. For main course, the griddle-cooked duck is a mountain of soft meat still on the bone, sitting in a beery sauce with Sichuan pepper and spring onion. Teppanyaki sea bass comes wrapped in foil, letting the fish soak up the sweet marinade. With its woven cane lampshades and muted grey walls, the place has a welcoming, contemporary feel, and the lunch deal is definitely worth making a visit for. + Impressive wine list - Be prepared to pick out the bones

Golden Dragon Restaurant 21 Castle Street, New Town, 0131 225 7327, thegoldendragon.eu/main | £20 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

You don’t stay open for over half a

TIPLIST FAMILIES • Filmhouse Café Bar 21 Fabulous, fresh, fast food in a venue offering great movie choices. • Joseph Pearce’s W Casual family-friendly bar at the top of the Walk with Scandi food and a relaxed vibe. • Monkey Barrel Comedy 21 Plush, red-hued comedy club offering inexpensive café food and a warm welcome. W • The Scran and Scallie Public house with dining in Stockbridge with a ‘nature to plate’ ethos, a sophisticated interior – and a playroom! • The Skylark 42 This Portobello gathering place with good food makes the community richer by its presence. • Traverse Coffee 22 Superlative spot to grab a hearty lunch, coffee or sweet afternoon salve.

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✱ HITLIST

CHINESE ✱ Stack Dim Sum Bar Arguably the best dim sum joint in Edinburgh, Stack is an unassuming wee place that is well worth a detour. century unless you give the people what they want. Bang in the centre of town, perfectly positioned to entice passing tourists and townies alike, Golden Dragon has been dishing up comforting Cantonese cuisine since 1964; and with dragons, lanterns and waving cats aplenty, the beige and red interior is as gratifyingly nostalgic as the food on offer. Chicken with cashew nuts in yellow bean sauce is saltysweet, while the spring rolls, those ubiquitous staples, are gargantuan and crammed with all manner of goodies, although inexplicably served in a lake of watery sweet and sour sauce. Beef brisket hotpot is uninspiring instead of unctuous and warming, but monkfish tail with ginger and spring onions is a well-cooked, delicate dish. With a function room available for specialoccasion banqueting, Golden Dragon is a restaurant ideal for family gettogethers and big group catch-ups. Although it’s unlikely to serve up any culinary surprises, its longevity proves that it knows what its clientele wants, and who can argue with that? + The warm and accommodating waiting staff - Authentic cuisine only available from a Chinese language menu

Imperial Palace 36 Inglis Green Road, West End, 0131 443 6898, imperialpalace.org.uk | Closed Wed | £8.90 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Way out west, past Haymarket, past the Corn Exchange, housed in a bizarre mock-temple atop a Chinese supermarket, sits the capacious Imperial Palace. It’s a remarkably busy place; all 120 seats are frequently fully occupied with a lively cross-cultural, intergenerational mix of diners who are all there for real Chinese cuisine and, most especially, for its star offer: dim sum made in-house. A lazy susan loaded with (for example) sumptuous king prawn cheung fun, handsome char siu bao and juicy pork har kow makes for one of the most fun and tasty lunches in town.

Kwok Brasserie 44 Ratcliffe Terrace, Causewayside, Southside, 0131 668 1818, kwokbrasserie.co.uk | Closed Mon | £19.90 for 2 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Other than the giant photograph of Chairman Mao looming over you from the staircase wall, there’s very little to identify Kwok Brasserie as a Chinese restaurant. It’s an attractive room – the high corniced ceiling, mood lighting and dark ruby-red walls all suggest that you’re in, well, a brasserie. Cutlery, not

Stack Dim Sum Bar (page 58): great value and arguably the best dim sum in town

chopsticks. Salt & pepper alongside the soy. It’s all a trifle disorientating. Once you’re handed the menu, however, you know where you stand. Aside from a handful of specials, such as beef belly hotpot and steamed garlic langoustines, Kwok’s focus is on rustling up those old Chinese standards. Shredded chilli beef is honey-sweet if a touch soggy, while the house noodles ‘Canton style’ are piled high with assorted goodies such as char siu, prawns and crunchy vegetables. Salt and chilli squid is wellseasoned and nicely cooked, although beware the occasional overdone starter. Kwok may not justify a trek across town, but it prides itself on being a popular neighbourhood restaurant, as the endless stream of local punters eager for takeaway will attest. + Comforting Chinese classics in mellow surroundings - Overdone starters disappoint

the safest bet for good Cantonese food in the capital. + Banquet menus offer good variety - The walk home

Saigon Saigon Restaurant 14 South St Andrew Street, New Town, 0131 557 3737, saigonsaigon.co.uk |

£8.99 (set lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Saigon Saigon certainly covers all the culinary bases. It offers not one but three separate menus, ensuring that whoever wanders in to escape the mania of Princes Street will find something to their liking. Unless you’re joining the stampede to the all-you-can-eat lunch

Loon Fung 2 Warriston Place, Canonmills, 0131 556 1781/557 0940, loonfungedinburgh. co.uk | Closed Tue | £9 (set lunch) / £17 (dinner)

A table under the precarious-looking bamboo cane ceiling can make first impressions of Loon Fung a little uncertain. But there’s no need to feel nervous – the restaurant’s been welcoming diners in Canonmills since 1972 and has gained a reputation for dishing up some of the city’s best Cantonese food. And it’s worth walking the extra mile from town to get there, which many do, as the place is frequently fully booked with a range of diners all fond of the food, atmosphere and friendly service. Fish and seafood take the helm on the menu, with hongshao yu – braised fish – demonstrating a more authentic offering while oysters, squid and scallops are available too. The Cantonese steamed duck is tenderly pink in the middle and the crisp skin has a distinctively spicy edge. Some dishes are fairly sugar heavy, yet still enjoyable if served alongside noodles or rice. Considering the number of Asian restaurants in Edinburgh that have come and gone over the years, Loon Fung (despite its alarming bamboo shards) is probably

(Formerly Indian Cavalry Club)

‘Quality Chinese cuisine and a pleasantly tranquil ambience’ - The List 3 Atholl Place, Edinburgh EH3 8HP

0131 228 3333 (Restaurant Bookings) 0131 228 8883 (Takeaway)

www.chinatownedinburgh.com CERTIFICATE OF EXCELLENCE 2 YEARS RUNNING 2013 & 2014

d! Hitliste

IN THE LIST EATING & DRINKING GUIDE 2013, 2014 & 2015

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buffet with the white-collar brigade, you’re in for a civilised, white tablecloth affair – the subdued lighting and deep red hues of the décor somehow allowing each table a modicum of privacy despite the hustle and bustle of service. From the authentic northern Chinese menu, the subtle earthy flavours of pork fillet with sliced potato and tea tree mushrooms contrast with the tangy heat of crispy beef slathered in sweet chilli sauce, a popular choice from an à la carte menu championing comfort food favourites familiar to all. Some of the more standard dishes can seem somewhat lacklustre, perhaps not surprising given the sheer volume of choice, but, conversely, the dim sum menu is chock-a-block with dumplings, buns and other such treats, and, to the delight of many an evening diner, is available all day long. + Such choice! - Too much choice!

✱ Stack Dim Sum Bar 42 Dalmeny Street, Leith, 0131 553 7330 | Closed Wed | £11 (lunch) / £11 (dinner)

Stack Dim Sum Bar specialises in genuine dim sum, packed full of warming flavours and tempting aromas. Families, couples and friends cram around tables and make up for the understated interior by creating a celebratory atmosphere. Dishes come out in no particular order so choose a varied selection. The char sui bun is a great place to start – a small, light flour bun stuffed with pork and caramelised sauce. For something crispy, the flashfried squid cake comes with a garlic and sweet chilli dip, while the brilliant Cantonese-style pot licker dumplings are dipped in ginger and vinegar sauce – finger-lickin' fun. The house roast pork cheung fun brings a gelatinous texture to the table: a silky-smooth rice roll wrapped around well-seasoned pork morsels. Fans of the dim sum experience – or indeed complete novices – would do well to spend some time here. + Seriously great value for money - Décor is very low key

Wing Sing Inn 147–149 Dundee Street, West End, 0131 228 6668 | £14 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

Stepping through the door of Wing Sing Inn is like stepping back in time. The sparsely decorated beige walls and big round tables, replete with white tablecloths and lazy Susans, evoke a feeling that you’ve been here before, perhaps two or three decades ago. Wing Sing rejects the chintzy fanfare favoured by some Chinese restaurants in the same way they shun the notion of battered chicken in luminous orange sauce. Edinburgh’s in-the-know Chinese community, typically interspersed with students and adventurous locals, are here for the authentic northern Chinese cuisine on offer. Pigs feet, frogs’ legs and jellyfish are available for those willing to explore the menu to its limits, but by no means is the whole menu as unfamiliar to the average Scottish palate. Slow-braised pork belly with preserved vegetables is meltingly soft and comforting, while cumin beef is punchy and intense, if a trifle salty. The flavour of the viscous ‘dough drop’ soup is gentle and soothing although the panfried pork dumplings lack refinement. Portions are table-creakingly enormous so be prepared to struggle home with more than a few doggy bags. + Food you won’t find anywhere else in the capital - Some dishes can be a bit salty

FAR EAST FUSION, JAPANESE, KOREAN, MALAYSIAN, VIETNAMESE South-East Asia is a big place and ‘Asian food’ is becoming an ever-vaguer and increasingly redundant phrase, as more and more of us discover the varied and contrasting cuisines of the region. In the capital, it’s all right on your doorstep – Vietnamese pho; Malaysian laksa; Korean barbecue; noodles, rice and all things nice; and more sushi than you can shake a chopstick at. And let’s not forget the on-trend pan-Asian venues for those who want all of the above in one place. Go explore. Reviewers: Nick Dunne, Emma O’Bryen, Louise Stoddart

Café Andamiro JAPANESE 113 Buccleuch Street, Southside, 0131 667 0048, cafe-andamiro.co.uk | Closed Sun/Mon. | £13 (lunch) / £13 (dinner)

A quirky blend of café and low-key restaurant with a Korean and Japanese menu, Café Andamiro is well worth a try. The interior is super laid-back, so you won’t feel out of place if you’re simply popping in for a tea and pastry instead of going for a full blowout. For starters, Korean fried chicken is pleasingly sticky and crunchy, while heamul pajeon, a substantial pancake, is generously filled with a variety of fresh seafood. In comparison, sweet tempura and crunchy flake rolls are a little less giving. Salmon teriyaki comes with rich sauce and sticky rice and watch out if you order the sizzling pork – it comes straight out from the grill so let it cool for a few seconds before you dive in. Homemade tea is a calming addition to what can be a lively little experience. + Korean fried chicken - A little chilly inside

Bar Soba

China Red

FUSION

FUSION

104 Hanover Street, City Centre, 0131 225 6220, barsoba.co.uk | £8.95 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

30 Grindlay Street, West End See Chinese

No two trips to Bar Soba are the same. Visit during quieter lunchtime periods for a chance to admire the tasteful décor; grab a bar stool early evening and enjoy a drink while sampling the street food menu; sit downstairs in a group to get stuck into a pan-Asian feast; or pop in at the start of a night out to catch Bar Soba at peak party time. The small plates are ideal for sharing and the massaman beef curry and teriyaki noodles highlight a strong South-East Asian influence. Though there’s obvious attention to detail and some interesting flavour combinations, it’s hard not to feel like there’s a busy kitchen downstairs juggling too many dishes at once. Yet food is only half the story. Cocktails come tall, straight, shaken or by the bucket and are in keeping with the Asian theme. The Jangshi Zombie sports four different types of delicious rum and even the bartenders will tell you that two’s enough. DJs most weekends add to a lively prenight-out buzz, but die-hard fans of panAsian food may conclude Bar Soba aims to be a bar haunt rather than an authentic culinary experience. + Popular with a younger crowd - Popular with a younger crowd!

NEW Dai Pai

Bonsai Bar Bistro JAPANESE 46 West Richmond Street, Old Town, 0131 668 3847, bonsaibarbistro.co.uk | £4.90 (set lunch) / £14.50 (dinner)

As a small Japanese restaurant on a quiet and undistinguished street in Edinburgh, Bonsai doesn’t look like much from its modest exterior. But don’t judge a book by its cover – the kitchen is where all the action’s at in this humble joint, cooking up innovative dishes, despite being one of the city’s elder Japanese venues. The makizushi is presented with intricate detail – seaweed encasing a textured combination of rice, fish and veg, and the sashimi menu is simple but a definite highlight. Some of the fried dishes are prepared a little sloppily but for the sushi alone it’s worth a trip back, plus the lunch deals and bento boxes are an absolute steal. In true Japanese style, the place is small but full of character, with red lanterns and anime posters decorating the space, and staff who make you feel truly welcome. + Ideal for a quick lunch break - Soggy tempura batter

its eccentric boutiques, vintage shops, pancake cafés and parikura photobooths which have young people queuing out the door. While Bruntsfield isn’t the epicentre of teen fashion, Harajuku Kitchen offers a genuine Japanese dining experience with family recipes that go back over three generations. Like most Asian food, the dishes are designed to share, so ordering nigiri, tempura, sashimi, noodle soup and mochi for dessert is never frowned upon. Small dishes include tender Scottish pork gyoza and agenasu koumi dare, an aubergine recipe that’s packed full of flavour. The specials board changes regularly depending on the produce that comes in, giving the kitchen a chance to show their creative flair – fingers crossed that the salmon tempura sushi becomes a permanent addition. Staff do their best with full tables in an often crowded space, bringing food out as and when it’s ready. If you’ve only got time for gyoza on the go, Harajuku do takeaway, delivery and can also be found at a weekly market in Stockbridge – Edinburgh’s own kawaii capital. + Set main courses for the non-sharers - If you want to share, the small tables don’t make it easy

Kampong Ah Lee Malaysian Delight MALAYSIAN

NOODLE & SUSHI BARS 95–97 Nicholson Street, Southside, 0131 281 4947 | £10 (lunch) / £10 (dinner)

Dai Pai offers a little bit of everything, and in a predominantly student area, its keen pricing and funky reclaimed-style furniture are sure to serve it well. The idea is more or less a buffet: hot food like chicken curry and spicy bean tofu is ready to go on top of noodles or rice, with sushi, gyozas and hirata buns further along the line. The buns have all the right textures going on, although the generous fillings make for a messy meal. Their sushirrito – basically a sushi burrito – is an interesting concept but the salmon/ rice ratio means the flavour of the salmon doesn’t stand out. Dai Pai could do with some refinement, but all the same, it makes for a fun lunch pit-stop. + It’s a bit different - The skelf-tastic rough and ready furniture

28 Clerk Street, Southside, 0131 662 9050, kampungali.com/sister-restaurant | Closed Tue | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Celebrating a decade of serving up traditional Malaysian food to local students and Southsiders, as well as customers craving a taste of home, Kampong Ah Lee is as popular now as it ever was. This laid-back, café-style spot on Clerk Street may lack fanfare but that’s no biggie when the food is, by design, the focus. The huge menu offers many soup noodle, seafood and rice dishes, but it’s the relatively simple roti canai – flaky buttery flatbread served with curry dipping sauce – that is the must-have for regulars, and rightly so. Sambal chicken cooked with

TIPLIST BUDGET DINING

Hakataya JAPANESE 120–122 Rose Street South Lane, New Town, 0131 629 3320, hakatayauk.com | £8.50 (soup & bento) (set lunch)

Hakataya is a laid-back sushi bar with simple décor and modern furnishings, with a menu that covers all the Japanese classics. Homemade pork gyoza dumplings go down a treat with a swig of the house beer, closely followed by generously sized salmon and avocado maki. If it’s ramen you’re after then the tonkotsu broth is hearty and aromatic; topped with delicious pork belly and enriched with soy sauce and pork stock, it’s particularly a treat for a bleak Edinburgh day. The teriyaki bento box comes complete with hijiki, edamame, chicken teriyaki, sticky rice and miso. Service is prompt and friendly and staff know their way round the menu too. + Home made gyoza - Closes at 2.30pm so no chance of a late lunch

Harajuku Kitchen JAPANESE 10 Gillespie Place, Tollcross, 0131 281 0526, harajukukitchen.co.uk | £14.90 (lunch) / £17 (dinner)

The Harajuku district of Tokyo gets referred to as the capital of ‘kawaii’ – roughly translated as cute – for all

• Monkey Barrel Comedy Inexpensive café-style food by day, comedy venue with extraordinarily good value platters by night.

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• 10 to 10 In Delhi 69 Festooned with colourful textiles, 10 to 10 in Delhi is a jewel box of casual and good value neighbourhood dining. 84 • The Apprentice Catch the next rising star while enjoying good food at unbeatable princes at Edinburgh College’s training restaurant. • BRGR 91 BRGR’s fourth restaurant is usually filled with students enjoying a cheap juicy burger and thick luxurious milkshake. • Pizzeria 1926 73 Outstanding no-frills pizzeria serving up authentic Neapolitan pizza and street food. • Los Cardos 75 Tex-Mex food with a Scottish twist – eat-in, takeaway or enjoy a burrito at the bar next door.

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a fiery punch by the addition of grated raw wasabi. Squid nigiri is amped up with the unusual addition of fresh basil, while white tuna is served from under a smoking glass cloche for added dramatic flair. Barbecued eel is a revelation while raw scallop served with lime zest and blowtorched Japanese mayo is a stunning combination. Not every dish delivers but this is a unique dining experience in a city where they are few and far between. + An Asian dining experience like no other in the city - Booking necessary to save disappointment

✱ HITLIST

FAR EAST

NEW Maki & Ramen JAPANESE 97–101 Fountainbridge, West End, makimaki-restaurant.co.uk

Due to open in April 2017, this new venture from the team behind Maki Maki (Nicolson Street) and Maki & Ramen on West Richmond Street promises a new update for the former Kampung Ali as well as a change of focus to Japanese cuisine. Expect sushi and sashimi aplenty, an interesting range of ramen and, of course, maki. The chef’s choice of menu should also be an interesting way to eat, especially if you choose the option with matched sake. [Not open for review at time of going to press.]

Maki & Ramen JAPANESE Nanyang Malaysian Cuisine: polished service and an accommodating menu

onion, prawn, fiery chilli and okra is as authentic as it gets, while Hakka tofu is a flavoursome dish – the soft bean curd served with minced pork and subtly seasoned with salted fish. If you favour fluorescent shop-bought sweet and sour gloop, look elsewhere – here it’s freshly made and the perfect foil for whole deep-fried crispy seabass. Wash things down with a cooling pearl milk tea or, for true Malaysian delight, a hot mug of teh tarikh – black tea made sweet with condensed milk. + Authentic Malaysian food in relaxed surroundings - Desserts are an afterthought

✱ Kanpai JAPANESE 8–10 Grindlay Street, West End, 0131 228 1602, kanpaisushiedinburgh.co.uk | Closed Sun/Mon | £18 (lunch) / £25 (dinner)

Japanese food in the capital can be a tad hit and miss. At Kanpai, discreetly tucked away behind the Usher Hall, it’s more hit . . . and hit. Super-fresh tuna and mackerel sashimi, served on a bed of ice, melts in the mouth, while the tempura batter surrounding perfectly cooked king prawns and octopus, the latter served with salty ribbons of dried fish, is crispy and light. California sushi rolls are bejewelled with glistening roe, the tiny spheres popping gleefully on the tongue with each mouthful. With the plethora of seafood on offer, it’d be easy to forget your greens – the sesame seaweed subtlety of a wakame salad is the ideal complementary side dish. The finesse and elegance of the food is replicated in the clean lines of the stylish décor. Whites and pastel shades, wooden floors and an artistically lit sushi bar marries with the polite murmur of the satisfied clientele to create a classy yet calm space in which to savour the treats on offer. Kanpai in English means ‘cheers’, so raise a glass of warm sake to some of the best Japanese food in Edinburgh. + You’ll struggle to find better Japanese food in Edinburgh - Your wallet may not thank you

✱ NEW Kenji JAPANESE 42 St Stephen Street, Stockbridge, 0131 226 5111, kenjisushi.co.uk | £10 (lunch) / £17 (dinner)

The team behind Bread Street’s Bentoya have brought their expertise over to Stockbridge and turned it up a notch or two. Kenji’s dining area is split into two, with tables and benches at the front of the restaurant and a more conventional Japanese space in the back, where seat cushions replace chairs and noren (curtains) conceal the kitchen. Spicy fried squid rings are well seasoned with salt and pepper and are cooked carefully to be springy but not chewy. The aubergine goma is syrupy sweet, but in small quantities delicious miso flavours shine through. If overwhelmed by the variety of maki, gunkan, nigiri and roll sushi, opt for the set sushi platters which come reasonably priced and are a thing of true beauty. Kenji’s not the place to kickstart a night out, but a tranquil Japanese playlist sets the tone for a meal where the focus is entirely on the delights that come out the kitchen. + The tender teriyaki sirloin - Sitting on straw seat cushions is only fun for so long

✱ NEW Maki Maki JAPANESE 75 Nicolson Street, Southside, 07599 651609, makimaki-restaurant.co.uk/ maki-maki-on-nicolson-street | Closed Mon | £16 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Sushi and sashimi made fresh to order? Absolutely. Steaming bowls of ramen served direct from the open kitchen? Yes indeedy. Omakase? Oma- what? If you manage to bag one of only ten sushi-bar stools in this Lilliputian space on Nicolson Street, then count yourself lucky. The old Japanese favourites are all there and as popular as ever but Maki Maki has a unique selling point: Edinburgh’s only ‘omakase’. This 12-course tasting menu, with optional sake pairings, is created on the spur of the moment by the chef – and it delivers some intricate and innovative food. Sea bream sashimi is light and fresh, lent

13 West Richmond Street, Southside, 07548 628685, makimaki-restaurant. co.uk | £13 (lunch) / £13 (dinner)

Hip and quirky Maki & Ramen is a great spot for catching up with pals. Have a giggle while scanning the walls – they’re covered in colourful post-it notes sharing previous diners’ secrets, hopes and dreams – then start the food off with maki, a green dragon roll filled with prawn tempura and avocado, which is beautifully presented and delightfully fresh. The chicken yakatori is warming with a good punch of chilli and pairs nicely with sticky rice and crunchy broccoli on the side. If it’s a bit nippy, cool down with aloe vera water or green tea by your side. Alternatively, give the chef’s ‘burnt soyu’ a whirl: a deeply savoury, generous bowl of ramen with all sorts of accompaniments crammed into the bowl. Service is equally generous in this understated wee joint. + Great food and bustling atmosphere - Tightly packed seating isn’t great for groups

Nanyang Malaysian Cuisine MALAYSIAN Unit 1, 3–5 Lister Square, South Pavilion, Quartermile, Southside, 0131 629 1797, nanyangrestaurant.com | £9.50 (lunch) / £17.50 (dinner)

Although the number of Malaysian restaurants in Edinburgh can be counted on one hand, Quartermile’s Nanyang has made quite the name for itself. The menu mirrors the cuisine – it’s diverse and reflects the influence of surrounding regions, while offering familiar dishes like sweet and sour chicken and wonton soup for less adventurous diners. First timers are pointed towards the roti canai, a doughy flatbread served with a buttery curry dip, followed by mussels which are smothered in a salty-sweet sambal sauce. The salt and chilli pepper soft shell crab is slightly disappointing with excess batter masking the sweet flavour of the crab meat. On top of the banana-wrapped ikan bakar is a sticky mess of green beans, chilli and yet more sambal sauce – a tangy and well-paired companion to the delicate seabass beneath. Nanyang suits its cosmopolitan surroundings, with polished service and an accommodating menu bringing a refreshing alternative to

✱ Kanpai The swan of Edinburgh’s Japanese scene; elegant, composed and beautiful, with a lot going on beneath the surface. ✱ Kenji A traditional Japanese eatery from an experienced team with meticulous attention to detail. ✱ Maki Maki Diminutive spot on Nicolson Street serving traditional Japanese favourites alongside an inventive 12-course tasting menu. ✱ Vietnam House Restaurant Welcoming restaurant providing simple but seriously tasty Vietnamese food. the city centre dining scene. + King prawn dim sum - Gloopy massaman curry

No 1 Sushi Bar JAPANESE 37 Home Street, Tollcross 0131 229 6880, no1sushibar.co.uk | £12.50 (set lunch) / £23 (set dinner)

In the heart of Tollcross, No 1 Sushi Bar has attentive service and high standards for the food too. Prawn katsu is wonderfully crunchy on the outside yet delicate in the middle, a brilliant flavor and texture combo. For mains, the deep-fried pork escalope with yakisoba noodles is wellseasoned and well-balanced. Teriyaki chicken is delicious, with the perfectly cooked sticky rice and a sauce that will make you want to lick the plate. Mackerel sashimi is bursting with freshness and beautifully presented. Be sure to finish off with the house saki (served hot) or the choya liqueur (Japanese ume fruit); both a wee bit too moreish. + Great food, excellent service - The toilet is a little cosy

NEW O’Kitchen KOREAN 27A Marchmont Road, Southside, 0131 466 4873 | Closed Sun | £12 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

An underwhelming frontage leads into this cosy café-style Korean restaurant serving fast food to the folks of Marchmont. With few tables and décor not high on their priorities, O’Kitchen is aimed at those looking for a quick kimchi fix and reliable Korean takeaway. Embracing their national dish, the humble cabbage appears regularly on the menu; kimchi dumpling, kimchi pancake, kimchi stew and even kimchi pizza – offering an interesting Italian-Korean fusion. To go alongside the spicy pickled delicacy is a selection of rice, noodle and soup dishes. Although the beef bulgogi is well-marinated and some tasty flavours come through, it’s tough, and the rice with onion and pepper needs more seasoning. The bokkeum champpong (seafood noodle stir fry), however, is piled with mussels, prawns, squid and more, and the tangy sauce clinging to the The List Eating & Drinking Guide 59

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noodles gives it a real punch. Have a can of whatever bright, syrupy, imported soft drink they’ve got in the fridge to wash it all down. + Food is prepared quickly - Chewy beef

Ong Gie KOREAN 22a Brougham Place, Tollcross, 0131 229 0869, onggie.com | Closed Sun | £7–£11 (set lunch) / £19.50 (dinner)

If you’re a first timer to gogigui (Korean barbecue), walking into Ong Gie can feel pretty unfamiliar. With groups of diners frantically fighting for a shot on the table-top grill and raw meat coming out the kitchen, it’s not your typical neighbourhood restaurant. But after a brief explanation, it’s pretty exciting. The heat on the grill is cranked up while starters are servied, meaning there’s no messing about when mains arrive. Kimchi jeon is full of texture with a subtle spice and the pork dumpling filling comes beautifully seasoned. Tuck into gan poong ki to keep you going while the meat’s sizzling on the barbecue – the crispy batter is glazed with sticky chilli soy sauce and the chicken is tremendously tender. There’s terrific depth of flavour in sesame oil and crushed garlic barbecued beef, and knowing it’s come fresh from the griddle in front of you makes it all the more satisfying. To finish, glutinous mochi rice buns are a must. + Affordable food cooked exactly how you want it - Watch out for barbecue splashage

Saiko Kitchen VIETNAMESE 15 Roseneath Street, Southside, 0131 281 5613, saikokitchen.co.uk | Closed Sun/ Mon | £16 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

‘Saiko’ is Japanese for ‘the coolest’ and this small, bright, white-walled restaurant in Marchmont is certainly a cool space to hang out. It’s a relaxed, understated spot, where you can people-watch from the stools at the window, or admire the shelves of trinkets accumulated during the owners’ South-East Asian travels while you wait for your food. While the recently expanded menu embraces the current trend for pan-Asian street food, it hasn’t lost its Vietnamese heart – the char siu pork banh mi and steaming bowls of pho are still there and as popular as ever. Japanese chicken and vegetable gyoza are pan-fried pockets of yum while the Thai rice paper rolls are crammed full of beef, lettuce, vermicelli noodles and spicy red chilli. King prawn pad Thai, however, is overly sweet and the promised prawns are frustratingly scarce, while chicken katsu curry, served simply with sticky rice, is a mite humdrum. A smattering of sweet treats, such as condensed milk-laden Vietnamese iced coffee lollies, feature on a menu that hasn’t changed in one respect – it’s just as wallet-friendly as it ever was. + Pan-Asian cuisine that won’t break the bank - Inconsistency from the kitchen

Kenji (page 59): the team behind Bread Street's Bentoya bring their expertise to a new Stockbridge venture

together, before eagerly devouring. Oxbone broth with beef brisket and slippery noodles is equally as nourishing for both the soul and stomach despite some overenthusiastic pepper-grinding, while the pan-fried pork and spring onion dumplings are pint-sized parcels of piggy pleasure. There’s no alcohol licence but why fret over that when the traditional roasted barley tea counters the punch of the spicier dishes as well as any beer. Sodaeng may keep itself to itself – it doesn’t even have a website – but don’t expect to mosey in on a weeknight and find a free table. Two words. Book. Ahead. + Comforting Korean food served up by friendly, knowledegable staff - If you don’t book, be prepared to wait

Soul Sushi JAPANESE 126 Nicolson Street, Old Town, 0131 667 0200, soulsushi.co.uk | Closed Mon | £10 (lunch) / £10 (dinner)

Previously a little-known star based out in Restalrig, Soul Sushi kept a low profile by only offering food for delivery or collection. But after a brief hiatus, chef Tom Hyde plans to introduce his fantastic sushi to the heart of the city. His new caféstyle base (in the old Knight’s Kitchen premises in Nicholson Street) will feature pre-packed fridge boxes to takeaway, home delivery and limited seating. Alongside his trademark hosomaki, nigiri, rolls and sashimi, there will also be fresh salads and miso soups with tofu or salmon, while a 50% discount on all fridge boxes in the last half hour of opening is definitely worth knowing about. [Not open for full review at time of going to press]. + Excellent sushi - No more Leith deliveries will disappoint old regulars

Sodaeng KOREAN

Sushiya

94 Buccleuch Street, Southside, 0131 629 1190 | Closed Sun | £18.50 (lunch) / £18.50 (dinner)

JAPANESE

That a number of Asian restaurants has sprung up in Southside’s student-central over the past decade is no surprise. Even those without one eye on their overdraft and the other on daytime television are drawn here for good eats at good prices, and Sodaeng – a lively space adorned with Korean paintings, traditional masks, ceramics and other paraphernalia – provides exactly that. National staple bibimbap is the ultimate in Asian comfort food – stir beef, vegetables, beansprouts, egg yolk and fiery gochujang chilli paste

19 Dalry Road, West End, 0131 313 3222, sushiya.co.uk | Closed Sun/Mon | £14.50 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Getting a name as a reliable neighbourhood joint is no easy task. Location and presentation have to be considered; it needs to be consistent, welcoming, affordable and tasty enough to get punters back. Going by this criteria, Sushiya on Dalry Road is pretty close to perfect. The few tables inside are supplemented by extra stools wherever there’s space – all of which get snapped up pretty quickly – and frequent visits from members of the Deliveroo team

confirm its popularity. Intricate sushi platters are scattered across the tables among hearty servings of ramen, sweet teriyaki salmon rice bowls and dumplings that are admirably uniform. The diverse menu keeps a modest kitchen busy, and out front there’s more to see as sashimi is systematically prepared behind a counter of fresh fish. Full of texture, the black sesame seed ice-cream is a pleasant way to round off the meal. Enjoy each dish as it comes; admire the attention to detail and take comfort in the fact that the bill will most definitely warrant a return. + A speedy sushi fix - Sake and other drink options are limited

and punchy star anise. Alternatively, the xoi ga (lotus chicken rice) is a simpler, but still satisfying, dish with chicken, shrimp and shitake mushrooms, which add a real depth of flavor amongst the carefully steamed rice. Be sure to try the Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk and ice as a creamy, refreshing pick-meup post dinner. If you’re off caffeine, the Vietnamese dessert is a sweet basil seed drink with lychee and coconut jelly. All in it’s an enjoyable experience for a low-key meal. + Simple, satisfying dishes - Tables quite tightly packed in

Wagamama Tang’s

NOODLE & SUSHI BARS

JAPANESE

• NEW 5 St Andrew Square, 0131 285 4787, wagamama.com | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner) •1 Castle Terrace, 0131 229 5506 • Ocean Terminal, Leith, 0131 553 7036

44 Candlemaker Row, Old Town, 0131 220 5000, tangsgohan.com | £15.50 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

If you’re ticking off the tourist sites of Edinburgh and find yourself at Greyfriars Bobby, you’ll likely notice Tang’s, a Japanese restaurant built into a crooked tenement block on one of the city’s historic streets. Once passers-by are enticed in by the generously sized bento boxes and comforting bowls of miso, they’ll find a menu that doesn’t venture too far outside of its comfort zone, offering a selection of conventional Japanese dishes. Large chunks of chicken katsu lack a crispy coating, making chopsticks challenging, but there’s still some good savoury flavours, while pork dumplings are juicy pan-fried meat pockets. Along with the hot dishes, there’s a broad range of sushi and sashimi. Try the ikura (salmon roe) temaki for a taste of Tang’s more adventurous offerings. Though the cooking isn’t reflective of just how exciting Japanese gastronomy can be, it’ll satisfy sushi cravings in a serene setting that’s smack bang in the middle of town. + Lovely, helpful staff - More popular with tourists than locals

✱ Vietnam House Restaurant VIETNAMESE 1–3 Grove Street, West End, 0131 228 3383, vietnamhouserestaurant.co.uk | £17 (lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Vietnam House Restaurant is understated and full of life. Cha gio (fried spring rolls) for starters are generous in size, wonderfully crispy on the outside with by delicate, fresh flavors inside. For mains, the thit heo kho (braised pork in caramel sauce) is a winner, a surprisingly light pork dish infused with a tasty sauce

Things are changing at St Andrew Square. After a run of big-ticket openings during 2016, now it's Wagamama's turn to get in on the act. They’re moving into number 5 in April, bringing their trademark brand of casual Asian dining in a big way. Expect high tables, lots of noodles, efficient service and plenty of slurping from a big, bright venue which is well-placed to catch all the action when the square jazzes itself up for its festive and festival appearances. [St Andrew Square not open for full review at time of going to press.]

Wee Buddha FUSION 2B Jamaica St, New Town, 0131 538 1215, weebuddha.co.uk | Closed Tue | £16 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Tucked away along a quiet cobbled street, Wee Buddha has character. Stylish and laid-back, the urban look makes for a comfortable atmosphere to enjoy a favourite tipple – especially with some food, as the full flavours and rich sauces are nicely balanced by refreshing cocktails designed to complement the menu. Veggie gyoza are a good start: fresh and with an excellent texture. For mains a Malay curry with steamed jasmine rice should hit the spot, with its warming punchy spices and perfectly cooked rice. If a beer is more your thing try their own light and refreshing Wee Buddha house craft beer, but if you’re sticking to cocktails the Studio 54 combines soft passion fruit flavours with a zesty lime kick. + Friendly, laid-back atmosphere - Upstairs gets loud when it’s busy

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FISH For a city by the sea, Edinburgh has only a few restaurants specialising in fish and seafood, ranging from formal dining experiences offering extravagantly priced shellfish to simple mussel and chips places. Most source their seafood from Scotland, advertising the provenance of their produce and sometimes even namechecking individual fishermen. Though the quality is generally high, the variety on offer is quite conservative. Nevertheless, a fish-centred meal is usually a rewarding experience, whether you’re seeking a high-end experience or a more casual catch-up with friends. Reviewers: Yana Thandrayen

NEW Cadiz First Floor, 77b George Street, City Centre, 0131 226 3000, cadizedinburgh. co.uk | £14.95 (set lunch) / £25 (dinner)

Opened in the summer of 2016, Cadiz is housed in the previously unused space above its more casual sister Café Andaluz. They’ve done a great job of creating an elegant bar and restaurant: the lighting is soft, colour palette blue with natural wood and exposed stone, and there’s also a cosy mural-covered room that can be hired. You could just as happily sit at the marble-topped bar tables shucking briny Cumbrae oysters and sipping cocktails as move to the comfortable leather seats for a meal. The food is a fusion of Scottish, Spanish and Mediterranean dishes but mainly sticks with faultless, if familiar, dishes such as fried calamari or grilled prawns. The main menu is split in to small and large plates, the latter ranging from grilled sea bass enlivened by a lemon and green olive sauce to fish and chips with delicious minty pea purée. There’s a short list of puddings, the standout of which is the crème catalane which arrives at the table ablaze, the flames

caramelising the sugar topping. + Lovely setting and seriously good drinks list - Pity there are not more ambitious seafood options

✱ Fishers in Leith 1 The Shore, Leith, 0131 554 5666, fishersbistros.co.uk | £15 (set lunch) / £26 (dinner)

Fisher’s in Leith has a formidable reputation for cooking consistently good fish and seafood sourced in Scotland. It’s one of those places known as ‘an Edinburgh institution’ and is ever-popular with tourists while still attracting a loyal local clientele. Opened in 1991, this is the original Fisher’s restaurant and has a homelier atmosphere than its larger city centre sister, as well as a different menu. What’s on offer is shaped by the best, freshest produce available on the day, so you may find a delicate whole grey sole or a meaty seabass paired with Eyemouth crab. Starters can range from a light squid salad to a substantial smoked haddock risotto. The cooking is unfussy, letting the flavours of the main ingredients shine. It’s not all fish – steaks are always available on the Fishers favourites menu and there’s a meat choice on the à la carte. For vegetarians, there’s a separate menu but you need to request it. Housed in a 17th-century watchtower on the Leith waterfront, this informal restaurant is also a fine location for summer outdoor dining. + One of the best for simply cooked whole fish - Can get noisy

Fishers in the City 58 Thistle Street, New Town, 0131 225 5109, fishersrestaurantgroup.co.uk | £15 (set lunch) / £26 (dinner)

For a large city centre restaurant, Fishers has a surprisingly intimate feel, with its low lighting, neutral colours and fishing bric-a-brac. Split into three areas, the most popular seats are by the tank of fish (purely ornamental and not destined for dinner). This is the younger, bigger sister to Fishers in Leith, and though the menu is different, the casual bistro-style dining

is the same. The Fishers favourites are an unchanging list of popular choices such as hefty fishcakes, smoky chowder or fish and chips. Things get more interesting on the à la carte with fillets of firm-fleshed brill on a bed of bacon-spiked cabbage or hake paired with dense, rich morcilla. Puddings are well-executed staples such as sticky toffee pudding or a crème brûlée. The cooking is reliable rather than adventurous making it a safe bet for visitors and locals alike. It can get very busy, and it’s not unusual for corporate clients to book out whole areas at certain times, so check in advance. + Winning formula that keeps the customers coming in - Flaccid chips

The Mussel and Steak Bar 110 West Bow, Grassmarket, Old Town, 0131 225 5028, musselandsteakbar. com | £12.50 (set lunch) / £30 (dinner)

With its Grassmarket location, you’d be forgiven for thinking this inviting white and blue-fronted restaurant could be something of a tourist trap. But there’s no complacency here – it’s a place that prides itself on doing the simple things well. And those things are mussels and steaks. The air is heavy with the scent of garlic as pots of blue shell mussels are delivered to expectant diners. They don’t disappoint: these Shetland-grown shellfish are sweet and fleshy and come with a choice of four sauces. Various chargrilled steaks are on offer, from 38-day aged Scottish beef to a mighty 1kg Tomahawk steak. Besides the eponymous options, other seafood such as grilled langoustines, scallops and oysters form the core of the menu, and their beef dripping chips deserve a special mention, perfectly crunchy on the outside and fluffy within. Desserts, such as a spongy sticky toffee pudding, are crowd pleasers rather than inventive confections, and though a Mellis cheeseboard is served too cold, the addition of honeycomb and quality thick oatcakes redeems it. + Stunning surf and turf of mussels, crevettes and 8oz ribeye - Distracting TV on the wall showing nature footage

✱ HITLIST

FISH ✱ Fishers in Leith One of Leith’s survivors, its longevity is based on a rock-solid reputation for showcasing Scottish fish. ✱ Ondine Sophisticated modern restaurant serving some of the finest seafood in Edinburgh. Mussel Inn 61–65 Rose Street, New Town, 0131 225 5979, mussel-inn.com | £7.95 (set lunch) / £24 (dinner)

With a menu reminiscent of Belgian moules-frîtes places, this bustling city centre restaurant is all about simple tasty food. Two shellfish farmers and a chef set it up in 1998 with the ambition of bringing Scottish seafood back to local tables. The precise location from where the mussels are picked is chalked up on the daily specials board highlighting the restaurant’s direct relationship with producers. Black

Passionate about Seafood 61-65 Rose Street Edinburgh EH2 2NH Reservations 0131 225 5979 157 Hope Street Glasgow G2 2UQ Reservations 0141 572 1405

www.mussel-inn.com The Mussel and Steak Bar: it's all about the seafood and meat at this Old Town all-rounder The List Eating & Drinking Guide 61

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pots of sweet mussels scented with garlic or spices are the star attraction but there are plenty of other choices, such as rich mineral-flavoured oysters, perfectly cooked scallops or crab paired with warming aromatics. Although the menu is predominantly shellfish, with some fish for good measure, there are a couple of meat dishes, too. Puddings are homemade such as a smooth, subtly flavoured pear parfait or a moist sticky date pud. Brightly lit, Mussel Inn has a utilitarian feel softened by large picture boards with verses and fishing images on the walls. It’s very popular with tourists and does a good express lunch and pre-theatre deal. + Big pots of sustainable rope-grown mussels - It’s all about seafood so not great for veggies

✱ Ondine 2 George IV Bridge, Old Town, 0131 226 1888, ondinerestaurant.co.uk | Closed Sun | £19 (set lunch) / £45 (dinner)

This is Edinburgh’s destination seafood restaurant, the high end of shellfish dining. Service is formal with waiters refilling glasses and refolding napkins, the atmosphere one of comfortable wealth. Shaped like a horseshoe, the room spreads out from a central bar with dining tables looking out on to the busy Old Town streets. The menu offers starters such as potted crab or smoked salmon, and mains ranging from haddock and chips to lobster thermidor, but the star dishes are their platters. There’s the roasted shellfish platter, a mix of almost a dozen different types of seafood from around Scotland, from Barra cockles to Eyemouth lobster, or the same shellfish selection on ice

showcasing their freshness and distinct flavours. What this place does best is provide carefully sourced seafood, simply prepared, that stands on the quality of the ingredients; foams, gels and other chef tricks are (some would say mercifully) absent. For oyster lovers, there’s a good early evening deal where you can enjoy them for £1 each, and feel good about your green credentials as the shells are recycled into chicken feed. + Fantastic seafood sourced with care - Quality doesn’t come cheap

The Ship on the Shore 24–26 The Shore, Leith, 0131 555 0409, theshipontheshore.co.uk | £22 (lunch) / £33 (dinner)

With its dark wood interior decorated with old maps and other vintage nautical paraphernalia, this well-established restaurant has the feel of an historic ship’s dining room. It is unashamedly expensive – chalkboards list the champagne menu and offer a seafood platter and fizz combo for those with a few hundred pounds to spend. Food is served all day, from kippers or crab with scrambled eggs at breakfast, to fish pie at lunch, through to dinners of grilled fish or paella. The cooking throughout is simple and substantial and there’s a separate shellfish menu featuring selections of fresh or smoked produce. The extensive wine list is as much a part of the deal here as the food, with many sold by the glass and carafe. Outside tables are perfect for enjoying the fabled sunshine on Leith, but get in there quick – they’re always in high demand. + Prime shore-side location - Cooking doesn’t always justify the price

Mussel & Steak Bar, specialists in succulent steaks & superb seafood Located in the heart of Edinburgh’s Grassmarket. 110 West Bow, Grassmarket, Edinburgh, EH1 2HH www.musselandsteakbar.com 0131 225 5028

FRENCH Take a handful of the finest Scottish ingredients, mix in a liberal pinch of French flair, add a sprinkling of Gallic temperament and season with authentic staff – et voilà, you have the perfect recipe for a type of Edinburgh restaurant that remains a favourite among locals and tourists. The city’s French offerings span everything from modest brasseries featuring checked tablecloths and mismatched cutlery to opulent Michelin-starred fine dining establishments. Reviewers: Colin Renton, Sylvie Docherty

Bia Bistrot 19 Colinton Road, Southside See Bistros & Brasseries

Café Marlayne 13 Antigua Street, New Town, 0131 558 8244, cafemarlayne.com/antigua-street | £11 (set lunch) / £17 (dinner)

The newer Café Marlayne sits at the top of Leith Walk, offering homely food throughout the day and occasionally showcasing the skills that reside in the kitchen. At the rear is a spacious dining room which buzzes as diners enjoy an excellent value lunch. In the evening it’s popular with regulars, and theatre-goers seeking above average pre-theatre food. Dark coloured walls, a cluster of paintings, a piano – perhaps for those inspired by musicals at the Playhouse – and a quirky glitterball add character. But the star of this show is the food. Starters could include terrine de campagne, raised beyond the ordinary by pistachios and cranberries which add crunch and balancing sweetness. Among the mains are the chef’s take on French classics, alongside more imaginative dishes such as guinea fowl served with black pudding and crisp ham, enhanced by carrot and star anise purée. Dessert choices will please cake lovers and those with dietary intolerances, while another hint that this is more than just a fuelling stop is the top-notch cheese board. + Reliable French cooking with a hint of ambition - Café area at the front may deter passers by

Café Marlayne 76 Thistle Street, New Town, 0131 226 2230, cafemarlayne.com | £11 (set lunch) / £19 (dinner)

Though just a few paces from the hurlyburly of George Street, the relative calm of Thistle Street’s cobbles could be a world away. Up a couple of steps sits Café Marlayne, with its quirky décor and compact L-shaped dining area for around 30 customers. It bustles with life: whether it’s lunchtime diners drawn in by a great value deal, or evening guests enjoying simple, hearty food at a reasonable price. The menu is traditionally French, with a few original flourishes. Starters feature a flavourpacked boudin noir with crispy bacon and sautéed apples. There’s a tender ribeye for main, raised a notch with horseradish cream and Bovril onions, or a succulent lamb rump accompanied by salsa verde and polenta. To finish, a slab of warm chocolate and almond cake hits the spot. With wines by the glass that won’t blow the budget, as well as a decent range of beers, Café Marlayne is

a welcome haven just a few steps off the beaten track. + Good value comfort food and buzzing atmosphere - Small tables become crowded when side dishes arrive

Café St Honoré 34 North West Thistle Street Lane, New Town See Scottish

Café Tartine 72 Commercial Quay, Leith, 0131 554 2588, cafetartine.co.uk | £15 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

The former whisky bonds at Commercial Quay in Leith lend themselves brilliantly to restaurant conversions and Café Tartine is no exception. Open from breakfast through to dinner, it happily plays host to a mixed-bag of regulars and locals – families with kids, cosy couples or groups of chattering friends all blending together with ease. Traditionalists might start with a pleasing classic French onion soup, others may opt for the brie wrapped in brick pastry, which arrives like a crispy spring roll with warm, cheesy innards. To follow, grilled Toulouse sausage with boudin noir hits the spot, or choose from burgers, salads and various sharing boards. Daily specials feature the likes of gorgonzola and field mushroom tartine and while crêpes in various guises are around for all courses, they make a great sweet option to finish. + All-encompassing and welcoming spot - Best to book ahead to avoid being turned away

Castle Terrace 33–35 Castle Terrace, West End See Scottish

Chez Jules 109 Hanover Street, New Town, 0131 226 6992, chezjulesbistro.com | £10 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

This candlelit cellar with its red gingham table cloths feels properly French – there are no ersatz old booze adverts; instead there’s the handwritten story of someone’s Uncle Jules on the wall, alongside a map of France helpfully annotated with domaines of the wines on the mostly French list. The menu covers the spectrum of classics, from escargots, frog’s legs, and steak tartare to confit de canard, steakfrîtes, and saucissons, with generous portions of salad, charcuterie and bread presented free of charge. Chocolate mousse or crème brûlée should see you right for dessert, or there’s a French cheese plate if you want to do things properly. While the cheap-as-frîtes lunch menu may be the thing that draws people in, the friendly hospitality and honest cooking are also worth a mention. + Hearty old-school French classics - Not the place to find innovation

NEW Côte Brasserie 51 Frederick Street, New Town, 0131 202 6256, cote-restaurants.co.uk | £115 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

This spot in Frederick Street, a stone’s throw from bustling George Street, has undergone a stylish transformation into a bright, airy Edinburgh outpost of the London-based chain. Formerly a shop selling high-end traditional cookers, it’s now a restaurant selling top-notch traditional cooking. The floor space is neatly divided into several small sections, adding a cosier feel to a substantial area. All-day dining covers brunch and à la carte options, as well

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as a full gluten-free menu and a keenly priced lunch and early evening deal, with some ingredients sourced from France. Among the starters, a warm leek dish, served with boiled eggs and sourdough croutons in a vinaigrette packs a punch and sets the scene for mains brimming with flavour, such as moist chargrilled chicken breast served alongside creamy gratin potatoes and a jus that brings balance. Desserts are traditional French favourites, likely to include an apple tarte tatin that rounds off an experience typical of the Parisian brasseries on which Côte is modelled. + Good value lunch and early dining offers - Hefty 12.5% service charge added to the bill

L’Escargot Blanc Restaurant & Wine Bar 17 Queensferry Street, West End, 0131 226 1890, lescargotblanc.co.uk | Closed Sun | £12.90 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

At street level of this West End favourite is the pleasant Bar à Vin. With a fine drinks list, it’s a good place to sit back and enjoy a glass of something special, perhaps with cheese fondue or some foie gras and pâtés. Meanwhile, upstairs is the bustling L’Escargot Blanc restaurant, where you’re greeted by friendly, cheery staff. Dive into steamed mussels in blue cheese, crème fraîche and parsley – thank goodness for the bread basket, because you’ll definitely want to dunk into that sauce. The promising start continues with goat’s cheese in filo pastry served with tapenade, olives and a salad dressed with basil vinaigrette. A good omelette can be tricky to master, but the duck

egg variety presented here is large, fluffy, full of sautéed potato and quite delicious, as is a roasted cod fillet with prawns, mussels and saffron. Wrap things up with one of their pudding treats like the chocolate tarte with salted caramel, or macerated Morello cherries in Kirsch. Yum. + Fine French home cooking and lovely staff - Book ahead for lunch as it gets busy

✱ L’Escargot Bleu 56 Broughton Street, New Town, 0131 557 1600, lescargotbleu.co.uk | Closed Sun | £12.90 (set lunch) / £30 (dinner)

The owners of L’Escargot Bleu have a good eye and excellent taste, in more ways than one. Great vintage pieces and artwork create an atmosphere that reeks of authenticity. There’s a strong wine list, too, though starting with a Ricard or kir is just the ticket. And then there’s the food. Tuck into a starter of chicory salad, studded with goat’s cheese, poached pear, hazelnuts and balsamic vinegar, or a special of dressed crab with mayonnaise and blue potatoes. Into the mains, a brilliant oh-so-smokey sea bass fillet is served with a lovingly seasoned salad on potato and Jerusalem artichoke. A classic chou farci (stuffed and braised cabbage) is made using local pork, and sits in a tasty jus, a hearty example of great Gallic home cooking. The iced nougat studded with delicious pieces of glazed fruit and chestnut, and the year-old Agen prunes soaked in Armagnac syrup, both make a terrific finale to an all-round stunning meal. + Wonderful food, surroundings and service - Try to avoid the table right by the door

Galvin Brasserie de Luxe Caledonian Hotel, Princes Street, West End See Bistros & Brasseries

✱ HITLIST

La Garrigue 31 Jeffrey Street, Old Town, 0131 557 3032, lagarrigue.co.uk | £14.50 (set lunch) / £28.70 (dinner)

La Garrigue, tucked away behind Waverley railway station, has been a bastion of Frenchness in Edinburgh since 2001. Its name translates as ‘scrubland’ and is a nod to the dusty Languedoc home of chef/owner Jean Michel Gauffre. A mural by artist Andrew Walker faces the door and depicts the vineyard in Bedarieux which is on the route of the patron’s popular wine tours. The fruits of his trips feature on an extensive wine list, while the menu combines the rustic flavours of south-west France and the refined flair of Gauffre. This is reflected in starters such as hare and pork terrine served with pickled walnuts, or sliced warm pheasant which is elevated by celeriac and a flavour-packed sauce. Roe deer chop vies with a traditional cassoulet – stew made with sausage, pork and duck, served on a bed of beans – among the mains, and if those meaty feasts don’t transport the diner to Gauffre’s homeland, a crème brûlée with lavender – from Bedarieux, of course – certainly should do the trick. + Rustic cooking with French flair - Choosing from so many good wines

NEW Home by Maison Bleue 7–8 Queensferry Street, West End, 0131 220 0773, home-restaurant.co.uk | £9.90 (set lunch) / £25.25 (dinner)

Formerly a music shop, this Queensferry Street venue is now playing an entirely

FRENCH ✱ L’Escargot Bleu Scotland’s abundant larder combines with classic French cooking in this muchloved central bistro. ✱ Petit Paris Real French people serving real French food in surroundings that recreate all the atmosphere of a Parisian bistro. ✱ Restaurant Martin Wishart Michelin-starred excellence combining top quality local ingredients with traditional French techniques. different tune thanks to a collaboration between the Maison Bleue group and the Social Bite sandwich enterprise. Exposed brick walls carry a large sign urging diners to ‘pay it forward’ by leaving money to cover the cost of a lunch for the homeless (the restaurant opens

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exclusively to provide meals to homeless people on Monday afternoons). However, there is no pressure to contribute. Indeed, this is much more than a charitable organisation. It offers similar menus to the other Maison Bleue restaurants – an eclectic continent-straddling mix of flavours from North Africa, France and Scotland. So, sitting alongside haggis balls you’ll find Saigon beef – an Asian inspired dish with a well-balanced spiciness that kickstarts the taste buds. Mains offer a similar geographical spread – Leonardo DiCaprio sampled posh mac and cheese when he visited – with dishes such as tender beef cheek with red wine glaze and garlic mash underlining the restaurant’s French influences. And, with all profits going to charity, there should be no guilt in choosing to finish off with a classic crème brulée. + Skilled cooking with a social conscience - Mash-up of geographical influences may not suit all tastes

and bar stools, intimate buttoned-velvet booths and neon sign there. With plenty of pavement space for its seasonal outdoor terrace on its street corner, the whole set-up exudes a relaxed French vibe. The food is a melting pot of French, North African and Scottish influences, so expect everything from tagines to deep-fried haggis balls to deftly cooked lamb with saffron couscous. A peppery starter of camembert fondue is a good start, as is ‘surprise’ calamari, made to a secret recipe with a chilli bite. There’s always a fresh fish of the day, as well as steaks and a couple of veggie options for good measure. Puddings venture into the classics – think crème brûlée, sticky toffee pudding, or crumble. Set lunch and dinner options are very reasonably priced and should satisfy event the fussiest of eaters. + Great décor and service - More French pudding options, please

Maison Bleue 36–38 Victoria Street, Old Town, 0131 226 1900, maisonbleuerestaurant.com | £10 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

The Honours 58a North Castle Street, New Town See Bistros & Brasseries

The outside of Maison Bleue gives no clue as to its intriguing interior. Set in the heart of the historic Old Town, the building is all spiral staircases and honeycombs of nooks and crannies, the walls peppered with lovely bits and bobs. The French/North African/Scottish dishes here are freshly made to order, the staff more than happy to accommodate special dietary requirements and rustle up offmenu dinkier portions for little ones. A lentil and cumin soup of the day is well seasoned and generous in size, the haggis ball starter with clapshot potatoes and whisky sauce lipsmackingly good. For mains, try their deliciously spicy merguez sausages (made especially for the

Hotel du Vin Bistro 11 Bristo Place, Old Town See Bistros & Brasseries

The Kitchin 78 Commercial Quay, Leith See Scottish

NEW Maison Bleue Le Bistrot 370–372 Morningside Road, Southside, 0131 447 0345, maisonbleuerestaurant. com | £10 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

A high-five to the interior designers of this Morningside restaurant, with its clever mix of exposed brickwork here

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✱ Restaurant Martin Wishart 54 The Shore, Leith, 0131 553 3557, restaurantmartinwishart.co.uk | Closed Sun/Mon | £32 (set lunch) / £85 (dinner)

Home by Maison Bleue (page 63): skilled cooking with a social conscience

restaurant) with ratatouille and French fries or maybe a special of fillet of sea bream with a pleasing persillade sauce and crushed potatoes. Authentic tagines, croque monsieurs, mussels and steak are all staples, with a daily selection of desserts and cheeses to round things off. Good for families, groups and romantic tête-à-têtes, alike. + Large space is great for groups - Not a huge range for veggies

✱ Petit Paris 38–40 Grassmarket, Old Town, 0131 226 2442, petitparis-restaurant.co.uk | £13 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Checked table cloths, walls cluttered with vintage French posters and staff banter in their native French – stepping into Petit Paris makes it feel like time to dust off dormant language skills. The upstairs section is compact while downstairs is larger but misses out on the high-energy floorshow. And, when the summer arrives, street-side tables offer an opportunity to relive the joys of the Gallic outdoor dining experience. Online booking elicits a personal email rather than an automated confirmation and the friendliness continues as diners choose from a menu featuring a host of French classics and several daily specials. Starters of grilled black pudding or baked camembert transport patrons to that quaint little bistro on the banks of the River Seine, and the authenticity continues when the waiter arrives bearing an individual pot containing the stew of the day, possibly succulent lamb in a rich sauce with veg and potatoes. To finish, top-notch gateaux and tarts make it tough to decide on dessert – so how about crêpes doused in Grand Marnier to evoke those memories of the French capital? + Like a trip to France without the hassle at the airport - Downstairs diners miss out on much of the banter

La P’tite Folie Tudor House, 9 Randolph Place, West End, 0131 225 8678, laptitefolie.co.uk | Closed Sun | £13 (set lunch) / £25 (dinner)

Blessed with a marvellous dining room, La P’tite Folie’s tall, multi-paned windows lend the space a bright and airy atmosphere by day and reflect flickering

candlelight by night. While maintaining a sense of French tradition, this place clearly has fun with its menu, playing with genres and featuring unusual options. The wine list is particularly well-suited to the food and, of course, La France factors heavily among the selection to great success. When it’s sunny, there’s a spot outside the wine bar to relax with a digestif after the meal and to reflect that, perhaps, la vie est belle after all. + Such a beautiful room - Paying city centre parking prices

The Pompadour by Galvin Caledonian Hotel, Princes Street, West End, 0131 222 8777, thepompadourbygalvin.com | Closed Mon/Tue | £45 (set lunch) / £55 (set dinner)

A grand staircase leads to an elegant dining room boasting the impressive architecture typical of a building dating from 1903. Some diners enjoy stunning views over Edinburgh Castle, while others can observe the comings and goings along Princes Street. Opened in its current guise in 2012, the Pompadour is overseen by London-based Chris and Jeff Galvin, who often make the trip north to keep an eye on proceedings. As Michelinstarred chefs, they are clearly conscious of the standards demanded by clients in high-end establishments. This restaurant is manned accordingly, with a large team that should ensure slick service, but doesn’t always succeed. Alongside seasonal offerings, the gourmand tasting menus present an opportunity to sample the talents of chef Fraser Allan. À la carte selections are also skilfully prepared and presented. A luscious truffle risotto starter hits the spot, as does terrine of foie gras, pig’s head and pistachio. Mains maximise flavour using good local ingredients and classic techniques in dishes such as Highland lamb shank and crowdie ravioli, with flavour-packed piperade adding a continental flourish. Cleverly executed desserts include rhubarb cheesecake, raised a notch by the accompanying hibiscus and champagne espuma. + Elegant surroundings and classic food combinations - Haphazard service can spoil the experience

There is an element of theatre to Michelin-starred Restaurant Martin Wishart. Diners are seated at tables dotted around the neutrally decorated room and then the show begins, with staff as the players and the food as artistic creations. A feather-light beetroot macaron with horseradish sauce melts in the mouth while guests mull over the three fixed menus and the à la carte options (there’s also a great value lunch deal). The classic fixed menu features openers such as veal tartare and foie gras in mushroom velouté that leave diners wanting more. But then so do exquisite subsequent dishes including squid with pork, warm smoked salmon with parsnip purée and, the star of the show, onglet of beef that falls apart at the touch and combines with a bone marrow crust and Bordelaise sauce to send the tastebuds into overdrive. Desserts of salted caramel with pear, then a subtle rhubarb creation, round off the performance. The wine list spans the globe and various price points, while the entertaining sommelier is keen to delight the audience with his food matching skills. + Stunning show from a chef at the top of his craft - Need to book well ahead if you want an encore

NEW Le Roi Fou 1 Forth Street, New Town, 0131 557 9346, leroifou.com | Closed Mon/Tue | £32 (dinner)

This new Edinburgh venture from Jérôme Henry (former head chef of Mossiman's Private Dining Club and Les Trois Garçons) promises modern European cooking and French-influenced classics. Diners can expect classical techniques married with the very best, carefully sourced Scottish produce. The attention to detail already on show is impressive – Henry’s creative director Isolde Nash lists Austrian architect Adolf Loos, Dada and the Absurd as influences and they hope to attract artists, writers and locals in equal measure to their opulent Austrian modernist salon. [not open for full review at time of going to press.]

21212 3 Royal Terrace, New Town, 0845 222 1212/0131 523 1030, 21212restaurant. co.uk | Closed Sun/Mon | £24 (set lunch) / £65 (set dinner)

Blimey. It’s all happening at Michelinstarred restaurant 21212. Paul Kitching’s eccentric gastronomic temple is set in a beautiful Georgian townhouse with plush overnight rooms. Dishes are snapped on

TIPLIST GREAT WINE LIST • Calistoga 77 Californian dining with a heavy focus on wine: tastings, events, a bottle shop on the side and incredibly fair pricing. • Edinburgh Food Studio 86 This innovative space is equally innovative about beverages: expect natural wines and local drinks. • Norn 88 Fresh, bold, committed and championing an unusual natural wine list too. • The Outsider 41 A quirky wine list from this quintessential bistro – expect fun, easy-drinking yet unusual options. • Seasons 89 A young team cook up a challenging and creative menu with equally challenging drinks pairings. • Wedgwood the Restaurant 90 Old Town bastion of fine-dining continues to delight with fabulous food and wonderful wine.

phones as they are brought to the table – it’s that kind of place. Beyond the many theatrics – mismatched crockery, the pouring of porridge milk (a pre-dessert palate cleanser) from a ceramic cow into miniature paper cups, the kookily named dishes – this is a fine dining restaurant. And for a place of this calibre, the service is refreshingly relaxed and friendly. The food is a riot of tastes and colour, often defying expectation. Menus change weekly, ensuring it’s always seasonal with ingredients mostly sourced locally. It’s a pick-and-mix affair from a choice of three starters, three mains and three desserts, plus soup and cheese courses. Prawn and haddock curry has fish that flakes at the merest touch of a fork. There’s a plate with a cornucopia of cheese, funny crackers and dried pear, while the sweetest, sharpest lemon meringue sits alongside a mini marzipan ball and an apple nut crumble (thingy) – that’s what it said on the menu, promise. All delights. If you’re into fun nouvelle cuisine, get yourself along here. + Like nothing else in the capital - Freshly prepared dishes can mean a wee wait between courses

11 BRUNTSFIELD PLACE, EDINBURGH, EH10 4HN

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INDIAN Curry in Scotland’s capital may not be exactly sizzling hot but good-quality, mostly North Indian and Bangladeshi establishments continue to prosper. Some of the city’s oldest restaurants continue to enjoy deservedly loyal fans; there are also plenty of low-key wee gems cooking good, simple food at excellent value in surprising environments. And things are starting to heat up: high-profile newcomers are offering more modern twists, from bacon naan rolls to spiceencrusted pan-fried scallops and gulab jamun meringue. Reviewers: Gill Thomson, Susan Smith

Bombay Bicycle Club 6–6a Brougham Place, Tollcross, 0131 229 3839, bombaybicycleclubrestaurant. com | £10 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Bombay Bicycle Club and its distinctive orange and black logo has been a wellkent fixture in Edinburgh’s Tollcross since 1991. Curry lovers may want to take a fresh look though – new owners took the business over in July 2016 and all signs point towards a revitalised experience. Hoping to capitalise on its existing strong takeaway market, the menu remains broadly similar but everything is now freshly made. On the poppadum platter the thick, not too sweet mango chutney is a stand out. Starters retain a fairly clichéd haggis pakora but the vegetable samosa is beautifully crispy

Khushi's: a name synonymous with curry in the capital

and a generous portion of tandoori king prawns are well-cooked. The signature Bombay Bicycle lamb curry is very good, slow-cooked in a tomato and coconutmilk sauce – butter naan makes a nicely naughty accoutrement. + Mango chutney, butter naan, king prawns - It needs to build a new audience

✱ NEW Dishoom 3a St Andrew Square, City Centre, 0131 202 6406, dishoom.com/edinburgh | £21.50; £27.50; £32.50; £40 (group bookings) (set lunch) / £19 (dinner)

There hasn’t been this much excitement about an opening since Krispy Kreme brought the M8 to a standstill in 2013. They’ve been queuing round the block for Dishoom, who have pulled out all the stops for their first opening outside London. The completely gutted 1920s former office feels like something from a more romantic time, with art deco fittings, green stained-glass windows and dividers splitting the dining room into cosy sections, belying its bustle and buzz. And the food? It’s different – based around influences brought to Bombay’s café scene by Iranian immigrants, with a tiny bit of a British twist thrown in. (Bacon naan for breakfast? Yes please!) Later in the day, look out for small plates; like it or loathe it calamari with a sweet honey drizzle, or cinnamon-seasoned vegetable samosa. Larger dishes include tikka paneer and a light, juicy coriander-infused lamb sheekh kebab (no sauce included so an excellent excuse to try the delicious, creamy, secret-recipe house black dhal). If you’ve managed not to over-order, dig into a melt-in the middle chocolate pudding or lightly flavoured thick pistachio kulfi. Wash the whole lot down with Dishoom IPA, a Thums Up cola, or a sweet, milky house chai. + A bustling film-set atmosphere in a great location - The toilets are a lift ride away

NEW Golden Ambal 1 Albert Place, Leith, 0131 555 5505, goldenambal.com | £14 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

This corner unit midway down Leith Walk has seen unremarkable restaurants come and go, but Golden Ambal seems to be earning a bit of staying power thanks to its sheer quality. It’s a functional, yet sleek-looking place, from the blacktiled exterior to the muted lighting from hanging Persian lamps indoors, while at night the bustle of Leith Walk adds character. Most of the dishes are aboveaverage takes on a typical British-Indian restaurant menu, diverging from the norm here and there with the likes of tandoori seabass, spiced okra bindi do pyaza or

ajwaini fish masala. Yet the real draw is a range of delicate rice and lentil dosa, idly and uthappam, served with sambar, chutneys and various masala fillings. Deliciously light, Golden Ambal is one of the best places in Edinburgh to experience these authentic South Indian delights. + The excellent dosa, idly and uthappam - Pleasant but functional setting

Kalpna 2/3 St Patrick’s Square, Southside, 0131 667 9890, kalpnarestaurant.com | £8.50 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Edinburgh has a shortage of good vegetarian restaurants, so Kalpna is highly valued by its loyal band of ethical eaters. Taken over by new management in 2016, the cosy restaurant is decorated with intricately embossed and mosaic plaster walls. The effect is striking and unusual, making it clear that this is a restaurant not scared of making an effort. Impressive starters have a wow factor, and while sev dahi poori is described as roadside fare, it turns out to be beautifully crispy little delicacies stuffed with potato and chickpeas and drizzled in three sweet, highly flavoursome sauces. An enormous dosa is a popular follow up, or try the palak paneer which is stuffed full of spinach and surprisingly strong-tasting cheese. There’s also a good choice of mains, including mughal kofta (or cheesy nut balls as they’re known to regulars). If the choice is overwhelming, opt for the reasonably priced buffet lunch or set-price three course thali dinner option in the evening. + A wide variety of vegetarian delights - Service is not for diners on a tight timetable

Kebab Mahal 7 Nicolson Square, Old Town, 0131 667 5214, kebab-mahal.co.uk | £11.50 (lunch) / £11.50 (dinner)

One of Edinburgh’s oldest Indian takeaways, Kebab Mahal generates such loyalty in its customers they’re apt to direct you to a table and recommend the tandoori chicken before heading home with their own juicy kebab tucked under their arm. They’re not wrong; from a beautifully crisp and sizzlingly spicy vegetable samosa to a sweet and tangy coriander-infused chicken karahi, this is good-quality stuff. The restaurant itself

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might not be much to look at and there’s very little space inside, but Kebab Mahal is a great stop-off on the way to or from a play at the Festival Theatre or a night out on the tiles during the Fringe. You won’t be able to pre-load here though – it’s alcohol-free. If you enjoy an old-school curry you’ll find all the classics, from a red-hot madras to a creamy korma. And it’s all served up under the watchful eye of patron Zahid Kahn, who has been serving hungry Edinburgh punters since 1979. + Simple good quality curry that defies expectations - You’ll be lucky to find a seat, so be prepared to wait

Khushi’s 10 Antigua Street, New Town, 0131 558 1947, khushis.com | £13 (set lunch) / £23 (dinner)

Khushi’s first opened in Edinburgh’s Potterow in 1947 and its name remains synonymous with ‘curry’ in the capital. Intoxicating aromas lure the lion’s share of walk-ins in an area packed with pretheatre competition. Inside the dĂŠcor tastefully fuses monochrome with brights, and low-key music and lighting encourage conversation without compromising ambience. But that’s just a warm-up. The well-executed menu, a generous belt notch above standard Indian food, brings signature starters; an entire section devoted to the tandoor and a complement of refreshing mocktails earn Khushi’s its spot at the top table. To start, prawn kolhapuri is redolent of cumin and curry leaf, delicately coated in chickpea flour to produce crisp but yielding mouthfuls. In a venue producing its own dairy products, it would be remiss not to sample the saag paneer as a side or main: it’s a contrast of smooth spinach, garlic and tempered cumin and firm, salty curd. Khushi’s is a versatile and trusted favourite to return to and recommend. + Veg pakora with lots of lovely touches - One is no fun: the specials board is in need of reinforcements

TIPLIST A GOOD LUNCH DEAL • Kalpna 66 Popular long-standing south Indian vegetarian restaurant, now under new management, with a great lunch deal. 87 • The Kitchin Tom Kitchin’s food continues to delight, especially at this steal of a lunchtime deal which omits none of the special touches. • The Mosque Kitchen 67 No-frills, canteen-style dining room, serving basic but tasty meat and vegetable curries at low prices. • New Chapter 88 A ďŹ ne-dining neighbourhood restaurant combining the best of Scotland’s larder with modern European cuisine. • Punjabi Junction 68 A brilliant social enterprise community cafĂŠ serving authentic homemade Indian food in the heart of Leith. • Traverse Coffee 22 This re-boot of the Traverse cafĂŠ delivers a healthy, well-priced show-stealer of a lunch.

Mintleaf 28 Bernard Street, Leith, Leith, 0131 555 5552, mintleafrestaurant.co.uk | ÂŁ23 (lunch) / ÂŁ23 (dinner)

North African riad-styled Mintleaf is an unusual Leith establishment, just around the corner from the bars and restaurants of the Shore. The decorative influences and combined Thai and Indian menu means first impressions feel a little unfocused, but those brave enough to enter won’t be disappointed. There’s a lot of choice and the quality of the cooking on the Indian menu (in particular) is a cut above the average. The house speciality seabass tenga starter is beautifully cooked with lime, ginger, chilli and a sweet and sour dressing. On the Thai menu, the special roast duck with honey sauce is also crispy and tender, though the accompanying sweet chilli sauce is unnecessary. An excellent murgh jalfaraizi Indian main is gently sweet and flavoursome, packed full of vegetables and soft juicy chicken while the vegetarian Thai green curry is also very good. Accompanied with plain pilau rice and a lovely fried paratha bread, it all makes a very satisfying meal and from a little Indian oasis in the heart of Leith. + Lovingly crafted, unusually good Indian menu - Leopard print wallpaper in the loo makes for a Marmite moment

The Mosque Kitchen 31–33 Nicolson Square, Southside, 0131 667 4035, mosquekitchen.com | Friday 1–1.45pm. | £10 (weekends only Fri–Sun 2–8pm, not Aug) (set lunch) / £7 (dinner)

Nestled in a little enclave of curry houses next to the Edinburgh Central Mosque, this hot-plate cafÊ is a haven for students, university staff and, of course, the postprayer hungry. Plain white and yellow paintwork brings a fresh clean feel and big round tables are ideal for groups of friends set on putting the world to rights over a generous portion of chicken, lamb or vegetable curry. Halal meat is freshly cooked each day in medium spices and may include a tikka masala or a biryani. Vegetarians and vegans are well catered for with a thick, rich tomato aubergine curry or a nice gooey sag aloo. It’s all wheat-free unless you request a naan on the side, which you can ask to be freshly cooked. It’s also worth noting Mosque Kitchen is completely alcohol-free. It may not be Edinburgh’s finest, but with a chicken tikka masala with rice served with a friendly smile for a mere £6, it’s a popular choice, particularly at lunchtime. + Maybe the best value curry in the UK? - Comfort comes second to convenience – it’s a bit of barn

âœą Mother India’s CafĂŠ 3–5 Infirmary Street, Old Town, 0131 524 9801, motherindiascafeedinburgh.co.uk | ÂŁ14 (lunch) / ÂŁ14 (dinner)

The modest exterior of Mother India’s CafÊ gives little hint of the culinary riches that lie within. Compared to its Glasgow siblings, the Mother India Group’s sole Edinburgh venue hides its light under a bit of a bushel, but nonetheless locals in the know flock in – booking is more or less a must. Specials change daily on the tapas-style menu and include not only mains, but also flavour-packed sides such as exquisitely textured mushroom rice. With so much choice at reasonable prices, tapas-style portions provide a welcome invitation to gorge with abandon. Chicken achari whisks lime and chilli pickle from the wings to place it centre stage with succulent chicken pieces; baby aubergines with lightly spiced potatoes nail the combination of taste and texture, and crisp, fluffy garlic-laden naan is the perfect vessel for scooping it all up. At this point dessert may seem excessive

but in for a penny, in for a pound – of warm, syrupy, divine doughiness. + Specials warrant the name tag - Downstairs is most atmospheric but closed when quiet

âœą HITLIST

Namaste Kathmandu 17–19 Forrest Road, Old Town, 0131 220 2273, namastektm.co.uk | £13 (lunch) / £19 (dinner)

Bustling Namaste Kathmandu holds its own against the competition in this Old Town student and tourist hot spot, with an array of decent-quality Indian, Nepalese and seafood specials as well as the odd European dish for parties with a spice-hater in tow. The Nepalese specials are really where it’s at though, with a selection of mildly spiced favourites, such as perfectly formed steamed or fried momo dumplings filled with chicken or vegetables and accompanied by a creamy tomato and sesame sauce. Even better is a highly flavoured soft Nepalese chicken satay in a tangy peanut marinade. The meat is definitely a highlight here; don’t miss the bheda tona, a leg of lamb marinated overnight in herbs, yoghurt and spices which melts right off the bone and into your mouth. There’s a good selection of vegetarian dishes, including a decent black dahl. Thin and crispy garlic naan and decent pilau rice set everything off. Note the little booths at the back give smaller parties a bit of privacy from buoyant larger groups. + Well-cooked marinated Nepalese meat dishes - Red brick wallpaper sets the decorative tone

âœą Navadhanya

INDIAN âœą Dishoom This newcomer brings a taste of historic Bombay to Edinburgh, with an atmsopheric Irani cafĂŠ open from breakfast until late. âœą Mother India’s CafĂŠ Tapasstyle menu of freshly made, memorable dishes in a relaxed and informal establishment. âœą Navadhanya Expect fresh and innovative cooking from this understated Haymarket Indian restaurant. âœą Ronaq The original Craigleith restaurant is in no way overshadowed by its new Market Street location. âœą Tanjore Delicious, good value South Indian options, including vegan and gluten-free options, in a cafĂŠ-style setting.

