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26TH EDITION 2019/20

AREAS MAPS

£5.95

LIST.CO.UK/FOOD

EDINBURGH & GLASGOW

EATING & DRINKING IN ASSOCIATION WITH


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elcome to The List Eating & Drinking Guide. We’re proud to be publishing our 26th edition of this comprehensive, wellinformed and up-to-date guide to the dining scene in Edinburgh and Glasgow, both in print and online at list.co.uk/food Here you’ll find coverage of over 1000 restaurants, bars, cafés, shops, markets and more. Over the past year we’ve visited over 800 places anonymously, including around 160 new openings (look for the ‘NEW’ logo through the listings). Our 65-strong team of local reviewers are our eyes, ears and palates around town, helping us keep track of the ever-evolving scene and rigorously selecting our Hitlists – our picks of the best places to be found in each section. In addition, our carefully curated Tiplists section near the front of the guide highlights the restaurants, bars and cafés worth seeking out for a host of reasons – from a great coffee, pizza or steak to where to find romantic dining spots, bargain deals or who’ll let the dog in. Also in the front section, there are feature articles delving into local personalities and restaurants on the scene, as well as coverage of those important matters such as getting the most from a drinks list or being engaged with the community while you eat. The winners of our coveted Eating & Drinking Awards are highlighted, where we give out eight awards between the two cities. In particular, our awards shine a well-deserved light on the newcomers who are doing something special on the scene, as well as people who have shown their importance to local food and drink over the years. There are also our two Reader Awards, where thousands voted for their favourite spot in each city, with honourable mentions to the runners-up. This year also sees the return, by popular demand, of our maps at the back of the guide. Split into manageable districts for each city, the maps will help you discover the many delights of the bars, cafés and restaurants covered.

HOW WE REVIEW 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.

THANKS A lot of effort goes on behind the scenes to publish the guide each year, including reviewing, editing and work on IT, databases, websites, production, advertising sales, administration and accounts, and each part contributes to the success of the guide. Our thanks to all the members of The List team who have helped put this year’s guide together. We also want to express our appreciation for the support from our sponsors Birra Moretti, as well as Taste Our Best and the many other supporters of the guide.


CON TE N TS Introduction

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1

How to use the Guide

4

Eating & Drinking Awards

6

Food & Drink in Edinburgh

10

Food & Drink in Glasgow

12

Street Food & Markets

14

The Common Good

17

Food Shops

18

Ten Years of Good Living

22

Experiences

24

The Art of the List

27

2019 Events

28

Tiplists Contents

32

Tiplists

34

Listings Edinburgh

67

Listings Glasgow

129

Maps

174

Main Index & Tiplist Index

188

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E D IN B U RG H

GLASGOW

SECTION

HITLIST

ARTS VENUES & ATTRACTIONS

68

69

ARTS VENUES & ATTRACTIONS

130

131

BARS & PUBS

70

73

BARS & PUBS

132

134

BISTROS & BRASSERIES

76

77

BISTROS & BRASSERIES

135

136

CAFES

84

85

CAFES

141

142

CAFES: THE WEE PLACES

89

89

CAFES: THE WEE PLACES

143

143

EAST ASIAN

91

91

CHINESE

144

145

EAST ASIAN

146

147

FISH

149

149

FRENCH

151

151

INDIAN

152

153

ITALIAN

156

157

JAPANESE

161

161

ROUND THE WORLD

163

163

SCOTTISH

166

167

CHINESE, FUSION, KOREAN, MACANESE, MALAYSIAN, THAI, VIETNAMESE

SECTION HITLIST

FUSION, KOREAN, MALAYSIAN, THAI, VIETNAMESE

FISH

94

95

FRENCH

97

97

INDIAN

100

101

ITALIAN

104

105

JAPANESE

108

109

MEXICAN

110

111

ROUND THE WORLD

112

113

AFRICAN, AMERICAS, FUSION, EUROPEAN, GREEK, HUNGARIAN, KURDISH, MEDITERRANEAN, MIDDLE EASTERN, POLISH, SPANISH, SWEDISH, TURKISH

AFRICAN, AMERICAS, GERMAN, GREEK, JEWISH, LEBANESE, MEXICAN, MIDDLE EASTERN, POLISH

SCOTTISH

116

118

SPANISH

169

169

STEAKHOUSES & BURGER BARS

124

124

STEAKHOUSES & BURGER BARS

170

171

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HOW TO USE THE GUIDE 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.

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, (Map 6: E4) 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

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.

Map reference: This refers where relevant to the café or restaurant’s location (map number followed by grid reference) on one of the district maps to each city found on pages 174–187. 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.

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 list.co.uk/food

EDITORS Jo Laidlaw, Jay Thundercliffe EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Donald Reid EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Paul McLean COPY EDITORS Jo Laidlaw, Paul McLean, Jay Thundercliffe

REVIEWERS EDINBURGH Arts Venues & Attractions Anahit Behrooz, Hannah Jefferson, Suzy Pope, Ellen Renton Bars & Pubs Helen Bashforth, Ailidh Forlan, Ailsa Sheldon, Megan Welford Bistros & Brasseries Will Bain, Malcolm McGonigle, Colin Renton, Susan Smith Cafés & Wee Places Anahit Behrooz, Hannah Jefferson, Suzy Pope, Ellen Renton East Asian Courtney Hyde Peyton, Chris Marks Fish Steve Morton French Louise Donoghue, Megan Welford Indian

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Tom Bruce-Gardyne, Deborah Chu, Claire Sawers Italian Rachael Cloughton, Carol Main, Murray Robertson Japanese Catriona Crawford, Rachel Kavish Wheatley Mexican James Teideman Round the World Nicola Pym, Gill Thomson, Jason Campbell Thomson Scottish Stan Blackley, Ailidh Forlan, Ian Hogg, Yana Thandrayen Steakhouses & Burger Bars Jo Laidlaw, Assa Samaké-Roman GLASGOW Arts Venues & Attractions Jane Allan, Fionn Corbett Bars & Pubs Craig Angus, Malcolm Jack, David Kirkwood Bistros & Brasseries Martin Cross, Malcolm Jack, David Kirkwood Cafés & Wee Places Deborah Bell, David Kirkwood, Andrea Pearson, Gareth K Vile Chinese Rowan Anderson, Marta Matvijev East Asian Rowan Anderson, Marta Matvijev, Gareth K Vile Fish Robbie Armstrong French Martin Cross, Colette Magee, Rory McGinley Indian Deborah Bell, Becki Crossley, Andrea Pearson Italian Craig Angus, Bronwen Livingstone, Ruth Marsh Japanese Erica Goodey Round the World Tiff Griffin, Tara Hepburn Scottish Colette Magee, Rory McGinley Spanish Emily Henderson Steakhouses & Burger Bars Katharine Gemmell, Piers Hunt

THE LIST

26TH EDITION 2019/20 LIST.CO.UK/FOOD £5.95

EATING & DRINKING GUIDE

EDITORIAL Arusa Qureshi (Editor), Scott Henderson (Head of Digital Media), Murray Robertson (Content Manager), Deborah Chu, Katharine Gemmell, Alex Johnston, Sofia Matias COMMERCIAL Sheri Friers (Partnership Director), Brendan Miles (Digital Business Director), Amy Clark, Rachel Cree, Becki Crossley, Ross Foley, Victoria Parker, Debbie Thomson, Jakob Van den Berg DIGITAL Andy Bowles, Andy Carmichael, Sharon Irish, Alan Miller, Stuart Moir HEAD OF ACCOUNTING & HR Sarah Reddie DESIGN & LAYOUT Lucy Munro (Senior Designer), Stuart Polson, Seonaid Rafferty CEO Simon Dessain DIRECTORS Robin Hodge, Peter Brown

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

EDINBURGH & GLASGOW

EATING & DRINKING IN ASSOCIATION WITH

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. ©2019 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 2019. Printed by Acorn Web Offset Ltd, W. Yorkshire


EATING & DRINKING

AWARDS 83 HANOVER STREET

THE LITTLE CHARTROOM

NAUTICUS

A BRIGHT, BRIGHT SUNSHINY DAY

TALENT AHOY! A WEE BISTRO THAT’S GOING PLACES

A BEAUTIFUL BAR WITH A REAL COMMUNITY FEEL

It’s entirely possible that another smallplate restaurant could slip under your radar, but that would be a big mistake when it comes to 83 Hanover Street. Juan José Castillo Castro blends Chilean flavours with Scottish produce to create bright, bold dishes inspired by his mother’s home-cooking, while Vanessa Alfano’s careful stewardship of their young service team creates a genuine welcome underpinned by meticulous service standards. It’s all served up in a sunny basement space in the centre of town where you can just as easily pop in for a plate of charcuterie as settle in for a full evening’s blowout. Unique in Edinburgh, it’s relaxed, confident and fun. ■ See page 112

Roberta Hall-McCarron and Shaun Hall bring every inch of their considerable experience to this pocket-sized bistro in the heart of Leith Walk. A compact menu made up of three starters, mains and puddings provides the canvas for precise cooking, ever-changing seasonality and some of the best desserts this side of the M8. During service, Roberta moves silently in the open kitchen while Shaun glides through the dining room: there’s nowhere to hide, but it all feels utterly ego-free and effortless. There’s some serious talent setting sail in this restaurant – it’s definitely one of those places you’ll want to be able to claim you knew about from the start. ■ See page 80

It’s ever so slightly off the beaten track. It champions Scottish drinks and producers. It creates meticulous, complex cocktails. It’s also tonnes of fun. Nauticus is a beautifully sympathetic bar restoration with a serious focus on supporting Scotland’s burgeoning drinks industry. Iain McPherson and Sam Chapman of Panda and Sons and Hoot the Redeemer have been joined by Kyle Jamieson to create one of a new generation of locals’ locals, where popping in for a pie and a pint is just as attractive as getting the gang together for cocktails. The fact they describe themselves as a community bar speaks volumes – at heart, this is a proper pub, albeit an absolutely lovely one. ■ See page 74

PHOTO: JAMES GOURLAY

PHOTO: JAMES GOURLAY

EDINBURGH

STUART MCCLUSKEY TEN YEARS OF BRILLIANT BARS FROM THE BON VIVANT GROUP Drinkers of a certain age are in denial – surely it can’t be ten years since Stuart McCluskey opened Thistle Street haunt Bon Vivant, armed only with a loan from his family and enough charm and chutzpah to power the Christmas lights? Yet a decade has passed, during which Bon V has been joined by the beautiful Devil’s Advocate, a bottle shop, two funky Mexican restaurants and two new bars, Lady Libertine and the Register Club. Proudly flying the flag for local operators in St Andrew Square, McCluskey’s energy and sheer gift for understanding what makes a good night out remains undimmed. All power to him. ■ See page 73

0131 441 2663 For restaurant / bistro / cafe sales and aquisitions contact@therestaurantagency.com in confidence

Eat Well n Laugh Often n Live Long www.therestaurantagency.com 6

The List Eating & Drinking Guide


Our Eating & Drinking Awards are given to eight recipients across Edinburgh and Glasgow each year. They are awarded to the exciting and essential places and people over the past year, bringing together newcomers demonstrating fresh thinking, innovation and quality, as well as individuals who have made an outstanding and important contribution to Scottish food and drink. And overleaf, you’ll find the winners of our annual Readers’ Awards in association with Birra Moretti, where thousands of our readers have voted for their favourite restaurants in each city

PHOTO: JAMES GOURLAY

GLASGOW

FIVE MARCH

In association with

NANIKA

LOCAVORE

MHAIRI TAYLOR

A BRAVURA BLEND OF BAR AND RESTAURANT

A WEE DINER PACKING A PASSIONATE PUNCH

A COMMUNITY HUB OF WHOLESOME GOODNESS

A REMARKABLE RECORD FROM THE ZIQUE TEAM

When Five March opened its doors last May, it was meant to be a bar. But owners Joanna Nethery and Kevin Small quickly realised that with head chef Peter McKay’s confident menu of small plates, which looked to the Eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East, and then further still, what they were running was a restaurant. And a great one at that. One that sits on the fringe of fashionable Finnieston yet elegantly slots into the district’s top-end dining scene, with a real sense of identity when too many others are struggling for it. Lots of signs say ‘Bar/Restaurant’, but it’s far trickier to actually operate a place which is successfully both. Five March does, Five March is. ■ See page 136

Justin Valmassoi was a name known to Glasgow’s food fans before he opened his very small Asian street food operation on Victoria Road. When he ran popular Clarkston café Something a few years ago, his brutally heartfelt job advert for kitchen help spread far and wide – ‘I don’t have time for any prima donna bull[bleep]’ is but a taste of his diatribe on hospitality recruitment. What’s clear now is that there’s a deep passion at work. His stint running the Glad Café’s food operation primed diners with his take on Asian food for when he took over this teeny spot, with only 14 seats. A dedication to extracting as much flavour as possible sees the kitchen delivering exceptional and exciting dishes at affordable prices ■ See page 148

It’s been heartening to watch Locavore expand – organically of course – over the years. Market gardens have grown (and grown), with box schemes delivering the fruits, while a grocery store stocked more organic essentials. They’ve ridden controversy over pig rearing in Queens Park, and premises have been upped, with the move to Victoria Road expanding the square footage to the point where a cracking, casual and communal café has been added. Reuben Chesters is the driving force, along with a network of likeminded helpers – some volunteers on a work-on-an-organic-farm programme – all helping us to rethink our relationship with the whole food journey, from ground to kitchen to waste bin. ■ See page 142

The Zique family began way back in 2001 when Mhairi Taylor brought her distinct food and drink ethos to the Partick / Hyndland border. Not much needed changing for a long while, so ahead of the game were Delizique and Cafezique – one did gourmet sourdough pizzas ages ago, the other was doing brunch years before the latest craze. Mhairi also helped run the acclaimed Mhor operation around Balquidder with husband Dick Lewis and family. When she refocused on Glasgow, we got two very different, very enticing setups – first the charming Bakery by Zique, and last year Delizique gave way to the most sophisticated member yet in Gather by Zique. And there should be a pub soon as well – it’ll no doubt be very good too. ■ See page 137

23 Bath Street G2 1HW 0141 258 8427

105 West Nile St G1 2SD 0141 332 4481

21 Clarence Drive G12 9QN 0141 334 4312

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EATING & DRINKING

In association with

AWARDS READE

R

PHOTO: JAMES GOURLAY

EDINBURGH

TAPA

WINNER

GLASGOW

BATTLEFIELD REST

WINNER

A LONG-TERM FAVOURITE THAT’S STILL GOING STRONG

ICONIC SOUTHSIDE VENUE FOR AN ITALIAN FEAST

Tapa has graced Leith’s Shore since 2009, offering a nuanced, casual take on Spanish food and wine. Locals flock to this stylish and contemporary converted warehouse to enjoy delicious food, an interesting selection of wine (with some great sherries too) and generous, laid-back hospitality. And, like the country it takes inspiration from, it’s all incredibly warm and kick-your-shoes-off friendly. Reliable, relaxed and clearly loved by its legion of fans, Tapa is well-placed to sail joyfully into its second decade. ■ See page 115

Housed in an elegant former tram stop waiting room, originally built in 1915, Langside’s Battlefield Rest has been providing eager Southside residents with modern Italian food for a quarter of a century. Saved from demolition in 1990, the building was bought by owner Marco Giannasi in 1994, and its popularity never seems to wane, often packed to its B-listed rafters. Endearing hospitality, a skilful ability to keep the menu fresh and exciting while still appealing to its many regulars, and a commitment to the best Scottish and Italian produce ensures the Rest remains a firm favourite. ■ See page 156

RUNNERS-UP

RUNNERS-UP

BROSS BAGELS

FINSBAY FLATIRON

BAGEL BRILLIANCE ALL OVER THE TOWN

HIP WOODLANDS STEAKHOUSE KEEPING IT SIMPLE

What a year it’s been for Larah Bross! Her original Portobello branch was joined by new openings in Leith Walk and Queensferry Street and her hilarious social media videos have won over legions of fans. Her obsessive quest to recreate the perfect Montreal bagel right here in Edinburgh has borne fruit, and we are all the better for it. ■ See page 89

Opened by restaurateur / publican Billy Milligan with local rugby heroes Alastair Kellock and Stuart Hogg, Finsbay Flatiron has become a favourite thanks to doing one thing and doing it very well – serving up good-value 8oz flat iron steaks. The meat is the star at this buzzing bar-diner, bolstered by enticing cocktails and a popular Sunday lunch offering. ■ See page 172

CONTINI GEORGE STREET PERFECT SOURCING, SKILLED COOKING AND WARMLY GENEROUS SERVICE

THE SQUARE BAR & RESTAURANT

Victor and Carina Contini inspire a fierce loyalty in Edinburgh’s dining public. Their open-handed Scottish-Italian hospitality is underpinned by a forensic understanding of place and provenance with immaculate sourcing. But there’s no sense of effort to be found when you step inside their beautiful George Street restaurant. Instead everything is easy – you know you’re in safe hands. ■ See page 104

Set in a shopping arcade in Broomhill in the West End’s outer reaches, the Square has proved a big hit for patrons who live nearby and further afield since opening in 2017. Eclectic menus from a diligent kitchen utilising local produce offer something for everyone throughout the day – from breakfasts and burgers to a quick coffee with cake, or a taste of finer, fancier dishes. ■ See page 140

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The List Eating & Drinking Guide

BROOMHILL BISTRO ELEVATES NEIGHBOURHOOD DINING


FOOD & DRINK IN EDINBURGH A YEAR OF TAKING STOCK

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ast year was a tumultuous one for eating and drinking in Edinburgh. A procession of glossy big-name openings dominated and a few well-known operators bowed out of the game, citing rising rents, rates, costs and uncertainties as significant factors. After every shake-up comes a shake-down; a period of consolidation and taking stock.      That’s not to say things have been quiet around town. Within the pages that follow, you’ll find reviews of around 80 venues that have opened in the past 12 months in Edinburgh alone. More are already on the radar and, as always, the city’s eager eaters and drinkers can expect a period of intense opening activity between late spring and early summer, as doors are painted, varnished and thrown open in time for the rush of visitors Edinburgh’s festivals bring.   But those seeking trends and patterns have to scratch the surface quite hard. True, there have been a slew of new openings away from the centre of town, particularly around Bruntsfield, as well as in less glossy areas like Leith Walk. With a few notable exceptions, there has been a focus on

smaller, almost homespun venues, with shorter, more focused menus to match. Street food feels less like the next big thing too, whether due to the weather or the developers, and some favourite vendors have put down roots and moved to permanent premises. And what’s on the stove? The explosion in plant-based food is definitely here to stay: even non-veggie restaurants are starting to take vegetables a little more seriously. Café culture continues to be as strong as its coffee, perhaps in part due to the much-reported millennial dislike of alcohol. And we continue to punch above our weight when it comes to attracting chefs with high-pedigree CVs, thanks to an enlightened dining public and access to Scotland’s larder – tempting prospects for anyone thinking about starting up or striking out.   Edinburgh is still a great place to eat out. Whether it’s highend dining, ticking the year’s new openings off your list, finding the perfect flat white, discovering new world cuisines or even when you just want a pint, Edinburgh serves it up. It’s all there, just waiting to be discovered.

PLACES THAT HAVE CLOSED IN THE PAST YEAR Anteaques Belted Burgers Café Marlayne (Antigua Street)

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The Early Bird Coffee & Tea House Falko Konditormeister

Henri of Edinburgh Iris Khushi’s

Filament Coffee

Lovage Restaurant

La Cerise

The Food + Flea Market

Miya

The Dogs

Go! Ninja

Norn

The List Eating & Drinking Guide

Restaurant Mark Greenaway Seasons Serrano Manchego Sygn Trenchtown Caribbean Social Club


ENJOY A FLAVOUR OF THE MIDDLE EAST AND THE MEDITERRANEAN IN EDINBURGH NEW OPENING- Welcome to Pomegranate Express on Nicholson Street. Enjoy the best of our menus on the go! Pomegranate Express - 12 Nicolson St, Edinburgh EH8 9DH

Souq Restaurant 57-59 S Clerk St, Edinburgh EH8 9PP

Laila's Mediterranean Bistro - 63 Cockburn St, Edinburgh EH1 1BS

Hanam's Middle Eastern Restaurant- 3 Johnston Terrace, Edinburgh EH1 2PW

Pomegranate Restaurant - 1 Antigua St, Edinburgh EH1 3NH


FOOD & DRINK IN GLASGOW A YEAR OF INCLUSIVE DINING

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lasgow’s eating and drinking scene has seen a big move away from the carnivorous devouring of burgers and steaks, which were still much in evidence this time last year. Now the city’s many cafés, bars and restaurants are riding a wave of plant-based appreciation, with vegetarian and vegan offerings, as well as other free-from approaches becoming a growing presence. The city’s reputation as a vegan-friendly city stretches back a number years – mainly thanks to Craig Tannock’s Mono / Stereo / The 78 empire. Yet the past couple of years have seen special dieters coming to the fore. The proliferation of inclusive menus across the scene has got to the point that it’s a brave restaurateur who’d miss out a ‘V’ or ‘GF’ section on a new or upgraded menu. In terms of new openings, several local operators have extended or transformed their stables in the past year. Examples include Niven’s by Café Source, Mother India’s

The Lansdowne, So L.A. from Rusk & Rusk, and, one of our award winners, the Zique family with Mhairi Taylor at the helm. Straight-up branches have been added, too, as with Catch, Ramen Dayo and La Vita. It’s not all rosy, of course, as shown by the closure of widely acclaimed Nonya before they even had a chance to appear in this annual guide. Pizzas continue to prove a big hit, with more specialists opening up in the last year, some moving away from the Neapolitan model with Roman and New York-style offerings. Brunch, of course, is still huge – as evidenced by many a new opener’s menu to a lesser or greater extent. Elsewhere, small plates continue to come staccato out of kitchens – as with award winner Five March – offering Glasgow that casual but quality feed over a drink or two, which is a glove-like fit for how the city’s inhabitants tend to like their dining. We still haven’t got that Michelin Star, but, hey, nobody really cares any more – the city just doesn’t have that sort of scene.

PLACES THAT HAVE CLOSED IN THE PAST YEAR

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Ad Lib (Ingram Street)

CAU

La Bodega Tapas Bar

Siempre Bicycle Cafe

Bar Gumbo

The Drunken Cow

Liberté

Surf Dogs

Banana Leaf (Cambridge Street)

For Fika Sake

The Mallard

Tarantino Ristorante

Hickory Steakhouse

Moskito

10 10

Boudoir Wine Bar

Juicy Lucy’s Burger

Nonya

The Sisters Jordanhill

Brutti Ma Buoni

Company

Nur

The List Eating & Drinking Guide


STREET FOOD & MARKETS EDINBURGH FARMERS' MARKETS 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 Market Grassmarket stockbridgemarket.com/grassmarket 10am–5pm, every Saturday Leith Market Dock Place stockbridgemarket.com/leith 10am–4pm, every Saturday Bonnie Burrito

STREET FOOD IN

W

hether it’s the fault of the weather or the city’s developers, Edinburgh’s relationship with street food is as chequered as a Facebook relationship status. Sure, we’re committed at Festival time, when you’ll find hundreds of interesting trucks, stalls and stands popping-up on street corners and venues. But despite the stoic efforts of places like Tupiniquim and Bonnie Burrito, who have managed to become part of the streetscape, we aren’t ready to go steady with more than a few year-round single-vendor spaces. If they want to play the field, outdoor diners have to wait for the weekend when the farmers’ markets kick into gear. Both the Edinburgh Farmers’ Market (edinburghfarmersmarket.co.uk) on Saturdays and Stockbridge’s weekly Sunday market (stockbridgemarket.com) are great options for filling your shopping basket and your face – expect queues though. If you want something more laid-back, head to The Pitt (thepitt.co.uk) in Leith – most people’s first love and consistently the biggest name on the scene, they’ve done much to nurture a community of vendors as well as customers. Their weekend markets are relaxed hangouts where you can linger (a recent investment in some roofing will help this along), with food, drinks and tunes. If you fancy dating outside your comfort zone, head inside to find ways to enjoy the vibe while staying warm. New bar Eastside (eastsideedinburgh. co.uk) aims to bring an urban edge to George Street, with guest vendors on Friday and Saturday nights as well as their own pizza slices mid-week. There is a regular parade of pop-ups in the city’s bars and cafés too. Meat:Stack are currently in an ltr (that’s long-term residency) with Salt Horse in Blackfriars Street; while Jones & Son sling burgers and wings at Century General Store in Abbeyhill most weekends. Cute newcomer 27 Elliot’s has also embraced the pop-up, with regular guest pasta nights hosted by Andrew McHarg of Fresca. And if you’re looking for something more meaningful, look out for the Cyrenians’ Syrian Supper Clubs, where chefs from the city’s refugee community dish up traditional dishes to tablefuls of appreciative guests.

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The List Eating & Drinking Guide

Portobello Market Brighton Park pedal-porty.org.uk/food/ portobello-market 9.30am–1.30pm, first Saturday of the month Potterrow Dome Market Bristo Square stockbridgemarket.com/ potterrow-dome 10am–4pm, Wednesdays in term-time Stockbridge Market Saunders Street stockbridgemarket.com/stockbridge 10am–5pm, every Sunday


GLASGOW & THE WEST FARMERS’ MARKETS & FOOD ASSEMBLIES Glasgow East Food Hub fb.com/glasgoweastfoodhub thegreatbritishfoodhub.com Order online, free, delivery every Saturday morning Glasgow West Food Hub fb.com/glasgowwestfoodhub thegreatbritishfoodhub.com Order online, free, delivery every Saturday morning Helensburgh Market In The Square Colquhoun Square, Helensburgh fb.com/HelensburghFarmersMarket 10am–4pm, second Saturday of the month The Market At Loch Lomond Shores Loch Lomond, Balloch fb.com/ TheMarketAtLochLomondShores 10am–4pm, every Saturday & Sunday Milngavie Food Hub fb.com/MilngavieFoodHub thegreatbritishfoodhub.com Order online, delivery available Collect Fridays 4–6pm, Fraser Centre, Douglas Street, Milngavie, or anytime on Saturdays from Ardunan Farm, Strathblane Milngavie Friday Market Douglas Street, Milngavie fb.com/milngaviefridaymarket 10am–4pm, third Friday of the month Paisley Farmers’ Market The Cenotaph, Paisley fb.com/ayrshirefarmersmarket 10am–2pm, second & last Saturday of the month West End Farmers’ Market Mansfield Park, Partick twitter.com/glasgowmarkets 10am–2pm, second & fourth Saturday of the month

Platform

STREET FOOD IN

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lasgow’s street food operators and pop-up specialists are an organised bunch. They tend to congregate at regular gatherings across the city, usually under cover from the elements – this is Glasgow after all. The reopening of the Arches last year – now called Argyle St Arches – has proved an enticing option for street food fans, with its weekend food gathering called Platform (Fri/Sat noon–midnight, Sun noon–6pm). Diners can choose from various operators including Ginger & Chill, Shawarmarama, Tiny Dancers, Box Office Pizza, Freddy & Hicks, Gallus Pasta and Moskito Spanish Bites. Thomson’s Coffee Roasters are also in the space with their café and coffee centre, as are Innis & Gunn, brewing up a few of their beers. It’s a large family-friendly space and is filled with many a former clubber now bringing their kids to enjoy the food and activities. Kids are allowed until 8pm, after which the DJs kick in for a more lively night-time vibe. Other happenings in the Arches include vintage markets and food producer showcases. The Big Feed (bigfeedstreetfood.com) in Govan is an indoor / outdoor street food market happening one weekend a month usually, with food trucks, live music and kids’ stuff, with a beer garden for the sunny times. It’s the daddy of the organised food gatherings with a couple of years under its belt, offering an enticing mix of vendors including Duck Street Food, Firedog, Burrito, Rost, Salt N Chilli and Fire and Dough. In Finnieston, one of the city’s more dynamic food and drink districts, the Dockyard Social (dockyardsocial.com) is a covered collection of lots of street food happenings. There’s a global reach of mobile kitchens and bars, with music and screenings in a warehouse space, while it also does good works in the wider community. It’s undergone a makeover in early 2019 (due to reopen in late spring) and is aiming for a full alcohol licence, as well as opening up a training school and teaming up with Urban Market, sellers of wares from the city’s many crafty types.

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LOOKING FOR FRESH IDEAS, taste scotland’s best

Scottish Venison with port and red berry sauce

If you’re looking for a real taste of Scotland, make sure you visit businesses displaying the Taste Our Best logo. Over 1,000 Scottish outlets are Taste Our Best accredited and passionate about serving you the finest quality Scottish produce. They’re very happy to chat about their food too!

What does Taste Our Best mean? You’ll be served fresh, seasonal and high quality produce grown and produced right here in Scotland. Friendly staff will be able to tell you about the origins of the food on your plate. At least 40% of the dishes on the menu will include Scottish produce. You’ll have a more authentic Scottish eating experience.

Where can I find a Taste Our Best accredited establishment? That’s easy! There are over 1,000 regularly inspected hotels, restaurants, B&Bs, cafés, takeaways and visitor attractions across Scotland that are registered in the scheme. Look out for the knife and fork logo throughout this guide. Find out more about Taste Our Best and book at:

visitscotland.com/tasteourbest

VISITSCOTLAND.COM


PHOTO: JAMES GOURLAY

Locavore

THE COMMON GOOD David Kirkwood explores the growth of community interest companies in Scotland’s food industry and the balancing act they perform in trying to turn a profit while simultaneously giving something meaningful back to society

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ommunity interest companies (CICs) are essentially limited companies that want to use their profits for some form of public good. Since they came into existence in 2005, more than 10,000 have been established in the UK, all with the ostensible purpose of creating and benefitting a socially inclusive economy. Like other corporate structures, they aim to be successful by turning profit. But what they do with those profits is fundamentally different. How they define success is, too. ‘I actually think more and more people are disillusioned with profit for its own sake,’ suggests Maria Ashley from Edinburgh-based organisation Firstport, who assist anyone with an idea for a social enterprise with their first steps. ‘You don’t have to make a choice between making money or doing good,’ she says, ‘those two aren’t mutually exclusive.’ Consumers have also become increasingly discerning about the ethics of the companies they give their business to. Hence the swelling number of CICs over the past 24 months. The one everybody knows is Social Bite, the sandwich shop in Edinburgh’s Rose Street that’s now expanded into Glasgow and Aberdeen, using all profits to address homelessness. Customers are able to leave money for a homeless person to have a coffee or a roll, and the business allows people affected by homelessness to work in their shops, or assist them through their academy. A certain George Clooney has famously visited and lent his support to their cause. Glasgow’s Locavore is another firmly established example, with a farm, shop, café and veg box scheme, all of which further their purpose of building a more sustainable food system that’s healthier and fairer than the mainstream ones.

These stories are well-documented, but there are so many others of equal significance out there. In Glasgow’s city centre, the Project Café focuses on a socially inclusive events programme that runs almost nightly – anything from a harp concert to a fully accessible comedy night to potluck evenings for various communities. This is facilitated by a vibrant vegetarian café that uses local produce to create Middle Easterninspired dishes. Eilidh McKay and her team at the Project Café work with the mantra of ‘Good Food Bringing Good People Together’ which has a beautiful simplicity to it, and works. Meanwhile, the Southside of Glasgow has become a real hub for CICs – count them up and you quickly run out of fingers, and that’s just on Victoria Road, a street that for over half a century has reflected Glasgow’s multiculturalism, with numerous immigrant populations settling there. No one engages more with this than Milk, a coffee shop that helps migrant and refugee women integrate into society. ‘Employment and empowerment’, as founder Angela Ireland puts it. Women can work in the café, learning skills they otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to gain. And those who pass through influence the food as well. ‘At first we had a lot of women from Eritrea and Sudan,’ says Ireland, ‘so for lunch we found ourselves serving things like tsebhi, an Eritrean stew. But more recently we’ve had a Palestinian supper, a Lithuanian dinner and a Russian vegan night.’ Food, and the shared eating experience, are great vessels for inclusivity and diversity. ‘This is a better style of business for more and more people,’ explains Rachel Smillie of the Glad Café, where they fund free and affordable music lessons and workshops for

the underprivileged. ‘At the heart of most social enterprises, you’ll find someone who cares about their community,’ she says. Glad was one of the first places in town to embrace the kitchen takeover model, where pop-ups run the food for a period of time – because CICs like the ones above still seek to be the best cafés they can be. They seek the same custom with the same margins, but their decisions are guided by an altogether more moral compass. Back in Edinburgh, Breadshare’s mission is ‘real bread for everyone’, which means they promote the merits of organic bread in a way that is sustainable and engages with the community. It’s made through slow fermentation and without additives. Such baking is considerably more nutritious (and digestible) than that which lines our supermarket shelves. It’s typically more expensive, too, but Breadshare keep the prices as low as possible to make it more accessible. Again: decisions made with a different set of priorities from what we’ve come to expect in the business world.   The most satisfying combination of ‘grassroots’ and ‘blue sky’ comes from Ed McCardy’s Corylus Horticulture in Edinburgh, which seeks to inspire young people to grow plants and get involved in local horticulture, including a plant nursery that specialises in edible plants. They currently work with three local schools and aim to make as many gardens in the city edible and insect-friendly.  Chat to anyone involved in the the CIC scene and you’re likely to be struck by their drive and ethics – but also their grasp of the realities of running a sustainable business. CICs combine the practical and the ideal in a refreshing way. They often feed you very well, too. The List Eating & Drinking Guide

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FOOD SHOPS EDINBURGH

BEER, WINE & SPIRITS

BAKERS & DELIS

GROCERS

CHEESE, MEAT & FISH

The Bon Vivant’s Companion 21 Thistle Street bonvivantscompanion.co.uk A great all-rounder for beer, wine and whisky as well as a collection of more unusual liqueurs, gins, rums and mezcals.

Archipelago Bakery 39 Dundas Street archipelagobakery.co.uk Organic bread, cakes, salads and soup in a cute New Town bakery.

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

George Bower 75 Raeburn Place georgebowerbutchers.co.uk Traditional family butchers in Stockbridge with a strong focus on local game.

Cornelius Beers and Wine 18–20 Easter Road corneliusbeers.com Beer heaven – Cornelius carries around 500 of them with a smaller, but well thought-out, selection of wine. Drinkmonger 11 Bruntsfield Place drinkmonger.com As you’d expect from a sister business to Royal Mile Whiskies, there’s a really rather lovely whisky selection here, as well as an extensive range of wines. Great Grog 2 Dalkeith Road greatgrogshop.co.uk They stock hundreds of beers and a bewildering array of wines. If you’re planning a big party, their Leith warehouse will sort you out. Stewart’s Dockside Tap 38 Bernard Street stewartbrewing.co.uk Taprooms bridge the gap between brewery and customer – this one in the heart of the Shore is a great place to pick up Stewart Brewing’s beers. Vino Wines 30 Broughton Street 32 Comiston Road 1 Grange Loan 26 North West Circus Place vinowines.co.uk Edinburgh-based indie chain with a great range and helpful staff.

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La Barantine 10 Bruntsfield Place 202 Bruntsfield Place 27B Raeburn Place 89 West Bow labarantine.com Everything you would expect from a proper French bakery, with four branches around town.

The Eco Larder 200 Morrison Street theecolarder.com Zero-waste, packaging-free minisupermarket, which also offers subscription boxes delivered by bike.

Breadshare Bakery 4 Jane Street 11 Seafield Road East breadshare.co.uk Social enterprise bakery with two branches, aiming to bring real bread to everyone.

The Farm Shop Mortonhall Frogston Road East A venture by former Earthy director Pete Jackson selling local veg and fruit, bread, milk, eggs, cheese, meats and pies.

Jordan Valley 8 Nicolson Street jordan-valley.co.uk Huge deli with lots of international products, plus a generous takeaway fridge for quick lunches.

Real Foods 37 Broughton Street 8 Brougham Street realfoods.co.uk An Edinburgh institution, with a comprehensive range of almost everything you need to eat and live healthily and ethically.

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

The Refillery 39 Newington Road therefillery.co.uk There’s a huge range of groceries available in this plastic-free store where you bring your own bags and containers to fill up. Weigh To Go 27 Crighton Place, Leith Walk weightogo.co.uk Plastic-free grocery where you can buy dried goods, household stuff and milk in glass bottles.

Crombies of Edinburgh 97 Broughton Street sausages.co.uk Some come for the sausages at this Broughton Street favourite, others for the steak pie; they make their own haggis too and it’s all good. East Coast Cured 3 Restalrig Road eastcoastcured.com Hand-cured charcuterie made from Scottish meat, which is gaining a cult following among Edinburgh’s chefs. Check the website for opening times. Eddie’s Seafood Market 7 Roseneath Street eddiesseafood.co.uk Marchmont-based specialists where chefs in the know go for sushi-grade fish, seafood and shells. Go early, especially at the weekend, and be prepared to queue. IJ Mellis 6 Bakers Place 330 Morningside Road 30a Victoria Street mellischeese.co.uk Cheese, cheese, cheese as far as the eye can see: strong, soft, squelchy, stinky, perfectly stored and stunning. Something Fishy 16a Broughton St Traditional independent fishmonger, with a wide selection of fish and their own in-house smoker.


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

GLASGOW

BEER, WINE & SPIRITS

GROCERS & BAKERS

DELIS & CHEESEMONGERS

BUTCHERS & FISHMONGERS

The Cave 421-423 Great Western Road thecaveglasgow.com An impressive array of bottled beers from Scotland and beyond, plus intriguing spirits and some excellent malt whiskies.

The Bakery By Zique 79 Lauderdale Gardens byzique.com Bakery and deli from the folks behind Cafezique, with wide-ranging breads, bakes and cakes plus savoury options

George Mewes Cheese 106 Byres Road georgemewescheese.co.uk A leading expert in artisan cheeses, stocking around 80 in the shop, as well as being a familiar name on cheeseboard menus across the city.

Christie The Butcher 34 New Kirk Road 334 Crow Road christiebutcher.co.uk ‘Butcher, Greengrocer, Farmer’ with shops in Broomhill and Bearsden selling meat from their own or local farms, along with homemade pies and haggis, plus fruit and veg.

The Good Spirits Co. 23 Bath Street 21 Clarence Drive 105 West Nile Street thegoodspiritsco.com Independent drinks specialist selling rare and interesting spirits, wines and beer with plenty of whisky, artisanal gins and cigars, plus regular tastings.

Cottonrake 497 Great Western Road cottonrake.com A West End classic pretty much as soon as it opened, with artisan-baked breads, tarts and sandwiches of striking quality.

Grays Delicatessen 305 Crow Road graysdeli.com Family-run deli focusing on Scottish and organic produce, with artisan breads, local coffee, cakes and savouries, plus wine, beer and spirits.

Deanston Bakery 167 Deanston Drive fb.com/deanstonbakery Shawlands bakery with a range of sourdough breads as well as savoury and sweet buns, cakes and more, plus local coffee beans ground to order.

IJ Mellis Cheesemonger 492 Great Western Road mellischeese.co.uk Mellis is one of a kind – a rustic cheesemonger with maturing rooms in Edinburgh and branches nationwide.

Locavore 349 Victoria Road glasgowlocavore.org A not-for-profit set-up encouraging people to eat sustainably, with a shop and organic café selling and serving local and Scottish produce.

La Tea Doh 136 Nithsdale Road lateadoh.co.uk Long-standing compact café-deli with shelves stocking local breads and groceries, plus a few seats for sitting in with sandwiches, cakes and more.

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.

Roots, Fruits & Flowers 1137 Argyle Street 451–457 Great Western Road rootsfruitsandflowers.com Kelvinbridge operation selling fruit and veg, with a café-deli selling wholefoods and organic produce, with a smaller deli in Finnieston.

Llicorella Delicatessen 23 Clarence Drive fb.com/LlicorellaDeli Café-deli at Hyndland selling good coffee and cakes, artisan sandwiches on in-house baked breads and lots of cheese and groceries to go.

Wee Beer Shop 623 Pollokshaws Road weebeershop.co.uk Small but well-curated beer shop in the Southside, selling a range of cans, bottles and draught beer to go, as well as hosting occasional tasting events.

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.

Grunting Growler 51 Old Dumbarton Road gruntinggrowler.com Specialising in craft beer that can be sampled in-house or taken home in a reusable container called a growler. Marchtown 741 Pollokshaws Road marchtown.co.uk A mix of off-sales, wine bar and craft beer hangout, with sharing boards to nibble on at this Strathbungo favourite.

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.

The Fish People 350 Scotland Street thefishpeopleshop.co.uk Trading since 2000, this fishmonger, with their own restaurant opposite (see pxxx), also supply many of the city’s top restaurants with quality seafood. The Fish Plaice 1 St Andrews Street fishplaice.com Old-school fishmonger in a railway arch close to Trongate, serving superfresh seafood from around Scotland, as well as groceries, game and poultry. James Allan 85 Lauderdale Gardens Hyndland’s favourite butcher for decades, supplying quality Scottish meat, home-made pâté, pies and a variety of creatively spiced sausages. Rodgers Butchers 180 Byres Road rodgersbutchers.com Long-standing West End shop run by Tom Rodgers specialising in prime beef, lamb, pork, game and poultry. Wilson’s Catch Of The Day 71 Houldsworth Street wilsonscatchoftheday.co.uk Finnieston’s popular fishmonger, run by former chef Stuart Wilson, selling a range of seafood and shellfish as well as poultry, fresh vegetables and more.

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GIN BOTHY

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platform ON TOUR gin71 tasting sessions camra BEER TENT THE DIRTY VEGAN gary maclean RUM SHACK and much more yum!


ADVERTISING FEATURE

TURNING THE LANDSCAPE INTO A FOODSCAPE BOWHOUSE MARKET WEEKEND DATES Seafood 13 & 14 April Soft Fruits 11 & 12 May Greens 8 & 9 June Field to Fork 13 & 14 July Summer Dairy 10 & 11 August

How a Fife farming estate is putting small artisan businesses at the heart of its vision to transform local connections to food

Harvest 14 & 15 September Orchard 12 & 13 October

Bowhouse is a project as much as it’s a place. Centred on an old farm steading in the Balcaskie Estate, it’s located just off the main road between the coastal villages of Elie and St Monans in the East Neuk of Fife. While the once dominant fishing industry has dwindled and disappeared from most of the local harbours, the area is still known for its connections to the sea, and shellfish in particular is still caught just offshore. In the adjacent farmland, malting barley, wheat, oilseed rape, potatoes, broccoli and soft fruits are grown while beef and lamb are finished, with wild roe deer and other game found in and around woodland areas. Much of this food leaves the area for other markets, but Bowhouse is looking to disrupt the current patterns and replace a missing link in the local food chain by making it easier for local people to connect directly with local growers, producers and ingredients, thus retaining more of this array of food for the people who live in and visit the area. At its heart, Bowhouse is a gathering place for people who really care about food. It is a manifestation of the importance of rural community and positive collaboration in the production and curation of good food. It’s one thing to notice the

potential for the farms, shores and coastal waters of the East Neuk to produce good food, but it’s another to realise the potential. By providing the right kinds of spaces for food production, enterprise, collaboration and gatherings – including colourful, enjoyable and high-quality indoor markets and food events bringing producer and public together – Bowhouse looks to shorten local supply chains, focus on provenance and allow individuals to feel empowered to change the way food is produced around them.

Bowhouse’s permanent food businesses include the Mill House café and wood-fired pizza restaurant, the mash tuns and stills of East Neuk Organic Brewing & Distilling Ltd, heritage grain champions Scotland the Bread, traditional butcher Stuart Minick, direct shellfish sales operation Langoustine the Box, cupcake bakers Bibi’s Bakery, organic flower growers Keeping the Plot and East Neuk Organic Market Garden. In addition, food markets happen on Saturday and Sunday on the second weekend of each month, drawing small, artisan producers from around Fife and beyond.

Game Meat 9 & 10 November Christmas 14 & 15 December

b ow h o u se f i fe.co m The List Eating & Drinking Guide

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PHOTO: JAMES GOURLAY

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TEN YEARS OF GOOD LIVING A decade after he opened the Bon Vivant in Edinburgh, Jo Laidlaw talks to Stuart McCluskey about the ever-changing bar scene, the pressures of opening new venues and the benefits of putting customers before the bottom line

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tuart McCluskey is a force of nature: creative, courageous and so optimistic that the NHS should offer him on prescription. But perhaps that’s what it takes to run an empire these days: with four bars (the Bon Vivant, the Devil’s Advocate, Lady Libertine and the Register Club); two restaurants (El Cartel Old Town and New Town); and a bottle shop in the form of the Bon Vivant’s Companion, his group of companies has almost doubled in the space of a year. Expansion at such a rate is challenging. It takes investment, and in the case of the Register Club (in many ways the ‘house bar’ of Lateral City Apartments’ Edinburgh Grand development), new ways of working. But growth hasn’t led to a more hands-off role for McCluskey, as he cheerfully admits: ‘For the new El Cartel, I was at the coalface – knocking down walls, wiring and plumbing.’ He identifies a difference between the skills needed to get new bars off the ground and the ongoing effort required to make them successful year-on-year. ‘When you open three businesses within six months, the pressure that puts on everything is real – you need resources, manpower, mental capacity and the right people around you. Then, once they’re ready to go, you have to start introducing the creative and operational stuff, but you have to gear yourself back up into that. That’s when the hard work really starts.’ Ten years is a long time in anyone’s money, but especially in Edinburgh’s competitive bar scene. A lot of great venues have come and gone since 2008, and clearly this commitment to getting the details right night after night has seen Bon Vivant – still winning awards in its 11th year – flourish. But no one can be in six places at once, and that means letting go – just a little.   ‘The law of averages dictates that the more businesses there are, the more things can get diluted. That’s what keeps me up at night, because I’m still madly, insanely, passionate about the industry and my businesses and the people within them. If they’re making mistakes, it’s not because they don’t care, it’s because they haven’t had the right experience or guidance.’   These days, opening a bar tends to fall into one of two broad camps. There’s the DIY approach: take an old man’s bar and flood it with fairy lights and mismatched furniture, as exemplified by newcomers like Smoke & Mirrors and the Christophersons, who are behind Edinburgh’s Scandi-bars. Or, go big: huge renovations, smart branding and a whole heap of cash, like Signature Group’s high-end Cold Town House in the Grassmarket. But when McCluskey set up Bon Vivant, things were a little different. Armed with a small loan from his family and around a decade of experience gained in bars around Edinburgh and Australia, it took a while to find the right premises. ‘Bon Vivant was already a pub, not a perfect one, but it was operating. I love France so thought let’s do something inspired by the wee dark, cosy backstreet bars you get there.

We made a feature of the things that were already there, covered up the cracks – you have to be creative and I had to make the budget stretch.’ No focus groups then? ‘I’ve never set out to target a demographic, it’s about a mindset. If you’re in on a Thursday night, I’m sitting there with my mum and dad, there are groups of friends starting their night, people on dates. And I like to think that if we introduced everyone they’d get on, because they all enjoy being in a nice environment with great choices of food and wine that won’t break the bank.’ It’s clear that McCluskey feels strongly about both the hospitality industry and Edinburgh’s place within it. Fiercely proud to be one of the only home-grown operators amid the multitude of openings in St Andrew Square, he acknowledges the city has seen its challenges over the past couple of years. And while he is happy to namecheck places that he feels are getting it right – like Dishoom and neighbours Hawksmoor – he resolutely refuses to ‘gun for’ the bigger brands that have targeted the capital. But he’s clearly not immune to the pressures the brands bring, alongside widely reported rising rents, rates and other costs. There’s also Brexit to contend with, which is already hitting hospitality hard. Bon Vivant opened at the same time as the global financial crash started; the fact two of his bars now sit in the former RBS head office isn’t lost on him. He remains bullish though, particularly about the way the hospitality industry has tried to clean-up its long-hours, hard-drinking culture to focus on the health and well-being of its employees. He believes food and drink is one giant community, and a community Scotland can lead. ‘We have world-class chefs, bartenders, drinks – our hospitality industry is top-class. Edinburgh has changed so much and is starting to get more exciting again; Glasgow is brilliant at the moment too. But we’re not very good at talking that up. This is a sophisticated country with a wealth of resources, it’s a great place to be. If we want to bring guests and staff in, we have to get that message out.’   So what does the future hold? ‘I hate predicting trends, I’m not very good at it. I think it’s interesting to see that bartenders are getting more interested in wine and food, and chefs getting more interested in spirits and cocktails. I love the idea of blurring the boundaries. We’re seeing this all over though, a focus on experiences – and it’s clear people want food and drink experiences. Look at the growth in food festivals, for example. So we have to look at the places that do well, because they give a shit about their customers and want them to have something that’s as close to 100% every time. Less emphasis on the bottom line, more on the experience you deliver. And that will make everyone pull their socks up.’ For Lady Libertine review, see page 73, for El Cartel New Town review, see page 111, for El Cartel Old Town review, see page 111, for Register Club review, see page 74.

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EXPERIENCES

BREWERY & DISTILLERY TOURS DARNLEY’S GIN DISTILLERY East Newhall Farm, Kingsbarns darnleysgin.com Over in Fife’s pretty East Neuk, Darnley’s Gin offer daily tours from March to September. If you fancy yourself as a bit of a distiller, you can try your hand at creating your own gin too.   THE EDINBURGH BEER FACTORY Unit 15, Bankhead Industrial Estate edinburghbeerfactory.co.uk Hop on the tram to the Edinburgh Beer Factory, where the tour includes two half-pints, a tutored tasting and lots of behind-the-scenes information.   THE EDINBURGH GIN DISTILLERY Rutland Place edinburghgindistillery.co.uk Gin bar by night, distillery by day, Edinburgh Gin offer tours, tastings and gin-making experiences. Booking essential for a chance to see their beautiful copper stills up-close and personal. THE FERRY BREWERY Bankhead Farm Steading, Bankhead Road, South Queensferry | ferrybrewery.co.uk Three iconic bridges not enough for you? Combine a trip to historic Queensferry with a Ferry Brewery Tour. Weekends only. MCQUEEN GIN DISTILLERY The Barn, Upper Drumbane, Callander | mcqueengin.co.uk Fancy a day trip to the beautiful Trossachs but not sure what to do with all that lush scenery? McQueen Gin’s distillery tours run every weekday, with tastings too.  

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SUMMERHALL DRINKS LAB Summerhall summerhalldrinkslab.co.uk Part of the cultural melting pot that is Summerhall, the Drinks Lab’s regular events explore the vibrant Scottish gin scene, with tastings, masterclasses and gin cruises available.

WALKING TOURS

BREWERY & DISTILLERY TOURS THE CLYDESIDE DISTILLERY The Pumphouse theclydeside.com This distillery built into the old pumphouse next to the Clyde includes shop, café and visitor centre, with various tour packages for discovering the process and story of whisky in Glasgow and beyond.

EDINBURGH FOOD SAFARI edinburghfoodsafari.com TV personality and food writer Nell Nelson steers clear of the tourist trail with walking tours based around Broughton Street and Stockbridge and a gin-themed wander through the New Town.