88 Haymarket Terrace, West End, 0131 281 7187, navadhanya-scotland.co.uk | Closed Mon | ÂŁ10 (set lunch) / ÂŁ40 (7 course tasting menu)

You don’t often find pan-fried scallops on an Indian restaurant menu and it’s equally rare to enjoy them as gently seared as they are at Navadhanya. Lightly crusted with fennel and spices, these lovely little delicacies are topped with a mound of mango and sit on a tomato coulis, quickly establishing that this is indeed the food of kings. It’s a bit of surprise as this neat but not particularly stylish shopfront establishment near Haymarket station is easy to overlook. Locals have clearly cottoned on though, as Navadhanya is thriving a year or so after opening. The pièce de rÊsistance of the main courses is a beautifully presented fresh lobster curry, lightly spiced without overpowering the taste of the sea. That’s not to overlook a hefty portion of feathery slow-cooked lamb shank, which comes in a gorgeously gooey coconut milk-infused tomato sauce. Desserts are freshly made, so it’s well worth trying a syrup-saturated gulab jamun donut or a pistachio kulfi. Navadhanya successfully takes Indian dining up a notch. + Unique in Edinburgh - The dÊcor doesn’t do justice to the menu

Pataka 190 Causewayside, Southside, 0131 668 1167, patakarestaurant.co.uk | ÂŁ17 (dinner)

Sometimes nothing can beat a good old-fashioned curry, with its blend of subtle spices and good quality meat and fish. While Pataka is not going to win any cutting-edge prizes, it does offer just that kind of decent-quality Indian and Bengali cuisine to Southside diners. Kebabs feature heavily on the starter menu and you won’t go wrong with the succulent lamb option, accompanied by

The Tanjore - bringing the taste of authentic, home-cooked southern Indian food to Edinburgh

Come in and try our delicious Dosai and Curries! 6–8 Clerk Street, Edinburgh,  ͺ͝ ČˆČ‹Í˛ÍłÍľÍłČŒ͚͜ͺ͸͡ͳͺ www.tanjore.co.uk j HITL IN THE EISA TED DRINKING TING & 2012, 20 GUIDE 2014 & 2013, 16 The List Eating & Drinking Guide 67

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a sweet mint sauce, or vegetable pakora that dishes up a hint of heat brought out by the traditional spicy tomato sauce. Tandoori chicken, lamb and prawns are popular mains but go off the beaten track with the tak begooni maki, a generous portion of pan-fried salmon in thick tomato and aubergine sauce. There’s plenty for vegetarians, too, including a decent saag paneer or a side of very good garlic-infused tarka dhal with coriander garnish. Pataka has been a neighbourhood favourite for nigh on 30 years and enjoys an incredibly loyal local fan base, so booking is recommended. + Consistent neighbourhood eatery - Feels a wee bit sleepy

Punjabi Junction 122–124 Leith Walk, Leith, 0131 281 0159, punjabijunction.org | Closed Sun | £5 (set lunch) / £12 (dinner)

WENDY BARRIE ON THE ARK OF TASTE In this world of mass production, some may think heritage foods are less interesting and more expensive. I think they are very relevant to our future. Heritage foods have much to offer us and their preservation is invaluable for environmental food production. They offer delicious, honest food with low food miles and often with considerable health benefits. There are those who ‘develop’ breeds and ‘reformulate’ foods, invariably for commercial gain, but this is short-sighted and has consequences. Take Aberdeen-Angus, for example. The majority of steaks bearing that name are cross-bred, leading to inconsistencies in flavour and deviation from the original genetics. There are a few who still retain 100% purebred herds, however, including Geordie Soutar at Dunlouise in Angus who rescued native-bred Aberdeen-Angus from near extinction, and Hardiesmill in the Borders who also rear theirs the traditional way. Because retaining the heritage and recognising the agricultural and taste benefits are so important, native-bred Aberdeen-Angus has joined a worldwide project run by Slow Food called the Ark of Taste. The project gathers evidence of our remaining food heritage: laying down genetic markers and recording traditional preparation and preservation techniques. Our food security and sovereignty should not be confused with collecting an interesting archive – this is real and now: good for our future health and economy. ■ Wendy Barrie is Ark of Taste coordinator for Slow Food Scotland, slowfoodscotland.com. For more on the Ark of Taste, see fondazioneslowfood.com

Enjoy a warm glow of culinary and social satisfaction when you visit this excellent social enterprise café on Leith Walk. Charity Sikh Sanjog set it up in 2013 to provide Indian women with training opportunites and it’s been embraced by the community ever since. Lunchtimes are a hive of activity as customers flock to grab a thali lunch for a fiver, or a takeaway for as little as £3. Top tip though: eat in and ask for a freshly made momo, pakora or samosa starter – there may be a wait but it’s worth it and the aubergine pakora is especially good. The fish curry (which has been on the TV, no less) is also a favourite and sees soft white fish soaked in a medium-spiced thick tomato sauce with lots of garlic. There are also chicken, lamb and vegetarian curries, all of which are dairy-free and made on the day. Although very much a café – it is simply decorated with plain pine-effect tables and a map of India on a dark blue wall – Punjabi Junction is now open until 10pm and accepts BYOB. + Great value, good, simple food - Everything is freshly made, so can take time in busy periods

the city centre is just 10-15 minutes away, so there’s really no reason not to make the trip. Those who do are rewarded with a well-rounded wine list, a well-executed menu of classics and signature dishes and attentive service. Inside is opulent: dimmed diamanté chandeliers, gilt edges, dark paint and furniture create a dramatic backdrop for dinner. This is no case of style over substance though as the food also offers up plenty to please. A mixed starter platter of tikka with king prawn, veg pakora and an outstanding, richly spiced seekh kebab has no weak links. Vegetarian signature main sabzi balti balances a robust background chilli heat with accomplished spicing and tender fresh vegetables that retain their bite, while barbecued lamb kathmandu with lentils is extremely tender. For afters, mango kulfi and gulab jamun are both good, with whipped cream and chocolate sauce adding a touch of flamboyance. + Genuinely warm, welcoming and knowledgeable staff - Chilli nan, though tasty, is a touch doughy

NEW Ronaq New Waverley 31 East Market Street, Old Town, 0131 558 7683, ronaqrestaurant.co.uk/new_ waverley | £8 (lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Ronaq’s newest venture transports the tried and tested cuisine of its sister venue to the central New Waverley district, one of Edinburgh’s most exciting new food destinations. Downstairs is an informal lounge bar, while upstairs floor-to-ceiling windows display panoramic views of the city. The dining room is plush but not showy: largely monochrome, with a circular grey leather banquette and contemporary chandelier forming an eye-catching centrepiece. Quality touches abound, from the carefully considered wine list to the attentive service. The menu’s fresh, punchy flavours span the Indian sub-continent. A starter of black pepper machli hits just the right notes to enhance, not

mask, the tender chunks of sea bass; a vegetarian starter of paneer tikka is chargrilled and smoky; while a jalfrezi (meat, veg or seafood) is packed with fresh chillis, ginger and a perfectly hard-boiled egg, if so desired. A star in its own right, Ronaq New Waverley is one sequel that doesn’t disappoint. + Stunning views grow more atmospheric as evening falls - May be quiet on weeknights until word spreads

NEW Roti 42 South Bridge, Old Town, 0131 557 8820, roti-edinburgh.co.uk | £6.95 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

This new kid on the South Bridge block, with its Mumbai discoteque-chic décor, is already buzzing with diners drawn in by traditional dishes served tapasstyle. Deep pink leather benches make a bold statement alongside neon indoor signage, placing Roti directly into the party venue category. Noisy groups of hungry nightlife lovers will revel in the extensive array of Pakistani and Indian delights thrown together on the menu in a haphazard fashion. Dig into some crispy poppadums with accompanying traditional pickle tray, including a tongue-numbing green hari chutney, while mentally digesting the prospect of kebabs, pakora, samosa, mini lamb or chicken karahis, butter chickens and dhals. Standout dishes include a slowcooked lamb Punjabi saag gosht and a creamy black dhal. Homemade desserts feature the likes of mango or pistachio kulfi, or a range of Punjabi sweets such as gajrela. The bar dispenses popular mocktails and you can also BYOB for free. + Enjoyable tapas-style Indian - A shock of deep pink isn’t very chilled

Spice Lounge Kitchen 1 Craigmount View, Corstorphine, 0131 476 9999, spiceloungekitchen.co.uk | £7 (set lunch) / £25 (dinner)

The Spice Lounge Kitchen may seem like a bit of a hike from central Edinburgh but its suburban Edinburgh

Rivage 126–130 Easter Road, Leith, 0131 661 6888 | Closed Tue | £15 (dinner)

Rivage’s unobtrusive façade is slightly off the beaten track and easily missed – so kudos to them for achieving their 10-year anniversary. Personable service, the option to BYOB, low lighting and an open kitchen create a low-key feel; while head chef Ryad Meeajane presiding over the tandoor adds a note of drama. This commitment to authentic Indian cooking is further shown in the menu, with many less familiar options such as hyderbadi biryani (prepared in a sealed pot and fragranced with rose petals, saffron and sweet spices). Tandoori rack of lamb is a lot of meat for the money but the lamb can be a bit dry. Vegetable cashew korma is particularly memorable – neither claggy nor sweet. Touches like complimentary puri, fresh pineapple salsa and whole red pepper garnishes doubling as lanterns show real attention to detail. Even if the odd dish doesn’t quite reach the heights of the best offerings, there’s much to merit a return visit, not least the exceptionally good value. + Good range of freshly prepared accompaniments - Décor now a little tired

✱ Ronaq 10–12 Craigleith Road, Stockbridge, 0131 332 3362, ronaqrestaurant.co.uk | £8 (lunch) / £21 (dinner)

Ronaq’s Craigleith location is just out of the way enough to warrant ‘neighbourhood restaurant’ status. But

Tuk Tuk: lively Indian street food served tapas-style

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Dishoom (page 66): their first opening outside London has them queuing round the block at St Andrew Square

location is surprisingly easy to get to by bus and car, and there’s plenty of parking on-site too. This versatile venue obviously tries to be all things to its neighbourhood: there’s a function suite; a sizeable and distinct bar; plus the smart, vividly patterned dining room. There are a few different menus too – tapas, bar and main which span north and south India as well as taking in ‘British Indian’ favourites, which include some unexpected options like stone-baked pizza with a tandoori twist. Don’t be afraid to ask the friendly staff for extra time to order. A complimentary appetiser of mini fluffy pineapple fritters is a nice touch while waiting for starters – battered options like mildly spiced crispy chilli squid are well executed and recommended. For a main quite literally fit for a king (or queen), try Lucknow chicken – tender chicken pieces cooked in peppery awadi gravy – which is allegedly a favourite dish of the Lucknow royal family. + Discovering good quality dining in an unlikely spot - Too much choice for some

✱ Tanjore 6–8 Clerk Street, Southside, 0131 478 6518, tanjore.co.uk | £8 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Tanjore is a southern Indian city famous for religion, art and architecture. It’s the inspiration for this excellent Southside curry house which is a must-visit for dosa lovers. Given the cultural heritage of Tanjore, the well-lit café style interior is a bit disappointing: a beautiful blue elephant wall hanging could do with more prominence. Still, you won’t care about the décor when you start digging into the array of fine south Indian cuisine, including mini idli in a bowl of sambar for starter. The wow factor comes with the wafer-thin honey-coloured dosa, perhaps stuffed with a thick, rich lamb masala and accompanied by a selection of chutneys. It’s certainly not a bad idea to share this, alongside the speciality stuffed brinjal curry; soft baby aubergines crammed with crunchy coconut,

coriander and poppy seeds. Soak up any remaining sauce with a lovely fried puri bread but be prepared to leave room for a sugary sweet homemade dessert, such as the banana dosai in toffee sauce. A traditional jiharthanda juice goes down well if you don’t BYOB alcohol. + A carnival of coconut milk based South Indian specialities - The stark, brightly lit atmosphere

10 to 10 In Delhi 67 Nicolson Street, Old Town, 0131 629 1130 / 07536757770 | £6 (set lunch) / £11 (dinner)

10 to 10 in Delhi is a pint-sized pocket rocket of casual neighbourhood dining (minus any actual pints). What this busy one room venue lacks in size it more than makes up for in sparkle, with tightly packed tables and brightly coloured fabrics from floor to ceiling adding to an air of vibrant charm. Plates laden with pulses, rice, couscous, chicken and lamb weave their way to the tables providing hearty, tasty and good value sustenance to the predominately student clientele. A single crisp lamb samosa topped with a light chickpea curry is a standout starter. Lamb appears again for mains in the form of tender lamb pieces in a South Indian curry sauce, punctuated with sweet green peas. Vegetarians are wellcatered for with staple lentil, chickpea, potato and spinach based curries available as sides or mains. Fine or fancy dining this ain’t, but with generously sized portions that don’t leave you feeling short changed that’s just how 10 to 10 in Delhi’s loyal regulars like it. + Charming, characterful dining room - Overly moist naan bread

relaxed tapas-style of eating positively demands sharing. With its bright Bollywood- inspired décor, the hits of spice that punctuate most dishes, and the clientele (Tuk Tuk is renowned for large groups) an evening here is usually fairly described as lively. Ordering around three dishes per head is recommended: making the puri yoghurt bombs at least one of the choices should be mandatory. These crisp little puri-filled explosions of yoghurt, tamarind, chickpea, mint and crunchy sev are a revelation and work well in contrast with hotter dishes like platform 5 vindaloo. Railway station lamb curry with spinach falls off the bone and is worth the journey alone. To wash it all down, don’t miss out on the sikanji – ludicrously refreshing lemonade with a hint of house spice. + Channa puri. Everything street food should be - Underwhelming aubergine and potato curry

Voujon 107 Newington Road, Southside, 0131 667 5046, voujonedinburgh.co.uk | £25 (dinner)

Crisp white linen tablecloths and weighty menus backed with wood usually point to a higher-end – and higher-priced – establishment, but Voujon’s menu (especially the set meals) represents good value for money. To begin at the side, their breads are excellent – crispy, with just the right hint of charcoal from the tandoor. If you want to delegate your dinner decision try the fusion menu, which promises to ‘make Indian dining simple again’ by pairing mains such as murgh sagorana (a satisfying medium-spiced half tandoori chicken cooked with mincemeat) with the chef’s choice of accompaniments. The Bengali-influenced menu also offers plenty for vegetarians and pescatarians. Pane puri, pastry balls stuffed with chickpeas, potatoes, onions and coriander and served cold with tangy tamarind sauce make a crisp and piquant appetiser, while mains like macher jhool give salmon an opportunity to share the stage with coriander and a refreshing combination of lime juice, garlic and tomato. + Some of the best breads in Edinburgh - Frozen desserts a bit lacklustre

Tuk Tuk 1 Leven Street, Southside, 0131 228 3322, tuktukonline.com | £12 (set lunch) / £14 (dinner)

If you can’t resist a spot of platepilfering from your long-suffering dining companions, then Tuk Tuk could be the perfect solution. Serving up simple, diverse and tasty Indian street food at around a fiver a dish, its

11 BRUNTSFIELD PLACE, EDINBURGH, EH10 4HN

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The capital’s Italian scene finds itself in reassuringly decent shape. Family-run neighbourhood stalwarts continue to satisfy loyal bands of returning regulars amid a sprinkling of polished venues where precise cuisine leans on the finest imported ingredients. Stylish communal dining offers thoughtfully composed small plates, and street snacks continue to emerge alongside a handful of restaurants striving to elevate the humble pizza.  Well-sourced regional vino remains plentiful and you never have to wander too far to get a comforting bowl of carbs. Reviewers: Ian Hogg, Robin Wu

Amarone 13 St Andrew Square, New Town, 0131 523 1171, amaronerestaurant.co.uk | £16 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

In tune with its sister restaurants dotted around the country, Amarone has hit on a formula aimed at mass appeal. The entrance foyer bar leads to large, highceilinged rooms, busy with dark fabric banquettes and splashes of burgundy, twinkly lights and a hint of George Street glitz. A fairly eclectic crowd enjoy an all-day à la carte menu that covers a lot of ground, with pizza, pasta and sharing focaccia options, familiar mains and a selection of steaks. A popular antipasti board of cured meats and grilled vegetables is followed by thinly stretched pizzas speckled with spicy nduja sausage and roasted peppers. Mains feature the likes of king scallops sautéed in white wine and chilli on a bed of tagliolini, linguine with clams or a risotto of smoked salmon and prawns. A fixed-price menu stretches from lunch to early evening, with plenty of glutenfree options across a restaurant that comfortably caters for cosy couples and the largest of gatherings. There’s also the most delightful private dining room, hidden away in the converted basement vault – definitely worth a peek. + Crowd pleaser with good pizza, pasta and focaccia options - Not every dish is a winner

La Bruschetta 13 Clifton Terrace, Haymarket, West End, 0131 467 7464, labruschetta.co.uk | Closed Sun/Mon | £15 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Haymarket’s La Bruschetta is packed full of old-school charm. Wine bottles from an impressive all-Italian list dress

the walls of the compact and comfortable room, with linen-clad tables and waistcoated waiters generating a relaxed vibe. Owner Giovanni patrols his skilful kitchen, fashioning a pleasing mix of rustic and more polished dishes across a traditional and appealing à la carte. A delightful antipasti plate of asparagus and prosciutto, figs and warm honey is a standout starter alongside popular linguine with lobster from a catch of the day-inspired specials board. Pan-fried veal with anchovies and capers and gorgonzola-topped seared beef pop up on a list of meaty mains, all supported by a cast of well-composed sides and desserts. An all-day fixed-price menu features rigatoni with smoked pancetta and artichokes, and lobster re-appears inside handmade agnolotti pasta drenched in a creamy bisque sauce. With a loyal band of local followers, this very likeable restaurant successfully overlays hospitable and cheerful dining over a slightly more formal backdrop. + Confident cooking in a cosy setting - Only eight tables, so it pays to book

Cafe Bellina 33 Elm Row, Leith Walk, Leith See Cafés: Wee Places

Café Domenico 30 Sandport Street, Leith, 0131 467 7266, cafedomenico.co.uk | £12.50 (lunch) / £16.50 (dinner)

Tucked around the corner from Commercial Street, Leith’s Café Domenico has long been a charming and cheerful neighbourhood favourite. In the same family hands for nearly 20 years, olive green walls and red checked tablecloths lend warmth to a compact mirror-lined room. A fairly tight à la carte menu stretches from daytime to evening, showcasing well-prepared, honest Italian food and evenly priced house vino, with pastas and blackboard specials the star attractions. Take your pick from gnocchi with dried figs and pancetta, hamwrapped cod with pea risotto or maybe linguine flecked with mussels and squid in a rich shellfish broth. Nduja sausage lends a spicy kick to sea bass with creamy mash, while generous bowls of seafood stew arrive packed with the day’s catch in a rich tomato and white wine sauce. Chicken and truffle pesto ciabatta features among well-packed lunchtime wraps and sun-dried focaccia, all supported by early week pasta and wine deals and the occasional evening tasting menu. Much admired by its legions of local fans, owner Dellita ensures the ambience and fine food at Domenico's remains welcoming and generous. + Friendly neighbourhood joint - Menu a bit vague on pasta choice

Civerinos Italian Street Food & Pizza Slice Bar 5 Hunter Square, Old Town, 0131 220 0851, civerinos.com | £16 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

While Civerinos' stylish Hunter Square venue ticks a lot of Italian street snack boxes, its cheese-laden sourdough pizzas are undoubtedly the star of the show. A fast-paced front-of-house bustles around communal timber tables and comfy bench seating alongside trendy exposed brick walls, subway tiles, low hanging pendants and funky retro tunes. Paper plates and metal takeaway tubs carry garlic-marinated calamari, melting mozzarella arancini and popular zucchini fries from an appealing list of antipasti, sides and salads. Meatballs bobbing in San Marzano tomato and porcini sauce form a standout pizza option, ably supported by caramelised onion, potato and sausage; or pepperoni by the slice. All can be washed down with a very

Contini George Street: revamped with a new bar and modernised menu

drinkable glass of house wine or a couple of cold beers, with a handful of desserts available for those venturing beyond some of the city’s finest pizza. + Much-heralded pizzas and supporting cast of snacks - No bookings unless you’re a big party

NEW Civerinos Slice 49 Forrest Road, Old Town, civerinos. com

After the roaring success of their Hunter Square pizza and Italian street food temple, the team behind Civerinos are due to open Civerinos Slice in April. Entirely pizza-focused and open from 8am untill the wee sma' hours, the 80-cover restaurant will feature 20 different pizzas, all available by the slice. As well as their own thin sourdough base, they’re introducing a deep-dish New York-style ‘Nonna slice’. The team aim to create a busy, buzzy experience on Forrest Road, with sit-in and takeaway equally accessible. And if you have funny rules about eating pizza before noon, look away now – a compact range of breakfast pizzas, perfect for eating on the go, is also in development. [not open for full review at time of going to press.]

✱ Contini George Street 103 George Street, New Town, 0131 225 1550, contini.com/contini-george-street | £16 (set lunch) / £23 (dinner)

A spring makeover saw Carina and Victor Contini’s opulent all-day Italian ramping up the fun and modernising the menu. A plush new bar area serves aperitivi and fresco-style renaissance figures adorn the walls — a touch of tongue-in-cheek Italian melodrama that softens the feel of this grand former banking hall. The revamped menu is still rooted in Italian tradition and family recipes, but takes a progressive approach towards sharing plates and contemporary dishes, while the Continis’ signature commitment

to sourcing the best ingredients from Scotland and Italy is still very much in evidence. Light, crumbly ciabatta is served with exquisite green olive oil from Tuscan estate Fontodi; slices of sweetly delicate coppa from Emiglia-Romagna are perfectly paired with bright, fruity mulberry jam. A lavish fritto misto feast of squid, langoustine and courgettes sees its components arrive in as crisp and light batter as you are likely to find. Breakfast is worth mentioning too; from hearty black pudding focaccia and scrambled organic eggs to fresh fruit salads and excellent coffee, there are good options for an early meeting or a longer lazy brunch. + A stylish setting for cracking cocktails and cooking, elevated by serious sourcing - The music can grate a little when the restaurant is quieter

Cucina G&V Royal Mile Hotel, 1 George IV Bridge, Old Town, 0131 240 1666, quorvuscollection.com/gandv-hoteledinburgh/restaurants/cucina | £25 (set lunch) / £33 (dinner)

The self-appointed bustling soul of the uber-stylish G&V hotel dishes up a deluxe, contemporary interpretation of traditional Italian food in a sumptuously designed dining space, all saturated with eye-boggling colour and pattern. Bolognan chef Mattia Camorani has constructed an appealing and flexible menu that allows for, say, a quick bowl of hand-made tagliatelle al ragu with a cheeky glass of Valpolicella, through to a full-blown tasting menu with matching wines. There’s some good stuff to be had including a hearty dish of conchiglie pasta with wild boar ragù — a deeply meaty bowlful that’s finished with a trangressive but welcome grating of smoked cheddar. A starter of ox tongue and pickles is less successful – the paperthin tongue is a little grey, lacklustre

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and overwhelmed by its companions. Things look up with a tagliata though — perfectly cooked ribeye, sliced on a bed of peppery rocket and topped with sweet shavings of Parmigiano. It’s all rather pretty too, in keeping with its stylish, high-end home. + Styling it up with chic pasta and handsome homemade breads - The environs and service could be a little hotel-ish for some

✱ HITLIST Fresh Italian Food s Served with Love

Divino Enoteca 5 Merchant Street, Old Town, 0131 225 1770, divinoedinburgh.com | Closed Sun | £24 (Sat only) (lunch) / £24 (dinner)

Linked by warm, dark tones and stripped-back wine cellar chic, Divino Enoteca’s lower ground venue seamlessly shifts between polished wine bar and sophisticated, elegant restaurant. Tucked beneath its George IV Bridge sister trattoria, a huge selection of carefully sourced wines dress the stylish walls, with a stellar range of top-notch wine available by the glass. Open from midafternoon, white table linen and a refined front of house link the restaurant and the private dining room, with sommelier Silvio’s skilful wine tastings energising both. A precise à la carte kicks off with a standout starter of oven-roasted sardines, leading to squid ink tagliatelle with prawn bisque and pistachio crumb. A rich red wine sauce coats roasted rib of beef, leaving just enough room for the deliciously decadent chocolate fondant or regional Italian cheeses with honey. Ideal for an after work tipple, a conservatory and sit-up bar host a range of appealing snacks, with balsamic-drizzled parmesan and antipasti plates to share, all well matched to cleverly composed wine flights. + Polished interior, with precise food and fabulous wine - Occasionally a dish misses the mark

La Favorita 325–331 Leith Walk, Leith, 0131 554 2430, vittoriagroup.co.uk | £10 (set lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Overlaid with its bustling takeaway trade and a distinctive delivery service, La Favorita continues to satisfy its neighbourhood’s demand for familyfriendly dining. A hugely hospitable front-of-house patrols a smart interior composed of timber and exposed brick, trendy neutral tones and comfy booths, with a cheery private dining room tucked away towards the back. Rigatoni with nduja sausage and chicken roasted in a chilli marinade feature on an appealing all-day à la carte, alongside a tempting range of gelato sundaes and liqueurs from a well-stocked bar. Busy ovens in the entrance foyer kitchen support an extensive pizza menu, with goat’s cheese and pancetta or spicy salami with ricotta popping up among two dozen wellcomposed options. Pesto-filled arancini and Salsiccia sausages in a cannellini bean stew appear on a good value fixedprice lunch offer, with plenty of choice and value to keep the fidgety bambinos content. On its game for over a decade, this is a popular venue much admired for the warmth of its welcome and of course its pizza. + Convivial setting with friendly staff and plenty of pizza - Not sure about the stem broccoli pizza

✱ Locanda de Gusti 102 Dalry Road, West End, 0131 346 8800, locandadegusti.com | Closed Sun | £22 (lunch) / £25 (dinner)

This friendly neighbourhood Neapolitan restaurant, from husband and wife team Rosario and Maria Sartore, bristles with confidence and an infectious sense of fun. With its lacy lampshades, linen

ITALIAN ✱ Contini George Street A 2017 revamp saw Contini hitting all the right notes: delicious and deceptively simple food in a beautiful setting. ✱ Locanda de Gusti Dedication to the best ingredients and the joy of eating give this unassuming Italian restaurant a life-affirming flavour. ✱ Pizzeria 1926 Outstanding no-frills pizzeria serving up authentic Neapolitan pizza and street food. ✱ WILDMAN Casual communal dining in smart stripped-back interior with an appealing array of small plates and carefully crafted pizzas. tablecloths and old tomato tins for candles, there’s a touch of elegant, oldendays trattoria to the place, albeit with a wry wink. This mix of knowing rusticity delivered with slick professionalism can also be seen at work in the kitchen where homely, southern Italian cooking with big, bold flavours is dished up with extrovert flair. A seafood feast makes for a joyfully messy starter – mussels, clams, prawns and langoustines bathe in delicious winey broth with sweet tomatoes and garlicky toast. Silky homemade pasta also features, with guanciale, provola and potato for a satisfying, gutsy carb-fest. Secondi are unsurprisingly rich and hearty – think lamb shoulder baked long and slow on the bone, or languidly tender aubergines in bright tomato sugo with melting cheese. It’s rough around the edges, but consciously so, and underscored by good ingredients from both Scotland and Italy (such as wonderful Vesuvian tomatoes and Italian bitter greens), it’s all the better for it too. + Big, bright and bold cooking, served joyfully - If dainty is your thing, then maybe this ain’t

45 MORNINGSIDE ROAD EDINBURGH EH10 4AZ

tel: 0131 466 6767

I A ROW 5 YEARS IN

www.nonnas-kitchen.co.uk

Nonna’s Kitchen 45 Morningside Road, Southside, 0131 466 6767, nonnas-kitchen.co.uk | Closed Mon | £15 (lunch) / £19 (dinner)

Six years after putting down roots in its Morningside neighbourhood, familyrun Nonna’s continues to do the simple things well. Gino and mum Carmela offer a warm welcome in a relaxed room of pale hues and light timber tones, while father Mimmo expertly marshals his kitchen troops. Over 40 years of restaurant pedigree informs a no-fuss, well-executed à la carte menu, with half a dozen pizza and hearty pasta options supporting a sprinkling of meaty mains. Seafood is king on a lengthy list of blackboard specials – say, smoked haddock fishcakes or chilli-infused prawn linguine – all composed to let the core ingredients sing. Pumpkins imported The List Eating & Drinking Guide 71

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BEAUTIFUL BUILDINGS, WONDERFUL SERVICE, FABULOUS FOOD. CONTINI.

103 George Street Edinburgh, EH2 3ES

356 Castlehill Edinburgh, EH1 2NE

The Mound Edinburgh, EH2 2EL

At any of our venues or we’ll come to you!

TEL: 0131 225 1550 | WWW.CONTINI.COM QUOTE “THE LIST” AND RECEIVE A COMPLIMENTARY GLASS OF PROSECCO WHEN YOU BOOK FOR DINNER MAY, JUNE AND JULY 72 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

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the daringly simple to the thoughtfully adventurous. Cuoppo come in a brown paper cone; rustling deep-fried morsels of courgette flowers, stuffed olives, mozzarella, whitebait and more. It may not be particularly elegant, nor the lightest precursor to pizza, but washed down with a tumbler of superb value house wine, it’s damn enjoyable. Pizza, naturally, is Neapolitan style with a touch of yielding softness to the base. A special with friarielli (Italian bitter greens), spicy sausage and provola cheese is as delicious as it sounds while another with chopped octopus, tomatoes and oregano packs a gutsy punch of flavour and texture. This spot is alive with nofrills fun, fantastic food and a real sense of place — almost as good as an Italian mini-break. + Punchy treats from the streets - Perhaps not one to take your low-carb friends to

Taste of Italy 9 Baxter’s Place, New Town, 0131 557 9998, vittoriagroup.co.uk | £11 (lunch) / £11 (dinner)

Cucina (page 70): contemporary Italian in a sumptuous dining space

from Cremona fill popular ravioli, smothered with gorgonzola and walnuts, while ricotta substitutes for potato in delightfully light gnocchi pillows. Good value daytime and early dining menus feature tuna with cannellini beans and wild mushroom risotto, while vanilla panacotta and a decadent chocolate torte complete the picture. On first name terms with its loyal band of returning regulars, this is a restaurant firmly established in the heart of its community. + Familiar faces greeted like old friends - Remembering exactly what is in the specials

Origano 236 Leith Walk, Leith, 0131 554 6539, origano-leith.co.uk | £14 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

From humble beginnings in the tiny original premises nearby (now its takeaway), Origano has made a name for itself serving up some of the better pizza to be had in the city. It’s now well established in a chic, larger and more grown-up incarnation, with soft velvety textiles, dim lighting and exposed brick walls. An impressive gas and wood-fired oven takes centre stage in the space with pizzaiolos theatrically tossing and topping for your pleasure. There’s a good variety of pizzas from simple classics through to more elaborate creations, all in three sizes, ranging from reasonably petite to eye-poppingly large. A Del Mare comes with rich tomato sugo and is generously speckled with tuna, prawns, anchovies and parsley, all atop a thin, crisp base with just the right amount of chew. Starters and salads play their

supporting roles well – a vegetable antipasti board includes, among other good things, warm and crumbly homemade focaccia and freshly roasted vegetables. Finish up with a sweet and creamy tiramisu, easily big enough for two, before rolling out most satisfied onto Leith Walk. + Great pizza dished up with a little theatre - If dough ain’t your thing, choice is more limited

Osteria Del Tempo Perso 208 Bruntsfield Place, Southside, 0131 221 1777, osteriadeltempoperso.co.uk | £10.50 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Dining at the handsomely housed Osteria Del Tempo Perso, you are encouraged to relax and take your time as the Italians do. It’s good advice and you could heed it by kicking off with an appetitesharpening Negroni Sbagliato or other Italianate cocktail while you nibble some antipasti. The menu is wide-ranging, so alongside nostalgic trattoria favourites and Italian takes on burgers and steaks are some less familiar dishes. Pasta is definitely a highlight and a bowl with spicy nduja sausage is right on the money — intensely tomatoey, porky sauce clings seductively to rigatoni. Saltimbocca comes in a glossily reduced sauce that might be a little pudding-sweet for some but the actual desserts are sound enough as shown by an amaretto custard tart with short, crumbly pastry. All of this, in addition to the slightly old-fashioned but warm service, adds up to the feeling that they want you to have a good time while you take your time.

+ Good local buzz and interesting Italian-

only wine list - On busy nights, it’s hard to hear above

that buzz

✱ NEW Pizzeria 1926 85 Dalry Road, West End, 0131 337 5757 | Closed Mon | £13 (lunch) / £13 (dinner)

When street food is taken off the streets, something is often lost in translation. But at Pizzeria 1926 the heart and soul of Neapolitan pizza seems to have been transported direct from the bustle and noise of a Naples piazza. A confidently short menu consists of various cuoppo (Neapolitan-style fritto misto) and a list of around 10 pizzas ranging from

Taste of Italy is a bustling all-day diner, stretching early doors eggs Benedict into late night cocktails, with fast paced, informal dining sandwiched in between. A stone’s throw from the Playhouse Theatre, a cheery front-ofhouse generates a healthy buzz behind floor to ceiling goldfish bowl glazing that wraps around its prominent corner site. Stools and high tables nestle alongside a busy takeaway counter, with a raised area of smart timber cladding and cosy booths sitting in a fresh, bold coloured interior. A busy open kitchen pours out simply prepared, tasty food from a greatvalue menu that covers an impressive amount of ground. Popular arancini and bruschetta starters lead to gorgonzolatopped burgers and spicy meatball panini, alongside caponata-covered Italian sausages and a sprinkling of salads. Strips of Angus steak top rocket and parmesan dressed pizzas, with creamy bolognese and pepperoni smothered tagliatelle and salted butter caramel gelato to finish. With its evenly priced, honest cuisine, its little wonder this lively and generous, no reservations venue has them queuing out the door. + Buzzy venue with evenly priced menu - Balancing your big pizza on those small high tables

Tony Macaroni (Omni Centre) Omni Centre, Greenside Row, 0131 557 2717, tonymacaroni.co.uk/italianrestaurants/omni-centre-edinburgh | £16 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Perfectly placed for a Playhouse pre-theatre fuel-up, Tony Macaroni brings evenly priced, family-orientated

11 BRUNTSFIELD PLACE, EDINBURGH, EH10 4HN

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dining to the masses. Tucked away in the Omni Centre’s mall, subtitled cinema on silent screens illuminates a spacious, contemporary-styled dining room with warm timber tones and brown leather booths. An all-day à la carte menu covers a vast amount of ground, from deep-fried arancini and mozzarella sticks with ketchup dip, to goat’s cheese-topped burgers and pizzas laden with pepperoni. Hearty portions of baby backribs smothered in barbecue sauce emerge from the fast-paced open kitchen, alongside rigatoni with meatballs and two dozen seafood or meaty mains. Soup and sandwich combos appear on a great value, office-friendly lunch offer, with a range of towering ice-cream sundaes rounding off the three-course Sunday set-price deal. With plenty of sister restaurants dotted around the country, this is a friendly, fill-you-up kind of place with more than enough choice to keep customers content. + Friendly, fast and filling - Don't expect sophistication

Tony Macaroni (Queensferry Road) 503 Queensferry Road, 0131 297 7444, tonymacaroni.co.uk | £16 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

‘Vive per mangiare’ (live to eat) is writ large in neon at this minichain of Scottish-Italian restaurants. Offering something for everyone, the wide-ranging menu takes in a mozzarella bar, sticky ribs, burgers, pasta, pizza and much more. The mozzarella bar pairs up a whole ball of the white stuff with various accompaniments, such as a massive deep-fried dough ball stuffed with nduja sausage. Other starters, such as a similarly whopping melanzane parmigiana, sees the aubergine nicely cooked and languishing in a bath of red sugo, although accompanying garlic bread is sadly not garlicky enough. Lasagne lacks any sign of

TIPLIST SOURCING • Aizle 82 Exciting, unpretentious Edinburgh restaurant committed to fine sourcing and presentation. 84 • Café St Honoré 97% sustainable and mostly Scottish ingredients and a top choice for ethical eaters. 87 • The Kitchin Michelin-starred since 2007, the Kitchin creates exceptional dishes using the finest Scottish seasonal produce. • Organic Delicious Café 47 Café serving an entirely organic and vegetarian menu, with a strong emphasis on local, healthy produce. 89 • Timberyard Home-grown produce and impeccably sourced ingredients with a real commitment to doing things properly. • Wedgwood the Restaurant 90 Foraged and unusual ingredients abound with a real focus on careful sourcing.

Locanda de Gusti (page 71): dedicated to the best ingredients and the joy of eating

béchamel and the pasta is a little limp, but what it lacks in integrity it tries to make up for in size. Tony Macaroni is owned by the folks behind Nardini’s ice cream and things do look up when its comes to puddings – channel your inner 12-year-old and inhale a delicious hot fudge sundae as big as your head. Live to eat may be the motto, but going on portion size, you might not live that long if you indulge too often. + Sitting in a booth and sooking up a sundae - Some of the food puts size over substance

Valvona & Crolla Ristorante 11 Multrees Walk, New Town, 0131 557 0088, valvonacrolla.co.uk | £34.95 Private dining menu (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

Drawing on its rich family heritage, Valvona & Crolla’s first floor city-centre restaurant continues to blend the very best of Italian produce and preparation. Overlooking Multrees Walk, a décor refresh reveals a sober room of warm timber tones and shades of olive green, with splashes of colourful artwork and a well-stocked bar. Breakfast pastries from their own local bakery lead to an appealing all-day à la carte menu, showcasing antipasti platters to share and a handful of well-crafted pastas, mains and popular pizzas. An accomplished kitchen skilfully marries chilli and garlic with the delicate flavour of crab-dressed taglierini, alongside a more robust and rich beef cheek ragù with pappardelle. Choose something from the carefully composed wine list to pair with pistachiocrusted lamb rump with fennel, or panfried cod with black olives, or maybe try a Vin Santo dessert wine to complement honey-drenched gorgonzola. A good value pre-theatre deal and a cosy, wine cellar private dining room complete the picture in a very capable and polished venue with much to admire. + Attention to detail across ingredients and composition - You might not make it past the groundfloor café

Vittoria on the Bridge 19 George IV Bridge, Old Town, 0131 225 1740, vittoriarestaurant.com | £12 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

The younger sibling to the old-timer Leith Walk Vittoria offers up more of the same Scottish-Italian dishes in a buzzing central location on George IV Bridge. It’s a contemporary and grownup setting, with the dark and capacious interior having a slight night-club feel. The menu is pretty much identical to its counterpart down the road, with all the good old favourites from pizza to pasta and fried calamari well-represented and designed to appeal to a broad, crossgenerational crowd. Polpette make for an excellent start – smooth and tender meatballs in a bright, sweet sugo with garlicky bread. Mussels also arrive perfectly cooked in more of the same good tomato sauce. A classic fish and chips sees the fish a bit overcooked but the batter is as crisp you could wish for. Service is friendly and on-the-ball, indeed the whole place feels as if run by people who know what they are doing – as you would hope for a family-run business that has been doing its thing for nearly 50 years. + The chocolate honeycomb Vesuvius sundae! - If you’re after a left-field dining adventure, this isn’t it

Vittoria on the Walk 113 Brunswick Street, Leith Walk, 0131 556 6171, vittoriarestaurant.com | £12 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

From small beginnings in 1970, Vittoria on Leith Walk has grown into a rather large operation – it’s part of a group that takes in La Favorita pizza, Divino Enoteca wine bar and serves a whopping 5000 customers a week. The original Vittoria has more or less continued to do what it has always done though – offering family-friendly cooking with few curve balls but lots of classics from the Scottish-Italian cannon, all served up in a welcoming, democratic style. Think Caprese salad, lasagne, meatballs and pizza. A starter of minestrone is a little glum

and lacks bright flavours but another of arancini sees a deep-fried risotto ball arriving hot and crisp. There are some hearty secondi such as a decent plate of grilled lamb chops with a rich tomatoey caponata and roast potatoes or, of course, there is plenty of pasta. Finish up with some of the excellent ice-cream, preferably in the most fun form of a big fat sundae. + All the classics in a friendly, fun Italian diner - Not all of the food is as slick as the service

✱ NEW WILDMAN 27–29 Marshall Street, Southside, 0131 667 7001 | £12.50 (lunch) / £12.50 (dinner)

Emerging from a restaurant stable of pedigree, WILDMAN (formerly WildManWood) strides out as a stylish social dining thoroughbred. Long communal benches stretch past sit-up window seats in an effortlessly well-dressed room of cool dark tones, quirky touches, funky tunes and minimalist chic. Carefully composed cocktails and a handful of beers come well matched to an appealing array of small plates and a selection of expertly crafted pizzas. Pork, chilli and fennel meatballs appear from a skilful open kitchen, alongside caramelised pork belly with hazelnuts and popular plates of crispy squid and whitebait. A hint of tarragon elevates a delightful beetroot, walnut and goat’s cheese salad, while sobrasada sausage and mushroom or creamy smooth burrata and potato adorn reassuringly thin pizzas. A chilled-out front of house delivers weekend brunch sourdough topped with avocado, peppers and lime, with all roads ultimately leading to the hardto-resist dessert pizzetta, smothered in nutella. With its recently re-booted menu heralding a more rounded offer, Malcolm Innes’ latest creation is now delivering no booking, casual dining at its finest. + Loads of wonderful solo or sharing options - Pizza cutters would assist the sharers

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MEXICAN Little pockets of Mexican espíritu can be found throughout the city, with all kinds of joints raring to satisfy your cantina cravings. Whether it’s takeaway tacos and tortillas with a tourist flavour and the quickest of turnarounds; or authentic homefrom-home restaurants touting the latest street-food trends while mixing up flavours and keeping that cocktail list fresh, Edinburgh has it all. Each has their own festive atmosphere too, so forget the sombrero, tip back the tequila, and let the good times roll. Reviewers: Kirstyn Smith, Barbara Adams

Barburrito • NEW 55 Forrest Road, Old Town, 0131 225 4779 • 119 Lothian Road, West End, 0131 228 8269 • 6 Shandwick Place, West End, 0131 226 4289, barburrito.co.uk | £8.50 (lunch) / £8.50 (dinner)

Whether it’s for a quick lunchtime visit, or a late finish pick-me-up, there’s a lot to be said for Barburrito. These guys are skilled at whipping up quick, tasty – and often healthy – fast food for the masses, with streamlined precision. The latest branch is in a prime location on Forrest Road (you’ll also find them on Shandwick Place and Lothian Road), welcoming swarms of lunchtime school children, students, and perfectly positioned for the festival rush of August. Pick your preferred vessel (burritos, tacos, nachos or quesadillas), then get ready to load it up with your choice of shredded pork, chicken, beef, or roasted veggies and top with endless options such as guacamole, jalapeños, and salsas – varying in potency and spice – to seal the deal. No forks required, just sit and devour with your bare hands. These offerings are tightly packed and delicious – expect good bang for your buck. There’s also an impressive superfoods burrito, covering four of your five-a-day in one fell swoop. Children will be taken care of with the rather sweetly named bambino menu, and there’s even table football through the back for bonus entertainment. + Convenient and delicious Tex-Mex for those on-the-go - Mainly takeaway, so not much atmosphere for those sitting in

The Basement Bar and Restaurant 10–12a Broughton Street, New Town, 0131 557 0097, basement-baredinburgh.co.uk | £12 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

If you’re looking for flavour-packed and fiery food, a killer drinks menu and buzzing atmosphere, The Basement ticks all the right boxes. Located below street level – as the name might suggest – the Día de Muertos artwork, welcoming aroma of sizzling meat, and excellent tequila menu all help fuel the understated, edgy vibe that drives this bar. Friendly staff rush around prepping guacamole, refreshing drained mojitos, and are ready to dazzle their audience by setting dishes like tequila-drenched flamado con queso alight. The small plates are well-presented and ideal for sharing – the huevos ranchero tostadas are a real crowd-pleaser. You can’t go

wrong with the tacos or fajitas for your main event, and vegetarians are well looked after with plenty of options including enchiladas and pozole rojo stew (the chefs are also happy to alter most recipes to be meat-free). Digest with a Milk and Honey horchata, (made with Cazcabel Reposado and honey tequilas) and settle in for the night. + Cracking cocktails, including the Edinburgh Mojito made with Edinburgh Gin - Burger on the menu lets down the Mexican vibe

✱ The Blue Parrot Cantina 49 St Stephen Street, Stockbridge, 0131 225 2941, blueparrotcantina.co.uk | Closed Sun–Thu | £16 (dinner)

Follow the colourful mosaic signs – and your nose – to sniff out the Blue Parrot Cantina. Tucked away down a flight of stairs in Stockbridge, its elusive nature is also reflected in the fact that you can only sample its fine Mexican wares two nights a week. It’s worth making the booking. With attentive staff more than happy to guide you towards the best on the menu – and tell you all about what they do the other five days a week – diners are made to feel right at home. If home was actually Mexico, as the spitand-sawdust cantina feel to Blue Cantina is as authentic as it comes. The chicken and cashew enchilada is a delight. Its mole poblano sauce, a blend of chillis, raisins, almonds, cocoa and cloves, takes a standard dish to another level, while the picadillo beef is both spicy and tender. Be sure to leave room for dessert: the excellent pecan pie with cream will leave such an impression it won’t be long until you return. + Sauces to die for - Only open two days a week

✱ Bodega 62 Elm Row, Leith Walk, Leith, 0131 556 7930, ilovebodega.com | £16 (dinner)

On Leith Walk, it can sometimes feel like restaurants are jostling for position, such is the proliferation of openings in recent years. Bodega is almost a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it space, its unassuming exterior leading to a cosy dining room-style set-up. One long bank of near-communal seating and two tables for two mean there’s little choice but to scooch up and get friendly. This homespun aesthetic is reflected in the staff’s delight in stopping to chat and recommend their pick of the succinct menu. The main event is a selection of street-style tacos that buck traditional Mexican food trends. Sure, the black bean and cheese dip starter is pleasingly familiar, with a spicy punch to boot, but the smoky carne asada steak is tempered with cool ranch dressing, while fusion gets a look-in with crunchy tempura tiger prawns and Asian slaw. Scallion fries on the side are a lighter take on onion rings; battered and ripe for dipping into sweet mustard sauce. It’s BYOB, but you might not want to when you’re tempted by the Jarritos Mexican sodas on offer – bright pink guava or super sweet mango to cool things down a bit. + It feels like the staff genuinely want you to be there - It can get quite snug, so advance booking is a must

✱ El Cartel Casera Mexicana 64 Thistle Street, New Town, 0131 226 7171, elcartelmexicana.co.uk | £13.50 (lunch) / £17.50 (dinner)

El Cartel is paving the way for Mexican street food in Edinburgh. This compact cantina is bursting with hole-in-the-wall charms, drawing in the crowds while maintaining a seriously laid-back vibe. Food is served tapas-style, arriving

throughout the meal, making sharing almost mandatory. The menu is brief, focusing on doing those dishes extremely well. Start with the antojitos (snacks), including spicy corn topped with crema and sprinkled with melted cheese, or frijoles, the deliciously ‘drunken’ refried pinto and kidney bean dip. Guacamole is served with crispy plantain and topped with feta and pomegranate. Hand-pressed tacos are the main event, including the tasty (and mild, for those avoiding spice) baja cod, or the veggie-friendly sweet potato with sheep’s milk cheese, pomegranate and pumpkin seeds. Check out the daily changing specials board to see where the chefs have been shaking things up. Homemade sorbet or icecream wraps up proceedings – try the mango infused with tequila. To drink, it’s got to be one of their highly Instagramable frozen margaritas. With menu changes every quarter, there’s an added excuse to visit every few months. Long may they continue. + Excellent and authentic Mexican food in trendy setting - Elbow-to-elbow dining may not be for everyone

Illegal Jack’s 44–45 St Patrick Square, Southside, 0131 629 2722, illegaljacks.co.uk | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Tucked away in a corner of St Patrick Square, Illegal Jack’s is a welcoming beacon of warmth and flavour for hungry Southside dwellers. In a prime spot for university students and the summer Fringe crowds, the relocation of the original Lothian Road branch seems to have been a success. The new premises are brighter, cosier, less canteen, more cantina. Tacos and burritos are stacked with your choice of spicy marinated chicken, locally sourced steak, haggis (freshly caught in the wilds of West Lothian) or veggie chilli, then layered up with beans, salad and guacamole to Leaning Tower of Pisa proportions. The grilled quesadillas and nachos are also ideal for a quick lunch, and (slightly) less messy to eat. Don’t bother trying to use cutlery, just rely on your hands and prepare to work your jaw. There’s no room for bite-size tostadas here, these guys are all about generous portions and fast, fresh food – and they certainly do it well. With the exception of a couple of Mexican beers, alcohol is from Scottish breweries such as BrewDog, Stewart Brewing and Thistly Cross. + Friendly staff and tasty, towering tacos - For the extra cost, guacamole is a bit lacking in flavour

Los Cardos 281 Leith Walk, Leith, 0131 555 6619, loscardosonline.com | £8 (dinner)

Halfway down Leith Walk, slotting neatly into the street’s landscape of pubs, cafés and takeaways, Los Cardos (‘thistles’ in Spanish), takes its place as your neighbourhood Mexican joint. Superfriendly staff jump to attention when you step in, ready to start the Cardos conveyor belt. Your basic Mexican favourites – burrito, taco, quesadilla or bowl – can be stuffed full with one of a wealth of fillings: from chicken or steak in chilli citrus marinade, to carnitas, or, if you’re feeling particularly patriotic, meat or veggie haggis. In the space itself, the few seats for dining-in confirm Los Cardos prime purpose as a quickie takeaway – perfect for pre or post-night out fuel. Their burrito bowl is a tower made up of big, bountiful layers of taste: rice and beans, followed by intense, peppery Macsween’s haggis soothed with sour cream. Top it off with sparky salsa and homemade guacamole that’s creamy and chunky – splash out on an extra pot

✱ HITLIST

MEXICAN ✱ The Blue Parrot Cantina This charmingly quirky Stockbridge institution offers affordable, traditional Mexican favourites in a stripped-back setting. ✱ Bodega Neighbourhood taqueria offering fresh and fiery soft tacos inspired by international flavours. ✱ El Cartel Casera Mexicana Fresh Mexican street food, tequilas, mezcals, frozen cocktails and lively vibes. to take home with you for those guac emergencies. + There’s a lot of food to go around - More room to sit in and enjoy would be nice

Miro’s Cantina Mexicana 184 Rose Street, New Town, 0131 225 4376, miroscantinamexicana.com | £12.50 (lunch) / £15.50 (dinner)

Cosy, compact and slightly kitsch, there’s something lovable about Miro’s Cantina Mexicana. Specials are chalked up on the wall, alongside the bright Spanish tiles and the gently humming frozen Margarita machine. The tiny kitchen doesn’t look big enough to cope with the menu but it does, as well as serving their police box outside on Rose Street which sells burritos and nachos to thronging office crowds. After settling in with the obligatory frozen Margarita (classic lime or ask for flavour of the day), start with home-cooked corn chips as a tasty accompaniment to their own guacamole, chili con queso and salsa. For mains, don’t jump straight to fajitas (although they are good, and the chicken is always free-range). A selling point of this cantina is their dedication to traditional Mexican dishes, and you’ll find borrego con miel here (seven-hour-cooked lamb) and authentic paella. Ask about the specials too – the taco de carne is a delicious steak feast served in a huge taco with sweet chilli jam and peppers. Take time to digest with a mango sorbet to finish, rich with chunks of fruity flesh. + Quality Scottish ingredients in tasty TexMex dishes - Slightly cramped seating

Pancho Villa’s 240 Canongate, Old Town, 0131 557 4416, panchovillas.co.uk | £17 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

A welcoming terrace for outdoor dining lures you away from the Royal Mile hordes and into Pancho Villa’s, a Mexican that’s been serving Edinburgh the flavours of Valle de Bravo for more than 25 years. Inside, it’s bright and busy – lively Latin music energising the bustling staff and cementing the cantina’s credibility. The menu offers a decent variety of dishes: the usual suspects – tacos, enchiladas, burritos, quesadillas, filled with meats marinated The List Eating & Drinking Guide 75

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in Coke, orange juice and pineapple – are buoyed by a handful of house specials. Rustic lamb is a substantial offering, cooked with pasilla chillis, garlic and mushrooms, and topped with crumbled goat’s cheese, lending the dish an unexpected creaminess. If you’re looking for spice, you’ll find it, whether in the garlic, chilli and honey chicken wings or chicken, cheese and chorizo quesadillas: both starters, both worthy of water for the table. Corn tortillas might be a little on the tough side, but the massive, juicy prawns they’re carrying will mean you won’t mind for too long. The healthy cocktail list helps, too. + Definitely not stingy with portions - Accompaniments a little bland

ROUND THE WORLD Come on a tasty trip through the wonderfully diverse world of eating experiences in Edinburgh. From North America to South Africa, Eastern Europe to the Middle East, from Greece to Brazil, Spain to Argentina, explore a cosmopolitan collection of countries and cuisines. Seek and you will find: new flavours, old traditions, national dishes and local twists. You’ll discover food served with pride and passion by hosts with stories to tell. You’ll make amusing attempts to pronounce many things on menus. You’ll save on dining out by bringing your own bottle. And you’ll have a lot of fun along the way.

Sabor Criollo 36 Deanhaugh Street, Stockbridge See Round the World

Taco Mazama Mexican Kitchen 95/96a Princes Street, New Town, 0131 225 4729, tacomazama.co.uk | £10 (lunch) / £10 (dinner)

Slap-bang in the middle of Princes Street isn’t the most obvious spot for a Mexican restaurant, but Taco Mazama’s sixth joint is another addition to its growing success story. Nip down the stairs into a sparse wee place with a handful of tables and chairs, where it’s all plastic cutlery and metal dishware – no frills, no fuss. If you’re looking to splash out, Taco Mazama isn’t the place for you; servers painstakingly weigh out the portion sizes. Luckily though the beef chilli burrito bowl is fairly tasty: curiously sweet with cinnamon and cloves, but not without packing a kick. The pulled pork quesadilla tastes suspiciously similar, but a handful of jalapeños lend some heat to an otherwise standard dish. For an in-and-out quickie dinner, the relaxed atmosphere – staff on mobiles, or out

TIPLIST PIZZA • Civerinos Italian Street Food & Pizza Slice Bar 70 Stylish Hunter Square venue with some of the city’s finest sourdough pizza. • Dough Cheery wee Rose Street takeaway with a few seats, imported ingredients and delicious pizza.

W

• La Favorita 71 Hospitable Leith Walk restaurant, takeaway and delivery outlet with plenty of pizza choice. • Origano 73 Popular Leith Walk Italian, decked out with rustic-chic furnishings, where they really know their pizza. • Pizzeria 1926 73 The new kid on the block: outstanding no-frills pizzeria serving authentic, punchy Neapolitan pizza. • WILDMAN 74 A rebooted menu introduced more small plates and other options, but the pizza is still brilliant.

Reviewers: Stan Blackley, Cat Crawford, Elaine Reid, James Teideman

Ada Barburrito (page 75): fast and tasty Tex-Mex for those on the go

front chatting to their friends – works alongside the kitschy sugar skulls and succulents that pass for decoration. + Quick service, good deals - Stingy with fillings

Topolabamba 93 Lothian Road, West End, edinburgh. topolabamba.com | £12 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

Getting in on the revival of Lothian Road, Topolabamba is a welcome addition to Edinburgh’s Tex-Mex family. Although part of a chain (the original is based in Glasgow), this quirky cantina has a pleasingly more authentic menu than many of its contemporaries, due to the owners carrying out culinary research in Mexico. Sharing is recommended here (everything is served tapas-style, with the exception of the larger portions). Crispy fish of the day tacos are a tasty way to start, complete with spicy crema. Chorizo quesadillas are generous, but manage to retain their crisp bite, and barbacoa beef taquitos, served with feta get points for being extremely moreish (and recommended by the friendly staff). Manageable portions and easyon-the-eye prices make this a great spot to try a few different dishes without a stinging end-of-night bill. Drinks-wise, there’s standard wine and beers, but it would be rude to avoid the expansive tequila selection with over 60 in stock. Try a frozen margarita, and surrender to Topolabamba’s charms. + Well-crafted and authentic menu - Fickering strip-lit sign still retains a bit of the former strip club vibe

Viva Mexico 41 Cockburn Street, Old Town, 0131 226 5145, viva-mexico.co.uk | £9 (lunch) / £17 (dinner)

For more than 20 years, Viva Mexico has served Cockburn Street with tasty Mexican food. Its location could easily have made it a tourist trap, but the restaurant remains loyal to all things Mexican in its décor and its dishes. The space is homely, suffused with images of Mexico, ponchos hanging from the wall, papel picado (Mexican paper cuts) draped throughout, and black and white images of revolutionaries watching on. A starter of chipotle ribs is so tender the meat drops off the bone into a richly

smoked and fruity sauce, with a zesty house salsa to top it off. It’s a tough act to follow, but the main courses, overflowing plates of spice and rice, manage it. The skirt steak chimichanga is wrapped in a crunchy deep-fried tortilla packed with meat and tangy sauce, and the flautas (rolled tortillas) envelope fluffy, shredded chicken in their crispy coating. If you’re not out on a school night, be sure to pick from the cocktail list or go all out from their selection of tequilas. + The sheer quantity of food - Service a tad rushed

NEW Wahaca 16 South St Andrew Street, New Town, 0131 202 6850, wahaca.co.uk/locations/ edinburgh | £13 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Since launching in London in 2007, the Wahaca group has enjoyed a high profile, driving a fresh, exciting revival of Mexican food alongside transparent credentials when it comes to sourcing, waste and good causes. Sprinkle in celebrity chef-owner Thomasina Miers, some vibrant interior design and an enthusiasm for quality tequila and mezcal, and its arrival north of the Border in autumn 2016 was much anticipated. The place is big (166 covers), prominent (just off St Andrew Square) and colourful (with artwork from Barcelona-based street artist Ripo). While the basic formats of the Mexican table are familiar with tacos and taquitos dominating the street food/small plates menu and grills and enchiladas in the list of ‘bigger food’, they’re often filled with lively ingredients such as sweet potato and feta, crispy blue corn, pork pibil or MSC-certified shrimp and Devon crab. Most dishes are busy with spices, sauces, sprinkles and sides, and while a few – yes you, Mexico City-style salmon sashimi tostada – are hard to get your head around, you’ll eat yourself full. Veggie options are strong and the drinks flow. It’s a breathless but slick bustle of pumping music, happy chatter, bright colours and revved-up food and staff. + Different seasonal specials symbolise the sense of discovery - Compulsory enthusiasm can be a bit exhausting

TURKISH 9A Antigua Street, Leith, 0131 556 8896, adarestaurant.co.uk | £8.50 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

First impressions can be hard to overcome and entering Ada is a bit like running the gauntlet as you pass by the busy takeaway counter before reaching the restaurant. Don’t write it off though; the back of the building opens out into a roomy, casual restaurant with a menu focused on Turkish cuisine, which makes sense of the huge grill counter you’ve just passed. Expect the usual range of mezzes, all accompanied with warm, chewy pide bread to start. Veggie choices are strong here, but thanks to that grill, the meat is something special: lamb chops, for example, come charred, smoky and sweet. Lather them up with some iman bayildi, a sprinkle of chilli sauce and some of the lovely grilled onions served with each main course, and get stuck in. + The lamb - The entrance

Beirut MIDDLE EAST 24 Nicolson Square, Southside, 0131 667 9919, beirutrestaurant.co.uk | £9 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Perched on Nicolson Square, among a host of places targeting locals and students, Beirut offers something a bit different to stand out from the crowd – it’s Edinburgh’s only specialist Lebanese restaurant. The service here is swift and attentive, and the exposed wooden beams and simple décor pleasing enough to the eye. The menu options are wideranging, offering both hot and cold starters including fateh lahem (layers of flat bread with rice, nuts, yoghurt and roasted lamb) followed by an almost baffling selection of mains from seafood to spicy stews to wraps and pastries. Vegetarian diners are well catered for, but the shawarma chicken fails to live up to expectations, with the meat quality being rather disappointing. The daoud basha (traditional Lebanese meatballs) shows more promise: tender meat accompanied by a rich tomato and coriander sauce, while the baklava is some of the sweetest in town. + Edinburgh’s only specialist Lebanese restaurant - Quality of some of the meat could be better

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Boteco do Brasil BRAZILIAN 47 Lothian Street, Old Town, 0131 220 2487, botecodobrasil.com | £6.95 (set lunch) / £13 (dinner)

Plastic palms, Christ the Redeemer mural, framed Ronaldhino and Kaka footie shirts: yes, it’s a Brazilian-themed bar. Over the road from Edinburgh Uni, it’s popular with students who pack in for cheap cocktails and pre-club partying, while regulars come for a roster of dance classes (salsa, bachata) in the venue downstairs. Boteco’s all-day menu is themed on traditional Brazilian home-cooking-meets-streetfood, with dishes drawn from all the country's compass points. However, reality sometimes fails to match the enticing promise of the menu. A long list of beach bar tapas includes risoli de camarão (prawn-stuffed pastry parcels) and mariscos (mussels and clams cooked in white wine). For mains, try the bauru, the original Brazilian burger with strips of roast beef, or go for a regional dish like Bahia’s xinxim de galinha – chicken in a cashew and coconut sauce. Desserts include arroz doce (rice pudding spiced with cinnamon and cloves), and brigadeiro (condensed milk and chocolate balls). After another few Caipirinhas, maybe you’ll feel like you’re in Rio. + Cocktail and tapas deals - Busy weekend nights are for partying, not for eating

NEW Bubba Q NORTH AMERICAN 209 –213 High Street, Old Town, 0131 4785471, bubbaq.co.uk | £10 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Opened in the heart of the Royal Mile in July 2016, Bubba Q is a trendy new haven for young tourists and locals. Hidden down a steep flight of stairs, there’s an edgy modern feel with wooden-topped scaffold tables, corrugated iron-clad walls and classic rock on the stereo. Offering a strong lunch deal, especially for this pursesapping part of town (two courses for £10), this American-style BBQ joint has a lot to offer and buzzes with hungry diners. The name comes from a combination of the two owners, Bubba and Maciek, who rightly take pride in the meat they serve: it’s smoked for eight hours before being dished up on trays with a selection of tangy BBQ sauces and generously portioned sides, such as skin-on fries or meaty BBQ pit beans. Service is swift, if a little chaotic, but with its wealth of options from thick shakes to burgers, hot dogs to chicken wings, there’s something to keep even the pickiest of groups happy. + Great value lunch deal - A plate would be welcome

Calistoga NORTH AMERICAN 70 Rose Street North Lane, City Centre, 0131 225 1233, calistoga.co.uk | Closed Mon | £11 (set lunch) / £25 (dinner)

Californian restaurant Calistoga is as much about the wine as the food. With an in-house wine shop (called Sideways, from the film – viewing would be great prep for a visit), it hosts regular wine events with tastings led by visiting experts. Or book a wine tasting dinner and, for a very reasonable sum, their wine tutor will take you for an entertaining, educational and extremely enjoyable nose round Napa before dinner. As for the food, an alwaysinteresting monthly-changing menu showcases the state’s cuisine – just don’t expect burgers. Proceedings may start with rabbit ballotine with dabs of wasabi mayo and wee squares of

pumpernickel, or swordfish with burnt ketchup and avocado gel. Move onto cod fillet enlivened with squid tempura, smoked avocado and chilli mousse, or braised ox cheek with ox tongue croquette. For dessert traybake-style, there’s raspberry and cranberry flapjack, or dark chocolate kulfi, while there’s always suggestions for pairing wines from California, of course. + Excellent value personally-tutored wine tasting - Don’t say you prefer Lambrusco

Cadiz First Floor, 77b George Street, City Centre See Fish

Café Andaluz SPANISH 77B George Street, New Town, 0131 220 9980, cafeandaluz.com/ restaurants/edinburgh-city-centre | £14 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Café Andaluz’s only Edinburgh outlet inhabits a huge space on fashionable George Street. Set across two expansive yet packed floors, it showcases an impressive Moorish interior featuring curly wrought iron, intricately carved wood and colourful painted ceramics. This busy, buzzy and bold venue has a space for everyone and every occasion and the diversity of diners reflects that. What you’ll eat here is Spanishstyle food produced for British tastes, with a sizeable menu featuring tapas, sharing plates, paellas and a good value menu del dia. The food hints towards a shortcut kitchen, with some items giving the impression of being preprepared rather than freshly made, but it’s all hearty and pleasing, it arrives at your table in the blink of an eye. Service is warm and efficient, and prices are reasonable for city centre dining. Café Andaluz is on to a crowd-pleasing formula and while it has a slight themeparky feel, the whole experience is fun, filling and reasonable value. + A fast, furious and fun experience - Some items hint at a shortcut approach

NEW Eden’s Kitchen MEDITERRANEAN 32C Broughton Street, New Town, 0131 556 6588, edens-kitchen.com | Closed Mon | £16 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

With Vino a few doors away and Villeneuve Wines just across the road, Eden’s Kitchen might just be the best-positioned BYOB restaurant in Edinburgh. As for the menu, this unique bistro prides itself on GM-free, locally sourced, and mostly organic produce across a breadth of Turkish, Greek and Italian dishes. A selection of hot and cold mezze kicks off the feast. Spinach borek has a satisfying crispiness and a small portion of halloumi leaves you longing for more. Falafel is on the dry side, but aubergine tarator mopped up with freshly baked bread is smoky, tangy and worthy of licking clean. Surprisingly, the gondola-shaped confit lamb pizza, oozing with fior di latte, is a standout main. Dregs of wine are finished off with proper homemade baklava, and while service is by no means exemplary, an inviting, cosy environment means that casual diners keep coming back for more. + The wood-fired pizza oven, on display for all to see - Hard-pressed waiting staff can come across as brusque

Established by friends who moved to Edinburgh in 2003, El Quijote serves unpretentious, home-style cooking in a rustically decorated, tavern-like room with the aim of delivering the ‘real’ food of Spain as an alternative to the ‘normal’ tapas experience (tortilla and paella aren’t available here). Iberian pork plays a central role, imported from Spain and found on the menu cured as chorizo and salchichon, simply griddled as presa and secreto, and in more involved dishes like flamenquin cordobes, a flattened, rolled pork loin stuffed with serrano ham and manchego cheese which is breadcrumbed then fried. It’s crunchy, juicy and delicious yet hard to finish because of its sheer size. There’s plenty for veggies here too and wine drinkers are very well-catered for. Like its namesake, El Quijote can appear a little unsettled – chaotic one minute and calm the next. Its stated mission may seem lofty and idealistic, but eating here is a deeply down-toearth experience. There’s a palpable passion and pinch of playfulness, which makes it an energetic, entertaining and enjoyable place to be. + Home-style cooking with passion and energy - What? No paella!?

Hanam’s KURDISH 3 Johnston Terrace, Old Town, 0131 225 1329, hanams.com | £11.50 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Hanam’s is the eldest of owner Jamal Ahmed’s offspring (with siblings Pomegranate and Laila’s Bistro). It sticks to what it does well: no-frills Middle Eastern cooking, Kurdish at heart, with dishes from Lebanese to Saudi. Traditional tapestries, luxe gilded

✱ HITLIST

ROUND THE WORLD ✱ El Quijote Home-style cooking in a small rustic room with the aim of offering a ‘real taste’ of Spain. ✱ Reekie’s Smokehouse BBQ joint with a Scottish spin, cooking locally sourced meat low and slow. ✱ Spitaki Family-run Greek taverna serving traditional mezze to loyal locals. ✱ Taisteal Gordon Craig’s latest venture uses inspiration from his travels abroad to create dishes with local, Scottish produce. ✱ Yellow Bench Lively neighbourhood restaurant with an arty vibe, serving an interesting selection of Polish and European food.

Award Winning Cookery School in Central Edinburgh From one day workshops to a six month diploma we have something for you

7 Queen Street, Edinburgh EH2 1JE. For booking and information, visit: www.entcs.co.uk call: 0131 226 4314 or email: info@entcs.co.uk

✱ El Quijote SPANISH 13a Brougham Street, Tollcross, 0131 478 2856, quijotetapas.co.uk | Closed Mon/Tue | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

11 BRUNTSFIELD PLACE, EDINBURGH, EH10 4HN

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TABLE TALK

SIOBHAN LEITH ON COLONNADES IN THE SIGNET LIBRARY The Signet Library in the heart of Parliament Square in Edinburgh is owned by the Society of Writers to Her Majesty's Signet, or the WS Society. It’s a working law library, next door to the highest courts in Scotland, built in 1815 in neo-classical style with magnificent fluted Corinthian columns. The society felt that their special building was under-utilised, and formulated the idea that it could host a grand saloncafé where lawyers, as well as members of the public, could meet and spend time. Heritage Portfolio was already running special events in the building and there has always been lots of trust between our team and the society. We had to work really hard to build awareness but things started to click when we focused on a niche of high-quality afternoon tea. Promoting a venue in a listed building is very difficult – you’re not allowed signage, for example. We had to rely on word of mouth, and we have benefitted hugely from very modern channels such as TripAdvisor and social media. There really aren’t many other opportunities to spend time in the spectacular buildings of the Royal Mile, and customers love to share their experience. The exclusivity makes it feel like a special find. Colonnades is something we’re all very proud of. We feel we can show visitors the best food, the best service and the best location in the city. But also being from Edinburgh, and knowing Edinburgh, it’s still a unique experience. ■ Siobhan Leith is head of marketing for Centreplate UK and Heritage Portfolio, operators of Colonnades (see page 20).

curtains and multi-coloured pendant lights create a welcoming vibe over two floors, with a downstairs room ideal for big groups, while a nearly-free BYOB policy (just a 30p recycling charge) assists the atmosphere. Take a tour of the region with a set-meal option, or try the mushakal starter selection including arancini-like kubba and Kurdish breakfast staple kulicha - fried naan dough fritters. From the charcoal grill choose a kebab Kurdish-style with naan and salad, or Iranian with a veggie shillah side, either bamya (okra) or tapsi (aubergine and pepper). Or try gormeh sabzi - a Persian dish of lamb in lime and spinach, or tashreeb - a rich casserole with a soaked naan base. Ease up with gentle rose ice-cream then finish with a fortifying Arabic coffee, or hit the shisha terrace. + Substantial servings of Kurdish cooking - Unlicensed, so don’t forget a bottle if you’re boozing

NEW Kezban MEDITERRANEAN 9–10 Commercial Street, Leith, 0131 553 1078, kezbanedinburgh.co.uk | £21 (lunch) / £21 (dinner)

New-kid-on-the-block Mediterranean restaurant Kezban has quickly established itself among the enticing array of restaurants dotted near Leith’s Shore. With colourful Turkish mosaic lamps hanging from the high ceilings, a charcoal BBQ grill in the kitchen and Mediterranean music on the stereo, Kezban has a definite sensory hedonistic charm. On the menu, there’s a vast number of both hot and cold mezze from izagara kofte (juicy charcoal-grilled meatballs) to creamy cacik (cucumber with Turkish yoghurt) which partner perfectly with warm Turkish bread – ideal either as a starter or sharing lunch. For mains, try the patlicani kebab – charcoal-grilled chicken on aubergine accompanied by fluffy bulgar – or one of their tempting lamb or seafood options. Round things off with rich, sweet and sticky baklava, perfect with a refreshing Turkish tea. Filling up quickly at the weekends, it’s worth booking ahead – this venue has already earned a deservedly faithful following, hungry for their next slice of Turkish delight. + Temptingly wide array of mezze dishes - Dessert options are limited

Laila’s Bistro MEDITERRANEAN 63 Cockburn Street, Old Town, 0131 226 5097, lailas-bistro.co.uk | £14 (lunch) / £19 (dinner)

A short stroll from the bustling tourist trail of the Royal Mile leads to the warm and welcoming Laila’s Bistro. The sister restaurant to Pomegranate and Hanam’s, it transforms with ease from daytime lunch stop, where a selection of mezze including tangy batata harra beg to be shared, to laidback evening venue. The concise menu offers an enticing Mediterranean medley of uncomplicated mains with options from grilled chicken with pomegranate rice to a spicy lamb sausage casserole, while a bistro classics section featuring burgers and steaks veers somewhat off course. To start, the fried halloumi with cranberry sauce is satisfyingly salty and chewy, while saffron and cardamom ice-cream brings a taste of the exotic to the end of the meal. It’s worth noting that the restaurant doesn’t serve alcohol, but it does offer a free BYOB option (although a 30p glass recycling charge applies). Take one of the tables by the window and relax watching the world

Taisteal (page 81): using Scottish produce to create international flavours

pass by: no need to rush, there’s always time for a few more olives. + The warm and friendly welcome - Those looking for sophisticated dining could be disappointed

Los Argentinos AMERICAS 28–30 West Preston Street, Southside, 0131 668 3111, losargentinossteakhouseinedinburgh. co.uk | £20 (dinner)

At Los Argentinos, it’s all about highquality steak and lots of it. With cuts ranging from a manageable 225g to a hefty and hearty 400g, no-one leaves here hungry. Gear up for the main event with one of the excellent starters such as empanadas (pasties filled to the brim with tender diced meat) then try the succulent fillet steak, partnered with their own chimichurri sauce, or one of the traditional béarnaise or mushroom accompaniments. The sides and sauces will play second fiddle to the star of the show with options including rump, ribeye, fillet or sirloin. Filling up fast despite a long row of tables, you’ll need to book ahead here, especially at the weekend. Desserts are limited with ice-cream offered with various partners such as tequila or chocolate sauce, but after such an epic steak, it’s unlikely you’ll crave anything else. + The top quality beef - Space is a bit cosy between tables

Lovage Restaurant EASTERN EUROPEAN 38 St Mary’s Street, Old Town See Scottish

NEW Magna Hungaria EUROPEAN 20a Leopold Place, Leith, 0131 629 6161 | £14 (dinner)

Opened in 2016, Edinburgh’s only Hungarian restaurant sets out to showcase the cooking dear to the country’s hearty heart. Tucked away in a hotel basement, its reputation is growing beyond the city’s expat community and curious locals. Don’t worry if you can’t pronounce anything on the menu, nor tell your csirkemell from your csipetke, as the team here will enthusiastically explain it all. Start with hortobágyi palacsinta - a thin pancake filled with creamy paprika-y chicken stew, tuck

into a thick bean and ham soup, or go for Budapest broke with sour cherry soup served cold with cream. For mains, no prizes for guessing there’s goulash – four ways – and much meat, including crispy duck with steamed red cabbage. Or try street food classic lángos - delectable deep-fried flatbread with garlic, sour cream and choice of accompaniments. Take a breath, for puds are big and baked. Try somlói galuska - a tricolour sponge cake, or mákos guba - sweet milk-soaked brioche in custard. Pair with a fröccs (wine spritzer) or an appropriately rich, dark porter-style Dreher Bak beer. + Fine, friendly introduction to Hungarian food - Working up an appetite a must to appreciate it

Malvarosa SPANISH 262 Portobello High Street, Portobello, 0131 669 7711, malvarosa.co.uk | Closed Mon/Tue | £13 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

This welcoming restaurant claims to offer ‘tapas as nature intended’. There’s a rustic edge to the cooking here and while the food isn’t the prettiest you’ll ever see, it’s hearty, tasty and satisfying. The limited menu contains well-known dishes such as patatas bravas, calamari and tortilla as well as less familiar dishes like ensalada de invierno – broad beans pan-fried with asparagus, artichoke and spinach – and fabada asturiana, a hotpot of butter beans with chorizo and black pudding, all available in smaller tapa or larger ración portions. However, the star of the show here is the paella, which is made to order for a minimum of two people. You can even leave a deposit and take the pan out with you to nearby Portobello beach. The short-but-interesting wine list is well-priced and worth dipping into. Malvarosa is popular and busy with locals, so much so that it can be difficult to get your food for the staff chatting with regulars and friends, however this just adds to the charm of the place and, with a bit of patience, it’s worth the wait. + Hearty and satisfying Spanish food in friendly surroundings - Waiting a little longer to eat while regulars chat to the staff

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EDINBURGH

EDINBURGH’S KURDISH & MIDDLE EASTERN RESTAURANT

• Fixed price lunch deal • Loyalty card scheme • Extensive Dry Bar and BYOB policy • Delivery service via Deliveroo

3 Johnston Terrace, Edinburgh, EH1 2PW (just beside Edinburgh Castle)

T: 0131 225 1329 or 07888 677 613 E: hanams@hotmail.co.uk

www.hanams.com

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• Open 7 days 12 noon to late • Private dining area • Outdoor terraced seating • Dedicated Shisha area • Regular special events

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www.pomegranatesrestaurant.com

63 COCKBURN STREET, EH1 1BS OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK WWW. LAILAS-BISTRO.CO.UK FROM 12PM â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 10PM TEL:0131 226 5097 SNACKS, LUNCH & DINNER

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My Big Fat Greek Kitchen GREEK 6 Brougham Street, Tollcross, 0131 228 1030, mybigfatgreekkitchen.co.uk | Closed Mon | £18 (dinner)

Chef-turned-My Big Fat Greek Kitchen owner Kostas Restas serves up a homely mix of traditional and familiar Greek food to those hoping to rekindle suntinted memories of Corfu, Kefalonia et al. Under stock pictures of whitewashed houses and seas of cobalt blue, sip a citrussy Santorini boutari with some olives and tuck into the filo-wrapped spinach and feta spanakopita and the irresistible pitta and dips, including the feta, chilli and paprika whizz-up that is tirokafteri. But don’t stuff yourself like a dolmade - save space for a plate of grilled chicken souvlaki or a classic moussaka. Or plump for the aegina, an eight-strong mezze taster that Kostas says is diners' most popular choice. Kick off with courgette rissoles, move onto calamari, grilled halloumi, spicy pastourma sausage and deep-fried little blanchbait. You probably won’t have room for baklava. Nor, after a bottle of sweet and sticky retsina, be able to pronounce galaktoboureko (custard pie with syrup). Oh, go on then. And maybe an ouzo. + Traditional Greek favourites in a friendly setting - Doesn’t push any culinary boundaries

Pera: Turkish Mangal & Meze Bar TURKISH 57 Elm Row, Leith, 07756 122730, turkishrestaurantedinburgh.co.uk | £22.95 (set lunch) / £25 (dinner)

Housed in one of those long, narrow spaces that characterise the lively independent dining scene on Leith Walk, the intimate interior of Pera is warmly lit with mosaic glass lanterns

TIPLIST DISTINCTIVE DINING • Edinburgh Food Studio 86 With a revolving cast of guest chefs, mixologists, food historians and poets, you can never predict how the night will go. • Maki Maki 59 This diminutive spot serves omakase – a traditional, chef’schoice 12 course tasting menu (sake matching optional but recommended). • No. 8 Lister Square W Sizzle your own steak on a hot lava stone in this bright, calm Quartermile bar. • Ong Gie 60 Korean barbecue – where you do the barbecuing. • The Pitt W Regular weekend street food market with tunes, booze and a laid-back yet busy vibe. • Seasons 89 A blind tasting menu with a Scandi twist, highly recommended with their paired drinks package. • Steak on Stones 94 Sizzle your own steak – just make sure you don’t singe your sleeve on the hot lava stone.