DRYGATE BREWING CO. 85 Drygate | drygate.com The Behind the Glass Tour happens every Sunday at this craft brewery, featuring bar and kitchen and bottle shop. The tour includes a guided tasting of four of Drygate’s range.

EAT WALK EDINBURGH eatwalkedinburgh.co.uk Tourist-focused stroll through Old and New Towns, with opportunities to try whisky, haggis and some traditional sweeties and desserts.

WEST Glasgow Green | westbeer.com Housed in a striking old carpet factory building on Glasgow Green, WEST offer full tours of their brewery and tasting sessions of their popular beers, brewed using German traditions.

WHISKY TASTING

WESTER SPIRIT CO. Meadow Road | westerspirit.com After moving their rum production to Glasgow’s Partick area in 2018, Wester offer weekend tours, tastings and cocktail masterclasses at the first rum distillery to open in the city for more than 300 years.

THE SCOTCH MALT WHISKY SOCIETY 28 Queen Street | smws.com Open to all, their bar has a worldclass selection of whisky with staff that know their stuff. Or join one of their regular tasting events to broaden your knowledge beyond a casual dram. THE SCOTCH WHISKY EXPERIENCE 354 Castlehill scotchwhiskyexperience.co.uk Tours to suit every level of enthusiasm and experience, from the absolute novice looking for a few touristy touches to the enthusiastic whisky connoisseur.

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.

TASTING SCOTLAND tastingscotland.com Food and drink guide Brenda Anderson leads tours of Glasgow and beyond. Various itineraries take in highlights of the city’s food and drink scene as well as out-of-town options to sample whisky, seafood and more.

COOKING CLASSES CITY OF GLASGOW COLLEGE 190 Cathedral Street cityofglasgowcollege.ac.uk Try evening and part-time classes covering everything from gluten-free baking to Chinese cookery, and you may bump into resident chef-lecturer and Masterchef: The Professionals 2016 champion Gary Maclean. KALEYARD The Old Barn, Pollok Park kaleyard.org Social enterprise cook school founded by food writer Sumayya Usmani, featuring classes on Indian and Pakistan cuisine, pasta-making, and demonstrations on fermentation and sourdough making.

TASTING SESSIONS THE GOOD SPIRITS CO. 23 Bath Street thegoodspiritsco.com Specialist city-centre spirits retailer with tasting sessions, covering whisky, gin, wine and more, conducted in their dedicated tasting room. TENNENT’S TRAINING ACADEMY 161 Duke Street, Dennistoun tennentstrainingacademy.co.uk This training academy set up by the giant beer brand at their East End brewery offers a range of whisky, wine and beer tasting sessions, as well as tours and professional training.


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160 Woodlands Road Glasgow @FFWestEnd ffwestend.com

14 Stewart St Glasgow @FPizzaGla fpizza.co.uk

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THE ART OF THE LIST PHOTO: JAVIER FERIA @ FREEPIK.COM

It could be a single sheet of paper, or a hastily updated blackboard, or a carefully designed bound book. What it certainly won’t be is the dusty plastic-bound tome of old. Jason Campbell Thomson examines the changing art of the drinks list

P

icture the scene: you step through the door of an exciting new bar. You take in the surroundings, absorb the atmosphere. The staff greet you warmly and direct you to the all-important drinks list. It’s your guide for the evening – but how is it put together? FANCY A PINT?

Oh for the days when ‘fancy a pint?’ meant ‘chose between lager and ale’. The amount and type of beer available has changed dramatically, which means almost all bar operators have had to navigate new ground. Amy Williams, manager of Inn Deep in Glasgow, explains their approach. ‘We only stock small or craft breweries, which I think is really refreshing,’ she says. They offer a huge range from all over the world, with an emphasis on unusual brews, which means staff often lead choices, ‘We like to get something that nobody has heard of, something that customers should try.’ That doesn’t mean just anything can make it onto the list though, with Inn Deep saying no to as many beers as they accept. Competition is fierce from brewers battling to get their products onto the lists at go-to beer bars, hoping to expose their wares to the widest possible, switched-on audience. WINE TIME

‘A wine list is an evolution,’ says David Ramsden of Edinburgh’s Fat Pony Wine Bar. A well-known face who has run several restaurants in the city, he says when he started the Fat Pony he wanted to have ‘something a bit finer than the wine bars that were around at the time’ but soon found he needed to make room for some old favourites on the list too. ‘It takes a great deal of time, care and discussion,’

says Ramsden. He also mentions the importance of working with the right suppliers, who act as a bridge between bar and producer because, ‘the wine world evolves at a fairly terrifying rate.’ And while the Fat Pony focuses on wine, Ramsden believes you can’t exclude any type of customer in these competitive times, so there’s also a small but well-thought out range of beers and spirits. SHAKE IT UP

Cocktails are big business and even the most mainstream bar will have at least a short house list, of varying quality. Bramble was at the forefront of Edinburgh’s cocktail revolution and general manager Michael Lynch notes that cocktail bars have to keep things fresh. Their own list changes every three months, but not wholesale: ‘We sit down and look at what needs to change, whether it’s to do with the season or if we think something isn’t current or is overdone.’ Best-sellers aren’t immune; if the team think it’s time for a change, they’re swapped out. It’s a two-step process to get a new cocktail on the menu; creations are passed by the team first, then by the owners. And while standing out is important, Lynch stresses: ‘We still want to stay approachable. We just try to be clever in how we do things.’ There’s a great deal of pressure on bars to be ahead of the curve. We’ve already seen the gin list and the rum list, and with an explosion in craft whisky just around the corner, we’ll no doubt soon see a huge change in the way whisky is curated, presented and sold. Just another page on the list or a reflection of a global marketing industry focused on selling alcohol to an ever-thirsty public? You decide. The List Eating & Drinking Guide

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2019 EVENTS 3 & 4 MAY Cocktails in the City The Hub | cocktailsinthecity.com Some of Edinburgh’s top cocktail bars come together to shake their funky thangs in the dramatic setting of the Hub at the top of the Royal Mile.

11 & 12 MAY, 8 & 9 JUNE, 13 & 14 JULY, 10 & 11 AUGUST Bowhouse Food Markets Bowhouse Farm, St Monans bowhousefife.com Local growers, producers and street food vendors all feature at Bowhouse’s monthly markets, which make for a perfect day trip from Edinburgh.

24 & 25 MAY Edinburgh Craft Beer Festival The Biscuit Factory edinburghcraftbeerfestival.co.uk A carnival of world-class breweries and beer, with music from Belle & Sebastian and food from Aizle and Harajuku Kitchen.

31 MAY–2 JUNE

5–7 JULY

Juniper Festival Summerhall | summerhalldrinkslab.co.uk Summerhall Drinks Lab are now behind the wheel of one of Edinburgh’s best-known gin festivals. As well as masterclasses and gin sampling, there will be a focus on cocktails, with some great bars pairing up with gin brands.

Scottish Game Fair Scone Palace, Perth | scottishfair.com Celebrating conservation and the countryside with cookery demonstrations and food producers, alongside all sorts of traders and country pursuits.

15 & 16 JUNE The British Street Food Awards Scottish Heats The Pitt | britishstreetfood.co.uk Good food and good vibes – the overall winner of this heat will go on to represent Scotland at the UK finals in September.

15 & 16 JUNE The Power of Food Festival Around Edinburgh poweroffoodfestival.wordpress.com Grassroots festival celebrating Edinburgh’s community gardens and their contribution towards feeding ourselves sustainably and improving our wellbeing.

20–23 JUNE The Royal Highland Show Ingliston | royalhighlandshow.org One of Scotland’s biggest annual events, the RHS is a unique blend of agriculture, food and family day out.

31 MAY–30 JUNE

4 & 5 MAY Glasgow Coffee Festival The Briggait | glasgowcoffeefestival.com A celebration of the mighty coffee bean and showcase of the scene in Scotland. There are roasters, bars, brews and baristas hosting tastings, presentations and more, plus national competitions sanctioned by the Speciality Coffee Association.

24–27 MAY Eat & Drink Festival SEC | eatanddrinkglasgow.com An interactive food event, part of the Ideal Home Show, with live cooking classes, drinks masterclasses, wine and whisky tutorials as well as artisan produce from around the UK.

31 MAY–1 JUNE True OriGINs: The Scottish Gin Festival The Briggait | trueoriginsco.com Glasgow leg of this new festival set up by two Aberdeenshire brothers, promising over 70 gins – all exclusively from Scotland – along with masterclasses, live music and street food.

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West End Festival Various venues, West End westendfestival.co.uk This ever-expanding festival tantalises all the senses with music events, a carnival and art exhibits, with restaurants and bars joining in the fun with special events.

7 & 8 JUNE The Rum Festival The Briggait | therumfestival.co.uk The sugary spirit, beloved of many Glaswegians, is celebrated at this two-day event with tastings, live entertainment and food stalls, featuring rums from Scotland.

20–22 JUNE Glasgow Real Ale Festival The Briggait | glasgowrealalefestival.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.

3 AUGUST Rum, Tequila & Tacos SWG3 | grtevents.co.uk More fun with rum at this new event featuring rum

19–28 JULY The Edinburgh Food Festival Assembly George Square | edfoodfest.com Now in its sixth year, the Edinburgh Food Festival showcases great Scottish produce with plenty of demonstrations, workshops and activities.

2–4 AUGUST Foodies Festival Inverleith Park | foodiesfestival.com Expect MasterChef and Great British Bake Off winners, a chance to meet local producers, plenty for the kids to do and, of course, lots of food and drink to sample at Foodies.

14–20 OCTOBER Edinburgh Cocktail Week Participating bars across Edinburgh edinburghcocktailweek.co.uk Buy a wristband and enjoy signature cocktails in some of Edinburgh’s best bars – it’s a great way to try new places and experiences.

and tequila bars, a mezcal room, distiller tastings, live music, and Mexican and South American street food.

26–29 SEPTEMBER Glasgow Cocktail Weekend Various venues glasgowcocktailweekend.co.uk Back for a second year, this four-day event is a celebration of mixology across more than 30 venues hosting special events, including Cocktail Kingdom at Argyle Street Arches, with DJs, masterclasses and street food from Platform.

9 NOVEMBER Glasgow’s Whisky Festival Hampden Park | glasgowswhiskyfestival.com This festival of the national tipple, and other spirits, covering distillers and bottlers from in and around the city and beyond, with more than 60 stands.

23 & 24 NOVEMBER Glasgow Vegan Festival Trades Hall | veganeventsuk.co.uk In a city famed for its animal-free dining, this festival celebrates the plant-based lifestyle with over 50 stalls featuring cookery demos, kids’ activities, food and drink producers and more.


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TIPLISTS Welcome to the Tiplists – whether you’re looking for a café close to your meeting, somewhere to take the kids, the dogs or the date, or if you just fancy an ice-cream, the Eating & Drinking Guide team have put together recommendations for almost every occasion. We’ve created Tiplists of bars and cafés by area, so you’ll never be stuck for somewhere to go, as well as a range of restaurants and everywhere in between.

y o j n E

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EDINBURGH

GLASGOW

BAR TIPLISTS

BAR TIPLISTS

Bars for a game of . . . 34 Live music 34 Pubs to take the dug 34 Watching sport 34 Beer gardens 35 New bars 35 Beer 35 Cocktails 35 Whisky 35

BARS BY AREA

BARS BY AREA

• New Town 36 • Stockbridge 36 • Canonmills & Broughton 36 • Old Town 36 • University & Meadows 38 • West End 38 • Tollcross & Bruntsfield 38 • Leith Walk & Easter Road 38 • The Shore 38

CAFE TIPLISTS New cafés 39 New wee places 39 Coffee 39 Tea 39 Hot chocolate 40 Cake 40 Breakfast on the go 40 Cafés for dietary requirements 40 CAFES BY AREA

• New Town 42 • Stockbridge 42 • Canonmills & Broughton 42 • Old Town 42 • University & Meadows 43 • West End 43 • Tollcross & Bruntsfield 43 • Leith Walk & Easter Road 43 • The Shore 43

OTHER TIPLISTS Afternoon tea 45 Outdoor dining 45 Vegetarian 45 Vegan 45 Brunch 46 Groups & parties 46 Late dining 46 Sunday lunch 46 Special views & rooms 48 Pre-theatre deals 48 Burgers 48 Ice-cream 48 Kid-friendly 49 Neighbourhood dining 49 Sourcing 49 A great lunch deal 49 Most romantic 50 Dining that does some good 50 Budget 50 BYOB 50 Wine 51 Pizza 51 Wine by the glass 51 Unusual dining experiences 51

• Shawlands 52 • Strathbungo 52 • City Centre North 52 • City Centre South 52 • Partick 52 • Kelvinbridge 53 • Finnieston 53 • Merchant City 53 • East End 53

Cocktails 54 Whisky (and whiskey) 54 Gin 54 Hair of the dog (bar brunches) 54 Beer gardens 54 Wine 56 Beer 56 Late-night drinking 56 Music 56 Best new bars 56

CAFE TIPLISTS CAFES BY AREA

• Shawlands 57 • Strathbungo 57 • City Centre North 57 • City Centre South 57 • Partick 57 • Kelvinbridge 58 • Finnieston 58 • Merchant City 58 • East End 58

Coffee 59 Tea 59 Cake 59 Vegan & vegetarian 59 Breakfast & brunch 59 Culture 60 Park life 60 New cafés 60

OTHER TIPLISTS Kids & families 60 Pizza 61 Steak 61 A good lunch deal 61 Pre-theatre 61 Burgers 61 Neighbourhood dining 62 Fish & chips 62 Wine by the glass 62 Dietary requirements 62 Brunch 62 A sense of place 63 Outdoor dining 63 A romantic meal 63 Groups & parties 63 Sunday lunch 63 Budget dining 64 BYOB 64 Taking the dog 64 Sourcing 64 Late dining 64

Want to know more? You’ll find longer, fully updated reviews in this guide or at list.co.uk/food where you see this sign 

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The List Eating & Drinking Guide


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TIPLISTS

BARS FOR A GAME OF . . .

LIVE MUSIC 

Akva One of the few pubs in the city big enough for ping-pong (aka wiff-waff) tables. There’s plenty of decent food, beer and cocktails to keep you going between games too. The Banshee Labyrinth Gothy dive bar with an alternative crowd, three bars and that all-important pool table.

The Bier Keller 70 They’ve changed things up at the former Beer & Skittles, but there’s still a pool table and the odd game of darts to be had.

Black Ivy This splashy makeover of an old Bruntsfield hotel boasts a stylish bar, generous terrace and clutch of ping-pong tables that double as laptop spaces during the day.

The City Café If the pool tables in the City Caff could talk, they’d have more than a few tales to tell. Legendary pre-clubbing bar with diner-style burgers and a buzzy crowd.

The Mousetrap On bustling Leith Walk, the Mousetrap’s USP is a trio of pinball machines, a SNES console – and cheap cocktails.

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The List Eating & Drinking Guide

Bannerman’s If you like rock and you like it loud, Bannerman’s is the place for you – live music most evenings.

Brewhemia This cavernous bar has a regular programme of music as well as theatrical ‘happenings’ – it’s well worth keeping an eye on their varied programme.

Sandy Bell’s One of the last bastions of live folk music in Edinburgh – if you’re lucky, a quiet pint will turn into a full-on jam.

Sneaky Pete’s Small capacity club and live music venue that is open and busy every night, playing host to a varied roster of up-andcoming bands.

Stramash A huge, lively pub with a commendably eclectic programme of gigs – everything from rock and blues to ska and most genres in between.

Whistle Binkies Live Music Bar There’s something endearing about a Monday open mic night with a free pint for each performer. Whistle Binkies isn’t sophisticated, but it is one of the few live music bars left in town.

PUBS TO TAKE THE DUG

WATCHING SPORT 

The Barony Bar A recent change of policy means this traditional Victorian bar is now fully dog friendly, excellent news for Broughton Street pooches.

The Espy With blankets and bowls for your good boys and girls, the Espy’s back room is the perfect place to warm up after a walk along Porty beach.

The Bier Keller 70 Live sport and a great selection of beer, cocktails and burgers – there’s pool too for days when rain stops other kinds of play. The Fly Half 71 With new local operators who know The Shore like the back of their hands, sport might just be the thing that puts this cavernous Constitution Street venue on the map.

The Pear Tree House Perhaps better known for its beer garden, the Pear Tree is also a great spot for watching sport on its huge outdoor screen.

Teuchters In the heart of the West End and well-loved for its beer, whisky and food, this is also one of Edinburgh’s definitive rugby pubs.

Nightcap A warren of alcoves and snugs right in the heart of the city centre, with decent food and a warm welcome for dogs too. Quay Commons Dogs are as welcome inside the café as they are outside, so it’s a great option for cold weather days as well.

The Salt Horse Beer Shop & Bar If ‘taking the dog for a walk’ is a euphemism for ‘going to the pub’ in your house, then you could do a lot worse than sampling Salt Horse’s huge selection of brews.

The Voyage of Buck Stylish West End bar with fun cocktails painstakingly made. Take the dog and chill.

The Three Sisters This pack-em-in Saturday night bar on the Grassmarket also has one of the best big screen set-ups in Edinburgh, especially at Six Nations time.

The Ventoux As the name suggests, this Tollcross bar (and its Leith sister the Tourmalet) are obsessive about the Tour De France and other big-name cycling races.


EDINBURGH BARS

PHOTO: JAMES GOURLAY

BEER GARDENS 

The Blackbird A leafy and colourful beer garden, decked out with its own shed full of booze, with regular events and pop-ups in the summer too.

Cold Town House 71 The Grassmarket’s newest bar has a spacious roof terrace with a couple of cute wee ski lift gondolas to cosy up in if the weather doesn’t play ball.

The Cumberland Bar A lower-level garden under a leafy weeping willow makes the Cumberland a New Town go-to on a good day.

The Pear Tree House Edinburgh’s most famous beer garden was let down by the attached bar in years gone by, but a recent refurbishment has spruced things up – worth a second look. The Royal Dick Bar and Bistro 82 This roomy courtyard is completely enclosed, creating that rarest of Edinburgh beasts – the chance to sit outside without a lungful of exhaust fumes.

Teuchters Landing This popular bar on Leith’s Shore has a spacious, multilevel area by the waterside, including a floating deck.

NEW BARS

BEER

Burlington Bros Casting Agency 70 Expect classy booze-forward cocktails in this Bruntsfield newcomer.

Brewdog Lothian Road Brewdog’s second Edinburgh bar is right in the middle of town, has a huge selection of beers and is a great space too.

The High Dive 73 It’s a touch more restauranty than bar, but when the pizzas are this good, who’s complaining? Lady Libertine 73 A beautiful setting, delicious food, late opening, music – Lady Libertine offers something for everyone yet remains classy and inviting. Little Rascal 73 Corstorphine has welcomed this wine-bar-cum-shop to its heart and it’s easy to see why – a pleasingly archaic wine list and genuine service means it stands out on a street of standard offerings. Nauticus 74 A thoughtful restoration of an old boozer, with an equally thoughtful list of Scottish spirits. Nauticus simply shines. Smoke & Mirrors 74 Cosy, comfy, pays attention to the environment, lots of fairylights – Smoke & Mirrors is everything a neighbourhood bar should be.

COCKTAILS 

The Cloisters Established in 1995, the Cloisters is an institution. No matter what mood you’re in, there will be something delicious to wet your whistle with.

The Guildford Arms A stunningly beautiful historic city centre bar with an everchanging list of perfectly cared-for guest ales on tap.

The Hanging Bat Along with their ever-changing taps (of which there are many), the Hanging Bat has a micro-brewery on site for all your hop-led needs. Salt Horse Beer Shop & Bar It’s the selection that really sets Salt Horse apart, with constantly rotating taps and a multitude of bottles and cans.

six°north The amount of choice here is amazing, and there are regular tap takeovers from interesting and quirky brewers too.

WHISKY 

Bramble A basement bar with a sterling reputation among cocktail enthusiasts. Expect helpful staff happy to recommend drinks, interesting ingredients and retro-cool surroundings.

The Last Word Saloon A cosy basement bar mixing traditional décor with an unconventional menu. Thoughtfully composed flavour pairings and knowledgeable staff seal the deal. The Lucky Liquor Co A bold bar pairing unusual flavours with their own homemade Lucky liqueurs across a tight seasonal cocktail menu.

Nauticus 74 Taking inspiration from Leith’s trading heritage, the menu features drinks based around the spice trade, wine and sherry importation and the recent whisky boom.

Athletic Arms Without a doubt, the Diggers has the best value-for-money whisky collection in the city. Highly recommended.

The Bow Bar You could easily lose a whole afternoon chatting to the staff in the Bow Bar about their malts. Perfect for a wee half’n’half.

Cannonball Whisky Bar The bar below this Contini restaurant is well-stocked with some lovely whiskies, with innovations like their whisky afternoon tea aiming to demystify the national drink.

Kaleidoscope Whisky Bar & Shop Non-members are very welcome in the Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s Queen Street bar to sample their cask-strength, single-cask releases.

Panda & Sons A speakeasy hidden behind a barber shop facade, with drinks on the menu to suit all tastes.

Scotch 74 If you’re looking for highend malts, then Scotch is a fantastic choice. Get comfy and go on a whisky journey.

The Pop Up Geeks 74 Looking for something a little different? The Geeks’ innovative cocktails are built around quarterly themes, but are always delicious.

Usquabae The selection of drams and staff knowledge is brilliant – even the most seasoned whisky drinker will be blown away.

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TIPLISTS

EDINBURGH BARS

BARS IN THE NEW TOWN

BARS IN STOCKBRIDGE 

The Bon Vivant A stylish and cosy Frenchinspired bar that does everything right, from creative cocktails, to interesting food, to excellent champagne.

Bramble One of Edinburgh’s original craft cocktail bars, Bramble never disappoints – particularly if you go midweek to miss the crowds.

The Cumberland Bar Sometimes you just want a pub to be a pub; decent beers, reasonable wines, friendly staff and a nice garden to sit in when the sun shines. The Cumberland delivers.

Hoot the Redeemer You’ll feel like you’re in the know as you descend the stairs to this fun subterranean saloon which doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Lady Libertine 73 Two floors of music, cocktails, wine and food in a gorgeous old building, this new lady on the block manages to tick all the boxes beautifully.

six°north Craft beer with a focus on Belgian brews, with simple and reasonably priced bar snacks making this a comfy hangout at any time.

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The List Eating & Drinking Guide

BARS IN CANONMILLS BARS IN THE & BROUGHTON OLD TOWN

Good Brothers Wine Bar A place to discover quirky wines by the bottle or glass with helpful staff to guide you, as well as decent bar snacks and occasional chef pop-ups.

The Barony Bar A dark wood bar and coal fire in winter creates a proper pub atmosphere, with a satisfying food menu and live music evenings to boot.

The Bow Bar An unpretentious old-school pub in the centre of the city which just happens to be one of the best beer and whisky destinations in the Old Town.

Hamilton’s Bar and Kitchen Spacious dog-friendly bar with big leather sofas serving imaginative cocktails, some interesting wines and a bistro menu.

Brandon’s of Canonmills Seasonal menu served all day, exceptional selection of craft beers and bubbly staff make Brandon’s a local pub that’s worth travelling to.

The Devil’s Advocate Set in an old pump house, this bar makes the most of its Old Town setting. Expect an extensive choice of whisky, great cocktails and delicious food in a buzzy space.

The Empress of Broughton Street Craft everything: from beers to gins to cocktails and tasty food stuffed into flatbread, while exposed brick and chandeliers create an irreverent interior.

Divino Enoteca 104 Technology is a wonderful thing: Divino’s enomatic wine system means there’s a bewildering variety of wines available by the glass along with tasty food.

The Last Word Saloon Comfy basement bar famed for cocktails, but with an equally eclectic range of whiskies and other spirits, with bar snacks and craft beer on the side.

St Vincent Bar A true neighbourhood boozer with ample charm and no pretensions, serving good draught IPAs and tasty burgers, wings and veggie burgers from its Feed-Me mini chain next door.

Smith & Gertrude Laid-back modern wine bar with an impressively wide range of interesting wines and flights to drink with excellent cheese and charcuterie.

Whiskers Wine Café 75 This newcomer is just beginning to hit its stride but all the ingredients are there to see it become one of Stockbridge’s best-loved bars.

The Orchard Expect hearty grub in one of the pubbiest pubs in Inverleith. Real ales on draught, loads of wines by the glass and big windows to watch the world go by.

The Ox The epitome of a gastropub, dishing out staples like gooey scotch eggs and bespoke burgers in an upmarket yet laid-back atmosphere.

Pickles A wee wine cellar sparkling with fairylights offering an exceptional wine list, warm service and big, sharing charcuterie platters.

The Fat Pony Wine Bar A chic bar that takes its wine seriously. Expect an everevolving wine list, clued-in staff, and small plates and cheese boards sourced from local producers.

Hemma In the shadow of the Scottish Parliament, this huge glass and steel bar manages to remain homely and welcoming. Family friendly too.

Under the Stairs Under the stairs and under the radar, but well worth seeking out for inventive cocktails, a seasonal food menu and a relaxed atmosphere.


ABBOTSFORD

CUMBERLAND

Scottish Restaurant ‘Above’ Edwardian Island Bar 7 Real Ales, Whisky Menu.

Famous New Town Local Real Ale & Craft Beer Sunday Roast, Beer Garden.

0131 225 5276

www.theabbotsford.com

0131 558 3134

www.cumberlandbar.co.uk

3-5 Rose Street. EH2 2PR

1 Cumberland Street. EH3 6RT

CANONS’ GAIT

GUILDFORD ARMS

Scottish Craft Beer & Food Pairing Cellar Bar - Free Hire.