Kezban (page 78): new Mediterranean restaurant already establishing a faithful following among locals

and furnished with leather and cowhide dining chairs that encourage you to settle in, relax and explore the impressive menu. Featuring freshly prepared mezze, fish and salad mains, as well as lamb and chicken from the mangal grill and an intriguing breakfast menu, there’s so much to choose from it’s a struggle not to overorder. The chef’s selection cold mezze platter makes a perfectly good meal in itself, offering up to 16 different daily-changing dishes of marinated vegetables, zesty pickles and smoky dips cooked with spices, herbs, garlic and yogurt. Expect to be amply fed a banquet of flavour-packed, fresh dishes and generously hosted like a long-lost friend. + More than 30 delicious vegetarian options - Beware portion-sizes – arrive hungry!

Pomegranate MIDDLE EAST 1 Antigua Street, New Town, 0131 556 8337, pomegranatesrestaurant.com | £14.95 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Pomegranate’s spacious, jewel-coloured upstairs and cosy downstairs cellar bar enjoy a prime location in a clutch of lively restaurants at the top of Leith Walk, perfectly positioned for the theatre, cinema and local night spots. The informal mezze style is more dinner with friends than romantic evening for two, but the sweet, heady smell of shisha and vibrant, friendly atmosphere make for a great start or end to an evening on the town. The menu features the kind of Middle Eastern standards you’d expect – falafel, hummus and aubergine mezze, accompanied by enormous, pillowy unleavened breads, followed by a large selection of kebabs, chargrilled chicken and lamb dishes. There’s sticky baklava and lokum with

rose ice-cream to satisfy your sweet cravings and Arabic coffee or short, strong Persian tea. Among its special attractions are the outdoor shisha bar and the lavish private dining rooms ideal for parties and bigger groups. Shisha is offered all year round with twelve flavours including double apple, watermelon and, of course, pomegranate, with tobacco-free versions available. + BYOB and no corkage - Big menu, but no surprises

as Irn Bru BBQ or Buckie Broon to add a spicy – and Scottish – tang. Cakes are homemade too and well worth sampling – the brownies are brilliantly chocolatey and gooey. With everything from Scottish craft ales to PekoeTea to Cardross coffee on offer, all thirsts are well quenched and with recently extended opening hours, there’s every reason to make Reekie’s your new meaty go-to. + The beautifully tender meat - Barbecue sells out

✱ Reekie’s Smokehouse

Sabor Criollo

NORTH AMERICAN

AMERICAS

20 Holyrood Road, Old Town, reekiessmokehouse.co.uk | Closed Sun/Mon | £12 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

36 Deanhaugh Street, Stockbridge, 0131 332 3322, saborcriollo.co.uk | £15 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Low and slow is the order of the day at this Scottish barbecue restaurant. With counter service and a laid-back feel, it works well for an informal stop-off for individuals, couples and large groups. The quality of the meat is high and all sourced from local East Lothian farms. The meat tubs (which come accompanied by a tasty side such as barbecue baked beans and triplecooked chips) are filled to the brim, with choices from smoked baby back pork ribs to pulled barbecue Scotch beef, which melts in the mouth. Splash on one of their homemade sauces such

Step into this brightly decorated Latin American restaurant for Venezuelan and Mexican cuisine. With a great set menu deal, a blackboard of fruity cocktails from Mojitos to Margaritas and shoulder-shaking Mexican music on the stereo, this is a great venue for a night out even when the purse strings are a wee bit tight. Mexican staples include black bean nachos, comfortingly cheese-laden enchiladas, and spicy chicken fajitas which arrive sizzling at the table. If you fancy being a bit more experimental then mini cachapa (sweetcorn pancakes

ONLINE LISTINGS For full opening hours, further details on facilities, individual location maps plus web and social media links, go to

list.co.uk/food

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SPANISH 297 Leith Walk, Leith, 0131 554 0955, serranomanchego.co.uk | £15 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

With its bare brick and stone walls, scaffold pole-and-plank fittings and bistro-style furniture, Serrano Manchego appears more New York loft than Tenerife tasca or Basque bodega. Despite its stripped-back appearance, the interior is warm, light and comfortable and popular with Leith locals who watch the world go by through big corner windows while nursing a Spanish coffee, wine, beer, sherry or brandy. Trendy staff slip between tables delivering standard tapas dishes from the open kitchen, such as calamari, chorizo and patatas bravas, augmented by more interesting and costly options like padrón peppers and aged jamon bellota, many of which are sourced directly from ‘la madre patria’. Serrano Manchego serves breakfasts until 5pm, bocadillos until 7, and tapas and drinks until late, seven days a week. While the sit-down knife-and-fork approach isn’t quite the traditional Spanish tapas experience, if you’ve eaten well in Spain, then the tastes, smells and approach of this place will likely evoke warm memories. + Quality Spanish food and drink in comfortable modern surroundings - Some of the prices are a little ‘caro’

Shebeen AFRICAN 103 Dalry Road, West End, 0131 629 3030 8 Morrison Street, West End, 0131 629 0261, shebeenbar.co.uk | £26 (lunch) / £26 (dinner)

✱ Spitaki GREEK 133–135 East Claremont Street, New Town, 0131 556 9423, spitaki.co.uk | £17 (lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Word seems to have got out about this little Greek taverna. Now into

FUSION 1 Raeburn Place, Stockbridge, 0131 332 9977, taisteal.co.uk | Closed Mon | £10 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Taisteal? It’s Gaelic for travel. Chef Gordon Craig creates dishes based on the best local Scottish produce, laced with inspiration from his cook’s tours, whether they're to Copenhagen or China. It’s fusion right enough, but fusion with a light enough touch. To start, scallops and black pudding sound plenty Scottish, but join pomegranate, satay and a shard of samosa pastry on the plate. Ras al hanout-glazed pigeon breast rests on a disc of giant couscous, scattered with pistachio like a glittery green cupcake. For mains, a shiitake samosa shakes up maple and five spice Gressingham duck with grilled pak-choi and edamame beans. Two-textured deep-fried butternut squash gnocchi stand out alongside venison haunch with sesame seeds and cassis jus. The fusions are subtler at dessert: a chocolate and citrussy yuzu fondant reveals itself like a boiled egg receiving soldiers, prettied with orange curd powder and matching sorbet. And citrus plays again in a luscious lemongrass parfait with cracks of honeycomb and coconut ice cream. + Creative chef taking fine Scottish produce in exciting directions - Whether every fusion ‘works’ is up to you

Tupiniquim BRAZILIAN The Green Police Box, Middle Meadow Walk, Lauriston Place, Old Town, 07984 526884, tupiniquim.co.uk | Closed Sun | £5 (lunch)

It would be hard to leave this little Brazil-in-a-box street food stall anything other than full and smiling. A permanent fixture at the top of Middle Meadow Walk, Tupiniquim are now focusing, due to customer demand, on their 15-inch, naturally gluten-free pancakes during the week, with popular feijoada pork and black bean stew on Saturdays. The pancakes, piled high with vegetables, meats and cheeses in the same bright colours as the converted police-box kitchen, offer at least one of your five-a-day along with bags of taste and flavour. If you want to indulge, however, there’s chocolate, Nutella and seasonal fruit options to choose from and traditional Amazonian tapioca flat breads served with interesting combinations like sweet, tart guava jelly, salty feta and toasted coconut. The portions are generous, the flavours fabulous and the cheerful humour of husband and wife team Fernando and Gardenia infectious. Firmly embedded in the local community, they’ve converted the verge behind their box

into a children’s music garden-cumfestival venue which hosts short film screenings and spontaneous evening performances. + Skilful service with a smile - Sure to be rammed during Festival season

Wings NORTH AMERICAN 5–7 Old Fishmarket Close, Old Town, 0131 629 1234, wingsedinburgh.com | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Leave your dignity at the door. As you enter Wings, greeted by C3PO (not the real one), you kinda feel like you’re walking into the sixth form common room circa 1995 after a joint in the period before lunch. Maybe it’s just because All Saints are playing in the background. Sit at manga montagecovered tables among pop sci-fi artwork, students, Spanish tourists and tech bros in baseball caps. There’s no mucking about: it’s chicken wings in polystyrene bowls and instant service. Drinks: cheap cans, beers (Black Isle on draft) and shakes (including alcoholic, like Oreo cookie and spiced rum). There is the odd side dish, but that’s not the point. Choose your wings dry or from a deluge of sauces, grouped under bbq, fresh (a vague nod to salad dressings), sweet, and boozy. Man vs Food fans can take their place in the Hall of Flame by completing the Suicide Challenge which turns the heat, and meat sweats, up to 11. Don't say you weren’t warned and attempt at your own risk, but the prize is the eternal respect of your Wings men, and women. + Channelling your inner Man vs Food - Trying to suck sauce off your fingers with style

Tapa SPANISH 19 Shore Place, Leith, 0131 476 6776, tapaedinburgh.co.uk | Closed Sun/ Mon | £15 (set lunch) / £14 (dinner)

In the Shore area of Leith, Tapa inhabits two stone-walled and wellstyled rooms on the ground floor of an historic former warehouse. Whitewashed walls and muted grey woodwork give it a light and airy feel, with a homely touch added by colourful film posters and twinkling fairy lights. The cooking here is contemporary yet classical and is squarely aimed at the upper end of the market. Good-sized portions, beyond the traditional tapas-sized plates, feature a range of Spanish ingredients such as black pudding from Burgos and various cuts of black pig, as well as sea bass ceviche, grilled octopus and panseared padrón peppers. An interesting drinks list includes wines from lesserknown regions and grapes, as well as a good selection of aged sherries, and all dietary needs are well-catered for

wine tastings - Great food - Fine

wine - 1 AA Rosette - Creative

If you’re hankering for some hefty portions of quality beef, then Shebeen should be your new carnivorous haven. With branches on Morrison Street and Dalry Road, as well as Dalkeith, there’s plenty of opportunity to satisfy that meaty craving. Sourcing their beef from local farms, the quality is high, as is the quantity of food coming out on the plates and wooden boards. The brave are challenged to take on the giant ‘lion’ steak portion of either rump, sirloin, ribeye or T-bone, served with homemade chunky chips, portobello mushroom, crispy onion rings, and optional tangy monkey gland sauce. If steak isn’t your thing, go for one of the South African specials – the bunny chow (a hollowed-out loaf of bread filled with Durban curry) is spicy and generously filled, while the banana and salad on the side soothe and cool. The restaurant fills up quickly and there’s a real buzz in this laid-back room, with its simple wooden tables and the occasional colourful lizard fixed on the wall. + The giant, juicy steaks - Not great for vegetarians

✱ NEW Taisteal

with gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan menus available. With a good value ‘El Clasico’ lunch for two to share, a party menu and a warm welcome for kids, Tapa has the feel of a well thought-out place that has a little bit of something for everyone. + Plenty of interesting dishes to choose from - All of them arriving at once and food going cold

beer - Private dining - Personal

Serrano Manchego

its second year, it attracts locals and others in the know who lap up very reasonably priced traditional Greek mezze, drink wine from copper lustre carafes or simply prop up the bar. This neighbourhood favourite is a proper family venture with twin sisters managing front-of-house and an uncle and niece team in the kitchen bringing the food they grew up with to a quiet New Town street. Although the menu features many recognisable dishes – tzatziki, dolmades, lamb chops and keftedes – it’s pleasantly surprising in its unadulterated style, more reminiscent of a holiday off the beaten track than a package tour. Celebrating what they feel is special about Greek eating, the food comes as and when it’s ready and is designed for sharing. As you tuck into grilled octopus and prawn saganaki flambéed in ouzo, it’s easy to see why the menu claims it’s normal for diners to order two or three times during a visit. + Moreish mezze in lively local - One basket of pita isn’t enough

cocktails - Early dining - Craft

topped with cheese and butter), pabellon margartieño (poached sea bass in garlic) and calamares rebozados (deep-fried squid rings with garlic mayonnaise) include some of the more unusual dishes at this family-run cantina. + Wallet-friendly dining - Only opens for lunch during the week if booked ahead

Calistoga Restaurant & Sideways Wine Shop

The Taste of California since 2004 70 Rose St. Lane N. Edinburgh. EH2 3DX Calistoga.co.uk Tel - 225 1233

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✱ Yellow Bench POLISH 29 Crighton Place, Leith Walk, Leith, 07510 861842, yellowbench.co.uk | Closed Tue | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Under new management and resettled into larger premises next door, this little Polish diner is something of an undiscovered treasure. The interior has lost some of the charm of the original site, but the food has lost none of its impact and the surroundings just don’t seem very important once the meal arrives. It’s all that you hope Polish food will be: big, meaty dishes, like fiery hunter’s stew and deep, satisfying beef broth infused with smoked pork belly. There’s a generosity that comes through in the flavours, the sizeable portions and the warm service. Don’t be misled by the simple menu descriptions either; the humbly described potato pancakes are packed with herbs and are crisp like rösti, while the accompanying salad includes beetroot relish, carved radishes and tangy, palette-cleansing sauerkraut. Polish classic pierogi come in three or twelve to share; unexpectedly light and melt in the mouth, go for twelve. + Great flavour, great value - Easy on taste, harder on the waist!

Yeni MEDITERRANEAN 73 Hanover Street, New Town, 0131 225 5755, yenirestaurant.com | Closed Sun | £22 (lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Set unobtrusively above street level, you could easily overlook this Mediterranean mezze spot but it’s well worth following the steady stream of customers climbing the stairs. There’s a sleek, professional air about the place, with staff well-informed on the extensive menu and wine list. With dishes from Italy, Greece, Lebanon and Turkey, the menu comfortably straddles Europe, western Asia and the Middle East, with particularly good choices for vegetarians. The owner has kept down the prices of lunch and pre-theatre deals and the close location to the shops and clubs of Princes and George streets make this a great place to bag a reasonably priced lunch or post-shopping dinner. Try their speciality Arabic flatbread wraps or dine like a sultan with one of the house banquets. + Great options for most dietary requirements - If you can’t climb the steps, you’ll have to pass

Zara’s Mediterranean Bistro MEDITERRANEAN 176 Rose Street, New Town, 0131 225 2333, zara-mediterranean-bistro.co.uk | £7.95 (set lunch)

Zara’s has had a refurb in slate, stone and aubergine but continues to produce crowdpleasing cooking, curating cuisines from around the Med. Start off with a couple of mezze, or opt for a sharing banquet to sample a smörgåsbord of hot and cold dips and dishes such as homemade hummus, cool yoghurty cacik, antep ezme (Turkish salsa), tavuk salata (chicken marinated in lemon and coriander), ispanok borek (feta pastries), sucuk (spicy sausage), baked feta, falafel and so on. Mains range from wraps and chips to grilled meat dishes like ak deniz izgara (lamb or chicken with prawns and creamy garlic butter), from seafood to pasta, to signature Mediterranean treats like hunkar begendi (lamb and aubergine casserole). If you’ve got room, try a sticky, sweet, satisfying dessert like baklava, in traditional hazelnut or chocolate, or the house special of honeyed pistachio filo kadayik. Accompany with a contrastingly bitter, and necessarily fortifying, Turkish coffee, or a soothing mint tea. + Hearty Mediterranean food - Mint tea may be needed for post-dinner digestion

SCOTTISH Scottish dining in Edinburgh continues to flourish. At its best, high-quality ingredients from Scotland’s larder combine with the impressive talents of the city’s chefs, and while there is undoubtedly fine-dining to be had, it’s not necessarily a prerequisite of the scene. You’re as likely to find a young restaurateur kick-starting their first establishment as a Michelin-lauded chef at the top of their game. And while the tartan-sprinkled clichés still exist, they are easy to avoid – which is great news for lovers of simple, wonderful, Scottish food. Reviewers: Will Bain, Tom BruceGardyne, Jo Laidlaw, Chris Marks, Steve Morton

A Room in Leith 1a Dock Place, Leith, 0131 554 7427, teuchtersbar.co.uk/a-room-in-leithscottish-restaurant-leith-edinburgh | £14.50 (set lunch) / £21 (set dinner)

This reliable neighbourhood restaurant offers a seasonal spread of Scottish classics that won’t empty your wallet. The focus is on a mix of meat and fish dishes plus a couple of veggie options with larger sharing platters of meat, veg or seafood, while weekends see a brunchy lunch menu come into play. With the choices changing every six weeks, there’s plenty to keep regulars coming back. The Room, like its sister outlet in the West End, fills the gap between good pub grub and higher-end dining, offering well-cooked standards at a price that makes eating here a regular treat rather than an occasional extravagance. A deliciously crispy smoked salmon Scotch egg comes with a gooey yolk, a hefty slab of pigeon breast sits on a fat disc of savoy cabbage with clapshot and red wine gravy, and a warm clootie dumpling with rum custard, pear and maple compote seals the deal. When you’re full, why not stroll across to the neighbouring Teuchters Landing for a wee nightcap? + A dependable old friend that won’t break the bank - A menu of classics rather than innovations

A Room in the West End 26 William Street, West End, 0131 226 1036, aroomin.co.uk | £14.50 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

More pubby than its Leith counterpart, A Room in the West End has been serving up Scottish favourites in the relaxed, intimate, wood-panelled basement of Teuchters bar since 2001. The kitchen ticks all the boxes without overdoing it on the tartan and shortbread front. Starters include a thick and hearty Cullen skink or slithers of cured Rannoch beef served up alongside crumbly black pudding and a soft-boiled egg. Mains offer sherry-braised pork cheeks or plaice with crushed chorizo and dill potatoes, alongside more obvious choices such as a seared venison loin with kailkenny mash. Desserts continue the homely comfort theme with a sticky toffee pudding and a selection of ices. With its pub stock to tap into, the gin menu is long and there’s whisky galore, including triple malt tasting flights. The wine list, too, is plentiful with affordable choices alongside a couple of more lavish offerings. It’s a safe and reliable bet for a wallet-friendly lunch or dinner but maybe

it’s time to shake things up and tempt some of those in the busy bar above to head downstairs. + No alarms and no surprises - Maybe time to ring the changes

✱ HITLIST

Aizle 107–109 St Leonard’s Street, Southside, 0131 662 9349, aizle.co.uk | Closed Mon/ Tue | £45 (set dinner)

Aizle, which rhymes with hazel and is old Scots for a spark or ember, is seriously seasonal with its monthly ‘harvest’ of produce plucked, foraged and slaughtered. From this comes a dazzling list of perhaps 20 ingredients, some of which you’ve probably never heard of. All are displayed on a chalk board in this soft-lit, pale blue space a stone’s throw from Salisbury Crags, and used to fashion a five course tasting menu by owner-chef Stuart Ralston. The bar is set high by a trio of sophisticated treats to start with. Yet agnolotti pasta with pumpkin and lardo, and the freshest, most delicately cooked halibut, topped with Orkney mussels, clear that bar with ease. As does rump and belly of hogget (half-way between lamb and mutton) with courgettes and buckwheat. Expect something indulgent and chocolatey for pudding and a well-conceived, if pricey, wine list spruced up with some homemade soft drinks and a bevy of inventive, seasonal cocktails. + Glorious handling of seafood - Slightly cramped tables

The Abbotsford 3 Rose Street, New Town, 0131 225 5276, theabbotsford.com | £18 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Escape busy Rose Street with its tourists, hen parties and city workers recovering over a pint and restore yourself in the civility of the Abbotsford. Upstairs from the popular pub below, the Edwardian dining room is all white tablecloths, dark woodwork and cheerfully stylish wallpaper. The staff welcome is sincerely helpful and drinks arrive promptly. The menu is pub food but taken up a notch. Tiger prawns, juicy in crispy beer batter get a kick from the lime and green curry tartar sauce alongside. The piled high mushroom and kale tart is accented with a mild cauliflower purée. The mains cover the bases of burgers, fish and chips, and steak and ale pie, but there is also roast duck breast, sitting cosily on a bed of honey-roasted vegetables and peppercorn gravy. For puds the chocolate and whisky tart is a bit sticky sweet but the Abbotsford apple crumble comes with perfect vanilla panacotta and delicious apple crumble ice cream. + Lovely atmosphere with attentive staff - Vegetarians could be better served

SCOTTISH ✱ Café St Honoré A taste of Paris with 97% sustainable and mostly Scottish ingredients, this is a top choice for ethical eaters. ✱ Castle Terrace This sophisticated fine-dining restaurant just has the edge on its sister venue The Kitchin. Exquisite plates in a refined atmosphere. ✱ Edinburgh Food Studio Innovative space for cooking, eating, sharing; three dinner services a week plus a host of guests and events. ✱ The Gardener’s Cottage Imaginative, interesting and delicious social dining and seasonal cooking – the Cottage never disappoints. ✱ Field Top-bracket contemporary Scottish cooking at very reasonable prices, served in a simple Southside dining room. ✱ Norn Newcomer Norn champions bold and committed contemporary Scottish dining in its muted space, using ingredients from seas, shores and hedgerows. ✱ Number One Solid luxury and the finest of dining in what must surely be Edinburgh’s most indulgent location. ✱ Purslane Purslane offers fine dining at a pretty fine price, with an accessible approach to the Scottish larder. ✱ Timberyard Timberyard softens the ‘fixed menu no choice’ concept with an innovative menu based on professionally presented homegrown produce and impeccably sourced ingredients.

Amber Restaurant The Scotch Whisky Experience, 354 Castlehill, The Royal Mile, Old Town, 0131 477 8477, amber-restaurant.co.uk | £18 (lunch) / £22 (dinner)

If there is a whisky aficionado in your life, you may already be aware of Amber’s charms. Situated beneath the Scotch Whisky Experience with one of the largest choices of whisky in town, the cosy dining room is much more than an add-on for the hugely popular tourist attraction upstairs. Local produce sourcing is high on their priority list, a great example being the pretty starter of diced Scottish salmon, cured in East Lothian cider, piled into towers and surrounded by little dabs of tart apple jelly and mustard cream. If you need more choice, you can go off-piste with the ‘pots’ section of the menu where modest portions of traditional favourites can be sampled. Mains include a wellseasoned guinea fowl breast with paprika

sausage and fondant potato and there’s an excellent roast vegetable and chickpea cake, further enlivened by cranberry chutney. For dessert, try a classic like deliciously sticky date pudding or the powerfully dark chocolate brownie, both served with ice cream. The drinks list is, understandably, heavily biased towards whisky (pairings with food are encouraged) but there’s still a reasonable, modestly priced selection of wine too. + Elegantly presented and well-executed seasonal Scottish food - Early closing means it’s essentially a daytime restaurant Sun–Thu

Angels with Bagpipes 343 High Street, Old Town, 0131 220 1111, angelswithbagpipes.co.uk | £17.50 (set lunch) / £35 (set dinner)

A prime spot on the Royal Mile might suggest ‘tourist trap’ and an over-

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The Dining Room: fine dining at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society

reliance on passing trade, but fear not – Angels with Bagpipes is something else entirely. The ambience is plush, relatively dark and cosy, and there’s a serious chef in the background. A compact, well-conceived menu leans towards dark meats, but there’s nothing heavy about a succulent main course of venison, carrot, tonka bean, chicory and sprouts. Or the rabbit loin, wrapped in bacon with black pudding in the creamiest pearl barley sauce. Depending on the season, you could start with a

TIPLIST NEIGHBOURHOOD DINING • Barrelhouse Bar & Grill 24 Jock’s Lodge will never be the same again; this Louisiana roadhouse has certainly got them talking. • Bijou 36 Lovely little neighbourhood joint just off Leith Links and beloved by loyal locals. • Bon Papillon 20 Wholesome delicious meals in artistic surrounds – with legendary scones too. • Cafe Renroc W This Hillside neighbourhood café welcomes diners like an old friend with a smile and a spread of simple, delicious food. • La Petite Mort 41 La Petite Mort offers a riveting gastronomic performance in the shadows of the King’s Theatre. • Spitaki 81 This neighbourhood favourite is a proper family affair and full of Greek sunshine.

small, beautifully presented haggis, neeps and tatties or possibly the city’s lightest crab and avocado mousse. After that, pudding may seem indulgent but if tempted try the apple compote with puff pastry, crème pattissière and vanilla ice-cream. + Food that more than matches its classy presentation - Limited choice for vegetarians

The Apprentice Edinburgh College, Granton Campus, 350 West Granton Road, Leith, 0131 559 4030, edinburghcollege.ac.uk/ Restaurants/The-Apprentice | Closed Sat–Tue (and outside term time) | £7.50 (set lunch) / £15 (set dinner)

It’s easy to forget this place is a training restaurant for Edinburgh College’s catering students. Only the location at the Granton campus and the overenthusiastic welcome by the slightly nervous waiting staff gives the game away. On the food front, this place holds its own with many of Edinburgh’s finer dining spots. And for value for money, it’s unbeatable. Lunchtime offers three courses for a tenner, while on Thursday evenings £15 buys you a six-course dinner menu. Dishes are designed, cooked and served by the students and could include a crisp-skinned fillet of sea bass in sumac and lime, braised feather blade of beef with pancetta and pearl barley, and a spicy dish of hake with mussels and spinach. The quality varies a little from dish to dish and from week to week. Come towards the end of term and you’ll find little to fault. But the fact you’ll often have to book several weeks in advance shows most folk are happy to overlook the odd slip in the face of a bargain meal. These apprentices should have no problem getting hired. + Hard to quibble at these prices - Take the rough with the smooth

The Atelier 159–161 Morrison Street, West End, 0131 629 5040, theatelierrestaurant. co.uk | Closed Sun/Mon | £10 (set

lunch) / £27 (dinner)

There is a lot happening at The Atelier, both on and off the plate, where chef Maciek Zielinski pushes the boundaries in this French-named Scottish restaurant serving modern European dishes. A starter of prawns and pork belly comes crowded with fennel, rhubarb and licorice and a loin of tangy mutton is trumped by the rich neck pie served alongside. But neither can beat the simplicity of a perfectly cooked, aged ribeye steak on puréed potato. Styles collide in the décor too, where a vast slate wall contrasts with orange and purple button-back chairs and matching lampshades. The owners have collected a dizzying array of crockery on which to present each course. Service is spot on here – the waiter knows the menu and ingredients back to front. The wine list is extensive, the food inexpensive and with a lunch offer of under a tenner for two courses, this place offers top-end fine dining at affordable prices. It’s all delicious, even if there’s a little bit too much going on at times. + Daring combinations make for memorable dishes - A bit of an identity crisis

Blonde 75 St Leonard’s Street, Southside See Bistros & Brasseries

✱ Café St Honoré 34 North West Thistle Street Lane, New Town, 0131 226 2211, cafesthonore. com | £18.50 (set lunch) / £30 (dinner)

Chef-patron Neil Forbes must get a kick out of contradictions. His café is one of the Frenchiest venues in town, all bentwood chairs, tiled floors and spotty mirrors, but his menu reads like a Scottish travelogue with no fewer than 18 local producers name-checked. It’s like inviting Edith Piaf round for tea and having Eddi Reader show up instead – a bit of a surprise, but still totally brilliant. And that’s before the food even arrives . . . first Forbes takes three beautiful, plump hand-dived Isle of Mull scallops

and essentially (sensibly) leaves them alone – searing them, popping them onto a puddle of earthy lentils then sending them out. Job done. Venison follows, rich and soft with that gamey tang that sends your heart racing off across the heather. There’s only one veggie choice (back to France again?) but it’s a satisfying one: a celeriac and potato bake with a blue stilton croquette that puts hairs on your chest. Finally, chocolate fondant completes the circle, bringing you back to Paris and Edith and that time you fell in love. Braw. + Those scallops - Exiting back to the cold hard cobbles of an insalubrious lane

NEW Cannonball Restaurant & Bar Cannonball House, 356 Castlehill, Royal Mile, Old Town, 0131 225 1550, contini.com/contini-cannonball | Closed Sun/Mon | £15 (set lunch) / £27 (dinner)

Even if you don’t believe the yarn about Katie, Cannonball House’s ghostly Victorian schoolgirl, there’s still a rich history to the place. Formerly Castlehill primary school (hence Katie), this 15th-century townhouse is named after the projectile wedged high up on its west wall, apocryphally attributed to a pot-shot at Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1745. So far, so historic, but what Edinburgh restaurateurs Victor and Carina Contini have done is turn it into a stylish, airy restaurant, that platforms some of Scotland’s best food producers. A seasonally changing menu of modern classics is peppered proudly with sourcing details, from a canapé of excellent Loch Duart smoked salmon, to a main of grilled Eyemouth lobster. Phantassie Farm vegetables play a strong role, whether in colourful blobs and swoops of sweet celeriac and carrot accompanying a loin of venison, or charred florets of romanesco broccoli alongside a goat’s cheese panacotta. With a decent lunch deal and an impressive five course taster, plus the Contini’s trademark attentive service, it

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WHISKI Bar & Restaurant

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seems Cannonball House has been given new life and no-one is complaining, except maybe Katie. + Proud use of excellent Scottish ingredients - Service can seem a little over-attentive

✱ Castle Terrace 33–35 Castle Terrace, West End, 0131 229 1222, castleterracerestaurant.com | Closed Sun/Mon | £33 (set lunch) / £70 (set dinner)

Castle Terrace is a distinguished beast; a series of elegant Georgian rooms in slate greys and royal blues with the air of gentility only found at this echelon of hospitality. They do that clever finedining thing of projecting a swan-like grace, while beneath the surface you know there’s a ton of work going on. Here it’s literally true, as the impressive kitchen is underground; a stainless steel warren containing a four-seat chef’s table where you can enjoy the orchestrated stramash of a fine dining service in full swing. Upstairs, by contrast, hushed calm often prevails, though lunch service is frequently bustling as diners take advantage of the daytime prix fixe. Off this, expect some excellent cooking – a perfectly crisp, tender skate wing, served atop striking concentric red pepper and black olive sauces – and superb judgement of flavour, such as in a ceviche of gurnard with ginger and lemongrass notes chiming clear as a bell, or an amuse-bouche combining, to surprising effect, the disparate worlds of Arbroath smokie and mango. There’s not much choice come dessert, but with a creme brûlée this close to perfect, who needs it? + Graceful service, elegant cooking, delicious food - The experience might be a little classical for contemporary tastes

The Dining Room The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, 28 Queen Street, New Town, 0131 220 2044, thediningroomedinburgh.co.uk | Closed Mon/Sun | £22 (set lunch) / £42 (set dinner)

With the glory of its malts and the serenity of its clubs, the Scotch Malt Whisky Society is something of a religious experience to its members. Thankfully, just like church, nonmembers are also welcome at the Dining Room Restaurant and Kaleidoscope bar inside the society’s Queen Street townhouse. A refurb in July 2016 shifted the restaurant upstairs to the capacious grandeur of the first floor, replacing it with the stylish Kaleidoscope bar. The move upstairs hasn’t phased the kitchen; the Dining Room remains one of the more dependable fine-dining venues in town. Seasonally changing menus have finesse without fussiness, showcasing deep flavours in elegant dishes: a pillowy ravioli of celeriac and chanterelles is both rich and light, while succulent halibut is warmly underpinned with umami Jerusalem artichokes. Quality produce is handled with skill, so you can expect perfectly pink venison and vegetables which retain character and bite. The cooking is excellent, though the menu perhaps lacks a cutting edge, and the food can feel like its playing second fiddle to the drink – although this seems correct, as first and foremost this is a place to worship the whisky gods. + Great ingredients, excellent food, outstanding whisky - The cooking is expert but not always exciting

The Dogs 110 Hanover Street, New Town See Bistros & Brasseries

The Dome Chop House Leith 102 Constitution Street, Leith See Steakhouses & Burgers

14 George Street, New Town See Bistros & Brasseries

EH15 David Bann 56–58 St Mary’s Street, Old Town See Bistros & Brasseries

Dine with Stuart Muir Saltire Court, 10 (1F) Cambridge Street, Tollcross, 0131 218 1818, dineedinburgh.co.uk | £13.50 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

In 2015, Stuart Muir opened his eponymous restaurant after over a decade spent helming the kitchen at Harvey Nichols; years in which he gained valuable expertise on what fashion shoppers want for dinner after splurging on the latest Balenciaga ankle boot. At Dine, he’s kept a highend feel, with a Scottish-hearted menu refined by global titbits and multiple accompaniments on each dish. Starters, like a poached pear with goat’s cheese and hazelnuts, are elegant, pretty little things, while mains, like the deeply flavoured braised beef shin crowned with seared foie gras, or an expertly roasted partridge paired with sauerkraut, are all neatness and composure. Not everything is symphonic and star ingredients can get lost in the detail, as in a strangely sweet marinated langoustine which mars the crab it accompanies. Still, there’s warmth and charm in the darkly panelled dining room, gathered round a twinkling apple tree, as there is in the unfussy service; for all the refinement, it’s the sort of place the waiter might whisper ‘awesome’ if you order a favourite drink from the excellent cocktail list. + Prix fixe deals make this a good shout for a city-centre weekday lunch - Sometimes the food suffers from a slightly try-hard approach

The Club, 24 Milton Road East, Portobello, 0131 344 7344, edinburghcollege.ac.uk/Restaurants/ EH15 | Closed Sat–Mon | £7.50 (set lunch) / £15 (set dinner)

If you’re prepared to roll the dice on quality, then you’ll be hard pressed to find a better value fine-dining option in Edinburgh. Along with The Apprentice in Granton, this training restaurant is staffed by Edinburgh College catering students who take turns at pastry, service, butchery and kitchen duties. Come on the right day and they’ll have been in their respective roles for nine weeks and have everything down to a tee. Come a week later, and you’ll find them cutting their teeth in a new position. Lunch is served from Wednesday to Friday, two or three courses which change weekly. There’s a supper club on Tuesday and Thursday evenings which sees the third year students raise the bar with a masterchef fine-dining set menu. The ingredients in a caesar salad don’t quite come together but a dish of lamb with sweet potato purée and berry jus hits the spot and poached pears with chocolate crumble and chanterelle cream is flawless. The décor is institutional but the fifth floor view, taking in everything from the Pentland Hills to the Firth of Forth, is worth the visit alone. + Great value food - They’re still learning their craft

✱ Edinburgh Food Studio 158 Dalkeith Road, Southside, 0131 258 0758, edinburghfoodstudio.com | Closed Sun–Wed | £42 (set dinner)

You’ll need to book ahead at the Edinburgh Food Studio – a restaurant just

three nights a week, but the food itself is gloriously spontaneous. The set tasting menu depends on the season, what’s in flower and what’s been foraged from local hedgerows and markets. Then it’s down to the mood of owner-chefs Ben Reade and Sashana Souza Zanella, and whether there’s a Michelin-starred guest chef in the kitchen that week. There could be razor clams in broth with fiery radish sprouts, pink purslane and hedge garlic followed by sunflower seed risotto or the juiciest pork belly in a beautifully reduced sauce with rhubarb. Pudding could be anything from a lovage granita to an old-fashioned Scottish flummery – a milky jelly with oats. Not knowing is all part of the fun as you share the experience with fellow diners across a wide communal table. One constant is the sheer verve and creativity of the cooking, and a quirky, well-conceived wine list that could do with a few more local beers. + The excitement of not knowing what’s coming next - Communal dinner party-style dining won’t suit everyone

✱ Field 41 West Nicolson Street, Southside, 0131 667 7010, fieldrestaurant.co.uk | Closed Mon | £14 (set lunch) / £23 (dinner)

This is one for the serious eaters. Field offers the very best seasonal Scottish ingredients cooked with precision and served up free from theatrical fuss. And the result is a treat. The pared-down dining room – a small white square space, bare wooden tables, huge cow portrait on the wall – befits the deceptive simplicity of the menu. Field has the confidence in its ingredients and lets them speak for themselves. Their chat is seductive. A starter of hake bites in sourdough batter with samphire mayo is light and crunchy and melts on the tongue. A loin of venison is cooked so carefully that the pink flesh wobbles beneath a crisp and blackened charred skin. Bold vegetable choices, including blackened Jerusalem artichoke and salt-baked celeriac, compete for attention with the meat on the plate, while vegetarian options, such as confit beetroot steak tart with whipped goat’s curd, make for a tempting alternative. The affordable wine list offers an impressive choice of more than 50 bottles and, with the menu priced as keenly, Field dishes up an outstanding and wallet-friendly place to eat. + Expertly delivered pared-down dining - Bijou space means you’ll usually need to book

First Coast 97–101 Dalry Road, West End See Bistros & Brasseries

Fishers in the City 58 Thistle Street, New Town See Fish

Forth Floor Restaurant Harvey Nichols, 30–34 St Andrew Square, New Town, 0131 524 8350, harveynichols.com/restaurant/ edinburgh-dining | £26 (set lunch) / £26 (dinner)

By night, you enter this temple to wellheeled shopping by a side entrance on Multrees Walk and zip to the open-plan top floor by lift. The corner restaurant overlooks St Andrew Square with a balcony for al fresco dining in summer. It’s screened off from the bar/brasserie by twinkling glass beads, adding a touch of glitz – like the champagne-led wine list – though the décor overall is understated. For starters, a ladle of beetroot soup seems a little lost in its wide-rimmed

bowl, while the citrus tang of chilled red mullet escabeche is rather drowned out by its supporting cast. Mains are a definite step up, be it braised pork cheek, risotto and black pudding or a fleshy pink Borders lamb chump chop with spiced tomato pearl barley. The wines are impressively varied and good by the glass, while the vote for best pudding goes to the hot raspberry soufflé. + Stunning al fresco dining in summer - Slightly disappointing starters

✱ The Gardener’s Cottage 1 Royal Terrace Gardens, New Town, 0131 558 1221, thegardenerscottage. co | Closed Tue. | £25 (lunch) / £50 (set dinner)

If foodie-ism were a religion, The Gardener’s Cottage would be distinctly Low Church. There’s no plush décor or purple prose menus in this compact, tworoomed space with whitewashed walls and a fixed choice in the evening. The rickety chairs are second-hand from a kirk (obviously) and you sit with fellow diners round a communal table. True to the restaurant’s name, the seven courses such as tea-cured trout, smoked pheasant, and cider-poached halibut are packed with earthy goodness and purity. The chef’s skill with fish and local vegetables in a flawless bacon and onion broth is obvious, though perhaps a pudding of artichoke mousse and pear ice-cream is trying too hard. The drinks list is quirky and well-chosen, and completing the old-fashioned analogue feel, there’s 70s vinyl on the turntable. All in all, The Gardener’s Cottage is about a million miles from the glitz of George Street, and all the better for it. + The sheer purity of flavour - The rickety chairs

The Grain Store 30 Victoria Street, Old Town, 0131 225 7635, grainstore-restaurant.co.uk | £14 (set lunch) / £38 (dinner)

With its discreet corners and alcoves, candlelit stone walls and views out over scenic Victoria Street, it’s obvious why this stalwart of Edinburgh’s restaurant scene is frequently highlighted as both a romantic and atmospheric destination. The short but varied menu is a showcase for Scotland’s larder; starters include a gamey seared pigeon with rich leek and hickory risotto while heritage beetroot with goat’s cheese and orange salad is as interesting as it is intensely flavoured. A main of pan-seared and roasted chicken with foie gras butter also packs a punch and is perfectly complemented by a robust glass of red. To finish, there’s a novel take on crème brûlée, free-standing atop poached rhubarb and red berries. The wine list is a solid mix of Old and New World and the personable staff are the right side of attentive. Those seeking sustenance in the afternoon should take note of the bargain three course lunch menu. + A beautiful setting, ideal for impressing a date - Quite pricey

Hellers Kitchen 15 Salisbury Place, Southside See Bistros & Brasseries

Hendersons Salad Table 94 Hanover Street, New Town, 0131 225 2131, hendersonsofedinburgh.co.uk | £16 (dinner)

Having first opened its doors in 1962, Hendersons is rightly regarded as an Edinburgh institution. The split-level Salad Table restaurant is situated beneath the original shop/deli on buzzy Hanover Street in the New Town and offers two contrasting dining options; the brightly lit, cheerful, self-service canteen area

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Kyloe Restaurant & Grill The Rutland Hotel, 1–3 Rutland Street, West End See Steakhouses & Burgers

NEW Lovage Restaurant 38 St Mary’s Street, Old Town, 0131 557 5754, lovagerestaurant.co.uk | Closed Mon/Tue | £15 (set lunch) / £28 (dinner)

This small friendly spot just off the Royal Mile stands out in the increasingly crowded market of places serving a modern European take on Scottish ingredients. Brothers Lukasz and Bartek Jedrejek bring more than a touch of their Polish roots to their cooking. Pickled herring with apple and Jerusalem artichoke sits alongside a sour rye soup and a wild garlic velouté in the starters section, while mains include spätzle with curd cheese and chestnuts, hake in curry sauce and pork with sauerkraut and black pudding. The emphasis is on using cheaper Scottish seasonal ingredients to keep the prices down, eschewing the principles of fine high-end dining in favour of the French idea of ‘bistronomy’ – humbler food served in a more relaxed atmosphere. It’s a winning formula. The food surprises and delights in equal measure and the bill won’t burn a hole in your pocket. It’s not the largest space, and the boldly decorated dining area is split rather awkwardly into three sections, but there is something genuinely different being dished up at Lovage. + Surprising dishes at modest prices - A limited lunch menu

The Magnum Restaurant & Bar 1 Albany Street, New Town, 0131 557 4366, themagnumrestaurant.co.uk | £13 (set lunch) / £27 (dinner)

Purslane (page 88): offering fine dining at fine prices in Stockbridge

and the more intimate, candlelit dining room, complete with efficient table service and nightly live jazz. To start, lentil and spinach falafel with coconut curry sauce is unlikely to disappoint and lightly battered cauliflower ‘wings’ come with a kicking barbecue sauce. The mains section features a number of daily specials that are worth exploring but you won’t go far wrong plumping for hasselback aubergines accompanied by a full-flavoured mushroom and walnut ragù. Desserts are sizeable, with both the carrot cake and bakewell tart completely obliterating any remaining hunger pangs. There’s a bijou wine list and a decent range of mainly Scottish bottled beers (including gluten-free and low-alcohol options), plus a good selection of soft drinks and fruit juices. + Cheerful, affordable city-centre dining - Nightly jazz may not be your organic cup of tea

Howies (Victoria Street) 10–14 Victoria Street, Old Town, 0131 225 1721, howies.uk.com | £11 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

For nigh on two decades, Howies has occupied a trio of vaulted rooms carved into the cliff face of Victoria Street – rooms which, despite being smack-bang in the middle of Edinburgh’s tourist trail, manage to feel cosily hidden away from the city centre stramash outside. The location does mean it’s frequently chock full, especially during the summer, when locals, holidaymakers and everyone else all rely on its killer combo of friendly, inexpensive reliability. Predictable menu items like salmon mousse or sticky toffee pudding aren’t likely to wow the foodistas, but only the harshest critic could fail to notice that people in Howies

tend to be having a good time. There are highlights to the food too, like the succulent Perthshire venison and grilled leeks, or the crunchy beignet alongside a tender grilled chicken breast. But a trip to Howies is as much about enjoying the atmosphere and service, and knowing you’re going to walk away with your wallet relatively unscathed. + It’s warm, it’s buzzy, it’s central - Unlikely to expand your gastronomic horizons

Howies (Waterloo Place) 29 Waterloo Place, New Town, 0131 556 5766, howies.uk.com | £11 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

Venerable Scottish restaurant chain Howies has long been renowned for its egalitarian informality. You won’t necessarily guess that as you walk into their historic Waterloo Place premises through an ornate octagonal lobby to the beautiful double-height dining room, replete with cupolas, cornices and balconies. It’s bedecked in an understated style, with sparse antlers and flashes of tartan just hinting at owner David Howie Scott’s Perthshire roots. It’s a suitable space for lots of things, and families, business events, tourist groups and romancing couples all mingle here. As such, the kitchen caters for all-comers with a modern menu from around the globe, underpinned with Scottish classics. It’s rarely pricey, and the cooking sometimes reflects the cost, as with a duck and pistachio terrine not particularly reminiscent of either. But at other times, it hits the mark: a starter of roast squash with a mini chickpea bhaji is liberally spiced and freshly fried, and desserts rarely disappoint, from the decidedly grown-up beetroot and

chocolate torte to the definitively childish hot fudge sundae. + A combination of historic grandeur and lightness on the wallet - The food isn’t always the best place to direct attention

The Kitchin 78 Commercial Quay, Leith, 0131 555 1755, thekitchin.com | Closed Sun/Mon | £33 (set lunch) / £75 (dinner)

‘A special occasion’ is such a loaded term. It can sink the soufflé, curdle the sauce, sour the wine. So it’s to Tom and Michaela Kitchin’s credit that their eponymous venue still feels like fun, despite carrying the weight of Michelin stars, long waiting lists, significant bills (especially at dinner) and All That Expectation. First step to getting in the zone: relax and enjoy the ride. From the greeting (front door swept open on your approach, natch) to the aperitifs (beautiful cosy bar) to the canapes (vegetarian, madam? no problem) to the menu presentation, it’s all faultless. And that’s before you even enter the restaurant, a sophisticated tumble of neutral colours and Scottish textures, all designed to focus attention on the plate. And what plates. From a constantly evolving menu, the pasta in the shellfish tortellini on its own is so good you want to take some home. Red mullet stands proud on a bed of potato risotto, tiny cubes in a (very) rich sauce. Then dessert brings that fun factor back with a flourish – a proud apple crumble soufflé just begging for your spoon to dig into the seam of apple underneath. A very special occasion, indeed. + A team that operates like clockwork - There’s really no need for a handbag stool

‘Hidden gem’ is an overused cliché, especially somewhere like Edinburgh where nothing is really hidden at all. But it seems the old reliable Magnum has been hiding in plain sight. Sure, it’s always been there for a pub lunch or a quick drink after work. But hold onto your hats, because this venerable lady is swapping her slippers for dancing shoes and shaking things up. Cured trout with an orange and dill jelly, cucumber foam, pomegranate seeds and blood orange meringue sounds like it’s trying too hard, but is actually a triumph of a starter that makes sense of pomegranate seeds (the tart little clouds of meringue are sensational too). A ballotine of butternut squash and butter bean is as inventive a vegetarian dish as you’ll find anywhere, while venison comes with a rich, winey sauce, a terrific potato cake, and a bowl of lentils you’ll want to scrape clean. Desserts don’t quite hit the same high spots, but by that time you’ll be so under the Magnum’s shimmering fairy-light spell that you’ll be past caring. It’s definitely not hidden, but it definitely is a gem. + Such a pretty place, such a pretty plate - They need to work the same magic on the puds

McKirdy’s Steakhouse 151 Morrison Street, West End See Steakhouses & Burgers

Michael Neave Kitchen & Whisky Bar 21 Old Fishmarket Close, Old Town, 0131 226 4747, michaelneave.co.uk | Closed Sun/Mon | £10 (set lunch) / £28 (dinner)

In 2012, enthusiastic young chef Michael Neave happened on a vacant premises in a new building down an old close off the Royal Mile. Going on the notion that he was ‘young enough to fail’, he took a leap, took the lease (on his 21st birthday), and brazenly succeeded. His restaurant is a contemporary box, bedecked in soft The List Eating & Drinking Guide 87

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greens and browns, with an upstairs bar and a basement dining room. The menu plays safe enough to please most, but throws in the odd curveball to jazz things up, like a carrot and lavender purée that accompanies a venison saddle, or a starter salad of baby vegetables atop an unusual red cabbage velouté. It’s a mixed bag, with some over-cooking here and underseasoning there, but the kitchen succeeds when the food is kept simple: sweet, dilly chunks of gravadlax, or a bisque redolent of seashells and saffron. That the classics fare best may seem surprising from such a youthful chef, but it shows what Michael Neave’s restaurant really is; an oldfashioned Scottish fine-diner with a freshfaced countenance. + A daily changing set lunch is good value - The promise of the menu is sometimes let down by the execution

Monteiths 57–61 High Street, Old Town See Bistros & Brasseries

The Mussel and Steak Bar 110 West Bow, Grassmarket, Old Town See Fish

New Chapter 18 Eyre Place, New Town, 0131 556 0006, newchapterrestaurant.co.uk | £13 (set lunch) / £25 (dinner)

This is one of those places that seems to get it all effortlessly right. Fusing Scottish ingredients with modern European recipes, New Chapter feels like an old friend, offering a hefty serving of charm and warmth that sees this neighbourhood restaurant playing to a full house many nights of the week. The setting is relaxed with a few theatrical flourishes – the bright high-ceilinged dining area is crowned with gilt cornicing and a spectacular chandelier – and there are two rather lovely private dining rooms in the basement. The menu plots a course through Scotland’s larder with lamb, scallops, salmon and black pudding all

TIPLIST ROMANCE • 21212 65 Outrageously pretty Michelinstarred restaurant, where Paul Kitching’s unique creativity shines through in every bonkers dish. 84 • Café St Honoré Transport yourself to the Left Bank while eating beautiful Scottish produce. Lovely. 86 • The Grain Store Full-bodied Scottish flavours abound in this renowned, romantic Old Town restaurant. 88 • Number One Extremely fine dining in Edinburgh’s most luxurious location, a feast for all the senses. 89 • Timberyard This cool warehouse conversion doesn’t put a foot wrong – even the front door has a real wow factor. • The Witchery by the Castle 90 Both rooms are gorgeous, but the stunning Secret Garden has the edge when it comes to a romantic date.

Dine with Stuart Muir (page 86): stylish venue serving Scottish classics

putting in appearances. The twist comes in the combinations. Plump cubes of salmon, cured in gin and beetroot, sit in a floral gazpacho of fennel and cucumber. Lamb loins are served on a bed of crushed turnip with kale and balsamic garlic. It doesn’t all work: a fillet of stone bass comes with lemon gnocchi so sweet and spongy it would pass as a dessert. But for the most part this is confident creative cooking that doesn’t crowd out its ingredients with fancy techniques. + Great food, great atmosphere, great value - Great demand for tables, so book ahead

✱ Norn 50–54 Henderson Street, Leith, 0131 629 2525, nornrestaurant.com | Closed Sun/Mon | £40 (four courses); £65 (seven courses) (set dinner)

Norn offers a modern, stripped-down take on fine dining without the swagger of white tablecloths and flouncy menus. The grey, open-plan interior feels almost office-like, while the only decision is whether to pick four courses or seven. But this abdication of choice feels right from the first moreish mouthful of Orcadian beremeal bread, baked on the premises, to the last crumb of pudding. The menu is in constant seasonal flux and dependent on the locally foraged herbs and leaves that flavour many of the dishes. Be it some gentle haddock, egg yolk and crab apple on a broccoli foam, or rich, gamey lamb with walnut paste, these are served and described by the chefs themselves. ‘Enjoy!’ they invariably cry before retreating to the kitchen, and it’s pretty hard not to, especially with one of the most thoughtful wine lists in town. Ramp up the ambience, tone down the lights and Norn would be a hard act to beat. + The sheer inventiveness of the cooking - The grey wall-to-wall carpet

✱ Number One 1 Princes Street, New Town, 0131 557 6727, roccofortehotels.com | £75 (4 courses) (set dinner)

As you descend the stairs from the clamour of Princes Street to the tranquil, rarefied atmosphere of Number One,

the contrast could hardly seem greater. With its timelessly classy décor and acres of space between tables, it’s immediately apparent that this is no ordinary dining experience. Scotland is at the heart of the menu but they’re not afraid to cast further afield for inspiration; a starter of succulent Borders roe deer is served with pickled kohlrabi and a full-flavoured main of two cuts of Whitmuir pork comes with Medjool dates. Desserts include a delicious, light-as-air vanilla soufflé with poached rhubarb and there’s the option of pairing whiskies with the cheese selection. There’s a flourish of showmanship right at the end when a trolley, piled high with petits fours, is wheeled to your table; each one a tiny work of art. As you might expect from an establishment awarded a Michelin star for 15 consecutive years, the wine list is comprehensive and can more than keep up with your credit card limit. + Food, service and ambience are all outstanding - An experience like this inevitably comes at a price

One Square 1 Festival Square, West End See Bistros & Brasseries

The Outsider 15–16 George IV Bridge, Old Town See Bistros & Brasseries

The Pompadour by Galvin Caledonian Hotel, Princes Street, West End See French

✱ Purslane 33a St Stephen Street, Stockbridge, 0131 226 3500, purslanerestaurant. co.uk | Closed Mon | £14.95 (set lunch) / £25.95 (set dinner)

Hidden from street view, Purslane could never rely on passing trade. What keeps this compact, subterranean restaurant perennially busy is a young owner-chef who knows just what he’s doing. The flavours he and his team cook up in the smallest of kitchens would stimulate the most jaded palate. And there’s a playful inventiveness here, from the gin-free, smoky G&T with lemon and sage right through to the puddings. A red mullet

on salad nicoise amuse-bouche sets the scene, followed by tender smoked haddock in a finely judged, not-toocreamy leak and potato sauce. If that is the standout starter, lamb rump with artichoke is an equally fine main course where the olive purée and a red wine jus cut through the sweetness of the meat. Then, for pure indulgence, try and squeeze in – or at least share – some smoked milk ice-cream and a buzzy, espresso-packed coffee parfait. + Neighbourhood dining at its best - Tables slightly cramped

The Raeburn 112 Raeburn Place, Stockbridge 0131 332 7000, theraeburn.com | £18 (lunch) / £24 (dinner)

After a lavish and fairly recent revamp, the Raeburn is all exposed stone, dark wood floors, matt grey paint and a library snug with books by the yard. Set back from the road, there’s plenty of al fresco eating and drinking out front and a smart, rear terrace overlooking the Edinburgh Accies home ground. The spacious restaurant, beyond the dog-friendly bar, has surprisingly small tables and a souped-up bistro menu, though the root vegetable variety on offer is a little bland. The choice then moves to ‘Raeburn Boards’ – seafood, vegetarian or meat – and staples like half roast chicken, venison loin or beerbattered fish and chips, while much is made of their Josper-grilled steaks. Brownies and caramel ice-cream are worth the indulgence, and there’s a sound drinks list, but overall it feels like the food missed out on the revamp. + Al fresco eating & drinking in summer - Flavours a little hidden

Reekie’s Smokehouse 20 Holyrood Road, Old Town See Round the World

Restaurant Mark Greenaway 69 North Castle Street, New Town, 0131 226 1155, markgreenaway.com | Closed Sun/Mon | £21 (set lunch) / £39 (dinner)

At first glance, you might think Restaurant Mark Greenaway a suitably sober Edinburgh New Town dining spot, with its neatly dressed tables,

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scatterings of art and a menu pared of verbosity. In fact, the proprietorchef is a man with an eye for culinary flamboyance as well as a media opportunity. Ambitious, showy, intricate and certainly distinctive, Greenaway uses dramatic colour, twists, tricks and intriguingly engineered gadgets and crockery to deliver his dishes, with waiters providing instructions and explanations along the way. You may encounter egg boxes, lab flasks and bits of tree, as new ideas mix with crowdpleasing favourites and encounters with intense flavour challenge the sceptics’ doubts about style over substance. While a lower-priced Market Menu, available at lunch and early evening, offers glimpses of both the ingredients (well-sourced and Scottish, on the whole) and the elaborate presentation of Greenaway’s repertoire, for the widescreen, technicolour version, an eight course tasting menu comes in at £69.50, with paired wines available alongside. The high-wire culinary journey reaches a firmer platform in desserts, where Greenaway's creative enthusiasm and imagination are most reliably showcased – although an alternative form of presentation, a chunky book full of the chef’s stunning-looking dishes called Perceptions, published in 2016, has also been picking up accolades and catching the eye far beyond douce old Edinburgh. + Eye-catching, daringly different dishes - The flash and panache doesn't always convince

Restaurant Martin Wishart 54 The Shore, Leith See French

Rhubarb Prestonfield House, Priestfield Road, Southside, 0131 662 2211, prestonfield. com/dine/rhubarb | £25 (set lunch) / £35 (dinner)

Panelled walls, a huge chandelier and Regency portraits are a backdrop to deep-red velour chairs and thick, white tablecloths laid with silver cutlery and candlesticks in this grand Georgian dining room. It all delivers the opulent interiors people have come to expect of James Thomson’s hotels and restaurants. The effect is mirrored by a menu of quality ingredients, all presented like works of art – there’s a lot going on to create the wow factor here, but it holds together well. The traditional afternoon tea is just the ticket for a lazy afternoon, as is the weekly Sunday roast. The setting is the real star though: be sure to finish with a postprandial coffee in the simply awesome tapestry room upstairs. + A grand dining destination - All that opulence can be intimidating

frills and scallops all offer a glimpse of what’s to come. Then it’s a simple choice of a five or seven plate tasting menu, with or without paired drinks. A procession of complex and creative dishes follows: smoked salmon with beetroot sorbet; seared scallops with pear gel, celeriac and channel wrack; plump hare-stuffed tortellini with chestnut purée and Madeira foam; venison with salsify, chanterelle mushrooms and chocolate jus. Each dish is a visual joy. The food might be complex but the atmosphere in the intimate pine-lined dining room is informal. It’s not cheap, but if you’re willing to trust the chef and sommelier to challenge and delight your palate then this place is a must-visit. + Brave new cooking from a bold young team - Discreet signage makes this place hard to spot

Steak 14 Picardy Place, New Town See Steakhouses & Burgers

The Stockbridge Restaurant 54 St Stephen Street, Stockbridge, 0131 226 6766, thestockbridgerestaurant.co.uk | Closed Mon | £32.50 (dinner)

Thirteen years since opening, head chef Jason Gallagher is still turning classic Scottish ingredients into bold and innovative dishes at this homely and much-loved local restaurant. This is a subterranean grotto where the dark walls, lined with huge artworks, create an intimate and welcoming atmosphere. It’s a place which dispenses with the formalities of fine dining but retains the quality of the dishes. The menu evolves with the seasons, displaying a commitment to local producers and a knack for winning combinations such as stone bass paired with crab cake, salsa and avocado purée; roast partridge breasts and confit legs with a wild mushroom Madeira sauce; and venison loin with poached pear and chocolate oil. The courses are punctuated with treats from the kitchen such as an appetiser of Parma ham, tomatoes and cheese or a pre-dessert shot of plum trifle. Sundays see an abridged menu combined with a BYOB offer. The hefty wine list features 54 choices, bracketed by character, to make navigation easier and the cheese board is unmissable. + Fine dining in a relaxed intimate setting - Book well ahead on the weekends

and balance. At the other end of the menu, rhubarb with sheep’s yoghurt is everything that the words ‘milk pudding’ conjure up; a comforting lactic cuddle. The menu changes constantly – dishes are tweaked here as others are introduced there – and there’s a real commitment to sustainability. Hyper-local sourcing, low food miles and making the most of what’s on the doorstep means pickles aplenty in the winter and no citrus fruit in the G&T. That this also feels right and light is entirely to Timberyard’s credit. + The absolute boldness of a raw scallop - It’s a bit of a clump down to the loos

Tower Restaurant National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Old Town 0131 225 3003, tower-restaurant.com | £20 (set lunch) / £40 (dinner)

There’s a knowingly civilised air about the Tower Restaurant, reminding diners that below this long, stylish room of tiled columns, cleverly spot-lit tables and artistically designed seating, a similar atmosphere holds sway in the multifarious galleries of the National Museum of Scotland. The à la carte and set menus showcase the Scottish larder, with lamb, game, Aberdeen Angus beef and an abundance of seafood options. Daily brunch and afternoon tea menus are popular ways to enjoy spectacular views of the castle, especially from the rooftop seating area during the warmer months: it’s almost certainly one of the planet’s most spectacular places to enjoy a morning bowl of porridge. + That view of the city - Pulling yourself away from that view

The Turquoise Thistle Hotel Indigo, 51–59 York Place, New Town See Bistros & Brasseries

Twenty Princes Street Grill & Smokehouse 20 Princes Street, City Centre, 0131 652 7370, twentyprincesstreet.co.uk | £25 (lunch) / £25 (dinner)

A city centre hotel is not always top of the list when it comes to seeking out a good meal but this stylish first-floor hideaway may recalibrate expectations. Buccleuch black pudding and pork belly roll with apple sauce is a great way to kick things off; pine-smoked wood pigeon is also a success, a garnish of sour cranberries working beautifully with the dark, gamey meat. Much is made of the Josper charcoal grill and sure enough, a medium-rare sirloin arrives perfectly prepared, together with a deep, rich sauce and some stonking chips. Fillet of cod with spinach is obviously a more delicate affair but the little parcels of deep-fried aioli offer up explosions of intense flavour. Desserts are a touch out of the ordinary and include a beautifully balanced pistachio and rapeseed oil cake with pear sorbet. No little thought has gone into the wine selection and there’s an eye-wateringly long list of cocktails and spirits sourced from the snazzy Juniper bar a few yards away. Canny diners should also note the daytime offer: a main and glass of decent house vino for two for £20. + Consistently good food with elegant flourishes - The busy décor won’t be for everyone

Sylvesters 55–57 West Nicolson Street, Southside See Bistros & Brasseries

Taisteal 1 Raeburn Place, Stockbridge See Round the World

Salt Café 54–56 Morningside Road, Southside See Bistros & Brasseries

Seasons 36 Broughton Street, New Town 0131 466 9851, seasonstasting.co.uk | Closed Mon/Tue | £13 (set lunch) / £40 (set dinner)

One of the newer additions to Edinburgh’s no-choice dining scene, Seasons combines Scandinavian foraging with local seasonal flavours, European techniques and an extensive wine list. While lunchers are offered a choice of two or three courses, evening diners are greeted with a list of threedozen ingredients and asked to spot anything they cannot stomach. Wild leek, hare, black lentils, venison, sea buckthorn, hake, Douglas fir, mustard

✱ Timberyard 10 Lady Lawson Street, West End, 0131 221 1222, timberyard.co | Closed Sun/ Mon | £20 (set lunch) / £55 (set dinner)

There’s no doubt the fixed-menu nochoice approach has its critics: perhaps that’s why Timberyard has ever so slightly tweaked the concept. Here you select a four, six or eight course menu, with two choices of dishes in the four course and one choice in the six. It feels a little more user-friendly, a little bit lighter. This light touch plays out in the stunning space (a soaring ceiling, an oversized door and no interior walls) as well as on the plate. A raw scallop, thinly sliced and served with tiny dice of apple and kohlrabi is clean eating as clean eating should be – an appreciation of texture, flavour The List Eating & Drinking Guide 89

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STEAKHOUSES & BURGER BARS We meat again! Edinburgh’s love affair with hunky steaks and chunky burgers continues. From greasy finger-licking joints to upmarket grill houses, it’s all about homemade patties, dryaged steaks and locally sourced, proudly Scottish meat. Sides have been shaken up though: the resurgence of the skinny fry sees the replacement of the thickcut, triple-cooked chip, and in some cases mac ’n’ cheese is the preferred accompaniment – that we should see such times. Still, it all goes down the same way, especially when it’s washed down by a thick boozy shake or bold red. Reviewers: Ailidh Forlan, Murray Robertson

Lovage (page 87): seasonal Scottish produce, modern European recipes and a taste of Poland

Bell’s Diner The Walnut 9 Croall Place, Leith Walk, Leith See Bistros & Brasseries

Wedgwood the Restaurant 267 Canongate, Old Town, 0131 558 8737, wedgwoodtherestaurant.co.uk | £15 (set lunch) / £30 (dinner)

Menu perusal can often take just seconds: the folder shut confidently, arms crossed decisively and a proclamation of ‘right, I know what I’m having’. However chef/ owner Paul Wedgwood’s fondness for foraging and use of unconventional ingredients makes this a much trickier task at his eponymous restaurant. Kicking things off, the clean, sharp flavours of flame-grilled mackerel with rhubarb vinegar would normally be enough to inspire jealousy in all present but confit egg yolk with spelt and cubes of crisp ox tongue is both delicious and memorable. While a main of lightly spiced monkfish with pancetta, lentils and little crab bhajees is beautifully presented, a perfectly pink piece of venison with red cabbage and black pudding bonbon is so pretty it’s tempting to frame it and put it on a wall. Desserts are a fraction more traditional and include a deeply rich, dark chocolate torte and a sticky toffee pudding that ticks boxes for both quantity and indulgence. An extensive, sensibly priced wine list is offered and, with 24 options by the glass, it’s worth seeking assistance from the helpful staff for the perfect pairing. + Imaginative, stylish dishes make this a haven for foodies - A boisterous table can dominate the compact room

NEW The Wee Restaurant Edinburgh 61 Frederick Street, City Centre 0131 225 7983, theweerestaurant.co.uk | Closed Mon | £16 (set lunch) / £28.50 (dinner)

Now in its second year of operation, this offshoot of the long-established and well-regarded Wee Restaurant in North Queensferry has firmly settled into the New Town’s dining landscape. The compact room is neatly laid out with two window tables commanding the best views. The concise menu is French-leaning but with an abundance of Scottish produce and has recently moved to a set-price format (though their Black Isle-sourced chargrilled steaks do incur a supplement). To start, the time-honoured pairing of seared scallops and boudin noir is accompanied by a delicious celeriac remoulade and endive salad, while chicken liver parfait with toasted brioche and fruit chutney is excellent. A main of venison haunch with Puy lentils and a confit onion cassoulet (pinched from that day’s bargain-priced and regularly updated menu du jour) is trumped by a flawlessly executed grilled sea bass with Thai broth, noodles and calamari. The dessert menu won’t take long to peruse with just three classics featured, plus the obligatory Iain Mellis cheeseboard. The l’Art du Vin-curated wine list is Old World-heavy and offers a decent selection at realistic prices. + Attentive, personable staff from start to finish - Short menu not great for veggies

it, somewhere to drink, chat and enjoy hearty food. Whisky of course plays a central role (and not just the LVMH brands) with several suggested on the menu to match the food, like a delicious combination of Skye’s smoky Talisker 10 alongside a steak and Innis & Gunn pie. The cooking inches its way between good pub grub and fancier food, so the aforementioned pie (a rustic top crust-only number) might share a table with a rare venison loin, presented in a somewhat fantoosh fashion under a translucent cloche of smoke. There’s a slightly hokey Scottishness to some of the menu; Cullen skink, haggis, smoked salmon, and cranachan are all a bit obvious, but it doesn’t stop them being reliably delicious, and, most importantly, excellent with a dram. + It’s a lively, unstuffy spot with an exciting range of whiskies - It’s a shame the same can’t be said for the range of beers

Whiski Rooms

History abounds in this 16th-century Castlehill house, where King James VI burnt hundreds of women for witchery. Through a heraldic Royal Mile close are two theatrically gothic dining rooms. Down a stone staircase, under a painted ceiling of bagpipe-toting cherubs, sits the civilised, sunlit Secret Garden, built on an abandoned schoolyard. Upstairs lurks The Witchery – a medieval feasting den where candlelight sparkles on silverware, crystal, crimson leather and oak salvaged from a Burgundy chateau. The auld alliance continues with the grand cellar, cheeseboard and menus. Impeccably smart, discreet waiters serve elegant, excellent (expensive) Argyll oysters Rockefeller, Buckie crab, Galway beef and aged ribeye, but there’s also a three course table d’hote menu and a good value two course lunch and pre-theatre menu which features the likes of Iberico charcuterie and the Witchery fish pie. + The theatricality of the experience - Not one for cheap date night

4, 6 & 7 North Bank Street, Old Town, 0131 225 7224, whiskirooms.co.uk | £12 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

The Whiski Rooms is owned by one of Scotland’s most iconic whiskies, Ardbeg, in turn owned by one of the world’s leading luxury goods conglomerates, LVMH. So it’s a testament to the management that it’s a place that feels neither sleekly corporate, nor opportunistically touristy. There’s a friendly, pubby energy about

ONLINE LISTINGS For full opening hours, further details on facilities, individual location maps plus web and social media links, go to

list.co.uk/food

Wildfire Scottish Steak & Seafood Bistro 192 Rose Street, New Town See Steakhouses & Burgers

The Witchery by the Castle Castlehill, Royal Mile, Old Town, 0131 225 5613, thewitchery.com | £20 (set lunch) / £45 (dinner)

7 St Stephen Street, Stockbridge, 0131 225 8116, bellsdineredinburgh.com | £13 (lunch) / £13 (dinner)

When countless modern restaurants prioritise style over substance it is with a big sigh of relief that this small Stockbridge restaurant prides itself on being ‘unspoiled by progress since 1972’. Here, within the vibrant bloodred walls of what feels like someone’s living room, you can tuck into a juicy home-cooked burger topped with a thick slab of Bell’s original butter. Yes, butter. Garlic, pepper, mustard, Roquefort and chilli butter stand out from your standard toppings, elevating that Scottish beef burger to the next level. The spicy bean burger and homemade nut burger appeal to vegetarians, healthconscious diners can swap a heap of fries for a side salad and the blackboard has an array of specials, from a Moroccan-spiced lamb burger to a glutinous peanut butter milkshake. One attentive waiter dashes back and forth between tables, and doesn’t hesitate to encourage a delicate pancake or retro sundae for dessert which is by no means an afterthought. + Uncompromising quality in a no-frills diner - It gets busy and tables are close together

✱ NEW Belted Burgers 57a Frederick Street, New Town, 0131 260 9748, beltedburgers.co.uk | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Belted Burgers is bigger inside than its modest entrance suggests. The menu features a broad range of burgers including beef, chicken, pork and vegetarian options. The beef, from the restaurant’s own farm in Dumfries and Galloway, is exemplary and the patties are the perfect consistency and beautifully cooked. The cheeseburger comes with a choice of American or cheddar cheese and the Benedict burger features just the right balance of toppings, including a deliciously creamy hollandaise sauce. The burgers are wellproportioned, served in a lightly toasted bun (with a choice of classic, brioche, sourdough or gluten-free) and come with potato chips or sweet potato fries. As the portions aren’t too heavy, hungry diners may be tempted by the many extra sides on offer, including Cajun beer-battered onion rings, purple slaw and sweetcorn fritters.

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+ The beefburgers are sublime - The house red isn’t great

The Boozy Cow 17 Frederick Street, New Town, 0131 226 6055, boozycow.com | £16 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Be prepared to get your hands dirty in the city’s only graffiti-plastered comfort food joint. Catering unashamedly towards the gluttonous carnivore, Boozy Cow encourage tearing through a greasy paper bag full of popcorn chicken or scraping up the remaining smears of sloppy beef chilli with your bare hands. Thankfully there’s plenty of kitchen towel. The waffles are proclaimed kickass and quite rightly so, with heaps of signature cheese sauce and sour cream camouflaging a doorstop of deep-fried macaroni. It’s nothing a strong rum Painkiller or pungent Rockstar Martini can’t pleasantly wash down. Come night, metal trays of food give way to flying saucer-topped cocktails and boozed-up milk cartons, gulped down to the beat of ‘Disco Dave’s’ rock remixes (Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays) or local indie tunes (Thursdays and Sundays). But come daytime attention is drawn to the demonic wall art and quirky punk aesthetic. Lingerie-clad skeletons, black marker-penned profanities, splatters of blood and provocative spray-painted figures, all illuminated by red neon signs labour that heavy-duty meat theme: ‘What’s your beef?’ + All profits go towards local children’s charities - Shouting over the music

Bread Meats Bread 92 Lothian Road, Tollcross, 0131 225 3000, breadmeatsbread.com | £11 (lunch) / £11 (dinner)

In the heart of Edinburgh’s West End, Bread Meats Bread is a veritable hive of activity. Its smart, modern interior seems to be designed to accommodate as many diners as possible and the turnaround of tables is swift and

TIPLIST TAKING THE DOG • The Bearded Baker 52 Canine customers are made welcome at this new Canonmills bakery and café – they stock Harry’s Treats too. • The Blackbird W Quality food and drink, a lively crowd and pooches are welcome too. • Daylight Robbery 24 An atmospheric, clubby basement with an impressive range of craft ales plus strong menu options for vegans and others. • The Espy W Casual family and dog-friendly beachside bar and restaurant with a tiki theme. • The Ox W Great local gastropub with an interesting and varied menu down Broughton way. • Red Squirrel W One of the pioneers of the craft beer and burgers vibe, where dogs are made very welcome too.

efficient. The burgers are absolutely loaded with flavour. Their signature dish, the Lothian Wolf, combines beef, cheese, bacon and pulled pork with barbecue sauce, onions, nduja (spicy sausage) and sriracha mayo – a collision of flavours which might be a bit too meaty for some. The Cali Burger comes in a variety of sizes and multiple beef patties; it’s a teetering construction which not even a toothpick can stabilise (instead it’s securely bound in a wrapper). There’s an interesting array of side dishes, notably hot buffalo fries and poutine (chips, curds and gravy), both of which are best enjoyed while they’re fresh from the kitchen. The dessert options are in constant flux but, if you can, try one of their exquisite milkshakes. If you don’t like to queue then get there early – the restaurant doesn’t take bookings. + A vast and original selection of side dishes - You’ll need a lot of napkins to mop up the grease

BRGR 6 Nicolson Street, Old Town, 0131 556 5646, brgr-glasgow.com | £8 (lunch) / £8 (dinner)

The fourth branch of BRGR is a bustling diner on Nicholson Street. There’s often a queue outside, but that’s nothing the quick turnaround can’t handle (a student crowd marches in for £4 selected burgers Monday-Friday and £5 selected burgers on the weekends). Talk about hangover heaven: the burgers arrive in brioche buns with thin patties of halal beef or panko-breadcrumbed chicken, lettuce, a non-descript BRGR sauce and a pickle, all wrapped up in foil. Meanwhile sides of gooey mac ’n’ cheese, crispy piri-piri seasoned fries and defrosted onion rings come in paper cups, wedged with upright plastic forks. The subtle flavoured Kinder shake is pleasing and as for the Terry’s chocolate and Cointreau combo - what a time to be alive! These go some way to make up for a far-from-complex drinks list (white, red or rosé wine plus two mundane lagers). The concept is basic: filling, locally sourced fast food in a minimalist wooden shack diner, with zero washing up for the staff. It’s a win-win. + A quick, cheap bite to eat in a chilled environment - Feeling like the oldest person in the room

number of guest ales, you can also bring your own wine. + Supreme selection of burgers and steaks - Window seats can be a wee bit chilly

✱ HITLIST

Burger 94a Fountainbridge, Tollcross, 0131 228 5367 91–93 Shandwick Place, West End, 0131 228 1429, burgeruk.co.uk | £12 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

With its statement name, there aren’t any questions about this trendy eatery’s focus. A similar minimalistic cafeteria feel has been rolled out across their two Edinburgh branches (Fountainbridge and Shandwick Place) and their St Andrews branch, with bright lighting and food served on metal trays attracting casually dressed bunches of friends and families alike. The main event, a 5oz blend of Scottish beef commonly doubled up with bacon and cheese topples out of a brioche bun with a thick slab of gherkin. Alternatively there’s the slightly unusual texture of a halal chicken breast, minced up and formed into a patty, or a vegetarian blend of tempeh, sweet potato and chickpea. Dietary requirements are catered for with the option of a glutenfree bun, but the sides of reheated, congealed cheesy chips and bone-dry mac ’n’ cheese fall short of expectation and might just snap your plastic fork. The tempting extras will soon overcrowd your table, but save room for a boozy milkshake which is thick and luxurious, albeit sickly sweet. + The Caucasian shake with vodka, Kahlua and Frangelico - Both the sides and atmosphere are slightly underwhelming

STEAKHOUSES AND BURGERS ✱ Belted Burgers Family-friendly gourmet burger restaurant and bar with guaranteed traceability from field to fork. ✱ Chop House Leith Destination dining for meat-lovers and Sunday roast enthusiasts, showcasing the best of British with alluring informal style. ✱ Diner 7 Relaxed and reliable local dining with comfortable booth seating and low-key bluesy vibe. ✱ Kyloe Restaurant & Grill Excellent views of Edinburgh Castle, the finest cuts of steak and quality, bold wines.

SERIOUS ABOUT STEAK

Buffalo 12–14 Chapel Street, Old Town, 0131 667 7427, buffalogrill.co.uk | £10 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

It’s been over a year since the iconic Buffalo Grill changed hands, and since then Buffalo has more than made its own mark on the heart of Edinburgh’s student belt. It’s a beautifully appointed space with cosy furnishings and a selection of intimate booths. Friendly staff are eager to patiently dissect the substantial menu. A generous selection of starters include corn on the cob, chicken wings and hot-smoked salmon, although the highlight has to be superb king prawns in a light tempura batter, served with sweet chilli dip. The burger and steak selection is impressive with a startling assortment of burger types and toppings and a range of 21-day aged steaks. The rump in teriyaki marinade is a sweet treat garnished with salad, fries and creamy coleslaw, and the ribeye is tender and well-seasoned, ideally accompanied by the house French sauce, rich and sweet with Marsala wine. A number of chicken and fish dishes round off the menu and while the restaurant is fully licensed with a

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DINBU

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EDINBURGH

NEW CAU Edinburgh

for a hotel restaurant, this first floor grillhouse delivers on both ambience and flavour. With a nod to Highland cattle in the décor, Kyloe is filled with cowskin booths, pop art, brown leather furnishings and, more subtly, milk bottle lights: all adding a playful element to the sophisticated dining room. To start, there’s a balance of meaty hunks, lighter fish options and everything in between, from an unrivalled BBQ glazed beef short rib to a tangy tuna tartare. But saving room for the main event is imperative. Certified Scotch beef comes in varied tenderness and marbling, with a Hardiesmill steak of the week and rotating guest breed to keep affairs interesting – that’s if the Highland Wagyu rump doesn’t grab you first. An adventurous array of 16 sides, including a rich potato and bacon gratin and a pickled and candied slaw, ensures a jam-packed table . . . and that’s before you get to the formidable range of wines. There’s an award-winning Sunday roast too (book at least 48 hours ahead). + Knowledgeable, personable service - Most suited to deep pockets or special occasions

15 Castle Street, City Centre, 0131 226 2262, caurestaurants.com | £11 (set lunch) / £21.50 (dinner)

Replacing Strada, Argentinian steak chain CAU rolled out its 23rd branch on bustling Castle Street. White metal corrugated panels, and images of grass and blue skies line the room. Contrasted with dark suede furnishings and inky ceilings, the nightclub vibe may get you in the mood for dancing. Not a problem – swivel chairs spin incessantly mid-meal. Steamed mussels gatecrash the Hispanic starters of empanadas and anticuchos skewers, with wet vac-packed Aberdeen Angus complete with proper chips proving a popular choice to follow. Battered pollock tacos, loaded with peppers, kick off the great value weekday set menu with questionably pink Monterey Jack burgers and a carby side thrown in. Sadly the house Fancy Pants wine is anything but and the nonchalant ‘Cauboys’ and ‘Caugirls’ will have to up their service standards to impress. + Chunky chips - Doesn’t live up to the hype

✱ Chop House Leith

NEW Chop House Market Street Arch 15, East Market Street, Old Town, 0131 629 1551, chophousesteak.co.uk | £9 (set lunch) / £37 (dinner)

Edinburgh’s second Chop House – a sister to the Leith original – anchors the row of independent shops and cafés at the New Waverley Arches. The interior is a real treat – a chunky metal frame sitting inside the arch’s curvy glints of granite and stone. On entry there’s a hit of bitter charcoal – don’t think family BBQ though, this is something altogether sexier and more sophisticated. Service is brisk and confident: well-drilled staff recite cuts and recommended cooking temperatures. Starters are sharing (mostly fishy) bites – tempura prawns, crispy squid – but of course the meat takes top billing here. Sourced mainly from Shaw’s of Lauder and Hardiesmill then dry-aged in house for 35 days, there are four cuts: rump, sirloin, ribeye and fillet as well as larger sharing cuts like chateaubriand. And it’s pretty damn near perfect – cooked exactly as it should be, properly seasoned, with a smoky crust. Sides are strong (but with only a sauce included, the bill will mount up if you go mad for the chips). The perfect place for a seal the deal steak.

A C

S S

Los Argentinos

102 Constitution Street, Leith, 0131 629 1919, chophousesteak.co.uk | £25 (lunch) / £29 (dinner)

Now in its second year, Chop House Leith has already built up an outstanding reputation thanks to its premium dryaged chargrilled steaks, impeccable service and intimate surroundings. Despite its quiet location, it’s extremely popular – it’s worth arriving early to enjoy a tipple at the well-stocked bar. There’s little danger of overindulging on the starters menu: shrimps, scallops and oysters are sold individually and the king prawn cocktail with Bloody Mary salsa kickstarts the tastebuds with no danger of filling the belly. Chop House’s 35-day steaks are cooked over an open-flame grill, lending them a subtle smokiness. The marbled fat in the ribeye is perfectly rendered, and the fillet practically melts in the mouth. To accompany, try the well-seasoned buttery mash with rich beef gravy or the toothpick-thin skinny fries. For an intimate dessert, the salted caramel fondue is sublime, sticky fun, and there are a comprehensive selection of cheeses too. + The steaks are simply magnificent - Vegetarians: turn back now

/FESTIVA ST.CO.UK

28–30 West Preston Street, Southside See Round the World

McKirdy’s Steakhouse 151 Morrison Street, West End, 0131 229 6660, mckirdyssteakhouse.co.uk | £27 (dinner)

39 Queensferry Street, West End See Bars & Pubs

Once that big kid inside all of us has rejoiced at the option of curly fries, the next question is simply what cut of steak to pair them with. Sure, McKirdy’s is small and looks a little out-dated, but nothing quite beats being served by generations of passionate brothers and sons who take care of the meat from butcher’s block to plate – the family have been butchers since 1895, after all. Steaks, in a minimum of 8oz, come in the option of chargrilled or pan-fried and the quality of the 100% Scotch beef burgers shines through in every satisfying bite. Carnivores are in heaven. Award-winning haggis and gluten-free sausages top off the meat feast, with a sole vegetarian option reminding customers of the philosophy of doing one thing – meat – and doing it well. For pud, there’s an indulgent banoffee pie laced with Baileys and a sweet, stodgy sticky toffee pudding that you’ll wish you’d saved room for. It’s a down-to-earth affair with no frills or pricey fine wines, but you’re guaranteed a decent sized portion of homely grub and are welcome to BYOB. + Loyal regulars include rugby players whose shirts are proudly displayed - The interior leaves a little to be desired

✱ Kyloe Restaurant & Grill

The New York Steam Packet

The Rutland Hotel, 1–3 Rutland Street, West End, 0131 229 3402, kyloerestaurant.com | £19 (lunch) / £38 (dinner)

31 Rose Street Lane North, New Town, 0131 220 4825, newyorksteampacket. co.uk | Closed Sun/Mon | £14.50/£16.50 (set dinner)

You may have spotted the garish giant cow positioned on Rutland Street corner: don’t let this deter you from the prestigious steakhouse within. Achieving what feels like the impossible

One of Rose Street’s best-kept secrets, the Steam Packet has been around for over 25 years. It’s an intimate venue that makes good use of its limited space, with a spiral staircase leading up to a cosy dining area. As its name suggests, there’s a nautical theme to proceedings, with a hearty abundance of maritime bric-a-brac adorning the walls. A set menu featuring three courses is your only choice which represents great value for money (it’s BYOB too). Crunchy fried haggis balls with a tangy mustard dip get things off to a better start than the rather flaccid potato skins. Mains include sirloin steak, salmon fillet, vegetable enchilada or a selection of burgers. The signature ‘New York’ beef burger is a no-nonsense dish, which could perhaps benefit from

Diner 7: relaxed local dining with a low-key vibe + That steak - Thumping bass you can feel through

your feet

✱ Diner 7 7 Commercial Street, Leith, 0131 553 0624, diner7.co.uk | Closed Mon | £18 (dinner)

This little star has nestled among the many eateries of the Shore for over a decade, offering excellent and very reasonably priced food. Despite its name, there’s little evidence of its diner heritage beyond the comfortable booths and vintage motorbike perched above the kitchen. The subtle lighting helps establish a relaxed ambience and the friendly staff are patient, knowledgeable and accommodating. The nachos are sublime as a starter to share, carefully arranged to ensure the final bite is as tasty and crunchy as the first. Other options include calamari with paprika mayo and chicken goujons in a Thai green curry broth. But of course, Diner 7’s speciality is its burgers. The classic arrives with bacon (cooked to preference), fried

onions and a gorgeous cheddar topping, all presented in a deliciously toasty sesame seed bun. There’s also a choice of local rump, sirloin and ribeye steaks, accompanied by a wide range of sauces. Diners with room to spare can tackle a variety of sweets from the dessert board; the sticky toffee pudding is a particular gooey treat. + Great service and friendly atmosphere - Thinner chips would work better with most dishes

Foundry 39

ONLINE LISTINGS For full opening hours, further details on facilities, individual location maps plus web and social media links, go to

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some relish or onion to accompany the thick slice of cheese. Desserts are nicely presented, particularly the ever-sosweet toffee crunch Dime bar cake. No loitering, though: tables are turned every two hours. + Superb value for money - The steep spiral staircase is not suitable for everyone

Smoke Stack 53–55 Broughton Street, New Town, 0131 556 6032, smokestack.org.uk | £12 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Hidden away behind Leith’s Assembly Rooms, Rib-Aye is a relatively new venture from the owners of the Kilted Lobster. Much effort has been made decorating the space which is significantly bigger than outward appearances would suggest, and the bar area is particularly impressive. For a steakhouse, the menu is extensive: as well as steaks and burgers there are dishes including duck, hake and a selection of hot dogs. It is possible to eat within a budget, although at £20 a bottle, the house wine is rather steep. The steaks don’t quite justify their prices; bites of the sirloin alternate between tender and tough and, while the chips are really tasty, they come served with a little too much sea salt. It’s a cracking venue with great potential but some of the prices could do with a rethink. + Beautiful venue - Disappointing sirloin and steep-ish prices

Smoke Stack prides itself on a nononsense approach towards dining, aiming to serve simply cooked, quality dishes prepared from locally sourced ingredients. Half-way down Broughton Street, it’s a neatly arranged space, filled with sturdy wooden tables and lit by the now-ubiquitous lowhanging exposed light bulbs. Service is attentive, without being overbearing. Diners of a nostalgic bent may be tempted by the prawn cocktail – a selection of crunchy prawns served up with Marie Rose sauce and topped with a generous portion of sliced avocado which is certainly no mere garnish. The calamari is a more modest starter, cooked in spicy seasoned flour and served with a garlic mayo dip. Meat dominates the mains: a selection of rump, fillet, ribeye and sirloin steaks take pride of place, each served with crisp hand-cut chips, mash, salad or baby potatoes. A dauntingly comprehensive dessert menu is further embellished with splits and sundaes, smoothies, milkshakes and floats. And if that somehow doesn’t tempt you, there’s a fair chance the specials board will. + Friendly staff and fantastic crispy chips - Not a whole lot of choice for veggies

Shebeen

Steak

103 Dalry Road, West End 8 Morrison Street, West End See Round the World

14 Picardy Place, New Town, 0131 556 1289, steakedinburgh.com | £35 (set lunch) / £45 (dinner)

NEW Rib-Aye 43 Assembly Street, Leith, 0131 467 1588, rib-aye.co.uk | Closed Mon/Tue | £16 (dinner)

Past the beat of Beer & Skittle’s

basement bar lies Picardy Place’s answer to a swanky grill house. Since its opening, there’s been no shortage of decent steakhouses popping up throughout the city, but Steak continues to prove popular with the likes of businessmen and pre-theatre diners. Giant mirrors and low-hanging wooden beams help to bypass the windowless warehouse feel, while dim candlelight illuminates and softens the room. Expect delicate slithers of swordfish carpaccio and perfectly seared scallops to start, followed by quality steaks from HM The Queen’s supplier Donald Russell. These are flavour-packed and cooked to order. With additional sides, the bill soon adds up, but it’s hard to resist those garlicky roast potatoes and steamed broccoli with a poached hen’s egg and walnut crumb. The wine list, featuring unusual big bold reds, is the star of the show and with excellent recommendations from Steak’s team to back it up, these players are raising the stakes to compete with the best. + If it’s good enough for The Queen . . . - It ain’t cheap

Steak on Stones 12 Picardy Place, New Town, 0131 556 1289, steakonstones.co.uk | No Kids | £25 (lunch) / £25 (dinner)

The playful Steak on Stones with its mishmash interior of exposed brick wall, dark grey furnishings and wide wooden tables invites customers to unleash their inner chef with a DIY approach to dining out. A hunk of fillet steak or smaller portion of lean kangaroo is butchered into thin slices, ready to sizzle at the table on a hot lava stone, tantalising any newly arrived neighbours with its wafting meaty aroma. A popular choice for date night and celebratory meals, the set up encourages a critique of diners' cooking abilities, while the likes of hand cut fries and somewhat bland smoked macaroni cheese begin to cool. Large crystals of rock salt prevent the raw meat from sticking and make refreshing sharing cocktails and spicy European reds an essential, yet very pleasant, thirst quencher. Starters, including generous quenelles of chicken liver pâté or the retro prawn and avocado cocktail are perhaps a little unnecessary: there are freshly piped doughnuts available to satisfy any remaining hankerings. + The novelty of cooking your steak exactly as you like it - Sides cool as the meat cooks

Wildfire Scottish Steak & Seafood Bistro 192 Rose Street, New Town, 0131 225 3636, wildfirerestaurant.co.uk | £13.95 (set lunch) / £30 (dinner)

Cosy is the instant impression from Rose Street’s intimate seafood and steak bistro. Lowering your voice seems essential when it’s quiet, but this is rare with the tiny 25-seater frequently fully booked a week in advance. The fresh seafood and popular choice of 21-day-hung steak are local, with daily blackboard specials making it even harder to choose what to order. The special of crab, Mull cheddar and tarragon gratin is rich and comforting, while buttery king prawns are a fine way to get your hands messy, albeit lacking a little seasoning. Grilled steaks are well-rested and elevated by garlic butter, but pan-roasted cod fillet with bacon mash is slightly dry, nothing a large pot of extra sauce couldn’t fix. There isn’t always time for dessert, thanks to Wildfire’s two-sitting policy, but the sticky toffee pudding is apparently a crowd-pleaser. + Intimate family-owned restaurant

THAI Quality remains the hallmark of the Thai scene in Edinburgh, but recent years haven’t seen much in the way of new developments or innovations to get excited about. A burgeoning trend towards contemporary Asian décor and some advances in cooking and presentation means there’s not very much to differentiate the restaurants at the higher-end of Edinburgh’s Thai scene. But standards are good overall, and there are still a few places that stand out from the crowd in their desire to present authentic flavours that elevate quality produce. Reviewers: Louise Donoghue

Absolute Thai 22 Valleyfield Street, Tollcross, 0131 228 8022, absolutethai.co.uk | Closed Sun | £15 (dinner)

Adorned with traditional Thai decoration, this petite restaurant makes you feel as if you’ve stepped away from Edinburgh for a moment. Established in Tollcross seven years ago, Absolute Thai has a homely feel and is very much a family operation; mum and dad look after the kitchen and other family members work front of house. The sizeable menu covers all areas of Thai cuisine and popular choices include spicy duck and green curries and pad thai. Some dishes hail from the north east of Thailand, like larp chicken and papaya salad (som yum). Seafood is a speciality and plentiful, with traditional fish cakes and a very enjoyable red curry of scallops and monkfish (chu chi talay). Vegetarians are well-catered for and the pre-theatre is popular with people heading to the nearby King’s Theatre.

TIPLIST SOCIALLY AWARE DINING • The Boozy Cow 91 Provocative punk dive bar and burger joint where all the profits go to charity. • The Drill Hall Café 21 Wholesome, good-value food which sustains and empowers the local community through training initiatives. • Home by Maison Bleue 63 High-profile partnership which sees an afternoon a week given over to feeding homeless people. • Rib-Aye 94 Steakhouse and whisky bar which supports Cooking up a Storm, a food-focused social enterprise. • Serenity W Community café set up and run by volunteers in recovery, offering great value food in a relaxed and welcoming environment. • Social Bite W Breakfast and lunch with a difference, serving sandwiches, hot food or coffee and cake to support good causes.

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THAI

In association with

EDINBURGH

✱ HITLIST

THAI ✱ Passorn Elegant Thai successfully placing a new spin on traditional favourites. ✱ Ting Thai Caravan Delicious, no-frills, street-food style Thai restaurant that’s easy on your budget but big on fun and flavour.

Nok's Kitchen: popular neighbourhood Thai dishing up the classics in Stockbridge

Note too that the restaurant is unlicensed, so come prepared with your own bottle. + No frills, top Thai food - Pretty full at the weekends

large clientele of locals and tourists, you may find it tricky to get a table. + Seafood specialities - Can be a little pricey

Chaophraya Edinburgh

Krua Khun Mae

33 Castle Street, New Town, 0131 226 7614, chaophraya.co.uk/edinburgh | £20 (set lunch) / £29 (dinner)

29 Cockburn Street, 1 Craig’s Close, Old Town, 0131 225 7007, kruakhunmae. co.uk | Closed Mon | £8 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Chaophraya is a growing chain of higher-end Thais. Perched on the top floor of city centre office building the Edinburgh restaurant is opulent, complete with dramatic views and an enormous (and hypnotising) fish tank. Deep-fried sweetcorn cakes blended with red curry paste are good, as is a soft shell crab salad – tangy and crispy with Thai green sour mango, lemongrass and coriander. Lamb massaman curry is a favourite of the diners here (and, as the menu states, a favourite of the Thai royal family too). Chaophraya makes the most of its dramatic location: there are impressive areas for meetings and private dining and it’s a popular spot for celebrations. Thaiinspired cocktails mixed with delicious exotic fruit juices complement the menus beautifully and they even make their own ice cream. + The rooftop and the views - Some dishes are westernised

Dusit 49a Thistle Street, New Town, 0131 220 6846, dusit.co.uk | £14 (set lunch) / £28 (dinner)

Dusit has had a makeover. The Thistle Street faithful’s new layout is more spacious; with low lighting, extravagant gold wallpaper and artwork from Bangkok. It is striking and contemporary, but the seafood is still the star of the show. Modelled on the dishes of south Thailand, favourites include oldfashioned red curries like medium spicy gaeng phet with king prawns, aubergine, bamboo shoots, fresh chillis and sweet basil, or pad phet tom yum, an explosion of fresh herbs in a stir fry of king prawns, king scallops and monkfish. Other popular choices are Bangkok duck, the house special of crispy meat on a bed of steamed Chinese broccoli. With a focus on the freshest ingredients and a good track record in catering for special dietary requirements, Dusit delivers trustworthy spicy food – and with their

Squirrelled away in a little alley in the Old Town, Krua Khun Mae opts for traditional Thai decor with quirky glasstopped tables covering sand scattered with coins. Chef and owner Anan Cattanach runs a tight operation with his multi-tasking small team. The sizeable menu is divided into soups, salads, chef’s recommendations, curries and stir-fries. Thai staples like vegetable spring rolls steer away from the usual greasy offering and are crispy and light while the famous Thai salad (som tum Thai) of green papaya, carrots, green beans, tomatoes, cashew nuts and lots of chilli is tasty and super spicy. Kra dook moo wan are deliciously spiced pork ribs, cooked in a homemade sweet and sour sauce until the meat falls off the bone. Fish cakes with haddock and chicken may raise an eyebrow but this is good food without all the frills. + Reasonably priced, good food - Can lack atmosphere

Mintleaf 28 Bernard Street, Leith, Leith See Indian

certainly plenty of holy basil packing a punch in many dishes. But be warned, it’s very popular with the locals (you’d be hard pushed to find a table even for a midweek dinner) so best to book ahead. + Good cooking, cute location - Hard to get a table

✱ Passorn 23–23A Brougham Place, Tollcross, 0131 229 1537, passornthai.com | Closed Sun | £11 (set lunch) / £25 (dinner)

Passorn’s original operation has been popular with Tollcross locals for eight years and has a more relaxed feel than their newer city centre brasserie. The black and white décor is low-key, putting all the emphasis on the food, while an extensive menu mixes Thai standards with more inventive dishes. Weekly deliveries of fresh vegetables and spices from Thailand combine with local Scottish produce to create beautifully presented signature dishes. Angel curry is sirloin steak topped with a red curry sauce, laced with chillis and served on a bed of crispy potatoes, while pla samun pri places crispy monkfish pieces in a light turmeric and coconut sauce with notes of lemongrass and garlic. If you fancy a takeaway you’ll have to go elsewhere; despite requests, Passorn feel they can only guarantee the quality of their dining experience from actually inside their restaurant. + Zingy herbs and spices - Sombre décor

Passorn Brasserie NEW Nok’s Kitchen 8 Gloucester Street, Stockbridge, Stockbridge, 0131 225 4804, nokskitchen.co.uk | Closed Tue. | £16 (lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Nok’s Kitchen is a cute little Thai restaurant down a cobbled lane, just off the main drag in Stockbridge. They’re not reinventing the wheel here – there are the usual offerings of salads and soups, appetisers, dishes from the wok, and rice and noodle options, plus a range of curry specialities with vegetables, shin beef, chicken or prawn. Their pad Thai with vegetable and tofu (chicken or prawn available too) is fresh and delicate, served with their special tamarind sauce. They describe their cooking as containing a ‘cloud of fresh herbs’ and there’s

97 Hanover Street, New Town, 0131 225 1430, passornthaibrasserie.com | Closed Sun | £13 (set lunch) / £27 (dinner)

Echoing the modern and stylish influences of her native Bangkok, owner Cindy Sirapassorn’s second Edinburgh venture is placed in the heart of the city centre. While the welcome is warm, the brasserie has a slightly more formal feel and caters to local workers and passing tourists. With a slight variation on the menu of their sister restaurant they too offer a modern twist on Thai dining. Among their signature dishes, choo chee is a tasty variation on red curry which incorporates Thai sweet basil and kaffir lime leaves with jumbo king prawn or sea bass. Rung nok tod is a more unusual

vegetarian choice; two styles of Thai taro (an imported tropical root vegetable) with sweet chili and crushed peanuts. Although Thai cuisine isn’t famed for desserts, the panacotta is fragrant and delicious. Everything is served with care as the Passorn (which translates as angel) team strive to offer a heavenly dining experience. + Choo chee curry - Not hugely child-friendly

Street Box 53 Raeburn Place, Stockbridge, 0131 332 0031, streetboxedinburgh.co.uk | £15 (dinner)

This tiny hole-in-the-wall in Stockbridge predominantly focuses on takeaway/ delivery. You’ll find most of the Thai standard curries and stir fries served with chicken, beef, pork or king prawn and while the sauces on occasion are a bit thin, the flavour is good. There’s also some chargrilling to investigate, as chicken, beef or duck are served up with tangy sauces and there are a few street food-type options, especially in the starters. Gai haw bai teauy delivers pandan leaf-wrapped parcels of honeyed chicken and just a hint of whisky, while gra beoung talay fills triangular wheat parcels with moist crab and king prawn. + Decent Thai street food - Not much room to sit in

✱ Ting Thai Caravan 8–9 Teviot Place, Old Town, 0131 225 9801 | £10 (lunch) / £13 (dinner)

It’s likely you’ll have to queue outside Ting Thai Caravan: it’s a popular hangout with no reservations. With a student and hip crowd filling the communal tables, the staff work at breakneck speed at the busiest of times (which is most of the time) but still find time to check that everything is to your liking. The reasonably priced food is divided into small boxes: rice and noodles, curries, and soup bowls. Highlights include tasty king-size prawns coated in a light coconut beer batter with mango salsa (goong frong beer); and fried chicken (khao mun gai tod) which is crunchy, spiced with ginger, chilli and coconut and served on jasmine rice. Sides are just as impressive – try the Bangkok spicy chicken wings (peng gai kao prik) which are fragrant with chilli and lemongrass; light and crispy pork skins (cap moo); or roti with chilli jam massaman. There are no desserts but Thai juices are made inhouse. Quick, fun and delicious. + Thai food that feels a bit different - No advance booking and cash only The List Eating & Drinking Guide 95

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OVER 4A5N0TS, RESTAU,RBARS, CAFES S AND SHOP UPS POP-

Glasgow

CITY OF CULTURE

G

lasgow’s eating and drinking scene has never been better. When Scotland was described by Rough Guides recently as the second best country in the world to visit in 2017, Glasgow was singled out as the place to sample great food and drink. Full of independent operators, many of whom are Glasgwegian to the core, the hundreds of bars, cafés and restaurants featured in the following pages demonstrate a bewildering collection of dining options. From neighbourhood cafés cooking with imagination to pubs selling their own brews, independent coffee roasteries to high-end finedining restaurants, Glaswegians are spoilt for choice when looking for options to go out, eat good food and enjoy themselves. Recently the city’s vegan reputation has been cemented with numerous cafés and restaurants now offering inventive animal-free food, while for carnivores, the burger craze may have abated

against the rise of the artisan pizzeria yet there are still plenty of options for a meaty feast. The city’s pop-up scene also continues to flourish with new operators springing up to take over kitchens, join in festivals or feed the willing masses in unusual locations. As these dining and drinking trends come and go, and areas of the city rise up to signal their credentials, it’s our job at The List to keep track of the scene, reporting on what is new and exciting, as well as giving an annual update on what old favourites across the city are busy creating and cooking up for our enjoyment. We’ve highlighted the favourites across each section with our Hitlists, while the Tiplists throughout the guide identify the places our reviewers noted have particular strengths to discover, whether it be a cup of tea and cake, a great steak, enticing vegan food or a place to go with the kids or the dog. Here’s to good eating and drinking, and a taste of this great city.

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TIPLISTS THE EATING & DRINKING GUIDE TEAM’S RECOMMENDATIONS

Amarone

FOR BRUNCH

FOR A SENSE OF PLACE

FOR OUTDOOR DINING

Cafe Gandolfi 120 A Glaswegian dining institution that has championed the best of Scottish produce since opening in the Merchant City in 1979.

Hutchesons Bar & Brasserie 121 Luxurious dining in a Merchant City landmark, featuring café, brasserie and cocktail bar.

Amarone 146 A relaxed yet sophisticated city centre Italian restaurant with outstanding menus and an interesting wine list.

The Left Bank 122 With its bijou mezzanine dining area and emphasis on accessible, creative cooking, this bistro is a West End favourite.

Restaurant at Blythswood Square 159 Fine dining in the elegant surroundings of a five-star hotel overlooking Blythswood Square.

Art Lover’s Café 106 Elegant restaurant for impressive lunching in a Mackintosh-designed visitor and events attraction in Bellahouston Park.

Riverhill Restaurant & Bar 123 A small city centre restaurant serving innovative, often exciting global dishes.

Rogano 137 An art deco haven in the city centre, ideal for enjoying seafood and cocktail decadence.

The Scullery 123 Intimate, stylish café-bistro in fashionable Finnieston, serving local produce with international flair.

Saramago Café Bar 107 A cool, creative hang-out inside the CCA, with exciting animalfree dining, plus separate bar and outdoor terrace.

Battlefield Rest 146 Southside restaurant serving modern Italian dishes with a Scottish slant, in iconic and elegant surroundings.

Stravaigin Café Bar 123 The best of bistro dining - bold, creative dishes and competitive pricing - starting with brunch.

The Sisters Kelvingrove 159 Traditional Scottish recipes served in a relaxed and stylish tenement dining room in Finnieston.

Tibo 123 Eclectic Dennistoun bistro with menus centring on locally sourced produce, with friendly service and regular entertainments.

The Western Club Restaurant 159 Elegant restaurant with smart service and clever cooking, focused on local and seasonal produce.

The Finnieston 136 Sophisticated seafood restaurant and cocktail bar in a friendly harbourside-style pub setting. Osteria del Tempo Perso 149 Elegant and relaxed Merchant City Italian restaurant, with a great selection of food and wine at good-value prices. The Tea Room at the Botanics 107 This café in the Botanic Gardens is at its best enjoying cakes and caffeine on the terrace.

FOR A ROMANTIC MEAL Bilson Eleven 155 A fine-dining first for Dennistoun, dishing up inventive takes on Scottish flavours in a 19th-century townhouse.

Hotel du Vin Bistro 158 A grand townhouse hotel restaurant with bags of style and top-end dining – a real special occasion venue.

La Parmigiana 150 Classic fine-dining Italian restaurant at Kelvinbridge, with an elegant and stylish interior and quality cooking.

Brian Maule at Chardon d’Or 139 Upmarket fine-dining restaurant with Chef Maule serving classic French food in suitably formal environs.

Mother India 144 A culinary heavy-hitter serving authentic Punjabi cuisine with a British twist.

Ubiquitous Chip 159 One of Glasgow’s dining institutions – and still one of the best venues for a special eating out experience.

›>

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FOR groups & Parties

FOR BUDGET DINING

Balbir’s 141 A modern and creative take on Indian recipes make Balbir’s an unmissable destination.

La Lanterna 148 Long-established Italian restaurant with skilfully prepared food that is by turns traditional and inventive.

Pizza Punks 150 Artisan wood-fired pizzas, with a strong DIY element, served up in a lively city centre diner.

Banana Leaf (Old Dumbarton Road) 141 Aromatic southern Indian dishes, affordable for diners on a budget.

133 Chaophraya First class city centre Thai experience in an impressive setting, without too hefty a price tag.

Nippon Kitchen 134 Stylish city centre Japanese caters effortlessly for all, from the taste thrillseeker to the vegan minimalist.

145 Tuk Tuk A casual, colourful new Glasgow branch for the Edinburgh Indian street food specialists.

160 La Bodega Tapas Bar Eccentric Spanish restaurant with a unique atmosphere – great food, great value, great fun. The Calabash Restaurant 152 Bustling restaurant-cum-late night bar serves up dishes from across the African continent.

Pizza Punks

Glasgow School of Art: The Vic Café Bar 106 Inventive burgers and global dishes – all at student prices. 154 Restauracja U Jarka Terrific Polish restaurant where food is prepared with love and served with warmth and humour. 123 The Shandon Belles Cosy bistro specialising in hearty food as part of a bargain set menu. Banana Leaf

FOR BYOB Babu Bombay Street Kitchen 140 A city centre basement space serving Mumbai-style street eats, curries and delicious treats. 140 Le Chalet Beaumartin Tiny French bistro at Kelvinbridge, complete with eye-catching décor, cheese fondue and log burner. 131 Little Canteen Quirky little diner in Finnieston serving excellent home-style Chinese food with flair.

FOR TAKING THE DOG Alchemilla 119 Raising the bar in an area chock-full of dining havens, this new venture is fun, funky and clever.

Nur 154 Flavoursome Egyptian cuisine served in an alluring dining space with great service.

120 The Bungo Bar & Kitchen The Bungo boasts all the defining stylistic features of bistro dining, with food to match.

145 Tuk Tuk New Glasgow branch for the Edinburgh Indian street food specialists.

121 Firebird A neighbourhood institution close to Kelvingrove Museum with great pizza and a welcoming vibe for all.

145 Wee Curry Shop Masterful cooking and an unparalleled Ashton Lane location.

Rioja 161 Stylish Finnieston bar specialising in contemporary and inventive tapas dishes.

Nur

Stravaigin Café Bar 123 Embodies the best of bistro dining – bold flavours, creative dishes and competitive pricing. 124 Webster’s Bar & Bistro Atmospheric bar-bistro and theatre in a converted old church.

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The Bungo Bar & Kitchen


FOR sourcing policy Café Gandolfi 120 Glaswegian dining institution championing the best of Scottish produce since opening in 1979.

The Gannet 156 Appealing Scottish-inspired menu, inventive cooking and a cool bar at this Finnieston favourite.

137 The Fish People Café A classy neighbourhood fish specialist with sourcing from the associated fishmongers opposite.

The Sisters Kelvingrove 159 Traditional Scottish food using wellsourced seasonal ingredients served in a relaxed and stylish tenement.

Gamba 137 Creative restaurant that has championed sustainable Scottish fish and seafood for two decades.

Ubiquitous Chip 159 One of Glasgow’s dining institutions and a trailblazer in sourcing and creativity.

Gamba

FOR late dining The Calabash Restaurant 152 Bustling restaurant and late-night bar serves up dishes from across the African continent until 1am. 142 Charcoals Cosy wee curry house smack bang in the city centre with last orders at 11pm every night. 143 Kebabish Grill Buzzing curry and grill house, serves food until midnight all week in a convivial atmosphere. Masala Twist City Centre 144 City centre curry house serving traditional classics alongside more unusual suspects until late. 150 Paesano Pizza Incredibly affordable Neapolitan pizza – available until 11pm, or midnight at weekends. Rioja 161 Stylish Finnieston bar dishes out tapas until 1am every night.

Rioja

These further Tiplists can be found elsewhere in the guide: Kids & Families Bars & Pubs Pizza Cafes Steak Good Lunch Deal Pre-theatre

106 110, 112, 115, 116 120 125, 126, 129 134 136 140

Burgers

143

Food On The Go

145

Neighbourhood Dining

146

Fish & Chips

152

Wines By The Glass

156

Dietary Requirements

164

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Glasgow Food & Drink Events 6–7 MAY GLASGOW COFFEE FESTIVAL The Briggait, glasgowcoffeefestival. com A two-day festival celebrating the mighty coffee bean and showcasing the speciality coffee scene in Scotland, with tastings, competitions, presentations and music, plus the Scottish heat of the UK Barista Championships. 26–29 MAY EAT AND DRINK FESTIVAL SEC Centre, eatanddrinkfestival.com An interactive food show, part of the Ideal Home Show, with live cooking classes, drinks masterclasses, wine and whisky tutorials as well as some of the country’s most popular street food vendors. 27-28 MAY GLASGOW VEGAN FESTIVAL Trades Hall, fb.com/ GlasgowVeganFestival This new festival of all

Juniper Festival

things vegan is further proof that Glasgow leads the way as Scotland’s animal-free capital, with stalls, cookery demos and talks. 27-28 MAY LARGS FOOD FEST Largs Green, The Promenade, Largs, North Ayrshire explorelargs.com Celebrating food from Ayrshire and beyond

with demos, talks, tastings, bars and live music, along with kids’ entertainment. 2–25 JUNE WEST END FESTIVAL Various venues, West End, westendfestival. co.uk This burgeoning festival tantalises all the senses with music events, a carnival and art exhibits, plus restaurants and bars

joining in the fun with special events.

is a celebration of all things gin.

9–10 JUN JUNIPER FESTIVAL SWG3, West End, solidliquids.co.uk/junipergin-festival With a variety of top producers to try before you buy as well as gin talks, cocktails, food stalls and handmade fashions and crafts on sale, the Juniper Festival

16–17 JUN NORTH HOP GLASGOW SWG3, West End, northhop.co.uk Inverness’s North Hop beer festival hits the road and comes to SWG3; expect lots of local beer, gin and cocktails, washed down with some pop-up food and musical accompaniments.

22–24 JUNE GLASGOW REAL ALE FESTIVAL The Briggait, glasgow realalefestival.co.uk Organised by Glasgow CAMRA, expect over a hundred ales from breweries in Scotland and beyond, all under the glass roof of the old fish market. 20–22 OCT BBC GOOD FOOD SHOW SCOTLAND SEC Centre, bbcgoodfoodshow.com The food and drink extravaganza heads north of the border again for another serving of celebrity chefs and star culinary attractions. 11 NOV GLASGOW’S WHISKY FESTIVAL Hampden Park, glasgowswhiskyfestival. com This festival of the national tipple covers distillers and bottlers from in and around the city as well as beyond, with more than 50 stands.

STREET FOOD & POP-UPS After bubbling away steadily over the last few years, Glasgow’s mobile-minded eateries and popup restaurants had a busy 2016. Following their first Let’s Eat restaurant festival (letseatglasgow. co.uk) in 2015, the Real Food, Real Folk collective, involving some of the city’s top restaurants – The Gannet, Mother India, Ox & Finch, Ubiquitous Chip – continue to dish up their delicacies at annual events. Keep an eye on their website for future happenings. New for 2017 is Big Feed (fb.com/ bigfeedgla), an indoor street food market in Govan, with regular events and familiar names from Glasgow’s street food scene. Also offering a regular taste of street cuisine is Ross Street Market (fb. com/RossStreetMarket) in The Barras, with their monthly arts,

Taste Buchanan crafts and food market. Other street food specialists are finding semi-permanent homes in organised collectives, such as Taste Buchanan (fb.com/tastebuchanan) – a street style set-up started last year, bringing a bit of life and

good eating to the shopping centre food court, with rotating vendors every three months. It’s already featured Scottish luminaries such as Chompsky, Surf Dogs, BRGR and ShrimpWreck. This year also sees city pop-uppers

settling into their own bricks and mortar. Gourmet hotdogs from Surf Dogs (see page 154) are now available in Shawlands, while nearby Julie’s Kopitiam (see page 134) will be the first permanent home for Julie Lin MacLeod and her Malaysian street food. Meanwhile, Section 33 (section-33.com) continue to pop up in very exclusive venues such as Govanhill Baths and Britannia Panopticon, dishing out quality food to the eager masses. For those without a fear of heights, Glasgow in the Sky (eventsinthesky.co.uk) is taking place on 15-18 June. This inaugural event will hoist diners high above the city on a crane, ready to enjoy food from some of Glasgow’s best restaurants including Café Gandolfi, The Gannet, Porter & Rye and more.

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& FESTIVAL Includes free entry to West End Farmers’ Market

FARMERS’ MARKETS + FOOD ASSEMBLIES

26th - 29th May 2017 017 SEC Glasgow

DRYGATE FOOD ASSEMBLY foodassembly.com Pick up: Mondays 5.30–7pm Drygate, 85 Drygate GLASGOW WEST FOOD ASSEMBLY foodassembly.com Pick up: Wednesdays 5.15–6.30pm Scaramouche, 140 Elderslie St LOCH LOMOND FARMERS’ MARKET Loch Lomond Shores, Balloch, fb.com/LochLomondShoresFarmersMarket 10am–4pm, first & third Sunday of the month MILNGAVIE FARMERS’ MARKET Douglas Street, Milngavie 10am–2pm, first Wednesday of the month PAISLEY FARMERS’ MARKET, Cenotaph, Paisley Cross, Paisley, fb.com/ayrshirefarmersmarket 10am–4pm, second Saturday of the month SOUTHSIDE FARMERS’ MARKET, Langside Halls, Shawlands, citypropertyglasgow.co.uk/markets/farmers-markets 10am–2pm, first & third Saturday of the month WEST END FARMERS’ MARKET Mansfield Park, Partick, citypropertyglasgow.co.uk/markets/farmers-markets 10am–2pm, second & fourth Saturday of the month

A unique live experience celebrating the country’s top artisan producers, leading street food & drink vendors, and world-class chefs & mixologists, debuting this Spring at Glasgow’s SEC.

QUOTE LIST241 BOOK NOW Call 0844 858 9071 Or visit eatanddrinkfestival.com Terms and Conditions: Book before 29th May 2017. Offer based on adult on the door prices (£16). Concessions not included. No booking fee applies. Children aged 15 and under go FREE when accompanied by a paying adult. Calls to the Ticket Hotline cost 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge.

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OUT OF TOWN A SELECTION OF THE BEST PLACES TO EAT AROUND GLASGOW ARDEONAIG HOTEL South Loch Tay Side, Killin, ardeonaighotel.co.uk Worth it for the drive alone and one to watch as new head chef Per attempts to lure diners away from traditional salmon followed by beef (good though they are) to more contemporary, seasonal choices influenced by his native Sweden. Expect reindeer moss or other foraged flourishes.

BRAIDWOODS Drumastle Mill Cottage, Saltcoats Road, by Dalry, North Ayrshire, braidwoods.co.uk Fine dining in a rural cottage restaurant, where the husband-and-wife team Keith and Nicola Braidwood have quietly been overachieving for the past 20 years, holding a Michelin star for more than a decade.

CROSSBASKET CASTLE Crossbasket Estate, Stoneymeadow Road, High Blantyre, South Lanarkshire, crossbasketcastle.com The five-year renovation of this 14thcentury building into a luxury ninebedroom hotel and wedding venue also unveils a restaurant under the auspices of three generations of the Roux family: Albert, Michel Jnr and his daughter Emily.

THE INN AT KIPPEN Fore Road, Kippen, theinnatkippen.co.uk Bought by Mark and Alice Silverwood (formerly of the Harbour Café/Venachar Lochside) in 2014, this traditional village inn with restaurant and four rooms has seen its long-standing appeal renewed with a philosophy centred on fresh seasonal menus, quality local ingredients, changing daily specials and an extensive wine, craft beer and ale selection.

the head of Loch Fyne, is not only an essential pit-stop on any journey up that way but well worth a dedicated trip.

MACCALLUM’S OF TROON Harbourside, Troon, South Ayrshire, maccallumsoftroon.co.uk Taking advantage of its proximity to the local fishing fleet on the harbourside at Troon, the Oyster Bar is a long-standing seafood restaurant run by renowned fishmongers MacCallum’s of Troon, where freshness is guaranteed.

MARTIN WISHART AT LOCH LOMOND De Vere Cameron House Hotel, by Balloch, Argyll and Bute, martinwishartlochlomond.co.uk In 2008, star Scottish chef Martin Wishart returned to Cameron House, where he first cut his teeth as a junior chef, and neither he nor his legions of diners have looked back since. As you’d expect from a Michelin-starred establishment, every last little detail has been considered for the six and eight course tasting menus.

MONACHYLE MHOR Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Stirling, mhor.net A boutique hotel hideaway and internationally regarded restaurant in an 18th-century rural farmhouse and steadings run by the Lewis family, who also farm their own land and cultivate a kitchen garden.

THE SORN INN 35 Main Street, Sorn, East Ayrshire, sorninn.com For out-of-towners the Sorn Inn is a find; for locals, it’s a given. This Ayrshire village restaurant with rooms, showcases chef-patron Craig Grant’s accessible and upmarket Scottish-inspired dishes.

INVER RESTAURANT

BOOK A BEER, GIN OR WHISKY TOUR ONLINE AT EDENMILL.COM

#1 THING TO DO IN FIFE

Strathlachlan, Strachur, Argyll and Bute, invercottage.com Co-owners and chefs Rob Latimer and Pamela Brunton took over this small cottage premises on the banks of Loch Fyne in the spring of 2015 and quickly turned it into a stylish but very down-toearth contemporary restaurant, making the best of a local larder, which begins with their own back garden.

LOCH FYNE RESTAURANT & OYSTER BAR

THE TAYNUILT: ETIVE RESTAURANT WITH ROOMS

Clachan, Cairndow, Argyll and Bute, lochfyne.com Just about the last word on oysters on the west coast of Scotland. This exponentially expanding restaurant, deli shop, smokehouse and oyster and mussel farm, based in a former barn on Clachan Farm just off the A83 at

Taynuilt, Argyll & Bute A recent rebrand and refurb have firmly put this roadside hotel close to lochs Awe and Etive in the destination dining bracket. Young chef-owner John McNulty was awared two AA rosettes in 2016 for his inventive and occasionally theatrical take on modern Scottish cuisine.

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Food Shops A SELECTION OF THE BEST PLACES TO BUY GOOD FOOD AND DRINK

BEER & SPIRITS THE CAVE 421–423 Great Western Road, thecaveglasgow.co.uk Located next to Kelvinbridge, the Cave sells an impressive array of bottled beers from Scotland and beyond, plus intriguing spirits and some excellent malt whiskies. THE GOOD SPIRITS CO. • 23 Bath Street • 21 Clarence Drive • 105 West Nile Street thegoodspiritsco.com Independent drinks specialist, with three shops in the city, selling rare and interesting spirits, wines and beer with plenty of whisky, artisanal gins and more, plus cigars. GRUNTING GROWLER 51 Old Dumbarton Road, gruntinggrowler.com West End shop close to Kelvingrove Art Gallery, specialising in craft beer that can be sampled and taken home in a reusable container called a growler. HIPPO BEERS 128 Queen Margaret Drive, hippobeers.co.uk Glasgow’s first speciality beer store, named after the patron saint of brewers St Augustine of Hippo Regius, stocks hundreds of Scottish beers, real ales and global offerings.

DELIS & CHEESEMONGERS EUSEBI DELI 152 Park Road, eusebideli.com The original deli of sister restaurant in the West End (see p147, serving East Enders for over 40 years, supplying top quality Italian produce and homemade dishes. GEORGE MEWES CHEESE 106 Byres Road, georgemewescheese.co.uk George Mewes is a leading expert in artisan cheeses, stocking around 80 in his shop, as well as being a familiar name on cheeseboard menus across the city. IJ MELLIS CHEESEMONGER 492 Great Western Road, mellischeese.co.uk Famed for the smell that entices passers-by, Mellis is one of a kind – a rustic cheesemonger with maturing rooms in Edinburgh and branches nationwide. LUPE PINTOS 313 Great Western Road, lupepintos.com A one-stop shop for lovers of world food, with Spanish and Mexican the specialities, plus South Asian spices and sauces, beers, tequilas, rum and wine.

ROBERT GRAHAM 111 West George Street, robertgraham1874.com Trading since 1874, this whisky and tobacco merchant has shops across the UK but Glasgow is the spiritual home for malt, cigars and more.

PECKHAM’S • 124–126 Byres Road • 139 Hyndland Road peckhams.co.uk Long-standing deli operation in town with two stores selling a range of organic fruit and veg, meats, homebaked breads, and beers and wine.

VALHALLA’S GOAT 449 Great Western Road, valhallasgoat.com This Kelvinbridge off-licence oozes with booze knowledge and enthusiasm, offering quality beers and spirits, and that rare or unusual find.

WHOLE FOODS MARKET 124–134 Fenwick Road, wholefoodsmarket.com With a bedazzling array of healthy, natural and organic produce, much of it sourced from Scotland, Whole Foods Market is a mecca for food lovers.

GROCERS & BAKERS

BUTCHERS & FISHMONGERS

COTTONRAKE 497 Great Western Road, cottonrake.com A West End classic pretty much as soon as it opened, with artisanbaked breads, tarts and sandwiches of striking quality, made by Stefan Spicknell and his team.

ANDREW REID BUTCHERS 401 Great Western Road Compact Kelvinbridge store, home to Andrew Reid for over 20 years, well known for their Italian sausages, coming in regular or extra spicy.

HARVEST CO-OP 1143 Pollokshaws Road, harvestco-op.com A co-operative grain and groceries shop, owned and managed by the workers, providing top-quality whole foods, with a zero waste policy.

BERNARD CORRIGAN LTD 188 Byres Road, bernardcorrigan.com On Byres Road for more than a quarter of a century, Corrigan’s supplies Glasgow’s finest restaurants and shoppers with a range of familiar and exotic seafood, poultry and game.

LOCAVORE 66 Nithsdale Road, glasgowlocavore.org A not-for-profit organisation encouraging people to eat sustainably, with a shop selling local and Scottish food and drink including their own home-grown vegetables. ROOTS, FRUITS & FLOWERS • 1137 Argyle Street • 451–457 Great Western Road rootsfruitsandflowers.com Long-standing Kelvinbridge operation selling fruit and veg, with a deli selling wholefoods and organic produce, with a smaller deli in Finnieston. SEB & MILI 1122 Argyle Street, sebandmili.com Small bakery and café, selling a range of artisan breads from pretzel loafs and French baguettes to croissants and doughnuts, all baked in-house every day. TAPA 21 Whitehill Street, tapabakehouse.com A friendly Dennistoun bakery and coffee house, with organic, veggie and gluten-free credentials that extend its reach well beyond the neighbourhood.

THE FISH PEOPLE 350 Scotland Street, thefishpeopleshop.co.uk Trading since 2000, this fishmonger, with their own restaurant opposite (see p137), also supply many of the city’s top restaurants with high quality seafood. RODGERS BUTCHERS 180 Byres Road, rodgersbutchers.com With a lineage that stretches back to the 1960s, the West End shop is run by Tom Rodgers, and specialises in prime beef, lamb, pork, seasonal game and poultry. JAMES ALLAN 85 Lauderdale Gardens Hyndland’s favourite butcher for decades, supplying quality Scottish meat, home-made pâté, pies and an impressive variety of creatively spiced sausages. WILSON’S CATCH OF THE DAY 71 Houldsworth Street, wilsonscatchoftheday.co.uk Finnieston’s favourite fishmonger selling a range of seafood and shellfish as well as poultry, and fresh vegetables.

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EXPERIENCES

add

scotland to your menu

BREWERY & DISTILLERY TOURS THE CLYDESIDE DISTILLERY The Pumphouse, theclydeside.com Due to open in autumn 2017, this new distillery, built into the old pumphouse next to the Clyde, will include a visitor centre for discovering the process and story of whisky making in the city and beyond. DRYGATE BREWING CO. drygate.com Take a tutored tasting tour of this craft brewery, with its bar, kitchen and bottle shop, housed in a converted factory on land where Glaswegians have been brewing for hundreds of years. WEST Glasgow Green, westbeer.com Housed in a striking building on Glasgow Green, WEST offer full tours of their brewery and tasting sessions of their popular beers, brewed using German traditions.

GUIDED FOOD TOURS GLASGOW WALKING LUNCH glasgowwalkinglunch.com Journalist and food writer Andrea Pearson takes the hassle out of finding somewhere to eat while sightseeing with her heritage food tour. Wander the streets, discovering 1000 years of the Glasgow story while enjoying food from some of the city’s best independent eateries. (See also Table Talk, page 144.) TASTING SCOTLAND tastingscotland.com Food and drink guide Brenda Anderson spent years training chefs and now leads tours of Glasgow and beyond. Various itineraries take in highlights of the city’s food and drink scene as well as options to head out of town to sample whisky, seafood and more.

COOKING CLASSES CITY OF GLASGOW COLLEGE 190 Cathedral Street, cityofglasgowcollege.ac.uk This college in the city centre does evening and part-time classes covering everything from gluten-free baking to Chinese cookery and sugar flower making,

Look out for the Taste Our Best logo throughout this guide, proudly displayed as a sign that great quality Scottish produce is on the menu, prepared with care and delivered with passion.

and you may bump into resident chef-lecturer and Masterchef: The Professionals 2016 champion Gary Maclean. NICK NAIRN COOK SCHOOL Port of Menteith, nicknairncookschool.com Head north into the picturesque Trossachs to local celebrity chef Nick Nairn’s cook school for a range of classes, including a few famous faces popping up.

From restaurants, B&B’s and hotels to visitor attractions, cafés and takeaways, you can sample famous fare made with the freshest, Scottish produce.

TASTING SESSIONS THE GOOD SPIRITS CO 23 Bath Street, thegoodspiritsco.com Specialist spirits retailer in the city centre with plenty of tasting sessions, covering

Choose from hundreds of accredited outlets at visitscotland.com/tasteourbest

whisky, gin, wine and more, conducted in their dedicated tasting room. TENNENT’S TRAINING ACADEMY 161 Duke Street, Dennistoun, tennentstrainingacademy.co.uk This dedicated training academy set up by the giant beer brand at their East End

Freshly caught crab salad, Ardminish Bay, Isle of Gigha

VISITSCOTLAND.COM

brewery offers a range of whisky, wine and beer tasting sessions, as well as tours and professional training.

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TASTE OF

Glasgow is full of food and drink producers, from large companies that have created iconic, well-loved brands to small-scale artisans making all manner of consumables. Here are a few of the flavours and favourites of the city.

SPIRITS Whisky production in the city was revived recently by the Glasgow Distillery Co. (glasgowdistillery.com), who created the juniper-led Makar Gin while they wait on their whisky being ready in 2018. Being built as we go to print is the Clydeside Distillery (theclydeside.com), attached to the old pumphouse next to the Clyde – it’ll open to visitors and start producti in late 2017. Close production Clyde to Clydebank is Auchentoshan (auchent (auchentoshan.com), with a of producing whisky history o e 1817. since

COFFEE

SOFT DRINKS

BREAD

There’s been a bean scene in Glasgow for a long time. Southside’s Thomson’s Coffee (thomsonscoffee. com) have a 176-year history, while Matthew Algie (matthewalgie.com) started life in Greenock selling tea, and now sell coffee across the UK and beyond. Smaller-scale producers include Dear Green Coffee Roasters (deargreencoffee.com), whose beans grace many venues in town, and Papercup Coffee Company (papercupcoffee.co.uk) who sell their coffee wholesale and serve it up in their cafés.

Glasgow will be forever associated with the ginger-hued carbonated concoction made by AG Barr (from girders, apparently) since 1901. Irn-Bru has kept many a Scot on their feet – or helped them nurse a hangover. More recently, mixing alchemy with drink production is Rapscallion (fb.com/rapscallionETC), set up by Gregor Leckie, and producing a weird and wonderful range of inventions.

You’re never far from a crispy morning roll in Glasgow – usually filled with a breakfast item, or two – in which case, it’s called a ‘doubler’. The two main producers, McGhee’s (mcgheesbakery. co.uk) and Morton’s (mortonsrolls. com), bake a staggering amount, with McGhee’s hitting half a million a week. Crisp on the outside – with blackened, well-fired versions an acquired taste – yet lightt and airy in the middle, the lls are the bread that fuels a iconic rolls ty. whole city.

CHOCOLATE Tunnock’s (tunnock.co.uk) in Uddingston have had a place in Glaswegians’ hearts since the company (est.1890) first produced their famous Teacake in the 1950s. For a more artisan treat, try Stacey Hannah Chocolates (sugarwings.com) – her beautiful handmade chocolates are sold by Stacey herself at various markets, or order online. Cambuslang-based Raven Chocolate (ravenchocolate.co.uk) are using the bare minimum ingredients chocolate e, to produce their chocolate, dairymuch of which is dairyfe ee and suitable for fee vegans.

PLACES THAT HAVE CLOSED IN THE PAST YEAR

BEER The huge Wellpark brewery close to the Cathedral is home to m), Tennent’s (tennents.com), Scotland’s best selling he lager. Craft brewers in the le city include German-style WEST (westbeer.com) att te Glasgow Green, Drygate Brewing Co. (drygate. s, com) close to Tennent’s, ew. and Jaw Brew (jawbrew. co.uk), producing theirr popular brews at gton. Hillington.

GAMBRINO

THE RIO CAFÉ

THE GRUMPY GOAT

THE SALISBURY

MEATHOOK

SALT DELICATESSEN

OLD SALTY’S

SMILE CAFÉ

PANCHO VILLA’S ATHENA GREEK TAVERNA

BOOLY MARDY’S

LE BISTRO BEAUMARTIN

CHOP CHOP

BLACK SPARROW

EAT CAFÉ

THE PELICAN CAFÉ POCO HAVANA BAR AND CANTINA

TROPEIRO THE TWO FIGS THE WILLOW TEA ROOMS (SAUCHIEHALL ST)

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GLASGOW

ARTS VENUES & ATTRACTIONS Glasgow is a city packed full of museums, galleries and arts venues, and with this huge array of attractions comes a great selection of places to eat and drink. From restaurants in beloved Glaswegian landmarks such as Kelvingrove Museum that feeds the hungry masses, to smaller, independent venues like All That Is Coffee, there’s something to suit every culture vulture whether you’re looking for a quick bite before a show or a lingering meal on a lazy Sunday. Reviewers: Andrea Mullaney, Andrea Pearson, Emily Henderson

All That is Coffee South Block, 60 Osborne Street, City Centre, 0141 271 4777 | Closed Sat/Sun | £7 (lunch)

All That is Coffee, on the ground floor of the WASPS South Block studios, is a meeting space for artists and creatives – and caffeine addicts. With coffee by Dear Green, the Glasgow-based artisan roasters and pastries and cakes from suppliers including North Berwick’s Bostock Bakery (who deliver every Wednesday – worth noting in your diary), you really are supporting independent Scottish businesses when you patronise this café. Try a decadent peanut butter, chocolate chip and salted caramel bar, or grab one of the sandwiches courtesy of Cherry and Heather and a Whole Earth drink from the well-stocked fridge. The design of the venue is refreshingly minimalist with white wood-panelled walls, strip lights overhead and coloured seats and tables. This is a bright and stylish place to linger, although the wooden chairs could do

TIPLIST FOR KIDS & FAMILIES • Ad Lib 162 Two American-themed diners, in the Merchant City and close to Central Station, serving burgers and soul food classics. • Brooklyn Café 152 A neighbourhood café doing hearty breakfasts and ice-creams, alongside burgers, ribs and wings in a bright, airy space. • Coia’s Café 147 A bustling Dennistoun café-diner, popular with locals and families, offering Italian favourites, a chip shop and well-stocked deli.

147 • Di Maggios A long-standing local chain that has been keeping families happily fed on Italian-American food for decades. 150 • Pizza West An adventurous contemporary pizzeria offering inventive pizzas in a large venue close to Byres Road. 155 • Topolabamaba A real wonderland of Mexican taste sensations within a vibrant backdrop, well suited to families.

Glasgow School of Art: The Vic Café Bar: a warm welcome and good food for all next to an iconic building

with a cushion or two to help prolong the pleasure. + Each cup of coffee made with care and precision - Closed weekends

✱ Art Lover’s Café House for an Art Lover, Bellahouston Park, 10 Dumbreck Road, Southside, 0141 353 4779, houseforanartlover.co.uk | £12.95 (set lunch, some supplements)

A café only in name, this fine food establishment in the impressive Mackintosh-designed House for an Art Lover – posthumously built in the 1990s – is a little Southside oasis of gastronomic excellence. Andy Temple, formerly of Cail Bruich, has recently joined as head chef and brought with him his love of Scottish produce and his desire to push the boat out . . . literally, with sea produce to the fore including delights such as monk’s beard and roast skate on offer. The menu descriptions alone sound awesome: duck leg croquettes with pickled vegetables, tomato and fig chutney for instance, or asparagus and spring vegetable gnocchi with lemon and shallot. The pretty platefuls sing with freshness and are garnished with sprigs of dill or delicate cucumber juliennes. A standout moment comes from a tomato dressing that accompanies an oily-rich risotto nero, cutting though with acidity and vibrant summer flavour. Cheesecakes are fairly breathtaking too – banana and crowdie cheesecake with salted caramel and banana ice-cream a real crowd-pleaser. It is small wonder diners are advised to book. + Vibrant flavours - Quite rich food for a lunchtime

The Balcony Café Upstairs @ The Glasgow Climbing Centre, 534 Paisley Road West, Southside, 0141 427 9550, glasgowclimbingcentre.com | £9 (lunch) / £9 (dinner)

Want to go on a gap year but don’t have the funds or the time? No problem. Hang out, possibly literally, in the Glasgow Climbing Centre’s Balcony Café and enjoy the thrills of a real gap year: stunning views of lakes and mountains (OK it is a large print photo, but it works), listening in on conversations with global accents; enjoying Hendrix at full volume; and feasting on snacks with international flavours and cool-sounding names referencing travel experiences. This

welcoming concoction is partly down to Liam McAlpine (fresh from Live at Five on STV) and his infectious enthusiasm for ‘flavour bombs’ and generally injecting fire into the trad café fare of sandwiches, wraps and shepherd’s pie. Expect haggis nachos for £6 – a favourite for hangovers apparently, super-tender pulled pork, Curly Wurly cakes and healthy smoothies with mountain monikers like The Cobbler. As McAlpine says (yes, that really is his name, appropriately), it is not the cheapest food in the area – you’ll get a bacon butty for £2 down the road – but it is fantastic value for what you get. + Stunning mountain views . . . - . . . but they ain’t real

Bar Varia Snow Factor, Intu at Soar, Kings Inch Road, Southside, 0141 885 7078, snowfactor.com/bar-varia | £13 (lunch) / £13 (dinner)

the fifth floor of The Lighthouse, the first public commission completed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Decorated predominantly in cool greys and white, light flooding through the roof, the menu on offer here by Encore (who provide food for most Glasgow museums) is fairly standard yet tasty nevertheless. Tuck in to a 'five-a-day' toasted sandwich, loaded with roast peppers, caramelised red onion, aubergine and rocket, served with salad and crisps. There are soup and salads available, too, as well as a few choices for kids, while a huge plate of sweet potato fries with maple and cayenne glaze will add a fiery kick to any meal. Take a stroll to the roof level once you have polished off your lunch and coffee to see panoramic views of Glasgow, or head to the gift shop to stock up on souvenirs. + Iconic Glasgow venue - Menu is a bit limited

Independently owned – and rather independently minded – this Germanicleaning bar (to call it a German theme pub makes it sound tackier than it is) is part of Snow Factor, featuring Scotland’s only indoor slope with real snow, which provides a visceral backdrop to proceedings. Grab a seat next to the large windows overlooking the action and experience Glasgow’s most edge-ofyour-seat dining as you wince and cheer at the skiers and snowboarders on the slope. Coupled with the snowy backdrop, the cavernous venue does a remarkable job in transporting you to an Alpine bier halle – thick heavy wooden furniture, a menu heavy with Teutonic tastes of wursts and more, and a beer list that can compete with the best in the city. A revised menu launches in spring 2017, but expect more tasty riffs on bier halle favourites including sharing platters loaded with various sausages, schnitzels and sides; the footlong brockwurst hot dog; and a range of burgers and sandwiches, plus ice-cream to tempt the kids that descend for party time at weekends. + Watching the slopes, perusing the beer list - Can get noisy when kids’ parties happening

✱ The Edwardian Kitchen

The Doocot Café and Bar The Lighthouse, 11 Mitchell Lane, City Centre, 0141 276 5367, thelighthouse. co.uk/venue/eat | £8 (lunch)

Glasgow School of Art Students’ Association, 20 Scott Street, City Centre, theartschool.co.uk | Closed Sun | £9 (lunch) / £10.50 (dinner)

The Doocot Café Bar is situated on

The Vic Café Bar at the Glasgow

Pollok House, Pollok Country Park, 2060 Pollokshaws Road, Southside, 0141 616 6410, nts.org.uk/Property/Pollok-House | £9.50 (lunch)

Despite being in the basement of Pollok House, once the grand ancestral home of the Maxwell family (who were waited on by no less than 48 servants), this lovely café is light, bright and full of period charm. Everything here tastes fresh and thoughtfully prepared, and the fact that vegetables from the gardens are used by the chefs adds to the venue’s homely feel. There is an impressive array of cakes, bakes, scones and empire biscuits. Try a perfectly proportioned ramekin of apple crumble and ice-cream after a warming bowl of soup and a sandwich – the cheese-laden croque monsieur and smoked salmon bagels are particular highlights. There are also quiches and tartlets, a changing menu of specials and afternoon teas for pre-booked parties. If the weather permits, enjoy your meal in the Tea Garden where you can better admire the splendour of the house. + Lovely food in a beautiful setting - Often a queue, especially at weekends

✱ Glasgow School of Art: The Vic Café Bar

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In association with

GLASGOW

School of Art is like the best mess hall ever – a combination of student union, spacious bar, and artsy café, where the food more than holds its own. Much of the custom comes from the students, of course, but nothing like as much as in most unions – such is the historical and tourist interest in this particular art school. Lunchtimes are buzzing, with no end of burgers and sandwiches made with gusto, like halloumi with pineapple chutney, or brisket, with a sweet marinade and sweeter piquillo peppers. Dietary requirements are well tended to as well – salads (perhaps tofu noodle, or stuffed aubergine) have the same detail and ebullience that typifies much of the menu. Myriad specials and menus signal the beginning of evening, when the energy picks up as the lights come down. + An atmosphere that’s unique among arts venues - Later opening times than will suit the early risers

bustling, family-friendly place serving hundreds of hungry culture vultures every day. Nab a seat in the conservatory if you can, which has lovely views of Kelvingrove Park and the University. This venue is best suited to a quick sandwich and a coffee rather than a lingering lunch, but the menu has some appealing and wellthought out dishes, such as salmon fillet in dill butter sauce. Try the lovely mezze platter of smoked mackerel pâté, chicken liver parfait and vegetarian haggis bonbon with oatcakes, which goes very well with a bowl of the homemade soup. There are more substantial dishes available, too, such as burgers and fish and chips, as well as children’s portions. Upstairs there is a smaller café area, serving takeaway drinks where you can take in the splendour of the museum’s entrance hall and hear daily organ recitals. + Afternoon tea for £10.50 - Always very busy

The Pipers’ Tryst Herald Café Bar Mitchell Library, North Street, West End, 0141 287 2917, glasgowlife.org. uk/libraries/the-mitchell-library/heraldcafe-bar/Pages/home.aspx | Closed Sun | £10 (lunch)

The Herald Café Bar is located on the ground floor of the iconic Mitchell Library, still as imposing as when it opened in 1911. Light and bright with white tables and clear plastic chairs, it is situated beside the main computer area and is a pleasantly bustling place to have a bite to eat or coffee break during studying, a working lunch or just a lazy afternoon. There is a good selection of cakes and bakes, sandwiches, toasties, baked potatoes and panini as well as omelettes with fillings include goat’s cheese and mushroom. Specials include heartier choices such as cheese nachos, priced at a modest £3.95, chilli and garlic chicken goujons. The breakfasts consist mostly of deliciously greasy filled breakfast rolls. As a Celtic Connections and Aye Write! book festival venue, this is also a good spot to enjoy a glass of wine before cultural events. + £3.10 tea and cake deal - Lack of healthy breakfast options

The Hidden Lane Tearoom 8 Argyle Court, 1103 Argyle Street, West End, 0141 237 4391, hiddenlanetearoom. com | £10 (lunch)

Tucked down a little cobbled street among brightly painted studios, the Hidden Lane Tearoom is a warm and welcoming place to spend an hour or two. Pretty bunting and prints decorate the walls and over 30 loose-leaf teas are served in vintage teapots and mismatched china. All the cakes – displayed temptingly on a large, old-fashioned dresser – are made on the premises, and can be sampled on their own or as part of the various afternoon teas. Try the Luxury, which consists of a large selection of finger sandwiches, five mini cakes, a mini scone with clotted cream and jam and unlimited tea or coffee for £15. For those watching their waistlines and pennies, there is the £6.50 Wee Tea. It’s worth heading here at breakfast, too (between 10am and noon), for avocado toast and waffles, or tuck in to hearty bowls of soup and sandwiches for lunch. + Friendly staff and wonderful cakes - Usually very busy, so best to book

KG Café Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Kelvingrove Park, Argyle Street, West End, 0141 276 9530, encorehospitalityservices.co.uk | £12 (lunch)

In the basement of Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, KG Café is a

The National Piping Centre, 30–34 McPhater Street, City Centre, 0141 353 5551, thepipingcentre.co.uk | Closed Sun | £15.95 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Next door to, and affiliated with, the National Piping Centre at Cowcaddens, the cosy Pipers’ Tryst bar-restaurant boasts ‘true Scottish fayre with a twist’, so accordingly the menu features locally sourced produce including Fraserburgh haddock, Ramsay of Carluke haggis and Ayrshire butter and bacon. While the décor could be considered rather bland despite the odd bit of tartan dotted here and there, the cuisine is considerably more interesting. The starter of Arran cheddar fondue – which comes in a large mug served with garlic and herb soldiers – is so good you’ll be reluctant to leave even the smallest drop. The rich island cheese features in the mains, too, including in the generously portioned macaroni and the leek tartlet. A sandwich of chicken with black pudding is thoroughly enjoyable, while the smoked haddock and pea risotto, topped with a poached egg, is filling. Take advantage of the tempting lunch deals on offer here, with two courses priced £15.95 or three for £17.95 at select times during the day. + The chicken and black pudding sandwich - Distinct lack of oatmeal in the cranachan

Riverside Café Riverside Museum, 100 Pointhouse Place, West End, 0141 287 2720, encorehospitalityservices.co.uk | £12.50 (lunch)

Just as the Museum itself, with its vintage transport collection and recreation of an old Glasgow street, is hugely popular with families with children, so is the café: weekends especially can be mobbed, even early on. But it’s no wonder, for this exceptionally pleasant café combines corporate efficiency with a stunning view of the river and the Tall Ship, along with great service. The menu is brisk and comprehensive, with breakfasts; soups, snacks and salads; a children’s section; and mains including satisfyingly meaty pies, decent quality fish and chips, and a huge, oozy beefburger. Desserts are indulgent, but a cranachan overwhelms its oats with too much cream. The dishes are all well presented, which is fitting in such a stylised building. Upstairs there is also a more basic takeaway café and the museum refreshingly even offers facilities for those who just want to eat a packed lunch – but it might be worth treating yourself, because this is a café which knows its target market exactly and caters to them well. + Excellent service - May need to wait for a table at busy times

✱ Saramago Café Bar CCA, 350 Sauchiehall Street, City Centre, 0141 352 4920, cca-glasgow. com/cafe | £7.75 (set lunch) / £14 (dinner)

The bright and airy Saramango Café Bar in the spacious atrium of the Centre for Contemporary Arts – which hosts various cultural events including exhibitions and festivals – is a great place to enjoy a drink or linger over deliciously inventive vegetarian and vegan food. Start with the curly kale with soy and ginger, or smoked tofu tempura before moving on to the mezze platter – it really is a sight to behold and includes cannellini and roast garlic hummus, baba ghanoush, dolmades and cauliflower with salsa verde. The soggy griddled leeks with romesco sauce don’t work as well as the rest of the items, but this is still a fantastic – and very filling – main course. The artichoke, caper, olive and fresh basil pizza will make you wonder why you ever bothered with meaty toppings in the past. Finish off your visit with a drink upstairs in the lively Terrace Bar with offerings of local brews, and, weather permitting, grab a seat outside on their terrace. + High-quality vegetarian and vegan food - Dessert selection a bit limited

The Tea Room at the Botanics Botanic Gardens, 730 Great Western Road, West End, 0141 276 1640, encorehospitalityservices.co.uk | £12 (lunch)

In the house of the former curator of the Botanic Gardens, this busy little tearoom in the heart of the West End is a picturesque spot for a bite to eat. The outdoor patio overlooks beautiful Kibble Palace and is a lovely setting to enjoy one of the garden-themed afternoon teas. Choose from The Kibble, The Botanic or The Kelvin, ranging in price from £10.50 to £13.50. All include sandwiches, scones and baked goods in varying quantities. The soup and sandwich deal for £8.50 is good value for money and there are a variety of breads to sample including farmhouse white, Struan (from the Western Isles) light rye or glutenfree. You can’t miss the impressive range of cakes on display, so indulge in a big slice washed down with a cup of Matthew Algie coffee. + Couldn’t get a prettier location than the Botanics - Usually a bit of a queue, especially at weekends

✱ HITLIST

ARTS VENUES & ATTRACTIONS ✱ Art Lover’s Café New and exciting things are happening at this much-loved Southside fine dining establishment. ✱ The Edwardian Kitchen Edwardian grandeur and artisan baking in this country home, which also features an impressive art collection. ✱ Glasgow School of Art: The Vic Café Bar A hubbub of creative activity dishing up good-value and adventurous food with plenty for special dieters. ✱ Saramago Café Bar Animalfree dining that is good enough to please die-hard carnivores in a cool, relaxed, multi-faceted venue within the CCA.

Come visit us at our NEW West End Branch.

Tramway Café Bar 25 Albert Drive, Southside, 0141 276 0953, tramway.org | £9 (lunch)

Tramway Café Bar – located in the contemporary visual and performance art venue which is also home to Scottish Ballet – is one of Glasgow’s quirkiest places to enjoy a coffee and a meal. The former site of the Coplawhill depot is a mishmash of architectural periods and styles, with exposed brickwork and concrete floors in abundance, as well as old tram tracks dotted around. For lunch, tuck into a warming bowl of soup and a sandwich made with Bavarian bread, or a baked potato. Finish off your meal with one of the many cakes and bakes on display. More filling dishes are also on offer such as burgers, broccoli, spinach and ricotta lasagne and warm roast winter vegetable salad with goat’s cheese, basil pesto and beetroot purée. On Sundays, all-day breakfast is available and when the weather behaves itself, grab a seat outside in the lovely community-run Hidden Gardens. + A unique venue - Open-plan café can be a bit draughty

21 Clarence Drive, Glasgow, G12 9QN

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GLASGOW

Tron Theatre Bar & Kitchen 63 Trongate, Merchant City, 0141 552 8587, tron.co.uk | £17 (lunch) / £17 (dinner)

You don’t need to be seeing a show to pop in to the Tron Theatre's Bar & Kitchen for a drink and a bite. It’s a stylish spot in the heart of historic Glasgow, with warm wood panelling, soft lighting and cosy red booths. The menu is well thought out and interesting, with a good mixture of simpler fare such as chicken and beef burgers mixed with more substantial mains including a decadent macaroni cheese gratin with white truffle oil, topped with Arran smoked cheddar. The slow-braised shin of beef with Arran mustard mash and red wine jus is tender and beautifully presented. The pre-theatre menu (£14.95 for two courses) offers a similarly impressive selection of dishes. Worth sampling from the new-look bar and kitchen is the house lager called Cherub and Skull ‘Do As Thou Wilt’, inspired by the Hellfire Club who set fire to the original Tron Kirk in 1793. + The deconstructed apple crumble with rhubarb purée - Booking a table on show nights is advised

The Willow Tea Rooms 97 Buchanan Street, City Centre, 0141 204 5242, willowtearooms.co.uk | £10 (lunch)

One floor up, with great views onto bustling Buchanan Street, the Willow Tea Rooms are a contemporary reconstruction of Mackintosh’s Ingram Street tea rooms. The restaurant is on two levels with the white and silver tones of the Ladies’ tea room contrasting vividly with the peacock blue of the upstairs Chinese tea room. The food on offer is a mix of traditional Scottish dishes – Cullen skink, haggis, neeps and tatties, and steak mince with mash – and afternoon tea on a silver cake stand with jam and cream scones, sandwiches, cakes and signature meringues. The tea menu offers a range of Chinese and Indian blends – a must-try is a pot of lapsang souchong to accompany the St Andrews smoked fish platter which includes delicious smoked salmon, infused with the same tea. There is a vegetarian and vegan menu, too, and oatcakes come instead of bread as a standard option for gluten-free diners. + Generous afternoon tea - No disabled access and a steep climb with no lift

BARS & PUBS With a flurry of newcomers, a thriving craft beer scene and some rather interesting developments on the food front, it’s been a big old year for the bar and pub section. There’s also been some evolution in how we’ll do things in the guide. Recent openers and those that have had major rebrands or kitchen takeovers have a full review printed, while existing premises will see their fully updated review online at list.co.uk. We’ve also expanded our number of Tiplists – our recommendations and insights into the bars that are the best at what they do, throughout town. Reviewers: David Kirkwood, David McPhee, Rowena McIntosh

NEW beGIN 383 Byres Road, West End, 0141 341 6516, bovinerestaurant.com | £10.50 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

’Let the taste discovery beGin’ promises this Hilton-owned gin bar. Here the juniper spirit reigns supreme, with a dedicated menu grouping the bottles by style – floral, world, new age and spiced. Choose the perfect serve to enjoy it as the gin maker intended, or get creative with your own mixer and garnish, eschewing the humble lime for basil, pink peppercorn or grapes. It’s a sleek space, with bronze walls, copper pipes and plenty of room for big groups on the sofas. Those unusual sorts who don’t want gin can enjoy draught from Goose Island Beer Co., well-crafted cocktails, a range of whisky and prosecco on tap. The menu of bites is designed to complement the drinks and showcases

quality ingredients. The British charcuterie sharing board pairs cured meat with hot mustard, vegetarian samosa are encased in a crispy pastry and cheesy haggis nachos are layered with Scottish cheddar. + New gin pairings for novices and ginperts alike - Bathrooms can be a bit chilly.

✱ HITLIST

NEW Buck’s Bar 111 West Regent Street, City Centre, 0141 221 2327, bucksbar.co.uk | £12 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

Geographically on the corner of West Regent and Wellington, but in its soul Buck’s is well below the Mason-Dixon line. It’s all about the Southern fried chicken here. Some of the nods towards authenticity are expected (PBR on tap, chicken and waffles), others are less common (their own, proper Americanstyle filter coffee), while some just show an admirable dedication to the cause (more than 50 hot sauces). A solid start is the buttermilk fried chicken – simple, nicely seasoned and moist. A far more serious contender with Nashville hot sauce is also available. Wings are popular, with Korean BBQ and Chinese styles widening the appeal. It’s cool that they stick to their guns too: apart from some veggie options, it’s all chicken – no burgers, no ribs, no red meat at all. And they’ve got the good stuff (rock, roll, blues) on the stereo and just enough Americana adorning the walls. Special mention for the image of Colonel Sanders, with graffiti devil horns, that peers in from outside. + They do fried chicken and they do it well - It’s not for you if you don’t like fried chicken

NEW Crossing the Rubicon 372 Great Western Road, West End, 0141 337 3111, crossingtherubicon.com | £5.95/£6.95 (one-course set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Beer aficionados will love the daily draught list of keg and cask at Crossing

BARS & PUBS ✱ The Drake Comfortable Woodlands bar offering you the spoils of the country while residing in the city, with top-notch food and drinks. ✱ The Drugstore Social A cosy neighbourhood café-deli by day and sophisticated cocktail bar by night, the Drugstore Social offers customers quality meats and vegetables paired with the best wines and liquor on the market. ✱ Drygate Brewing Co. An industrial-sized cornucopia of craft beer in the East End of town, proving daily that seeing truly is believing with its own viewable working brewery. ✱ Redmond’s of Dennistoun A real asset, and perhaps testament, to the burgeoning area that Dennistoun is becoming in terms of where the line between community and bar are blurred. ✱ The Rum Shack Not just a little bit of the Caribbean in the Southside, the Rum Shack is either a great reason to go to the Southside or your favourite neighbourhood bar. ✱ six°north Belgium and Glasgow have been having an illicit affair for years, finally six°north has blown their cover with it’s fine beer and rustic Flemish food. ✱ WEST on the Green A unique and wonderful German-Scottish mash-up within Glasgow Green’s Templeton Building – a true mecca for beer-lovers across the city and beyond.

NEW The Willow Tea Rooms at Watt Brothers 119–121 Sauchiehall Street, City Centre, 0141 332 8446, willowtearooms.co.uk | £10 (lunch)

The renowned Charles Rennie Mackintosh tea room of Sauchiehall Street (which means ‘willow grove’) is no longer housed in the famous and original historic salon . . . what gives? Well without going into legal battles, suffice to say this Willow Tea Rooms is now housed perfectly prettily on the upper floor of Watt Brothers department store just along the road. There are soups, sandwiches and all manner of cakes (with plenty of gluten-free options), while the house speciality afternoon tea is served on a photogenic three-tiered cake stand and makes quite a sight, with a plate of sandwich triangles, a warm scone with clotted cream, a shortbread square and a cake, plus a pot of one of the many teas, such as the specially created Cranston blend. Great care has been taken to dress both the room and waiting staff in a Mackintosh-appropriate style, but while the latter seem to be particularly upbeat and enthusiastic in their new home, one cannot help but feel saddened by the whole heritage hoo-hah that has led to this. + Afternoon tea ceremony - Being in a department store

the Rubicon, featuring the likes of Drygate, Williams Bros. and Pilot, while those not so well versed in hop talk will appreciate the glossary of terminology. The food menu showcases Indian small plates designed for tearing and sharing, with curries, bites, breads and sides. An ox cheek bhuna, served in a classic enamel camping mug, has a rich, red wine flavour with tender pieces of beef, a vegan chana madras is bursting with firm spicy chickpeas and herby garlic naan is handmade on site in their tandoor. The whimsical space features original art across the walls and plenty of recycled items, including tables made of salvaged doors. Heated on-street seating, a greatvalue lunch deal and regular meet-thebrewers events are further reasons to bag a door in this enticing addition to Great Western Road’s increasing pocket of bars. + Classic combo of curry and beer revamped - No peshwari naan Marchtown (page 117): new wine bar and off-licence with platters to share

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Serving great pub grub since 2000

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GLASGOW

BARS & PUBS TIPLISTS THE EATING & DRINKING GUIDE TEAM’S RECOMMENDATIONS

Mono

WEST on the Green

MUSIC

to music excellence it even has its own record shop in the back.