Boutique ‘gallery’ Restaurant Overlooks Classic Victorian Bar Terrific Range Of 10 Real Ales.

0131 556 4481

www.canonsgait.com

232 Canongate. EH8 8DQ

0131 556 4312

www.guildfordarms.com

1 West Register Street. EH2 2AA


TIPLISTS

EDINBURGH BARS

PHOTO: JAMES GOURLAY

PHOTO: STEPHEN ROBINSON

BARS AROUND THE UNIVERSITY & MEADOWS

BARS IN THE WEST END 

Greenmantle Student favourite with big burgers, lots of good beer, sport on the telly and a popular pub quiz. It’s all good.

The High Dive 73 A welcome addition to the area, this laid-back but lively Civerino’s venue is both pizza place and pub, the combo is dynamite.

Bar à Vin Appealing surroundings, interesting wine, great cheese and charcuterie and lethally good fondue: L’Escargot Blanc’s baby has come of age.

BrewDog Lothian Road Edinburgh’s second establishment from the brewing buffs brings more good beer, good food and good vibes.

Le Di-Vin Wine Bar A cavernous old church houses this gem of a classic French wine bar. Wine, cheese, bread – all the good stuff is here.

No 1 The Grange Pleasing local where cosy nooks and crannies lend themselves to catching up over a pint or some superior gastropub food.

Paradise Palms Cocktail teapots, funky music, Southern-style veggie comfort food and scary teddies: this Southside staple continues to rock.

The Royal Dick Bar & Bistro 82 There’s always something interesting going on in Summerhall, and this roomy pub with courtyard beer garden more than matches up to the general vibe. Sofi’s Southside 74 Swedish bar Sofi’s spreads its cosy neighbourhood vibe with the usual comfy set up, well-chosen drinks and friendly staff.

38

BARS IN TOLLCROSS & BRUNTSFIELD

Bennets Bar A beautiful traditional bar that’s still going strong, now offering great food from La Petite Mort’s kitchen next door.

Teuchters Strong choice for locals and tourists alike, thanks to a bewildering selection of beers and whisky and fab, yet simple, food from the restaurant kitchen.

The Voyage of Buck Travel round the world one cocktail at a time in this stylish bar where the food is modern and interesting.

The WestRoom 75 A new owner has upped the food quality with Italian cicchetti but kept the homefrom-home feel and genuinely lovely staff.

The List Eating & Drinking Guide

Akva Swedish bar pulling off cosy hospitality in a vast, modern space, where the real draw is a sprawling terrace on the canal.

The Blackbird You can have breakfast, lunch and dinner at this bar that also has style by the mile. Heck, why not just move in?

Brauhaus Tiny drinking den that magically houses every bottled beer that Germany and Belgium have ever produced. Eat before you go.

Burlington Bros Casting Agency 70 This new, small, but perfectly formed cocktail bar has all the ingredients needed to shake down into something very special indeed.

The Hanging Bat Even the nerdiest, beardiest brewing geek will manage to discover something new in this bat cave. Super-helpful staff too.

BARS AROUND LEITH BARS AROUND WALK & EASTER ROAD THE SHORE 

Joseph Pearce’s Casual bar that’s equally beloved by little ones during the day as it is by grown-up drinkers in the evening. Warm staff and interesting food choices too.

Leith Depot That very rare thing in Edinburgh: a pub with excellent live music. Now under threat from developers, it’s time to use this one before you lose it.

The Lioness of Leith One of those bars that has something for everyone, and that’s something to be celebrated. Take your mum, take your mates, take a date – you’ll always have a good time.

Nauticus 74 A new bar in unloved Duke Street that’s on just the right side of hipster cool, helped by a focus on Scottish spirits and world-class cocktails.

The Tourmalet Cycling-themed bar that’s full of character and lots of lovely beers. You won’t see the footy here, but every cycling race going is obsessed over. Woodland Creatures 75 Definitely the best mac and cheese on the east side, if not the city. Oh and it’s bottomless on a Monday night too.

Harmonium Fully vegan bar with lots of interesting choices for food and drink as well as a warm welcome.

Nobles Café, Bar and Restaurant Great beer, excellent brunch and pub food in a beautiful maritime interior with a topnotch restaurant menu too.

Port O’Leith With people finally getting over the makeover (they are, aren’t they?), the Port has settled back into its groove as a funky drinkers’ den.

The Roseleaf Bright and welcoming pub with cocktails in teapots, hats to borrow and a cracking brunch menu.

The Shore Bar and Restaurant 83 The restaurant is great but there’s also a huge amount of pleasure to be had in the Shore’s atmospheric bar, whether you’re eating or not. Smoke & Mirrors 74 This new environmentally friendly neighbourhood hideaway is cute and cosy, with lots of local drinks on offer.


EDINBURGH CAFES

NEW CAFÉS

NEW WEE PLACES

COFFEE

Artisan Coffee 84 Interesting menu options, wooden floors, plenty of books to borrow and lots of nooks to curl up in make this a spot well worth lingering in.

The Beach House Bakery 89 Takeaway and bakery with a handful of seats, offering a daily changing menu prioritising seasonal flavours.

Don’t Tell Mama 86 It’s all about the Greek in this cosy, pretty Tollcross café, where the warm service really makes you feel like part of the family.

Bross Bagels 89 It’s been quite the year for Mama Bross – either of her two openings in Leith Walk or Queensferry Street will deliver bagel-based brawness.

Artisan Roast As well as their three branches in town, Artisan Roast are responsible for supplying beans to many of the capital’s bars, restaurants and cafés.

Fortuna Coffee Bar 86 It’s great to have a chain-free option in the city centre – Fortuna has decent coffee, a simple but creative menu and a warm welcome.

Fiocchi Di Neve 90 Adorable Italian deli where you can pick up something lovely for lunch as well as gorgeous pastries for pudding.

Loudons 87 A huge space just off the Royal Mile with plenty of space for al fresco dining come summer, the new branch of Loudons is certainly delighting their legion of fans. Thrive Café Bar 87 With a mostly vegan menu, Thrive is working hard to elevate plant-based food in Edinburgh. There’s a great selection of vegan drinks too. 27 Elliot’s 89 Jessica Elliot Dennison’s experience and confidence shows in this bright, sunny café where the joy is in the details.

Gooseneck Café 90 Simple but well-made lunch choices and great attention to detail on the coffee machine make this a wee place worth knowing about. It’s All Good 90 A rare find: a café that focuses on health and wellbeing without feeling worthy, trend-led or boring – well worth a trip to Easter Road to check it out. The Kilted Donut 90 This wee shop offers six daily changing flavours and also sells ‘kilties’ – wee bite-size rounds that almost definitely came out of the middle of the big boy doughnuts.

TEA 

Brew Lab Coffee reigns supreme at Brew Lab, with espressos and pour-overs crafted from hand-roasted beans by some of Edinburgh’s premier coffee connoisseurs.

Eteaket A beloved Edinburgh tea supplier, Eteaket’s Frederick Street café focuses on everything leaf-related, including Earl Grey cocktails and a lavish afternoon tea spread. Lovecrumbs Lovecrumbs’ selection of freshly bagged loose-leaf teas are served alongside a thermos of hot water for ultimate tea longevity.

Cult Espresso With regular guest beans, a deceptively spacious inside and free WiFi, Cult Espresso is an ideal spot for your morning brew.

Pekoe Tea This Leven Street teabar is a great place to try out some new varieties of tea, including tea from Scotland – who knew?

Little Fitzroy 87 With coffee from Edinburgh roastery Obadiah’s, Little Fitzroy brings the best of Australian coffee culture to Easter Road.

Rosevear Tea Three loose-leaf tea shops offering dozens of classic and unusual blends. Look out for tastings and demos too if you want to find out more about your morning cuppa.

Machina Espresso Machina Espresso’s two coffee bars in Brougham Place and Nicolson Street are at the cutting edge of exciting new brews served in a trendy setting.

Williams and Johnson Coffee Co 89 The mothership is at Customs Wharf, but their new branch at Waverley Mall means there’s absolutely no excuse for sticking with the chains when seeking caffeine.

The Secret Herb Garden The Secret Herb Garden grow, package and serve their own herbal tea blends in their quirky plant nursey-cum-café at the base of the Pentlands.

Urban Angel Loose leaf, in a teapot, and accompanied by a little hourglass tea timer: it’s clear that Urban Angel takes its tea seriously.

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TIPLISTS

HOT CHOCOLATE

CAKE 

The Chocolate Tree Ethically sourced bean-to-bar chocolate makes for rich hot chocolate in this tiny boho café, with interesting varieties to take home too.

Considerit Glossy Belgian hot chocolate is made with chocolate ganache and your choice of steamed milks at this entirely vegan artisan chocolate specialist just off the Meadows.

Fieldwork If a winter spice hot chocolate stirred through with fresh nutmeg, cinnamon and orange oil doesn’t melt your cold heart, then nothing will.

Fortitude Coffee Although their excellent coffee tends to grab the glory, Fortitude also serve jugs of hot chocolate accompanied by salted caramel marshmallows.

Mary’s Milk Bar Better known for their icecream, Mary’s also does a small but perfectly formed range of drinks, including a warming hot chocolate which is perfect for the colder months.

The Milk Coffee Shack 90 No more parental freezing on the sidelines – Milk’s wee takeaway outfit in Inverleith Park will provide hot choc to warm the cockles.

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EDINBURGH CAFES

Archipelago Bakery Perhaps better known for their (also excellent) bread, Archipelago create tempting displays of cakes and traybakes too, with many vegan and free-from options.

The Beach House Bakery 89 Expanding to a second café in Portobello has given the Beach House team more room to perfect their bakery skills.

Cuckoo’s Bakery From the simplest topping to the most elaborate pile of decorations, Cuckoo’s celebrate the cupcake in all its forms. Celebration cakes available too.

Honeycomb & Co 86 There’s a wide range of creative and pretty cakes available in this sunshiny Bruntsfield café where the welcome is equally warm.

Lovecrumbs Lovecrumbs really was the mummy bakery of quality cakeage in Edinburgh. Reliable and cosy place to stop the world for a while with a generous slice.

Sugar Daddy’s 87 Dazzlingly pretty and inventive baked treats – the fact that they’re gluten-free means even more people can enjoy the pleasures of cake.

The List Eating & Drinking Guide

BREAKFAST ON THE GO

CAFES FOR DIETARY REQUIREMENTS 

Baba Budan Give the chains around Waverley station a swerve and pick up a hefty bacon roll and decent coffee from this hip eatery tucked into the Market Street arches.

Brochan We’ve been crushing on Brochan’s brilliant take on porridge since they opened back in 2016 and see no reason to stop now, thanks very much.

Loudons 87 Now with two branches, Loudons can pretty much handle any sort of dietary requirements you care to throw at them.

Magma Café Intriguing Tollcross café with hearty mains like momo dumplings, stir fries and green lentil wraps and a cracking selection of gluten and lactose-free cakes too.

Fieldwork This charming little café just off Lothian Road offers fresh, creative takes on porridge, beans on toast, and other breakfast classics.

Milk 69 Clear labelling and easy adaptations mean any of Milk’s cafés around the city are a good bet for dietary needs without sacrificing flavour.

Hula Juice Bar and Gallery 86 Fresh-pressed juices, madeto-order smoothies, acai bowls or an avo toast – Hula makes for the perfect quick breakfast pitstop.

Sugar Daddy’s 87 Always known for gluten-free baking, the opening of their Roseneath Street café means delights like French toast and doughnuts are available on the Southside too.

Thrive Café Bar 87 New veggie and vegan café bar with a creative and diverse menu. And dirty fries, of which we very much approve.

Milk This Morrison Street café has lots of fresh, healthy breakfast options plus strong coffee to grab on your way to Haymarket.

Söderberg 90 With three cafés and three bakery shops dotted around town, you’re never far from a cardamom bun and a decent cup of Swedish coffee to kickstart your day.

Union of Genius When it comes to soup, Union of Genius is the daddy; half of their daily choices are veggie, there’s always at least one vegan choice and there are plenty of gluten-free options too.


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TIPLISTS

CAFES IN THE NEW TOWN

CAFES IN STOCKBRIDGE 

Archipelago Bakery Fabulous wee café and bakery creating exceptionally flavoured and textured breads, alongside sweet treats with plenty of free-from options.

Café Portrait 68 You don’t have to be viewing the art to drop into the equally impressive café – great for lunch or an afternoon coffee after the crowds have gone. Lowdown Coffee Minimalist décor showcases finely crafted single-origin espresso and filter coffee; a welcome change to the city centre café chains.

Rose Theatre Café 69 A perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city centre – the menu is simple but the welcome is warm. Urban Angel An independent, seasonal and locally sourcing café in Edinburgh’s New Town, serving all-day brunch, lunch, coffee and cake.

Wellington Coffee It’s in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it basement, but the coffee at Wellington is well sourced and expertly poured.

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Artisan Roast Grab a window seat in this light, airy café or retreat to the cosy backroom for arguably the best flat white in town.

Cowan and Sons Still run by the same family after a smart revamp, this popular joint offers locally roasted coffee as well as late breakfast options.

Good & Proper Deli Co 90 Fresh, wholesome and homemade – there’s lots to shout about in this new wee deli, but it’s their sausage rolls that are gaining them a cult following.

CAFES IN CANONMILLS & BROUGHTON

CAFES IN THE OLD TOWN 

The Bearded Baker A one-stop-shop for beautiful baking. Filled bagels and flavoured doughnuts made fresh every day with decent coffee too.

The Blue Bear Renowned for their brilliant brunches, the Blue Bear create striking new breakfast dishes. Good home baking and dog-friendly.

The Bluebird Café Inspired by the Bluebird Café in Nashville, this cosy wee joint has daily changing soups, scones and cakes plus Southern-inspired pancakes and burritos.

Café Nom de Plume Cosy and eclectic, there’s a world cuisine focus to the broad menu at this warmhearted café.

Di Giorgio With sumptuous breakfasts and authentic Italian lunches, one of the area’s longest serving café’s remains one of its favourites.

Leo’s Beanery Cosy basement café packed with home-baked goodies where breakfast stretches to 2.30pm at weekends.

The Pantry This popular gathering spot dishes up beautifully presented breakfasts and lunches, but a leisurely brunch is usually the main draw. Sprio A little piece of Italy serving tasty deli food, excellent panini and top-notch coffee, with a few tables outside if the weather is kind.

The Water of Leith Café Bistro The perfect place when you need a homely and hearty meal, all cooked with locally sourced ingredients.

Edinburgh Larder Café 86 Breakfast, lunch and cakes are made using the best of Scottish ingredients, with simple, single plate options next door.

Gannet and Guga A pun-tastic range of sandwiches on good bread and decent coffee, just a short walk from Waverley Station. Hula Juice Bar and Gallery Health food classics in a bright and bustling setting in the centre of the Old Town with generous outdoor seating. Loudons 87 Their second bright, airy branch is just off the Royal Mile and has plenty of space to enjoy one of the best brunches in town.

The Milkman Tiny café with excellent coffee and simple pastries and the like – the perfect place for a quick pitstop.

The Pantry at Dovecot 69 The Pantry’s usual high standard of food and drink in a bright café set in one of Edinburgh’s quirkier gallery spaces.


EDINBURGH CAFES

CAFES AROUND THE UNIVERSITY & MEADOWS

CAFES IN THE WEST END

CAFES IN TOLLCROSS & BRUNTSFIELD

Brew Lab Brew Lab combines an industrial aesthetic with specialist beans and brews for ultimate coffee-culture vibes.

Bross Bagels 89 All hail the power of the bagel – this wee Queensferry Street spot has a handful of seating and a vibrant menu with regular specials.

La Barantine As French as an onion seller’s beret, La Barantine’s bread, sandwiches, quiche and patisserie will fill any Francophile with joy.

Söderberg The Meadows Directly on Middle Meadow Walk, the bright, airy space and delicious baking bring the best of Scandi café life to Edinburgh.

Cairngorm Coffee Co One of the bigger cafés in the area, Cairngorm offers top-notch coffee and a simple menu, so you can concentrate on people-watching through the huge windows.

Spoon 83 Half quirky bistro, half cosy café, Spoon’s comfy sofas, free WiFi and selection of loose-leaf tea make it the perfect study spot.

Coates Café 85 Spacious café with a real front-room feeling, with regular specials and a nice line in veggie breakfasts too.

Summerhall Café 70 Tucked inside Summerhall’s winding corridors, this large space offers art, made-toorder dishes, and fresh coffee in equal measure.

Thomas J Walls Vintage opticians turned coffeehouse, the original shop interior makes for a quirky, relaxed vibe.

27 Elliott’s 89 The stylish space matches an equally delightful and ever-evolving menu of creative breakfasts and lunches.

Milk Milk has been looking after locals and Haymarket commuters for nearly ten years now and all that skill and experience shows on every plate.

Castello Coffee Overlooking Bruntsfield Links, Castello take their coffee seriously with delicious espresso blends on offer.

Don’t Tell Mama 86 New to Tollcross, Don’t Tell Mama brings Greek coffee culture to Edinburgh in a lightfilled café with a laid-back vibe. Honeycomb & Co 86 Seasonal food made on the premises with a fantastic cake counter, relaxed neighbourhood feel and lovely staff.

Roots Deli & Salad Bar Friendly café where meat and fish is responsibly sourced and there are a range of brightly attractive veggie and vegan options too.

Social Bite Social Bite is committed to ending homelessness in Scotland so why not do some good with your lunch money? The Shandwick Place branch has a range of snacks and sandwiches.

Machina Espresso This Brougham Street stalwart offers a cool atmosphere to enjoy a coffee of quality, with wholesome sandwiches and indulgent cakes too.

181 Delicatessen Tiny wee deli and takeaway with a big focus on quality produce and rather excellent home baking.

CAFES AROUND LEITH WALK & EASTER ROAD

CAFES AROUND THE SHORE 

Art and Vintage An attractive café set into an equally lovely vintage shop, with local art on the walls and an all-day breakfast menu.

Alplings A distinctive Austrian café with log cabin vibes and a unique menu in Edinburgh. Look out for their occasional pop-up dinners.

Artisan Coffee 84 Super-welcoming café with interesting food, where you really do feel that you could stay all day (buy stuff too though, yeah?).

Café Domenico 104 An Italian restaurant by night, by day Domenico’s has the best sandwiches in Leith to take away, or enjoy generous pasta in the cosy back room.

Casa Amiga The best pastel de natas in town with a bold espresso and some excellent peoplewatching from their window seats.

The Hideout Café A cosy wee spot for coffee and a sandwich with a great collection of cassette tapes.

Mo Beans An ever so endearing wee coffee shop brewing Williams and Johnson coffee. Also an in-house Labrador called Nuno.

Ostara Showcasing local ingredients with inventive and delicious brunch dishes, cold-pressed juices and good coffee.

Polentoni Italian café serving delicious breakfasts and lunches. Pick anything with polenta and you’re onto a winner.

Porto & Fi Family-run neighbourhood bistro and coffee spot by the seaside, championing local suppliers with contemporary Scottish dishes.

Twelve Triangles Kitchen Table Amazing pastries and lovely lunches all around a communal table, with excellent sourdough loaves to take home.

Quay Commons An excellent on-site bakery makes this a great place for a pastry, or come later in the day for one of their sourdough pizzas.

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TIPLISTS

EDINBURGH

PHOTO: JAMES GOURLAY

AFTERNOON TEA

OUTDOOR DINING

Café at the Palace 68 Take tea like the Queen with the finest of china, a wonderful selection of loose-leaf teas and charming service.

Finn & Bear With their generous outside terrace, there really is nowhere else to be when there’s sunshine on Leith.

Colonnades 68 A flawlessly elegant afternoon tea in beautiful historic surroundings, where every detail is absolutely pictureperfect. The Dome 78 The Dome serve afternoon tea daily in an elegantly dramatic Georgian tearoom – definitely worth lingering over.

Mimi’s Bakehouse This bustling Leith café produces a sumptuous afternoon tea; their beforenoon tea (scones, bacon butties, cakes and tea served in the morning) is worth a look too.

Kyloe Restaurant & Grill 126 Afternoon tea for those who prefer things a little less girlie, Kyloe’s afternoon tea still delivers on style and flavour.

Palm Court Afternoon tea in the Balmoral’s elegant Palm Court is an Edinburgh institution and rightfully so. Their all-Scottish tea menu is blazing the trail for tea production in Scotland too.

Fishers in Leith 95 Fishers’ outdoor seats are highly prized on sunny days – there’s nothing better than kicking back with a cold glass of wine, some amazing seafood, and some serious people-watching. Forth Floor Restaurant, Brasserie and Bar 79 The terrace on top of Harvey Nichols offers amazing views over St Andrew Square, while floor-to-ceiling windows mean you still get that outside feeling even if the weather doesn’t play ball. Loch Fyne Seafood and Grill 95 A generous deck overlooks Newhaven harbour, perfectly connecting this classy fish restaurant with the source of its produce. Milk at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop 69 Bright and spacious, Milk at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop makes a fine destination for a walk along the railway path on a sunny day. Timberyard 123 Their generous south-facing yard makes for a tranquil, yet uniquely urban, setting for delicious food and good times.

VEGETARIAN

VEGAN

Annakut Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurant 100 This veggie Indian restaurant also has a good range of vegan choices and focuses on the cuisines of southern India and Gujarat.

Hendersons Vegan 79 Creative and inspiring vegan dishes, executed with flair, using fresh, local and organic produce from Edinburgh’s first plant-based restaurant operators.

David Bann 78 Expect a lovingly created menu of delicious vegetablebased dishes served in stylish surroundings, in one of Edinburgh’s pioneering vegetarian restaurants.

Holy Cow This wee café is handy for the bus station and tram stop and is building a buzz about its creative take on vegan burgers, soups and cakes.

Kalpna 100 A recent renovation has helped Kalpna take its place once again at the forefront of the city’s veggie restaurants.

The Pakora Bar There are loads of veggie and vegan choices available in this bright, fun, casual Indian street food bar.

Paradise Palms Veggie and vegan soul food that’s completely approachable and thoroughly enjoyable, all served in an eclectic and busy bar.

Restaurant Martin Wishart 99 Michelin-starred French cooking doesn’t spring to mind when thinking of veggie food, but Martin Wishart’s vegetarian menus are beautiful, creative and technically accomplished.

Karma Kebab This new restaurant offers homemade seitan or falafel kebabs in a 100% vegan casual café set-up.

Harmonium Seriously creative plantbased cooking in a relaxed bar-restaurant – with lots of vegan drinks choices behind the bar too.

Seeds for the Soul A bright and friendly 100% vegan café on the main Bruntsfield strip, serving kombucha tea, healthy smoothies, pancakes and wraps.

Thrive Café Bar 87 Apart from a few eggs at brunch, this chic café is mainly vegan and offers creative twists on classic dishes alongside a wellcurated wine and beer list.

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EDINBURGH

BRUNCH

GROUPS & PARTIES

LATE DINING

SUNDAY LUNCH

Aurora 76 This wee place sits intriguingly between café / bistro / finedining restaurant, but serves a cracking casual brunch at the weekend.

Cannonball Restaurant & Bar 78 A fantastic location and historic building for a special celebration, Cannonball’s group menu won’t leave you feeling short-changed.

Dishoom 100 Open till 11pm through the week and midnight at weekends. Close to Waverley Station too if your train’s late and you’ve missed dinner.

Chop House 126 Slow-cooked British beef with all the trimmings . . . the Chop House Sunday roast is available at each of their three branches around town.

Eastside 71 This innovative new bar has a range of street-food vendors tucked away inside, with food available right up until closing time.

Hawksmoor 126 This beautiful new steak restaurant gets everything right, and their accessibly priced Sunday lunch is a brilliant way to while away a few hours.

Brandon’s of Canonmills A weekend brunch to plan your week around, Brandon’s serves up generous plates of love.

Di Giorgio An Italian-inspired menu including frittatas and authentic Italian espresso, as well as all the Scottish classics, for a crowd-pleasing neighbourhood brunch spot.

Dishoom 100 If your life doesn’t have one of Dishoom’s bacon naans in it, are you really alive? Daily breakfast is always busy but worth it. Bottomless chai too. Gaucho 126 Their high-end ‘electro’ brunch looks dear but actually works out to be brilliant value if you take things slooow and enjoy every course. Perfect for a celebratory blow-out. Ostara Gorgeous brunch options available all day beside the Water of Leith, from a cosy café that’s become embedded in the local community.

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Fazenda 113 Diners help themselves to the huge salad bar as delicious meats are served at the table and it’s fixed price too. Fazenda is heaven for even the fussiest group. Kezban 113 Mezze makes for perfect sharing food and this roomy Mediterranean restaurant is big enough to take care of larger groups with ease. New Chapter 120 This creative bistro can expertly handle groups of all shapes and sizes – sister restaurant Otro in the West End is equally accomplished. Le Roi Fou 99 With a private room for up to 20 guests, Le Roi Fou’s style of elegant dining is just perfect for parties and celebrations. Tuk Tuk 102 This quirky Indian restaurant isn’t phased by groups and their tapas-style plates are ideal for crowds.

The High Dive 73 Serving food till midnight at the weekend, new bar the High Dive is a solid choice at any point in the evening. Kebab Mahal 100 It might look like your common-or-garden takeaway but Kebab Mahal is a cut above and has garnered a fiercely loyal following over the past 30 years.

The Lodge 73 This casual Newhaven bar does a mean line in Sunday roasts and warm welcomes – walk it all off with a stroll along the shore after. Otro 81 This relaxed bistro gets most things right, and their Sunday roast definitely doesn’t disappoint either.