The Admiral W This city centre bar has a great pedigree of being one of the first to witness the hottest electro, house and techno DJs. It’s also the spiritual home of the Star Folk Club.

Nice’n’Sleazy 117 With a rare wall-mounted CD jukebox and DJ’s spinning the best of indie, punk and rock ’n’ roll upstairs, Sleazy’s is the lifeblood and the standard within the Glasgow music scene.

Bloc+ W A bastion of live music within the Glasgow music scene, Bloc+ is often the first place to see new and young local acts getting in on the scene. If you like it loud, edgy and unashamedly counterculture then this is the bar for you.

The Rum Shack W One of the Southside’s best bars, you can sip excellent beer and quality rum as you watch the area’s best soul, blues and acoustic performers.

Mono W Housed within a beautiful and cool setting, this bar is the ‘in place’ for the city’s newest and best indie acts. It’s so committed

Marchtown

The Winged Ox W East End bar in Saint Luke's, the former church housing an intriguing multi-purpose venue for music and the arts, dishing up a US-inspired menu to a stirring line-up of live music and more.

The Lismore

BEER GARDENS

WINE

WHISKY

Brel W Once a neglected grassy knoll, Brel’s back garden now boasts fitted benches where you can enjoy continental draft or a G&T in the sun.

Bar Gandolfi W Atmospheric bar above Glasgow institution Café Gandolfi, offering a fine selection of thoughtful dishes and an excellent wine list.

The Ben Nevis W Famous for its floor-to-ceiling wall of whisky choices, the Ben Nevis is a byword in Glasgow for single malt excellence.

Drygate Brewing Co. W Craft brewing meets good cooking in this East End industrial-styled beer wonderland with a bar and grill menu plus 26 draught craft beer taps to sample on the beer terrace.

Boudoir Wine Bar W Plush velvet and moody lighting complement the suave range of Italian and French heavyweight wines in the middle of the Merchant City.

Bon Accord W Possibly best known for real ale, this Charing Cross bar also has an excellent selection of Scotland’s most famous tipple.

Inn Deep W Dog-friendly riverside bar with over 70 bottled beers, a menu of BBQ food and pub classics and a spacious beer garden – the perfect place to stop for a bite on a walk along the Kelvin.

Marchtown 117 This newcomer offers a unique and quirky take on the wine bar, with added off-licence angle, and a homeliness not found elsewhere.

Kelbourne Saint 113 Behind this refurbished church community hall is a spacious back garden, complete with kids’ play area, deckchairs and heated huts for enjoying rotisserie chicken, beer and cocktails. The Rum Shack W Either a great reason to go Southside or your favourite neighbourhood bar, with a funky beer garden in which to enjoy Caribbean cooking. WEST on the Green W A German-style beer hall and brewery in a striking Glasgow Green building, with wooden benches outside that fill up fast.

The Lismore W So devoted to whisky, this pub has a separate special bar in the back where you can choose from a rarefied selection of malts and blends.

Villiers & Co 119 Cheese and wine platters accompany an even split of Old and New World wines at this modern affair near Charing Cross.

Òran Mór W One of Glasgow’s most popular nightspots, Òran Mór casts a long shadow while offering its clientele a great choice of single malts and blended whiskies in its Whisky Bar.

Vroni’s W The daddy of Glaswegian wine bars, this longstanding city centre venue covers a broad spectrum of styles by the glass, and has an impressive range of bubbles.

The Pot Still W Undoubtedly the best place in the city centre to find the best Scottish whisky; the Pot Still is thronged every night with locals and tourists enjoying ‘the gold nectar’.

The Wee Chip W It might not have access to the full wine cellar of the restaurant, but there are still some very high-quality wines by the glass in the same iconic surroundings.

The Wee Chip W Situated snuggly under its sister bar/ restaurant Ubiquitous Chip, the Wee Chip is a wonderfully small, yet influential devotee to quality whisky. W = full review online at food.list.co.uk

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The perfect serve for any occasion

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GLASGOW

BARS & PUBS TIPLISTS THE EATING & DRINKING GUIDE TEAM’S RECOMMENDATIONS

Slouch

LATE-NIGHT DRINKING Blue Dog W New York-style piano bar in the city centre, open until 3am all week, with extensive cocktails, and now featuring a new weekend space downstairs called Down Dog, of course. Bloc+ W By day the Mad Chef serves dogs, burgers, street eats and exciting vegan options; by night there’s live music, DJs, lots of craft beer and drink promos – all until 3am, every night.

DogHouse Merchant City

Bloc+

BEST BARS

HAIR OF THE DOG (BAR BRUNCHES)

CITY CENTRE NORTH Bloc+ W Servicing office workers by day and counterculture types by night, Bloc+ is a great place to sup a beer and enjoy the Mad Chef’s food while watching local bands. The Butterfly & The Pig W Chintzy décor meets granny’s home cooking in this basement-level bar-cum-restaurant that’s graced Bath Street for over a decade.

Crossing the Rubicon 108 Spice up your life with Indian-inspired brunch: from madras beans and veggie haggis pakora, to eggs florentine served with saag and coriander hollandaise. DogHouse Merchant City W This bar states brunch without alcohol is just a sad breakfast, so enjoy one of the 25 draughts on offer with your fried chicken and waffles.

Broadcast W More sedate than other late-night drinking dens – the live music and club nights don’t spill upstairs should you just want a drink.

The Flying Duck W This cool basement bar conveniently placed at the apex of Renfield Street is perfect for after-work drinks or weekend gigs.

The Drake W Comfortable Woodlands bar serving a cooked breakfast featuring organic pork & leek sausage, Ayrshire bacon and Stornoway black pudding or go for French toast or kedgeree.

Max’s Bar & Grill W Long-time favourite of the bar and restaurant workers of the city centre, with an independent drinks selection and plenty of space for late-night conversation.

The Griffin 113 With classic 1960s’ booths, the venerable Griffin is now in new hands and is marking itself out as one of the best places in the city centre to sip on a Scottish-made gin.

McPhabbs W This gastro pub dishes up a weekend brunch of banana bread French toast, chorizo potato hash and truffled scrambled eggs. Try with a Bloody Caesar, Canada’s national cocktail.

Moskito W Bath Street favourite serving nightowls until 3am weekends, and 2am on weeknights, with a blend of pub grub, craft beers and cocktails.

Nice’n’Sleazy 117 One of the first places to popularise the White Russian, Sleazy’s has been a haven for true music aficionados and bohemians since 1991.

Nice’n’Sleazy 117 An all-day brunch affair, Mexican style. Banish that hangover with breakfast burritos, huevos rancheros or egg tostadas.

Slouch W This city centre basement bar with music on its mind serves until 3am every night, and manages to be both popular and eclectic.

Variety Bar W Serving quality beers and liquor to Glasgow’s hipster set, this mainstay of Sauchiehall Street is the quintessential dive bar.

Redmond’s of Denniston W Community-minded Dennistoun bar does full Scottish, vegetarian and vegan breakfasts, on a menu with a few surprising twists.

Drygate Brewing Co.

BEER The Allison Arms W Old-fashioned Glasgow pub that happens to also have three fridges at the back with burgeoning craft breweries from the UK and beyond, and over 30 different German beers – for incredible prices. DogHouse Merchant City W Brewdog brings us DogHouse, with a huge selection of craft beer and meats of many flavours in a canteen-style set-up, as well as a mighty bottleshop. Drygate Brewing Co. W Craft brewing meets good cooking in this East End

industrial-styled beer wonderland, with 26 draught craft beer taps to sample. The Hippo Taproom 113 Independent taproom with some interesting kegs and a great selection of North American brews. six°north W Scottish brewers bringing a unique blend of Belgian beers and Flemish food to a big city bier halle setting. WEST on the Green W A German-style beer hall and brewery serving Bavarianinspired food and homebrewed beers in a striking building on the edge of Glasgow Green. W = full review online at food.list.co.uk

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Kelbourne Saint 182 Queen Margaret Drive, West End, 0141 946 9456 | £6.50 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

When the sequel came out, it was impressive how well the cast of Trainspotting had all aged. Alas, Crosslands, the Maryhill bar with the balcony from which Begbie famously flung his chaotic pint, wasn’t growing old so gracefully. The Kelbourne Saint is its shiny new identity. Owners Kained Holdings lend a steady hand to their units, with the group’s specially brewed Apache lager (by WEST) exclusively available here in tank form, for optimum freshness. The tank’s copper sheen blends in with the overall ‘bar-brasserie’ feel of the place. Rotisserie chicken is the main focus of the food, with collard greens and mashed potato reiterating the homestyle choices they’ve made. Everything is enjoyable, though the roast chicken perhaps lacks the fullness of flavour that its provenance and brining promises. But with a gigantic big beer garden and plans for music events and barbecues in the summer, and some student friendly burger deals too, this place generally plays its hand pretty well. + The beer garden - Quiet nights can feel a bit flat

Lebowskis South The Duchess of Argyle: Mexican fun and flavours at this new bar in Finnieston

✱ NEW The Drugstore Social 67 Old Dumbarton Road, West End, 0141 560 2644, drugstoresocial.com | £5 (set lunch) / £12 (dinner)

The design and décor of the Drugstore Social is clear evidence that they believe fine food and drink to be good medicine for the soul – you'll find no snake oil salesmen in here. Perhaps put the health kick on hold as sharing platters abound from the compact kitchen, with cured meats, pickled vegetables and sumptuous cheeses that well prepare you for the rustic and deeply satisfying mains to follow. The selection on offer looks like a poachers’ hitlist with shredded pheasant gamekeeper's pie, paper-baked fish of the day and venison with lemon and thyme gremolata to pick from. The wines are well chosen, and the selection of cocktails mixed with authority, with some coming in punch bowls and bottles to share, brimming with fresh ingredients and homemade concoctions. While this beautifully wood-panelled and pharmaceutically minded bar sits subtly in a quiet backstreet at the foot of Yorkhill, it's only a matter of time until it becomes the drop-in place for people to get their fix. + Melt in your mouth meats - Not a substantial selection of draught beers

NEW The Duchess of Argyle 1038 Argyle Street, West End, 0141 237 5020 | £5 (2 tacos set lunch) / £11 (dinner)

The Duchess is riding the wave carrying Mexican food from restaurants and into less structured settings, without the mariachi music and sombreros on the wall. Instead, Kained Holdings’ latest Finnieston adventure taps into the spirit of turning a classic pub into something more ‘of the moment’ while still keeping the traditional feel. It’s very cleverly turned out (the previous resident, a rock bar, looked nothing like this) and is a homely space in which to sit. It’s the sort of Mexican-inspired bar food done so well in the States. Complimentary chips and salsa are put on your table as

you sit (it’s the American way). Tacos – the proper soft corn ones – are vibrant to look at and to taste, with reworkings of trusted combinations not so common, as yet, in Glasgow: charred pork and crispy pineapple, chicken and verdita, or spiced langoustine, avocado and coconut crema. The veggie options are lively and imaginative too. + Free tortilla chips and salsa as you’re seated - Tacos served on wooden boards lose heat fast

Elena’s Spanish Bar & Restaurant 90 Old Dumbarton Road, West End See Spanish

NEW The Griffin 226 Bath Street, City Centre, 0141 3315170, thegriffinglasgow.co.uk | £14 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

While Glasgow’s King’s Theatre opened in 1904, the Griffin, situated just across the road, feels just as stately. The new owners – who also have Brel, Sloan’s and Maggie Mays – have decided that rather than be a jack of all trades, it shall be a master of gins and classic chicken goujons. Though perhaps a perplexing choice, things look rather promising with a range of goujon crusts – natural breadcrumb, cornflake or herb and parmesan – and various dips for dunking. The gin menu is where things get really interesting with a superb selection of Scottish-made options. Served within an imposing goblet and accompanied by fruits or spices respectively, the Eden Mill Love from St Andrew’s is heavenly while Glasgow’s own Makar Gin is alluring to say the least with botanicals of 90 per cent juniper. Sing it to the rafters, the Griffin is back in business. + Huge gins - The windows need changing

NEW The Hippo Taproom 323 Sauchiehall Street, City Centre, 0141 353 3400, hippotaproom.co.uk | £12 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

Hippo is perhaps the most independent of Glasgow’s burgeoning number of

taprooms, attached only to its sister venue bottle shop in the West End. That said, there’s much camaraderie and cross-pollination among the scene and it’s often the quirks of the bottle range and the character of the venue that set them apart. Hippo is a rather chilled sort, located in a basement space with lots of booths, scope for privacy, and a bar that doesn’t try to be the focal point. Instead, an unassuming table menu shows off some 30 or so beers from each of America, Britain and Belgium/ Germany, with the Pacific Northwest particularly well attended. Eight keg and four cask lines complete the range. The menu has changed a few times and the bar has latterly embraced the trend for kitchen takeovers – most notably from Glaswegian burger legend El Perro Negro and his preposterously rich, consistently praised creations. Such events are on Sundays, though a more permanent pop-up resident is likely to happen in 2017. + The beer menus and the delights that they offer - Struggles for atmosphere when its quiet

69 Nithsdale Road, Southside, 0141 423 3332, lebowskis.co.uk/glasgowsouthside | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

After various pop-up incarnations, Lebowskis South has finally, firmly bedded itself in as a permanent resident near the burgeoning central stretch of Strathbungo. It’s a gorgeous space – split level, open bricks, cool

WHISKY BOURBON

BRANDY GIN VODKA RUM

TEQUILA CIGARS

REGULAR TASTINGS IN-STORE

NEW Innis & Gunn Beer Kitchen Ashton Lane 46 Ashton Lane, West End, 0141 334 6688, thebeerkitchen.co.uk | £16 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Edinburgh’s craft brewers Innis & Gunn have headed west and opened the fourth of their beer kitchens on the prime Glasgow real estate of the cobbled Ashton Lane off Byres Road. In keeping with their venues in Edinburgh, Dundee and St Andrews, there’s an impressive line-up of their own beers and plenty from around Scotland (Fyne Ales, Inveralmond, Harvistoun) and across the globe - as well as beerflights, boilermakers and ‘hoptails’. The Glasgow venue includes their own on-site brew kit and a kitchen working through the day from breakfasts and brunches through to dinner offering pub food favourites such as fish and chips, burgers, pies and steaks. [Not open for a full review at time of going to press – check food.list.co.uk for updates]

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BREWERY · BAR TOURS · TERRACE RESTAURANT BOTTLE SHOP VENUE Shilling Brewing Company (page 117): city centre brewpub doing good pizzas

OPEN DOORS OPEN MINDS 85 DRYGATE, GLASGOW G4 0UT 0141 212 8815 | WWW.DRYGATE.COM

palette. Much of what’s worked at the big brother in Finnieston has been brought over the river: bowling balls and other nods to the Dude’s Americana, a drinks menu topping 100 spirits, and the ‘Little Book of White Russians’ – 26 varieties, all referencing the Coen Brothers’ film. The gourmet burgers are here too – and while basic chicken and beef varieties have stiff competition in town these days, they’re still big, rugged and decent value. More interesting options like a crisp, full-flavoured crab and haddock number really stand out. Adults, kids and dogs all seem equally happy during the day, but it’s a local bar in a thriving neighbourhood, and in the evenings a suitably different buzz begins. + A versatile addition to the neighbourhood, with broad appeal - Not much space to stand with a drink

NEW Liberté 241 North Street, West End, 0141 221 5530, liberte.scot | £6 (one-course set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Leave behind the busy M8 for Liberté’s dimly lit sophistication, with chesterfield booths and an original fireplace beneath ornate cornicing. The leather-edged bar serves world beer, their own draught and plenty of craft spirits. Cocktail shakers are in constant use with a menu featuring classics, prosecco drinks and Liberté favourites such as the National, a blend of rum, coffee tequila, milk and muddled raspberries to pep you up ready for debate. At lunch the bar is filled with office workers taking advantage of the bargain comfort food dishes and 2-4-1 burger deal. In the evenings the extended menu includes French dishes

and mussel pots. Crisp lettuce, quality meat, soft brioche bun and generous toppings of brie and bacon make the Paris burger a winning dish. Chicken wings pack a good heat, cooled by a blue cheese dip and there are several haggis options and a deep-fried mars bar for the Scottish angle. + Laid-back glamour perfect for an evening’s drinking - Fish and chips served with skinny fries

NEW The Mallard 333 Great Western Road, West End, 0141 339 4111, themallardbar.co.uk | £18 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Unlike Adam creating Eve, the guys from the Drake have given more than a rib to make this new place possible. Rather than haphazardly jumping on the first opportunity, they’ve wisely waited for this proud building with an open, red-brick interior to become available. The Mallard has all the hallmarks of a destination place, somewhere people will make a definite effort to drink and dine. Where they’ve got things absolutely spot on is with the cocktail and wine selection. The Rhubarb and Grapefruit Old Fashioned is simply divine and the Botanical Gardens, with Grey Goose, elderflower liqueur and cucumber will take you to some very special and memorable places. With standouts of braised beef and salmon, the menu appears all set to knock your socks off, yet side dishes require refinement, but with specials such as duck egg and black pudding coated in breadcrumbs with a peppercorn sauce on the side, let’s not lie to one another, you’re intrigued. + You’ll fall in love with the cocktails - Tight seating might cause issues

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BARS & PUBS TIPLISTS THE EATING & DRINKING GUIDE TEAM’S RECOMMENDATIONS BEST NEW BARS

starring west coast America and Germany.

Crossing the Rubicon 108 Slightly whimsical newcomer, courtesy of Drygate Brewing Co., serving craft beer and Indian small plates designed for tearing and sharing.

Lebowskis South 113 A confident big corner unit in Strathbungo that takes the best bits of the original Lebowski’s (the burgers, the White Russians, the stylings) with a bit of ‘friendly neighbourhood’ atmosphere for good measure.

The Drugstore Social 113 A cosy neighbourhood café-deli by day and sophisticated cocktail bar by night, the Drugstore Social offers customers quality meats and vegetables paired with the best wines and liquor on the market.

The Drugstore Social

The Spiritualist

The Hippo Taproom 113 Independent taproom in the city centre, from the team behind West End beer shop Hippo Beers, with low lights, 12 rotating lines and an impressive bottle fridge

The Mallard 114 A new stylish neighbourhood addition to Kelvinbridge, and soon to be the ‘in place’ for fresh and invigorating cocktails, good food and an excellent wine selection. Marchtown 117 This new café-bar-shop in Strathbungo offers a unique and quirky take on the wine bar, with creative sharing boards to nibble on and a homeliness not found elsewhere.

The Strathmore

Yesbar

COCKTAILS

BEST BARS

BEST BARS

Distill W Finnieston favourite with a huge selection of rums, lots of cocktails and a diligent kitchen serving brunch to dinner, with plenty of preclub DJs at weekends.

WEST END NORTH

CITY CENTRE SOUTH

The Belle W With a roaring wood fire and a fine selection of beers, wines and liquor, this bar is a pioneer of country comforts in a city environment.

King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut W Legendary music venue that feeds musically minded office workers by day, and throbs with gig-goers and musos by night, enjoying pub grub and craft beers.

Lebowskis W As this homage to the Big Lebowski enters its tenth year, there is no sign of a let up in the White Russians – with 26 caucasians to choose from, the Dude certainly abides.

The Doublet W A welcoming elder statesman of the West End, the Doublet is ideal for those who enjoy a traditional bar-room setting and quality craft beer.

The Mallard 114 A new stylish neighbourhood addition to Kelvinbridge, and soon to be the ‘in place’ for fresh and invigorating cocktails, food and an excellent wine selection.

The Hug & Pint W Impressive vegan dishes with added zing and live music create a winning formula for this St George’s Cross neighbourhood hangout.

The Scotia W Possibly the oldest bar in Glasgow but certainly one of the best, the Scotia is a beautiful little piece of history close to the River Clyde.

Inn Deep W On the banks of the Kelvin, this bar is perfect on sunny days and not half bad on others with a slew of Williams Bros and choice craft beers.

Stereo W Chilled-out backstreet bar serving an entirely vegan menu with a packed programme of live music and club nights in the downstairs venue.

Tabac W Relatively new to the scene, this city centre bar has marked itself out as a classy place to grab an after work or weekend cocktail.

The Strathmore W A scenic addition to Maryhill Road, this bar offers excellent cocktails while the warm afternoon sun hits your face. Don’t miss the Sunday roast!

Tabac W This Mitchell Lane bar has an enviable cocktail and and wine list while also building a reputation for top-drawer burgers and pizza.

The Tiki Bar W Inventive cocktails in a funky Pacific islandinspired hideaway, served up in ceramic tiki mugs by nationally renowned mixologists.

Stravaigin Café Bar 123 With an unparalleled cocktail and bar food menu, this Woodlands Road staple is an old hand when it comes to comfort, quality and class.

The Spiritualist Bar & Restaurant W Sophisticated bistro-bar in the Merchant City with a show-stopping spirit and cocktail selection that’s an undeniably class act.

The Old Hairdresser's W Arty little backstreet bar near Central Station where you can enjoy great wine and beer while checking out art exhibitions and live music.

Yesbar Pro-indy city centre bar, which changed its name from Vespbar during the (first) referendum, delivering pizza by the metre, prosecco on tap and comedy nights.

W

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GLASGOW

BARS & PUBS TIPLISTS THE EATING & DRINKING GUIDE TEAM’S RECOMMENDATIONS

The Rum Shack

WEST on the Corner

Bar Gandolfi

BEST BARS

BEST BARS

BEST BARS

SOUTHSIDE

WEST END SOUTH

MERCHANT CITY & EAST END

The Allison Arms W Old-fashioned Glasgow pub that happens to stock burgeoning craft breweries from the UK and beyond, and over 30 German beers.

Chinaski’s W With dim lighting that makes everyone look good, this speakeasy does good food and a bourbon range that’d make Bukowski proud.

Bar Gandolfi W Loft bar offering the best of Scottish fare in beautiful surroundings where the ocean somehow meets the kitchen.

The Bungo Bar & Kitchen 120 With overhanging lights, wooden tables and exposed brick walls, the Bungo boasts all of the defining stylistic features of bistro dining, with food to match.

The Drake W Comfortable Woodlands bar offering you the spoils of the country while residing in the city, with top-notch food, cocktails and beer.

Brutti Ma Buoni W Part of the Brunswick Hotel, Brutti Ma Buoni is a continental-feeling bar with a chilled-out, cool vibe.

The Pacific W Tiki bar and restaurant offering mix-and-match Pacific Rim food and exuberant cocktails in the compact surrounds of a neighbourhood haunt.

Drygate Brewing Co. W Craft brewing meets good cooking in this East End industrial-styled beer wonderland, with 26 draught craft beer taps to sample.

six°north W Scottish brewers bringing a unique blend of Belgian beers and Flemish food to a big city bier halle setting.

Mono W This bar is the ‘in place’ for the city’s newest and best indie acts. It’s so committed to music excellence it even has its own record shop.

The Sparklehorse W Partick bar where people in bands go for drinks, great-value food and lively conversation when they find they’ve accidentally grown up.

Redmond’s of Dennistoun W A real asset to the burgeoning area that Dennistoun is becoming, Redmond's blurs the line between community and bar.

WEST on the Corner W Younger sibling to WEST on the Green, this Woodlands bar is a chance to sample the brewery’s range while enjoying Germaninspired food.

WEST on the Green W A unique and wonderful German-Scottish mash-up, WEST Brewery within Glasgow Green’s Templeton Building has become a true mecca for beer-lovers.

The Butterfly & The Pig South W Laid-back and relaxing pub bringing some of the vintage charm and quality food from the city centre original to the Southside of the city. Lebowskis South 113 The best bits of the original Lebowski’s (the burgers, the White Russians, the stylings) with a bit of ‘friendly neighbourhood’ atmosphere. Marchtown 117 This new café-bar-shop in Strathbungo offers a unique and quirky take on the wine bar, with creative sharing boards to nibble on. The Rum Shack W A little bit of the Caribbean in Pollokshaws: reggae and rum cocktails in a kid-friendly, dogfriendly, generally very friendly place.

The Finnieston

GIN Alston Bar & Beef 162 Tucked beneath Central Station, this steakhouse stocks over 100 gins. Choose by country of origin, including Scottish, English, American and Swedish, or opt for one of the gin cocktails served straight up or over ice. beGin 107 A Hilton-owned bar with a gin menu grouping the bottles by style: floral, world, new age or spiced. Choose the perfect serve and enjoy it as the gin maker intended, or get creative with your own mixer and garnish. 136 The Finnieston A gin cocktail bar and seafood restaurant, with over 60 handpicked gins. Enjoy a premium gin paired with tonic and garnish from the G&T menu or delve into the list of

highball, martini and house cocktails. Gin71 W This dedicated gin establishment has two bars in Glasgow. Choose from 71 different gins, innovative martinis and, for the indecisive, gin flights. No need to queue at the bar, it’s only table service for gin lovers. The Griffin 113 This recently revamped Bath Street bar celebrates the juniper spirit with a gin and tonic menu offering goblets of Scottish gins. Among the usual suspects of Caoruun and Edinburgh Gin are lesser stocked varieties such as Harris and Rock Rose. Slouch W The ginaissance has pushed up the price of a simple G&T but this popular late-night music bar on Bath Street still offers premium gins on promo throughout the week. Enjoy the latest craft gins for a mere £3 with a mix. W = full review online at food.list.co.uk

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Kelbourne Saint (page 113): the famous Trainspotting pub refurbed

NEW Marchtown 741 Pollokshaws Road, Southside, 0141 423 3328, marchtown.co.uk | Closed Mon-Wed | £7.50 (lunch) / £7.50 (dinner)

The latest newcomer to the burgeoning bar/café scene in Strathbungo has a delightfully unique pitch. It’s a wine bar more than anything else, though ‘Global wine & Scottish craft beer bar to sit in or take away’ would be a more satisfactory (if less pithy) description. It also places it right up there as one of the best wine lists in this section. Some really interesting bottles line the shelves: Austrian reds, Australian malbec, lesser-spotted varieties Spanish and Portuguese – and all for reasonable prices. By the glass they simply offer ‘red/rose/white’, which will change frequently. It’s neat and simple and – as owner Anthony points out – the way it is when you pop into a wee place on holiday. Food consists of Spanish cold meats and/or cheeses from IJ Mellis. Two beer lines, champagne by the glass and service with knowledge and warmth seal the deal. Welcome to the neighbourhood. + A simple take on the wine bar that reminds you of your holidays - Limited opening hours

NEW Nice’n’Sleazy 421 Sauchiehall Street, City Centre, 0141 333 0900, nicensleazy.com | £13 (lunch) / £13 (dinner)

Back in August 2016 music bar Nice’n’Sleazy invited the Squid & Whale, who previously had a bar-diner on Great Western Road, into their kitchen for a pop-up and it proved so popular they decided to move in indefinitely. Tacos take centre stage, with a variety of creative meat options (slow-cooked pork with red onion and mango) as well as vegetarian and vegan choices. The chipotle-dusted, panfried red snapper taco is smoky with a fresh Mexican slaw adding a satisfying crunch. High-quality ingredients and

careful cooking shine through, there’s no sad beef mince here – the carne asada burrito is packed with tender marinated steak strips. Nachos layered with spicy cheese and salsa fresca are ideal as accompaniments or for sharing over beers. Nice’n’Sleazy continues to do what it does best: a great line-up of gigs and club nights, bargain white/ black Russians and a grungy décor of graffiti scrawled walls. With the addition of the Squid & Whale it can add delicious, Mexican-inspired food to its brag list. + Best nachos in town - Steps in the bar to trip you up after a few

NEW Shilling Brewing Company 92 West George Street, City Centre, 0141 353 1654, shillingbrewingcompany.co.uk | £13 (lunch) / £13 (dinner)

From its impressive marble corner unit near Buchanan Street, the Shilling Brewing Company is starting to find its groove. At first it felt like a brewpub out of sorts, torn between too many office workers and not enough hopheads. But just as the fire burning from their big stone pizza oven at the back has been steady and unwavering, so too has their template. Their core range is brewed on site (like the visible oven, you can see the copper kettles behind the bar), with a more traditional, less hop-forward style than found elsewhere. They’ve started doing collaborations with other brewers, and the 20-plus keg lines allow for some heavy-hitting guest kegs from Scotland (Cromarty, Fallen, Pilot) and beyond. Starter/sharer plates are a bit haphazard, but the pizzas are great – made with ale dough and gloriously chewy, tuggy and charred on the outside, with the Moroccan (lamb, aubergine, preserved lemon and almonds) standing out. + Newly expanded range of tap beers - Starters and sharers are less assured than the pizzas The List Eating & Drinking Guide 117

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NEW The Smokin’ Fox 6–8 Waterloo Street, City Centre, 0141 226 2482, smokinfox.co.uk | £8.50 (lunch) / £19 (dinner)

Just round the corner from Central Station the Smokin’ Fox is the newest watering hole on Waterloo Street. Replacing what was previously the Hope, the chic bar is popular with after-work drinkers enjoying the range of Scottish ales, crafty cans and sly cocktails to a playlist of indie alt-rock. At the back of the space is a dedicated area for diners, with pop art pictures, funky bunting and a lavish ceiling mural where the figures have been improved with the addition of details such as adidas trainers. The menu is a concise affair of creative pub classics and the team are passionate about showcasing local food, with their suppliers listed after the dishes. Toasted brioche from the Bavarian Bakehouse is topped with wild mushrooms, roast garlic and herb butter and a perfectly poached egg. A pan-roasted North Sea cod, from Bernard Corrigan fishmongers, is beautifully cooked and paired with a papriky stew of chorizo and mussels. + Finally a decent drinking den near the station - Can be a bit noisy

NEW Strip Joint 956 Argyle Street, West End, 0141 465 4797, stripjointglasgow.co.uk | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Where others have tried and failed, this new addition to already bustling Finnieston might just have cracked the pre-Hydro music bar situation. While you might not find any particular style of music represented, you will find many different kinds – Strip Joint is a chameleon, they’ll change to suit the environment. The menu is likewise a smorgasbord of options with pizza, burgers and steaks all represented. The Bump and Grind burger is a real meatfest with patty, black pudding and haggis fritter, while the Great Balls of Fire pizza encompasses spicy chorizo, crushed chillies and buffalo mozzarella in spades. Krušovice lager is piped in, meaning no air gets to it, yet the real rockstar in this place is a crisp pint of Lagunitas IPA from California. Though it might not quite be imbued with soul just yet, let’s hold out and see if this new number is a hit. + Good tank, cask and bottled beer options - Needs to develop some character

NEW Villiers & Co 48 Woodlands Road, West End, 0141 332 7936 | £10 (lunch) / £10 (dinner)

This Charing Cross newcomer follows the template that has been established in Glasgow for wine bars: candles in bottles on the table, cheese (from Mewes) and charcuterie platters for food. But there’s a whiff of modernity here, too – with brighter lights, a sense of space, more of a minimalist demeanour. There are some less commonly found Old World wines too – red from the Lirac AOC in the Rhône Valley (on the opposite side of the river from the Chateauneuf-du-Pape vineyards) or dry white from Jurançon near the Pyrenees, and all wines (seven white, seven red) are available by glass and carafe. And there are some interesting Pinot Noir and Chardonnay tasting flights. There’s also an emphasis on coffee and cake, which gives Villiers & Co and its floor-to-ceiling windows a pleasingly chirpy manner right through the day. + Interesting French wines - It’s a stretch of town where venues often struggle for atmosphere

Webster’s Bar & Bistro 416 Great Western Road, West End See Bistros & Brasseries

BISTROS & BRASSERIES Glasgow’s a famously friendly city so bistros and brasseries – generally welcoming, laid-back places – fit right in. Most of the establishments in this section are fairly casual, with decentvalue menus focusing on simple, wholesome dishes like steaks, casseroles and salads, plus a few global influences. But this is not a precisely defined group and there are some smarter restaurants here where you might want to dress up a bit, and prepare to spend a little more than average on high-end, innovative cooking. Reviewers: Malcolm Jack, Martin Cross

Kilpatrick oysters to a main of lobster frites. You need to dive deep to find the shallots, vermouth and saffron cream broth that the Shetland mussels have been steamed in, but that reflects how packed the pot is, and the accompanying skinny fries are pleasingly stringy and thin. Complete your culinary trip across the Atlantic with a slice of maple and pecan cheesecake or a Knickerbocker-style icecream sundae. + Really looks the part - Diving deep to find the broth for those mussels

Art Lover’s Café House for an Art Lover, Bellahouston Park, 10 Dumbreck Road, Southside See Arts Venues

Atlantic Bar & Brasserie Lower Ground, 12–16 St Vincent Place, City Centre See French

Baby Grand NEW Alchemilla 1126 Argyle Street, West End, 0141 337 6060, thisisalchemilla.com | £21 (lunch) / £21 (dinner)

An Ottolenghi chef landing in Finnieston has caused no shortage of a stir and undoubtedly raised the bar on the Argyle Street strip. Rosie Healey leaves the London operation to head up the open kitchen at this latest venture by co-owner Fergus McVicar (Chinaski’s, Tabac). You can watch Healey work her magic while you dine at the long pale orange bar that bisects the bright and narrow room, the standout aesthetic feature of a restaurant with a Scandichic feel to it – pale wood, whitewashed stripped stone walls and brass-coloured cylindrical lampshades. Plates come in small to medium sizes, served as and when they’re ready, with roughly two to three per head being enough. Pithy menu descriptions and relatively plain servings on simple white plates add to the surprise element of dishes that enrapture the senses with sophisticated flavours and textures – greyish black squid ink-risotto served spotted with scallops carpaccio, or succulent fried lamb shoulder with a Middle Eastern flourish of crushed chickpeas, red onion and Aleppo chilli. The menu is ever-changing, while a small but well-formed wine list encourages pairing with robust pours. + An unshowy confidence that’s merited with every mouthful - Sharp-edge bar stools make for an uncomfortable experience

Alston Bar & Beef Central Station, 79 Gordon Street, City Centre See Steakhouses & Burgers

The Anchor Line 12–16 St Vincent Street, City Centre, 0141 248 1434, theanchorline.co.uk | £15.95 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

With its high, intricately corniced and pillared ceilings and elaborately grand entranceway – all reminders of the premises’ past as home to the shipping company of the same name – the Anchor Line, flagship upper-bracket bistro of the Di Maggio group, doesn’t need to work too hard to revive a feeling of pre-war transatlantic glamour. Pull up a stool at the marble island bar and get in the spirit with a classic cocktail mixed by a smartlooking bartender in tie and waistcoat. The dining room lays on the nautical heritage with colourful old cruise posters and photos of New York. Much of the menu unsurprisingly mines the culinary riches of the deep around Scotland, from starters of Cumbrae, Rockefeller and

3–7 Elmbank Gardens, City Centre, 0141 248 4942, babygrandglasgow. com | £22 (lunch) / £22 (dinner)

In an odd little pedestrian square hemmed in by office blocks and a Premier Inn sits Baby Grand, that’s proved itself something of a minor Charing Cross institution. In business here since 1984, this bar-and-grill-style establishment harks back earlier still for style cues, going for a Glaswegian take on Madmen-era New York. Tall stools facing a long, marble-topped bar encourage a cocktail or two, and, as the name suggests, there’s live, low-key piano music to go with them (evenings from Wednesday to Sunday). The bar extends into a tiny open kitchen preparing a simple, confident menu – steaks and sandwiches for the most part, plus a few more involved dishes such as jerk chicken or roast venison, and finishing with pleasant homemade puddings. A market menu is good value and includes a juicy bavette steak cooked rare, sliced into long strips and served with a mound of skinny chips and salad. Generous breakfasts from 7.30am (9am weekends) draw commuters as well as guests from the nearby hotel. + Relaxed atmosphere - Not the most enticing location

Bell & Felix 248 Kilmarnock Road, Southside, 0141 649 1684, bellandfelix.com | £16 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Perched on the bridge over the White Cart, by day this stylish café is an easygoing coffee shop, but three nights a week Bell & Felix opens late to provide a classy, candlelit bistro experience. Dishes such as goat’s cheese and parma ham, and crispy calamari served with hot fresh chilli and cooling aioli, allow the quality of the ingredients to speak for themselves. Other dishes such as monkfish and coconut curry, with meaty white fish and big juicy prawns in a delicately spiced sauce with a mound of fluffy rice, or the delicious special of roast duck with a pulled duck breast croquette and wilted greens and brambles, allow the kitchen to show its considerable skill. It may not be the cheapest spot in the area, but it provides a top-quality bistro dining venue that is sorely needed at this end of Kilmarnock Road. Throw in a decent wine list and some delicious homemade desserts, including a gorgeous lime cheesecake, and it is well worth remembering Bell & Felix is there. + Restaurant quality food - Duck breast but no steak knife?

✱ HITLIST

BISTROS & BRASSERIES ✱ Black Dove Genuinely exciting and memorable cooking in the sociable, shareable small-plates format at this Southside bistro. ✱ Hutchesons Bar & Brasserie Glitzy, luxurious dining in an A-listed Merchant City landmark, featuring café, brasserie and glamorous cocktail bar. ✱ Ox and Finch Creative, confident cooking at this informal Finnieston diner, with small sharing plates that have earned the place a Michelin Bib Gourmand. ✱ The Scullery Intimate, stylish café-bistro in fashionable Finnieston, serving great seasonal, local produce, cooked with imagination and flair. ✱ The Shandon Belles Oldfashioned comfort food prepared with loving care by the Two Fat Ladies’ Buttery kitchen, at remarkably accessible prices. ✱ Six by Nico A second restaurant for Nico Simeone (111 by Nico), serving up a different six-course tasting menu every six weeks. ✱ Stravaigin Café Bar Full of boho charm, Stravaigin embodies the best of bistro dining – bold flavours, creative dishes and competitive pricing on a changing menu. ✱ Black Dove 67 Kilmarnock Road, Southside, 0141 231 1021, blackdovedining.com | Closed Mon | £15 (set lunch) / £28 (dinner)

Shawlands is now packed so densely with food outlets you could easily overlook Black Dove as you make your way along Kilmarnock Road. That would be a real shame, as the food here is rather special. Black Dove’s small-plates are effectively tapas released from the constraints of Spanish cooking, and four or five between two people, perhaps accompanied by a side salad or chips, feels about right. Young head chef Stephen Crawford takes you on a global tour from teriyaki and tempura to boudin noir and polenta. Truffle macaroni slice is an extraordinary creation of crisp-baked pasta with a deeply umami mushroom purée, suffused with the powerful aroma of the hugely expensive fungus, and all for seven quid. Monkfish cheeks with caper butter are another intensely savoury experience, while a deconstructed rhubarb crumble for dessert is thought-provoking and comforting at once. The interior is all exposed brick and The List Eating & Drinking Guide 119

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hip filament light bulbs, and service is friendly and informed – the staff clearly love their work. Black Dove is expensive for what amounts to a fairly casual, bistrostyle meal, but this is genuinely exciting and memorable cooking from a rising star. + Thrilling little dishes - Cost mounts up

La Bonne Auberge 161 West Nile Street, City Centre See French

The Bothy 11 Ruthven Lane, West End See Scottish

The Brasserie at the Chip 12 Ashton Lane, West End, 0141 334 5007, ubiquitouschip.co.uk | £22 (lunch) / £22 (dinner)

You may not be able to resist peering down for a bird's-eye view of the fancy dishes being served in the Ubiquitous Chip restaurant below, but know that the quality in the Brasserie does not lag far behind, with the same commitment to continental cuisine using the best Scottish ingredients. There’s a neat overlap between starters and mains on the menu, with several dishes available in ‘wee and big’ portions. The Chip’s own haggis neeps ’n’ tatties – in veggie or venison variants – and Shetland mussels in a thick, creamy white wine, chorizo, syboes and parsley broth are all well worth a full-sized serving. Breaded balls of Galloway venison haché with pearl barley, wild mushroom and gherkin fricassee and sweet little bombs of bramble jam make for a lively main course outright. A dessert of Bergamont pistachio meringue, Earl Grey chantilly, pineapple and passion fruit is beautifully composed. When it comes to wine, it’s worth bearing in mind that all 46 of the Chip’s pours are available by the glass, and staff will be able to help you find just the right pairing for your dishes. + Some of the best informal value-formoney fine-dining in town - Bustle from the bar crowd may make things a little too informal

TIPLIST FOR PIZZA • Baffo 146 A contemporary pizzeria opposite Kelvingrove Art Gallery combining style with tradition to maximum effect.

147 • Eusebi Deli Bringing a half-century of experience to their West End venue, Eusebi Deli is an emporium of Italian delights. 149 • Mozza A new brand for Tony Macaroni, specialising in Neapolitan pizza, with Italian microbrewery beers. 150 • Paesano Pizza Merchant City favourite whose bustling tables and open kitchen play host to affordable artisan pizza. 150 • Pizza Punks Artisan wood-fired pizzas, with a strong DIY element, served up in a lively city centre diner. 150 • Pizza West An adventurous contemporary pizzeria offering inventive pizzas in a large venue close to Byres Road.

The Bungo Bar & Kitchen 17–21 Nithsdale Road, Southside, 0141 423 0023, thebungo.co.uk | £22 (lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Sister venue of the Left Bank in the West End and in very much the same spirit of laid-back, high-quality drinking and dining with a strong neighbourhood feel, the Bungo claims the name given to the pocket of the Southside where it’s located and places itself at the heart of a youthful boho community. The bar area is low-lit and cosy, with big floor-to-ceiling windows, while the stripped stone-walled bistro area is tucked round the corner and quickly fills up with diners even of an early weekday evening. Small dishes work as starters or sharers – be it goat’s cheese and spinach in a crispy filo parcel served with apple and beetroot chutney or creamy wild mushrooms with roasted garlic, tarragon and Fino sherry. The homemade Aberdeen Angus burger in a sesame bun (rarified in the days of brioche) is a solid crowd-pleaser. Other mains are a tour of global influences and flavours, from Goan seafood curry, to slow-cooked stuffed porchetta and Vietnamese coconut and lemongrass chicken breast served on a bed of glass noodles. Chunks of demerara pear and salted caramel popcorn enliven an otherwise plain ice-cream sundae. + First Dawn New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with notes of gooseberries and grass - Weirdly warped table that wobbles plates while eating

The Butchershop Bar & Grill 1055 Sauchiehall Street, West End See Steakhouses & Burgers

Café Gandolfi 64 Albion Street, Merchant City, 0141 552 6813, cafegandolfi.com | £28 (lunch) / £28 (dinner)

Little-changed since opening in 1979, Café Gandolfi is an important piece of Glasgow culinary heritage. Along with the Chip, it was a pioneer of modern, creative Scottish cooking based on excellent local and seasonal ingredients, and has kept the faith ever since. Hand-dived scallops from Barra are a fixture, and other regulars include venison from Rannoch Moor, peatsmoked salmon and Finnan haddie. Gentle nods to the wider world might include a hot pastrami sandwich or a Thai curry and there’s always a few pasta dishes on offer, but the bulk of the menu remains distinctly Caledonian. Chef Andrew Manson has a deft touch, crisping the skin on a snowwhite piece of hake until it’s as appetising as pork crackling, serving it with a tart orange emulsion, or simply baking tiny apples to serve with Stornoway white pudding, cousin to the better-known black. The original hand-hewn oak furniture still feels stylish and a little Bohemian, the wine list is a thing of beauty, and service is impeccable. The only unwelcome change over the years is a rise in price, making what used to be a great drop-in bistro more of a big-night-out restaurant. + A real original serving exceptional quality food - Quite expensive, and there’s no lunch or pre-theatre deal

Café Source Too Hillhead Sports Club, 32 Hughenden Road, West End See Scottish

Cafezique 66 Hyndland Street, West End, 0141 339 7180, delizique.com | £15 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Whether for a full Scottish, eggs various ways or a plate of French toast, all served until 5pm, Cafezique has been a brunch go-to spot for over a decade. Huge floorto-ceiling windows on a corner location – with tables outside in season – make

111 by Nico (page 122): sophisticated, good value dining in the suburbs

it prime coffee-sipping, paper-reading and people-watching real estate, with a glass of wine or a pint of Sam Smith’s lager to sooth a hangover. Zique’s less well recognised for evening dining, but undeservedly so. With its prosecco cocktails, list of nibbles, and plates big and small, the menu invites slow grazing as much as a full hearty three-courser. Creamy burrata Italian cheese with balsamic dressing, caramelized plums and dukkah is a starter with the sweetness and consistency of a crumble dessert. Mains are dense with flavours and inspiration, be it braised ox cheek with smoked polenta, savoy cabbage and pickled walnut dressing, or slow-cooked lamb shoulder with gyros, pomegranate and pine nut pesto, sumac yoghurt russet chips and herb crepe. The marshmallow dessert with a gooey peanut and caramel core bathing in a pool of hot chocolate sauce is worth a visit in itself. + Enthusiastic menu knowledge from staff - Ventilation lacking in such a small room with open kitchen

Le Chalet Beaumartin 518 Great Western Road, West End See French

Chelsea Market 1146 Argyle Street, West End See Scottish

Citation 40 Wilson Street, Merchant City, 0141 559 6799, citation-glasgow.com | £12.95 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

With a front door in the magnificent facade of Glasgow’s Old Sheriff Court and a great location in the heart of the Merchant City, Citation feels every bit like a glamorous destination for a big night out and a sumptuous feast. It’s a little surprising then that the rather formal dining room majors on a set menu (£12.95 for two courses including a glass of wine) that offers a real bargain and runs right through until 10pm every day except Saturday. Fixtures on the prix fixe are fish and chips, pork belly and chicken breast, while more indulgent options on the à la carte menu include dry-aged Scottish steaks and a handful of fish and seafood dishes. It’s a slightly odd mixture of luxury and thrift, with two sparkling, well-stocked bars ready to mix a range of killer cocktails and dispense champagne while diners tuck into fairly homely, well-priced food. A recent change

of ownership of the restaurant may lead to some developments during 2017. + Handsome, historic building - Tired furniture

The Corinthian Club 191 Ingram Street, City Centre, 0141 552 1101, thecorinthianclub.co.uk | £13.95 (set lunch, exc Sat) / £20 (dinner)

The jewel in the G1 Group’s crown, the Corinthian Club has been polished up until it sparkles since being rescued from disuse in 1999. Housed in a truly spectacular 19th-century former bank and courthouse, the complex is home to a warren of bars and function rooms, a casino and – in the main room beneath a stunning domed ceiling and mesmerisingly detailed ornate cornicing – Teller’s Brasserie. Booths and banquettes hollow out little pockets of intimacy in the vastness of the room (so vast it has two bars). The food here – a mixture of typical upscale Scottish cuisine, particularly fish, with a few cosmopolitan flourishes – is several notches above G1’s usual offerings. Cullen skink is a simple classic well done – creamy and packed with flavour. Chargrilled salmon steak smartly served on a large slate flakes pleasingly, offset enjoyably, if a little inelegantly, with crispy hand-cut chips. Strawberry and chantilly cream mille-feuille with strawberry sorbet and crème anglaise piles on the sweetness. It’s worth a visit to the Corinthian Club brasserie just for the setting alone, but the food merits it too. + You could sit and gaze at that ceiling all day long - Over-sweet cocktails should come with a toothbrush

Côte Brasserie 41–43 West Nile Street, City Centre See French

Cottier’s Bar and Restaurant 93–95 Hyndland Street, West End, 0141 357 5825, cottiers.com | £22 (dinner)

Hidden away almost as if they don’t want anyone to find it at the top of several flights of stairs in the attic of this bar, theatre and functions complex in an attractively converted Hyndland church, Cottier’s restaurant is well worth hunting out. Long, narrow and low-lit by flickering candlelight, with surprisingly comfortable upholstered church pews and windows peering down on to the beer garden below, it’s an immediately

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inviting space. Two big meat fridges dominate the room – it’s in these that steaks, a key part of their offering, are dry-aged for at least 42 days. But the menu – set for an overhaul at time of writing – shows plenty of variety and quality throughout. West Coast mussels are huge, in a flavoursome garlic, paprika and white wine broth, served with crusty bread. Chicken cassoulet places a juicy chicken supreme atop a salty Mediterranean and Scottish mélange of steamed kale and chorizo, chickpeas and black pudding in a white wine stock. A knickerbocker glory revels in its own naffness with sprinkles on the top, while enjoyably tinkering with tradition by smuggling chocolate ice-cream and blackcurrants beneath lashings of whipped cream. + A lovely atmospheric space in which to enjoy a meal - Could signpost the restaurant a little more clearly

Dakota Deluxe Bar and Grill 179 West Regent Street, City Centre, 0141 404 3680, glasgow.dakotahotels. co.uk | £15 (set lunch) / £28 (dinner)

A new (opened in 2016) business-oriented hotel in the middle of town, Dakota Deluxe is within an easy stroll of dozens of great restaurants. To hold on to their overnight guests and pull in the locals at weekends, the basement grill has to get things spot on, and under head chef Tony Tapia – who’s worked with Rick Stein and Mark Hix – the food served up is both precise and accomplished. It’s also a little more inventive than the steak-heavy menu might at first suggest, with walnuts and black truffle making their way into an artichoke risotto, for example, and an extraordinary violet ice-cream accompanying a bright, sharp lemon-meringue soufflé. Fish, including a market-dependent choice of the day, is a strong point, too, well handled by the kitchen. While not quite a bargain, à la carte prices are reasonable for a consciously luxurious venue where dark wood and leather décor glitters with crystal glasses and oversized bottles of rare vintage wines. And on the subject of wine, there’s an interesting list and an impressive 25 available by the glass. + Simple but beautifully prepared dishes, elegantly served - An inevitable corporate look and feel

Fanny Trollope’s 1066 Argyle Street, West End, 0141 564 6464, fannytrollopes.co.uk | Closed Mon | £16 (set lunch) / £25 (dinner)

An article in the Times newspaper last year rated Finnieston ‘the hippest place in the UK’, and while that might be pushing it, the explosion of fashionable eating places up and down Argyle Street in the last few years has been quite remarkable. Fanny Trollope’s was among the pioneers, opening in 2004 when there wasn’t much more than a curry house and a chippy in the whole street. A stylish art deco-style facade leads to a snug, narrow room with just 42 covers, distributed across booths and closely spaced wooden tables and making for an intimate, communal atmosphere. Food is Scots-European, with risotto, polenta and puy lentils partnering local venison, West Coast fish and the odd slice of Stornoway black pudding. A more exotic influence shows here and there – there’s a slow-braised duck leg curry, for example, and a Middle Eastern-inspired lamb flatbread with preserved lemon. Somewhat limited opening means lunch is only available on Friday and over the weekend, but Fanny Trollope’s is open for dinner six nights a week. + Highly attentive service - Could get claustrophobic when busy

Firebird 1321 Argyle Street, West End, 0141 334 0594, firebirdglasgow.com | £17 (lunch) / £17 (dinner)

A large metal sculpture of a crow-like bird with a bell in its beak gives Firebird its name. It started life as an unlikely electric heater, but the Sharmanka-designed object is unlikely to please health and safety and now sits, unplugged, on the bar. That one eccentric feature aside, Firebird feels like a fairly standard, pub-like restaurant – the sort of place you can casually drop into with the kids and the dog after a walk in the nearby park. The food is good enough to warrant a special trip, though. Pizzas are particularly fine, with interesting toppings like spicy nduja sausage or blue cheese and pear on a satisfyingly chewy sourdough base. A blackboard special of locally landed cod comes with sweet roast peppers and white beans, and a generous side of fat, skin-on chips dredged in paprika salt is easily enough for two. Small-ish plates (around £6 each) like barbecue chicken wings or mixed charcuterie are ideal for sharing over beers. If you can’t make it in, pizza and pasta dishes are also available for delivery or pick-up. + Sourdough pizza as good as any specialist pizzeria - Slightly grim basement toilets

Gandolfi Fish 84 Albion Street, Merchant City See Fish

The Gannet 1155 Argyle Street, West End See Scottish

The Grill on the Corner 21–25 Bothwell Street, City Centre See Steakhouses & Burgers

The Honours Malmaison, 278 West George Street, City Centre, 0141 572 1001, thehonours.co.uk | £22.50 (set lunch) / £28 (dinner)

The impressive vaulted basement of a former church – now a branch of the Malmaison hotel chain – has been home to Scottish chef Martin Wishart’s younger sibling of Edinburgh’s the Honours since 2014. It’s pretty upscale – red velvet circular banquettes fill the space in the centre of the room, herringbone parquet flooring and a long cocktail bar run down one side, behind which head chef Andrew Greenan can be seen working the kitchen. But the feel is only so formal – it’s a hotel restaurant after all, and casual as well as dressed-up diners pass through in about equal proportion of a week night, when a great value prix fixe early-dining menu is available. Start with a colourful roasted beetroot salad or Orkney scallop grenobloise, decoratively if slightly impractically served in a half-clamshell. Finish with the apple tart tatin with cinammon ice-cream and caramel sauce – a sharer for two so big it could easily serve three. In between, treat yourself to handrolled tagliatelle with roasted scallops and truffle purée, an inspired triumph of flavours and textures well worth going the extra few pounds for. + Domingo Martin Albarino white wine – goes well with just about everything - Curiously overlit for an atmospheric vaulted basement

✱ Hutchesons Bar & Brasserie

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158 Ingram Street, Merchant City, 0141 552 4050, hutchesonsglasgow.com | £15.95 (set lunch) / £32 (dinner)

Hutchesons may well boast the most impressive dining room in Glasgow. The magnificent double-height Grand Hall of what’s been in turn (since 1802) a hospital, school, bank, library and exhibition

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TABLE TALK

RYAN JAMES ON PRESERVING A GLASGOW INSTITUTION It was basically a romantic notion. I am a wee bit sentimental after all. The Buttery was one of only a few restaurants in Glasgow worth their salt. People like my father aspired to go there as a treat. Before it was the Buttery, it was the Shandon Bells, the pub where my father’s father would have drunk; it became a restaurant because people got a little bit more sophisticated. But it declined over the years and after a fire in 2006, I knew the game was over. I thought, if I don’t buy it, it’ll be turned into flats. I wanted to reinvent what had been a Glasgow institution since the 1960s. It was a complete labour of love. Many people thought ‘what on earth are you doing?’ It was in arguably the worst location in Glasgow, but I had no doubts (until we opened!). I thought that putting the Two Fat Ladies brand on it would help give it a new lease of life, because at the time, it was very dated, a bit stuffy. We couldn’t knock down any walls because they’re listed; we just made a couple of wee changes, like moving the doorway back to where it was in Victorian times, and made it more user-friendly. It’s amazing seeing people, including Glaswegians, gobsmacked by it. Like being chairman of the Restaurant Association, having a wee voice in the city, it makes me proud that I’ve made a difference. I know all these things would make my father proud. ■ Ryan James is owner of Two Fat Ladies group of restaurants, including the Buttery, and chairman of the Glasgow Restaurant Association. twofatladiesrestaurant.com

space has retained all of its beautiful stained glass, decorative panelling and ornate plasterwork. Dinner feels like an occasion here, but thanks to comfortable seating, friendly service and cool jazz on the sound system, it’s by no means over-formal or stuffy. The menu is as glamorous as the interior – 35-day aged Scotch beef, local oysters, lobster and even Oscietra caviar, plus a few creative and inventive dishes such as confit ox cheek with truffled carrots, or a satisfying vegetarian dish of cauliflower and broccoli cooked several ways to deliver a complex range of textures and flavours. For dessert, a rich chocolate pavé comes with intriguing frozen peanut butter parfait, salted caramel and popcorn, again playing with textures, flavours and temperatures. Hutchesons is not a bargain destination, but the combined lunch and pre-theatre deal means you can experience the clever cooking and beautiful interior without breaking the bank. + Magnificent interior - À la carte can get pricey

The Hyndland Fox 43 Clarence Drive, West End, 0141 341 6671, thehyndlandfox.co.uk | £18 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Locals haven’t all warmed straight away to this joint venture between Peckhams deli chain and hospitality giant G1, as they work to get the formula just right. Whatever your impressions, it’s worth stopping in to experience some new additions to their offering, including the ‘Fox After 4’ three course set menu, which is a bit more involved than their standard à la carte and changes weekly subject to different seasonal ingredients. The space – a prime corner spot in leafy Hyndland – is instantly inviting, with candlelit tables and bench seats hugging floor-to-ceiling windows and a second mezzanine level intricately laid out with snug booths. Their beer selection is small but well formed, with 6.2% Lagunitas IPA on draft and mainly American (Sam Adams, Sierra Nevada) and British (Camden) brews in the fridge. Food from the à la carte menu can stumble occasionally in preparation – harissa chicken skewers are cooked black in places, while the deli burger patty and bun are both rather dry. There’s still room for improvement, but the Fox has the potential to become a neighbourhood favourite if it continues to up its game. + Likeable staff and very family-friendly - Some of the food could taste fresher

and a classic, tarragon-laced poulet au vinaigre wouldn’t be out of place in a Parisian bistro. Friendly staff and excellent bar (a full 17 different wines by the glass) encourage extended sessions, while the Left Bank is an equally decent choice for a quick coffee. + Friendly, unhurried atmosphere - Dank subterranean toilets

desserts such as a smooth and sweet peanut butter parfait balanced by a sharp berry compote. A cheerful interior has both proper, comfy tables – where you can stretch out and enjoy three courses – and bar stools for a quick coffee-and-cake pitstop. + Big, bold flavours - You may need a side of fries

Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill

111 by Nico

75 Waterloo Street, City Centre See Steakhouses & Burgers

The McMillan Southside 862 Pollokshaws Road, Southside See Steakhouses & Burgers

Metropolitan Merchant Square, Candleriggs, Merchant City, 0141 553 1488, metropolitan-bar.com | £12 (set lunch) / £24 (dinner)

One of several long-standing restaurants ringing the indoor courtyard of Merchant Square, Metropolitan caters to a dressy crowd looking to feel a bit flash, particularly of a weekend evening. A Mad Men-style old-fashioned Manhattan opulence prevails – you can order a whole bottle of spirits to the table (for sharing, obviously) – and there’s live piano music at weekends. The food – lots of Scottish meat and fish, prepared with European accents – presents plenty of reason alone for a visit. The Balcony Restaurant occupies the upper floor above the cocktail bar, with mezzanine tables overlooking the square representing prime perches. A starter of pan-fried scallops is attractively presented, dotted three in a row, each on a bed of celeriac and truffle purée. The pan-seared loin of venison – thin slices, nicely reddish in the middle – is served with similar precision, atop a nest of curly kale, shallots and three-waycooked chips, looking like they’re made with a set square. The desserts can leave a little to be desired, but you can skip to the cocktails, which show plenty of invention and aren’t the priciest in town. + Pleasing attention to detail in food preparation and presentation - Not enough waiting staff on to ensure timely service

Mussel Inn 157 Hope Street, City Centre See Fish

Number 10 Hotel 10 Queens Drive, Southside See Scottish

Ian Brown Food and Drink 55 Eastwoodmains Road, Southside See Scottish

Number 16 16 Byres Road, West End See Scottish

The Left Bank 33–35 Gibson Street, West End, 0141 339 5969, theleftbank.co.uk | £7.50 (lunch) / £21 (dinner)

The Left Bank’s laid-back atmosphere and appealing menu have made this cafébar-restaurant something of a fixture in ever-changing Gibson Street, and it’s now entering its second decade. Brunch – served from 9am on weekdays and 10am at the weekend – runs from a bowl of porridge to a full Scottish, or there’s Indian, Mexican and Middle Easterninfluenced breakfasts, as well as veg and vegan options. This happy eclecticism runs through the day, with curries, noodles and moules marinières rubbing along with burgers and battered haddock. Impressively – given this level of global variety – dishes show the kitchen has a real understanding of the cuisines from which they come - so a plate of 48-hour marinated moorish lamb with Yemeni chickpeas is convincingly Middle Eastern in its warmly spiced, complex flavour,

Ollie’s 122 Nithsdale Road, Southside, 0141 424 4600, olliesglasgow.co.uk | £10.95 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Ollie’s sits in a short row of quirky independent shops in leafy, residential Nithsdale Road, and at first glance looks like an unassuming if rather smart neighbourhood café. Open all day, it does indeed function as a gathering place for locals, but as part of Alan Tomkins’ empire (Urban Brasserie, Blue Dog, the Western Club, among others), it has a bit more going for it than your average corner coffeeshop. The cooking here is big and bold, and if anything the dishes are more interesting than they read on the menu. Crab linguine tangles properly al dente pasta with sweet white and brown meat, chilli and rocket, while a baked fillet of cod with Thai curry is authentically hot, light and bright. There are good pizzas (all under a tenner), sandwiches and salads, and excellent

111 Cleveden Road, West End, 0141 334 0111, 111bynico.co.uk | Closed Mon | £19 (set lunch) / £19 (set dinner)

Flanked by a dry-cleaning shop on one side and a Spar supermarket on the other, 111 Cleveden Road is an unlikely address to find white truffle, sea herbs and saffron on your plate. Yet they and similarly glamorous ingredients feature in the cooking here, where a weekly changing set menu gives you two rather exciting courses for £19. Among five or so mains you might find hake with tender squid and deeply savoury guanciale, or delicious pork belly paired with sweet, lean fillet. This restaurant is partly a sort of academy for talented young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, but it’s perhaps a compliment that you wouldn’t notice – the open kitchen lets you see Nico Simeone and his team working away with skill and precision, while service is as smooth and professional as you could wish. A real treasure for Kelvindale locals, 111 by Nico is well off the main drag – however, Simeone opened a second restaurant in restaurant-packed Finnieston in March 2017, making his accomplished cuisine accessible to a wider audience. + Exciting cooking at suburban prices - Not the most comfortable room, particularly when busy

✱ Ox and Finch 920 Sauchiehall Street, West End, 0141 339 8627, oxandfinch.com | £20 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Ox and Finch’s location on Sauchiehall Street, slightly removed from the increasingly restaurant-dense Argyle Street Finnieston district, makes for a handy geographical analogy of how confidently it sits apart from the crowd. With its stripped-back original corniced ceiling, tight leather-clad booths and black tiled walls, it’s hip without feeling try-hard. Smart sharing dishes pack champion featherweight punch and don’t fail to satisfy, time and time again. After settling in with one of their new seasonal cocktails, start with four or five plates between two diners and leave room for manoeuvre – you might feel like ordering some of the best ones again. With food arriving as its ready, it’s like dining on playlist shuffle. Buffalo mozzarella, pear, mint, prosciutto and eight year-aged balsamic is bursting with contrasting textures and flavours. Squid, morcilla, Serrano ham and salmojero has earthy Mediterranean flourish, while moreish game sausage with light, fluffy, buttery balls of gnocchi and butternut squash is simply exquisite. You’ll definitely want to leave room for dessert – especially the coffee and praline millefeuille, a superior breed of pastry which looks like it’s been chucked together in a rush yet tastes anything but. + They take service as seriously as they take their food - Advance booking of at least a couple of weeks is always recommended

Porter & Rye 1131 Argyle Street, West End See Steakhouses & Burgers

Red Onion 257 West Campbell Street, City Centre, 0141 221 6000, red-onion.co.uk | £10.95 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Amid Glasgow’s ever-changing dining

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In association with

GLASGOW

Dakota Deluxe Bar and Grill (page 121): luxury hotel restaurant serving succulent steaks and swanky cocktails

scene, there’s something admirable about a long-standing restaurant that just does its thing while maintaining its appreciative custom. A spot of modernising wouldn’t go amiss at owner-chef John Quigley’s popular Red Onion – the décor of thick floral drapes, fake plants and chunky wood must date back to its 2004 beginnings. The menu – updated seasonally but sticking to core dishes year round – is agreeably resistant to fleeting food trends, though lacks a strong culinary identity outside of abundant Scottish ingredients and a fair bit of, yes, red onion. And yet you can’t argue with the quality. A trio of Scottish bonbons – balls of Ramsay’s haggis and black pudding, and Finnan haddie – is not only delicious but comes in a portion that would be a main elsewhere. The beer-braised blade of beef is tender and succulent, surrounded by glazed heritage carrot, smoked shallot purée, crispy kale and a black pudding champ – there’s so much going on with this dish. Gluten-free and vegan menus speak to Red Onion’s readiness to move with the times – some other aspects of the operation just need to catch up. + Healthy portions all the way - Overdue a makeover

Riverhill Restaurant & Bar 3 West Nile Street, City Centre, 0141 248 3495, riverhillcafe.com | Closed Sun | £15 (lunch)

With only 30 covers, a no-bookings policy and (currently) no regular evening opening, Riverhill is hard-pressed to keep its many fans satisfied. Lunchtime often sees a queue – although staff will do their best to squeeze you in – and a look at the appealing menu explains why. Hot sandwiches like Philly cheese steak and Korean fried chicken join a trio of daily specials – a curry, a ramen bowl and a mac and cheese. The mac might come with pastrami and pickle mixed through the sauce, the curry could be Malay one day, Indian the next, so although the menu’s pretty short you could eat here for weeks without ever having to order the same thing twice. Helpings are huge and hardly anything is over a tenner. Open from 8am in the week, breakfast includes the usual suspects plus naan bread stuffed with bacon, sausage or halloumi. The full Scottish is available in trad, veggie or vegan incarnations - and as Riverhill is a bar-restaurant, you can get a Bloody Mary with it. It’s open for dinner just a few times a month – ask for details. + Buzzing atmosphere - Can be hard to get in when it’s busy

Rogano 11 Exchange Place, City Centre See Fish

✱ The Scullery 10 Claremont Street, West End, 0141 221 6200, thesculleryglasgow.co.uk | £22 (lunch) / £24 (dinner)

With vintage paintings and mid-century mirrors adorning exposed brickwork, the Scullery’s timber-floored interior fits right into the Finnieston hipster vibe. Yet there’s as much substance as style here, and from interesting cocktails to satisfying puds, the food and drink strikes a balance between comforting and clever. A subtle Scottish theme sees Shetland mussels, Ayrshire beef and venison sausages get star billing on an appealing evening menu, while an inventive Cullen skink croquette concentrates the flavours of smoked haddock soup into a velvety, crunchy deep-fried lozenge, served with a soft-poached egg as a substantial starter. It’s not all about Scotland, however, with curry flavours, bocconcini mozzarella and Thai broth lightening things up here and there. Brunch (from 10.30am) includes the likes of eggs Benedict and Florentine or a full Scottish, giving way to NY delistyle sandwiches and à la carte from about noon. Bigger inside than it looks from the street, the Scullery even manages to squeeze in a 30-seat private dining room in the basement. + Inventive yet non-flashy food - No major bargains

✱ The Shandon Belles 652 Argyle Street, City Centre, 0141 221 8188, twofatladiesrestaurant.com/ shandonbelles | Closed Sun/Mon | £12 (set dinner)

The wee sister of the Two Fat Ladies family, Shandon Belles sits in the basement of the group’s grand and gorgeous Buttery, itself tucked away among blocks of residential flats a few minutes’ walk from Charing Cross. A quirky interior is decked out with ornate panelling, stained glass, blonde wood furniture and a collection of ornaments and curios, managing to turn a windowless cellar into a bright, jolly little space. A short, regularly changing menu tends to focus on old-fashioned comfort food – steak pie, fish and chips, rhubarb crumble and the like. Another welcome touch of retro is the pricing, with two courses at £12 for dinner (or £10 for High Tea between 4 and 6pm, though there’s no lunchtime service). Food is prepared with the same loving care as the more elaborate (and significantly more expensive)

restaurant upstairs, representing remarkable value for money. Lovely service – and good house wine for just £12 a bottle – add up to a pleasant, civilised night out on a budget. + Lovingly prepared, smartly served food, at near fast-food prices - Not the most comfortable furniture in town

The Sisters Jordanhill 1a Ashwood Gardens, 512 Crow Road, West End See Scottish

The Sisters Kelvingrove 36 Kelvingrove Street, West End See Scottish

✱ NEW Six by Nico 1132 Argyle Street, West End, 0141 334 5661, sixbynico.co.uk | No Kids | Closed Mon | £25 (set dinner)

Opened in March 2017, Six by Nico sees Nico Simeone bring his rapidly rising stock as a restaurateur into the heart of the fiercely competitive Finnieston scene, taking over the narrow premises once of Table 11. The concept is so appealing as to surely have neighbouring businesses watching nervously. A six-course tasting menu costs just £25, with wine-pairings – large pourings, be warned – only an additional £25. Better still, the theme changes every six weeks making for a fun and functional gimmick. A ‘chippie’ theme puts inventive spins on Scottish favourites, be it chips and cheese transposed to an amuse-bouche of confit potato topped with frothy parmesan espuma, served in a tea cup, or ‘special fish’ comprising soft white Shetland cod topped with a crispy cloud of beer batter (the ‘wine pairing’ being a pale ale). There’s theatre as the lid is lifted on Ayrshire pork ‘smoked sausage’ in a literal swirl of smoke. Deep-fried Mars Bar has no place in a fine-dining restaurant, except when it’s deconstructed to dulce leche, chocolate nougat and malt, each bite a treat. Come back six weeks later and you’ll eat a different meal altogether – and you will come back. + Full vegetarian menu available at all times - Dishes aren’t served as hot as they ideally ought to be

✱ Stravaigin Café Bar 28 Gibson Street, West End, 0141 334 2665, stravaigin.co.uk | £18 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

With 23 years as an institution on Gibson Street, few places in the West End could afford to rest on their laurels more so than

Stravaigin. If staples such as beer-battered fish and chips, haggis, neeps ’n’ tatties and nasi goreng ever left the café-bar menu then there’d probably be a very polite riot. But they always find ways to raise their game, through inspired application of their ‘think global, eat local’ mantra. That means the best of Scottish ingredients served in symphony with flavours from central and Mediterranean Europe and, increasingly, the Far East. Chorizo and butterbean stew with slow-cooked egg and manchego is so rib-stickingly satisfying it could be beefed up to a main course. Pork and pheasant bratwurst with caraway mustard, sauerkraut and fries is a Germanic classic taken to a new level. Specials include the likes of Malaysian coconut curry, served with a pile of cumin and garlic basmati, sambal hot sauce and toasted paratha bread – delicious. Formal enough to feel a bit fancy, but not so formal that it isn’t warmly family-friendly and even dog-friendly, Stravaigin is always finding ways to refine its offering. + They’ve upped their draught beer game with Lagunitas IPA on tap - Pre-booking advisable at peak times

Tibo 443 Duke Street, Dennistoun, East End, 0141 550 2050, cafetibo.com | £6.50 (onecourse set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Building a loyal and appreciative custom base since 2006, Tibo helped pioneer Denistoun’s current food boom and remains one of the cooler places to eat, drink and kick back in the East End. A pleasantly cluttered interior of wooden furniture and paper lampshades is hung with contemporary art, and big windows look out onto a busy main drag (there’s parking in the side streets if you need it). You could start with a draft beer from West – or something from a good selection of bottled craft ales, cocktails and wines by the glass – while perusing a menu that brings pizzas, burgers and sandwiches together with Scottish-international dishes like Stornoway chilli (black pudding and beef mince, with a touch of dark chocolate for a particularly rich flavour) or West Coast mussels in a light Thai broth. A great breakfast menu (full Scottish or veg, eggs Benedict, hot filled rolls) is available right through till 5pm. Regular open-mic nights and other events add to the community feeling here, reflected in a relaxed, friendly and unhurried atmosphere. + Particularly excellent chips - Toilets aren’t great

Tron Theatre Bar & Kitchen 63 Trongate, Merchant City See Arts Venues

Turnip & Enjoy 393–395 Great Western Road, West End, 0141 334 6622, turnipandenjoy.co.uk | Closed Mon | £18 (lunch) / £26 (dinner)

While Turnip & Enjoy has been keeping local Kelvinbridgers and more well fed for ten years – previously as more of a café operation, recent years have seen it transformed into a top-end bistro, bordering on the finer side of dining. A stylish yet informal venue, with a pleasant continental vibe, the upscaling of the food paid off in 2016 when they were awarded an AA Rosette. There’s been the inevitable creep up in prices – which had previously offered a real bargain for cooking of this calibre. Lunctime service has recently reduced to only Fri-Sun, with the once great-value set lunch menu gone, yet lunchtimes still offer top-notch dining at reasonable prices. The lunch and evening à la carte menus lay on the French-inspired flourishes while maintaining a Scottish edge with the likes of bacon dashi with rabbit ballotine, seabuckthorn with The List Eating & Drinking Guide 123

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GLASGOW

duck liver bavarois, or shiitake haggis croustillant. + Enticing menu of interesting dishes and techniques - Bargain set lunch menu gone as prices edge upwards

Two Fat Ladies 88 Dumbarton Road, West End See Fish

Two Fat Ladies in the City 118a Blythswood Street, City Centre See Fish

Urban Bar & Brasserie 23–25 St Vincent Place, City Centre, 0141 248 5636, urbanbrasserie.co.uk | £16.95 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Like its neighbour the Anchor Line and the nearby Corinthian, Urban Bar and Brasserie inhabits a handsome old building that speaks of Glasgow’s rich merchant past in the shape of the Bank of England’s former Scottish HQ. Behind an impressive looking pillared entrance, the sense of grandness is maintained in polished wood floors, leather banquettes and a marble-topped bar, and helped by waiting staff dressed in white shirts, black waistcoats and ties. The pan-European menu is a little more down to earth than all of that suggests, however – it’s more family birthday dinner than high-power business meeting. A Stornoway black pudding starter looks colourful and impressive served on a broad glass plate, and tastes better still with the runny yoke of a poached duck egg running through a red chard salad punctuated by chewy pancetta lardons. The sirloin of Buccleuch beef is traditionally matured and dry aged for 28 days and full of flavour, even if the very tart garlic and herb butter doesn’t do it the greatest justice. Rich Jamaican gingerbread with vanilla ice-cream and butterscotch is a satisfying splurge of stickiness, smoothness, sugar and spice. + Wow factor of a fine looking building - Lukewarm temperature of the black pudding starter

NEW Webster’s Bar & Bistro 416 Great Western Road, West End, 0141 357 0151, bistro.webstersglasgow.com | £21 (lunch) / £21 (dinner)

Having enjoyed success with their theatrebar-restaurant model in a converted church in Hyndland, it was only a matter of time before the people behind Cottier’s rolled out a bar and kitchen at Kelvinbridge’s Lansdowne Parish Church, which they’ve operated as a theatre for a few years. It’s a far smaller operation here with a few tables clustering the compact bar, and a handful more in an open-fire snug, where diners are seated at upholstered pews. But they’re striving to make this an attractive dining spot on its own merit, much as it remains the theatre that packs people in before showtime (dine after 7.30pm if you like things calm). There’s an emphasis on sharing plates – mussels, chicken wings and veggie and antipasti platters – on the simple bar menu. From the bistro menu, grilled goat’s cheese crostini with red wine poached pear salad is light and fresh. Twice-cooked pork belly in dark red crab bisque sauce is dramatically served with three langoustines propped above it – a kind of contemporised surf ’n’ turf. Discreetly enhanced with tongue-tingling popping candy, chocolate cheesecake with strawberry ice-cream earns a bow at the curtain-call. + Knowledgeable service from staff who know their menu - Can be packed and hectic just before the theatre begins

Wee Lochan 340 Crow Road, West End See Scottish

CAFES Cafés come and go, change direction or change hands quickly. They also spring up in wee pockets of the city that other venues tend not to. It makes for an exciting, ever-changing section. Our reviewers keep track of these developments through the year, so our online guide will now have every review, updated on an ongoing basis, while our print guide will have full reviews about the recent arrivals on the scene as well as major rebrands and kitchen takeovers, from humble sandwich shops and hardcore coffee establishments to relaxed brunchtime haunts. And with one café-goer’s needs so different to the next, our Tiplists aim to show you our favourite cafés in particular categories and geographical areas as they spread their love across the city. Reviewers: Andrea Mullaney, Andrea Pearson, David Kirkwood, Ellen Renton, Jane Allan, Malcolm McGonigle, Piers Hunt

and inventive cooking - Mains are so generous there is no room for cake

NEW Caffe Monza 381 Dumbarton Road, West End, 0141 339 8972 | £9 (lunch)

Perched on the corner of Dumbarton Road and Vine Street, this buzzing little venue is well placed to catch shoppers and Partick Subway travellers. A light and airy artisan spot, it has a streetwise hipster vibe with its natural wood shelving, stripped grey brick walls, comfortable booths and a line of high chairs along the massive windows. A large menu spreads above the serving area announcing a broad selection of hand-crafted coffees, cold drinks, smoothies and a rich, malty leaf tea served with a dinky egg timer to help get the brew just right. Breakfast favourites include porridge, crêpes and pastries, while lunchtime offers sandwiches, paninis, focaccia and bakes including a splendid authentictasting tiramisù with springy coffeetinged sponge topped with lightly whipped mascarpone. The owners are hoping to recreate their success elsewhere in the city with talk of a small chain in the offing. + Great Italiano coffee - Cool-looking high stools could do with a cushion for long visits

NEW Bennu 262 Woodlands Road, West End, 0141 339 3020 |

This corner spot on Woodlands Road has been home to a number of cafés but the current incarnation seems to have found its groove as a great little West End student hangout – ideal as it looks out onto Glasgow University buildings across the street. The friendly, familyrun establishment has a fairly limited (though clientele-appropriate) menu. The servings are generous and prices very reasonable for the area. Hearty breakfasts are popular, particularly on a Saturday morning as are the soup, sandwiches served with nachos and salad at lunchtime. But a big draw is the coffee along with homemade bakes such as the perennial Glasgow favourite the Empire biscuit. There is also a cosy additional upstairs area offering extra inter-lecture chilling and reading space on more comfy seating. + Friendly staff - Limited menu

✱ NEW Bramble 205 Fenwick Road, Southside, 0141 620 0434 | £9 (lunch)

This Giffnock café-bistro offers a seductive menu of breakfast, lunch and brunch dishes as well as tea, coffee, cakes and a decent wine list. Ownerchef Lucy Hollen sources high-quality ingredients from independent Scottish suppliers. The simple lentil soup, nicely seasoned, comes with a generous slice of warm, crusty Italian bread from Alexander Taylor in Strathaven. Lunchtime sandwiches are presented on small boards with a mound of dressed mixed leaves. Croque with parma ham, béchamel, melted Swiss, Dijon mustard, mayo and a fried egg is no light bite and will keep most people going till the evening. Brunch options include an entire hollandaise section – Benedict, Stornoway, Florentine, royale and classic – and a kedgeree fragrant with preserved lemon and fresh herbs, smoked haddock and a perfectly poached orange-yolked Corrie Mains egg. Cakes are house-made and change daily, and can include freshly baked cream doughnuts with a nut, dried banana and chocolate fudge topping. + Committed to high-quality ingredients

✱ HITLIST

NEW Caffè da Sara 102 Queen Margaret Drive, 07473 932717 | £8 (lunch)

The Italian tradition of warm hospitality emanates from the cosy confines of Caffè da Sara. Everyone is treated like a regular here, and the chatty staff juggles the constant demand for takeaway and the needs of their sit-in customers with an effortless efficiency, ensuring that even at their busiest times, things never get too hectic. In the short time since assuming new ownership and consequently rebranding from Smile Café, changes to the menu have gradually been implemented, most notably the addition of hot pasta specials at weekends and freshly baked desserts including cheesecakes, tarts and the bestselling tiramisu. These sit alongside a sandwich selection rich in fresh ingredients and tantalising Mediterranean flavours; served on ciabatta or focaccia, the fillings range from the trusty and traditional Genova – mozzarella, tomato and pesto – to the slightly more adventurous yet equally satisfying Lupinata with smoked provolone cheese and wild broccoli. + Service is friendly but never over the top - No toilets

Carters 1091 Pollokshaws Road, Southside See Cafés: Wee Places

NEW Coro the Chocolate Café 241 Sauchiehall Street, City Centre, corochocolate.co.uk

This Edinburgh chocolate specialist – with two cafés in the capital – is bringing their fun-filled chocolate experience to Glasgow, with their cafe expected to open in summer 2017. Expect lashings of the sweet brown stuff poured over freshly made pancakes, crêpes and waffles, as well as desserts, and chocolate fondues served with fruit and marshmallows for dunking. There will be savouries in the shape of soups and sandwiches – but the big draw will, of course, be the chocolate. [Not open for a full review at time of going to press – check food.list.co.uk for updates.]