Lady Libertine 73 This gorgeous new bar serves sophisticated mezze and sharing boards until very late. Pro tip: if the butternut kebab is available, don’t hesitate.

Twenty Princes Street Grill & Smokehouse 123 Three roasts plus killer views, Twenty Princes Street is the ideal spot for whiling away a lazy Sunday afternoon.

OX184 74 The grill is back – and they’re serving daily until 2.30am, which means OX184 takes the crown for late dining in the city.

The Walnut 84 The Walnut’s Sunday roast is the stuff of legends – it’s a tiny place though so one for booking ahead rather than taking a last-minute wander.


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TIPLISTS

SPECIAL VIEWS & ROOMS Cannonball Restaurant & Bar 78 You can’t get closer to the castle without paying an entry fee. An ex-school, Cannonball House is full of history and stunning views.

BURGERS

ICE-CREAM

Contini George Street 104 Within easy reach of the Usher Hall and Traverse, Contini’s modern Italian cooking is a delight. There’s an aperitivi menu too if you just fancy a nibble.

Bell’s Diner 124 This neighbourhood diner has been serving burgers and steaks since 1972; patties come in a range of sizes and there’s a famously retro relish tray too.

Affogato This West End ice-cream parlour has a wide selection of artisan ice-creams including vegan choices, plus cakes, waffles and coffee.

Café Royal Circle Bar One of those places locals can take somewhat for granted, the Café Royal is a glorious example of a beautifully preserved Victorian pub.

Dine 117 Their seasonal market menu makes a great pre-theatre option, and you literally couldn’t be closer to the Traverse.

Field 118 Creative modern Scottish cooking in a pocket-sized dining room around the corner from the Festival Theatre, Field continues to delight diners.

The Devil’s Advocate Walking up (or down) to the Devil’s is a crash-course in Old Town history, and once inside this unique room doesn’t disappoint.

Hawksmoor 126 This sympathetic refurbishment of the old National Bank of Scotland banking hall has uncovered a set of gorgeous Sadie McLellan windows. The Lookout by Gardener’s Cottage 120 The views are the star in this glass-box restaurant perched on top of Calton Hill. Absolutely stunning, day or night. The Pompadour 120 The prettiest room in Edinburgh has killer castle views and a new energy as Dan Ashmore makes his presence felt with a modern British menu.

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PRE-THEATRE DEALS

The List Eating & Drinking Guide

La Petite Mort 82 Imaginative bistro plates in a lovely room with congenial service, La Petite Mort is super-handy for the King’s Theatre. Le Roi Fou 99 Just a few minutes away from the Playhouse, Jérôme Henry’s classy pre-theatre menu is an absolute steal. Smoke Stack 127 Handy for the Playhouse, Smoke Stack’s express menu is a good bet – you have to order before 6pm though.

The Boozy Cow 124 A joyful slab of a two-handsneeded burger in a funky dive bar with punny cocktails and live music. Bread Meats Bread 124 One of the leaders of the recent burger trend, Bread Meats Bread are keeping things relevant with a huge range and lots of exciting vegan choices.

The Cambridge Bar Credited with starting the burger craze in Edinburgh, the Cambridge Bar’s recent expansion means there is plenty of room for all to enjoy their delicious patties.

The Holyrood 9A Lively bar with a huge range of burgers, always busy, always a fun night out.

The Lioness of Leith A brilliant bar doing brilliant burgers, with decent veggie options and a good time guaranteed.

The Beach House Bright and roomy Porty café ideal for an ice-cream and a stroll along the prom-promprom.

Hoot the Redeemer One for the grown-ups only – pick up one of Señor Scoop’s boozy ice-creams from the vending machine in this fun bar.

S Luca of Musselburgh This Bruntsfield café has excellent local ice-cream as well as a decent all-day menu, making it a fun stop for all ages.

Mary’s Milk Bar Quirky vintage-style hangout with daily changing icecream flavours and artisan chocolates.

Over Langshaw Farmhouse Ice-Cream Grab an excellent Over Langshaw Farmhouse cone from the blue police box on the Grassmarket during the summer months (if it’s sunny!).


EDINBURGH

KID-FRIENDLY Bertie’s Restaurant & Bar 94 This newcomer celebrates everything that’s good about fish and chips – there’s a simple kid’s menu and whippy ice-cream too. La Favorita 105 Kids and pizza go together like gin and tonic: this Leith Walk pizzeria is extremely family friendly and kids eat for £1 with a dining adult on Sundays.

Joseph Pearce’s Casual bar with a relaxed vibe, toys and a play space, plus adaptable food choices for wee ones during the daytime.

Milk at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop 69 Tire the little darlings out with a walk, cycle or scoot along the old railway path to this reliable café with outside space and plenty of toys.

The Scran & Scallie For all the Scran & Scallie’s sophisticated appearance, there’s a real understanding of what makes for a pleasant family meal here.

Summerhall Café 70 The whole Summerhall complex is like a giant kids’ playground and the bright and airy café has above-average lunch options plus a small play area.

NEIGHBOURHOOD DINING Bijou 76 Pocket-sized bistro on the edge of Leith Links working hard to serve a hungry community through breakfast, lunch and dinner. First Coast 79 There has been an explosion of restaurants around Dalry Road but First Coast was the pioneer – it’s a relaxed bistro with some really competent cooking. Gautam’s 100 This Meadowbank-based Nepalese restaurant is slowly building a great reputation among its neighbours. Nero a Metà 106 New Italian restaurant on Slateford Road that aims to fuse the cuisines of North and South Italy. Purslane 122 This Stockbridge staple is one of those places you feel you’ve discovered all by yourself – understated and delicious. Spitaki 115 A little slice of Santorini, in Bellevue. And why not, when the mezze is this delicious?

SOURCING

A GREAT LUNCH DEAL

Café St Honoré 117 Neil Forbes goes beyond simply sourcing well to build sustainable practices into every element of his restaurant, from reducing waste to paying staff fairly.

Castle Terrace 117 While this lunch deal could never be described as cheap eats, it’s an affordable way to experience precision cooking and immaculate service. Take the rest of the afternoon off and enjoy.

Contini George Street 104 Celebrating 100 years in the business, the Continis were one of the first to focus on sourcing – their menus are a veritable who’s who of Scottish producers. Fhior 118 Immaculate sourcing that goes beyond the seasons – every menu is an adventure based around what’s good that day. The Gardener’s Cottage 119 Ultra-seasonal precisionsourcing, much of it grown in the Cottage’s own garden, with a nose-to-tail approach to meat. Ondine 96 Sourcing seafood is tricky, but Roy Brett has put in the hard yards to ensure sustainability is at the heart of Ondine’s success. Timberyard 123 Everything is locally sourced and they embrace the challenges this brings: no lemon for your G&T? They’ll find a way to make it even more delicious.

L’Escargot Bleu 98 The menu du jour is part of daily life in France, so it’s great to see L’Escargot bringing the custom to their Edinburgh restaurants. The Little Chartroom 80 This tiny bistro is punching well above its weight and their stonkingly good-value set lunch deal is a great way to experience its charms. Mono 105 Mono have elevated Italian food to fine-dining levels in Edinburgh, and you get every inch of their expertise in their outrageously reasonable lunch menu.

The Scran & Scallie Their weekday set lunch is a brilliantly accessible way to try Tom Kitchin’s famed ‘nature to plate’ approach.

The Walnut 84 Honestly the biggest steal in town, if you can get a table. The Walnut can do no wrong.

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TIPLISTS PHOTO: AL FERRIER

MOST ROMANTIC The Light House 95 Tiny neighbourhood haunt with twinkly lights, a focus on seafood and a lovely warm welcome, perfect for special yet laid-back evenings. The Lookout by Gardener’s Cottage 120 Those views though! Lead your significant other up Calton Hill and see the whole city spread out before you, before indulging in delicious food. The Pompadour 120 One of the prettiest rooms in Edinburgh, and you get to walk up the Caley’s sweeping staircase to reach it – the Pompadour has romance written all over it. Restaurant Martin Wishart 99 The daddy of classical French cooking – expect starched white napkins, impeccable service and food to make you swoon. The Stockbridge Restaurant 122 Playful cooking in a cosy basement lit by flickering candles – this place absolutely delivers on atmosphere. The Witchery by the Castle 124 It’s one to save up for and a long-standing tourist favourite, but the Secret Garden remains one of the most romantic rooms in the city.

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The List Eating & Drinking Guide

DINING THAT DOES SOME GOOD The Drill Hall Café 69 Wholesome food that sustains the entire community through training initiatives for hard-toreach groups. The Grassmarket Café Bright and airy café helping some of Edinburgh’s most vulnerable communities.

Punjabi Junction 102 The social enterprise arm of Sikh Sanjog puts home-style cooking front and centre, with delicious results.

Social Bite A ground-breaking social enterprise: profits go towards ending homelessness, diners can pay forward meals and each café offers training and employment opportunities to homeless people.

Union of Genius Edinburgh’s soup café donate 150 litres to the Bethany Trust every month and also run a pay-it-forward scheme where customers can donate hot soup to people in need.

Vesta Restaurant and Bar 84 Named after the Roman goddess of home and hearth, this Social Bite partnership serves fresh, healthy comfort food.

BUDGET

BYOB

BRGR 124 Feed yourself for a fiver at this casual burger bar where there are veggie choices and some innovative vegan burgers too.

Hanam’s 113 Brilliant for groups thanks to their mezze sharing-style menu, Hanam’s also offers reasonable BYOB.

The Filmhouse Café Bar 69 Honest and straightforward, the Filmhouse is a great spot for a simple meal in a canteen-style environment before a film or theatre visit.

The New York Steam Packet 127 Relaxed, fun venue with a great value three-course set menu and BYOB policy, they'll open especially for your group mid-week too.

The High Dive 73 You don’t see that many pizzas for under a tenner these days – the wine and beer won’t break the bank either at this new Southside bar.

Roti 102 Indian and Pakistani dining with an extensive tapas-style menu, halal dishes and a generous BYOB policy.

Illegal Jack’s 111 Tasty burritos, quesadillas, tacos and the like, all handmade and served quickly. The Mosque Kitchen 101 You’ll always find an incredible variety of people in The Mosque Kitchen, drawn to their cheap prices, fast service and incredibly generous portion sizes. Ting Thai Caravan 94 Exceptional value for goodquality Thai curries, stir fries and noodle dishes, all served in a bustling environment for walk-in customers only.

Tanjore 102 South Indian restaurant with the best dosas in town, there’s no charge to BYOB at lovely little Tanjore. Tuk Tuk 102 This lively Indian restaurant is great for groups and parties, especially when you factor in free BYOB with just a small recycling charge. Valvona & Crolla Caffè Bar 108 You can choose any one of their fantastic Italian wines from the deli to enjoy with your meal for a very reasonable £4 corkage charge.


EDINBURGH

PHOTO: JAMES GOURLAY

PHOTO: JANNICA HONEY

WINE

PIZZA

WINE BY THE GLASS

Edinburgh Food Studio 117 With a wine list as interesting as their food there will always be something unusual in your glass at the Studio.

Civerinos Slice 104 Any Civerinos is a good bet when it comes to pizza, but the unusual toppings and their deep-pan (less common in Edinburgh) grandma slice makes Slice the favourite child. For now.

Bar à Vin So tres, tres, tres Français. Wine, cheese, wine, bread, wine, charcuterie . . . Bar à Vin is the kind of place where you pop in for one, then end up moving in.

El Quijote 112 This rustic restaurant hides a serious and ambitious wine list, spanning many Spanish regions and grapes that you just don’t see that often. La Garrigue 98 The French. They’re good at wine, eh? La Garrigue only serve wine from the Languedoc but that still makes for a bewildering array of bottles. Their pichets are an affordable way to experiment. Merienda 114 There’s clearly a passionate team behind this new Stockbridge restaurant, and that passion extends to a meticulously sourced and interesting wine list. Mono 105 Italian wines feel familiar to most diners, but Mono looks beyond the big labels to create a wine list focused on independent and natural producers. Wedgwood the Restaurant 123 The team here put as much thought into their wine list as they do their locally sourced, seasonal and foraged plates.

Dough 105 With a handful of seats and roaring takeaway trade, Dough is always a fun, casual option for a really good pizza. East Pizzas 105 Is thoughtful pizza a contradiction in terms? Not down at East, where they source carefully to find highquality ingredients to top their sourdough bases. La Favorita 105 Thin and crispy, La Fav started the pizza revolution in Edinburgh and they show no sign of letting their crown slip. Origano 106 Pillowy crusts with a bewildering array of toppings, all served up in a charmingly romantic room, Origano elevates going for pizza far beyond a quick pitstop. Pizzeria 1926 106 As close to real Neapolitan pizza as you’ll get in Edinburgh, served in a no-frills dining room decked out as an homage to Napoli football club. Great fun.

Divino Enoteca 104 Stylish stripped-back, winecellar chic, with a fabulous wine choice across both bar and dining room. Good Brothers Wine Bar 73 The Sutherland brothers bring an anarchic and fun approach to selecting natural and organic wines both here and at Little Rascal, their Corstorphine sister venue. The Fat Pony Wine Bar Innovative wines at crazy prices – this is a place to drink in the knowledge David Ramsden has built up over umpteen years in the business, glass by glass.  

Whiskers Wine Café 175 Sitting nicely in that space between not enough choice and so many choices that you feel overwhelmed, new bar Whiskers has put together an interesting and well-priced list. The Wine House 1821 75 This Picardy Place wine bar’s mostly Italian-focused wine list is a revelation, especially for lovers of soft, juicy reds.

UNUSUAL DINING EXPERIENCES Cook School & Dining Room by Martin Wishart 78 This refurbished cook school is now open for weekend dining – a four-course menu is prepared in front of you, with just the right balance of demonstration and dining. 83 Hanover Street 112 There’s nothing unusual about small plates these days, but bold Chilean flavours make this place stand apart. Fazenda 113 A parade of up to 15 different meats, offered on skewers by skilled staff. Fazenda is highend and fun. The Free Company 118 A supper club in a Balerno farm that runs for 8 week stretches in the spring, summer and winter. The Free Company is laid-back, fun and completely unique. Six by Nico 83 A fresh six-course tasting menu every six weeks, at an incredibly reasonable price. Quirky, fun dining. The Table 122 Ten seats, two chefs, one table – interactive fine dining for a mere handful of guests, with the chefs right in front of you.

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TIPLISTS

BARS AROUND SHAWLANDS

BARS AROUND STRATHBUNGO 

The Boyd Roderick Family-focused bar close to Pollok Park, with a spacious setup and a great range of whiskies and gins available.

The Butterfly & The Pig South Laid-back and spacious pub from the folks behind the longstanding city centre venue, bringing vintage charm to the Southside.

The Church On The Hill 133 Beside the Battlefield monument, this gorgeous church has finally found its groove. The outdoor beer garden is immensely popular. The Clockwork Beer Company Glasgow’s first microbrewery is a favourite with locals in Mount Florida and nearby Hampden. The quiz night and beer garden are highly regarded.

The Glad Cafe 141 Community-driven enterprise that has an unassuming bar with some well-chosen craft beers and an eclectic events programme, with the Hug & Pint team in the kitchen.

Phillies of Shawlands Massive space that is equally at home doing boozy brunches or riotous Saturday nights with DJs, a house band, drag bingo, and spoken word nights.

52

BARS IN CITY CENTRE NORTH 

The Allison Arms Old-fashioned (and now legendary) Southside boozer with an array of German beers and craft ales in the ‘serve yourself’ fridges at the back.

The Bell Jar 132 A welcome addition to Govanhill from the guys who brought us The Sparkle Horse – it’s cool without trying, serving pub grub of the small plate variety. The Bungo Bar & Kitchen 135 With overhanging lights, wooden tables and exposed brick walls, the Bungo boasts all of the defining stylistic features of bistro dining, really coming to life at the weekend.

Heraghty’s Old-fashioned boozer that’s subtly acknowledged change by stocking Belgian and German beers, but otherwise remains a real Glasgow pub in the classic sense.

Koelschip Yard The front-runner in town for craft beer, with the biggest range in the fridges, as well as the most niche stuff on tap.

The Rum Shack Glasgow’s only Caribbean bar, where rum and music flow, is also where the cool kids go for a great night out in the Southside.

The List Eating & Drinking Guide

BARS IN CITY CENTRE SOUTH 

BARS AROUND PARTICK 

Cottier’s Quaint bar in a mighty reconditioned church in the middle of Hyndland, with a good selection of beers and a delightful outdoor drinking area.

six°north The Aberdeen brewery bring a unique blend of Belgian beers and Flemish food to Partick, while making it feel homely and local too.

Bloc+ Servicing office workers by day and counterculture types late into the night, Bloc+ is a great place for a craft beer and some affordable dude food while watching local bands.

Max’s Bar & Grill Late-night bar always buzzing with a mixed crowd of partiers and off-duty bar staff from everywhere else in the city centre, with excellent DJs upstairs and in the basement.

The Butterfly & The Pig Chintzy décor meets granny’s home cooking in this popular basement-level bar-cumrestaurant that’s graced Bath Street for over a decade.

The Old Hairdresser’s A decidedly arty little backstreet bar near Central Station where you can enjoy great wine and beer while checking out art exhibitions and live music.

Nice N Sleazy Legendary late-night music venue that delivers onpoint food and drinks to complement a demeanour that’s equal parts rock’n’roll and party-time.

Shilling Brewing Co. The only brewpub in the city centre has genuine craft credentials but also caters assuredly to the office workers with its impressive marble décor and fine pizzas.

The Pot Still A great pint of Tennents, cask beer on the pump and German lager in the fridges – and over 600 whiskies from Scotland and the rest of the world.

Stereo Chilled-out backstreet bar serving an entirely vegan food menu with a packed programme of live music and club nights in the downstairs venue.

Saramago Café Bar 131 Cool hangout in the gorgeous main space of the CCA, with exciting animal-free dining, good beats, and a separate bar with outdoor terrace.

Tabac A slick and hip bar just off the shopping thoroughfares, with a Parisian bistro setup and some stylish cocktails and dishes to match.

Yesbar Independently run, pro-indy bar, which proudly continues to purvey USPs like Prosecco on tap, pizza by the metre, and comedy evenings.

Variety Bar Sauchiehall Street institution that’s been expertly handling the transition from daytime boozer to artsy evening hangout for years.

The Sparkle Horse A neighbourhood bar in Partick for drinks, great-value food and lively conversation with a welcoming vibe for all, including kids and dogs.

St Louis Café Bar 165 The bar at the very end of Dumbarton Road is a firm neighbourhood favourite with a café vibe and an emphasis on spoken word, live bands and quiz nights.

Tennent’s A Byres Road classic that’s equally popular with students and old boys looking for an authentic pub experience and a great pint of the big red T.

The Three Judges CAMRA-approved cask-ale joint that is a worthy stopoff for anyone who finds themselves at the foot of Byres Road.


GLASGOW BARS

PHOTO: STEPHEN ROBINSON

BARS AROUND KELVINBRIDGE

BARS AROUND FINNIESTON

BARS AROUND THE EAST END A’Challtainn 149 Stylish fish restaurant and courtyard bar in the Barras’ arts and events hub, BAaD, with a strong sense of style.

The Ben Nevis A proper boozer in the midst of the Finnieston madness, with brilliant live music nights and a whisky range of mighty stature.

The Amsterdam 132 This newcomer from the St Luke’s team confidently slots into the Merchant City with a playful take on Amsterdam’s street food / night-out culture.

Crescent 133 Newcomer in the old Ivy / Distill corner spot offering a stylish setting for some quality cocktails and an eclectic menu of small plates.

Blackfriars Warm and welcoming spot that manages to confidently split its focus between cask ale and craft beer.

The Finnieston A gin cocktail bar and seafood restaurant, with over 60 hand-picked gins to enjoy from the G&T menu as well as cocktails to delve into.

Firebird 136 A little dose of Mediterranean sunshine seems to permeate this elder statesman of Finnieston, with formidable pizzas from the wood-fired oven.

Bananamoon Daytime café and cool night-time bar mxing up the music and the cocktails at Kelvinbridge, from the Fergus McVicar (Chinaski’s) stable. The Belle A roaring wood fire and a canny selection of beers and wines combine with a hip clientele to make this place both cool and comforting.

The Doublet 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 Hug & Pint Impressive vegan dishes with added zing and live music create a winning formula for this St George’s Cross neighbourhood hangout.

Inn Deep Proper US-style taproom with the ever-changing line-up displayed on a screen above the bar. Laid-back, (very) dog friendly, and with outdoor drinking looking onto the River Kelvin.

Stravaigin Café Bar 140 With an unparalleled cocktail and bar food menu this Woodlands Road staple is an old hand when it comes to comfort, quality and class.

BARS AROUND THE MERCHANT CITY

Bar Gandolfi Delightfully proportioned little upstairs bar with the same menu as the café below, but with its own chilled out personality and elegance.

Redmond’s of Dennistoun A real asset, and perhaps testament, to the burgeoning area that Dennistoun is becoming, where the line between community and bar are blurred.

Van Winkle Low-lit bourbon-focused boozer near the Barrowlands with well-priced dude food and the biggest range of American whiskey in town.

McChuills High street favourite with a liberal outlook that embraces all sorts of live music scenes, from Northern Soul to acid house.

Mono Chilled out and effortlessly hip corner bar in King’s Court with great vegan food and an enticing record shop inside.

The 13th Note Café / Bar Rough, ready and distinctly music-led, this long-standing Glasgow bar also does an affordable veggie take on pub grub.

Kelvingrove Café Behind the vintage shabby exterior is a stylish Finnieston hangout, with skilled bartenders mixing up some of the city’s best cocktails. The 78 Cracking atmosphere and vegan menu at this West End outpost from the folks who run Mono and Stereo in town, with well-curated music always playing (live or otherwise).

Drygate Brewing Co. Craft brewing meets good cooking in this East End industrial-styled beer wonderland, with 26 draught craft beer taps to sample.

WEST on the Green A unique and wonderful German-Scottish mash-up within Glasgow Green’s Templeton Building, WEST has become a true mecca for beer-lovers.

The Winged Ox 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 accompanied by a lineup of live music.

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TIPLISTS

GLASGOW BARS

PHOTO: STEPHEN ROBINSON

COCKTAILS 

Blue Dog New York-style piano bar with skilled mixologists serving extensive cocktails made from premium spirits and fresh ingredients.

Five March 136 A convivial and spacious bistro and bar with its finger on Finnieston’s pulse, doing inventive small plates and exotic cocktails.

Kelvingrove Café Behind the vintage shabby exterior is a stylish Finnieston hangout, with skilled bartenders mixing up some of the city’s best cocktails.

Metropolitan 137 Swish cocktail bar and restaurant, with food from the grill and a balcony overlooking Merchant Square from where guests sip the bar team’s concoctions.

Tabac Cool city centre bar secreted in an alleyway off Buchanan Street, which has marked itself out as a classy place to grab an after-work or weekend cocktail.

The Tiki Bar Inventive cocktails in a funky Pacific island-inspired hideaway, served up in ceramic tiki mugs by nationally renowned mixologists.

54

WHISKY (AND WHISKEY)

GIN 

The Ben Nevis Famous for its floor-to-ceiling wall of whisky choices, The Ben Nevis is a byword in Glasgow for single malt excellence.

Chinaski’s With dim lighting that makes everyone look good, this speakeasy does good food and a bourbon range that’d make Bukowski proud.

Òran Mór One of Glasgow’s most popular nightspots, Òran Mór has a great choice of single malts and blended drams in its Whisky Bar.

Alston Bar & Beef 170 Tucked beneath Central Station, this bar and steakhouse stocks over 100 gins, including Scottish, English, American and Swedish varieties, or opt for one of the gin cocktails.

beGin A Hilton-owned bar with a gin menu grouping the bottles by style – enjoy it simply served as the gin-maker intended, or get creative with your own mixer and garnish.

The Finnieston A gin cocktail bar and seafood restaurant in Finnieston, with over 60 hand-picked gins to enjoy paired with tonic and garnish from the G&T menu, or delve into the cocktails.

The Pot Still Undoubtedly the best place in the city centre to find the best Scottish whisky, the Pot Still is thronged every night with people enjoying ‘the gold nectar’.

Van Winkle Bourbon specialist opposite the Barrowland Ballroom, with over 80 bottles of US whiskey to accompany the barbecue food and burgers.

The Wee Pub at the Chip Situated snuggly under its sister bar / restaurant Ubiquitous Chip, the Wee Pub is a wonderfully small, yet influential devotee to quality whisky.

The List Eating & Drinking Guide

The Allison Arms Old-fashioned Glasgow pub with fridges full of wares from burgeoning craft breweries from the UK and beyond, and plenty of well-curated gins.

Gin71 This dedicated gin establishment has three bars in Glasgow, featuring 71 different gins, innovative martinis and gin flights.

JAX 134 Cocktail bar and diner in Princes Square, courtesy of the Fife-based Eden Mill distillery and brewery, with bottle shop and gin classes.

HAIR OF THE DOG (BAR BRUNCHES)

BEER GARDENS 

The Amsterdam 132 Merchant City newcomer that opens early and does exactly the sort of stylish stodge that you need the next day.

Brel Once a neglected grassy knoll, Brel’s back garden now boasts fitted benches where you can enjoy good food and continental beers in the sun.

The Bungo Bar & Kitchen 135 The Southside’s Bungo does bistro-standard food including a daily brunch menu covering the works from egg dishes and porridge to full breakfasts.

Chinaski’s This discreet East Villagestyle speakeasy at Charing Cross does great food, lots of bourbon, and has a sneaky beer and ‘cigar’ garden out back.

Inn Deep Riverside favourite now with That’s Yer Dinner supper clubbers in the kitchen doing pub classics and more wiith a focus on Scottish produce and seafood.

Maggie May’s Maggie’s is open until 3am and will almost certainly be tiptoeing into the morning after herself, so you’ll be welcome to do the same with a burger and a pint.

Phillies of Shawlands Weekend brunch sees DJs playing, as well as chicken and waffles, croque monsieur and Bloody Marys on the menu, with steamed buns and pizzas during the week. Stravaigin Café Bar 140 Informal bar-bistro embodying the best of global dining with international dishes, big flavours and an enticing brunch menu covering the classics and global offerings.

Drygate Brewing Co. 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.

Five March 136 This on-trend and wellexecuted bistro also has a great cocktail list and some cracking beers, which can be consumed out the front when the sun shines.

Inn Deep Dog-friendly riverside bar with over 70 bottled beers, a menu of pub classics and a spacious beer garden – the perfect place to stop for a bite on a walk along the Kelvin.

WEST on the Green German-style brewery serving Bavarian-inspired food and home-brewed beers, with wooden benches outside that fill up fast on sunny days.


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TIPLISTS

GLASGOW BARS

PHOTO: STEPHEN ROBINSON

WINE

BEER 

Bar Gandolfi Atmospheric bar above Glasgow institution Café Gandolfi, offering a fine selection of thoughtful dishes and an excellent wine list in relaxed surroundings.

Curious Liquids The wine, beer and spirits shop attached to Phillies of Shawlands features over 45 wines by the glass, which can be enjoyed in-store or in Phillies – or take a bottle home.

Marchtown Offering a quirky take on the wine bar, Marchtown has an added off-licence angle, events, and a homeliness not found elsewhere.

Vino Valentino Italian wine specialist with bottles and draught wines, plus a table licence, making it an intimate wee spot to sample their well-sourced offerings, with food available.

DogHouse Merchant City 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. Craft brewing meets good cooking in this East End industrial-styled beer wonderland, with 26 draught craft beer taps to sample.

Grunting Growler 134 A bottleshop-cum-tasting room that always has interesting and well-chosen brews with the most charming, knowledgeable service.

Inn Deep Riverside bar with over 70 bottled beers, plenty of crafty draughts and a menu focusing on Scottish seafood, plus a spacious beer garden.

Vroni’s The daddy of Glaswegian wine bars, this long-standing city centre venue covers a broad spectrum of styles by the glass, and has an impressive range of bubbles.

Koelschip Yard A stripped-back affair, with a remarkable range of craft beer, served in two-third and one-third pints, with a particular emphasis on sour varieties.

The Wee Pub at the Chip 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.

six°north Scottish brewers bringing a unique blend of Belgian beers and Flemish food to the outer reaches of Partick.

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The List Eating & Drinking Guide

LATE-NIGHT DRINKING

MUSIC 

Bloc+ By day this popular bar serves dogs, burgers, and street eats; by night there’s live music, DJs, lots of craft beer and drink promos – all until 3am, every night of the week.

Max’s Bar & Grill Long-time favourite of bar workers in the city centre, with a solid drinks selection and plenty of space for late-night conversation into the wee hours all week.

Nice N Sleazy Atmospheric and distinctive late-night bar offering a great line-up of gigs and club nights, bargain drinks and eclectic food offerings.

NEW BARS 

Bloc+ A bastion of live music within the Glasgow scene, Bloc+ is often the first place to see new and young local acts – for those that like it unashamedly counterculture.

The Hug and Pint Impressive vegan dishes with added zing combined with live music in the downstairs venue create a winning formula at this St George’s Cross neighbourhood hangout.

Nice N Sleazy With plenty of live action, a rare wall-mounted CD jukebox and DJs spinning the best of indie, Sleazy’s is the lifeblood and the standard within the Glasgow music scene.

The Rum Shack One of the Southside’s best bars, where you can sip excellent beer and quality rum as you watch the area’s best soul, blues and acoustic performers.

Stereo Chilled-out city centre cafébar serving an entirely vegan food menu with a packed programme of live music and club nights downstairs.

Òran Mór Grand converted church on the corner of Byres & Great Western Roads that’s popular for theatre and gigs, for whisky and lunch, and for drinking into the wee hours.

Slouch This city centre basement bar with music on its mind serves until 3am every night, and manages to be both popular and eclectic, with late-night bites for the hungry.

Stereo Chilled-out late-night bar serving an entirely vegan food menu with a packed programme of live music and club nights downstairs.

The Winged Ox 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 accompanied by a line-up of live music.

The Amsterdam 132 This newbie from the St Luke’s team confidently slots into the Merchant City with a playful take on Amsterdam’s street food/night out culture. The Bell Jar 132 A welcome addition to Govanhill from the guys who brought us The Sparkle Horse – it’s cool without trying, serving pub grub of the small plate, accessible variety. The Botany 132 Bar and restaurant from Alan Tomkins (Urban, Vroni’s, etc), delivering global pub dishes accompanied by cocktails, plenty of gin and a lovely rear dining space. Embargo 134 Byres Road bar doing a good line in Asian dishes, from baos to ramen and more, with plenty of cocktails, weekend brunch menus and some cracking deals. Stag & Thistle 135 Pub with sister venues in East Ayrshire, dishing up an extensive menu of classic pub grub in an enticing corner spot in Strathbungo. The Thornwood 135 Old-school boozer given a new lease of life and a tasteful refurb, with a good neighbourhood vibe, Scottish beers on offer and a menu featuring local produce.


GLASGOW CAFES

PHOTO: STEPHEN ROBINSON

CAFES AROUND SHAWLANDS

CAFES AROUND STRATHBUNGO 

CAFES IN CITY CENTRE NORTH

CAFES IN CITY CENTRE SOUTH Martha’s From porridge to rainbow salad, this Glasgow canteenstyle venture makes healthy superfood a viable and speedy alternative to fast food.

Bell & Felix Popular daytime coffee and brunch spot gets the evening bistro treatment on weekends, dishing up Scottish and Asian-inspired dishes for Southsiders.

Gnom Chompsky – previously known for their pop-ups – attract an eager crowd to their permanent home for a menu of global street food and enchanting desserts.

Glasgow School of Art: The Vic Café Bar 130 This GSA café is more than just a student hangout, with inventive burgers and global dishes available – all at student prices.

Café Strange Brew 163 A strong contender for the best coffee in the south, Strange Brew is dog friendly, hip and bustling, and winner of the 2018 Food and Drink Guide’s Reader Award.

Lagom Kitchen With its skilled collaborative team of chefs and bakers, Lagom Kitchen is attracting the discerning brunch diner and cake seeker.

The Project Café 131 This social enterprise manages to have a casual atmosphere, but it’s the homecooked food that make this more than just a hangout and gallery with café attached.

Dandelion Café Known for its excellent homebaking, this Southside café in Newlands Park has become a favourite with locals, making it always deservedly busy.

The Glad Café Shawland’s renowned community cafe that attracts writers and artists, features live music and top-quality food in the evenings from the team behind the Hug and Pint.

It All Started Here Compact speciality coffee shop on the Southside, with light bites and cakes to go along with the multi-roasted beans.

Jodandys 141 Popular café, recently opened, with a good line in brunches as well as homemade cakes and bakes.

Locavore 142 A community hub, grocery store, scoop shop and enticing café, striving to reshape our shopping and eating habits for the better.

Milk Café A social enterprise that aims to empower migrant women, Milk manages to combine ethical sourcing, delicious coffee and cakes and active community engagement.

Niven’s by Café Source 138 Neighbourhood café-bar and bistro with focus on brunch through the day and small plates in the evenings, with Scottish produce to the fore. Short Long Black 142 All-day brunch café specialising in coffee, cakes and impressive global takes on the meal between meals, plus pop-ups and local exhibits.

Saramago Café Bar 131 Saramago is the beating heart of the CCA, with a vegan menu that matches the bohemian atmosphere of this arts venue.

Singl-end Garnethill Well-established as the go-to place for brunch and afternoon coffee and cakes, Singl-end also has a great selection of main courses.

Smile Café Italian sandwiches, pastries, pizzas and great coffee add to the energy and intimacy of this lunchtime favourite.

The Tearooms @ The Butterfly & The Pig This old school tearoom presents lunch, afternoon tea, high tea, and an extensive selection of cakes in a surprisingly quiet Bath Street basement.

CAFES AROUND PARTICK 

Cafezique 135 A popular neighbourhood café-restaurant, part of a wider group, cooking fresh local ingredients for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Kaf Coffee Tiny haven of goodness at Partick that celebrates all things coffee and brunch with an inventive, globally influenced selection.

Kember & Jones Home-ground own coffee, home-baked bread and cakes and bakes that seduce the eye and the taste buds: Kember & Jones has become a Byres Road icon.

Primal Roast Primal Roast offers vegan dishes and sugar-free cakes in a well-designed basement locale with a touch of the finedining experience. Riverhill Coffee Bar The tiny yet hip interior here contrasts with the beautifully presented cakes, snacks and coffee.

Social Bite Since its profits go towards supporting homelessness charities, Social Bite’s two city centre cafés make sure their dishes have a conscience as well as being filling and delicious.

Thomson’s Coffee Roastery Industrial-style coffee roaster and café in the reborn Arches, with lots of passion for creating the perfect cup of coffee in all styles.

Where the Monkey Sleeps Hip and energetic Argyle Street café that prides itself on its spectacular range of sandwiches and its rock music-fuelled ambience.

Knolls 142 Partick Cross café-bar with a focus on all-day breakfasts, mighty sandwiches, small plates and local brews, with a back garden as an added bonus.

Meadow Road Dumbarton Road favourite with a focus on great coffee and brunchy lunches with excellent sourcing from local and Scottish suppliers.

Partick Duck Club 138 Contemporary café-bistro tapping into local history and offering a tantalising global spread at breakfast, brunch and beyond – with duck a speciality.

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TIPLISTS PHOTO: JAMES ANDERSON

CAFES AROUND KELVINBRIDGE

CAFES AROUND FINNIESTON 

Artisan Roast This coffee-trailblazer on Gibson Street continues to be an intimate hideaway as well as the home of specialist coffees made with love and attention.

Kelvin Pocket Compact and cosy café right next to Kelvinbridge subway, with a good line in baked sweet treats, and options for special dieters.

Sonny & Vito’s Up-market bistro-café and grocery that aims for Italian class and style, with scrupulous attention to quality coffee, snacks and tarts.

Stravaigin Café Bar 140 A much-loved café-bar-bistro embodying the best of casual dining with an enticing blend of international dishes, big flavours and top-quality, wellsourced ingredients. Tchai-Ovna House of Tea A Glasgow landmark that takes the magic of the Czech teahouse and places it at the heart of the Bohemian West End experience.

The V & V Café Balancing high quality and ethical practices, the unpretentious and mellow atmosphere here is perfect for their passionate celebration of healthy and moral menus.

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Coffee, Chocolate and Tea A small café at the edge of Finnieston with a huge range of speciality teas, coffee roasted in-house and handmade chocolates.

The Hidden Lane Tearoom 131 In a street filled with artists, this place delivers pancakes for breakfast, a celebrated Victoria sponge and an intimate update on afternoon tea.

CAFES AROUND THE MERCHANT CITY

CAFES AROUND THE EAST END

Café Gandolfi 135 A Glaswegian dining institution that’s championed the best of Scottish produce since opening its doors in the Merchant City in 1979.

Baked – Pizza al Taglio 156 Casual diner in Dennistoun serving Roman-style pizza slices – rectangular, airy dough and lots of inventive toppings.

Singl-end Merchant City 143 Second branch of the popular café and bakehouse, joining the original Garnethill venue in offering delicious brunches, cakes, bakes, coffee and more.

East Coffee Company With locally roasted coffee and sourced foods, this Duke Street café is discreet, charming and offers breakfasts and lighter bites throughout the day.

The Little Café Located opposite Kelvingrove Art Gallery, with a menu ranging from pizzas to ciabattas and outdoor seating perfect for people-watching.

Spitfire Espresso Excellent spot in the Merchant City, with big windows and vibrant paintwork, a dedication to great coffee and a compact but thoughtful food menu.

Mayze 142 Mayze offers a rich and impressive selection of cakes and bakes, with main dishes that showcase vegetarian and plant-based inventiveness.

Sprigg 144 Health-conscious, no-seats takeaway spot with pickand-mix bowls for breakfast and lunch, including plenty of Glasgow-based produce.

Piece Piece has spread out from its first cafe in Finnieston to become ubiquitous across Glasgow for its combination of delicious gourmet sandwiches and hip art.

Trans-Europe Café Independently quirky café tapping into an appealing Euro-vibe for those still wishing Brexit away, serving breakfasts and continental-themed sandwiches.

The Steamie Coffee Roasters The Steamie uses Artisan Roast’s beans to offer a perfect cup, alongside light dishes and vegetarian and vegan choices.

The Wilson Street Pantry Stylish Merchant City daytime hotspot, with a great communal table – perfect for lengthy catch-ups over a delicious brunch.

The List Eating & Drinking Guide

Mesa 142 East End sister venue to the Southside’s Café Strange Brew, with a similar focus on pretty plates of eclectic brunch dishes and great coffee.

McCune Smith Café 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.

Scran 142 Café on the Alexandra Parade that unassumingly marries the greasy spoon and the boutique café experience into one enticing package.

Tapa A friendly Dennistoun bakery and coffee house, with organic, veggie and glutenfree credentials that extend its reach well beyond the neighbourhood.


GLASGOW CAFES

COFFEE

TEA 

Artisan Roast Coffee-trailblazer on Gibson Street that continues to be both an intimate hideaway and the home of specialist coffees made with love and attention.

The Good Coffee Cartel Offering customers the chance to subscribe, update their kit and take home products, this Kinning Park roastery rotates a series of premium beans.

Coffee, Chocolate and Tea At the edge of Finnieston, this small café has a huge range of speciality teas, coffee roasted in-house and handmade chocolates.

The Hidden Lane Tearoom 131 Discreetly situated tearoom delivering an intimate and relaxing update on afternoon tea.

Mackintosh at the Willow 131 Now that the Sauchiehall Street tearoom has reopened in all its Mackintosh glory, it offers plenty of style and class in a famous setting.

It All Started Here Speciality coffee shop on the Southside, with light bites and cakes to go, along with the multi-roasted beans.

Papercup Coffee Company A West End café that combines great coffee and a cheerful vibe alongside a very vegetarian-friendly selection of meals and snacks.

Thomson’s Coffee Roastery Part of the Arches’ rebranding as a food market of class, this industrial-style coffee roaster offers brews in a unique settting.

Willow Grove The extensive range of sandwiches and cakes doesn’t distract from this Charing Cross venue’s obvious love of coffee, with guest roasters and house blends.

CAKE

Space Speciality Coffee House 144 Compact café in Partick offering a great range of loose-leaf teas and making a proper ceremony out of their Chinese tea. Tchai-Ovna House of Tea A Glasgow landmark that takes the magic of the Czech teahouse and places it at the heart of the Bohemian West End experience.

The Tearooms @ The Butterfly and The Pig This old school tearoom presents lunch, afternoon tea, high tea, and an extensive selection of tea and cakes in Bath Street.

The Bakery by Zique Cafezique’s companion bakery and deli, with beautifully presented bakes, cakes and savoury options.

Cottonrake Baker Stefan Spicknell champions artisan breads, tarts and cakes in Kelvinbridge, with a tantalising selection that is all made in-house.

Big Bear Bakery 143 In-demand wholesalers Big Bear Bakery’s retail shop, open weekends only for speciality breads, super savouries and delicious patisserie – get there early. Singl-end 143 Well-established as the go-to place for brunch and afternoon coffee and cakes, Singl-end matches its uptown bustle with a great selection of home bakes – now with a Merchant City operation, too.

Tantrum Doughnuts Two venues – Kelvingrove and near Central Station – feature fashionable and delicious ‘hand not machine-made’ doughnuts that explore imaginative fillings, flavours and toppings.

Wild Flours The Southside’s distinctive and intimate bakery that offers beautiful gluten-free homebaking and delicious beignets from a mother-and-son team.

VEGAN & VEGETARIAN

BREAKFAST & BRUNCH

The Glasvegan 143 This St Enoch Square café dishes out fast animal-free food to make you feel good and do the planet less harm in the process.

Beefcake Café 141 New Anniesland café that is already attracting lots of locals through its homebaked bread and cakes, and ambitious brunch and lunch menu.

Mayze 142 Newly opened this year, Mayze offers a rich and impressive selection of cakes and bakes, as well as main dishes that showcase animalfree inventiveness.

Bramble Giffnock’s bustling café-bistro has gained its reputation from its quality coffee and all-day brunch menu.

Mono Veteran vegetarian venue, with a reputation for exciting live music and a commitment to vegan specialities to accompany coffees and beers.

Picnic This Merchant City café’s plant-based menu presents filling breakfasts, cakes, smoothies and more with a focus on sustainably sourced ingredients.

Primal Roast Primal Roast’s owner-chef (and CrossFit trainer) offers a dedicated vegan menu and sugar-free cakes in an elegant basement space.

The V & V Café Balancing high quality and ethical practices, the unpretentious and mellow atmosphere here is a perfect match for their passionate celebration of healthy and moral menus.

East Coffee Company With locally roasted coffee and sourced foods, this Duke Street café is discreet, charming and offers breakfasts and lighter bites throughout the day.

The Hyndland Café Family-run cafe that has become an established presence in the West End, and a menu that ranges from a hearty all-day breakfast to a more genteel high tea.

Kaf Coffee Tiny haven of goodness at Partick that celebrates all things coffee and brunch with an inventive, globally influenced selection – including their famous Scandi Plate.

Mesa 142 East End sister venue to the Southside’s Café Strange Brew, with a similar focus on pretty plates of eclectic brunch dishes and great coffee.

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TIPLISTS

GLASGOW CAFES

CULTURE

PARK LIFE

The Glad Café 141 Shawland’s renowned community café that attracts writers and artists, features live music and top-quality veggie food from the team behind the Hug & Pint.

An Clachan With a fair trade and locally sourced menu, this independent café brings a relaxed culture into Kelvingrove Park.

Glasgow School of Art: The Vic Café Bar The Vic is a hubbub of creative activity at the GSA, with an impressive menu capturing more than just students.

The Hidden Lane Tearoom 131 Discreetly situated in a street filled with artists, The Hidden Lane appropriately delivers an intimate and relaxing update on afternoon tea.

Milk Café A social enterprise that aims to empower migrant women, Milk combines ethical sourcing, delicious coffee and cakes, and active engagement with the community.

The Project Café 131 Exhibitions and events make the Project Cafe a bustling presence in the centre of Glasgow, with a menu of imaginative home-cooked food and delicious coffee. Saramago Café Bar 131 Saramago is the beating heart of the CCA’s multiple art, music and performance events, with a vegan menu that matches the bohemian atmosphere of the venue.

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Art Lover’s Café 130 Part of Glasgow’s celebration of Mackintosh’s legacy, this is a high-end café dining experience in Bellahouston Park that can be found inside the great architect’s House for an Art Lover and visitor centre.

Comet Pieces Close to the Botanic Gardens, this friendly neighbourhood café champions Scottish ingredients and familiar cakes, bakes and lunch choices.

Dandelion Café Known for its excellent homebaking, this Southside café in Newlands Park has become a favourite with locals, making it deservedly busy.

The Little Café Located opposite Kelvingrove Art Gallery, with a menu ranging from pizzas to ciabattas and outdoor seating perfect for tourist-watching.

Sonny & Vito’s Another Kelvingrove Park neighbour, this upmarket bistro-café and grocery aims for Italian class and style, with scrupulous attention to the quality of their coffee, snacks and tarts.

The List Eating & Drinking Guide

NEW CAFES

KIDS & FAMILIES

Beefcake Café 141 Anniesland Cross café that is already attracting lots of locals with its home-baked bread and cakes, and ambitious rotating brunch and lunch menu.

Catch 149 Swish sit-down chippy serving suppers, platters, tacos and more – with a nautical theme and a focus on provenance and the freshest fish.

Locavore 142 A community hub, grocery store, scoop shop and enticing café from the good folk at Locavore, striving to reshape our shopping and eating habits for the better. Mayze 142 Mayze offers a rich and impressive selection of cakes and bakes, as well as main dishes that showcase animalfree inventiveness. Mesa 142 East End sister venue to the Southside’s Café Strange Brew, with a similar focus on pretty plates of eclectic brunch dishes and great coffee. Scran 142 Café on the Alexandra Parade that unassumingly marries the greasy spoon and the boutique café experience into one enticing package. Singl-end Merchant City 143 Second branch of the popular café and bakehouse, joining the original Garnethill venue in offering delicious brunches, cakes, bakes, coffee and more.

Coia’s Café 157 A bustling Dennistoun cafédiner, popular with locals and families, offering Italian favourites, a chip shop and well-stocked deli. Elià 164 A family-run restaurant using the best of Greek and Scottish produce to deliver a wide range of wholesome dishes. Firebird 136 A neighbourhood institution close to Kelvingrove Museum with great pizza and a welcoming vibe for all. KG Café 131 Large, bustling café beneath Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, popular with artlovers, tourists and families. Pizza Punks 160 Colourful pizza place that’ll please meat-eaters and vegans alike, with toppings that are traditional, a little out there, and completely bizarre.


GLASGOW

PIZZA

STEAK

A GOOD LUNCH DEAL

PRE-THEATRE

BURGERS

Baffo 156 A contemporary pizzeria opposite Kelvingrove Art Gallery which combines style with tradition to maximum effect.

Alston Bar & Beef 170 Well-pitched steakhouse with plenty of gins in a subterranean setting below Central Station.

Art Lover’s Cafe 130 An elegant café for impressive lunching in a Mackintoshdesigned visitor and events attraction in Bellahouston Park.

Alla Locanta 163 Italian and Mediterranean cuisine, with plenty of grill dishes, close to the King’s Theatre, formerly Alla Turca.

Ad Lib 170 Open since the 1970s, Ad Lib is a cute, casual bar with a cosy dining area at the back, which specialises in burgers and American-style food.

Baked – Pizza al Taglio 156 Dennistoun diner serving Roman-style pizza slices – rectangular, airy dough and lots of inventive toppings.

Dakota Deluxe Bar and Grill 136 Luxury dining from the Dakota group in this city centre hotel’s restaurant and bar, with seafoods and steaks, elegance and decadence.

Basta 156 Socially conscious Partick pizza bar mixing Italian ingredients with local produce for enticing creations, accompanied by top tunes.

Finsbay Flatiron 172 Bar and kitchen with one main course option: an inexpensive, juicy flat iron steak, served up in funky 1970s, retro surroundings.

Eusebi Deli 157 Bringing a half-century of experience to their West End venue, Eusebi Deli do wideranging Italian food and great ‘pinsa’.

Hutchesons City Grill 172 Plush and ornate, Hutchesons drips with luxury, from its lowlit cocktail bar to its vast dining room serving beautiful beef.

Paesano Pizza 159 Delicious and authentic, Paesano’s two branches produce incredibly affordable Neapolitan artisan pizzas. Pizza East 160 Newcomer pizza specialist bringing good-value, authentic Neapolitan pizza to the East End.

Leiper’s Attic at Cottier’s 137 Beautiful converted church to enjoy a drink or a meal – warm and friendly with a strong emphasis on prime Scottish beef and game. The Spanish Butcher 170 Rusk & Rusk venture, set within New York loft-style interior, with fine cuts from highly prized blond Galician cattle.

Brian Maule at Chardon d’Or 151 Upmarket fine-dining restaurant with Chef Maule and his team serving classic French food in suitably formal environs. Five March 136 A convivial and spacious restaurant and bar with its finger on Finnieston’s pulse, doing inventive small plates and exotic cocktails. Number 16 168 This relaxed West End bistro draws on Scottish seasonal ingredients and global inspiration to deliver something out of the ordinary. Rogano 151 Long-standing Glasgow art deco institution offering inventively prepared food from Scotland’s land and sea larder. Two Fat Ladies at the Buttery 151 Traditional Scottish cuisine focused on seafood cooked with French flair, in an oldschool Highland dining room setting.

Amber Regent 144 Cantonese tradition gets a modern twist in this family-run restaurant gracing Glasgow since 1988, with half-price mains at pre-theatre times.

Bath St Burger 171 Burger joint with a funked-up 70s vibe, plus plenty of hot dogs, shakes, craft beer and cocktails to get in the groove.

Dakota Deluxe Bar and Grill 136 Luxury dining from the Dakota group in this city centre hotel’s restaurant and bar, with an early dining menu on all week.

Bread Meats Bread 171 The original, which helped to kick-off Glasgow’s love of gourmet burgers, does enormous portions of inventive, indulgent food.

Piccolo Mondo 160 Tuscan dishes and fine wines in elegant surroundings in this traditional family-run city centre restaurant, with set deals aplenty.

BRGR 171 Hip utilitarianism reigns at this simple but satisfying burger chain with three branches in Glasgow, offering great-value burgers.

Red Onion 138 Impressive city centre bistro committed to local produce and catering for specific dietary needs with extensive gluten-free and vegan menus.

El Perro Negro 172 Finnieston permanent home for the pop-up specialists, with wings and things alongside the famously excellent burgers.

Two Fat Ladies in the City 151 Buzzy, confident city centre restaurant with consistently good cooking and some contemporary flourishes on the plate.

Kimchi Cult 147 This tiny restaurant off Byres Road brings a unique and seductive take on Korean flavours and dishes to the Glasgow street-food scene.