CAFES ✱ The Blue Chair A welcoming and soulful creative hangout with inventive home cooking served with charm. ✱ Bramble An ambitious Giffnock café/bistro serving an inventive all-day brunch menu, homemade cakes and coffee. ✱ The Glad Café An artsy community café hub with loads of space for patrons to write, read or talk over top-quality food courtesy of McCune Smith Café. ✱ Kember & Jones Fine Food Emporium Undisputedly one of of Glasgow’s best cafés, who grind their own coffee, and bake their own exceptionally good bread and cakes. ✱ McCune Smith Café A historical theme may run through the menu but McCune Smith is very forward thinking in terms of its intelligent dishes and ethical, local sourcing. ✱ Singl-end Spacious, bright and quirkily rustic basement café and bakehouse on Garnethill, serving refined all-day breakfasts and lunches. The Cran 994 Argyle Street, West End See Cafés: Wee Places

The Drugstore Social 67 Old Dumbarton Road, West End See Bars & Pubs

NEW Gulliver’s 59 Cambridge Street, City Centre, 0141 230 3248, gulliversgla.wixsite.com/ gulliverscafe | £8 (lunch)

The grand sweep of the counter, the fascinating illusionistic décor, the customer art gallery, the clothing exchange, and the olive greens, creams and greys of the paintwork together create an ambience that is restful and welcoming for all comers. Gulliver’s is surely one of the most spacious cafés in Glasgow, serving up an inventive vegetarian and vegan-friendly menu as well as a tasty range of home-baked cakes and scones. Its real specialism, however, is its range of 32 different leaf teas that come to the table in hand-filled biodegradable teabags in pastel-coloured teapots with a pot of water on the side to extend the experience. Green tea, spiced tea, white tea, fruit tea, china tea, herb tea, breakfast tea – all are carefully described in the menu as if they were wines – and, of course, savouring the tea experience comes much cheaper than a glass of wine. + Relaxed and welcoming ambience - Dishes do not always correspond to menu description

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CAFES TIPLISTS THE EATING & DRINKING GUIDE TEAM’S RECOMMENDATIONS BEST CAFES

CITY CENTRE SOUTH Gordon Street Coffee W A welcome commuter café at Central Station, roasting its own coffee and keeping worker bees fuelled on the essentials. W Martha’s Superfood gets the fast food treatment at this revolutionary Glasgow canteen, dishing up everything from porridge pots to rainbow salads.

Riverhill Coffee Bar

Primal Roast W With a focus on healthier eating and great coffee, Primal Roast’s owner-chef brings fine-dining experience to a menu that includes, superfoods, vegan dishes

An Clachan

and refined sugar-free cakes. Riverhill Coffee Bar W A contemporary bar with a barebrick interior and a smattering of seating, serving up delicious snacks, cakes and coffee. Social Bite W Two city centre venues for this café with a social conscience, offering sandwiches, soups, salads and more, with all profits going into supporting various charitable projects. Where the Monkey Sleeps W Second venue for rock-minded WTMS, with high ceilings and big windows offering a spacious and contemporary venue to enjoy their range of hardcore sandwiches and more.

Milk Café

Dandelion Café

Artisan Roast

COFFEE

PARK LIFE

CAKE

CULTURE

Artisan Roast W The cool serenity of coffee trailblazer Artisan Roast on Gibson Street makes it an ideal spot to hide away from the world with a cup of coffee.

An Clachan W A rustic and welcoming café housed in a charming Kelvingrove Park building, with daily specials and luxury cakes.

Cottonrake W Kelvinbridge bakery with artisan-baked breads, tarts and cakes, made in-house by baker Stefan Spicknell and his team.

The Blue Chair W Welcoming and soulful creative hangout, named after the chair that awaits performers, with inventive home cooking.

Art Lover’s Café 106 An elegant café for impressive lunching that borders on fine dining in a Mackintosh-designed visitor and events attraction in Bellahouston Park.

Dandelion Café W A Southside café in Newlands Park with locals and regulars standing in line for some of the best home baking in Glasgow.

The Cran 128 A pop-up trading venue for artisans and crafters to sell their produce, plus a small sit-in café for coffee, cakes and vegan brunches.

Avenue Coffee W The West End coffee haven, with cafés on Byres and Great Western roads, is renowned for its home-roasted coffee and locally sourced dishes. Coffee, Chocolate and Tea W Small café serving in-house roasted coffee, 40 teas, hot food and handmade chocolates. The Cran 128 A pop-up trading venue for artisans and crafters to sell their produce, plus a small sit-in café with coffee courtesy of Something Brewed.

Caffè da Sara 124 Cosy Italian café close to the Botanic Gardens and Kelvin Walkway, serving up simple and traditional flavours. Dandelion Café W A Southside café in Newlands Park with locals and regulars standing in line for some of the best home baking in Glasgow.

Kaf Coffee 128 A tiny haven of friendly Scandi goodness in Partick serving breakfasts, lunches, homemade bakes and excellent coffee.

The Little Café W Compact café opposite Kelvingrove Art Gallery with an emphasis on quality produce, offering great pizzas, salads, ciabattas and coffee.

Papercup Coffee Company W Brilliant coffee and a vibrant, veggie-friendly menu at this popular West End hangout – with two other venues: High Street and Royal Exchange Square.

Sonny & Vito’s W A classy West End Italian café close to Kelvingrove Park, serving freshly made tarts, warming soup and indulgent cakes, with groceries too.

My Home Bakery W Set in a small corner unit on Hyndland Street, My Home Bakery produces a mouthwatering selection of soups, sandwiches, pastries, cakes, and breads. Riverhill Coffee Bar W A contemporary bar with a barebrick interior and a smattering of seating, serving up delicious snacks, cakes and coffee. Singl-end W Spacious, bright and rustic basement café and bakehouse on Garnethill, serving refined allday breakfasts, lunches and an array of top-quality cakes. Tantrum Doughnuts W Popular and compact café close to Kelvingrove Art Gallery selling artisan doughnuts with big flavours and playful toppings.

For Fika Sake W Multi-purpose communityinterest venue in the West End serving Swedish-inspired food. The Glad Café W An artsy community café hub with loads of space for patrons to write, read or talk over topquality food courtesy of McCune Smith Café. Milk Café 127 Drawing on the skills of the community and the energy of its owners, Milk Café provides an unforgettable experience for lovers of good food and coffee. The Project Café W A social enterprise café bringing a community village vibe to the city centre, with various exhibitions and events added to imaginative home-cooked food.

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CAFES TIPLISTS THE EATING & DRINKING GUIDE TEAM’S RECOMMENDATIONS Tearooms @ the Butterfly and the Pig

Saramago

BEST CAFES

CITY CENTRE NORTH Glasgow School of Art: The Vic Café Bar 106 Inventive burgers and global dishes available noon til late weekdays, plus a Saturday brunch – all at student prices.

Gusto & Relish

Bramble

BREAKFAST

TEA

BEST CAFES

Bramble 124 An ambitious Giffnock cafébistro serving an inventive all-day brunch menu, homemade cakes and great coffee.

Cup W Two venues – Cup Tea Lounge on Renfield Street and Cup Merchant City in historic Virginia Court – serving hand-blended teas from across the globe.

Bramble 124 An ambitious Giffnock cafébistro serving an inventive all-day brunch menu, homemade cakes and great coffee.

Café D’Jaconelli W An authentic taste of Glasgow in the 1950s, this Maryhill favourite is renowned for classic breakfasts and delicious artisan ice-cream.

SOUTHSIDE

Gulliver’s 124 This elegant venue, supportive to the homeless and local artists, specialises in tea and has an inventive vegan/veggie menu.

Café Strange Brew W Funky Shawlands café – relocating across the street in spring 2017 – has some of the best coffee south of the river.

Delizique W Beautiful home-baked dishes, including an all-day breakfast featuring famous pancakes, within a quirky West End interior.

The Hidden Lane Tearoom W In one of Glasgow’s artistinhabited side streets, this place offers a contemporary take on afternoon tea.

Dandelion Café W A Southside café in Newlands Park that has locals and regulars standing in line for some of the best home-baking in Glasgow.

The Hyndland Café W Popular local institution specialising in all-day breakfasts, as well as light lunches and sweet snacks.

Tchai-Ovna House of Tea W A transcendent celebration of Slovak tea house culture tucked away down a back lane in Glasgow’s West End.

The Glad Café W Artsy community hub with loads of space for patrons to write, read or talk over quality food courtesy of McCune Smith Café.

Smile Café Central W A bustling city centre café and paninoteca offering up a taste of authentic Italian sandwiches, pastries, pizzas and great coffee.

Roaster’s Deli 154 From early morning pancakes to a grilled cheese supper, Roaster’s Deli serves up super-sized American classics throughout the day.

The Tearooms @ The Butterfly and The Pig W A retro-style tearoom on Bath Street offering lunch, afternoon tea, and a great cake selection.

Gusto & Relish W Much is made in-house at this perennially popular Southside café, perfect for a refuel after a walk round Queen's Park.

The Tearooms @ The Butterfly & The Pig W A retro-style tearoom on Bath Street offering lunch, afternoon tea, high tea, and an extensive selection of tea and cakes.

Trans-Europe Café W Independently quirky café near Trongate, tapping into an appealing Euro-vibe for those wishing Brexit away, serving great breakfasts and brunches.

The Willow Tea Rooms 108 The Sauchiehall St venue may be gone but tea-lovers can still enjoy a brew amid Mackintoshinspired interiors at Buchanan St and the new tea room in the Watt Brothers store.

Milk Café 127 Drawing on the skills of the community and the boundless energy of its owners, Milk Café provides an unforgettable experience for lovers of good food and coffee.

The Project Café W Social enterprise café with a community village vibe, where exhibitions and events combine with home-cooked food. Saramago Café Bar 107 A cool, creative hang-out inside the CCA, with exciting animalfree dining plus a separate bar and outdoor terrace. Singl-end W Spacious and quirkily rustic basement café and bakehouse on Garnethill, serving refined all-day breakfasts and lunches.

BEST CAFES

WEST END SOUTH An Clachan W A rustic and welcoming café housed in a charming Kelvingrove Park building, with daily specials and luxury cakes. Delizique W Beautiful home-baked dishes, including an all-day breakfast menu and top-notch pizzas, within a quirky West End interior.

Delizique

For Fika Sake W Multi-purpose communityinterest venue in Partick serving up a compact menu of Swedish-inspired food.

The Little Café W A compact, welcoming café opposite Kelvingrove Art Gallery with an emphasis on quality produce, offering fantastic pizzas, as well as salads, ciabattas and coffee. Piece A Finnieston resident way before it got trendy, Piece are the original gourmet sandwichmongers, filling bread with invention since 2008.

W

Siempre Bicycle Café W Slick and spacious Partick café with bright colours and a cycling theme, with food that’s healthy and hearty in equal measure. W = full review online at food.list.co.uk

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vegetable and feta omelette, or halloumi and salsa on walnut bread. A volunteer might make a spicy Eritrean stew and there are always bacon rolls with homemade brown sauce. Cutlery and china is delightfully mismatched without being twee and the rightly popular cakes are redolent with cardamom, cinnamon, pistachio, lemon and strong dark chocolate. Bread is from Freedom Bakery at Low Moss Prison and coffee from Café Feminina from a Peruvian women-only co-operative. + A truly ethical approach taken to all aspects of the café - Can be very busy with lots going on

NEW Picnic 103 Ingram Street, Merchant City, 0141 552 8788, picnic-cafe.co.uk | £9 (lunch)

Soy Division: new Southside café specialising in vegan food

NEW JavaJess Emporium

+ A real taste of Indonesian home-

52 Broomielaw, City Centre, 0141 258 1511 | Closed Sat/Sun | £6.50 (lunch)

- Not the prettiest spot

The bright, gilded batik map of Indonesia gives a clue that Java Jess isn’t a hipsta barista but rather an Indonesianinspired café. Proprietor Pauline Storrie has created a comfy city centre hideaway that combines tasty soups, sandwiches and wraps with daily specials inspired by her homeland. Fillings range from veggie choices such as roast butternut squash with green pesto and almond (the vegan choices are highly regarded in crueltyfree circles), to a full-on roast beef with cheese and a mustard mayo, or meatballs with a spicy peanut sauce. Fans of Cherry and Heather Fine Foods might recognise the awards on display – Storrie has brought with her the winning recipes that she created at her former workplace. Some may feature on the specials board, featuring other such delights as nasi bakar – a filled rice roll that is wrapped in banana leaves and then grilled; or lonton sayur – a veg-packed spicy soup with a coconutty base and sliced rice balls served with a hard-boiled egg and prawn crackers. It’s the kind of place that once you discover it, you’ll keep returning.

cooking

Kaf Coffee 5 Hyndland Street, West End See Cafés: Wee Places

If you weren’t feeling good about yourself before entering this newcomer in the Merchant City, there’s every chance you will upon leaving. Picnic is, as they proudly claim, the district’s first entirely plant-based café – adding to a burgeoning scene that has made Glasgow one of the top animal-free dining cities in the UK. Independently owned, but as slick as a chain, staff in branded aprons busy themselves in the small kitchen, preparing the range of animal-free sandwiches, soups, spuds, salads, smoothies and sweet things. For carnivorous cravings, the meat substitues – bhacon, pastramheat – come from Sgaia Foods based near Glasgow airport, and utilise wheat flour to create a meaty (or ‘mheaty’) hit. The bhacon BLT comes on a wholesome roll, delivering the familiar smoky, salty flavours, complemented by a punchy side salad of rocket, sun-dried tomatoes and seeds. Add in a light

and breezy interior, lit up by a facade that’s all glass, with splashes of colour brightening the place, and you’ll leave Picnic feeling like everything’s all right with the world. + Conscience-easing goodness - It's bright for bleary breakfast eyes

Southside Roasters 742 Pollokshaws Road, Southside See Cafés: Wee Places

NEW Soy Division 51 Kilmarnock Road, Southside, 07702 027676 | Closed Mon/Tue | £9 (lunch)

Whether for a quiet coffee with soy milk or a midday animal-free meal, there is a very warm welcome waiting at this unassuming little vegan café that impresses through sheer hard work. Almost everything is made on the premises, from the meat-free sausage rolls to the cheeseless cheesecake – and made with some ingenuity. The menu runs from soup and sandwiches, to pastries served with a choice of salads, colourful shredded beetroot, potato with spring onion, or fresh greens, as well as a specials board featuring lasagne, nut roast or macaroni cheese. Order the full breakfast and only the sgaia bacon isn’t made in-house – light, fluffy tattie scone, homemade baked beans, delicious square sausage warmly spiced with nutmeg and mace. A selection of vegan cakes includes a lovely, moist poppy seed and lemon drizzle cake, while the cheesecake, with chopped dates and walnuts standing in for the biscuit base, is topped with a creamy cashew concoction. + Lemon and poppy seed cake - Homemade beans could have used a pinch more salt

Kelvin Pocket 72 South Woodside Road, West End See Cafés: Wee Places

NEW Milk Café 452 Victoria Road, Southside, , milkcafeglasgow.com | Closed Mon | £8 (lunch)

Shabby chic, inventive cooking and social enterprise come together in Milk Café in a wonderfully natural way. Owner-chefs Angela and Gabby feed profits from their remarkable little Victoria Road café into language, art and cookery classes for local migrant women and children. Generous jugs of fresh flowers are everywhere, the chalkboard menu changes daily, often including unusual ethnic dishes prepared by volunteers from the local migrant community. At the weekend there is an all-day brunch offering plates heaped with delights such as roast

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TABLE TALK

CATRIONA MILLIGAN ON BAKING FOR GOOD High Rise Bakers started from baking sessions at a community drop-in called Big Thursdays, run by social enterprise Bridging the Gap which draws people together who feel isolated or marginalised in their community. Half are local folk, half from a refugee background. We realised that bread-making got people involved who were shy or didn’t have much English and it was so good to put a smile on people’s faces, especially as they got a loaf to take home at the end of the day. But we always had lots left over and were thinking, ‘what are we going to do with all this bread?!’ We thought, ‘it’s good bread, why not sell it?’ So now we bake bread for sale twice a week in a borrowed kitchen at one of the last remaining high-rise blocks in the Gorbals. Before we started High Rise, I was just a home baker. Then I went on a baking course with Bread Matters, and they’ve mentored and supported us all the way. They introduced us to using Scottish flour for our bread, so now all our flour comes from Mungoswells in East Lothian. This means that people in the Gorbals can enjoy delicious, nutritious and affordable bread and baked goods, rather than industrial bread. When we started, we didn’t realise that what we were doing was ground-breaking. We hope that eventually we’ll be a five-day-a-week business employing local people, without losing sight of the warm welcome that High Rise is all about. ■ Catriona Milligan is a project worker for Bridging the Gap. High Rise Bakers bring affordable bread to the people of the Gorbals. bridging-the-gap.org, twitter.com/highrisebakers

NEW Tea Time 1160 Argyle Street, West End, 0141 387 0516 | £8.50 (lunch) / £10 (dinner)

Just weeks after it opened Tea Time had become a popular little spot on Argyle Street, particularly among the Sunday brunchers. It is easy to see why – it serves up a great morningafter selection of cleansing fruit-filled crêpes, salads and smoothies. For the later-on crowd there are comfort foods of freshly made pizzas, paninis and pastas. Flavour combos are appealing – a salad of guacamole, poached egg and smoked salmon for instance. But, any time is tea time and the star attraction is the selection of bubble teas, hot or cold with handfuls of gooey, sweet, hazelnut syrup-flavoured tapioca pearls and jellies – along with a giant straw to sook them up like ping-pong balls in a hoover. It may sound strange to the uninitiated but once you try it, it is strangely alluring. The calming décor is very relaxing, food is freshly made, and staff are buzzing with enthusiasm. It’s hard to leave without feeling boosted by feelings of positivity. + Hot, sweet bubble tea with tapioca - Unloved bagged salad

NEW The V & V Café 481 Great Western Road, West End, 0141 237 7902, thevandvcafe.com | £9 (lunch)

The letters stand for ‘vegetarian and vegan’, and this new arrival at Kelvinbridg is committed to conscientious living and dining. Owner Saffy Reid promises that all produce is sourced from ethical suppliers, ensuring no additives, preservatives or colours – even the coffee roasters assert bean-to-cup tracing. A grey and white colour scheme gives the interior a fresh and open feel while an extra loft level offers ample table space. Homemade sandwiches, croissants and bakes put lunch centre stage while vegan yoghurt parfait and porridge with maple syrup make delicious breakfast offerings. Carrot cake loaf is served in a cardboard ‘tin’ and is the perfect moist gingery accompaniment to freshly ground coffee supplied by roasters who know their growers personally. A three-tiered afternoon tea for two is especially good value at £14.95. + Relaxing atmosphere and chatty staff - Noisier when busy

NEW Wee Oven 585 Dumbarton Road, West End, 0141 328 6867 | Closed Sun–Tue | £8 (lunch)

It might be wee but this family business run by a husband and wife team sports an ambitious menu for such a small kitchen. Situated on the last few blocks at the Thornwood end of Partick, its tiny shop front opens into a cosy room with a spray of reclaimed mirrors, bespoke benches, five or six tables and three high stools looking out to the world. Breakfasts are popular here, with eggs benedict/ florentine, homemade waffles drizzled with maple syrup and beautifully light pancakes vying for attention on a hand-drawn specials board screaming with lively ingredients. Lunch includes a selection of hand-made pizzas with thin crusty bases made with proper 00 flour, offering a choice of toppings including a rich and tasty mozzarella, tomato and pesto. Everything is made in-house and the service is personal and friendly. There’s also talk of expansion soon so this plucky little venue may not be so wee for much longer. + A friendly, laid-back environment - A heavy door – push hard

CAFES: THE WEE PLACES This section covers the small places – the compact cafés, takeaways and delis, that generally have less than a dozen seats down to no seats at all. Those new additions to our guide’s coverage will have full reviews in the section, while fully updated reviews and details for many more can be found online at list.co.uk. Our Tiplists below, look at the best cafés and wee places for what they do, and where they are. Reviewers: Andrea Mullaney, Andrea Pearson, David Kirkwood, Ellen Renton, Jane Allan, Malcolm McGonigle, Piers Hunt

✱ NEW Carters 1091 Pollokshaws Road, Southside, 07956 576488, carters.scot | £7 (lunch)

As Shawlands gentrifies, the stretch of Pollokshaws Road between Shawlands Cross and Minard Road is gradually morphing into a food lover’s destination. Carters is plumb in the middle, aiming to be Shawland’s first gourmet taqueria (as in taco). Window tables and a dozen tartan-clad high stools allow customers to people-watch while snacking on the tasty food offered by the deli and the kitchen. Soups are prepared fresh daily – the generous bowl of leek and potato soup with its chunks of potato and green, white and pale yellow leek is a real winner. Taco fillings are varied and inventive with vegetarian and vegan options, while salads change daily and include grains such as quinoa or large couscous married with sundried tomatoes, roasted vegetables, herbs and various specialist oils and vinegars. The deli offers a seductive range of international cheeses and meats, and the shelves are laden with desirable food items from near and far. + A feast for the eyes as well as the stomach - Too tempting

✱ NEW The Cran 994 Argyle Street, West End, 0141 237 3435, thecran.co.uk | £9 (lunch)

A former ironmongers on Argyle Street, this tiny outlet specialises in responsibly sourced quality vegan and vegetarian food – with food and drink provided by a line-up of independent vendors. Interiors of exposed brick, wooden floors, roof rafters and bespoke tables built on wooden crates invoke that ultra-cool hipster vibe while a well-stocked carry-out counter is heaving with homemade goodies such as aubergine pakora, freshly prepared thick sandwiches, samosas, cakes and bright punchy salads. Lunchtime sees a steady stream of customers welcoming a sensibly priced and easily accessed veggie option. A BRT toastie is stuffed with strips of bacon substitute, fresh rocket, tomato and mashed avocado – a lively and filling lunch option especially when accompanied by the ethically sourced bright filtered coffee. The café also hopes to develop into a venue with its arty ambitions, promising upcoming workshops, theatre groups and a pop-up artist of the month. + Great meat-free food in funky surroundings - Bespoke tables a bit low for people with long legs

✱ HITLIST

WEE PLACES ✱ Carters A taqueria and delicatessen in the heart of Shawlands with eat-in and takeaway options and a glamorous range of luxury foods. ✱ Cottonrake A West End classic pretty much as soon as it opened, with artisan-baked breads, tarts and sandwiches of striking quality. ✱ The Cran A pop-up trading venue for artisans and crafters to sell their produce, plus a small sit-in café for cakes, vegan brunches, and great coffee. ✱ Riverhill Coffee Bar A contemporary bar with a bare-brick interior and a smattering of seating, serving up delicious snacks, cakes and coffee. NEW Kaf Coffee 5 Hyndland Street, West End, kafcoffee.co.uk | £7.50 (lunch)

A classy little bolthole snuggled among the clutch of polish shops on the last block of Hyndland Street, Kaf specialises in Scandinavian food bolstered by good quality coffee. The interior is small (only a few tables) and has a pleasant and calming atmosphere, being all blonde wood polished floors and clean white walls. Breakfast kicks off at 8am with the popular Scandi Plate featuring boiled egg, bacon, cheese, potato, granola and yoghurt. Lunch runs from 11.30am to 3pm and boasts a fine array of thick sandwiches including a vibrant pastrami with sharp mustard mayo and a splendid homemade sauerkraut. The coffee is prepared Swedish style using the bloom and brew method and served with a pouring cup. All cakes and bakes are made on the premises and the friendly, tranquil service encourages deep thought and relaxation. + Soothing, chilled atmosphere - Fills up pretty quick

NEW Kelvin Pocket 72 South Woodside Road, West End, 07793 315700, kelvinpocket.co.uk | £7 (lunch)

Stumble out of Kelvinbridge Subway (no need even to ride the escalator to the bridge) and you are at Kelvin Pocket. There’s a wonderfully calm air inside – it may be something to do with the yoga and meditation leaflets in the window, or perhaps it is the cool, upcycled styling with its reclaimed chairs, fibreboard counter sides, Alasdair Gray prints and pretty William Morris cushions. The menu is equally self-assured. It is small but includes some terrific combos such as a parma ham, mozzarella and fig salad with toasted almonds, and a

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CAFES TIPLISTS THE EATING & DRINKING GUIDE TEAM’S RECOMMENDATIONS BEST CAFES

MERCHANT CITY & EAST END The Blue Chair W A welcoming and soulful creative hangout, named after the chair that awaits performers, with inventive home cooking served with charm. McCune Smith Café W A historical theme may run through the menu but McCune Smith is very forward thinking with its intelligent dishes, dietary awareness and ethical, local sourcing. Spitfire Espresso W Excellent spot in the Merchant City, with big windows and vibrant

McCune Smith Café

Soy Division

VEGAN & VEGGIE The Cran 128 Pop-up venue for artisans and crafters to sell their produce, plus a small sit-in café for coffee, cakes and vegan brunches. Picnic 127 Merchant City newcomer offering a sustainably sourced, animal-free menu featuring breakfasts, sandwiches and cakes, plus healthy smoothies. Saramago Café Bar 107 A cool, creative hang-out inside the CCA, with exciting animalfree dining, plus separate bar and outdoor terrace. The 78 Café Bar W Comfy sofas, laid-back service, good music, craft beers and low low prices make this West End vegan café-bar a must for animal-free eaters. Soy Division 127 Vegan café in Shawlands, where practically the whole menu is made in-house, from breakfasts to knock-out pastries and cakes. The V & V Café 128 A cool and relaxing newcomer at Kelvinbridge where responsible and ethical sourcing means great, natural-tasting vegetarian and vegan food.

Kember & Jones

BEST CAFES

WEST END NORTH Avenue Coffee W The West End coffee haven, with cafés on Byres and Great Western roads, is renowned for its home-roasted coffee and lovingly prepared dishes.

Tapa W A friendly Dennistoun bakery and coffee house, with organic, veggie and gluten-free credentials that extend its reach well beyond the neighbourhood. Trans-Europe Café W Independently quirky café tapping into an appealing Euro-vibe for those wishing Brexit away, serving breakfasts, brunches and continetal-themed sandwiches. The Wilson Street Pantry W Ultra-stylish Merchant City daytime hot spot, with a great communal table – perfect for lengthy catch-ups over brunch.

Carters

Martha's

LUNCH ON THE GO Martha’s W Superfood gets the fast food treatment at this revolutionary canteen – everything from porridge pots to rainbow salads.

The Great Western Sandwich Co. W Café and takeaway that elevates the humble sandwich, with an emphasis on local produce.

Piece W With three venues across Glasgow – the original in Finnieston, plus two in the Merchant City – you’re never far from the original gourmet sandwichmongers.

Kember & Jones W One of Glasgow’s best cafés, who grind their own coffee, and make their own exceptionally good bread and bakes.

The Potato Shed 130 Angus farmers bring their crop to Central Station, serving spuds many ways, as well as quality filled rolls, pastries and coffee.

North Star W Step off Queen Margaret Drive and into the authentic taste of a welcoming and bustling Mediterranean canteen.

Roast W Small purveyor of hearty roasts and sandwiches from a cafétakeaway close to Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum.

Papercup Coffee Company W Brilliant coffee and a chirpy atmosphere, delightful baked eggs and a vibrant, veggiefriendly menu at this popular Kelvinbridge hangout.

Smile Café Central W A bustling city centre café and paninoteca offering up a taste of authentic Italian sandwiches, pastries, pizzas and great coffee.

Roots & Fruits W Deli, shop and small café selling healthy and natural foods, with an emphasis on local produce and catering for special dieters.

paintwork, and a dedication to great coffee with a compact but thoughtful food menu.

Where the Monkey Sleeps W With two venues in the city centre, including the original basement venue close to Blythswood Square, serving up mighty sandwiches and more.

NEW CAFES & WEE PLACES Bramble 124 An ambitious Giffnock café/ bistro serving an inventive allday brunch menu, homemade cakes and coffee. Carters 128 A taqueria and delicatessen in the heart of Shawlands with eatin and takeaway options and a glamorous range of luxury foods. The Cran 128 A retro pop-up trading venue for artisans and crafters to sell their produce, plus a small sit-in café for coffee and vegan brunches. Kaf Coffee 128 A tiny haven of friendly Scandi goodness in Partick serving breakfasts, lunches, homemade bakes and excellent coffee. Southside Roasters 128 Small café in Strathbungo, serving light snacks and fantastic homemade bakes alongside beautifully made espresso and Aeropress coffee. Soy Division 127 Neighbourhood vegan café, where practically the whole menu is made in-house, from breakfasts to knockout pastries and cakes.

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CHINESE While Glasgow’s Chinese dining scene is relatively small, the standard is generally high, and most places here have something unique about them – the ability of good Chinese chefs to extract flavour and balance tastes is unceasingly impressive. Cantonese cooking and Scotland’s waters have always liked each other and the best places know their local seafood. Duck, pork and (increasingly popular) Scottish lamb are worth trying, too. There is great eating to be done, and you can have any beer you like, as long as it’s Tsingtao. Reviewers: Bronwen Livingstone, Jay Thundercliffe, Tara Hepburn

✱ Amber Regent 50 West Regent Street, City Centre, 0141 331 1655, amberregent.com | £9.50 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Southside Roasters: great coffee and bakes at this Strathbungo newcomer

bruschetta with brie, honey and apple. Expect exciting flavours among the freshly made cakes and tarts (chocolate and Guinness anyone?) and there is always plenty on offer for the vegan – including great little power balls of oats, dates, chocolate and peanut for 75p each – and the coeliac. It’s a great place for tea fans – glass teapots give the Climpson and Sons loose leaves the opportunity to infuse beautifully. There is real artistry and attention to detail here. + Avocado sliced and presented like a work of art - Not much in the way of comfort food

NEW The Potato Shed Glasgow Central Station, City Centre, potato-shed.co.uk | £8 (lunch)

This takeaway-only unit opened in March 2017 on Central Station’s concourse, next to Platform 4, and is a natural progression from origins as a mobile catering trailer doing the rounds of events and other happenings across the country. Set up by Angus farmers based near Arbroath, the commuterfriendly menu of quick breakfasts (granola with yogurt and fruit, Scottish porridge, well-sourced Ayrshire sausage and bacon rolls) begins at an eyewatering 5.30am, with Glasgow roastery Dear Green Coffee providing a quality wake-up cup. The main star is the farm’s own potato crop, served baked with the usual suspects of cheese, beans, tuna etc, or mashed with sausage and

gravy, or mince, tatties and peas. Expect menu fluctuations with the seasons’ harvests, such as Scottish berries appearing in the warmer months. + Farm-fresh goodness for commuters - Train station not the most relaxing setting

NEW Southside Roasters 742 Pollokshaws Road, Southside, 0141 328 6557, southsideroasters. co.uk | £7 (lunch)

Some coffee-lovers may be surprised to find a café called ‘Coffee’ at the address advertised for newcomer Southside Roasters, but the signage in big bold sans serif font is intended to be tongue in cheek – like the real company that references the Glasgow insult (roaster = annoying idiot). Owner Matthew Mustard is no stranger to the hospitality industry, and his diverse knowledge and experience is evident in his slickly conceived new project. The main draw is the coffee – expertly brewed and made with passion – but food is not to be dismissed: the little menu offering good, wholesome snacks – waffles, toasties – is irresistible, and there is a commitment to using local produce and quality ingredients. Mustard is currently the main barista, but he also turns his hand to making excellent bakes – here’s hoping he doesn’t tire of making his already popular gooey salted caramel chocolate brownies any time soon. + Top marks for being artisan - Menu yet to be refined

ONLINE LISTINGS For full opening hours, further details on facilities, individual location maps plus web and social media links, go to

list.co.uk/food

Amber Regent is something of an institution in Glasgow’s city centre. Open since 1988, it harks back to a golden age of restaurant dining. While immaculate white tablecloths, attentive service and perfectly folded napkins may no longer be de rigueur, there is something undeniably comforting about re-entering this world. Dining at the city’s most elegant Chinese feels like going to a restaurant in a film. Photographs at the entrance reveal a host of celebrity fans from across the Atlantic such as Michael Bolton and 50 Cent. The food, too, is of a suitably high standard, a reliable mix of Chinese favourites (crispy duck, sweet and sour chicken) and more contemporary innovations – a particularly adept selection of tofu dishes would satisfy vegetarian guests. All dishes arrive on delicate china plates with elaborate edible garnishes that look too good to eat, adding to the fine-dining experience. Tables are packed with a varety of diners of all ages, which says something about Amber Regent’s enduring popularity. + Elegant surroundings - Mismatched cocktail menu

Asian Gourmet 17 West Princes Street, West End, 0141 332 1639 | £13 (dinner)

Set on a side street between crosses Charing and St George’s, Asian Gourmet may not be the most invitinglooking spot from the outside yet fortune favours the brave, and here treats it to a feast. Looking around the tables in this stairs-access-only basement venue, there are a reassuringly large number of Glasgow’s Chinese community giving it a seal of approval. Complimentary green tea and prawn crackers fill a mercifully short gap until dishes from the traditional menu arrive. The salt and chilli squid is among the best in the city and the mains the same. King prawn and tofu with ginger and spring onions, Szechuan pork and Chinese greens and shredded beef come bursting with simple, classic flavours from the East. Portions are generous, which makes it both ideal for sharing and great value for money regardless of the group size. It’s the sort of place happy to provide a doggy bag for all the food you can’t eat – although at the bargain prices, you might think why bother? But the quality of the food may well convince you to grab the last

morsel for enjoying later. + Cracking Chinese cuisine at great prices - No disabled access

Banana Leaf 5 & 9 Byres Road, West End See Far East

Banana Leaf 67 Cambridge Street, City Centre See Far East

China Blue 96 Renfield Street, City Centre, 0141 333 1881 | £6.95 (set lunch) / £14 (dinner)

China Blue is a well-appointed Chinese restaurant in the heart of the city, just a stone’s throw away from the hustle and bustle of Sauchiehall Street. Hidden above a newsagent, it would be easy to miss entirely with only a small blue sign and set of stairs hinting at the busy restaurant above. The décor is fairly low-fi, with red and white tablecloths and a laminated menu. The offerings are extensive, with all dishes listed in both English and Mandarin – a reflection of China Blue’s popularity among the city’s Chinese contingent. The amount of dishes on offer might be overwhelming for the average diner, although staff are on hand to offer pointers for both traditional and adventurous diners alike. A page of Malaysian choices is particularly noteworthy, with curry-like hot pots delivering a fragrant fresh heat in portions that are almost too large for one person. The restaurant also offers an impressive pre-theatre menu (£9.95 for two courses) for guests who might be heading to any of the nearby theatres, cinemas or concert halls. + Authentic traditional flavours - Quite dated décor

Dumpling Monkey 121 Dumbarton Road, West End, 0141 583 8300, dumplingmonkey.com | £10 (lunch) / £10 (dinner)

This popular Partick restaurant – older sister to recent opener Mamafubu in the Merchant City – offers a compact canteeny setting for enjoying dumplings, steamed buns, noodle soups and a selection of curry, chicken and other main dishes. It’s frequently busy with eager diners, dropping in to taste the well-portioned, nicely priced food dished up by brisk staff who keep the turnover moving at pace. Dumplings are king here, whether boiled or fried up as ‘pot stickers’ for 50p more on the roughly £5 for ten, and they pack a tasty punch with fillings including pork and Chinese leaves or beef and carrot. They also do steamed buns, various noodle soups, and special dishes including an enjoyable special beef brisket curry. It may not be the place for lingering over a long lunch but it’s a good option for those seeking a fast hit of nicely priced Chinese food. + Dumplings to nearly die for - Décor at a bare minimum

Ho Wong 82 York Street, City Centre, 0141 221 3550, ho-wong.com | £13.80 (set lunch) / £26 (dinner)

A city centre stalwart for over 30 years, Ho Wong is a reliable, classy and safe choice for decent western-style Chinese food. The tone is genteel, with smartly dressed couples and groups of visiting business folk packing out the dining room most days of the week and assiduous service anticipating every need. There are several set menu options depending on the size of the party, as well as an extensive à la carte

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menu. Appetisers include salt and chilli spare ribs, stuffed crab claw and a pleasantly crunchy Loon Fung roll with ham and prawn. Main courses include a sizeable seafood section, satays and a variety of sizzling dishes. While few of the dishes will surprise, the quality of ingredients and cooking makes up for any lack of novelty. Beef in oyster sauce is exquisitely tender, and sweet and sour chicken keeps its batter crisp under a glossy sauce. Desserts revert to western tastes – a honeycomb cheesecake combines creamy textures with a generous scatter of crunchy honeycomb pieces while a dish of fresh lychees is a lighter choice. + Succulent sweet and sour chicken - Salty soup

Ka Ka Lok 175 St Georges Road, West End, 0141 353 6528 | Closed Thu | £17 (dinner)

One of only a few places in the city that manages to combine authentic and varied dishes of the Far East with enough sophistication and ceremony in the surroundings to be the kind of place you could take the in laws, probably. Two long menus offer dishes from a Chinese or English selection – but patrons are invited to mix and match. Not everything sounds appetizing in translation – ‘Fish head with vegetables’ probably gets few patrons salivating unless they are in the know. But the great variety and difference from cookiecutter Chinese menus elsewhere in the city is very refreshing. A cumin lamb skewer is a super spicy starter as is the oily but delicious salt and chilli chicken. In mains the Szechuen-style duck has huge chunks of tenderly stewed duck with bamboo shoots and hunks of fresh peppers and ginger pieces. From the veg selection a Chinese water spinach in shrimp sauce offers dripping, wilted greens to accompany. Definitely one of Glasgow’s more interesting Chinese restaurants. + Dishes packed with flavour - Strong competition a walk away

NEW The Ladle Inn 11–15 Hyndland Street, West End, 0141 334 2312 | Closed Mon | £13 (lunch) / £13 (dinner)

In recent years Partick has become Glasgow’s go-to area for Chinese food. The discerning international community at nearby Glasgow University vote with their feet if a place is producing good food or equally if it does not make the grade. New addition the Ladle Inn earned quite the buzz in its first few months and it is easy to see why. The food on offer represents the hallmarks of Chinese cuisine and covers all the bases – if you have a favourite dish, it’s probably on the menu. Although a few out-there choices are worth taking a chance on. Regional dishes from around China such as Xiangxiang beef or lamb set the Ladle Inn apart from the average Chinese restaurant. A couple of Malaysian-style curries (fragrant, coconutty and memorable) are the only slight departure for a menu that is solidly Chinese at a time when Pan Asian menus abound. The premises are small and chic. Dark wood, black leather seats and flowers at each table reflect the Ladle Inn’s intentions as more of a sit-down restaurant than a glorified takeaway – a rarity in this part of town. + Unique Chinese dishes on offer - If busy, can be hard getting help translating the menu

✱ NEW Little Canteen 1164 Argyle Street, West End, 0141 339 9355, littlecanteen.co.uk | £12 (dinner)

Part hipster takeaway, part bijou

✱ HITLIST

CHINESE ✱ Amber Regent A combination of traditional Chinese cuisine coupled with a fine-dining experience that’s unique to the city. ✱ Little Canteen Quirky little diner in Finnieston, and sister to Cailin’s Sushi, serving excellent home-style Chinese food with flair. neighbourhood dining spot, Little Canteen is a welcome addition to the Chinese eating scene in Glasgow. Of course, the standard takeaway menu is available but there are far better options to be found on the traditional Chinese menu. Stir-fries, braised dishes, street food and grilled options are all on offer and a bilingual chalk board details daily specials, such as steamed scallop with clear noodle, or hot and spicy chilli pot. The emphasis is on home-style cooking as found across China, and the restaurant’s popularity with Glasgow’s Chinese community and visiting students hungry for a taste of home is testament to its authenticity. Silky aubergine is bathed in yuhong sauce, a mix of sweet, salty and spicy notes with pops of pungency from preserved beans. Fine beans are fried with tender squid or pork mince and served over rice, and chilli heat can be turned up or down according to diners’ preference. As the name suggests, there are only a few tables, so you may have to wait during busy times. + Skilfully prepared, quality cuisine - No Chinese tea

Loon Fung 417–419 Sauchiehall Street, City Centre, 0141 332 1240, loonfungglasgow.co.uk | £7.95 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

With a heritage dating back in the city to 1971, Loon Fung (Cantonese for Dragon Phoenix) has a case for its claims to be the first traditional restaurant to open in Scotland. Not to rest on their ancient laurels, this Cantonese restaurant manages to still pack in the diners into its lavishly done-out interior – lots of reds, golds and lanterns – hungry for some quality Chinese food. Afternoons are busy with the Chinese community in Glasgow and beyond enjoying the range of dim sum on offer, while evenings bring in groups and Sauchiehall Street revellers enjoying set menu banquets. As well as the focus on dim sum, the menu ranges across familiar deep-fried appetisers, roast dishes, satays, hotpots, lots of seafood, as well as plenty of rice, noodle and ho fan (flat rice noodle) and chon fan (rice wrap) options. There’s a wealth of set menus from business lunches midweek to pre-theatres and set banquet menus as well as ones designed for groups of Chinese tourists on tour. + Dependable city centre Chinese feasts - Prices can start notching up The List Eating & Drinking Guide 131

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and an informative and well-chosen wine list. + Classy setting, classic cuisine - Poor choice for vegetarians

Satu Satu 93–97 St George’s Road, West End See Far East

Sichuan House 345–349 Sauchiehall Street, City Centre, 0141 333 1788, sichuanhouse.co.uk | £8.95 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Ho Wong (page 130): quality Chinese food at this well-established favourite in the city centre

Lychee Oriental 59 Mitchell Street, City Centre, 0141 248 2240, lycheeoriental.co.uk | £10.90 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Lychee Oriental is a sophisticated and modern take on the traditional Chinese restaurant – absent are the usual kitschy decorations, replaced by chic shades of cream, leather and dark wood. Tucked down a quiet side street near Central

Station and city centre shops, it’s a stylish spot to sample well-prepared standards. There are good value lunch and early evening menus encompassing a range of classic dishes, such as Hong Kong sweet and sour chicken or stir-fried king prawns with cashew nuts. Sesame-scattered honey chilli chicken balances sweet with heat, and prawn wontons are crisp and light. The

à la carte menu is where the chef’s imagination and skill is given a more thorough workout in dishes such as monkfish stew with XO sauce or claypot duck with pickled ginger and spring onion. Signature sizzling plates arrive with theatrical brio, piled high with beef, scallops or chicken and served with the diner’s sauce of choice. There is also a dedicated gluten-free menu

Diners looking to experience authentic, high-class Chinese cuisine would be well advised to visit Sichuan House. Specialising in the typically fiery dishes of that region, the menu makes few concessions for Western tastes, with sea snails, duck tongues and chicken gizzard among the more unusual ingredients to be found. Less adventurous eaters may prefer the house speciality of roasted sea bass served on or off the bone in a spicy sauce with sliced lotus root, air-dried tofu, belly pork and Chinese mushrooms, or perhaps tender fillet of beef in a delicious mandarin sauce. Each item on the menu is helpfully accompanied by a picture and a chilli pepper rating. A number of vegetable dishes is also available, making a shared meal an appealing prospect for a larger group or family. A few takeaway-style dishes lurk at the back of the menu but, given the quality of cooking and diversity of the cuisine, it would be a shame to miss out on this cultural dining experience. + High-end regional Chinese cuisine - Migraine-inducing flashing curtain lights

Ex xpe erien e ce e ou ur 1st Au uthe ent n ic i Sic ic chuan hu n Cu uissin ne in n Sco otla and d.

349 Sauchiehall Street G2 3HW

http:// www.sichuanhouse.co.uk

0141 333 1788

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FAR EAST FUSION, KOREAN, JAPANESE, MALAYSIAN, THAI, VIETNAMESE The Far Eastern restaurant scene is one of Glasgow’s liveliest. Street food culture has brought a taste of Asia to the west of Scotland, with many of the city’s inhabitants now knowing their baos from their bibimbaps. New additions this year from Vietnam, Japan and Malaysia reflect Glasgow’s growing appetite for all things Far Eastern. Pan-Asian menus abound, catering well for the various enthusiasms of the masses, although the real gems are to be found off the beaten track. Some of the city’s most innovative and modern restaurants lurk on these pages with a wealth of choice on offer for adventurous diners. Reviewers: Bronwen Livingston, Tara Hepburn

Banana Leaf MALAYSIAN 5 & 9 Byres Road, West End 0300 124 5099, bananaleafglasgow.com | Closed Mon | £11.50 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

Banana Leaf Byres Road is a smart choice for quality Malaysian food in a sophisticated setting. Entered through a welcoming lounge bar area, the dining room is dark and stylish with textured bronze walls and lanterns hung from the ceiling. The dining experience has a high-class gloss, with turmeric linens and a lovely variety of serving dishes in pottery, celadon and basketry, many lined with a strip of the trademark banana leaf. There’s an enticing choice of cocktails including Rose Sayang Martini and Pandan Daiquiri as well as several non-alcoholic variations. The food is traditional yet refined – achar is a dish of pickled vegetables with a whisper of chilli brought to the table to stimulate the appetite, chicken and prawn dumplings are served with a tangle of noodles and a choice of oyster or chilli sauce. Classic beef rendang showcases fall-apart meat in a rich and spicy sauce, while chicken skewers are crusted on the outside, moist inside and served with a carefully spiced satay sauce. Some dishes change seasonally according to availability of produce or traditional Chinese festivals. + A sophisticated take on traditional Chinese-Malaysian cuisine - Over-reliance on cucumber and white onion accompaniment

✱ NEW Banana Leaf MALAYSIAN 67 Cambridge Street, City Centre 0300 124 5099, bananaleafglasgow.com | Closed Mon | £10.50 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

This city centre restaurant is cosy and atmospheric, with dark décor, lanterns strung from the ceiling, and a striking banana leaf pattern panel on one wall. But the main draw is the food, whether it brings in Malaysian students filling up on plates of rice at lunchtime or family groups dining large on the celebration tasting menu. Run by three brothers, with dad in the kitchen, Banana Leaf turns out the classic flavours of Chinese-Malaysian food with style, and menus change monthly to accommodate seasonal

specialities. A shared starter plate gives a good introduction to the cuisine via musky spare ribs, chicken satay, peanut spinach salad, spring rolls, wontons, and pungent fish crackers. Main courses are categorised under headings such as Blast from the Past, and Village Dishes. Crisp anchovies and tiny, intensely flavoured peanuts add texture to a chicken curry plate while fried soft-shell crabs are accompanied with a thick chilli tomato sauce. There are interesting homemade drinks to choose from, too, including a tall tri-coloured milk tea flavoured with coconut sugar and the intriguing tea and coffee combination, yuenyeung. + Exciting flavour combinations - Uninspiring desserts

Bar Soba FUSION 79 Albion Street, Merchant City, 0141 237 1551, barsoba.co.uk | £8.95 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Not unlike the neighbouring restaurants and bars in Merchant Square, Bar Soba adheres to a certain remit. The cocktail list is thorough, the food menu plays it safe enough to cater to large mixed groups and the surroundings are stylish and well apportioned. This particular Bar Soba is generous with its ample space. From the entrance on Albion Street it would be easy to mistake the place for a small New York-style bar, as bartenders get to work shaking up cocktails under low lighting and red neon. The vast cocktail list ensures staff are agile mixologists, happy to make recommendations and go off-piste if your favourite tipple is not listed. Ask for a table and the true scale of the place is unveiled. The large space sprawls over two internal levels and out on to the main body of the square and above, where diners can sample Far Eastern food from a balcony area illuminated by fairy lights. The menu is inspired by street food dishes from across the Far East (the nasi goreng rice bowl is particularly accomplished) offering something for even the fussiest of palates. + Interesting daily specials - Limited draught beer selection

Bar Soba FUSION 116–122 Byres Road, West End, 0141 357 5482, barsoba.co.uk | £8.95 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Bar Soba works hard to balance the eating and drinking aspects of its business. Drinkers are well served with an excellent range of cocktails (check out the on-trend gin section) and there’s a busy programme of mixology masterclasses and promotions. Meanwhile diners are treated to panAsian cuisine with a funky edge. The same menu is served in both bar and restaurant areas and is divided into small and large plates. The small plates are ideal as starters or to accompany drinks. Thai-style prawn and crab cakes have a zingy lemongrass and ponzu sauce, and vegetable gyoza dumplings with teriyaki dip have a good balance of textures and tastes. Mains include pad Thai with a choice of prawn, vegetable or chicken skewers, and crispy Shanghai pork with black bean sauce. In a fun twist, the usual pudding choices have been replaced with dessert cocktails such as deluxe French martini with a white chocolate crispie cake. Staff are attentive and the vibe is laid-back, encouraging diners to linger over just one more cocktail. + Relaxed bar atmosphere with decent food choices - Few dessert options for non-drinkers

Bar Soba FUSION 11 Mitchell Lane, City Centre, 0141 204 2404, barsoba.co.uk | £8.95 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Mitchell Lane’s branch of the Bar Soba chain is uniquely appointed on the ground level of Scotland’s Centre for Design and Architecture, the Lighthouse. Seats on one half of the room line a glass wall which faces onto the reception area of the impressive Rennie Mackintosh designed building. Patrons can people-watch the hubbub of tourists and artists as they sip on a cocktail from the bar’s extensive menu. Most mixed drinks imaginable are available here, with pages dedicated to old favourites, in-house creations (notable mention goes to the Coconut and Chilli Daiquiri made with lychee syrup, coconut rum, served with a lemongrass and chilli sugar rim) and Far Eastern-inspired concoctions – a nod to the bar’s Pan-Asian food menu. Food on offer is more than a sum of its parts, a country-hopping selection of Thai curries, Japanese ramen, Indonesian rice bowls and beyond. It is well executed and more accomplished than it needs to be in a bar that already has a lot going for it. The Mitchell Lane spot boasts a carefully curated programme of live entertainment with in-demand DJs including Sub Club’s Harri and Domenic and DJ Mash booked in for regular slots. + Considered selection of local DJs - Less gluten-free and vegetarian options after recent menu change

Cailin’s Sushi

✱ HITLIST

FAR EAST ✱ Banana Leaf (Cambridge St) A well-situated restaurant offering Malaysian favourites as well as excitement for the discerning diner. ✱ Kimchi Cult This tiny restaurant off Byres Road brings a unique and seductive take on Korean flavours and dishes to the Glasgow street food scene. ✱ Nanakusa Nanakusa offers high standards of Japanese cooking with a wide range of dishes at reasonable prices and almost incredibly slick service. ✱ Ramen Dayo A pop-up Japanese diner – first on Gordon Street, now in La Cheetah Club (temporarily) – specialising in delicious ramen.

NOODLE & SUSHI BARS 1136 Argyle Street, City Centre, 0141 334 8637, cailinssushi.co.uk | £14 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

Cailin’s Sushi is a blink-and-you’llmiss-it eatery in the heart of the Finnieston strip. Visually the small sushi spot has stayed sparse and unassuming in a part of town where style is king. A chalkboard of weekly specials above a fridge of ice tea and soft drinks is about the only thing to look at if you are dining in at one of the restaurant’s two small tables. Perhaps the stream of delivery drivers (from every imaginable online outlet) popping in and speeding off on their bikes with large takeaway orders has focused their attention on the food. The decision has paid off, with Cailin’s providing reliably good quality dishes across a menu which excels at sushi. They do noodle dishes, bento boxes, sweet teriyaki donburi bowls and flex considerable muscle in these areas – but it makes good sense that they put sushi in their name. Some of the most imaginative sushi in the city is on offer here. Sea bass, surf clam and spiced tuna are among the highlights from a menu that is happy to push boundaries. Fans of authentic Japanese seafood rolls really must pay Cailin’s a visit. Or get them to come to you. + Creative sushi options - Dining in is disrupted by amount of delivery drivers

Chaophraya Glasgow THAI The Townhouse, Nelson Mandela Place, City Centre, 0141 332 0041, chaophraya.co.uk | £20 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Chaophraya is worth visiting for a gander at the interior alone. Situated on the corner of Nelson Mandela Place, the grand 1909 townhouse once housed the Royal Academy of Music and Drama. Names of famous composers are carved into the marble walls of the central stairwell. It now serves food and

drinks over four immaculately decorated floors, ceilings are high, original features perfectly preserved and soft furnishings have the subtle opulence of a 5 star hotel. Main courses begin at only £9, which seems like a small price to pay for dinner in such impressive surroundings. There is much to admire on the menu too. Imaginative dishes like crispy pork belly with fried Thai basil sit alongside very good versions of more run-of-the-mill choices, such as pad Thai. Ingredients are high quality and everything is a pretty safe bet, reflecting the reliable level of accomplishment you would expect from Europe’s largest Thai chain. A particularly well-devised selection of Thai cocktails are also on offer, the Taste of Thailand (green chilli vodka, lime, sugar and mint served in a martini glass) is a well-matched accompaniment for the restaurant’s fragrant curries. + Opulent surroundings - Limited vegetarian selection

The Hanoi Bike Shop VIETNAMESE 8 Ruthven Lane, West End, 0141 334 7165, hanoibikeshop.co.uk | £17 (lunch) / £17 (dinner)

The Hanoi Bike Shop does a brisk trade turning out aromatic and enticing Vietnamese dishes in a relaxed canteenstyle environment. Bicycle wheels hang from the ceiling as a nod to the name, and a jumble of mismatched furniture adds to the informal atmosphere. Sharing is encouraged, with sections of the menu dedicated to small dishes such as crisp pork spring rolls, Vietnamese fish cakes, and chilli and cauliflower fritters. Organic tofu is prepared daily from scratch and served with a variety of sauces, from gentle tomato and ginger to pungent chilli, peanut and mint. Their pho is rightly lauded, with several varieties on offer. A giant bowl of classic beef pho is a richly flavoured broth The List Eating & Drinking Guide 133

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packed with shreds of meat, beansprouts and slippery noodles. It’s served with a side of herbs, lemon and chilli for diners to augment the bowl as they please. The cuisine lends itself to allergen-free cooking, and extensive vegan and glutenfree menus are always available. A bowl of soothing milk sorbet or a strong, sweet Vietnamese coffee is a good end to the meal. + Homemade organic tofu - Small dishes are pricey

NEW Julie’s Kopitiam MALAYSIAN 1109 Pollokshaws Road, Southside, fb.com/juliesstreetfoodkitchen

After popping up at various culinary goings-on as Julie’s Street Kitchen, including the former street food hotspot Gordon Lane, Julie Lin MacLeod is set to bring her take on Malaysian cuisine to the old Café Strange Brew venue (who are moving across the street) in Shawlands on the Southside. The former MasterChef 2014 quarter-finalist and chef at Babu Bombay Street Kitchen, as well as regular cookery presenter on STV Glasgow, will be keeping things casual at her new kopitiam (Malaysian for ‘coffee shop’), which will be based on a favourite spot she used to visit in Melaka where her grandmother is from, while adding a few variations picked up in Scotland. She'll be dishing up modern takes on street food-style dishes such as char kuay teow, a smoky noodle dish, nasi lemak and ayam goreng – Malaysian fried chicken, as well as the ever-popular slow-roasted chicken satay. [Not open for a full review at time of going to press – check food.list.co.uk for updates.]

✱ Kimchi Cult KOREAN 14 Chancellor Street, West End, 0141 258 8081, kimchicult.com | Closed Sun/ Mon | £6 (set lunch) / £10 (dinner)

Opened in 2011, this street food-inspired restaurant has quickly developed a reputation among the city’s adventurous

TIPLIST FOR STEAK • Alston Bar & Beef 162 Well-pitched steakhouse with plenty of gins in a subterranean setting below Central Station. • The Butchershop Bar & Grill 163 Top quality meats meet stylish hang-out with views across Kelvngrove to the Museum and University. • CAU Glasgow 152 An Argentinian steakhouse with stylish décor, serving prime cuts of grass-fed Aberdeen Angus beef. • Dakota Deluxe Bar and Grill 121 Restaurant in the imposing Dakota Deluxe hotel offering swish cocktails, and succulent steaks in a suitably classy setting. • The Honours 121 A high-end brasserie – courtesy of chef and restaurateur Martin Wishart – with lavish steaks befitting the classy surroundings. • Porter & Rye 164 Top quality, highly aged meats set the tone for a stylish bistro experience in the heart of Finnieston

diners. The Korean fast food menu is cooked up in an open kitchen at the back of the small (capacity 10) rustic restaurant. Korean advertising, reclaimed wood and colourful bar stools complete the look, which offers a trendy Glaswegian take on Far Eastern tradition. The food bridges this gap as well, with Kimchi cheese fries one of the most popular dishes on offer – effectively chips and cheese topped with the spicy fermented cabbage that gave the restaurant its name. Rice bowls (bibimbap) topped with shredded vegetables, a fried egg and your choice of meat or tofu are a great introduction to the flavours in this cuisine and the quality of the chefs at work. Specials change weekly and where possible make playful reference to the calendar – think haggis and kimchi kraut grilled cheese for Burns’ Night. It reflects the enthusiasm for the place that Kimchi Cult are now even selling their own merchandise. + Fresh original menu - No toilet

Kitsch Inn THAI 214 Bath Street, City Centre, 0141 332 1341, tikibarglasgow.com | £8 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

The Kitsch Inn is a lesson in quirky but elegant décor. Spread over two large rooms separated by an archway, the dining room is a deep teal colour which shows off the immaculate original cornicing. On the other side – in an area painted a rich 1960s orange – bartenders shake up a tropical selection of cocktails from a list devised by the mixologists in the associated Tiki Bar downstairs. Not that patrons would have any idea, the restaurant has maintained a subdued atmosphere despite the lively bar beneath. Booth seating in geometric prints sets the tone for Kitsch Inn’s mid-century modern interiors. Pulled together with skilfully mismatched kitsch stylings – a starburst clock, retro bowling pins, framed sports memorabilia, the restaurant is worth a visit for the décor alone. The Thai menu is similarly accomplished but treads a more familiar track. Very good versions of pad Thai, green curry and chicken with chilli jam are available. Sharing platters also give a good indication of the varied prowess of the chefs at work. Vegetable tempura is delicately battered and crunchy and salads judiciously dressed. + Slick retro styling - Toilets shared with the louder bar downstairs

NEW Mamafubu FUSION 61–65 Glassford Street, Merchant City, 0141 552 9798, mamafubu.com | £11 (lunch) / £11 (dinner)

This large Pan Asian restaurant in the Merchant City comes from the team behind Partick’s Dumpling Monkey. Décor is minimal but effective, large curved windows ensure it is flooded with natural light during the day. The dumplings that made them such a wordof-mouth success in the West End are out in force, with chicken, pork and vegetable varieties available. Their ability to deliver properly done pot sticker dumplings (part steamed/part fried) is without question – perhaps the best that Glasgow has to offer. Elsewhere on the street food-inspired menu diners can sample very good steamed buns with cleverly constructed fillings such as pork belly with Taiwanese red sugar and fried aubergine topped with kimchi (Korean fermented cabbage). Their Vietnamese banh mi (stuffed baguettes) feel heavier and more western in style than you might expect to find in a restaurant of this type. Nonetheless the shredded

Temaki (page 136): fusion street food from this city centre newcomer

lettuce and sriracha mayo dressing is an expertly judged flavour combination that works well with the variety of fillings on offer (chicken katsu comes highly recommended) and would make for an excellent lunch on the go. + Immaculate dumplings - Elegant tableware feels at odds with street food menu

✱ Nanakusa JAPANESE 441 Sauchiehall Street, City Centre, 0141 332 6303, nanakusa.co.uk | £7.95–£10.95 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Nanakusa occupies a deceptively large and tranquil premises among Sauchiehall Street’s music bars. It attracts a similarly hip and unflashy crowd drawn in by the high-quality Japanese food and considered selection of bottled beers. Three pages of starters and another two of sushi allow diners to play tapas with the menu to great effect, with some unique dishes lurking on the pages. The seaweed salad, a combination of cucumber, lettuce, carrots, sesame seeds and seaweed is dressed in a well balanced lime and soy dressing, a simple indication of the kitchen’s know-how when it comes to flavour. Kakiage – a sort of Japanese onion baji, deep fried with carrot strips and kale – is another highlight from starters that tread adventurous ground. Main courses are more familiar. The chilli noodles are more than a sum of their parts, flavoursome and moreish with a fresh red chilli heat – you can understand why they put their name on them. Their seemingly simple green tea ice-cream tastes delicately sweet like a gently brewed green tea and arrives topped with sweet red beans. + Creative starters - Picture menu undersells the food

Nippon Kitchen JAPANESE 91 West George Street, City Centre, 0141 328 3113, nipponrestaurant.co.uk | £12 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Nippon Kitchen looks to serve up good quality Japanese cuisine in an elegant setting. The wood-panelled dining room is hung with kabuki masks and fabric panels of Japanese woodcuts and, while spacious, its layout allows for a sense of intimacy. The expansive menu covers the full gamut of choices, from tempura and donburi bowls to noodle dishes and sushi platters. Many menu items are inspired by recipes and techniques collected in Japan and practically everything is made in-house, from sushi to ice-cream. Bento boxes are a good choice for the indecisive, served with miso soup and rice, each variety includes a number of items such as vegetable gyoza, chicken and spring onion skewer, and soft-shell crab, as well as a portion of sushi. Chicken in a light batter cooked on the teppan grill is elevated by an accompanying spicy tomato sauce and spanking fresh fish is showcased in topnotch sashimi. Equal care is paid to the wine list, and a selection of premium sakes and Japanese whiskies is also available. + Contemporary Japanese cuisine in elegant surroundings - Chicken skewers a little dry

NEW Non Viet VIETNAMESE 536–538 Sauchiehall Street, City Centre, 0141 332 2975, nonviet.co.uk | £10 (set lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Non Viet is the latest addition to Glasgow’s limited selection of Vietnamese restaurants, doubling the options in the city. Located at the heart

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of the Sauchiehall Street strip, it is a surprisingly calm and refined eatery. The décor is a mix of wood-panelled walls, low-hanging lights and suspended bicycles, giving the restaurant a stamp of modernity that almost verges on a chain-like aesthetic. The menu quickly establishes that Non Viet is anything but, with plenty of unusual options to choose from. The delicately balanced and refreshing summer rolls are the pick of the starters section. Slow-cooked caramelized dishes arrive bubbling away, just as they are served in the markets of Vietnam and Cambodia. Flavour combinations are well-judged, evidenced in small details such as the sweet and sour salad dressing. Strong after-dinner coffee is served in a glass with condensed milk, after trickling through a small metal drip filter which sits on top of it. It might seem gimmicky if it were any less delicious. For diners who long for a taste of the Vietnamese food they enjoyed on their travels, Non Viet will not disappoint. + Vietnamese coffee - Chain restaurant aesthetic

Obu Pan Asian FUSION Princes Square, 48 Buchanan Street, City Centre, 0141 221 7044, obupanasian.co.uk | £11.95 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Obu occupies a deceptively large spot on the top deck of Princes Square. Tables of booth seating extend out from the sleek black and chrome interior onto the courtyard overlooking the shopping centre. Diners can be spotted here sipping in-house cocktails such as Japanese Plum Sour or Thai Spiced, a tropical gin and pineapple combination spiked with lively ginger and lemongrass. A selection of sakes are also on offer, each listed on the menu with thorough tasting notes. While it might be the inviting clink of glasses that first draws shoppers in, the food is worth stopping for too. Obu’s menu occupies a particular niche on the food court, devised in the increasingly popular Pan-Asian tradition. Dishes from Japan, Thailand and China share the pages offering a greatest hits of all cuisines. Hoisin duck sits alongside Korean fried chicken and Thai curry as main courses. High quality ingredients mean that good food can be had across the board, with kimchi gyoza and expertly steamed Taiwainese baos being among the highlights. + Inventive cocktail menu - Hustle and bustle of shopping centre

Pickled Ginger JAPANESE 512 St Vincent Street, West End, 0141 328 8941, pickledgingerfinnieston.co.uk | £14 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

From street level, Pickled Ginger looks every inch the trendy Finnieston drinks establishment – high-sided window reveal little more to passers-by than a large bar area with mixologists at work, a formidable coffee machine and small handful of candlelit tables. Duck in under the restaurant’s neon sign and discover that there is much more on offer in this slick, modern Japanese diner that tips its hat to the hipster aesthetic without going all in. Menus offer up an array of fairly familiar dishes. All are done well, making it difficult to make a bad choice here. Daily specials allow chefs to get creative with more adventurous options – sushi deepfried in tempura batter deserves to be a regular feature on the menu. If you do accidentally pop in for a cocktail, they have that covered. Ask for a recommendation from their clever list of in-house creations (expect lemongrass

and chilli notes) or make the most of their extensive sake library. Staff are fun but efficient, giving the place a convivial feel that stays with you after you leave. + Warm sociable vibe - Menu is fairly safe

✱ NEW Ramen Dayo JAPANESE 73 Queen Street, City Centre, 0141 328 3202, ramendayo.com | £12 (dinner)

Stepping into this snug, dimly lit diner is to be transported to a Tokyo backstreet – lanterns are strung out, a large projector screen silently plays Studio Ghibli or Japanese arthouse films. This restaurant, specialising in ramen (Japanese noodle soup), may not seem like a likely setting for culinary raptures, the love and care invested in the preparation of this iconic dish is evident in every mouthful. Bone broth has many supposed health benefits, but it’s the taste that matters – and this tastes sublime. It’s been coddled by chefs working round-the-clock shifts and its 24-hour cooking time gives it complexity and depth. It’s enriched to create a silky texture and served with toppings including wood-dried mushrooms, spring onions, sliced pork and shards of nori seaweed. It’s worth shelling out for the soft-boiled egg to top your bowl, its custardy yolk and white permeated with a soy and sake marinade create a gentle foil for the intense soup. Variants on the ramen theme include black miso and a spicy, sesame-based vegetarian version. Exemplary gyoza are a good accompaniment while zingy homemade ginger beer or, of course, sake are both wise beverage options. + Ramen that transports you to Japan - Not actually being in Japan

Rumours Kopitiam MALAYSIAN 21 Bath Street, City Centre, 0141 353 0678 | £15 (lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Rumours Kopitiam is a well-appointed Malaysian restaurant bang in the city centre. Sitting above a busy street corner, the unassuming glass fronted restaurant is popular with an even mix of locals and expat Malaysians. For much of the day the aesthetic is more low-key café than restaurant but as the evening approaches candles and table dressings indicate a change of tone and make the picture a little clearer. Dishes on offer reflect the wide parameters of Malaysian cuisine along with a few nods to neighbouring countries (a rich pad Thai is one of their most popular dishes). A quick chat with staff reveals the rewards on offer for adventurous diners. Their agile chefs welcome off-piste choices, for example a steamed sea bass cooked with a judicious marinade of Malay flavours – soy sauce, ginger and spring onion – makes for a great introduction to the country’s palate. Curries and other slow-cooked hotpot dishes are an area of particular achievement, deep savoury notes lift the fragrant sauces to create comfort dishes that feel authentically Malaysian. + Slow-cooked Malaysian dishes - Canteen-like aesthetic

NEW Satu Satu MALAYSIAN 93–97 St George’s Road, West End, 0141 237 4515, satusatu.co.uk | Closed Sat | £7.95 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

This down-to-earth diner serves up a genuine taste of Malaysian-Chinese cuisine with flair and good humour. The open kitchen takes up one side of the dining room, meaning meals are punctuated by clattering pots and flashes of fire. Meanwhile delightful waiting staff give pointers to diners unfamiliar with the cuisine on offer. The menu covers a broad range, but of particular The List Eating & Drinking Guide 135

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interest are the signature dishes. Many dishes have a chilli undercurrent and a deft hand with spicing enhances rather than overpowers. Malaysian-style chicken wings have crisp skins dusted with aromatic salt, while hard-boiled eggs are deep-fried and topped with a punchy anchovy and chilli sambal sauce. King prawns, peppers and stink beans (a delicious crunchy legume) are fried with a complex, spicy belachan sauce and served with boiled or coconut rice. Owner Vivianne hails from Hong Kong, where desserts are a national obsession, and she’s brought many of her favourites to Glasgow – good picks are cooling red or green mung bean sweet soup, squidgy peanut-filled dumplings bathed in hot coconut milk or mango pomelo sago. + Exciting Asian desserts - Noisy air conditioning

NEW Temaki FUSION 113 Hope Street, City Centre, 0141 248 1869, temakiglasgow.co.uk | £14 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

There’s a distinct canteen vibe in Temaki’s long narrow dining space – benches line the walls, there’s just one table in the window and food is served in cardboard trays, with disposable bamboo chopsticks the only cutlery available. Paper placemats double as tickbox menus, covering a range of sushi, bento, a few noodle and rice dishes, and k-cupbop (Korean street-style cup noodles in a variety of flavours with vegetable additions). Well-known dishes such as maki and nigiri are turned out with ease by chefs working busily in the open kitchen, while the eponymous temaki is a generous hand-rolled sushi cone spilling with rice, vegetables, and the filling of your choice, such as tempura sweet potato, BBQ eel or salmon and avocado. Temaki’s star item is the sushi burrito, a giant sushi roll, filled with their signature pink rice and loaded with avocado, shredded lettuce and a protein filling such as salmon, tuna or teriyaki chicken. There’s a brisk trade in takeaway and while the ambience is pleasant, the hard chairs may not encourage diners to linger too long. + Super sushi - Side-by-side seating

Thairiffic THAI 303 Sauchiehall Street, City Centre, 0141 332 3000, thairifficrestaurant.com | £9.90 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Thairiffic has a large first-floor premises on Sauchiehall Street yet the high-ceilinged corner restaurant is impressively serene and gives diners a great vantage point on the silent hubbub of activity below. Service is accordingly slick and subtle. The menu features a greatest hits of Thai favourites, most available with your choice of meat or vegetables. Staff are diligent and well informed about the dishes on offer. They are enthusiastic about some of the more creative dishes on the menu, keen for diners to take a chance on something they might not have tried before. Wellappointed for nearby theatres and music venues, Thairiffic makes the most of the fact with impressive lunch and early dinner deals designed to pull in some of that footfall. Their two course lunch and pre-theatre menus represent good value for money (prices start from £9.90 and £13.95 respectively for two courses). Dishes on offer reflect the highlights of the à la carte – the massamun curry and popular chicken basil stir-fry (a fragrant Thai street-food dish) are among the selection. + Great pre-theatre deals - Drinks selection could be improved

FISH Fish fans are spoiled for choice in Glasgow. The city is, of course, blessed to be within a van’s drive of Scotland’s coastal fish markets, but there is much more in play than simple geography. It takes great skill and confidence to run a seafood restaurant; apart from the practicalities of keeping supplies fresh, the ideas have to be fresh too, and the delicate task of balancing flavours with the subtleties of seafood is a crucial consideration. As a result, the fish section is very strong. The good news is that the section is also reasonably small – so anyone with a modicum of commitment can sample them all before next year’s update. Reviewer: Andrea Pearson, Tiff Griffin

✱ NEW A’Challtainn 54 Calton Entry, East End, 0141 237 9220, achalltainn.com | Closed Mon/ Tue | £18 (lunch) / £25 (dinner)

Taking its name from the Gaelic for hazel wood (and Calton district), A’Challtainn is more than a cool bar and restaurant. A former covered market in the Barras is now reborn as Barras Art and Design and planned as the hub of an enterprising neighbourhood – the surrounding units house artisan producers and potential collaborators. Events in the adaptable indoor-outdoor space range from guest chef Long Tables to after-gig Q and As and vintage fairs. It is a bold vision, but the energy and experience of Ricky Scoular and David Traynor (from Sub Club), together with the creativity and enthusiasm of head chef Garry Gill,

TIPLIST FOR A GOOD LUNCH DEAL • Black Dove 119 Lively bistro in the heart of Shawlands serving impressive food of exceptional quality, joined by an extensive wine list.

137 • The Fish People Café A classy neighbourhood fish specialist next to Shields Road subway – with sourcing from the associated fishmongers opposite. 158 • Hotel du Vin Bistro A grand townhouse hotel with bags of style and top-end dining – a real special-occasion venue. 148 • La Lanterna Long-established Italian restaurant in the city centre with skilfully prepared food that is traditional and inventive. 161 • The Spanish Butcher Rusk & Rusk’s latest venture, set within New York loft-style interiors, with fine cuts of Galician beef and seafood. • Two Fat Ladies 138 at the Buttery A sophisticated Scottish and fish favourite from the Two Fats group, with a lavish Highland country hotel feel.