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TIPLISTS

NEIGHBOURHOOD DINING Battlefield Rest 156 An institution based in an old tram station, which blends the best in Italian cooking with Scottish ingredients and influence. Beaumartin – The Cottage 151 A cosy new location in Bearsden for the FrenchScottish team previously behind Bistro Beaumartin and Le Chalet Beaumartin. Ian Brown Food and Drink 168 A friendly, casual neighbourhood restaurant in Giffnock – presided over by a chef who does cooking at the top end. Monadh Kitchen 168 Utilising the best of Scotland’s larder to make for a stylish and highly impressive neighbourhood bistro in Bearsden. The Square Bar & Restaurant 140 West End bistro serving from brunch to dinner, with plenty of Scottish produce and influences, plus occasional pop-ups and takeovers. Wee Lochan 169 Open-hearted neighbourhood restaurant, celebrating seasonal Scottish produce in a classy, highly skilled way.

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FISH & CHIPS

WINE BY THE GLASS

A’Challtainn 149 More than a seafood restaurant, A’Challtainn shows creativity and skill with a contemporary international twist and a community vibe.

Café Gandolfi 135 A Glaswegian dining institution, championing the best of Scottish produce, with well-curated and extensive wines.

Catch 149 Swish sit-down chippy on Gibson Street, serving suppers, platters, tacos and more – with a focus on provenance and the freshest fish.

Celino’s Partick 157 Adding to their East End branch, Celino’s bring their popular Italian food and special wine tasting machine to the West End.

Coia’s Café 157 A bustling Dennistoun cafédiner, popular with locals, offering Italian favourites, a chip shop and well-stocked deli. Crabshakk 149 An early trailblazer in nowfashionable Finnieston, serving top-quality seafood dishes in compact surroundings. The Fish People Café 149 A classy neighbourhood fish specialist next to Shields Road subway – with sourcing from the associated fishmongers opposite. Gandolfi Fish 149 Upmarket yet welcoming Merchant City seafood spot, serving high-quality seafood dishes and fabulous wine.

The List Eating & Drinking Guide

Hotel du Vin Bistro 167 A grand townhouse hotel restaurant with top-end dining and a wine list to match – a real special-occasion venue. Ibérica 169 An upmarket city centre restaurant with beautifully prepared dishes from Northern Spain and an extensive wine list. Panevino 159 Stylish, bustling bar and restaurant, serving cocktails and plenty of wines by the glass alongside Italian dishes. Ubiquitous Chip 169 One of Glasgow’s dining institutions – a trailblazer in sourcing and still one of the best venues for special wining and dining.

DIETARY REQUIREMENTS Atlantic Bar & Brasserie 151 City centre French restaurant taking dietary requirements seriously with set menus and allergen information for every dish. Bella Vita 156 A popular restaurant with engaging décor, a friendly atmosphere and generous portions, with a dedicated vegan menu and lots of gluten-free options. Dakhin 153 Amid Merchant City’s luxurious venues, this South Indian restaurant stands out with a unique menu that is entirely gluten free. Gamba 149 Sophisticated two AA rosette-winning restaurant, championing Scottish seafood with plenty of gluten-free options highlighted. Madha 154 Contemporary curry house in the Merchant City serving outstanding regional dishes from across India, with a special vegan menu. Red Onion 138 Impressive city centre bistro committed to local produce and catering for specific dietary needs with special menus.

BRUNCH Café Gandolfi 135 A Glaswegian dining institution that’s championed the best of Scottish produce with a brunch offering that’s a big hit. Cafezique 135 Popular Hyndland caférestaurant cooking fresh local ingredients for an appealing range of breakfast and brunch options. Celino’s 156, 157 Both the Celino’s branches – Dennistoun and Partick – dish up an extensive and enticing breakfast and brunch menu. Kilmurry & Co 137 All-day diner in Shawlands, serving brunch through to small plates with plenty of Scottish produce and inspiration. Niven’s by Café Source 138 Neighbourhood bistro from the well-established Café Source, with a particular focus on brunch and small plates. Partick Duck Club 138 Contemporary café-bistro tapping into local history and offering a global spread to breakfast, brunch and beyond.


GLASGOW

A SENSE OF PLACE

OUTDOOR DINING

A ROMANTIC MEAL

GROUPS & PARTIES

SUNDAY LUNCH

A’Challtainn 149 More than a great seafood restaurant, A’Challtainn shows creativity, skill and a strong community vibe from its base in the Barras.

Art Lover’s Café 130 An elegant restaurant for impressive lunching in a Mackintosh-designed visitor and events attraction in Bellahouston Park. The Edwardian Kitchen 130 Edwardian grandeur and artisan baking at this country home in Pollok Park, with an outdoor tea garden, and plans for late opening in summer.

Bar Soba 146 The Merchant City Bar Soba branch has a remarkable setting on the corner of a historic square, serving pan-Asian fusion food and cocktails.

Chez Mal 152 Malmaison hotel’s brasserie lays on a Sunday spread, from the unlimited chef’s table to eggy brunches, roast beef and cocktails.

Alston Bar & Beef 170 Well-pitched steakhouse with a modern feel in the most Central location of all underneath the city’s main train station.

Brian Maule at Chardon d’Or 151 Upmarket fine-dining restaurant with Chef Maule and his team serving classic French food in suitably formal environs. Dakota Deluxe Bar and Grill 136 Luxury dining from the Dakota group in this city centre hotel’s restaurant and bar, with steaks and seasonal dishes.

The Dhabba 153 Attention to detail and authenticity are the order of the day at this luxurious North Indian diner in the Merchant City.

Gather by Zique 137 The sophisticated fine-dining sibling of the Zique family brings a focus on modern European dishes with quality Scottish ingredients.

Mr Wu’s Disco Kitchen 147 Compact yet well-formed combination of restaurant and club, with small dishes for enjoying amid the disco ambience.

Battlefield Rest 156 Southside restaurant serving modern Italian dishes with a Scottish slant, in iconic and elegant surroundings. Glasgow School of Art: The Vic Café Bar 130 A hubbub of creative activity opposite the Mackintosh Building, with an impressive menu that captures more than just students. Mackintosh at the Willow 131 The quintessential afternoon tea experience in Glasgow, painstakingly restored in 2018 to its former glory, with adjacent visitor centre. Rogano 151 Glasgow’s oldest restaurant and an art deco haven in the city centre, ideal for enjoying seafood and cocktail decadence.

Five March 136 A convivial and spacious restaurant and bar doing inventive small plates and exotic cocktails, with an outdoor space close to Kelvingrove Park. Osteria Italiana 159 Elegant and relaxed Merchant City Italian restaurant, with a great selection of food and wine, and plenty of al fresco seating. Saramago Café Bar 131 A cool, creative hangout inside the CCA, with exciting animal-free dining, plus separate bar with outdoor terrace. 1051 GWR 172 Upscale pub grub and craft beers with al fresco options at JJ Burnet’s handsome, category B-listed former Kelvinside railway station building.

Mother India 154 High quality, big hitter serving a fusion of Punjabi and British cuisine and living up to its well-earned reputation as one of the best. Rossini 160 Drawing on chef Maurizio’s home region of Apulia and the Scots larder, Rossini is a showstopping Italian trattoria. Two Fat Ladies at the Buttery 151 Wood-panelled, plushly carpeted restaurant with nigh perfect service, relaxed vibe and sophisticated yet affordable menu.

Pizza Punks 160 Artisan wood-fired pizzas with a strong DIY element, served up in a contemporary and lively city centre diner. Tuk Tuk 155 Glasgow branch for the Indian street-food specialists, with small plate dining in a casual, colourful venue in the city’s nightlife epicentre. La Vita Spuntini 161 La Vita’s two Spuntini restaurants – Byres Road and the new one on Gordon Street – specialise in Italian small plates, ideal for groups sharing.

Finsbay Flatiron 172 Bar and kitchen whose only divergence from the goodvalue flat iron steak is when the full roast comes out on a Sunday. Hotel du Vin Bistro 167 A grand townhouse hotel with bags of style and topend dining – a real specialoccasion venue and a treat for a Sunday lunch. Hutchesons City Grill 172 The Grade A-listed former hospital turned upmarket steakhouse spends Sundays roasting up Border’s beef with all the trimmings. Leiper’s Attic at Cottier’s 137 The Hyndland landmark attracts a leisurely crowd to its three-course Sunday menu with all the usual extras. Wee Lochan 169 Neighbourhood restaurant celebrating seasonal Scottish produce, with a growing reputation as one of the best spots for Sunday lunch.

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TIPLISTS

BUDGET DINING

BYOB

TAKING THE DOG

SOURCING

LATE DINING

Banana Leaf (Old Dumbarton Road) 152 Behind Banana Leaf’s austere facade lies a rich variety of aromatic Southern Indian dishes, affordable for diners on a budget.

Baked – Pizza al Taglio 156 Dennistoun diner offering free BYOB to go along with its Roman-style pizza slices – rectangular, airy dough and lots of inventive toppings.

Beefcake Café 141 Anniesland café and contemporary bakery, where much of the produce is made in house, including their own dog biscuits.

Cail Bruich 167 Among Glasgow’s most attentive dining experiences, where seasonality, exceptional sourcing and attention to detail create a winning formula.

Beirut Star 163 Lebanese restaurant offering wonderful mezzes and stunning Beirut specialities, served until the late hours.

Beirut Star 163 Lebanese restaurant offering wonderful mezzes and stunning Beirut specialities at great-value prices.

Banana Leaf (Old Dumbarton Road) 152 The popular budget diner doing aromatic Southern Indian dishes, with a nocharge BYOB policy to save even more pennies.

Nanika 148 In Glasgow’s most ethnically diverse area, Nanika offers exciting and original Southeast Asian dishes at affordable prices. Paesano Pizza 159 Two branches in the city for this Neapolitan pizza specialist, dishing them up fast, cheap and delicious. Restauracja U Jarka 165 Terrific Polish restaurant next to Kelvingrove Park, where food is prepared with love and served with warmth and humour. Yadgar Kebab House 155 Authentic Pakistani cuisine on the Southside, dished up in a no-frills setting at great-value prices.

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Clay Oven 153 Indian diner doing the classics with added street food, from the folks behind the Giffnock takeaway, with no licence but BYOB priced at £1 per person. El Perro Negro 172 First permanent home for the pop-up specialists, with wings and things alongside the famous burgers, and free BYOB. Satu Satu 148 Cheerful eatery at St George’s Cross dishing up genuine Malaysian-Chinese cuisine and a no-corkage BYOB policy. Tuk Tuk 155 The Glasgow branch for the Edinburgh Indian street-food specialists, with small plate dining and a 50p recycling tax on your own booze – no other corkage.

The List Eating & Drinking Guide

The Bungo Bar & Kitchen 135 The Bungo boasts all of the defining stylistic features of bistro dining, with food to match and a dog-friendly policy to boot. The Edwardian Kitchen 130 Deep in Pollok Park, this café offers inside and outside eating and drinking experiences to tempt the whole family – and the dog. Elena’s Spanish Bar & Restaurant 169 Assured Spanish cooking using top-quality Scottish produce and featuring ‘raciones’ in a family-run atmosphere, where dogs are welcome. Firebird 136 A neighbourhood institution close to Kelvingrove Museum with great pizza and a welcoming vibe for all, including dogs. Stravaigin Café Bar 140 Full of boho charm, Stravaigin Café Bar is welcoming to all, including hounds who’ve had a run about in nearby Kelvingrove Park.

Gamba 149 Sophisticated, contemporary, creative, two AA rosettewinning restaurant that has championed sustainable Scottish fish and seafood for two decades. The Gannet 167 A contemporary restaurant in Finnieston with an appealing Scottish-inspired menu and ingredients carefully sourced. Gather by Zique 137 The sophisticated sibling of the Zique family with a focus on modern European dishes with quality ingredients from the family’s Trossachs farm. Monadh Kitchen 168 Michelin Bib-winning and impressive neighbourhood bistro serving contemporary Scottish cooking at accessible prices. Ubiquitous Chip 169 One of Glasgow’s dining institutions – a trailblazer in sourcing with much of the top quality coming from their own farm.

The Calabash Restaurant 164 This one-of-a-kind, bustling restaurant and late-night bar serves up traditional dishes from across the African continent until 1am all week. Charcoals 152 Cosy wee curry house smack bang in the city centre serving a selection of cult classics and traditional dishes until last orders at 11pm every night. Rioja 169 With innovative flavours in small dishes, this stylish Finnieston bar serves their excellent tapas until 1am each night. La Vita Spuntini 161 La Vita’s two Spuntini restaurants – Byres Road and the new one on Gordon Street – specialise in Italian small plates, served until 11pm all week. Yadgar Kebab House 155 Traditional Pakistani cuisine on the Southside at good street-food prices, served until midnight every night.


WHISKY TASTINGS & PRIVATE DINING with The Scotch Malt Whisky Society

SAVE 1 ON EV 0% BOOKI ENT NGS*

Whether you’re a whisky novice or expert, we can create a unique and colourful whisky tasting to cater for any level of interest or to mark any occasion. The Society has a fantastic range of private dining options to suit all budgets, from hearty Scottish meals using locally sourced ingredients to the very best fine dining cuisine. *Book a whisky tasting or private event with The Scotch Malt Whisky Society by the end of May and receive 10% off for events up until the end of October 2019. To book please contact us at qsreception@smws.com or call us on 0131 220 2044.


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Since these eateries are inevitably found in Edinburgh’s most spectacular spires and quirkiest corners, their dining spaces are sought after by some of the city’s most dependable brands and caterers. As such, the menus often have a following of their own, quite apart from the art they enhance. Those who appreciate both will be in their element. Reviewers: Anahit Behrooz, Hannah Jefferson, Suzy Pope, Ellen Renton

Bon Papillon

15 Howe Street, Stockbridge (Map 7: F7), 0131 538 2505, bonpapillon.com | Closed Mon/Tue | £13 (lunch)

Despite its relatively central location, Bon Papillon has the definite feel of a neighbourhood favourite. Its solid reputation and delicious scones mean that locals and community groups make up a large proportion of returning customers, alongside tourists and artlovers. Regularly changing paintings on the walls and pleasing culinary details add interest to this otherwise low-key but bright and friendly little café gallery. Coowner Ingrid Nilsson paints from a studio at the back while also offering wall space to other artists. Meanwhile, Stuart Allan pours his creativity into the menu, serving slices of cake beautifully plated with fresh fruit and yoghurt. A choice between chocolate and blackcurrant sponge, or banana, apricot and honey cake, is a hard one. Wholesome lunch options include salads such as falafel and avocado with chilli dressing, alongside dependable soups or variations on open sandwiches with a selection of breads. + A friendly warm welcome - The toilet might benefit from a makeover

Café Modern One

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art One, 75 Belford Road, West End, 0131 332 8600, heritageportfolio.co.uk | £12 (lunch)

A combination of dependable homemade lunches and cakes with a bright, comfortable laid-back dining space means that this café is much more than simply a refreshment stop for gallerygoers. Locals bring in a steady stream of custom for morning coffee even in the quieter months and regulars flock on sunny days to lounge in the idyllic walled garden with ice-cream. A creative array of daily changing salads combine pulses and grains with roasted vegetables or seasonal fresh produce grown in the gallery’s own kitchen garden. They are served in generous bowls as a pick and mix lunch option or alongside mains such as peppers stuffed with feta and quinoa or herb butter-roasted chicken. Cakes are enlivened with dried petals from the beautiful grounds and it is hard to decide between picture-perfect cherry blossom cake or an elegantly bedecked lemon and semolina loaf. + Stunning cakes in a stunning location - Cafeteria-style service means lunch queues may be inevitable

Q Café Modern Two

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Two, 73 Belford Road, West End, 0131 624 6273, heritageportfolio.co.uk | £12 (lunch)

Painted in cream and the deepest of 68

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Filmhouse Café Bar

burgundies, Café Modern Two could easily be a 20th century European coffee house where aspiring artists discuss wild and wonderful ideas. Table service and afternoon tea suggest that this is more than just a place to refuel between exhibitions and the lunch menu features classic brunch sandwiches with more substantial hot mains. The smoked mackerel risotto is light but rich, while croque madame comes with a hint of mustard and a side of warming chilli jam. Cakes and bakes are temptingly exhibited at the counter and they’re definitely not just there to add aesthetic appeal: the white chocolate and raspberry slice is crafted with enough raspberry tang to avoid being sickly, while the rich salted caramel brownie sticks satisfyingly to the roof of your mouth. + Exceptional home-baking - Difficult to get a table at the weekend during popular exhibitions

Café 1505

18 Nicolson Street, Southside (Map 2: J9), 0131 527 1686, surgeonsquarter. com | £8 (lunch)

From the outside, Cafe 1505 does appear a little underwhelming in relation to its Surgeons Quarters neighbours. But behind the discreet entrance you’ll find a lunch spot that is working hard to serve every facet of the Newington community.Students seeking a library alternative, families taking advantage of the 10% café discount offered if you explore the Surgeons’ Hall Museum beforehand, and weary Fringe performers in need of comfort food and calm flock here. Customers are treated to changing daily specials such as Moroccan lamb tagine, a fragrant dish of tender, slow-cooked lamb in a rich and fruity sauce. The gentle heat from a bowl of butternut squash soup is a delicious way to thaw off on a cold day and, if you choose to sit in, you can enjoy all of this while reading the

fascinating timeline of the medical institution’s history that snakes along the walls. + Brilliant for diners with dietary requirements - Cakes not quite up to the standard of the rest of the menu

Café at the Palace

Palace of Holyroodhouse, Old Town (Map 2: M8), 0131 652 3685, royalcollection.org.uk | Closed during the Queen’s residence in Holyrood Week | £19 (afternoon tea)

Set in the courtyard of the stately Holyrood Palace at the end of the Royal Mile, this café offers an array of lunchtime and hot drinks, but it’s their afternoon tea that is the real draw. As well as unlimited tea (and optional champagne), the experience includes a three-tier stand with finger sandwiches, cakes, and scones. Cucumber sandwiches are notably absent, but the egg mayonnaise, roast beef, and cheese and chutney are perfectly serviceable, if a little lacking in freshness. The sweet options fare better: the chocolate éclair is delightful while scones come with their own clotted cream and jam. Overall, this is an event for those interested in the details of the experience rather than simply the food: the tableware is delicate and charming, and a selection of looseleaf teas are brought to your table for perusal at the beginning of the meal, which is a lovely touch. + The tea selection - The quality of the baking

Café Portrait

Scottish National Portrait Gallery, 1 Queen Street, New Town (Map 1: H7), 0131 624 6421, heritageportfolio.co.uk | £12 (lunch)

A visit to this spectacular gallery happily brings the excuse for coffee at the café and one of their ever-popular scones. Lentil soup with bread baked

in-house tempts visiting art buffs, parents with buggies in tow and tourists, while the food has enough cachet to bring in regulars from local offices for a takeaway croissant or panini without even the pretence of art appreciation. Perhaps most alluring is a regularly changing selection of salads with creative seeds and pulses mixed through alongside herbs and oils, though the tray bakes give them a run for their money and an unconventionally plump Florentine is pleasingly chewy. It’s a popular spot, which can at times feel a little frenetic, but efficient staff know their stuff and keep the queues moving, while the light and airy space is big enough that a table usually becomes available when needed. + Freshly made salads and cakes in a stuning location - Accoustics can make busy lunch times noisy

Q Colonnades

Signet Library, Parliament Square, High Street, Old Town (Map 1: I9), 0131 226 1064, thesignetlibrary.co.uk/ colonnades | Closed Sat | £24 (set lunch)

In the historic hall of the Signet Library, the Colonnades’ set lunches and sumptuous afternoon teas create a sense of occasion among shelves and shelves of gilted books, while romantic alcoves add an air of privacy to some of the choice tables. Lunch is proof that the Colonnades doesn’t solely rely on its distinctive setting to impress. Dishes are presented with dramatic sweeps of jus and neat parcels of vegetables while the seasonal menu is crafted with precision. Crab meat bound in parchment-thin cucumber slices is a refreshing start, while guinea fowl accompanied with the warm spice of haggis and a creamy whisky jus is an indulgent main. Doughnuts with silky violet custard are presented with an artistic


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splatter of tangy blueberry compote, finishing off a fine dining experience reserved exclusively for daytime hours. Afternoon tea is an impressive affair too, with savoury delights like smoked salmon and poppy seed meringue to begin and rose and orange Battenberg for sweet afters, all washed down with endless cups of loose-leaf tea or perhaps champagne cocktails. + Sumptuous lunch in a bibliophile’s dream setting - Closed on Saturdays (except during the Festival)

pesto. With curries and chilli con carne presenting flavours from around the world, and family favourites in the shape of a varied and reasonable kid’s menu, this is a line-up that will keep everyone entertained. The room bubbles with chat between cinema-goers dissecting new releases, and the bar tends to be very busy shortly before and after films are shown, so time it right or be prepared for a bit of a squeeze. + Great kid’s menu - Layout can be tricky to navigate with a drink in hand

The Drill Hall Café

The Lookout by Gardener’s Cottage

34 Dalmeny Street, Leith (Map 4: M5), 0131 555 7100, outoftheblue.org.uk/ cafe | Closed Sun, depending on events | £7 (lunch)

A common issue faced by cafés in arts venues is that the spaces in which they are based can be a little intimidating, which makes it difficult to attract a range of customers. But at the Drill Hall it feels as though the café seamlessly co-exists with the artistic happenings taking place around the building, and that the two introduce their audiences to each other. The menu is accessible, with fairly priced dishes including soup like potato, broccoli and Stilton, which offers a hearty hug of powerful flavours; and specials like sweet potato gnocchi – an elegant plate dressed with a creamy cheese sauce to complement the sweetness of the dumplings. A slice of chocolate mousse cake is the perfect accompaniment to a coffee with its miraculously light flourless sponge and a dense chocolate flavour that somehow never gets sickly. + Really welcoming staff - Service can slow when things get busy

The Festival Theatre Café

13–29 Nicolson Street, Old Town (Map 2: J9), 0131 622 8097, capitaltheatres.com | Closed Sun on non-performance days | £9 (lunch)

Taking advantage of the floor to ceiling glass frontage, the Festival Theatre Café has all the advantages of al fresco seating without the risk of a sudden downpour ruining your sandwich. More than just a place to grab a glass of wine during the interval, the bar displays a choice of freshly made sandwiches, fluffy focaccias and Middle Easterninspired salads. Bread rolls from Manna House Bakery are filled with simple but effective combinations. The mackerel pâté carries a hint of lemon zest and is paired with the satisfying crunch of celery while the quinoa packs a deliciously spicy punch. But it’s the generous bowls of soup, courtesy of Union of Genius, that are the star of the show. Cakes and bakes from Alplings finish things off, and the light and crumbly Bakewell slice makes for a sweet encore. + Sustained use of local suppliers - Obviously, things get crowded during the matinée performances

Filmhouse Café Bar

88 Lothian Road, West End (Map 6: E9), 0131 229 5932, filmhousecinema.com/ cafe-bar | £12 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

The Filmhouse Café Bar’s menu reads like a good cinema listing. There are comforting classics like the heapedhigh nachos, which strike the elusive balance of cheese, sauce, and crunch; and there are remakes with a twist, like pizza flatbread topped with Parma ham and micro herbs. Those who prefer something a little more elaborate and adventurous can try the pumpkin tortellini, which is served alongside complementing mushrooms and fresh

Calton Hill, New Town See Scottish

Milk at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop

21 Hawthornvale, Leith, 0131 551 5775, cafemilk.co.uk | £9 (lunch)

Hidden off the old railway path in a largely residential area of Newhaven, the bright and spacious Milk at the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop is a foodie destination off the beaten track. Breakfasts feature a veggie plate with delicious spiced tofu, or smashed avocado on toast which comes crowned with a delightfully oozing poached egg. Lunch is focused around sandwiches, salads and soups, with a focus on vegetarian and vegan options. Delicately fried carrot and halloumi fritters top a plate of crunchy greens, while Asian chicken wrap is packed with umami flavour and the slightest hint of chilli heat from the crunchy kimchi. Finally, the cakes are a feast, particularly a moist and springy raspberry and blackberry sponge that doesn’t skimp on the fresh fruit inside. + Though busy this place still feels like a bit of a discovery - Sparse décor feels functional rather than cosy

Q Milk at The Fruitmarket Gallery

Fruitmarket Gallery, 45 Market Street, Old Town (Map 2: I8), 0131 226 8195, cafemilk.co.uk/the-fruitmarket-gallery | £12 (lunch)

Tucked in behind Waverley Station, this intimate gallery is a gem of a find. Changing exhibitions and a shop stocked with intriguing wares is enough to attract passers-by but food provided by dependable Edinburgh café brand Milk mean it’s well worth stopping for lunch too. Middle Eastern fusion dishes make up a menu that happily manages to be both healthy and exciting. A baked onion bhaji salad exceeds expectations with generous portions of winter slaw and turmeric, pickled inhouse. Sandwiches on germagrain and flat breads with toppings such as roasted cauliflower, green tahini and avocado are equally tempting. Drinks are hard to choose between. A turmeric almond latte or homemade ginger lemonade competes with a discerning list of teas. An equally delicious cake selection includes a dense almond and orange cake and a vegan chocolate truffle slice, looking pretty as a picture. + Interesting and inspired lunch options - Service is less attentive the busier it gets

NEW Mimi’s Bakehouse at the City Art Centre

City Art Centre, 2 Market Street, Old Town, mimisbakehouse.com | £11 (lunch)

Following an initial pop-up at the end of 2018, Mimi’s Bakehouse now run the café space in the City Art Centre. Given

that they’re making a home in a preexisting space, fans may notice that this venture has a slightly different feel to their three other established Edinburgh bakeries. But many similarities are still present – namely their trademark baby blue aesthetic and the tempting displays of freshly baked treats. And the cakes Mimi’s built their reputation upon don’t disappoint; the decadent chocolate fudge cupcake comes with the welcome surprise of a liquid fudge centre to moisten the deep flavours of its sponge, and a generous swirl of soft icing. On the savoury side of things, the winter stovies are as comforting as you would hope, but with the added kick of sweet chilli sauce to keep this traditional dish interesting. + Creative, considered menu - Furniture could be a little more comfy

Q NEW The Pantry at Dovecot Dovecot Studios, 10 Infirmary Street, Old Town (Map 2: J9), 0131 281 7861, thepantryedinburgh.co.uk | Closed Sun | £12 (lunch)

This former Victorian swimming pool, converted into a tapestry studio and gallery, has a spacious modern feel that still retains much of its original architectural beauty and grandeur. Wellloved Stockbridge eatery The Pantry are now delivering their familiar and dependable produce here, making it a food stop-off well worth remembering in the city centre. Buddha bowls, from a protein option to a vegan sunshine buddha, are a breath of fresh air on the lunch scene. A fibre buddha, with brown rice and crayfish alongside artichoke heart and greens, is satisfyingly healthy and hearty. Avocado open sandwich staples come with pick-and-mix bread options, including rye and sour, with extras such as ham, beetroot or shrimp. Lunch traditionalists will likely be happy with the soup of the day while the cake selection, including a white chocolate granola bar or parsnip and hazelnut option, is hard to resist. + Friendly relaxed vibe - Not much elbow room

NEW Rose Theatre Café

204 Rose Street, New Town (Map 1: E8), 0131 226 4000, rosetheatreedinburgh. com/cafe | £9 (lunch)

Squashy red sofas and an eclectic mix of ex-prop tables give a green room feel to the café at the Rose Street Theatre. Fairy lights, neon signs and theatre posters adorn the walls, while a piano invites spontaneous performances. An all-day brunch menu serves staples like avocado on toast and full breakfasts, plus a flexible selection of breakfast rolls which come on fresh bread with eggs that are still satisfyingly gooey in the middle. Their daily soup pairs well with a crisp toastie: peppery carrot and coriander soup warms, while the homemade kale pesto in the cheddar and tomato toastie adds a refreshing pop. To finish, tangy raspberry jam is the ideal accompaniment to fresh scones. Call in for lunch or a coffee and maybe you’ll be treated to a spontaneous piano rendition or impromptu line reading. + Laid-back, comfy atmosphere - Fairly limited menu

St Giles’ Cathedral Café

St Giles’ Cathedral, High Street, Old Town (Map 1: 19), 0131 225 5147, glenfinlas.com | £9 (lunch)

In the basement of Edinburgh’s magnificent St Giles Cathedral, this café is a great spot for resting in between Royal Mile sightseeing. Their menu changes daily, offering fresh meals that make for a filling pitstop. Mushroom,

Q HITLIST

ARTS VENUES ✱ Café Modern Two Art and

food intertwine, a Paolozzi sculpture towers overhead and lunch options go way beyond a soup and a sandwich.