Gandolfi Fish: high-quality seafood and great wines from the Gandolfi group

should make this a reality. Food is modern and beautifully presented as a proper meal – not as stingy small plates. Expect dishes showcasing seasonal ingredients and skills – charred asparagus, sea trout in a white wine cream, or sweet beetroot gravlax – garnished delicately with truffle oil, micro coriander or pansies. Low season online-only offers also make this a truly affordable gastronomic experience. Hazel trees can live for 80 years – here’s hoping. + An international city-break feel – in a good way - Low light levels after dark lessens the full effect of pretty presentation

almost unchanged since it opened in 2009 to great excitement in the then comparatively uncharted Finnieston but the extra-long specials board always has intriguing and tantalizing options. Crab cakes are great (are they smaller now or is it a Curly Wurly-type thing?) and the seared scallops in anchovies will persuade you to ignore current medical guidance on daily butter intake. Now open seven days a week, it’s an ideal place to swoop in for a quick seafood fix – but then perhaps slope off to a neighbouring establishment for more comfortable afters. + Butter, seafood, more butter - Restaurant prices, kiosk comfort

Arisaig

✱ The Finnieston

1 Merchant Square, Merchant City See Scottish

1125 Argyle Street, West End, 0141 222 2884, thefinniestonbar.com | £15 (lunch) / £25 (dinner)

City Merchant

The Finnieston may look like a casual harbourside-style pub but it is really a pretty sophisticated eatery. A commitment to Scottish produce is evident throughout the menu – most notably in signature Scottish fish and seafood from named suppliers. It also screams seasonality: in winter, roots, brassicas and nuts feature – sometimes taking centre stage (a vegetarian could dine like royalty). The results are delightful and surprising in equal measure. A very lightly pickled red cabbage sits beautifully with a charred mackerel that evokes a shoreline barbecue, while roast cauliflower and a celeriac purée lift tender scallops to even greater heights. Cauliflower, puréed this time, adds a duvet of comfort to roast sea bass. Slightly

97–99 Candleriggs, Merchant City See Scottish

Crabshakk 1114 Argyle Street, West End, 0141 334 6127, crabshakk.com | £28 (lunch) / £32 (dinner)

If Crabshakk were chocolate it might eat itself. Granted it serves what could be the best langoustines in town – large, sweet, juicy, piping hot and stunning – but why make people teeter on stools at the bar, or balance these fruits of the sea on little wobbly wooden benches? The crowds don’t seem to mind though so it is worth booking early to avoid these stingier perches – other tables are available. The small menu has remained

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off-continent is a millisecond-seared tuna with ginger and soy – but the accompanying slivers of carrot and daikon radish steer it back home. Puds join seasonal celebrations, too – pumpkin parfait with cobnut brittle, salty pumpkin purée and sweet caramel is a real triumph. The bar in which cocktails are to the fore – the Botanical Elder, for instance, perfectly balances an Islay Botanist with apricot liqueur and elderflower tonic – deserves a visit in its own right. + Every dish thoughtfully created - Strange configuration of toilets

The Fish People Café 350 Scotland Street, Southside, 0141 429 8787, thefishpeoplecafe.co.uk | Closed Mon | £14 (set lunch) / £26 (dinner)

It is said of New York that if you can make it there you can make it anywhere. The same is true of Scotland Street. There ain’t much there except a Mackintosh School and one of the best fishmongers in the city – of which the Fish People Café is an offshoot. The remarkable fact that the shop has been there for almost 20 years means a supply of the finest, seasonal fish in this sophisticated oyster bar-style restaurant is not a problem. Chef John Gillespie, there since the restaurant opened in 2012, is consistently on good form. Icelandic prawns are paired perfectly with soft, sharp goat’s cheese in a starter, while a seared tuna is immaculately presented, accompanied by seaweed and a wasabi horseradish. A rich smoked bacon topping to scallops give them a real kick, while the paperbaked sole with Asian-style vegetables – unfurled with a soupçon of drama – is a great comfort. A lovely dinner is topped off with a perfect passionfruit posset and a surprisingly light chocolate pudding. As good as the food is the confident and friendly service. Good marks all round. + Next to Shields Road underground - Next to Shields Road underground

✱ Gamba 225a West George Street, City Centre, 0141 572 0899, gamba.co.uk | £20 (set lunch) / £34 (dinner)

After two decades, this oasis of hospitality – in a desert of solicitor and IFA offices – is still, rightly, winning friends and awards. It champions Scottish produce to the max – Gigha halibut, South Shian salmon, Shetland cod, Marrbury smoked salmon and so on – and it is evident that chef patron Derek Marshall regularly scours Europe’s culinary hotspots for contemporary inspiration. A picturesque sashimi plate of tuna and scallop ascends the sushi heights, while a salmon tartare is topped by a spicy Bloody Mary sorbet which is the stuff of dreams. Main courses are French-inspired and Scottish in nature (loads of sauce, no pipette-blobs here). This works wonderfully well with a hake and smoked haddie in a scallop coral cream – comforting and rich like a Cullen skink for royal mermaids – but perhaps less so when a strong, bittersweet orange sauce dominates delicate halibut. Pretty puddings enter the stage like divas. It is easy to accept that, as is reported, a frozen chocolate and peanut butter cake made one diner weep with happiness. The warm cherry and coconut bakewell is equally swoonsome. Be ready to part with cash (or take the pre-theatre bargain) and rejoice. + A sublime salmon tartare with Bloody Mary sorbet - Orange sauce a little overpowering

Gandolfi Fish 84 Albion Street, Merchant City, 0141 552 9475, cafegandolfi.com | £15.95 (set lunch) / £24 (dinner)

Despite the sleekly minimal lines of its sophisticated interior, this upmarket fish restaurant has a very Glaswegian warmth to it. That comes, perhaps, from it being part of the Gandolfi stable whose tables have entertained diners in the city for nearly 40 years. Here the emphasis is firmly on beautifully presented seafood, much of it landed off Scotland’s west coast. Chunky, buttery halibut goes surprisingly well with a Pinot Noir from the finely constructed wine list, while the squid in Vietnamese sauce showcases what is a global menu. On the same theme, soft peat-smoked haddock makes a great partner for a bed of soft potatoes infused with Indian spices. More traditionally, the hay-smoked trout with beetroot is a delicate way to begin and elsewhere on the menu there are Scottish classics like Cullen skink or a superior fish and chips. Staff are keen and knowledgeable but never stuffy, and amid the upmarket, stylishly designed dining space the shiny fine dining retains a discernible Scottish heart and soul. + Expertly cooked Scottish fish - Dodgy artwork lets the side down

Mussel Inn 157 Hope Street, City Centre, 0141 572 1405, mussel-inn.com | £7.95 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Very much a does-what-it-says-on-the-tin kind of place, Mussel Inn is the place to go for mussels. Huge steaming pots waft their way from the open kitchen to tables in the bright, marine blue and white restaurant. It is a pleasant, casual environment and for the most part the dedicated kitchen team let the ingredients do the talking in quite simple dishes. Mussels, served in five ways from ‘natural’ to ‘Moroccan’ and ‘blue cheese’, taste so fresh you could believe they had been plucked from a tank out the back. Of course, they aren’t, and subtly placed collection envelopes for a fishermen’s welfare fund serves as a reminder of the efforts made to deliver fish and seafood to the table. The menu offers much more than mussels. Surf and turf options, for instance, provide hearty dining while an Asian-spiced fish stew, a sloe gin-smoked salmon and chargrilled king scallops on feather-light strips of courgette indicate the chefs’ ambitions and talents. It has good puds, too. The choice of subtle pear as a flavour for chilled parfait is possibly not the wisest, but it is a commendable effort, and the warm chocolate torte with orange and almond is delicious. + Surprisingly good puds - Small scallops

✱ HITLIST

FISH ✱ A’Challtainn The seed of an idea planted in the Barras, offering quality fish and seafood dishes and a life-affirming enthusiasm for the city. ✱ The Finnieston Fresh, seasonal and innovative cooking from one of the most exciting dining spots in trendy Finnieston.

Passionate about Seafood

✱ Gamba Continuing to invent and reach the culinary heights even after two decades of serving the city.

61-65 RoseStreet Street 157 Hope Edinburgh EH2 2NH Glasgow G2 2UQ Reservations 0141 0131 572 225 1405 5979 Reservations

✱ Two Fat Ladies at the Buttery Like a genteel country house escape in the city – and now handy for Finnieston bars or nearby entertainments.

157 Hope 61-65 RoseStreet Street Glasgow G2 Edinburgh EH22UQ 2NH Reservations Reservations 0141 0131 572 225 1405 5979

www.mussel-inn.com

Multi Award Winning Seafood Restaurant

Rogano 11 Exchange Place, City Centre, 0141 248 4055, roganoglasgow.com | £16.50 (set lunch) / £32 (dinner)

Established in 1935, Rogano is Glasgow’s oldest restaurant and it is truly a wonder for that reason. Having been modelled internally on the Queen Mary, it offers the city pure art deco decadence. Sitting at the bar, and supping on a Bellini cocktail, with Louis Jordan singing double negatives about poultry in the background, things are pretty darn swell. But elsewhere there is a touch of faded grandeur about the place. The restaurant seems a little unloved – tables are placed a bit awkwardly and the vintage toilets seem a bit more Cal Mac than Cunard. The food has ebbed a bit, too, and is a little inconsistent. On the one hand the set lunch/early evening menu changes each week, offering plenty of choice, and brimming with skills and

www.Gamba.co.uk 225A West George St, G2 2ND 0141 572 0899

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flavour; and the classic Rogano fish soup is a delight. On the other hand, the Taste Of Rogano menu at £45 lacks the kind of flourishes it deserves at the price. Cheery staff do a great job though – perhaps it’s just that the outstanding seafood elsewhere in the city makes this old dame look a little tired. + Ocean-going elegance - Won’t float everyone’s boat

NEW Salt & Vinegar 1044 Pollokshaws Rd, Southside, 0141 632 7289, saltandvinegarglasgow.co.uk | £14 (lunch) / £19 (dinner)

JAMES & LOUISE RUSK ON TURNING HERITAGE INTO DESTINATION DINING The Hutchesons’ Hospital building had been sitting empty for eight years. We’d often imagined bringing it back to life. One day there was a To Let sign on it; 20 minutes later we were standing in the building with the agent. The National Trust for Scotland, who own it, was looking for tenants and we pitched for it. We thought, this could be something absolutely awesome: a beautiful restaurant that combines heritage and culture with a marquee dining destination. Of course, there were challenges along the way. We didn’t even have a kitchen; we had to make sure that everything was structurally sound; all the electrics, all the plumbing was brand new; all the walls had to be refabricated. The key was to make sure that we were sympathetic to the building, to keep that sense of heritage, and ensure that the type of dining would match the size and volume of the space. Seeing our dreams come to fruition was overwhelming. Over the years, we look back and go ‘wow!’. Turning an old building into a restaurant means it has a purpose, means that people can enjoy it, that it’s not museumeque but a living and breathing space that showcases our heritage. This building needs warmth, it needs air, so having a restaurant and a bar open with people in here all day keeps it alive. It keeps talking to you. It needs a little extra love and attention, and a lot of stroking. ■ James and Louise Rusk are owners of Hutchesons Bar & Brasserie, as well as The Butchershop Bar & Grill and The Spanish Butcher. hutchesonsglasgow.com

Trays of fresh fish and sacks of potatoes are on show by the door of Salt & Vinegar, newly opened in Shawlands on the city’s Southside. As the name would imply, fish and chips are very much what the place is about. These two essential components are served up brilliantly – the fish is fresh, succulent and cooked perfectly and the chips are certainly in good hands at the spotless, new fryers. But Salt & Vinegar also has an Italian heritage, and alongside the chippy staples on the menu is a selection of bruschetta, pasta and risotto. Some of this is terrific – the tomato bruschetta is fresh and full of flavour and the hot chilli king prawns served on Italian toast are plump and fulsome. But the Italian mains veer a little off course, with pre-made sauces being allowed to swamp the fresh fish, rather than allowing a smidgen of butter and lemon to suffice. It is a busy wee place though, staff are lovely and as the restaurant is currently waiting for a drinks licence, it makes for a great value night out (with a nice bottle of vino from the Co-op). + Fresh succulent fish . . . - . . . swamped by sauces

Two Fat Ladies 88 Dumbarton Road, West End, 0141 339 1944, twofatladiesrestaurant.com | Closed Mon/Tue | £15.95 (set lunch) / £26 (dinner)

The original Two Fat Ladies (at number 88, geddit?) is a wonderful retreat for those who want to pretend we are still European. The wrought

iron window grille and seabed-themed gilt frieze would not look out of place in Barcelona and the narrow internal space, hung with wall paintings, feels very Parisian. Similarly, the refreshingly unfussy fish dishes could be served in a Mediterranean taverna; fish fillets, such as the three featured on the daily fish platter, are left largely unadorned, panfried and served with a sizeable hunk of lemon and a bowl of chunky seasonal veggies. By contrast, cheery frontof-house staff are pure dead Scottish, and all the better for it. Even first-time diners are likely to be welcomed like old friends, encouraged to choose their own table or sample a recommended wine. Overall the kitchen doesn’t serve up many surprises with competent staples such as Cullen skink, smoked salmon with horseradish, and scallops with black pudding. The puddings, on the other hand, are wedding-cataloguepretty and add a vibrant flourish to finish. + Great front-of-house vibe - Menu a little unambitious

✱ Two Fat Ladies at the Buttery 652 Argyle Street, West End, 0141 221 8188, twofatladiesrestaurant.com | £16.95 (set lunch) / £26 (dinner)

The Buttery is one of Glasgow’s best foodie survival stories. Positioned in, let’s face it, not the prettiest of locations (thanks, the 1960s) it has ploughed its quality furrow with determination. And these days, under the care of the Two Fats family and rubbing shoulders with Finneston and the Hydro, it is deservedly being rediscovered. Walking through the door offers a real-life Narnia-throughthe-wardrobe transformation. From the gritty city outside, guests enter a grand Highland country house hotel bar, with all its rich mahogany, oak and tartan. And yes, a greeter in a kilt, too. It’s a lovely touch and just the kind of place to bring any visiting work colleague or house guest to experience a real taste of Scotland. As you might imagine, the food is top-notch. The menu combines contemporary seafood

creations such as a roulade starter of salmon, cream cheese and nori, or a halibut with smoked haddock cream, with traditional, seasonal Scottish dishes such as beef fillet with Stornoway black pudding and a pear sauce. Portions are generous and a house speciality is the belt-busting and delightful grand dessert – but the delicate selection of homemade petit fours should also be squeezed in. + Refreshing to see decent portion sizes - Some might find the vintage cups a bit quaint

Two Fat Ladies in the City 118a Blythswood Street, City Centre, 0141 847 0088, twofatladiesrestaurant. com | £16 (set lunch) / £26 (dinner)

This is an establishment that knows what it is about. Staff are reassuring and friendly and the mouthwatering descriptions on the menu hint at the talents in the kitchen. Although a fish restaurant, there are plenty of choices for both veggies and meat-eaters. Presentation of every dish is picture perfect – from the precise drizzle of oil with the smoked salmon and creamed avocado starter to the crispy skinned sea bream fillet, placed in the centre of a plate of bright pea velouté and topped with delicate butternut squash spaghetti. An accompanying bowl of chunky potatoes and seasonal veg is the only foray into informality. Desserts keep the level of performance high, typically combining comforting crèmes and toasted nut textures with a lemon balm garnish and a vivacious fruit coulis – presented in a beautiful teardrop shape. Rest assured – it all tastes as good as it looks. Remarkably, an early evening diner can enjoy all three courses at this standard for less than £20. It is no wonder that so many of the local hotels recommend Two Fats to guests. + Both beautiful and tasty - Cullen skink a bit heavy on raw syboes

Urban Bar & Brasserie 23–25 St Vincent Place, City Centre See Bistros & Brasseries

A'Challtainn (page 136): enticing seafood served up in the Barras Art and Design centre in the famous market 138 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

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FRENCH Over the years, Glasgow has struggled to retain more than one or two truly authentic French dining experiences – sadly pickings have become slimmer than ever. The cuisine, synonymous with fine dining and luxury, combines intricate dishes and technical cooking skills. Glimpses of such can be seen within the category, though more widely demonstrated in our Scottish and bistro sections. One restaurant still leads the way and is thankfully going nowhere anytime soon. Reviewer: Kirsty Bush

✱ HITLIST

FRENCH ✱ Brian Maule at Chardon d’Or A masterclass in fine dining, impeccable local sourcing and cooking with skill and complexity.

Atlantic Bar & Brasserie Lower Ground, 12–16 St Vincent Place, City Centre, 0141 221 0220, atlanticbrasserie.co.uk | £9.95 (set lunch) / £25 (dinner)

Counting Italian, Spanish, seafood and now French restaurants within their repertoire, the Di Maggios group have successfully diversified into a range of cuisines. On arrival at their sub-street level French contingent, the eye is drawn to the large open kitchen towards the back where rotisserie chickens can be seen revolving on a spit – a popular and tasty main, served whole to share or half to yourself, with a choice of béarnaise sauce, smoked hickory or simply chicken juices. Three side dishes accompany such as sautéed peas and gem lettuce with smoked pancetta, buttered baby spinach and duck fat roast potatoes. Starters may include goat’s cheese, snails or mussels – plump and fresh though a salty sauce of white wine, garlic and cream rather overpowers the delicate meat. Elsewhere, expect duck á l’orange, beef bourguinon and an enjoyable bouillabaisse with soft white fish cooked in a pernod and saffron broth, potato gnocchi adds an unusual texture to the famous dish. To the right of the entrance a long ornate bar serves a mix of classic and contemporary cocktails, an ideal place for an after-dinner aperitif. + Luxurious surroundings to enjoy great chicken - Menu could do with streamlining

NEW Beaumartin – The Cottage 156 Milngavie Road, West End

The Franco-Scots duo – restaurateur Richard Dupupet and Angus-born chef Andrew Stott – behind Glasgow’s recent Le Bistro Beaumartin, which closed its city centre doors in early 2016, are set to bring their modern Auld Alliance back as plans to open in Bearsden should reach fruition in summer 2017. Set in one of the oldest buildings in the well-heeled suburb, close to Hillfoot Station, the Cottage promises a unique setting for the same relaxed informality and topnotch European-inspired cooking that popularised their former restaurant. Also proprietor of fondue-specialist Le Chalet Beaumartin at Kelvinbridge (see entry in this section), Dupupet is a hands-on owner who’ll no doubt be bringing a little of his Gallic flair for interior décor to the new restaurant, while chef Stott will be utilising quality Scottish and local produce for a menu that promises plenty of French and Mediterranean-inspired dishes. [Not open for a full review at time of going to press – check food.list.co.uk for updates.]

La Bonne Auberge 161 West Nile Street, City Centre, 0141 352 8310, labonneauberge.co.uk | £21.95

(set lunch) / £27 (dinner)

La Bonne Auberge has been going strong for over 40 years, a sign their formula works – for half of this time as a hotel restaurant, attached to the Holiday Inn chain. A large bar area, which is keen to showcase itself as a cocktail bar, is busy with mostly hotel guests while the restaurant area is a mixture of guests and locals, ready to take advantage of the many different dining deals available, before or after a trip to one of the nearby theatres. Inside, the décor is a little dated and service could perhaps be more efficient but the menu is interesting with some solid cooking and well-executed dishes to be found. Smoked duck breast – sourced from Scotland’s Rannoch smokery and paired with crottin, a goat’s cheese from the Loire Valley – makes a great started, little cubes of pear jelly adding a sweet note to the finish. Elsewhere an unusual dish, fillet of sole, highlighted as one of their speciality dishes, combines flaky white fish with a mildly spiced curry sauce and grilled banana – the balance of flavours works well. + A solid option for pre or post-theatre - À la carte is expensive

✱ Brian Maule at Chardon d’Or 176 West Regent Street, City Centre, 0141 248 3801, brianmaule.com | Closed Sun/ Mon | £24.50 (set lunch) / £35 (dinner)

Once head chef at Le Gavroche – London’s famous Michelin-studded restaurant, originally opened by the Roux brothers in 1967 – Brian Maule has kept Le Chardon d’Or at the very front of Glasgow’s fine dining scene for the last 16 years. His training is evident while browsing the small, simple menu where French techniques are combined with the best of Scottish produce, a match that is surely hard to beat. A starter of duck trio is presented well and executed with precision – slices of cured fillet with a crisp fat layer sit beside a rich square of buttery foie gras and a coarse, flavoursome terrine using confit leg meat, pistachios add a splash of colour while a grape chutney and tiny shards of toasted sourdough accompany for sweetness and crunch. For main, try the sea bream – crisp skin gives way to firm white flesh, a French soubise accompanies, sweet with onion and red pepper while courgette tempura and a tasty slab of polenta add interesting textures to the well-dressed plate. Service is formal yet relaxed and surroundings are suitably plush. All round, you will struggle to find a better dining experience in the city. + The most accomplished restaurant in town - Very expensive wine list The List Eating & Drinking Guide 139

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INDIAN Glasgow has a wealth of traditional curry houses that cater for all tastes, palates, and wallets. But there’s also a trend towards more authentic Punjabi cuisine picking up pace, too. Whether you prefer the former or the latter, there’s an abundance of choice, in a city that boasts a burning passion for, and perhaps some of the country’s best, Indian food. What ties them all together is an emphasis on warm welcomes, friendly service and big flavours. Reviewers: Marta Matvijev, Robbie Armstrong

Ashoka • 19 Ashton Lane, West End, 0141 337 1115, ashokaashtonlane.com | £7.95 (set lunch) / £17 (dinner) • 9 Kirk Road, Bearsden, 0141 570 0075, ashokabearsden.info | £17 (dinner) • 268 Clarkston Road, Southside, 0141 637 0711, ashokasouthside.info | £17 (dinner) • 1284 Argyle Street, West End, 0141 339 3371, ashokawestend.com | £17 (dinner)

Côte Brasserie: French classics at this sophisticated city centre brasserie

TIPLIST FOR PRE-THEATRE • Amarone 146 A relaxed yet sophisticated city centre restaurant with outstanding menus and an interesting wine list. • Bo’Vine Meats 162 and Wines Smart, hotel-based steak restaurant on Byres Road specialising in quality Scotch beef and fine wines.

137 • Gamba Sophisticated, creative two AA rosette-winning restaurant that has championed sustainable Scottish fish and seafood for two decades. 158 • Number 16 This relaxed West End bistro draws on Scottish seasonal ingredients and global inspiration to deliver something out of the ordinary. 122 • Red Onion Impressive city centre bistro committed to local produce and catering for specific dietary needs with extensive gluten-free and vegan menus. • Two Fat Ladies 138 in the City Buzzy, confident city centre restaurant with consistently good cooking and some contemporary flourishes on the plate.

Le Chalet Beaumartin 518 Great Western Road, West End, 0141 237 3363, lechaletbeaumartin. co.uk | Closed Sun/Mon | £20 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Step off Great Western Road, into what feels like a small chalet in the French Alps. It’s a cosy space with just a handful of pine wood tables, skiing equipment hangs on the wall, while French radio plays in the background. A concise menu consists of raclette, charcuterie and a couple of salads but fondue is what they are all about. Cheese comes from Mellis next door and changes depending on what’s on offer that day – a combination of three French cheeses and one Scottish is said to provide the most appeal to the local palate and may be a combination comté, tomme de savoie, gouda and reblochon. Bread is of the sourdough variety – slightly stale, as should be, to ensure no disintegration when dipped into the gloopy thick molten cheese pot. Milk chocolate fondue finishes the meal as it started – rich and full of flavour, with diced fresh fruits adding the necessary juice and acidity. BYOB helps to keep prices reasonable, with the £5 corkage donated to charity. Le Chalet Beaumartin is comfort eating at its best. + A quaint setting and cheese lovers’ paradise - Limited options if cheese is not your thing

the background while formally dressed waiting staff offer a discreet service. Peruse the menu while nibbling on a piece of pissaladiére – a warm flatbread originating from Nice, spread with a generous amount of caramelised onions and melted reblochon cheese. Elsewhere, spinach and mushroom crêpes make a tasty light main, baked with a selection of earthy wild mushrooms and nutty gruyère cheese, the iron-laden spinach balancing the dish well. Veal, lamb, duck and a bouillabaisse-style fish dish all feature, plus a grill section that includes reasonably priced steak, cooked to blush over chargrill and very tasty indeed, the quality of the 30-day aged, grain-fed meat is evident. Save room for a pudding, there are a few treats to be had, from the classic crème brûlée and tarte au citron through to a cracking chocolate fondant, oozing and rich, a simple vanilla icecream allows the fondant to shine. + Feels like a little bit of Paris in Glasgow - Food slightly predictable

The Honours Malmaison, 278 West George Street, City Centre See Bistros & Brasseries

Hotel du Vin Bistro 1 Devonshire Gardens, West End See Scottish

111 by Nico Côte Brasserie 41–43 West Nile Street, City Centre, 0141 248 1022, cote-restaurants.co.uk | £10.95 (set lunch) / £23 (dinner)

Bringing a little Parisian charm to the city centre, Côte Brassiere’s formula works up and down the UK, serving trusted Gallic dishes amid stylish surroundings – chequered flooring, plenty of wood, muted lighting and leather banquets set an intimate scene. Soft music plays in

111 Cleveden Road, West End See Bistros & Brasseries

Restaurant at Blythswood Square 11 Blythswood Square, City Centre See Scottish

The Western Club Restaurant 32 Royal Exchange Square, City Centre See Scottish

In a city with a richly spiced history in curry cuisine, the Ashoka chain has stood proud with a presence here for over 40 years. While a common thread of dependable, mainstream and crowd-pleasing curries connects all the branches there are variations, particularly in age and appearance, starting with the original West End venue (opened 1973) close to Kelvingrove Park, with later branches opening on the cobbles of Ashton Lane, in suburban Bearsden and in Muirend on the city’s Southside. Once all under the Harlequin umbrella, they were put up for sale in 2016, yet so familiar are they to Glaswegians, it’s doubtful any new owners will make sudden changes. Starters typically range from pakoras (including the very popular haggis variety) and bhajis to the sweet and spicy chicken chaat drumsticks and big platters offering variety tasters. For mains, North Indian favourites rule (dhansaks, bhoonas, kormas, dopiazas) with the occasional dosa from southern India or Himalayan hotpot making appearances at some branches. Tandoori grill selections are common and popular, offering meaty treats such as blackened, succulent lamb chops, lamb tikka and kebabs. + Dependable curries, available to most Glaswegians - Few surprises on the menu

✱ Babu Bombay Street Kitchen 186 West Regent Street, City Centre, 0141 204 4042, babu-kitchen.com | Closed Sun | £18 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

This basement space has been specialising in authentic Indian street food, Mumbai-style, since way before street eats became the latest culinary buzzword. The menu breaks things down into cold and hot street food, and homestyle curries. There’s a rotating selection of hawker-style specials made fresh – but always a dhal, veg curry and non-veg option on offer. Expect a whole spectrum of taste and colour to come out of a tiny kitchen that clearly respects authenticity, quality of cooking and ingredients. Although there’s a focus on the humblest of vegetables like

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Goanese-style curry with cauliflower and tamarind, there are also meaty wonders using buttery, melting braised chicken and lamb. Trust dhals to be decidedly rich and moreish, like a dark and nutty brown lentil dish with the warmth of mustard seeds and curry leaves. Beetroot patties see layer after layer of purpley, umami-rich flavour atop a mint green sauce, while a chicken kebab comes splattered with chili ketchup mayonnaise, fresh tomatoes, lettuce and caramelised onions; a dish elevated to guilt-free, delicious excellence. Wash the heat down with some traditional Indian soft drinks or BYOB. + Easy-going atmosphere and fingerlicking food - Ramshackle set-up

â&#x153;ą Balbirâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 7 Church Street, West End, 0141 339 7711, balbirs.co.uk | ÂŁ22 (dinner)

The elegant and smooth Balbirâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s boasts one of the most exciting reinventions of ancient Indian dishes. Its main dining area is secluded at the back of the restaurant, while a sleek modern brasserie with a menu of its own occupies the front end. With a clean and simple dĂŠcor against the backdrop of classical music and a staff working like clockwork, the stage is set for a unique culinary experience. The crisp panni puri â&#x20AC;&#x201C; round crackers with chickpeas and tamarind sauce â&#x20AC;&#x201C; are a good way to awaken the taste buds. From the chicken pudina to the salmon tandoori and lamb fillet, one can sense a distinct freshness of ingredients. Particularly well devised, the creamy coconut sauce of the Goanese fish curry is perked up by the sharp tamarind and green chilli. Wise diners will simply let the staff take the helm, and devise the ideal combination and order of dishes. Even for the well acquainted with Indian cuisine, Balbirâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s will stand out for its exceptional food. + Staff adapt banquet menu to dinerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s preferences - In the higher price range for Indian dining

Banana Leaf 76B Old Dumbarton Road, West End, 0141 334 4445, bananaleaf-glasgow. co.uk | ÂŁ8.50 (lunch) / ÂŁ8.50 (dinner)

Compared to the burgeoning stylish venues of Glasgowâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s nearby Finnieston strip, Banana Leaf may look unexciting, but the wealth of its flavours and accessible prices make it a go-to place for curry fans. With over a hundred items on the menu, the South Indian sit-in and takeaway offers variety while maintaining quality. The classics of Indian cuisine are up to the standard, from the crispy batter of the chicken pakora to the crunchy vegetable-stuffed samosas. The dosas are served in a daunting number of combinations, starting with simple lentil sambar, and coconut and tomato chutneys, to the more elaborate chefâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s specials. The light chicken dosa with onions is wholesome yet refreshing. Typical for South Indian cuisine, the Chettinad spice mix invigorates the smooth lamb curry without overpowering other aromas. The laid-back setting and simple dĂŠcor make for an inviting enough interior, and with a bring-your-own-booze policy to add, this minuscule venue cements its popularity among diners on a budget. + Great choice of South Indian food for budget eating - Workaday interior

CafĂŠ India 29 Albion Street, Merchant City, 0141 552 5115, cafeindiaglasgow.com | ÂŁ9.95 (set lunch) / ÂŁ22 (dinner)

â&#x153;ą HITLIST new location 426 SAUCHIEHALL STREET

GLASGOW G2 3JD

0141 332 2126

INDIAN

TAKEAWAY & DELIVERY AVAILABLE

1 leven STREET

â&#x153;ą Babu Bombay Street Kitchen A city centre basement space serving Mumbai-style street eats, curries and delicious treats.

EDINBURGH

0131 228 3322

â&#x153;ą Balbirâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Modern and creative take on ancient Indian recipes, pedantic preparation and fresh, quality ingredients. â&#x153;ą Chaakoo Bombay CafĂŠ Irani-Indian inspired cafè serving flavoursome small plates of vegetable and meat curries, tandoori and fish. â&#x153;ą The Dhabba Sleek Merchant City spot with a well-selected menu of North Indian-inspired meat, vegetable and fish dishes.

EH3 9lh

OPEN 12pm - 10:30pm EVERY DAY bring your own beer or wine

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â&#x153;ą Mother India Culinary heavyhitter serving Punjabi cuisine, with an overarching emphasis on quality ingredients and cooking. â&#x153;ą Mother Indiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s CafĂŠ Popular branch of the Mother India family at Kelvingrove, offering tapas-style portions of immaculately spiced dishes. â&#x153;ą Ranjitâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Kitchen A family-run Southside favourite serving freshly made, delicious vegetarian food from the Punjab. Tucked neatly away off the Trongate in a quieter neck of the Merchant City is this spacious Indian restaurant with a twist. Despite subcontinental roots, world dishes are available as starters too, with cuisines spanning countries and continents from Mexico and continental Europe to the United States and South-east Asia. For the traditionally minded, stick to pakora, or try tandoori lamb chops â&#x20AC;&#x201C; well spiced, juicy, and fresh out the oven. Or try an aloo tikki starter with crunchy exterior and fluffy potato centre, a sweet chickpea sauce and a welcome splash of raita to loosen things up. There are many tried-and-tested favourites too, all placed in the Scots-Indian section. Lamb kadai comes in a rich, onion-laden sauce with the crunch of peppers and an added punch from green chillies. The Chefâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Recommendations, meanwhile, feature dishes such as South Indian garlic chicken, served creamy with coconut milk, and brought together with curry leaves and black sesame seeds. Elsewhere, thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a selection of homely desi vegetarian dishes, as well as tandooris, kormas and European dishes to boot. + Staff eager to accommodate - Lacks a touch of pizzazz The List Eating & Drinking Guide 141

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Indian garlic chilli – a pungent curry of a flaming red colour, and a slightly bitter tang. Although sharp, it is rich in flavour, largely thanks to quality fresh ingredients. A more mild and soothing option is Bengali fish, a buttery haddock enlivened by fresh coriander leaves. To wrap up the meal, there’s a variety of enjoyable South Asian sweets, such as the warm and comforting gulab jamun and the more delicate pistachio kulfi. + Generous curry portions - Slightly too quiet

Crossing the Rubicon 372 Great Western Road, West End See Bars & Pubs

Dakhin 89 Candleriggs, Merchant City, 0141 553 2585, dakhin.com | £9.95 (thali) (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Tuk Tuk (page 145): casual, colourful Indian dining at the new Glasgow branch of the Edinburgh operation

✱ NEW Chaakoo Bombay Café 79 St Vincent Street, City Centre, 0141 229 0000, chaakoo.co.uk | £9.95 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

WINE & BEER

Stepping inside, you’re welcomed by friendly waiting staff into a space that’s spread over two levels, replete with ornate cornicing, colonial-era furnishings and much mahogany woodwork. A rush of apron-clad servers swoop and glide up and down stairs, hurriedly delivering flavour-packed, Irani-Indian small plates – an iteration of the diminishing Bombay-style café born of Persian immigrants that was once du jour in Indian, with the menu riffing quite comfortably on this theme. The kitchen fire out unusual dishes such as a tikka tulsi, chicken skewers in a basil marinade, and tandoori chaat, skewers of paneer, charred onion and pineapple, as well as fluffy-yetdense pakora. Raita is vivid green and refreshing, with spiced onions also accompanying many dishes. Chicken dhansak sees lentils and chunks of meat mingle in a mellow, yellow sauce — with barely the need for a knife. More chunks of fresh Indian cheese appear in a saag paneer, with more than enough spinach to keep Popeye pleased. With food more than good, décor to feast the eyes on, and a diamond drinks offering, there’s not much Chaakoo hasn’t got. + Buzzing atmosphere - Having to share your food with anyone else

Charcoals 26A Renfield Street, City Centre, 0141 221 9251, charcoals.co.uk | £6.95 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Certain places ooze the essence of the British curry house — this city centre spot is little exception. Bang in the heart of G1, waiters serve up classics in large portions among virescent

mood-lighting, ornamental elements and shisha pipes. Predictably, pakoras and bhajis are cooked with aplomb – soft veg and caramelised onion interiors are respectively balanced by the crunchy bite of Bengal gram batter. There’s a wealth of options in the mains arena — largely available in chicken, lamb, prawn or vegetable denominations — with the menu itself broken into tikka, biryani, tandoori and chef’s choices. Crimson-coloured chicken tikka masala fits the bill with blackened charred meat providing counterpoint to an oh-so-creamy sauce. But avoiding cult favourites pays off delicious dividends: lamb kahari desi, stewed off the bone, melts in a heady, umami-rich hit of treacly sauce. The eponymously named karahis race out the kitchen — the shimmer of cast-iron dimples an indicator of the juicy jewels lying within. Nary a foot is put wrong in the sides department either — pilau rice is as fluffy as aromatic chapatis are chewy. + Highly solicitous waiting staff - Highly solicitous waiting staff

Charcoals Café 74 Trongate, Merchant City, 0141 258 6482, charcoalscafe.co.uk | £6.95 (set lunch) / £17 (dinner)

On the junction of the business and leisure districts of Glasgow, Charcoals Café provides a cosy refuge oozing nonchalant tranquility. This calm and cool ambience is counterbalanced by the fiery food coming from the kitchen. In addition to the staple pakoras and samosas, starters include an appealing set of well-delivered tandoori items, such as the charred chicken and spicy lamb chops. But the show-stealer is the curry section, featuring vibrantly coloured sauces with home-ground spices. Diners ready to withstand a spicy kick should go for the South

In a town where Punjabi influences dominate, a restaurant solely dedicated to South Indian cuisine is a welcome exception. Add to that a streak of charm and elegance, and you get what makes Dakhin special. The descent southwards into the subcontinent comes with a gradual turn towards the typically South-east Asian spectrum of aromas, such as the ubiquitous coconut, coupled with coriander, mint and chillies or lemon. The overall result is a menu rich with lighter, less buttery dishes that come loaded with strong, fresh flavours. This is well exemplified in the pan-fried sea bream fillet, covered with turmeric, lemon juice and red chillies, and rolled into a banana leaf. The curry house devotee will immediately notice that the usual naans, rotis or chapatis were dropped in favour of rice and pulse flour-based items, such the dosas, wadas and idlis. The use of non-wheat breads and batter, more common in the southern Indian states, allows the restaurant to boast 100 per cent glutenfree food. A menu replete with rarities, served up in the classy but unpretentious interior make Dakhin well suited to a romantic dinner or special occasion. + Rarely found rich South Indian offerings - Quality comes at a cost

The Den at Dining In with Mother India 1347 Argyle Street, West End, 0141 334 3815, motherindiaglasgow.co.uk | £14.50 (lunch) / £14.50 (dinner)

It’s a more private counterpart of the neighbouring Mother India’s Café with a name that is evocative of a smallersized, intimate eatery. The Den at Dining In is a restaurant and occasional deli that stays true to the famed group’s core principle of traditional home-style cooking while offering a unique menu. Building on the notion of a pantry, the Den is characterised by a relaxed setting and an imaginative offering. There are chicken, lamb and vegetarian dishes, including the noteworthy sweet lamb with turnip and green peas. But the chefs makes particularly good use of seafood, offering hake, haddock, monkfish, scallops and prawn with four carefully devised curries to suit. While the old tune about quality ingredients is often cited by restaurateurs, it rings particularly true in the case of the Den. And for a diner who may not find anything satisfying on the menu, the staff will generally be happy to prepare a made-to-order meal. With steep curry competition in town, superlatives are to be cautiously used, but the Den undoubtedly merits the title of one of the best in Glasgow. + Simple but imaginative dishes - Slightly confusing menu

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✱ The Dhabba 44 Candleriggs, Merchant City, 0141 553 1249, thedhabba.com | £9.95 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

With its tiled flooring and sleek design, this Merchant City spot exudes a sense of calm and coolness that sets it apart among curry houses. The waiting staff, personable and solicitous, are eager to guide you on a path through their North Indian menu of pot-curries, veggie dishes and tandoori. Unmistakably, it’s a place that deals in the details: tandoori dishes are deftly spiced and cooked whether lamb kebab, chicken or curried monkfish. Elsewhere, lamb, chicken, vegetable and seafood dishes are each provided their own section in which to breathe. Chicken murg dum nizami, sealed in a pastry crust to lock in flavour, breaks open to reveal tender boneless chicken in a cardamom-spiced sauce with crunchy peppers. Bhuna gosht, meanwhile, sees succulent lamb nestled in thick, umamiladen caramelised onions. There’s also a selection of unleavened breads, veggie sides and salads. And with Indian lager on tap, and a well-chosen selection of wines and whiskies to boot, it’s evident the Dhabba has gone to long lengths to ensure there’s the perfect complement for top-class curry. + Attention to culinary detail - Substantial portions can mean dessert unattainable

Green Chilli Café 1293 Argyle Street, West End, 0141 337 6378, greenchillicafe.com | Closed Mon | £8 (set lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Tucked away from the bustle of Argyle Street on a tenement first floor, the pristine Green Chilli Café offers a contemporary rendering of traditional Indian cuisine. In addition to regular portions, the restaurant serves tapas, allowing diners to experience a more

TIPLIST FOR BURGERS • Bread Meats Bread 162 One of the original, best spots on the ‘burger boulevard’ of St Vincent Street – moist, meaty burgers and the right mix of fast food, dude food and good food.

163 • BRGR Hip utilitarianism reigns at this simple but satisfying burger shack at Kelvinbridge, also specialising in milkshakes, sides and cut-price beer. • Juicy Lucy’s Burger 163 Company Looking as slick as any chain, doing handmade burgers with meal deals and go-big options for their extensive range.

114 • Liberté Charing Cross bar-bistro with continental cocktails and cordial(e) atmosphere alongside top-class burgers. 164 • Porter & Rye Top quality, highly aged meats set the tone for a stylish bistro experience in the heart of Finnieston. 164 • Smoak American diner in Royal Exchange Square with smoked meats, homemade sauces, pickles and craft beers.

diverse palette of North Indian aromas and textures. For those with a softspot for the national cuisine, there are Scottish foods with an Indian touch, including haggis fritters or spicy salmon tikka. But the Green Chilli shines most in the specialties, such as the popular chicken tikka lababdar in a sweet velvet tomato and onion sauce with butter and cream. A slightly heartier option, but a favourite nevertheless is the North Indian lamb curry dhaba gosht. The professional and courteous service in tandem with a calm and casual setting make the Green Chilli Café a great destination for group dinning as well as romantic meals. + Sizable tapas portions - Not wheelchair accessible

NEW Horn Please 91B Berkeley Street, West End, 0141 573 3021, hornpleaseglasgow.co.uk | Closed Mon | £6.95 (set lunch, Fri only) / £15 (dinner)

It’s safe to say there’s nowhere else quite like Horn Please. This basement space close to the Mitchell Library finds itself somewhere in the intersection of Indian and European cuisines, and revels in the small plate fusion that arises. Chicken tikka comes lathered in a creamy fenugreek sauce, crowned with crispy serrano ham, or try a kicking-hot, Ottolenghi-esque, masala-spiced baby aubergine dish to ramp up the chilli effect. Just when you thought you had the kitchen pegged, out comes a leftfield invention such as grilled venison with a cashew sauce and crispy mushrooms, or a dish of grilled scallops in a sweet and spicy sauce. For dessert, try the outlandish chilli chocolate cream, with spiced ‘sand’ and white chocolate ‘rocks’. The space itself is as whacky as the food, with bric-a-brac adorning the walls and bar, chipboard galore, and Indian newspapers pasted to the walls. They play a high-stakes game with much in the way of sugar, spice and salt, cooking food on the fringes of what you feasibly thought could be considered Indian cuisine. + Bold, brash flavours - Fusion tends towards confusion

NEW The Indian on Skirving Street 15 Skirving Street, Southside, 0141 649 7779, TheIndianglasgow.co.uk | Closed Mon | £15 (dinner)

Number 15 Skirving Street has long been owned by the Lalli family, now hosting its collective understandings of Indian home-style cooking in this unique space – once a Baptist church. Décor as yet is plain walls but photographs are due, including one of the owner Raj Lalli’s grandfather who opened Glasgow’s first Indian restaurant in Gibson Street in the early 50s. The short menu and small plates serving style enables diners to sample the warm and subtle flavours achieved without the ubiquitous chilli. Vegetarian dishes dominate, although there is also a range of chicken, lamb and fish options. The ‘traditional’ chicken curry cooked in a Punjabi masala gravy rich with cardamom, fresh coriander and mace leaves the diner wishing it had been a large plate. Solace comes, however, with the malai kofta – lightly spiced potato dumplings in a yoghurt and tomato sauce – truly unusual and delicious. Also palate-pleasing are the dry curries, including cauliflower and potato with chunky ginger and fresh coriander, or aloo keema with peas, lamb and potato infused through slowcooking with cumin, clove, cinnamon and nutmeg. + Interesting range of vegetarian dishes - Plain boiled rice not on menu

Kebabish Grill 323–325 Victoria Road, Southside, 0141 424 1879, kebabish-grill.co.uk | £15.50 (lunch) / £15.50 (dinner)

When you think of South Asian cuisine, grill is not the first thing that comes to mind. But this restaurant in Glasgow’s Southside is doing a great job at putting it on the map. Kebabish Grill bursts with local spirit, and it’s a particularly popular spot for family and group dining. Tables packed with sizzling plates of spicy chicken, lamb, fish and vegetables show that the charcoal grill is indeed the restaurant’s biggest asset, and the large open kitchen allows visitors to see exactly how it works. A good list of western grill staples can be found alongside the typical tikkas and kebabs that come with lavish yoghurt dips. For those who are new to the concept, the pattyshaped minced chapli kebab is a good start, followed by any of the marinated chicken options – the chicken boti with typical South Asian spices is a solid bet. For fans of curry house foods, there is a section of chef’s specials, with the gingery dedo karahi gosht as the star of the show. + Quality food at accessible prices - Music is too loud

Koh-i-Noor 235 North Street, West End, 0141 221 1555 / 0141 204 1444, koh-i-noorglasgow.co.uk | £8.95 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Having been on the scene since 1964, few can claim to be more part of the city’s curry establishment than the Koh-i-Noor. Faux palatial surroundings abound with a stone fountain as its centrepiece. Sitting among the sequinned curtains, bejewelled partitions and signature Koh-i-Noor carpets, there’s not a pinch of a doubt you’re dining in one of Glasgow’s oldest curry houses. There’s a plethora of menus on offer here, including lunch, pre-theatre, evening buffet and à la carte. As expected, all the British curry house classics are represented. There’s everything from chicken tikka balti, rogan josh and jalfrezi, to boneless biryanis and bhunas. There’s also an extensive selection of kormas, vegetable curries and a tandoori grill to boot. The latter sees meat marinated for 24 hours before being flame-cooked over the grill. For the sharing-inclined, there’s also the chance to go for the thali option – available as either meat, veggie or mixed. Go to the desi homestyle section to find some more unusual dishes, such as an aloo keema dish of minced lamb and potatoes. + Historic culinary status - Leaning slightly on its laurels?

gleeful sigh of admiration. And with the ever-changing list of specialities, one may stumble upon a new favourite, such as the pungent methi keema mutter – a dry minced lamb curry with green peas and a robust, earthy cumin base. + Lively ambience - Limited drinks menu

Masala Twist 192–194 Byres Road, West End, 0141 339 3777, masalatwist.co.uk | £6.95 (buffet) (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

The colourful interior and walls adorned with Indian images make it tempting to pigeonhole Masala Twist as a typical curry house. But appearances are deceiving. With dishes from all across the subcontinent, and a host of original specialities, this place is a trailblazer of an unorthodox approach to Indian cuisine. It’s not uncommon for a curry shop to offer items reflecting local influence, such as the frequent haggis pakora or salmon tikka, but with minced kangaroo and a crocodile curry on the menu, Masala Twist is a great example of thinking outside the spice box. The sections ‘exotic meats’ and ‘regional classics’ feature highlights such as the junglee khargos, a fiery Rajasthani rabbit curry, and are a good choice if you appreciate fresh, locally sourced ingredients. A less spicy and nuanced blend of flavours is the Bombay bakra, a lamb with onion and peppers curry on the brink of sweetness. For those of a more conservative taste, there is a wealth of classics to choose from, even though the playful culinary approach is bound to win over even the most cautious diners. + Interesting vegetarian options - Limited wines by the glass

Little Curry House 41 Byres Road, West End, 0141 339 1339, littlecurryhouse.co.uk | £6 (set lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Upon entering this small, buzzing restaurant on the liveliest strip of Glasgow’s West End, visitors are engulfed by a jovial atmosphere. Little Curry House is a vibrant Indian takeaway and sit-in with dining areas on the ground-floor and the mezzanine directly above. A flurry of motion coming from the open kitchen and the bustle of Byres Road bring plenty of life into this minute curry shop. Its menu is concise and clear offering a strong set of good old British curry house classics, and, for the more adventurous palate, four to five original specialties updated biweekly. The satisfying crackle of the potato and paneer pakoras and the soul-soothing chicken korma served in traditional Indian tableware prompt a The List Eating & Drinking Guide 143

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ANDREA PEARSON ON GLASGOW’S CULINARY LINKS WITH THE PAST History is set, often spectacularly, in the stone around us. There are acts of heroism, tales of terror, and accounts of fortunes won and lost lurking in nooks and crannies. Hospitality has long been at the heart of that history. There are many buildings in Glasgow that have been saved for the future because of our love of a good night out – Hutchesons, Anchor Line, the Corinthian. There are other links too. Beer has been brewed near the cathedral for hundreds of years. The medieval pilgrims that came here to see the tomb of St Mungo were thirsty; the people who now flock to Drygate are following in ancient footsteps. The Highland cattle drovers would have eaten a rudimentary black pudding ‘on the hoof’. And now people enjoying brunch in Café Gandolfi could be tucking into the same thing; proprietor Seumas MacInnes remembers his grandmother making black puddings at home, following a recipe that was unchanged for generations. And our much-loved scones, tablet and shortbread have their origins in the heyday of the Glasgow traders and the abundance of sugar from the West Indies. Today we know the Merchant City as a great area for a night out but there are links with religion, education, industry, slavery, enlightenment – all the very best and worst of humanity. Looking beyond the craft beers and speciality restaurants, you find the story of the city embedded in the surroundings. If you know where to look. ■ Andrea Pearson leads Glasgow Walking Lunch on the first Saturday of every month. glasgowwalkinglunch.com

Masala Twist City Centre 261 Hope Street, City Centre, 0141 332 6002, masalatwist.co.uk/centre | £6.95 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

One floor above Sauchiehall’s perennial bustle lies this commodious and accommodating branch of the Masala Twist group. The welcomes are as warm as the restaurant’s interior, the walls a turmeric orange and adorned with colourful, ornamental bowls and the like. The menu is broken up into tandoori, vegetarian, regional classics and exotic – the latter of which includes such unusual suspects as rabbit, kangaroo, crocodile and camel. Salmon tikka, served with a mint chutney, is delicately spiced and yielding to the fork, while haggis pakoras offer a bulkier starter option. A coconut-creamy Goan fish curry gives monkfish tails an aromatic treatment alongside saffron rice, while Hyderabadi biryani offers something for the more traditionally slanted with chunks of braised lamb, nestled among fragrant rice, that melt in the mouth. Mango kulfi manages to cleanse the preceding spices while also satiating the sweet tooth. An extensive wine list focuses mainly on France, Italy and Spain, with some further-flung additions too. For a more singular pairing, have a glass of prosecco with your curry – who knew bubbles and spice made such fine bedfellows? + Warm welcomes - No disabled access

✱ Mother India 28 Westminster Terrace, Sauchiehall Street, West End, 0141 221 1663, motherindiaglasgow.co.uk | £12.50 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Weighing in with a culinary stature earned through decades of winning Glasgow’s hearts and bellies, the kitchen punches out bold, heavyweight flavours — all the while refusing to kowtow to tradition. Try flaming hot, cuminspiced pakora cooled with bulgur wheat salad and raita, or aromatic and spiced haddock served à l’anglaise with tartar sauce, peas and the crunch of samphire. The big dishes, too, revel in breaking with the established order: braised

lamb mussalum is counterpoised with fresh okra and sweet beetroot pickle, while chicken chana brings meltingly smooth dal with firm, tender chunks of chicken and caramelised leeks. Even the accoutrements are a labour of love, from the chicken broth pilau to a creamy coriander chutney. All this in a fauxVictorian dining room replete with wood panelling, and high-backed Mackintoshesque chairs. Even an emphasis on quality ingredients and the finest spices isn’t enough — Mother India succeeds in both pleasing the palate and entertaining the mind. + Punjabi food doesn’t get much better than here - Deciding which delicious dish to order

✱ Mother India’s Café 1355 Argyle Street, West End, 0141 339 9145, motherindia.co.uk |

Originally opened in 2004, its name fast became synonymous with inventive Indian cuisine in Glasgow. Now in its teens, Mother India’s Café makes serving brilliant food seem like an effortless task, but this is by no means incidental. Everything in the restaurant is a result of foresight and care, including the famous no-booking policy, introduced to maintain the casual café style, with quick, short meals and a swift turnaround. In keeping with its ‘twist on tapas’ tagline, the usual startersand-mains menu is discarded in favour of a one-page list of small home-style dishes with an original touch. The small size, large variety combination is great for mixing and matching classics with less common dishes. A wondrously flavour-rich but mild dhal makhni or subtly acidic cold-served dai pullay are delectable vegetarian options. On the other end of the piquancy spectrum, the ginger and spinach chicken is tailormade for curry lovers with a higher spice threshold. Even in the delicate, thin layers of the modest paratha, diners will find a discernible difference from the standard curry house version. + A big choice of lighter, less-creamy dishes - No bookings

New Gandhi 441 Victoria Road, Queenspark, Southside, 0141 423 8000, gandhi.menu | £15 (lunch) / £25 (dinner)

Inspired by the high-souled and venerable one, this Southside curry house, perched just above the bustle of Govanhill, exudes an elegance and warmth that sets it comfortably apart from sundry peers. Poppadums, with mint chutney and spiced onions, are just that smidge better than many. There’s much in the way of classics, tikkas and all sorts of sauce-based dishes – with the menu split into tandoori grill, connoisseur’s selection, kormas and specialities. The latter are available as vegetable, chicken tikka, lamb cutlet, prawn, salmon and monkfish versions. There’s some lesserseen ingredients too – such as pistachio – and much in the way of paneer. Tikka monkfish comes yielding yet meaty, lifted by mild spice and a squeeze of lemon. Chicken tikka zaykayadar is safely nestled in a smooth red lentil and chickpea sauce, with a gentle nudge of green chillies. Attentive waiting staff and a well-selected drinks list reaffirm the already solicitous atmosphere. Attention to detail is no small undertaking for the jewel in Danny Singh’s crown. + Warm family vibe - A menu of Homeric proportions

NEW Obsession of India 25 High Street, Merchant City, 0141 552 0700, obsessionofindia.co.uk | £6.95 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

At a first glance, the unassuming shopfront and ramshackle interior – golden chandeliers and matching wallpaper to boot – quite belie the meal before you. From the tandoori grill come the most succulent treats, from juicy king prawns and charred lamb chops to devilishly red chicken drumsticks. Moving to mains, much makes the cut, from traditional Indian dishes such as chicken dhansak, madras and dopiaza, to mainstays like bhuna and korma. Most dishes are available to have with veggie, chicken, paneer, lamb or shrimp – or either king prawn or lamb chops if you’re looking to get serious. Try a garam masala

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curry with tender chunks of paneer and a judicious touch of spice, or a creamier chicken karahi with the bite of green chillies and kick of fresh ginger. The kitchen keeps it simple, cooking curries fresh each day in preparation for evening service. Match that with a welcome so warm you’d think you were at home and you’re on to something good. Expect a passion for delicious food and great service – after all, there’s little need for anything else. + Top-quality tandoori - Décor could do with sprucing up

Punjabi Charing Cross 157–159 North Street, West End, 0141 221 3926, punjabicharingcross-g3.co.uk | £5.95 (set lunch, Thu/Fri)tuk / £18 (dinner)

Where the M8 divides the centre of Glasgow and the West End, Punjabi Charing Cross calls its home. An attention-grabbing fervid red exterior adorned with distinct stylised signage mask the architecture of an old British pub, and the remnants of the original venue are charmingly incorporated into the structure and the spirit of the new. A courteous welcome serves as prelude to a warm and hearty meal. Visitors should not be misled by the name, because, alongside Punjabi specials, there are dishes from diverse regions on offer, from the Goanese lamb curry to the South Indian garlic chilli. A stellar accomplishment are the Punjabi mussels, which will leave you ordering another chapati to soak up the last drops of the savoury sauce. Both the starters and the mains are generously portioned, so a lighter vegetarian starter, such as the delightful stuffed pepper, coupled with the heftier traditional lamb on the bone is enough to keep you contently smiling for the rest of the night. + Punjabi starters - Worn-out furnishings

✱ Ranjit’s Kitchen 607 Pollokshaws Road, Southside, 0141 423 8222, ranjitskitchen.com | Closed Mon | £7 (lunch) / £9 (dinner)

This family-run affair sees several benches squeezed into a simple space. The food, unashamedly vegetarian, embodies the pure essence of the Punjab. Get things started with some vegetable pakora – the crunchy, chewy batter breaking to reveal wee green flecks of curry leaf and onion, and the unmistakable aroma of coriander seed. Everything here is made on site, from the samosas to the chutneys and pickles. This becomes yet more evident with a dish of channa paneer, the fresh blocks of cheese, yielding yet firm, among a sauce of curried chickpeas. Dhals and sabji may change daily, but there’s a reliable theme here – to elevate each pulse and vegetable to its uttermost. A brown lentil dhal is decadent and rich, perfect to be scooped up with freshly made roti, while aloo tikki sees fluffy balls of potato and cumin seed fried in gram flour then served with a cooling yoghurt sauce. A selection of handmade sweets, packed with sugar and cream, invite the eyes from the deli counter. Get on down – if you’re not fast, you’re last. + Authentically Punjabi cuisine - Get down quick to secure a seat

NEW Tuk Tuk 426 Sauchiehall Street, City Centre, 0141 332 2126, tuktukonline.com/restaurantglasgow | £12 (tiffin set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

The Glasgow branch of Edinburgh’s much-lauded Tuk Tuk sits smack bang in the middle of Glasgow’s midnight mecca. The street food specialists serve up an authentic Indian culinary vibe alongside colourful murals, colonial-era TV sets and repurposed oil lamps, in a smartly designed space that sprawls out over

Chaakoo Bombay Café (page 142): newcomer inspired by Irani-Indian cafés, serving small plates in the city centre

three raised levels. The menu is broken down into 'roadside plates', 'street curries' and a 'meat market' offering, but kick it off with a refreshing mint and lime cooler or a mango lassi before the big flavours and small plates arrive in quick succession. Chapatis are to be broken by hand, while deliciously pink lamb chops are well-charred and to be chomped with fatty fingers. Ginger garlic chicken comes warm and inviting, while dhal makhni sees black lentils and kidney beans served in the very richest of sauces. On-the-bone roadside chicken curry melts into bits in a curry leaf sauce, and an aubergine and potato number is soft and nicely spiced. Afterwards, try the gulab jamun – Indianstyle sugar dumplings – if there’s room, or opt for a mango kulfi pop instead. + Exemplary service - Be prepared to BYOB

Usha’s 2 Byres Road, West End, 0141 339 7138, ushas.co.uk | £4.95 (one-course set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Street food style cuisine is immediately evocative of jovial conversations over light meals, and with an animated atmosphere and quick service, Usha’s lives up to the expectation. The ground floor and mezzanine make out a single open space, creating a canteen-like vibe. The strongest card, and a big advantage in the face of other Indian restaurants, is the extensive menu featuring an equal number of vegetarian and non-vegetarian items. And with tapas-sized portions in the curry section it taps into yet another growing foodservice trend. Most admirable is the attention to detail revealing a knack for the classics alongside the capacity to adapt to novelty. The cracking pani puri is accompanied by an accomplished pair of tamarind chutneys, one sweet and thick, the other loose and tangy. The heftier and comforting haddock pakora comes with a minty dip that lifts up the whole dish. With a menu tailored to diverse dietary preferences, Usha’s proves itself a truly versatile player in Glasgow’s rich curry house scene. + Heaven for vegetarians - Upstairs area and bathrooms slightly neglected

The Wee Curry Shop 29 Ashton Lane, West End, 0141 357 5280, weecurryshopglasgow.co.uk | £6.90 (set lunch) / £19 (dinner)

When staff greet guests from the firstfloor entrance, it looks like you’re just a flight of stairs away from a warm welcome home – and that’s what a visit to the Wee Curry Shop is like. Walls densely covered by photos and memorabilia invite us to take a trip down memory lane from the security of a small curry house. The staff tend to the guests’ every need with keen attentiveness, and readily offer suggestions. The menu is not too lengthy, but boasts a prime selection of Indian dishes, with two creamy curries – the butter chicken and lamb malaidaar – rightfully topping the favourites list. From the starters, buried among the more common pakoras and pooris, the masala dosa could easily slip under the radar – but don’t let it. With the well-executed rice pancake, this curry house can easily measure up against any South Indian competition. Fantastic location, welcoming atmosphere and skilful cooking to boot make a visit to this compact curry house a well-rounded dining experience. + Unbeatable location - Entrance is a tight squeeze

The Wee Curry Shop 7 Buccleuch Street, City Centre, 0141 353 0777, weecurryshop.co.uk | £5.75 (thali set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Few in the city pull off the same level of culinary excellence as this diminutive yet high-octane restaurant. Resembling a colonial railway carriage during the Raj, a handful of tables are crammed into what seems an unworkably small space. Chefs cook all-hands-to-thekarahi in an open kitchenette, firing out a phantasmagoria of flavours while leaving enough time to bring out dishes to the tables themselves. Curried haddock is served without fanfare and still in its tinfoil – ginger, turmeric, mustard seeds and green chillies do the talking here. Chicken pakora boast crunch and aromatic spice in equal measure, while lamb karahi is yielding

and tenderised, with the crunch of diced fresh peppers lending texture. Yet it’s the vegetable dishes that bring it on home – smoked aubergine works wonders with okra and ghee-saturated potatoes, while a chana dhal is to be eaten by the spoonful – a heavenly buttered texture somehow allows the individual bite of each pulse to play out, too. This is a place of frenetic energy, frightfully good cooking and an atmosphere you’d be hard-pushed to replicate. + Cosy vibes - Getting your elbows out

TIPLIST FOR FOOD ON THE GO • Babu Bombay Street 140 Kitchen A city centre basement space serving Mumbai-style street eats, curries and delicious treats.

133 • Cailin’s Sushi Good things come in small packages – and this compact sushi bar in Finnieston is a prime example. 134 • Kimchi Cult This tiny restaurant off Byres Road brings a unique and seductive take on Korean flavours to the Glasgow street food scene. 154 • Roaster’s Deli From early morning pancakes to a grilled cheese supper, Roaster’s Deli serves up American classics. 136 • Temaki Casual restaurant and takeaway bringing New York-inspired street food trends by way of the Far East. 155 • Yiamas Greek Taverna Authentic and delicious homemade Greek food packed full of flavour, which is also available to take away.

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The last year has seen a number of remarkably popular artisanal pizzerias arrive on the city’s Italian dining scene. Their success has challenged the traditional restaurants and cafés – in response, some have rebranded and enhanced their menus, others have joined the pizza fray with vigour. Yet it is the range of Italian options that is particularly striking – from vibrant neighbourhood cafés and family-friendly diners to family-run trattoria and sophisticated fine-dining restaurants. There is no doubt that eating Italian remains a top option for Glaswegians. To cap it all, some have attached delicatessens where popular dishes and seasonal treats along with meats, cheeses, salads and sweet confections cry out to be carried home by delighted customers. Reviewers: Jane Allan, Kirsty Bush, Laura Campbell

Alla Italia 194 Pitt Street, City Centre, 0141 332 5300, allaitalia.co.uk | £6.95 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Occupying the same building as its longer established sister restaurant Alla Turca, Alla Italia positions itself as a handy venue for easy pre-theatre dining in the city centre. On quieter evenings customers are invited to dine upstairs in the sumptuously decorated Turkish area with its subtle glow radiating from colourful mosaic lamps. Browsing the Italian menu feels a little incongruous in these surroundings, but it’s a relaxing experience nonetheless, and with little extras provided – flatbread arrives before ordering, prosecco cocktails with dessert – you feel well looked after. Pizza and pasta makes up the majority of the menu – there’s no secondi – but the selection of starters is good, and the antipasto option to share is great value with proper buffalo mozzarella, aged Parma ham and freshly fried calamari. While more could be done to acknowledge the rationale behind the unusual set-up, customers are free to use their initiative and order from both Turkish and Italian menus. The refreshing, silky vanilla panacotta is available in both restaurants and is beautifully presented with jewelcoloured touches of mint syrup and berry sauce. + Unique dining experience - Limited selection of Italian mains

Amarone 2 Nelson Mandela Place, City Centre, 0141 333 1122, amaronerestaurant. co.uk/glasgow_amarone | £14.95 (set lunch) / £18.50 (dinner)

Pollo funghi e pancetta with its glistening, creamy, mushroom-infused sauce, slices of perfectly roasted chicken breast atop a small mountain of wild mushrooms and pancetta flanked by large crusty roast potatoes is but one of the substantial mains on Amarone’s excellent value three-course lunch and early-dining menu. Bookend this with a rich broccoli and gorgonzola soup and a perfectly wobbly white chocolate and buttermilk panacotta with raspberry coulis and sugared almonds, and at under £20 you have a gourmet bargain. Ideally situated a minute’s walk from Queen Street Station and the Royal Concert Hall, Amarone provides a relaxed yet sleek setting for lunch or dinner while the outside terrace is one of the best al fresco eating spots in the city centre. The wine list is also a source of true pleasure, specialising in Amarone della Valpolicella a range of dry fruity wines from the Veneto – ideal partners for the full range of Italian cuisine. Service is responsive and engaged and menus offer all that is traditionally Italian coupled with some international favourites. + Interesting and inventive dishes at reasonable prices - Could be addictive

✱ NEW Baffo 1377 Argyle Street, West End, 0141 583 0000 | £11 (lunch) / £11 (dinner)

You are eating a cafone pizza with a topping of fior di latte, potato, portobello mushroom, porchetta, salsiccia piccante and garlic oil. You are in Baffo with its eye-catching igloo–like pizza oven, elegantly minimalist interior and superb outlook on Kelvingrove Art Gallery. Owner Francesco Longo’s strategies for Baffo are key to its success. The signature black moustache (‘baffo’) raises a smile from the outset, while the menu nicely balances contemporary trends with artisanal traditions. Enzo Trapanese from Salerno insists on 48hour proving for his pizza dough which when coupled with the wonders of the oven creates a thin, crunchy, yet billowy wood smoke-infused crust. Toppings are described in Italian leading to essential bonding with waiting staff over the pizzas, which come in two sizes: tonda (12in round) and mezzo metro (half-metre) served on a raised wooden sharing tray – for carry-outs there are blood orange and brilliant aqua boxes. Abundant antipasti sharing platters, creamy pastas and gnocchi and stracceti Baffo – sugar and cinnamon coated pizza strips with nutella and vanilla ice-cream – extend the pleasure. And no deals since a two-course meal any time of day can be under a tenner. + Unique wine and beer lists and Prosecco on tap - Utterly compelling

Barolo Grill 92–94 Mitchell Street, City Centre, 0141 221 0971, barologrill.co.uk | £14.95 (set lunch) / £25 (dinner)

This cosseting and welcoming restaurant is well suited to a treat or celebration evening out. The music and light levels combined with a subtly attentive staff and booth seating create an instant feeling of specialness. Attention to detail is also reflected in the drinks menu with its range of Scottish craft gins, served in large wide bowl glasses. The menu is extensive without being run of the mill and there are various good value offers including gourmet lunch and early evening menus and Wednesday steak

nights with two steaks and a bottle of wine for £30. An outstanding breakfast is also served, while the outside space is used for summer cocktails and winter warmers. The vegetable and cheesebased crostini sharing platter enhances the conviviality with toppings of bright red marinated tomatoes and red peppers, mushrooms and toasted taleggio, and fluffy honey and thyme-infused ricotta, all elegantly presented on a basil-drizzled platter. To finish, the passion fruit panacotta with sour cherry compote is tangy, delicious and set to perfection. + Genuine care and attention to detail - Sea bass skin could be crispier

Battlefield Rest 55 Battlefield Road, Southside, 0141 636 6955, battlefieldrest.co.uk | Closed Sun | £10.50 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

An elegant tram station in the early 1900s, the free-standing building housing Battlefield Rest remains a cornerstone in Langside. Marco Giannasi has personally run things at the restaurant from the start, and his loyalty to the business and the locals has evidently paid off. There are consistently queues at the door even midweek, but diners are more than happy to wait for a table in the cosy restaurant that has kept its quirky interior since opening in 1994. The extensive but thoughtful menu features creative Italian dishes, some with a Scottish twist using excellent local produce. Despite its unabating popularity, the cooking is anything but rushed, and all the dishes arrive vibrantly fresh – crostini bonco, a rich starter of juicy smoked mussels, crispy lardons and just-cooked prawns coated in a silky white wine sauce, is balanced by sharp and fragrant coriander making it very addictive. The lightly battered and tender pork fillet in the pork milanese cuts as if it’s a far pricier piece of meat, and is a rustic treat served with spaghetti amatriciana and enjoyed alongside a glass of their Chianti DOCG that is bursting with ripe cherries and strawberries. + Brilliant value for money - Service a little stretched when very busy

Bella Vita 597 Mosspark Boulevard, Southside, 0141 882 1144, bellavitaglasgow.co.uk | £7.50 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Bella Vita caters with verve for a wide range of customers. It’s evident in the incredible value set lunch, which reflects the fact that family groups often eat here, and includes sophisticated vegan starters such as melon with poached figs and amaretto alongside chicken strips with a spicy dipping sauce. Mains offer an equally varied range, from fish and chips to pasta of the day or a delicious slow-cooked lamb shoulder. The à la carte menu offers up many delights – pollo alla Sophia Loren is a rosemary roasted chicken teamed with woody mushroom infused tagliatelle that bursts with flavour, and isn’t heavy-handed with the cream. The chef takes pleasure in preparing specials based on what is on offer from his Italian suppliers, and the many regulars flock in on Friday and Saturday nights to sample his creations. The recently revamped wine list has a range of Italian regional wines including an excellent dry and fruity Pinot Grigio without a hint of acidity. The restaurant resonates with the sound of diners enjoying themselves, the fact that they are in Scotland barely registers, so convincing and Italianate is the ambience. + Caters for wide-ranging tastes including vegan - Staff don’t always draw attention to interesting specials board

La Brava 679a Clarkston Road, Southside, 0141 569 6257, la-brava.co.uk | £8.95 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Nestled among beautiful red sandstone houses and adjoining a few local amenities, La Brava is a versatile neighbourhood deli and restaurant serving up good café staples alongside Italian delicacies. Their assaggini (small plates) are enticing as part of a light lunch, perhaps with soup of the day, or ordered tapas-style in the evening and shared among friends. Choose three or four per person to mix and match contrasting textures and flavours – fresh, crisp, lightly battered calamari fritti with a squeeze of lemon goes nicely with homemade ravioli stuffed with a creamy smoky-sweet filling of aubergine and ricotta. Best of all is the good selection of specials that show off head chef and co-owner Aris Moccia’s passion for Italian cooking – a little different is the gnocchi alla romana made using polenta and baked to golden. When it comes to dessert you really are spoiled for choice. Among the grown-up desserts are amaretto gateau, Italian-style bread and butter pudding, and torte nonna. If you’re feeling mischievous there’s seriously indulgent ice-cream combinations to be had, and one titled Triple XXX comes with fresh strawberries and a shot of Sambuca. + Varied exciting menu - Zucchini fritti in over-heavy batter

Celino’s 620–624 Alexandra Parade, East End, 0141 554 0523, celinos.com | £12.95 (set lunch) / £19 (dinner)

Like so many of Glasgow’s Italian eating establishments, family-run Celino’s is a mainstay in the community. Regulars evidently make up the majority of clientele, and the deli-cum-trattoria is unpretentious with simple furnishings and cosy upholstered seating. Italian food aficionados will enjoy ogling the selection

TIPLIST FOR NEIGHBOURHOOD DINING • Battlefield Rest 146 Southside restaurant serving modern Italian dishes with a Scottish slant, in iconic and elegant surroundings. • Ian Brown Food and Drink 158 A friendly, casual neighbourhood restaurant in Giffnock – presided over by a chef who does cooking at the top end. • Michaelangelo’s 148 Tucked away in a corner of Clarkston, Michaelangelo’s authentic cuisine and delicious seafood is worth travelling to taste. • 111 by Nico 122 High-end dining experience in the suburbs – exquisite presentation, inspired food parings and incredible value for money. • The Shandon Belles 123 Informal, cosy bistro from the Two Fat Ladies group, specialising in great-value hearty, wholesome food. • Wee Lochan 159 Open-hearted neighbourhood restaurant, celebrating seasonal Scottish produce in a classy, highly skilled way.

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light bright and airy with floor to ceiling windows, an open kitchen and a woodfired oven as well as ultra-speedy service for impatient theatre and cinema-goers, while the Royal Exchange Square venue is laid out in dark wood, art deco-style booths more appropriate to couples, small family groups and work colleagues. Large bowls of Shetland mussels with fries or garlic bread are a popular choice there. Shawlands DiMaggio with its meeting place clock is always busy with family groups and chatting couples often just having coffee or one of their wonderfully over the top ice-creams. + Dependable, family-friendly Italian food - Dependable can mean predictable

✱ Eusebi Deli 152 Park Road, West End, 0141 648 9999, eusebideli.com | £13.95 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

of cured meats, cheeses and pates, and poring over the extensive range of Italian wines. Its relaxed atmosphere, which is maintained into the evening, will make anyone feel welcome whether after a roll and tattie scone at breakfast or hearty Italian dishes in the evening. It’s a pleasure being presented with the deli produce in cooked form – the delicate fennel taste infusing the Italian sausage from Pozzilli is given simple treatment stirred through al dente penne (though you can choose your pasta) with a fresh and vibrant Napoli sauce. And while scallops and black pudding is a fail-safe combination, the capesante alla Scozia is elevated thanks to the addition of fresh chicory and zesty white wine sauce. + Quality ingredients - Evening service too informal for some tastes

his skills and keep regulars intrigued with offerings such as cod in tarragon batter with chips and scallop roe butter purée. For dessert the semifreddo di nutella or the homemade cannoli are Italian-Scots fusion at its best. + Appeals to and satisfies an incredibly wide range of customers - Book in advance to avoid disappointment and queues

With its striking white and red façade and gleaming interior Eusebi Deli is a retro Italian deli and restaurant for the 21st century. Word of its creative and heritage-driven food has spread far and wide since opening its West End venue in 2015. The quality of cooking and ingredients (olive oil from Calabria and meats from Norcia in Umbria) speak for themselves, but the backstory for many of the dishes is equally impressive. Pasta e fagioli is a rustic dish of tangy tomatobased broth infused with salty Parmesan rinds, beans, and silky house-made short pasta with a lid of pillowy focaccia for dunking. Its terracotta pot is a nod to the owner’s grandmother who originally cooked it on embers outdoors in winter. It’s easy to follow up one of their unique pinsas (pizzas inspired by ancient Rome made using an easily digestible flour of soy, sourdough wheat and rice) with one – or likely two – of their bombolone, or donuts, which come filled with pistachio, nutella or tiramisù creams. A new ‘Bellini brunch’ menu with sharing platters and make-your-own proseccobased cocktails will make it even harder to tear yourself away at weekends. + Authentic Italian cuisine made with love - Tables a little tight in some spots

Di Maggio’s

Fratelli Sarti

• 21 Royal Exchange Square, City Centre, 0141 248 2111, dimaggios.co.uk | £15.95 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner) • 61 Ruthven Lane, West End, 0141 334 8560 | £9.95 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner) • 163 West Nile Street, City Centre, 0141 333 4999, | £9.50 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner) • 1038 Pollokshaws Road, Southside, 0141 632 7924, dimaggios.co.uk | £9.50 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

• 121 Bath Street, City Centre, 0141 204 0440, sarti.co.uk | £11 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner) • 42 Renfield Street, City Centre, 0141 572 7000, sarti.co.uk | £11 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner) •133 Wellington Street, City Centre, 0141 248 2228, sarti.co.uk | £11 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Coia’s Café

Di Maggio’s restaurants spread themselves strategically across Glasgow with one in the West End, one in Shawlands on the Southside and two in the city centre. Menus are standardised and they all use the same suppliers so customers know what to expect. Menus cover the Italian basics including a range of pizzas, pastas and risottos, the rigatoni rustica is always a good choice with a nicely flavoured spicy sausage and tomato sauce. There is also a selection of American fast food favourites such as Bad Ass wings and Joe’s Barbecue ribs which come with a zingy and popular spicy tomato sauce. Sharing combo platters make excellent icebreakers and include nachos, mozzarella dunking cubes, focaccia, chicken wings and more. Each restaurant has a different character and to some extent functions according to setting and customer needs. All four restaurants provide children’s menus and welcome family groups, while Ruthven Lane has a play area and endlessly patient staff as well as perfect kid size mini Margarita pizzas. The two city centre venues are remarkably contrasting – Theatreland is

Pizza Punks (page 150): city centre newcomer doing wood-fired pizzas

473–477 Duke Street, East End, 0141 554 3822, coiascafe.co.uk | £11.95 (set lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Alfredo and Antonia, the dynamic duo at the heart of the Coia enterprise, seem determined to prove that indeed you can please all of the people all of the time. Coia’s has been serving up Italian food alongside a thriving chip shop and delicatessen for almost 90 years. Time has not stood still, however, and the newly refurbished Coia’s is busier than ever. The menu offers inventive favourites such as capesante Stornoway, which marries sweet fresh Mull scallops with salty pancetta, black pudding, micro herbs and a wave-like shaving of parmesan. The more traditional aspect of the menu offers comfort food such as Aberdeen Angus steak pie or a wonderfully generous haddock and chips, while pizzas and pastas are prepared to order and include all the familiar favourites from penne salsiccia to linguine alla pescatora. There is also a specials menu available Thursday to Sunday that allows the chef to exercise

It’s never long before someone mentions Sarti’s when the topic of Italian food in Glasgow arises. Approaching its 25th anniversary, the business has stood the

✱ HITLIST

ITALIAN ✱ Baffo A contemporary pizzeria opposite Kelvingrove Art Gallery, combining style with tradition to maximum effect. ✱ Eusebi Deli Bringing a halfcentury of experience to their West End venue, Eusebi Deli is an emporium of Italian delights. ✱ La Lanterna Family-run Italian restaurant with delicious, skilfully prepared food that is by turns traditional and inventive. ✱ Michaelangelo’s Tucked away in Clarkston, Michaelangelo’s authentic cuisine and delicious seafood is worth travelling for. ✱ Mora Bar & Kitchen Casual Italian bar and restaurant in Finnieston, with classy cocktails and a menu offering tapas-style or traditional dining. ✱ La Parmigiana Classic fine dining Italian at Kelvinbridge, with an elegant and stylish interior, highquality cooking and an extensive wine list. ✱ Tarantino Ristorante A stylish niche restaurant specialising in southern Italian dishes crafted from the best of local and Italian ingredients. test of time – they even sell their own branded aprons and travel mugs. While the grander and larger of the three neighbouring restaurants is on Renfield Street, many Glaswegians will favour the bustling atmosphere at Bath Street where the cluttered but romantic trattoria-style venue is forever packed with newcomers and regulars alike. Connected by winding passageways, the Wellington St branch

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is similarly dripping with quaint Italian charm, but is sleepier and more relaxed, making it a popular breakfast destination. The à la carte menu offers popular Italian dishes alongside less ubiquitous offerings that sound authentically rustic. Some of the secondi are pushing hard on the price bracket, but there is always the pre-theatre menu option (excludes Bath St), which offers good value for money. Gnocchi romolo e remo is a perfect starter-size portion of pleasingly firm gnocchi in an intense but not overly garlicky cream sauce, and scaloppine appiano gentile – pork milanese to you and me – is a straightforward and satisfying treat, accompanied as it often is with a simple side of al dente spaghetti in Napoli sauce. + Reliable Italian cooking - Some secondi a touch expensive

NEW Gizzi Espresso Bar 35 Kilmarnock Road, Southside, 0141 632 1224 | £10 (lunch)

Five minutes’ talking with Marisa Wylie, Gizzi’s ambitious director, and it becomes clear that the success of this small but beautiful Italian diner in the heart of Shawlands is all part of a strategic plan to bring the modern dining vibe with an Italian twist to the Southside. Straddling the fine line between café and restaurant, Gizzi’s is the place to go for inventive breakfasts, gourmet sandwiches such as the Parmigiana with breaded chicken breast, sugo, mozzarella and basil, all washed down with a range of coffees prepared by the barista recently acknowledged as the best Italian coffee-maker in Scotland. Furthermore, Marisa’s eye for excellence has identified local home-baker Carina Jensen of Dixie Bakers, whose skills

Panevino (page 150): casual Italian dining in Finnieston, under new ownership for 2017

contribute to the eye-catching and ever-changing display of cakes and bakes – the layered malteser, chocolate, salted caramel and shortbread slice is irresistible. Freshly prepared and handstretched on a daily basis the pizza dough emerges from the specialist stone-base oven as a crunchy yet billowy foundation for plentiful toppings on a homemade sugo – the Inferno with Italian sausage, salami and chili is particularly delicious. + Homemade meatballs - Rather cramped

The Italian Caffè 92 Albion Street, Merchant City, 0141 552 3186, theitaliancaffe.co.uk | £8.95 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

With its immaculately designed interior and animated open kitchen, the Italian Caffè – self-proclaimed first enoteca in Glasgow – is a sophisticated venue for a pre-theatre meal in the Merchant City. A rainbow of Italian wines racked up on the wall makes an elegant feature, and the lighting, large spacious booths and heavy glassware add up to make this a luxurious place to get to grips with an extensive wine list and enticing menu of ‘piccoli piatti’. The quality of cooking at this reputable restaurant in the hands of the Perella family (of Amore), who took over in 2016, hasn’t faltered, and food-lovers will love pairing wine (24 by the glass) with small plates of traditional Italian dishes. Spicy and tangy nduja and mushroom risotto is well cooked, with a touch of parmesan giving al dente arborio rice a rich gloss, and the ‘peasant’ dish, pasta e fagioli soup, is deliciously thick and creamy and highly seasoned, as it should be thanks to salty ham shank, with chunky pasta providing a nice contrast in texture. + Enticing menu - Staff could be more attentive

Jamie’s Italian - Glasgow 7 George Square, City Centre, 0141 404 2690, jamieoliver.com/italian/ restaurants/glasgow | £11.95 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Celebrated chef and restaurateur, Jamie Oliver can be seen at nearly every turn, from endless televisions shows that seem to run on loop and his own range of food and cooking ingredients right through to branded Italian restaurants. The Glasgow outfit, housed within the grandeur of the old GPO, sits proudly on George Square – a better location would be hard to find. The large space buzzes with chatter, while downstairs offers some intimacy. Waiting staff, mainly young and trendy, are knowledgeable on the menu, championing local produce, and describing dishes with passion. Italian nachos are an interesting start – small deep-fried cheese ravioli give nacho crunch, a roasted tomato and pepper dip bringing the salsa element to the dish. Prawn linguine is full of buttery shellfish, bound in a piquant tomato sauce topped with a Scottish langoustine. Meat dishes are impressive, such as lamb Scottadito – pink juicy chops arrive on a long wooden

board served with smashed spiced nuts and yoghurt for dipping, polenta chips giving full-on flavour and crunch. A solid choice for dining in the city centre. + Surpisingly good food for a High Street chain - Can get very noisy when full

✱ La Lanterna 35 Hope Street, City Centre, 0141 221 9160, lalanterna-glasgow.co.uk | Closed Sun | £12.95 (set lunch) / £23 (dinner)

Hidden in plain sight on one of Glasgow’s busiest streets, many would walk past this Italian institution situated right opposite Central Station. The warm and unprententious setting, together with a few glamorous touches, invites diners to indulge themselves, and with the arrival of the table nibbles you know you’re in good hands – the house-made focaccia is so moreish it would satisfy as a starter by itself. Aged prosciutto and ‘seasonal fruit’ is beautifully presented as a parcel of the freshest mixed berries, rich in colour, enveloped in a bed of the finest, thickly sliced prosciutto ham. It’s a simple but mouthwateringly sweet and salty delight – testament to the quality of their ingredients. Risotto mari e monti is among the best risottos you’ll try in Glasgow. A 50-50 ratio of rice to seafood is skilfully combined so all the textures are spot on, with enormous prawns, just pink, and generous chunks of monkfish coated in silky, al dente arborio rice, which is equally delicious (with stock tasting like the kitchen are making use of the prawn shells). Despite the portion being generous, you’ll be sorry to take the last mouthful. + Exquisite food - No disabled access

✱ Michaelangelo’s 9 Helena Place, Busby Road, Southside, 0141 638 7772, michaelangelosglasgow. co.uk | £10.95 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Now entering its third year in business Michaelangelo’s is every bit as popular as its antecedent Roma Mia. While appearing modest from the outside, Michaelangelo’s is a sleek and spacious restaurant that is regularly packed out. Michael(angelo) learned all he knows from his father Cav. Massimo Onorati who, incidentally, was knighted by the Italian government in 1998 for his services representing his cuisine abroad. No doubt Massimo endorses the output of Michaelangelo’s all-Italian kitchen: fresh pasta and bread made daily, locally

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sourced produce, and a keen observance of tradition. The kitchen’s enthusiasm shines through in each dish. From the specials, a starter of lightly seared scallops is coated in an intensely earthy wild mushroom and saffron cream sauce accentuating their nutty sweetness. Classic melanzane alla parmigiana is elegantly assembled with aubergine that is smoky and creamy without being mushy. The panciotti Michaelangelo, with al dente pasta encasing a velvetysmooth filling of scallops and king prawns and topped with crisp parma ham, is beautiful with contrasting textures and balanced sweet and salty notes. + Excellent authentic Italian cuisine - Walls a little bare

✱ Mora Bar & Kitchen 1166–1170 Argyle Street, West End, 0141 560 2070, morabarandkitchen. com | £18 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Since their name change from Lamora in 2015, Mora has gone from strength to strength, helped by a change of image fusing funky cocktail bar with Italian tapas restaurant. Décor is suitably hip, befitting Finnieston, while service is upbeat from energetic waiting staff. A handful of fish, meat and vegetarian tapas combine with pasta dishes, served also in main-course sizes, plus a halfdozen pizzas. Tempura king prawns are large and fresh, dipped in a rich garlic aioli, while seafood linguine, crammed with mussels, scallops, prawns and clams, bursts with chilli, garlic and tangy capers, silky butter sauce binds the dish beautifully – it may be the best of its kind in the city. Pappardelle bound in beef and veal râgout, pork cheeks on lemon and parmesan crostino and

shellfish risotto are equally as good. Finish with cannoli, piped full of creamy ricotta and flavoured with Sicilian lemons. If the mood is not for dessert, roughly a dozen unusual cocktails are on offer such as Cocco Caffé Martini – a tasty blend of coconut rum, coffee liqueur and espresso. + Exceptional Italian tapas with unsual and delicious cocktails - Can be noisy when very busy

coffee and beer combination works surprisingly well and ends the meal with a fun twist. + Really good pizza - Side dishes aren’t to the quality of the pizza

North Star 108 Queen Margaret Drive, West End See Cafés

O Sole Mio NEW Mozza 39 Renfield Street, City Centre, 0141 221 4508, mozza.it | £10 (lunch) / £10 (dinner)

There must be a pizza revolution happening in Glasgow at the moment – a plethora of places are popping up, most claiming to serve the most authentic Italian, thin-based pizza to be found, boasting about unique sourdough recipes, Italian-sourced pizza ovens and the like – Mozza is no different. Rebranded from Tony Macaroni, though still run by the group, the ethos is simple: authentic Neapolitan pizza with Italian beer to share – interestingly coming from 32 Via dei Birrai, the first microbrewery in Italy, and looking like wine bottles, with a cork which turns into a keyring you can take home. Their claims are founded – the pizza dough is light and the crust wonderfully crisp and full of flavour. Thirteen combinations are available, from the most basic tomato, mozzarella and basil through to an unusual gorgonzola and parma ham, drizzled with sticky fig jam then crowned with chopped walnuts adding texture and crunch. To finish ‘birramisu’ is a must – as the name suggests it’s a beer-based version of tiramisù. the

34–36 Bath Street, City Centre, 0141 331 1397, osolemio-glasgow.com | £9.95 (set lunch) / £15.50 (dinner)

This well-placed restaurant offers an alternative to the chain eateries dominating the Buchanan Gallery end of Bath Street. The head chef-managerowner dedicates his time to ensuring that his enterprise runs smoothly although sometimes additional waiting staff would help the flow. O Sole Mio has occupied this spot since 1965 and is fondly thought of by many. The space itself is relatively small although well designed with comfortable booths and tables creating varied eating spaces for the crowds of diners enjoying the competitively priced breakfast, lunch and early evening deals. Currently the exceptionally long traditional menu may be trying too hard to appeal to all diners and dishes can vary in quality. However, the restaurant was the first to bring a traditional pizza oven to Glasgow and pizzas are thin and crusty with generous toppings, while the sharing platters offer a well selected range of meats and cheeses accompanied by a basket of focaccia. The drinks list includes a standard range of beers and Italian wines by the glass including two interesting and quite unusual chiantis.

+ Reasonably priced traditional menu - White and cold focaccia

Osteria del Tempo Perso 17 John Street, Merchant City, 0141 552 6009, osteriadeltempoperso.info/ glasgow/#1 | £8.50 (set lunch) / £19 (dinner)

Osteria del Tempo Perso – a partnership between Tony Macaroni and the Acobelli brothers, Matteo and Marco – who, in the past, regularly appeared together on Italy’s version of ‘Ready, Stead, Cook’ – opened their Glasgow outfit in 2015. With a mother restaurant in Lazio and sister in Edinburgh, the small chain has gained in popularity over the last few years – the evidence can be seen with the steady stream of custom, even on a cold midweek night. It’s a pretty place with black and white flooring, dark leather and soft lighting, an array of broken clocks are dotted around, a nod to their name which translates as ‘the tavern of lost time’. Expect most of the usual pizza and pasta options with a couple of more unusual dishes, which are far superior to the standard offerings. Mezzi maniche, a small dumpy rigatoni, is folded through a rich sauce of cream and black pepper, the use of a punchy parmesan and the rich goat flavour of pecorino creating an excellent vegetarian option, while saltimbocca arrives with a deep and flavoursome marsala sauce, the parma ham-wrapped veal only slightly tough but seasoned well. There are some excellent offers available including weekends, making Osteria an affordable option for all. + Good value deals available all week - Could be losing the gap on Tony Macaroni branches

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Paesano Pizza 94 Miller Street, Merchant City, 0141 258 5565, paesanopizza.co.uk | £13 (lunch) / £13 (dinner)

No matter what night of the week you choose to dine at Peasano, it will most likely be buzzing as long large tables, akin to a German beer hall, pack in the crowds, with energetic chat echoing around the cavernous space. Nothing fancy here – paper menus showcase little over a half-dozen simple, honest pizzas using authentic imported Italian ingredients along with a small offering of sides. The crust is crisp while the base is light thanks to the use of caputo ‘00’ flour from Naples, proofed for 48 hours then cooked for literally seconds in their 500 centigrade wood-fired oven. Most start with a tomato sugo, using stranese tomatoes and finish with fior di latte cheese, both from Campania, all are drizzled with extra virgin olive oil from Abruzzo. Two specials are chalked on the blackboard each day and may include porchetta with sage or fresh king prawns and anchovies. Leave room to try their retro ice-cream, served with a choice of strawberry or chocolate sauce as a 99 with a flake or in an oyster. Tables are turned very quickly but even so, expect to queue as no bookings are taken. + Authentic pizza in a bustling atmosphere - Communal seating not suited to all tastes

Panevino 1075 Argyle Street, West End, 0141 221 1136, panevino.co.uk | Closed Mon | £15 (set lunch) / £19 (dinner)

Now in the hands of sisters Gabriella and Rosaria Crolla of The Italian Club group of restaurants in Liverpool, Panevino

has maintained its unique appeal as a lively and chic café and enoteca in the face of stiff competition from a host of cuisines in surrounding Finnieston. At the heart of the restaurant the bar area has a joyful buzz with diners blithely sipping good Italian wine and nibbling cut-to-order antipasto platters, all while eyeing up shelves stacked with imported goodies from behind the marble counter. Quality of ingredients is apparent in carefully prepared dishes, and unusually for Italian restaurants in Glasgow, Panevino make their own Italian sausage – delicately spiced and exceedingly juicy in their salsiccia e fagioli. Osso buco is undoubtedly – as their website claims – roasted for eight hours, and the rendered down fat makes for a rich and bold sauce. A thoughtful selection of desserts exceed your standard tiramisù and choice of gelato, and their gorgeous pear cannelloni dish presented in a hot skillet with slightly savoury pistachio icecream melting into intensely sweet and rich caramel sauce is a delight. + Lively atmosphere - Pushed for space

✱ La Parmigiana 447 Great Western Road, West End, 0141 334 0686, laparmigiana.co.uk | £18 (set lunch) / £33 (dinner)

Frequently featuring in Michelin, Good Food and AA restaurant guides, La Parmigiana has been at the forefront of Italian fine dining for nearly 40 years – still owned and managed by the Giovanazzi family. The small dining space, with little over a dozen tables, provides an intimate atmosphere. White linen tablecloths, sparkling glassware and thick red carpet feels a little dated though still charming nonetheless. The menu is concise and leans towards a French style of cooking with refined touches and intricate sauces. Lobster ravioli is made daily, arriving full of quality seafood packed into wafer thin pasta resting on rich seafood style bisque. The handful of mains are mostly meaty with a single fish and pasta offering. Try the pheasant – a plump breast pan-fried in butter, is rich and soft while sweet confit leg is stuffed inside fresh cannelloni laced with Italian herbs and a hint of parmesan, red wine reduction adding a deep savoury note to the finish. A popular choice for a celebration, or simply a treat to yourself. + Beautiful Italian dishes in a charming dining room along with great service - Chips have no place on a menu like this

Piccolo Mondo 344 Argyle Street, City Centre, 0141 248 2481, piccolomondo.co.uk | Closed Sun | £21.50 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

Having opened the original Piccolo Mondo, meaning small world, in Renfrew circa 1974, the Pierotti Brothers have been serving traditional Italian food to diners for over 40 years. Aiming at the higher end of the market, the dining room is suitably plush with ornate furnishings bathed in gold and red, intricate murals adorn the walls while elegant chandeliers allow the vast space to feel less cavernous. Try the ‘celebration menu’ – it includes a cocktail to start, a bottle of wine to share, three courses and a liqueur to finish – excellent value for money. From this menu, salsiccia con fagioli starts the meal with a Tuscan feel, chunks of meaty sausage laced with fennel and spice combine with a rich tomato sauce full of garlic and sage, borlotti beans add further texture and body to the dish. Seafood risotto, so often a disappointment is light and creamy, the rice holding its bite while king and tiger prawns are sweet and soft, a kick of brandy adding a luxurious touch. Both outfits offer a similar formula making

The Italian Caffè (page 148): stylish small plates and an extensive wine list

them a good bet for city slickers and those further afield. + Great value menus served in chic surroundings - Roast potatoes served beside pasta?

NEW Pizza Punks 90 St Vincent Street, City Centre, 0141 237 8020, pizzapunks.co.uk | £14 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

Relative newcomer to the burgeoning pizza restaurant boom in Glasgow is Pizza Punks, and, as its name suggests, it’s aimed at groups of young adults and families hoping for a dose of good fun along with their artisanal wood-fired pizza and locally brewed craft beer. The cavernous, heavily styled interior feels a little corporate, but there’s a distinct buzz about the place with the retro punk tunes and bustling open kitchen where white aproned chefs can be seen pulling the sourdough pizza bases. Create your own (‘punk up your pizza’), choosing from an extensive list split into protein, cheese and veg, or opt for one of theirs from the ‘St Vincent Street loves’ section. An indulgent white pizza of smoky scarmoza cheese, cured meats, chunks of lemon thyme chicken with spring onions and cream is reminiscent of a particularly delicious baked pasta dish, and is moreish to the last bite. In keeping with the Italian-American theme are the photogenic milkshakes with extravagant decorations of sweets, cake and lashings of whipped cream. And with affordable Italian house wines on tap, you can happily wash it all down with another glass of sangiovese. + Menu a definite ice-breaker - Sharing boards too large between two

NEW Pizza West 2 Partick Bridge Street, West End, 0141 237 2950, pizzawest.co.uk | £5 (any pizza Mon-Fri) (set lunch) / £11 (dinner)

In the revamped space once occupied by the Volcano nightclub of Trainspotting fame, Pizza West offers a well crafted menu of pizzas, starters and desserts. Sister enterprise the Great Western Sandwich Co. has gained a reputation for experimental and exciting fillings and at Pizza West the toppings extend this tradition with delights such as the Volcano with nduja, pickled peppers and fresh chillis or Artfunkel with artichoke, olives and rocket. The topping sauce with its overtones of sundried tomato and garlic is a triumph. The hand-stretched pizza base fired in the Volcano oven is simultaneously soft and crusty as it should be. Potentially commonplace starters and sides are surprisingly generous – the chunky cumin-infused meatballs in a dense tomato sauce or the crusty, creamy whole buffalo mozzarella salad with mixed leaves stand out and even the spicy chicken wings are succulent, while a boozy affogato covers the sweet spot with aplomb. The seven-days-a-week midnight bar concocts mouth-puckering negronis alongside a range of easy-drinking wines by the glass or bottle as well as popular international beers. + Excellent value lunch deal – £5 all pizzas - Olives rather small and bitter

Ristorante Teatro 61 Elmbank Street, City Centre, 0141 332 3565, teatrorestaurant.co.uk | £5 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

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Renowned for its lunchtime and pretheatre deals, this restaurant – once the theatre crowds have left – morphs into a cosy setting for a leisurely meal. The generous dishes are individually created from fresh locally sourced or genuine Italian ingredients. The ubiquitous Italian restaurant shared platter is sometimes little more than a few slices of meat and cheese with pickled vegetables, not so here, where the antipasto del Teatro truly does present a taste of everything including crispy salt and pepper squid rings, melting mozzarella and wild mushroom arancini, tomato bruschetta, olives, salami, parma ham, mortadella, mini mixed salad and, in pride of place, a toothsome buffalo mozzarella dressed with strands of red pepper. This generous dish can be had in starter or main portions and as a main with a few glasses of wine makes for a truly convivial evening. The mains can almost be overly generous although they all come with accompanying sauces in traditional sauceboats so the richness can be paced – the succulent chicken served with sides of spinach and mash for pollo alla Teatro is rich with mushrooms, cream and gorgonzola. + Generous portions at very reasonable prices - Slightly cramped seating arrangements

Salt & Vinegar 1044 Pollokshaws Rd, Southside See Fish

✱ Tarantino Ristorante 914–916 Sauchiehall Street, West End, 0141 237 3902, tarantinoristorante.co.uk | Closed Mon | £10.95 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Tarantino stands out from the jostling crowd of Glasgow’s Italian restaurants with its regional focus and pristine retro style. Extra virgin olive oil is harvested from chef and owner Giovanni Giglio’s family olive groves in Sicily and the original wine list is sourced from Salento, the region at the heel of Italy that is home for the majority of the charming staff. Daily shopping trips to Glasgow’s fish market and local organic fruit and vegetable suppliers provide the ingredients for dishes based on the best of Scottish produce. Flavours are subtle without over reliance on parmesan or cream – pollo in padella transforms an everyday chicken breast with a sauce of garlic, rosemary and white wine while the gently creamy risotto prosecco e menta gives a fresh mint kick to a generous serving of carnaroli rice, salmon, prawns, rocket and prosecco. The evening Degustazione a Scelta tasting menu at £18.95 including a glass of wine is excellent value. À la carte dishes and chef’s specials are always inventive making use of imported ingredients such as burrata and fresh truffles, while desserts are house-made, with a delicious tiramisù as the star offering. + All dishes are freshly made to order - A rather solid and overly sweet cheesecake

Tony Macaroni 4 Byres Road, West End, 0141 334 5959, tonymacaroni.co.uk | £10.95 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

A trusted choice for families, groups and couples seeking no-fuss Italian cooking, Tony Macaroni’s small Scottish chain is a tried and tested option. There are over 20 starter options, double that for mains plus pizzas, bread and a mozzarella bar – it is an eye-boggling, somewhat overwhelming menu. Dishes arrive in quick succession from the busy kitchen, the stretched waiting team struggling at times, though never losing their smiles. Parmigiana di melanzane

is a tasty aubergine dish layered with tomato sugo, little bursts of basil and pungent parmesan dotted throughout. Focaccia formaggio caprino is huge and crisp, scattered with creamy goat’s cheese, sweet caramelised onions and a peppery finish from rocket piled high on top. Linguine allo scoglio is excellent, fresh with king prawns, mussels, clams and squid bound in a delicate white wine sauce – it may be the star of the show. Having bought over Nardini’s some time ago, ice-cream sundaes are a speciality – try the raspberry snowball delight, crammed with mini snowballs, raspberry sauce, whipped cream, wafers, chocolate curls and Nardini’s vanilla and strawberry ice-cream – delicious for anyone with a super sweet tooth. + Something to suit everyone with good value deals - Gigantic menu could do with being refined

La Vita 161 Queen Street, City Centre, 0141 248 3533, lavitapizzeria.co.uk | £9.95 / £10.95 (set lunch) / £17 (dinner)

La Vita has served Glaswegians and visitors to the city centre at its prime location on George Square for over a decade. At three stories tall, it still retains a family-run charm with its cosy interior and displays of old family photos. The mezzanine levels are open and relaxed, but there are plenty of nooks for a more intimate meal, too. The set-up is ideal for a quick stop-off during the day – service is quick, and most tastes are catered for. While pasta dishes (GF available) and crisp stone-baked pizzas are staples, there’s plenty more on the menu with eggs Benedict or French toast at breakfast, and a large section dedicated to burgers and other meat dishes on the à la carte. The highlighted specialties are especially tempting, and the chip shopinspired starter of battered black pudding and velvety pea purée is typical of their simple but moreish dishes. Desserts are ice-cream heavy, and with options like the ‘gelato burger’ – a toasted brioche bun soaking up melting vanilla ice-cream – La Vita will be a hit with the kids + Family-friendly - Limited selection of spirits

La Vita Spuntini 199–201 Byres Road, West End, 0141 339 4222, lavitapizzeria.co.uk | £6.99 (set lunch) / £10 (dinner)

This relaxed and convivial Byres Road restaurant operates a tapas-style menu with a splendid array of Italian dishes from which to build your meal. It is possible to eat in the standard starter, mains, dessert mode but the spuntini menu is fun and indulges those who love to share or want everything on the menu. Women in pairs and groups, as well as students, tend to favour eating here, and there is a thoughtfully selected range of wines by the glass to enhance the experience. Most of the spuntini are freshly prepared apart from slow-cooked meats or lasagne and the flavours are pronounced and enjoyable. The tomato sugo is orangey red indicating the use of fresh as opposed to tinned tomatoes, the arancini are crispy and substantial while the little pepperoni and potato frittata is simultaneously soft, crunchy and piquant. Polpette, the superbly seasoned beef and pork meatballs, are moreish indeed – and the beauty of the spuntini approach is you can ask for more without either overspending or seeming greedy. Steak, chicken and fish mains are oven roasted or chargrilled and come with inventive accompaniments. + Lots of choices from a thoughtfully constructed menu - Side salads are rather small

ROUND THE WORLD In this section you will find the biggest variety of tonguetingling flavours, the rarest of ingredients, the wildest of cooking styles and the most unusual of cuisines. From rootin’ tootin’-style burgers from the Deep South of the USA, and exotic Middle Eastern kebabs covered in herbs and spices to Mexican burritos and lashings of Greek olive oil and hummus – with all sorts of weird, wacky and wonderful styles of food in between – this section really does have it all. So open your mind, prime your taste buds, and explore the world of Glasgow’s global food scene. Reviewers: Erica Goodey, Rory McGinley, David McPhee

Alla Turca TURKISH 192 Pitt Street, City Centre, 0141 332 5300, allaturca.co.uk | £5 (set lunch) / £19 (dinner)

With a name derived from Mozart’s piece that is more popularly known as the Turkish March, Alla Turca is a fine example of Turkish cuisine that hits all the right notes. There is a clear affinity to doing meat properly (most of which is halal and sourced from Al Baraka on Great Western Road), with a number of signature grills that stand out. The Sultan’s Feast, created to honour Alla Turca’s tenth year, is a veritable celebration for two with a generous selection of lamb chops and fillet, barbecue chicken and kofte shish. Beef shish, which uses fillet of Aberdeen Angus, sits upon a casserole peppered with roast chestnuts – an often-used ingredient in Turkish cooking – and one that gives both texture and an exciting edge to the dish. Vegetarians will likely be drawn to an appealing variety of mezzes such as kisir (spiced couscous, walnut and hazelnut), sarma (vine leaves stuffed with sultanas and pine nuts) or borek (pastry with feta and parsley), all of which are freshly made each day. + In-house entertainment by saz (a stringed Turkish instrument) at weekend - Half the menu is an all-Italian affair to accommodate downstairs

NEW ’Babs MIDDLE EAST 49 West Nile Street, City Centre, 0141 221 3111, babs.co.uk |

If Glasgow has managed to really get the wrong end of the stick when it comes to this Middle Eastern dish, ‘Babs might just be able to set the record straight when it comes to kebabs. The latest venture from burger maestros Bread Meats Bread, the hook for their new joint is a very succinct, ‘Kebabs. Done right.’ While we may wonder what really is in the late night, boozy wonder that is a doner kebab, ‘Babs has set out its stall to use ethical and local Scottish produce – it looks likely there will be no room for the rotisserie grill either, with kebabs cooked on a charcoal-fire. If the BMB approach is anything to go by, your chicken tikka and lamb shish will likely be in for a creative interpretation, while garnishes will most certainly stretch beyond the ‘salad and sauce’ formula. The popularity that accompanied the first wave of dirty burgers, ribs and pulled pork looks like it

✱ HITLIST

ROUND THE WORLD ✱ Bibi’s Cantina This longstanding cantina in Partick offers a fresh homemade take on Mexican flavours in a lively bistro-style setting. ✱ The Calabash Restaurant Quirky surroundings, friendly service and authentic African cooking – a truly unique spot that could easily become a habit. ✱ Halloumi Newcomer Halloumi dishes up Greek-Cypriot cuisine in a fresh, bold and confident manner from its stylish diner. ✱ Restauracja U Jarka Terrific Polish restaurant next to Kelvingrove Park, where food is prepared with love and served with warmth and humour. ✱ Yiamas Greek Taverna Décor may be spartan, but it’s all about authentic and delicious Greek food packed full of flavour at this city centre spot. might be beginning to subside, Glasgow’s appropriation of gourmet kebabs could well mark a new trend for meat-lovers. [Not open for a full review at time of going to press – check food.list.co.uk for updates].

Bar Gumbo NORTH AMERICAN 71–77 Byres Road, West End, 0141 334 7132 | £5.95 (set lunch) / £12 (dinner)

With a distinct wooden façade and plenty of outdoor seating, you can’t help but notice Bar Gumbo. The mysterious wooden theme continues inside with panels a-plenty, tree trunk pillars, burgers in wooden trays, and giant racks of ribs served on fat boards. There’s nothing wooden about the live music, however, which is on most nights of the week and includes jazz, blues, rockabilly and soul. The Southern USA menu (which is due an overhaul in spring 2017) features gumbo – a rich tomato-based stew with peppers and okra, with either chicken, shrimp or vegetable, or jambalaya with chicken and chorizo. Alternatively, there’s lots of carby goodness on offer, like various Po’ Boyz – big, soft ciabattas with hot fillings such as buttermilk fried chicken and blue cheese sauce, or pulled pork with barbecue sauce. The Gumbo mac and cheese starter is covered in chewy mozzarella, beef brisket and jalapeños – not particularly sophisticated, but darned good. Desserts include deepfried cheesecake, which is an experience to behold – the creamy, sweet melted middle oozes out of hot, crispy batter – it’s so wrong but oh so right. + You won’t come out hungry - It’s pretty dark inside

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Barburrito MEXICAN • 5 Gordon Street, City Centre, 0141 248 3364 | £10 (lunch) / £10 (dinner) • 115 Hope Street, City Centre, 0141 243 2321 | £10 (lunch) / £10 (dinner) • 138 Queen Street, City Centre, 0141 221 9330 | £10 (lunch) / £10 (dinner)

Given the distance between Scotland and Mexico, it is perhaps understandable that the burrito craze has taken some time to reach our shores. With its three city centre outlets (a straight takeover from Mexicanminded Pinto last year), Barburrito – a chain hailing from Manchester with several venues in Scotland – is evidence of the growing popularity of this fast and flavoursome Mexican import. Choose from the classic, loaded, superfood or even the naked burrito – that’s the filling without the wrap – and adorn your option with chicken, pulled pork, steak or the vegetarian option. They also do an excellent chicken and chorizo promo once a week. As it’s primarily a fast food or takeaway establishment (Queen St and Hope St are the bigger venues), the décor is understandably designed for a good time not a long time, yet unlike its counterparts, it also has a beer and cider licence. Enjoy a a cold bottle of Corona Extra or Rekorderlig cider with your meal and finish it all off with some cinnamoncoated churros with Mexican chocolate dipping sauce. + Churros are worth a try - Feels a bit clinical inside

✱ Bibi’s Cantina MEXICAN 599 Dumbarton Road, West End, 0141 579 0179, bibiscantina.com | £11.95 (set lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Over the last ten years Bibi’s Cantina has become something of a Glasgow institution and a byword for excellent Mexican fare in a welcoming and intimate setting. No sooner is your head through the door than you’re escorted to a table and a complimentary frozen margarita shot rests in your hand. A wonderfully small and ornate restaurant, families and

couples shout to be heard above the music and the hustle and bustle of service staff. Best to begin with the light and pan-fried whitefish taco or the crispy refried bean taquitos then follow up with sizzling fajitas or the wonderful ‘cowboy’ steak chilli served in a traditional tortilla basket. In celebration of their ten year anniversary, Bibi’s have chosen to revert back to 2007 prices once a month in 2017 as just reward for the stanch loyalty of their patrons over the last decade. If the warmth of Bibi’s staff doesn’t do enough for you then wash down your spicy meal with one of their famous authentic Jarritos or a Don Julio Anejo tequila, certain to brighten up any diner. + Great and quick service - Taco Station dish needs more filling

Boteco do Brasil SOUTH AMERICAN 62 Trongate, Merchant City 07772 847311, botecodobrasil.com | £6.95 (set lunch) / £17 (dinner)

With live music, DJs, dancing and an upbeat, colourful atmosphere, Boteco do Brasil pulls in a mixed crowd who looking for a good time. The menu, like Brazil, is extensive and exotic. The roast peppers stuffed with mozzarella and rice, or the prawns pan-fried in garlic can come either as tapas, to be enjoyed while sipping a beer, or to start before a bigger dish. Ask for a table at the back if you’d prefer to focus on the food, though even so, don’t be surprised if a live band or a DJ start blasting tunes from the other end of the bar. For mains, moquequa – a traditional Brazilian fish stew in a coconut sauce is silky and lustrous. You could also try feijoida, a traditional black bean and pork stew, or there are plenty of burgers for the less adventurous. Desserts are all homemade, such as the strawberrycoconut-cream-concoction – and they’re pretty good, despite an abundance of squirty cream. Whatever you have to eat, as the night goes on be prepared for live music, flowing Caipirinhas and a pulsating, party-going pack. + Warm, vibrant atmosphere - Can be loud

TIPLIST

Brooklyn Café

FOR FISH & CHIPS

Open since 1931, the Brooklyn Café is a real Southside institution, owing its longevity to a willingness to move with the times while remaining loyal to its roots. The wide-ranging menu covers all three meals, while special vegan and gluten-free menus offer a refreshing amount of choice for those with special dietary requirements. The large coffee is absolutely enormous, but the wide windows at the front afford a good opportunity to watch the world go by before reaching the bottom of the cup. Tasty sandwiches such as the New Yorker – pastrami, gherkins, tomato and plenty of mustard, lightly toasted – are served with chips, salad or sweet potato fries. For the bigger appetite the smokehouse menu offers sticky racks of ribs, Buffalo chicken wings, burgers and pulled pork in a brioche bun or stick with tradition and a full breakfast with both link and square sausage and local black pudding. The old-fashioned counter shows an array of ice-creams, but the real sweet standout is the homemade scones – plain, fruit, cherry, freshly baked each morning and perfect smothered with raspberry jam and clotted cream. + Lovely scones and enormous coffee - Cherry tomatoes standing in for sunblushed tomatoes

• Coia’s Café 147 A bustling Dennistoun café-diner, popular with locals, offering Italian favourites, a chip shop and wellstocked deli.

136 • Crabshakk An early trailblazer in nowfashionable Finnieston, serving quality seafood in compact surroundings. 136 • The Finnieston Sophisticated seafood restaurant and cocktail bar in a friendly harbourside-style pub setting. 137 • The Fish People Café A classy neighbourhood fish specialist next to Shields Road subway – with sourcing from the associated fishmongers opposite. 137 • Gandolfi Fish Upmarket yet welcoming Merchant City seafood spot, serving high-quality fish dishes and fabulous wine. 138 • Salt & Vinegar A cheery Shawlands newcomer, offering sit-in or take-away suppers with top-notch fresh fish.

NORTH AMERICAN 21 Minard Road, Southside, 0141 632 3427 | £9 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Buck’s Bar NORTH AMERICAN

Mezze: newcomer dishing out Greek and Mediterranean food in the iconic Rotunda next to the Hydro 111 West Regent Street, City Centre See Bars & Pubs

CAU Glasgow ARGENTINIAN 222–224 Ingram Street, Merchant City, 0141 221 6272, caurestaurants.com | £10.95 (set lunch) / £19 (dinner)

Ultra-contemporary, on-trend design features and vast floor-to-ceiling windows literally make CAU a place to be seen in. Some design elements such as big, sleek, metallic lampshades are impressive; however, others, such as shiny plastic chairs and photographic wall panels of sky and grass, slightly cheapen the otherwise impressive restaurant. Bringing Argentinian steaks to a country that produces some of the best beef in the world is bold – however, CAU’s variety of 30-day aged steaks do have exceptional flavour. The steaks come with chips and sauce, but if you have room order a little pot of truffled mac and cheese, which is luscious. And you’ll definitely want to try the selected Argentine wines. The speciality cuts come with lofty prices – but as they all start at a whopping 400 grams and are incredibly succulent, juicy and flavoursome, they are worth the stretch. Other mains include burgers, sandwiches, and a handful of token offerings for nonbeef eaters. Starters include crispy tempura pork belly or smoked beef, which is smoky and rich, with a deliciously creamy wasabi mayonnaise. Desserts are just as indulgent. + Gorgeous Argentinian steaks - Feels a bit chainy

✱ The Calabash Restaurant AFRICAN 57 Union Street, City Centre, 0141 221 2711, thecalabashafricanrestaurant.co.uk | £14 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

The narrowed front of the Calabash belies what leads into a capacious trans-African restaurant complete with two separate dining rooms, takeaway service, late-night bar and lounge area utilised for live music. Throw in a menu that makes a decent attempt in journeying across an entire continent and it’s fair to say that a visit is bewitching, confusing but certainly never dull. Highlights include a khima curry, of Tanzanian origin, an intense dish of lamb mince and a celebration of spicing – garam masala, cinnamon, cumin and cardomom among others, gauged with attentive consideration. Stretching beyond curries or stews and a couple of specials (boiled goat head being the most noteworthy), mains

revolve primarily around choma, which loosely translates from Swahili as ‘feel hot’, or in this context, grilled meat. A half portion of nyama choma is a gargantuan offering of spiced lamb strips and a steal at under £10. Don’t expect too much from desserts, a sweet plaintain is the most enterprising available, yet with such an enticing selection of savoury dishes plus interesting African beers, there isn’t really any need. + Strong, modestly priced African beers including Windhoek – an absolute gem from Namibia - When busy for takeaway orders, food can take a while to arrive

Elià GREEK 24 George Square, City Centre, 0141 221 9988, eliagreekrestaurant.com | £6.95 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Authentic, warm and relaxed, Elia has a prime location on George Square, featuring stacks of wine bottles, original brickwork, and postcard-style pictures of Greece. Light fluffy bread before the meal comes with intense olive oil and olives – both from the owner’s farm in Greece. Starters are plentiful and delicious. Prawns baked with feta and tomato is an unusual combination – the sweet, rich sauce and tangy cheese passionately marry together but the prawns feel like a bit of a spare part. Go for the deep-fried Cretian cheese, which is indulgently good, or try one of the many Greek dips – though with all these gorgeous mezze morsels, be wary of filling up too fast. Mains include grilled meats, a few pasta options and lots of slow-cooked meaty dishes – moussaka, or lamb cooked on the bone in tomato sauce. The baked beef burgers (more like sausages) come with rich tomato sauce, and are full of fragrant garlic, cumin and herbs. There are few desserts on offer – no doubt because of the enormous portion sizes – but options such as baklava are very tasty. + Genuine Greek food, warm atmosphere - Overcooked seafood in pasta dish

Frosoulla’s GREEK 39 Sinclair Drive, Southside, 0141 649 7588, frosoullas.co.uk | Closed Mon/Tue | £9.95 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

There are some core principles noticeable at Frosoulla’s that other neighbourhood bistros would do well to adopt; personable, engaging service; robust, generous

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portions; and, crucially, a commitment to being selective with primary ingredients. The menu appears broad and includes sections such as the popular mezedes (a feast concocted by the chef /owner herself), dishes from the grill, plus a menu for veggies. While this may look like a diffuse offering, it is to the kitchen’s credit as they cleverly overlap and utilise the best of their ingredients across dishes: a topquality, barrel-aged feta is used in a simple but saparous beetroot salad and appears again in a seafood saganaki to bind and cut through the rich, bisque-esque sauce. Frosoulla’s displays how horribly Glasgow has appropriated the meaning of kebab; meat is sourced locally, butchered in-house and cooked in a charcoal grill, allowing for an experience of how the dish is supposed to taste. When the chef’s mother still prepares the dolmades to a recipe that goes back over a century, you know you are in safe hands when visiting Frosoulla’s. + Delicious Greek yoghurt a must for dessert after such generous portions - Black and white, semi-modern interior doesn’t quite jibe with restaurant’s style

✱ NEW Halloumi GREEK 161 Hope Street, City Centre, 0141 204 1616, halloumiglasgow.co.uk | £8.95 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Halloumi evokes the primary aesthetic associations of the Mediterranean with that of the current trend in restaurant design – the cyan frontage is the perfect precursor to an interior of marbled, mosaic flooring, exposed white brickwork and low hanging lights that hover just above thick wooden tables. Launched last summer, the food is characterised by its commitment to the Greek-Cypriot mezze style of eating, meaning dishes are shared and arrive at staggered points throughout the meal. The stress is clearly on bold flavours derived from few ingredients. A large octopus tentacle is a case in point – its outside sweetly charred to just the right side of cooked, served with a simple garnish of smoked paprika and hummus. There’s a quartet of meats available from the grill, with the lamb souvlaki consisting of well-seasoned, speared rump and is a steal at £6.75. Vegetarians are well catered for with the pick spanakopita – a comforting and moreish dish of pastry, spinach and goats’ cheese. A glance at Halloumi’s menu shows it to be, with a few exceptions, a traditional GreekCypriot restaurant, but in its style and energy it is both thoroughly contemporary and charming. + Menu is, across the board, genuinely appealing – begs for repeat visits - Bottle of Greek wine comes in over £25

Khublai Khan Mongolian Barbecue Restaurant MONGOLIAN 26 Candleriggs, Merchant City, Merchant City, 0141 552 5646, khublaikhan.co.uk | £22.95 (only open for lunch on a Sunday) (set lunch) / £22.95 (set dinner)

At Khublai Khan’s it’s down to you to put your dinner together. Fill a silver bowl with ingredients – meat, vegetables, sauces, spices, rice and noodles – then hand it to a chatty chef who throws it all on the grill. What you get back is less a barbecue more a stir-fry. Fill your bowl as many times as you like, and top and tail your Mongolian feast with a starter and dessert, for a set price. The range of meat on offer is extensive, exotic and unique – crocodile, wild boar, kangaroo, pheasant and a range of fish, laid out in a bizarre raw meat buffet. The restaurant recommends sticking to its suggested sauce combinations, such as sweet and sour or the lesser-known Bobby’s bum buster (yes, really). Only freestyle if you know what you’re doing, otherwise you

may end up with a bowl of unidentifiable meat (‘is this zebra or rabbit I’m eating?’) and an unpalatable sauce. A mural of Mongolians charging into battle feels appropriate since the place tends to attract small armies of hen dos, stag parties and office night outs. + Novelty factor makes it a good laugh - The sight of all that raw meat could churn your stomach

Las Iguanas SOUTH AMERICAN 16–20 West Nile Street, City Centre, 0141 248 5705, iguanas.co.uk | £10 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

With around 30 branches spread across the UK and a menu that is a whistle-stop tour of almost as many cuisines, it would be easy to dismiss Las Iguanas’ appeal on the grounds of its accessibility and universality. There is, however, a tangible energy about the restaurant, created in part by its bright tortoise and copper interior, an exciting cocktail list, lively open kitchen, and food that while at points might seem tangential, is fresh and tasty. Loosely Latin American inspired, dishes range from crowd-pleasers (nachos, tacos, Havana-glazed pork ribs, fajitas) to some more original offerings. These include Patagonian-style lamb meatballs enlivened with apple and nutmeg, while a tortilla of braised duck, paired with a spiced cranberry salsa, is a similarly enticing starter. For mains, seafood seems to be the area in which the kitchen is at its most identifiably South American – moqueca de pixie is studded with prawns, sweet plantain and pico de gallo in a coconut and tomato sauce, allowing for a highly enjoyable glimpse of this Brazilian fish stew. + Separate vegan and veggie menu available - Not ideal for those seeking an intimate dinner

but worth a visit for enjoyably different food. Try the tasty hot gefilte fish – shredded white fish, shaped into balls and deep fried. Or go for one of the platters – olives, salad, pickles, tangy tomato sauce, homemade Israeli hummus, warm pitta bread and hot falafel, for example. Other specialities include a hot salt beef sandwich served on rye bread with pickled cucumbers and American mustard; chopped liver, which is similar to chicken liver pâté; or a worsht omelette ‘like your grandma used to make’. If you haven’t heard of Jewish penicillin before, don’t worry, it isn’t a type of lab-grown mould – it’s the name given to cure-all chicken soup, including dumplings and fine egg noodles. The place may be channelling a canteen vibe, all cheap chairs and no frills – but as long as you come here for nothing more than some good value, high-quality food, and a warm welcome, you won’t be disappointed. + Not your average café menu - School dinner hall-like layout

NEW Mezze GREEK The Rotunda, 28 Tunnel Street, West End, 0141 204 3144, glasgowrotunda.com/ mezze-glasgow | £20 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Mezze is the latest addition to the quartet of restaurants at the North Rotunda, and, in its enviable position at the top tier of the four, boasts the finest views of the River Clyde and Glasgow. Yet Mezze possesses its own unique, aesthetic selling point: diners enter the restaurant to be met by a Santorini-inspired dome that presides over the bar area, while prints of the Greek island, all crystal blue and white, adorn the walls. The menu makes a number of subtle departures from being whole-heartedly Greek cuisine with its Turkish inflexions,

such as giaourtlou – spiced minced kebabs on top of spiced tomato sauce, yoghurt and pitta. Saganaki, a rich, tomato-based seafood stew, teems with prawns, squid and mussels, and makes a strong argument for Mediterranean recipes being perfect bed-fellows with Scottish produce. Emphasis might be on small plates, yet a number of dishes, including kleftico (a robust, braised lamb shank), and a whole chargrilled sea bream, are designed for two and further allow for a more collective approach to dining. + Highly informed and motivated general manager - Menu is very similar to sister venue Halloumi

NY American Grill NORTH AMERICAN Princes Square, 48 Buchanan Street, City Centre, 0141 221 7667, nyamericangrill. co.uk | £12.95 (set lunch) / £17 (dinner)

There’s a nice blend to what NY American Grill have achieved at Princes Square: jumbo hot dogs and signature burgers gives it an almost diner-like feel, meats – charred on the much-lauded Josper Grill – give a sense of robustness, while bistro-inspired dishes such as Cajunspiced sea bass fillets offer a touch of finesse. The restaurant has the aesthetic profile of both a Stateside boozer (a lengthy bar, plus an extensive bourbon and craft beer list attests to this) and a sleek metropolitan eatery in its stylish wooden-panelled booths. The food itself is executed well without ever being gamechanging. A starter of nachos is generous and adorned with appropriately tender pulled pork, while French onion soup, crostini and all, is given a nice twist with the addition of wholegrain mustard. The Josper Grill comes into its own with the

Mango AMERICAS 373 Sauchiehall Street, City Centre 07908 251200, mangolatino.uk | £16.50 (lunch) / £16.50 (dinner)

When visiting Mango, with its ripped-up multi-coloured posters, flags of the world draped around, Latino-looking menu and non-stop South American tunes tapping an incessant beat, your mind might occasionally be transported to a more exotic place. However, the rattling fruit machines and punters drinking pints at the bar will keep your feet planted firmly in Glasgow. You can order the usual nachos, fajitas and burritos here, but if you want a real South American flavour, go for empanadas to start – a kind of Columbian take on our bridies. Unlike their Scottish counterparts, these little pastries are filled with finely minced chicken, beef or prawns, and come with a salsa that has just the right amount of sass. They’re delicious. The slow-cooked cod main is pleasant, though doesn’t quite deliver on the flavour promised from the ‘tropical’ coconut sauce, and the Brazilian rump steak is tasty, if a tad chewy. Because the venue is open until 3am all week, and features live music, salsa lessons, DJs and a jumping dancefloor, it’s possible that the food might come as a side order to the sizzling Latin-flavoured party. + Lots of live entertainment - Some dishes a little lacklustre

Mark’s Deli MEDITERRANEAN 6 Burnfield Road, Southside, 0141 638 8947, marksdeli.co.uk | Closed Sat | £10 (lunch)

This café serves a number of delicious Jewish delicacies that aren’t seen on many menus around Glasgow. Both the café, and the attached deli, are pretty basic, The List Eating & Drinking Guide 153

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requisite charring of a strip sirloin, with the kitchen deserving of kudos for utilising an underrated cut. More impressive is the aforementioned sea bass, delicately handled and given a Gallic touch with the accompanying grilled fennel and punchy salsa verde. + Pre-theatre excellent value for money - Desserts follow the much-trodden brownie, cheesecake and ice-cream path

time, are covered in a punchy chilli-spiked glaze, while an accompanying starter of prawns (which to the kitchen’s credit are served skin-on to retain flavour) are charred on the grill and balanced with a sweet and crunchy pomegranate salad. + No holds barred with curry spicing - Sailor Jerry chocolate cake heavy and lacks any boozy punch

NEW Surf Dogs Nur

NORTH AMERICAN

MIDDLE EAST

49 Kilmarnock Road, Southside, 0141 230 6392, surfdogsglasgow.net |

22 Bridge Street, City Centre, 0141 258 2326, nur-restaurant.co.uk | Closed Mon | £20 (dinner)

Set over two floors – one a mezzanine with low tables and cushions – Nur’s lovely, ambient interior gives you the impression that you’ve just stumbled upon something quite special. The lush, silk fabrics draped around the dining area, shisha pipes, low lighting and delicious smell of sizzling spices dancing through the air, make you feel like you’ve travelled to somewhere exotic. The food is full of Egyptian flavour – try the fava beans with spicy sausage and tomato sauce to start, or the smoked beef cooked with scrambled eggs – or go for one of the dips, like baba ganoush. For mains, try a big tagine, full of slow-cooked ingredients, such as huge, soft chunks of chicken that fall apart when touched, in a thick, spicy spinach sauce. Or get something off the grill, such as minced lamb koftas or succulent chicken kebabs, coated in rich herbs and spices, and come with lots of fresh salad and homemade flat bread. With BYOB, occasional belly dancers and unusual desserts such as rose ice-cream with chocolate, this place is worth a visit if you fancy something different. + Lovely, warm authentic vibe - Tatty toilets

✱ Restauracja U Jarka POLISH Sikorski Polish Club, 5 Parkgrove Terrace, West End 07756 970306 | Closed Tue | £12 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

Perhaps most accurately described as a Polish farmhouse kitchen, Restauracja U Jarka, with husband and wife in the kitchen and daughter leading the front of house, is all about cooking from the heart. Their handling of barszcz czysty, the clear beetroot soup, litmus test for any Polish restaurant worth their salt, is indicative of this – a time-served family recipe that contains, among others, marjoram, celeriac, carrot and oregano. This is the best, and most nutritious dish, you will find in Glasgow at £1. Much of the menu shows why Polish cuisine has a reputation for being comforting and wholesome – zupa w chleble, a deep, rich beef stew is encased in a homemade bread bowl, while mains, including a superb veal schnitzel, are served with chive potatoes, salad, coleslaw and cabbage. While it runs two streets parallel with the trendy Finnieston strip, it is almost as if U Jarka has been given the cold shoulder by its more fashionable neighbours but a visit will leave you with a full stomach and the warm feeling of being adopted by a Polish family. + Fantastic range of niche Polish beers - Only two types of dessert: cheesecake or berry cheesecake

NEW Revolución de Cuba AMERICAS Culzean House, 28–36 Renfield Street, City Centre, 0141 404 0410, revoluciondecuba.com/bar/glasgow | £17.50 (lunch) / £17.50 (dinner)

This big, airy bar and restaurant is full of colourful, earthy tones and Mexican-style tiles. It manages to pull of an authentic, yet stylish look, with Cuban music plink plonking in the background and a chic

Barburrito (page 152): burrito specialists with three city centre venues

crowd. The food is loosely based on a Latin American format, such as chicken enchiladas or Cuban paella, though the range of burgers and sandwiches are a bit more Western than you might expect. While the tapas – like Iberico Ham croquettes, patatas bravas or roasted chorizo – are definitely from the wrong continent. The shredded pork burrito is enormous, though you may have to hunt through a lot of dry rice to find the meat; however, the tortilla chips and refried beans which come on the side, as well as a calamari starter, show some promise. That said, Revolucion de Cuba may be more the type of place to show off your Cuban moves over a rum cocktail or four than somewhere to seek out serious South American cuisine. + Nice-looking venue for drinks - The food isn’t exactly a revolution

NEW Roaster’s Deli NORTH AMERICAN 192 St Vincent Street, City Centre, 0141 229 0587, roastersdeli.com | £12 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

Roaster’s relocation from their original home in Partick’s subway station to the city centre seems to have had the desired impact, with the new premises feeling less like a café while also allowing room for a more expansive menu. The fundamentals from the original have been successfully imparted to the new incarnation with impressive portion sizes and a plethora of choice for meat lovers. There’s an extensive all-day breakfast menu, the most popular item of which is the made-to-order buttermilk pancakes with stacks of toppings, from maple syrup and bacon to fruit, nutella and a heartstopping option stuffed with Oreo cookies, smothered in choclate sauce. There’s also a nice selection of burgers, hot dogs and filled sandwiches – the signature being a pastrami and rye, which bears the hallmarks of the iconic version from Katz’s Delicatessen in New York. + Brioche buns robust enough for burgers - Veggies likely to struggle

St Louis Café Bar NORTH AMERICAN 734 Dumbarton Road, West End, 0141 339 1742, stlouis-cafebar.co.uk | £9 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

With its mismatched furniture, Klimt prints and relaxed staff, St Louis feels like you’re hanging out in your mate’s funky living room – well-worn, homely, candlelit and chilled. The food – from gut-busting Sunday brunch, to light lunch and big pub grub-style dinners – all runs on a similar, comforting vein, while the place draws in lots of locals, from families in the afternoon to late-night music lovers. A subtle USA influence can be seen in dishes such as the chicken and chorizo gumbo or the big range of solid, hearty burgers – as well as the mountainous portion sizes. Try the starter of Stornoway black pudding, sitting on salad leaves and spicy chorizo chunks with a poached egg perched on top, ready to burst at the slightest prod. Other tempting dishes include the homemade spicy fishcakes, or nachos with zesty homemade guacamole and chilli beef. Whatever meal you come in for, don’t miss out on the gorgeous desserts and cakes. The brownie comes warm and ever-so-slightly crispy on the outside, but hot, gooey and oozing with salted caramel sauce on the inside – delicious. + Warm, welcoming and relaxed - Clothes and hair can smell of oil after leaving

Sugar Dumplin CARIBBEAN Princes Square, 48 Buchanan Street, City Centre, 0141 248 2255, sugardumplin. co.uk | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Sugar Dumplin is a refreshing journey into what is, as of yet, a fairly untapped culinary expedition with few restaurants in Glasgow opting for the Caribbean route. Located at the far corner of Princes Square’s top floor, the space is deceptively large, with capacity stretching towards 180 covers. Such a wealth of room is – while to its detriment on quieter weekday evenings – a massive draw at busier points with Sugar Dumplin doubling up as a lively bar that offers up an impressive cocktail list and a commendable Caribbean beer selection. The food illustrates the region’s disparate culinary identity – mains range from buttermilk chicken burgers to Trinidadian chow mein to Guyanese curry. Of these, the latter impresses most, with an intense sauce that contains a heady blend of fenugreek and cumin. Jerk ribs, if perhaps needing a little longer cooking

After dishing out his take on gourmet hot dogs at the revolving Taste Buchanan street food operation in Buchanan Galleries (see page 100), Martin Capaldi plans to open his first permanent home in the increasingly gastronomic Shawlands as this guide goes to press. His previous career as a touring sound engineer brought him into contact with the way they do hot dogs over in the States, and he’s bringing his creations to the Southside, along with a few other US-inspired décor touches – surf boards, skateboards and 1980s movie posters. Expect his jumbo frankfurters on soft torpedo rolls to come with various house-made toppings, such as the Chilli Dog’s chilli, sour cream and jalapeños and the Bob Marley Dog’s pulled jerk chicken, red cabbage slaw and mango mayo. There’s burgers too, with American craft beers, classic cocktails and pimped-up shakes to wash it all down. [Not open for a full review at time of going to press – check food.list.co.uk for updates.]

Taco Mazama Mexican Kitchen MEXICAN • 6 Renfield Street, City Centre, 0141 248 8940, tacomazama.co.uk | £13 (lunch) / £13 (dinner) • 263 Byres Road, West End, 0141 337 3399, tacomazama.co.uk | £5.49–£7.99 (set lunch) / £13 (dinner)

Fresh from a new refurb at the Byres Road branch, Taco Mazama is looking to capitalise on its already sizable popularity as a quick and easy Mexican takeaway with a newly augmented sit-in section in their West End locale. They’ve very successfully made their name on fast, quality burritos with a number of fillings for every taste since they first opened the small takeaway on Renfield St in 2010. Yet they haven’t rested on their laurels one bit – opening branches in Edinburgh and making additions to the original beef, chicken and pulled pork menu offerings. Don’t fret though, vegetarians and vegans are now fully catered for with an impressive five-a-day burrito, a vegan mac and cheese option and Vegan Tuesdays where they offer five filling options. However, there’s still plenty for meat eaters to get excited about with the inclusion of albondigas (Mexican meatballs), a one, three or five hard or soft shell taco option or an ample burrito bowl if you wish to go ‘el grande’. As burrito competition continues to grow across the city, it’s perhaps important to remember who was doing it first, quickest and best. + Great burritos - delivered quick and well made - There’s a lot of green. A lot

Tasty GLOBAL Alea Glasgow, Springfield Quay, Paisley Road, Southside, 0141 555 6144, tasty-atalea.com, No Kids | £14.95–£25 (set two/ three course dinner)

Hidden upstairs in a casino in the commercialised depths of Springfield Quay, you’ll find the colossal Tasty. After toying with an adventurous Asianfusion style, Tony Singh settled for a European menu, which casino regulars apparently feel more comfortable with. However, hints of Asia can still be seen in

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the colourful, contemporary, up-market décor, especially in the plush bar area. On weeknights, the cavernous restaurant might feel empty and void of atmosphere, though apparently the ‘big players’ fill it up during weekends, to coincide with the set menu (there’s no à la carte here) leaping up in price. Starters include prawn marie rose wrapped in smoked salmon, or Singh’s signature haggis pakora, though if you are happy paying a supplement, try the starter of scallops and chorizo, which come beautifully presented. For mains you can upgrade to a rack of lamb, or one of the steaks sourced from Shaw’s Fine Meats. The assiette of pork from the standard menu is good, with a tender rarebreed pork steak, juicy pork belly and a petite but intense black pudding bonbon. + Dazzling views across the Clyde - Comatose atmosphere

SCOTTISH Since Scottish cuisine doesn’t really have a recognisable style, our clever chefs are free to explore a dynamic range of techniques and ingredients. Some of the restaurants here soar on creativity and contemporary flair, while others prefer to ramp up more traditional dishes. As all are drawing inspiration from one of the finest natural larders in the world, there are oodles of thrilling moments to enjoy around this section. Reviewers: David Kirkwood, Malcolm McGonigle

Topolabamba MEXICAN 89 St Vincent Street, City Centre, 0141 248 9359, topolabamba.com/home | £9.95 (set lunch) / £12 (dinner)

Why in the blue blazes would anyone want to build a wall between themselves and Mexico? Thankfully, America’s apparent loss is Scotland’s gain with Topolabamba further proving the absolute indispensability of this great nation one Taquito at a time. While servers float from table to table pollinating each with sweet, sweet nectar in the form of frozen margaritas and a dizzying assortment of tacos, quesadillas and tostadas, the notches on your belt strap futilely protest to a stomach who isn’t listening. ‘Andale!’ you’ll shout as homemade artisan-style Jack cheese fondue with garlicky roasted peppers with chorizo is placed before you. During the week there is the option of a little flavour of everything with the set Sabor Ligero menu, or if meat isn’t your thing they also offer a set vegetarian taster menu. Maybe it’s the rich and fiery colours or perhaps the intoxicating sounds of Old Mexico, but soon, cabrón, you may need to be escorted back over the border to where your doleful life awaits, so enjoy every minute. + Food comes hard and fast - Speed isn’t always what a diner requires

✱ Yiamas Greek Taverna GREEK 16–20 Bath Street, City Centre, 0141 353 1386, yiamastaverna.com | Closed Mon | £7.95 (set lunch) / £16.50 (dinner)

This family-run taverna dishes out plenty of classics at great value, alongside an even bigger serving of friendly, Greek hospitality. The food comes with homecooked flavour, such as the hummus with a wonderful lemony zing, or the meatballs, laced with fresh herbs. For starters, vine leaves stuffed with rice and drenched in olive oil are pleasant, but the crisp filo pastries stuffed with feta and spinach are warm and delicious – a real must-try. If you’re after a filling main, have the huge slab of moussaka which is dominated by creamy béchamel sauce and accompanied by herb-coated potatoes. The restaurant is known for its gyros – pronounced ‘yee-ros’, not like something you get from the dole office – which is pork cooked on a spit, available wrapped up in pita to take away, as with many of the dishes here. With basic wooden furnishings and a prominent open kitchen – complete with buzzing, sizzling and the occasional high-pitched whirring – Yiamas might not be known for its décor or interior, but it’s certainly made a name for itself for its hearty portions of awesome, authentic food. + Fabulous home-cooked, flavoursome fare - Not incredibly comfortable

The Anchor Line 12–16 St Vincent Street, City Centre See Bistros & Brasseries

NEW Annabel’s Bar & Restaurant Boclair House Hotel, 100 Milngavie Road, Bearsden, West End, 0141 942 4278, boclairhousehotel.co.uk | £17.95 (set lunch) / £28 (dinner)

Boclair House Hotel, overlooking Bearsden, is a former council building which hasn’t so much been refurbished as completely re-invented. A stunning refit throws emphasis on dramatic exterior archways and interior characterful rooms including a grand ballroom and a sparkling bar and restaurant lined with polished wood, bookshelves and classical brass highlights. It’s here we find Annabel’s, a nicely pitched formal room that has the air of a stately library. Starter of seared tuna boasts a quality piece of fish sliced into small medallions, easily holding its fresh and juicy flavour amid edgy dabs of wasabi, lime and sweet mango – an excellent, well-balanced creative dish. From the mains, tender pork fillet comes with salt-baked celeriac in a pool of vanilla and blackberries, a mix of fruity sweetness that adds depth to the meat. Puddings are lively, too, with a standout candidate in the coconut and lime panacotta attended by a bright and buzzing green tea ice-cream. The restaurant, which also offers a cracking tasting menu, is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Their big Sunday roast is deservedly popular, too. + Grand, stately surroundings - Only four wines available by the glass

Arisaig 1 Merchant Square, Merchant City, 0141 553 1010, arisaigrestaurant.co.uk | £24.50 (lunch) / £24.50 (dinner)

Merchant Square has become a busy destination over the last few years. Its cobbled courtyard and sparkling canopy of fairy lights supplies the perfect excuse for an afternoon or evening’s ‘outdoor’ dining free from the ravages of the Scottish weather. Weekends especially see the former market place bustling with couples, friends and peer groups basking in the Mediterranean-style café culture. Arisaig has been a regular here for nearly a decade. It proudly proclaims a mission to put Scotland’s finest produce at the heart of its menu, boasting a wide choice of staples including scallops, langoustine, salmon, woodpigeon, haggis, venison and pheasant. Starters showcase the brand: Cullen skink is a deep creamy broth with a silky lustre and soft chunks of perky fish, while smoked duck is vibrant and juicy, glorying in its bright lemon dressing, roasted beets and a smattering

of pea shoots. A main of rump of lamb is served rare with creamy bean cassoulet dotted with smoked pancetta and root vegetable crisps. A wide array of gins, vodkas, craft beers and a varied wine list complete the Arisaig experience. + Service and atmosphere - ‘Pope’s Hat’ plates look nice but it’s hard to carve meat in them

✱ HITLIST

✱ NEW Bilson Eleven 10 Annfield Place, East End, 0141 554 6259, bilsoneleven.co.uk | Closed Mon/ Tue | £26 (dinner)

This newcomer’s arrival on the scene has been assured and classy. Chefowner Nick Rietz and his snazzily dressed staff first came together at the Two Fat Ladies restaurants so there’s an understanding of each other, of fine dining, and of the palate of this city. ‘beef, onion, potato’ riffs on the ubiquity of steak and chips, and the perception that a neighbourhood restaurant must serve something similar. Bilson does – though it could be called ‘textures of onion’, such is the way the humble allium stars – onion purée, gravy, and onion-crusted fillet bringing remarkable dimensions of sweet and savoury. Curried skink – bridging Cullen skink and kedgeree – is a deconstructed demonstration of technical flair, potato popping with spices against charred leek and mustard-infused haddock, surrounded by fragrant, velvet foam. Every dish exhibits know-how: a breadcrumbed egg crunches open to reveals a runny, truffled centre; parsley purée and garlic cream bring depth and herbaceous notes to a fillet of salmon on mussels. The precision is commendable – but there’s an informal warmth to Bilson Eleven as well, and that‘s not so common at these sorts of places. It’s a lovely thing. In a 19th-century townhouse with stainedglass windows. A truly lovely thing. + Top-end dining, East End warmth - Narrow opening hours

NEW Birdtree & Bellfish Lorne Hotel, 923 Sauchiehall Street, West End, 0141 330 1552, lornehotelglasgow.com/birdtreebellfish | £12.95 (set lunch) / £23.50 (dinner)

Picking up on the ancient Glaswegian nursery rhyme, Birdtree & Bellfish are carving a slightly eccentric niche by positioning their playful menu on the earthier side of Scots traditions. Set in a corner of the Lorne Hotel with contemporary grey walls, tall windows, original coving and comfy leather benches, the room has the feel of a high-end restaurant but how many similar outlets do Buckfast-soaked blackcurrants or call their sides ‘wee dods’? Wood pigeon, lamb shank and monkfish dishes are well represented on the à la carte while a good value market menu offers a starter of cheese beanos – toasted bloomer with baked beans topped by rich auld reekie cheese. Creative mains include Irn Bru fish supper, which arrives with firm hand-cut chips in a fun newspaper-style wrapper with caramelised pickled onions. The batter mix is buoyed by our ‘other national drink’ and adds a surprisingly mild sweetness to the perfectly cooked haddock. Desserts (or ‘Efters’ as the menu has it) continue the theme with a serving of the near mythical deep-fried mars bar, a challenge for the sweetest tooth. + Large portions and charming service - Limited wine list

SCOTTISH ✱ Bilson Eleven A bold and stylish addition to the top-end scene, with exceptional technical cooking and a wee bit of Glaswegian swagger. ✱ The Gannet Contemporary restaurant in Finnieston, with an enticing Scottish-inspired menu, inventive cooking and a cool bar. ✱ Hotel du Vin Bistro A grand townhouse hotel with bags of style featuring top-end dining – a real special-occasion venue. ✱ Number 16 This relaxed West End bistro draws on Scottish produce and global inspiration to deliver something out of the ordinary. ✱ Wee Lochan Deep into the West End, this neighbourhood affair uses top-drawer ingredients with genuine sensitivity, and flavour combinations that are spot on. The Bothy 11 Ruthven Lane, West End, 0141 334 4040, bothyglasgow.co.uk | £13.95 (set lunch) / £23 (dinner)

With its choice Ruthven Lane location and tourist-friendly menu, the Bothy is one of the most autonomous and assured of the G1 Group’s portfolio of venues. Staff in kilts and gutties move through a space that’s both rustic log cabin and clean modern lines, while the kitchen offers all manner of classically Scottish cuisine that always pleases: Cullen skink with a pleasantly creamy finish, or Loch Fyne cold-smoked salmon. You can’t go wrong. Much is made of provenance, and ingredients are generally handled pretty well. Inverurie lamb rump’s seasoned crust gives way to a deep ruby, juicy piece of meat, while Peterhead lemon sole – impressively cooked on the bone – maintains that meaty-yet-delicate white flesh while still imparting the flavour of lemon butter, offset by capers with a hearty accompaniment of roast potatoes. But sometimes you want something simple. With that in mind, the Bothy also does a cracking fish and chips (from Scrabster), steaks (from Orkney), and good old beef and mushroom pie. + Location location location - Beer selection is weak compared to the whisky, wine and gin ranges

The Brasserie at the Chip 12 Ashton Lane, West End See Bistros & Brasseries

Brian Maule at Chardon d’Or 176 West Regent Street, City Centre See French

Bo’Vine Meats and Wines

Café Gandolfi

385 Byres Road, West End See Steakhouses & Burgers

64 Albion Street, Merchant City See Bistros & Brasseries The List Eating & Drinking Guide 155

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Café Source 1 St Andrew’s Square, Merchant City, 0141 548 6020, cafesource.co.uk | £14.95 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

Hidden in plain sight – that’s what it feels like as you turn off Trongate and within a minute face the scale of St Andrew’s In The Square, a gigantic restored church behind Saltmarket. The main space is a luscious wedding venue, but downstairs, the bright and bistro-esque Café Source holds its own – especially for nearby residents and those who like the 5pm deal. Expect generous portions of Scottish comfort food from trusted sources, none more so than Ramsay of Carluke. They provide the haggis, the daily-changing sausages, and all manner of pig. Like a starter of pork cheek for example – slow-cooked, nice and tender – as is the main course blade of lamb. The meat is all good quality, with no shortage of accompanying mash, stovies and rumbledethumps to fill you up. There are lighter options, too: ‘the wee oaksmoked slider’ is a cute take on salmon and cream cheese and isn’t as full-on as so much else. Sandwiches and burgers have their own section on the menu for those wanting something quick and simple. Nothing is meant to be surprising here – though the concise little whisky selection isn’t half bad. + Great portions . . . - . . . sometimes need more careful seasoning

Café Source Too Hillhead Sports Club, 32 Hughenden Road, West End, 0141 357 6437, cafesourcetoo.co.uk | £14.95 (set lunch) / £19 (dinner)

Its incongruous setting on the ground floor of the Hillhead sports complex doesn’t seem to faze the multitudes of locals who throng to this venue for meet-ups, birthdays, special evenings and family gatherings. The eating area is roomy with a large bar area, low ceilings, cream and coffee coloured

TIPLIST FOR WINES BY THE GLASS • Cail Bruich 156 Among Glasgow’s best dining experiences, with seasonality, exceptional sourcing and attention to detail.

120 • Café Gandolfi A Glaswegian dining institution, championing the best of Scottish produce since opening in the Merchant City in 1979. 161 • Ibérica An upmarket, sophisticated city centre restaurant and deli with beautifully prepared dishes from northern Spain. 148 • The Italian Caffè Sleek and stylish modern Italian, with a fantastic range of wines by the glass and enticing array of small dishes. 121 • The Honours A high-end brasserie – courtesy of chef and restaurateur Martin Wishart – with food and service befitting the classy surroundings. 159 • Ubiquitous Chip One of Glasgow’s dining institutions – a trailblazer in sourcing and still one of the best venues for a special dining experience.

walls and a swathe of picture windows along one side. The menu features bistro-style favourites while a specials board offers breakout choices and seasonal suggestions from the busy kitchen. Starter of ham and wild boar terrine is filling and tasty served on a crunchy toast while camembert, fig and onion tart makes a substantial option, served as a flaky puff pastry with rocket salad and sesame dressing. Main of slow-braised daube of beef is rich and warming, soaked in a deep dark gravy bolstered with roasted shallots and wild mushrooms, while a pan-fried duck breast from the specials is light, juicy and occasionally tangy. Extra sides including mac and cheese and splendid truffle and parmesan hand-cut chips are also available for a small supplement. + Solid and reliable neighbourhood dining - Prosaic sports club toilets

Cafezique 66 Hyndland Street, West End See Bistros & Brasseries

Cail Bruich 725 Great Western Road, West End, 0141 334 6265, cailbruich.co.uk | £20 (set lunch) / £40 (set dinner)

At Cail Bruich, great attention is paid to little details – the poise of the staff, the refinement of the décor, or the elegance of the introductory snacks. Those might include treats like Crowdie and salmon, encased in toasty buckwheat, or a preposterously full-on beef fat doughnut with cabbage and tongue. The smoked butter that accompanies the bread is legendary. Ingredients are foraged, others grown in their garden. In the kitchen there’s a swagger to proceedings, and an embrace of seasonality and big flavours: fattiness of partridge offset against pear, foie gras adding richness and balance. It’s good. But better is Goosnargh duck – robust breast, and leg meat that’s slowcooked, juicy, pulled off the bone then artfully shaped into a terrine. Cubes of rhubarb jelly bring wintry sweetness and truly elevate things. Elsewhere, plates of mackerel, stone bass and skate wing show a more delicate side. On to some suitably luxurious desserts: chocolate torte is bitter, blunt and thoroughly grown-up, while a soufflé will rise, magnificently, then ooze with Yorkshire rhubarb, and proceedings close with the same assuredness with which they began. + The wine matching and the sommelier - Various menus and options are a bit confusing

NEW Chelsea Market 1146 Argyle Street, West End, 0141 339 6909, chelsea-market.co.uk | £17 (lunch) / £24 (dinner)

While other Finnieston newcomers squeeze their way into tiny venues, Chelsea Market has sprawled itself out in a large open-plan corner unit. It all looks the part – think traditional brasserie vibe – with the open-plan space drawing the eye to an impressive wood-panelled ceiling. Brass shines, hanging lights twinkle, exposed stone adds warmth, and big windows look out on the church opposite (or Sainsbury’s depending where you sit). It’s all expensive and design-led – yet lacking a little in soul and personality. The modern Scottish menu starts with the showstopper: crispy shortribs – rendered fat melting into marinaded meat, enlivened by Asian flavours and citrus hits. The prowess of the starter does, however, end up overshadowing subsequent dishes. A lamb main comes well cooked yet feels listless, while the ‘Chelsea Market sausage’ tastes more chip shop than gourmet. A confusing glass of ‘Yorkshire

Bilson Eleven (page 155): bringing top-end Scottish dining to Dennistoun

rhubarb’, overly busy with panacotta, icecream, gingerbread and rhubarb, can’t steady the ship at the end. + The memorable crispy shortribs - The unmemorable others

City Merchant 97–99 Candleriggs, Merchant City, 0141 553 1577, citymerchant.co.uk | Closed Sun | £12.50 (set lunch) / £27 (dinner)

Alongside its weighty wooden furnishings and nautical bric-a-brac, it’s steak and seafood that dominate this tourist-friendly, family-run affair in the middle of the Merchant City. It’s the sort of place where the quality of the produce, most from within our borders, really stands out. Venison is cooked with a sensitive touch, and the full-on meatiness of the gravy is exactly the sort of thing City Merchant does well. It might be a bit overbearing to pair scallops with ham croquettes and a similarly intense sauce, but this place hits heavy, and really knows its customer base. There’s plenty with appeal – there’s Scottish Beef Club fillets and sirloins, and there’s cod, sea bass, salmon – with all manner of creams and garlics and butters in the sauces. Special mention has to go to their take on Cullen skink, which isn’t overly creamy, and instead has the thinner, cleaner qualities of a traditionally milky broth – it lets the big chunks of haddock and potato stand out more, and it really is spot on. + A classic steak and seafood place - Sauces are very full-on and rich

Cottier’s Bar and Restaurant

chefs greet you on entering as they toil over their creations from an open kitchen, but this quirky bit of room planning was just one of many innovations Stravaigin foisted on an eager public from its opening 20-odd years ago. The food back then was unusual, too. Lots of Asian influences and whizz-bang chemistry bursting on the tongue. But the punky young upstarts have matured over the years and settled into a more refined menu laden with sturdy Scottish staples bolstered by punchy seasonal veg and zingy micro herbs (many from their own small holding). Starter of queen scallops baked in shells with cheese and leek sauce is rich and creamy with a nicely blended set of flavours. From the mains a special of roast pheasant is attractively presented on a bed of panzanella salad laced with crunchy bread chunks and sweet roasted roots. Puddings have always been a highlight here and the chocolate and caramel fondant doesn’t disappoint with its soft crust, squidgy middle and crunchy bursts of honeycomb. Service is efficient, professional and friendly and the wine list is nicely balanced. + A slick, stylish and professional operation - Cloakroom next to open kitchen means coats can carry lingering flavours

Fanny Trollope’s 1066 Argyle Street, West End See Bistros & Brasseries

Gamba 225a West George Street, City Centre See Fish

93–95 Hyndland Street, West End See Bistros & Brasseries

✱ The Gannet

Crabshakk

1155 Argyle Street, West End, 0141 204 2081, thegannetgla.com | Closed Mon | £19.50 (set lunch) / £30 (dinner)

1114 Argyle Street, West End See Fish

Downstairs at Stravaigin 28–30 Gibson Street, West End, 0141 334 2665, stravaigin.com | £14.95 (set lunch) / £24.50 (dinner)

There can’t be many restaurants where

Only a few years old but already feeling like a mature operation, the Gannet oozes style and quality from the off. Front of house has a hunting-lodge cosiness with stripped walls and wooden chairs overseeing an elegant bar with attentive and knowledgeable staff eager to discuss the details of the stimulating menu.

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Scottish Game Fair

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GLASGOW

Backstage lurks a team of inquisitive chefs who love to drive unexpected flavours from seemingly modest ingredients. Case in point: a starter of humble leek – poached and scorched then served in a burnt purée with chunks of salt-baked celeriac, pearl barley and hazelnuts – a lively pageant of simple wintery flavours brought pulsing to life by some nicely tuned cheffy skills. Creative flourishes extend to the mains where slow-cooked Borders lamb is soft and sweet in its roast rib sauce alongside some shoulder meat wrapped in a cannelloni, while a serving of fresh buttery monkfish is meaty and dazzling, dotted with punchy cockles radiating sea-freshness from their shells. The unassuming parsnip also gets rebranded, arriving as a spectacular pudding featuring candied crispy slithers and a meltingly sweet mousse that defies its origins. A riot of surprising flavours. + Creative cooking and lively food - Some wooden chairs in need of upholstery

highlights. A starter of whipped goat’s cheese typifies his style – soft creamy parcels filled with vibrant roasted beetroot alongside some crunchy walnut crumb and fennel pickle – a punchy opener, crackling with flavour. From the mains, venison loin comes thinly sliced on a bed of wilted spinach accompanied by a succulent bundle of slow-cooked haunch meat sown into a cabbage parcel and offset by the silkiest chocolate and chestnut sauce. Sweets are a delight, with the humbly named gingerbread presented as a moist ginger beer cake dotted with a swish theatre of crispy frosted blueberries, coconut snow and fluffy maple ice-cream. A substantial dexterous wine list completes the air of indulgence. + Formal surroundings, contemporary charm and chef expertise - Prices to match

✱ Hotel du Vin Bistro

Ian Brown Food and Drink

1 Devonshire Gardens, West End, 0141 339 2001, hotelduvin.com | £21.95 (set lunch) / £38.50 (dinner)

55 Eastwoodmains Road, Southside, 0141 638 8422, ianbrownrestaurant. co.uk | Closed Mon | £13 (set lunch) / £24.50 (dinner)

With its high corniced ceilings, pooled lighting, charcoal wallpaper, wood panelling and comfortably upholstered seats, Hotel du Vin Bistro has all the hallmarks of the luxurious destination venue. Aproned waiters work the charming room with grace and ease, while the menu brims with quality ingredients and seasonally fresh produce. Head Chef Barry Duff has a confident touch, intensifying the essence of the main component while peppering his solid creations with playful

Hutchesons Bar & Brasserie 158 Ingram Street, Merchant City See Bistros & Brasseries

You walk into a diminutive corner unit in residential Giffnock to a smiling welcome from Sheila Brown as you’re seated, while husband Ian waves from the open-faced kitchen. It’s the sort of pleasing constant that defines the couple’s restaurant, and the sort of demeanour Ian wanted to achieve when he left Ubiquitious Chip after 20 years as their head chef. This is not the Chip – it’s a neighbourhood restaurant. But it’s one with a highly skilled cook, whose

hand is present in every dish, from an orange, carrot and coriander soup that bursts with citrus vibrancy, to dishes of lamb (braised leg, grilled chop, red wine jus) and pork (stuffed fillet, cider cream) where sauces are loaded with meaty, savoury depth and cuts are cooked with sensitivity. It’s food that’s hearty and homely, but with genuine refinement and handling of big flavours. Generally speaking the menu evolves and changes with the seasons every three months or so. But the place’s charm is permanent. + A lovely combination of neighbourhood dining and fine dining - It’s about as far South as the Southside goes

Number 10 Hotel 10 Queens Drive, Southside, 0141 424 0160, 10hotel.co.uk | £12.95 (set lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Overlooking the easternmost tip of