✱ Colonnades Sumptuous

afternoon teas and fine-dining lunches are served amid the towering bookshelves of the Signet Library at this high-class establishment.

✱ Milk at The Fruitmarket

Gallery Tempting cakes and delicious lunch options provide twice the excuse to pop into this intimate and trendy city gallery.

✱ The Pantry at Dovecot

Dependable Edinburgh café the Pantry is now serving creative modern lunches and excellent coffee at this equally impressive and creative venue.

spinach and red pepper tart is packed with veggies in flaky, buttery pastry while their baked potatoes are offered alongside a range of daily salads and fillings: the Mediterranean chickpea is herby and spicy in good measure and elevates the jacket potato beyond comfort-food levels. There is a solid baked goods selection too, including several vegan and gluten-free cakes and brownies. Although this isn’t a café you’ll probably linger in, it’s a satisfying and reasonably priced option for decent fresh food in the Old Town. + Really friendly staff - The space could do with a little more personality

The Stand

5 York Place, New Town (Map 1: H7), 0131 558 7272, thestand.co.uk | No kids under 5 | No food Tue, Wed or Sun eve | £9 (dinner)

Of course the comedy is the main event at The Stand, but folk still flock to this basement cavern two hours before the show starts to bag a cabaret-style table and load up on big plates of filthy Tex-Mex style food. Log-sized burritos stuffed with juicy pulled beef have just the right hit of spicy heat to leave you reaching for a pint. Pre-seasoned nachos come loaded with super spicy veggie or meat chilli and dripping with melted cheese. The chef doesn’t scrimp on the dollop of fresh, garlicky guacamole, a nod to one of your five a day. Large nachos are delivered in trough-like plates; a challenge for two or even three people, all washed down with bottles of craft beer from the fridge or draft lager. The food may not be the star at The Stand, but it certainly sets you up for the night. + You won’t be hungry after the generous portions - Big plates, but little tables The List Eating & Drinking Guide

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The Story Café

Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43 High Street, Old Town (Map 2: J8), 0131 558 1333, scottishstorytellingcentre.com | Closed Sun. | £10 (lunch)

This historical building with its connection to religious reformist John Knox pulls in many a visitor on their way down the Royal Mile. A bright, modern extension for the Storytelling Centre also provides an attractive performance space and eating area. The café has had several incarnations over the years and is now run by catering company Saltire, who send fresh bread and patisserie out each morning. A simple but dependable menu of soup, sandwiches, and baked potatoes is good value for money and worth remembering as a handy stop-off in this busy part of town. Homely daily specials such as enchiladas with rice are also tempting. Tables which open out into a larger room with storytelling activities mean that this is an inviting venue for parents with children in tow. Alternatively, window seats make a perfect spot for people-watching with coffee and maybe a brownie or piece of carrot cake. + Great family-friendly venue - Soft drink selection uninspired

Summerhall Café

1 Summerhall, Southside (Map 9: K11), 0131 560 1580, summerhall.co.uk/cafeshop | £7.25 (set lunch)

Summerhall has a reputation as a versatile venue that defies traditional expectations in the arts. The theme of the unexpected continues in the café – a wide-windowed, peaceful space providing a stark contrast to the building’s imposing exterior. The menu presents creative combinations that liven up lunchtime and show off fresh ingredients at their best. Miso aubergine, spring onion and chickpea toasted wrap is subtly spiced and deceptively filling, and comes nestled on a vibrant side salad dressed with a hint of aniseed. Soya bean, quinoa and avocado salad is a generous plate of well-matched flavours, layered with colour and interest. With a menu that changes seasonally and a gallery space showcasing a different local artist every six weeks, the café expertly demonstrates how to bring together elements of the unexpected with unwavering core values and consistently good food. + Strong environmental and ethical ethos - Popular, so it can be hard to get a lunchtime table

Tower Restaurant

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

Traverse Coffee

10 Cambridge Street, West End (Map 1: E9), 0131 228 5383, traverse.co.uk/eatingdrinking | | £5 (lunch)

Tucked into the side of the Traverse Theatre, this diddy little coffee shop offers takeaway lunch treats for those on even the tightest of budgets, without compromising on quality. The menu changes daily, with an almost exclusively vegetarian choice of salads, soups, baked potatoes and hotpot. Service is fast and warm, attracting a base of loyal customers filling their reusable carry cups with delicious Artisan Roast coffee. The hotpot is packed with fresh vegetables, soft lentils and a hint of cumin and a generous slab of mushroom quiche comes with your choice of the daily salad – the Greek variety is topped with crumbly feta, and a light dressing has just the right amount of tang. Though most customers go for takeaway, there are a few seats inside and al fresco options outside if the weather is fine. + Service is super fast and friendly - Busy lunches means choices do run out early 70

The List Eating & Drinking Guide

BARS & PUBS Edinburgh’s bar scene is thriving. Whether you’re looking for a cocktail, decent pint, threecourse meal, or just the chance to kick back with friends and family, there’s a bar to suit your needs. Here we share the best of the new openings, rebrands and updates as well as our coveted Hitlist. Turn to page 31 for our Tiplists – recommendations for some of the best bars in the city. You’ll also find hundreds of reviews at list.co.uk/food Reviewers: Helen Bashforth, Ailidh Forlan, Ailsa Sheldon, Megan Welford

NEW Apothecary

8 Lister Square, Quartermile, Southside (Map 9: H10), 0131 229 4634, apothecary-bar.com/home | Closed Sun/Mon | £10 (dinner)

Tucked away in the Quartermile development, Apothecary appears to pride itself on its chic, even trendy, persona. With a glass facade and eclectic styling, the bar’s menu lauds its craft drink credentials, with its own brewed and distilled creations front and centre. A small selection of plates, including roasted vegetables and hummus and a selection of Scottish cheeses stave off hunger, but the drinks menu is where this bar really excels. A sometimes raucous post-work crowd seems to agree, especially on a Friday evening, so a judicious choice of when to visit is advised. Located close to Edinburgh University, there are frequent DJ nights, a cocktail of the week deal and a weekly pub quiz – their targeting of the student crowd is evident and if you’re looking for a place to let your hair down or want to recapture your youth for the weekend, Apothecary is a solid choice. + Beer and gin brewed and distilled in-house - Limited food options

NEW Bar Prince

The Balmoral Hotel, 1 Princes Street, New Town (Map 2: I7), 0131 557 5000, roccofortehotels.com | £21 (lunch) / £21 (dinner)

It looks dark and imposing as you enter this prime spot within the Balmoral hotel, but Bar Prince has a surprisingly light and airy feel. The bar gleams with polished glassware, over fifty gins and a good selection of whiskies. Alain Roux designed the classically French menu and it’s prepared with carefully chosen local produce. Expect bouillabaisse, moules marinière or garlic snails and breaded frog’s legs – a fully Frenchy experience. A smoked salmon and halibut sharing platter is very generous for two and is complemented by a crisp glass of Venetian pinot grigio. Poached eggs meurette in a red wine sauce is deeply savoury with a caramelised onion and lardon base and service is attentive, without ever feeling overbearing. For a business lunch or champagne and oysters before you catch your train, Bar Prince is a relaxed, elegant choice. + A sophisticated bar with a genial ambience - Five star hotel prices

NEW The Barologist

23 Commercial Street, Leith, Leith (Map 5: M2), 0131 554 9999, thebarologist. co.uk | £16 (lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Being greeted at the door by an

The High Dive

eccentric top-hatted man isn’t the most conventional start to a Leith night out. It transpires that this character is fictitious inventor Ulysses G Houston, aka the barologist, who is keen to show off his weather-themed home. The former Cameo Bar, always a bit of a tardis, has been transformed into a set of seasonal rooms embellished by an abundance of ornaments; a Phileas Fogg-inspired rotating hot-air balloon, rain statues, brass contraptions that produce clouds – you name it, and if it’s weather-related it’s probably there. The theme extends to the cocktails, which can even come with an image of your own face projected on to the foam top – handy if you need reminding what it looks like. The cocktail list’s extreme weather section might involve a Dark and Stormy or Filthy Pornstar, while the sunshine in a glass section features a cinnamon cough-syrupy number. Ulysses’ food tastes are less adventurous – crowd-pleasers like burgers, fish and chips and mushroom linguine all reinforce that the décor is the main event here. + Immersive weather theme is quirky and unusual - A bit style over substance

NEW The Bier Keller

Basement, 14 Picardy Place, New Town (Map 3: J7), 0131 556 1289, picardyplace.co.uk/bierkeller/beers | No kids | £12 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

Revitalising Beer & Skittles with a Bavarian twist, the team behind Apothecary, Steak and 12 Picardy Place deliver on live sports with steins to boot. Not to be confused with the rowdier English chain of the same name, Bier Keller is a chilled hangout ideal for grabbing a quick bite, playing darts and shooting pool. Though, with walls hung with widescreen TVs, the atmosphere could easily erupt on match days. Beer is the focus, with rotating taps, schooners, pints, steins and bottles dominating the industrial bar. But so too do Jim Beam highballs and the cocktail classics, unadventurous yet all present and correct. Schnitzel and bratwurst reinforce the German theme or there’s two burgers for a tenner. These act as cheap stomach liners for when postwork Friday drinks roll into midnight singalongs with the DJ.

+ Huge covered beer garden with three

pool tables - You get what you pay for on the food front

NEW Bullard & Worth

87–89 Rose Street Lane, New Town (Map 1: F8), 0131 225 8225 | No kids | No food

The concept of a speakeasy bar has unfortunately become synonymous with theme: curly moustaches and bartenders festooned in pinstripes, braces and sleeve garters. But Bullard and Worth is a speakeasy distilled to its purest form. Keen to avoid the traps, owner Jason Cormack favours exclusivity, word of mouth and a closed-door policy. Taking inspiration from the neighbourhood bar scene of Europe’s coolest cities, there’s an intimate vibe that oozes cool and a no-shake policy that means a relaxed environment conducive to sparkling conversation. There’s a list of six interesting cocktails, including Jennie’s Affections, which is made with spiced charred pepper syrup. Staff are attentive and know their stuff, interiors are suitably dark and moody, and Bullard and Worth is an oasis of cocktail calm – if you’re lucky enough to get a table. + Hunting for the front door and being granted entry is a big part of the appeal - If you’re a fan of fruit juice-based cocktails this isn’t for you

NEW Burlington Bros Casting Agency 11–13 Tarvit Street, Tollcross (Map 8; F10), facebook.com/burlingtonbros | Closed Sun/Mon | No kids | No food

If there’s one thing that Edinburgh offers her residents in abundance, it’s cocktail bars. There’s something for everyone – the purist, the hipster, the out of towner – which means it’s easy to become overwhelmed with choice and hard to find something special. Cue Burlington Bros Casting Agency, a small but perfectly formed cocktail bar inspired by the word-of-mouth bars of Berlin. This is the second speakeasy for owner Jason Cormack who is also proprietor of Bullard and Worth in Rose Street, and his complex booze-forward cocktails and a strict no-shake or garnish policy means Burlington Bros is already starting to stand out. And what if you like your cocktails topped with half a fruit shop and shaken to within an inch


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of their life? Well, one sip of this bar’s complex drinks may convert you. And even if they don’t, spending time in a space where conversation isn’t dominated by the shake-shake-shake of the shaker will make you thankful that they’re such sticklers for their self-imposed rules. + Interesting and at times challenging cocktail list - Once word gets out, tables will be scarce

Candy Bar & Diner

113–115 George Street, New Town (Map 1: E8), 0131 225 9179, candybaredinburgh.co.uk | No under 18s afte 7pm | £12 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

Past pavement-side tables and bright murals below ground, this George St bar opens to an appealing basement space, which was refreshed and refurbished in 2018. It’s popular with a varied crowd, thanks to a decent menu that offers good deals for tighter purse strings. The relaxed and friendly daytime atmosphere, accompanied by coffee and cold-pressed juices, livens up in the evening when a range of guest DJs and drinks offers bring the average age down a notch. Wait staff are friendly and clearly care about what they’re serving – recommendations are plentiful, as are the choices. Bites include tasty crab cake poppers, hot wings in the kitchen’s tangy sauce and lettuce tacos for the health-conscious. Stone-baked pizzas are the stars of the mains, with genre-hopping toppings like crispy duck and hoi sin or chicken Caesar salad. Finish off with a hard shake and a shimmy to the funky music. + Hits the right notes for a variety of tastes - Cocktails may be a little gimmicky

NEW Carnivore

208 Cowgate, Old Town (Map 2: I8), 0131 466 4723, carnivoreedinburgh.co.uk | £8 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

First, some sage (if slightly obvious) advice: you do have to be a carnivore to eat at Carnivore, a new darkly lit and brightly serviced spot on the Cowgate that really is all about the meat. Starters (or rather, little plates) include confit duck nuggets served with apricot mustard, which make plain old chicken nuggets seem redundant. The ox cheek spring rolls go perfectly with Japanese-style tare sauce, and there’s a seafood option if you fancy prawn rice balls with shellfish mayo. Mains include reubens, Philly cheese steaks and an 8oz burger, and while all offer a creative range of individual flavours this menu sends a simple, unified message: bread and meat is a kingly combo. There’s also a small selection of steaks, with options ranging from an 8oz ribeye to, well, a 16oz ribeye (sirloin and skirt sit somewhere in the middle, sizewise). Desserts are plentiful and aimed at the sweet-toothed – the bourbon crème brûlée is particularly well executed and while you’re on the bourbon train you may as well try the Carnivore Cocktail, which makes that ol’ brown liquor all the better with – you guessed it – a piece of bacon. + Bacon and bourbon in a glass - Veggies might leave hungry

NEW Cold Town House

4 Grassmarket, Old Town (Map 1: G9), 0131 357 2865, coldtownhouse.co.uk | £18 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

The newest addition to the Grassmarket, Cold Town House includes a brewhouse, prosecco and pizza bar and outdoor terrace housed in a cavernous former church. No

expense has been spared in the creation of this shabby-chic interior, where exposed brickwork, leather upholstery and plush fabric booths frame features like a firepit at the centre of the ground floor. The brewhouse is perhaps the liveliest space, while the Italian-leaning menu features wood-fired pizzas named after Edinburgh neighbourhoods, like the Marchmont. There’s also food designed to have with their very own Cold Town Beer, cleverly categorised by whether you can eat it with your hands (halloumi fries) or need a fork (like the super seed slaw). Sharpen those elbows though. With a fun menu, changing tap list and prime outdoor seating under Edinburgh actual castle, it will be a minor miracle to get a seat among this church’s new congregation come summer – sun worshippers with a taste for beer and nononsense food. + A relaxed atmosphere with something to suit most tastes - Probably not the place for an intimate meal

NEW Eastside

51a George Street, New Town (Map 1: G8), 0131 226 2275, eastsideedinburgh.co.uk | No under 14s | £9 (dinner)

This late-night bar aims to bring some urban edge to George Street, replacing the glitzier vibe of the previous tenant, Opal Lounge. Exposed air conditioning, concrete and street art set the tone, with a beer vending machine, three free pool tables, weekend DJs and street food stalls adding to the looser feel. On a Friday and Saturday night, local foodie favourites man the stalls: a rotating cast includes Chick + Pea, Kebabbar, Haggis Box and Dog n Bon hotdogs, with the latter sometimes catering Wednesday’s

quiz night. Tuesday and Thursday it’s Eastside’s own pizza slices and mac and cheese. Monday is student night with a strictly liquid menu (no food). The bar has Camden beers on tap, lots of craft cans and a long list of cocktails, with shots featuring prominently too. Don’t forget the free pool. + Free pool and street food stalls - Mac and cheese portions a bit small to be stomach-lining

NEW The Fly Half

48–52 Constitution Street, Leith (Map 5: N3), 0131 467 3068, theflyhalf.co.uk | £7 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

A sports bar may seem like an unusual choice from the owners of the popular Papillon and Café Tartine. But it might be just what’s needed for what’s been one of The Shores unluckier spaces. The cavernous brick-walled bar is newly adorned with bunting and memorabilia like Scotland rugby shirts and Leith Athletic FC posters. Illuminated beer signs with umpteen big screens and projectors detract attention from the windowless bunker vibe, making this a fine destination for enjoying live sports. (And indeed for private functions, with two free to rent rooms available.) Your favourite beer is bound to be available on tap or bottle, alongside Martinis and Margaritas on a compact cocktail list with good midweek deals. The food is hearty American soul food; poutine of the week comes smothered in cheese curds and low and slow meaty pork ribs promise to fall off the bone, while a southern-fried buttermilk chicken burger might just be the ultimate half-time score. + Sky, BT & Premier Sports - Not great for health-conscious diners

l’escargot blanc wine bar Take a seat, relax and enjoy our wines, cheeses and charcuteries served all day. ‘Irresistibly French’ (Joanna Blythman)

Open from 12pm till late from Monday to Saturday 17 Queensferry Street, Edinburgh, EH2 4QW lescargotblanc.co.uk @Lescargot_Bar

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BARS & PUBS

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EDINBURGH

Good Brothers Wine Bar

4–6 Dean Street, Stockbridge (Map 7: D6), 0131 315 3311, goodbrothers.co.uk | No under 5s | £24 (dinner)

Hidden on a side street in Stockbridge, the unassuming frontage of Good Brothers Wine Bar belies the adventures found within. A clean minimalist interior echoes the stripped-back, ever-evolving wine list, with an intimate and somewhat grown-up atmosphere hinting at how seriously proprietors Rory and Graeme Sutherland take their wine. With attentive and knowledgeable staff on hand to guide your journey, their list features natural wine producers, such as tullum biologico from small vineyard Feudo Antico – it’s clear that Good Brothers is the place to try something a little different. Simple bar bites are always available, but now the brothers are planning a series of pop-up chef residencies after the success of Lloyd Morse’s stint at the beginning of the year, which seems to fit perfectly with their ‘never boring’ philosophy – check their website to see if someone’s cooking, or plan your evening around pre or post-food wine. + A carefully curated wine list unlike any in Edinburgh - Not for those after an unassuming bottle of house wine

Harry’s

7b Randolph Place, West End (Map 6: D8), 0131 539 8100, harrysedinburgh. co.uk | Closed Mon/Tue | £16 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Now run by Leith power couple Anna and Mike Christopherson, the tag line might have changed to When Harry Met Sofi’s, but really it’s the same ol’ buzzy cavernous basement bar, teeming with a boozed after-work crowd, interspersed with the most energetic of pensioners. Perhaps the appeal is an under-£20 wine list, a box-ticking selection of Scottish and global beers or a well-stocked back bar. Either way, the floor-fillers, cranked up to full volume, are doing their job – and yes, there’s every possibility that ‘Uptown Girl’ is on repeat. Particularly popular, too, are the monthly singles night and the live bands at the afternoon Sunday Service. Food-wise, it’s American-inspired finger food studded with vegan options; mini tacos lack oomph though addictive buffalo cauliflower florets more than make up for it; chunky pretzel burgers and saline

fries follow. With a minimalist industrial look, there’s a distinctive diversion from the Swedish food and homeliness that the Leith community loves at Sofi’s. Though, still in its transition phase, we can expect more to come from Anna and Mike. + Dugs welcome - The music’s an acquired taste

can’t decide, go for a flight. Naturally beers from the home brewery star, but they also feature local colleagues like Campervan and beyond. Brew school still runs on a Sunday and there’s a surprisingly good choice of cocktails, gin and whisky. + Lots of beer and friendly staff - It gets noisy when busy

NEW The High Dive

NEW Lady Libertine

The latest addition to Michele Civiera’s all-conquering Civerinos pizza empire is the High Dive. Although the intention was to be a cool hangout with DJs, it’s already such a hit with the neighbours that lively local may be a more fitting description. Expect the familiarly funkily tiled New York diner-style décor and the same great value, authentic pizzas. Out of nine, four are veggie, one contains crisps, one grapes and one sprouts. But you could keep it classic with a 99 – sugo, rosemary, pepperoni, Italian sausage, garlic oil and burrata. Have a side order of fries or salad, or save room for hot doughnuts or Nutella calzone. There’s plenty of beer (jugs possible), cider and decent wine (organic and reasonably priced) to wash it down with, and a buzzing atmosphere. Or come in the day and take advantage of the free filter coffee and WiFi, with a breakfast of Bross bagels, granola or a bacon sandwich in pizza dough. Yum. + Great pizza and great vibes - Adventurous toppings are Marmite; Marmite may soon be a topping

Art deco glamour and Levantine food may not be natural bedfellows, but in new city centre venture Lady Libertine the pairing meets the high standards diners have come to expect from the Bon Vivant group’s other venues. Split over two floors in a corner of the Edinburgh Grand, this locally led addition to St Andrew Square feels far removed from the bustle of the city centre. Ground floor and basement levels both have a different feel and menu, with a shared design and culinary theme. The bright, airy ground level café bar offers breakfast, all-day mezze and sweets that can be coupled with either a coffee, cocktail or glass of wine. In contrast, the basement bar, dripping in jewelled wallpaper and geometric pattern, offers a more extensive mezze menu including larger portions to share, and flatbreads and kebabs. Wonderfully smoky baba ganoush is particularly delicious, as is a generous falafel flatbread, while interesting cocktails are prepared with skill and more than a little panache – all in, a brilliant way to while away a few gastronomic hours in the centre of town. + Setting and finger-friendly food are perfect for a post-work drink - Not ideal if you don’t like sharing

81–85 St Leonards Street, Southside (Map 9: L10), 0131 220 0851, civerinosthehighdive.com | £12 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

The Innis & Gunn Brewery Taproom

81–83 Lothian Road, West End (Map 6: E9), 0131 228 6392, innisandgunn.com/ bars/edinburgh | £16 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Innis & Gunn have dropped the kitchen from their name in favour of taproom, signalling more of a focus on their favourite thing: beer. They’re still doing food, but it’s more angled towards pub classics done well, with plenty of veggie and vegan options. They’ve made changes to the space too, opening things out and filling it with wooden sharing tables, and there’s live music on Friday and Saturday nights. With 26 beers on tap and enthusiastic, knowledgeable staff, it’s a good place to try out a few options; if you

25 West Register Street, New Town (Map 1: I8), 0131 322 1020, ladylibertine.co.uk | No kids after 8pm | £12 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

NEW Little Rascal

113d St John’s Road , Corstorphine, West End, 0131 334 6430, littlerascalwinebar.co.uk | Closed Mon | £8 (bar snacks only) (dinner)

Little Rascal sits somewhere between bar, café and shop, with natural, biodynamic, organic and small-scale wines front and centre. The Sutherland brothers’ (also behind Good Brothers Wine Bar in Stockbridge) anarchic approach to wine-buying is shown by a simply typed list that changes all the time or simply runs out (an occupational hazard when you’re buying in small amounts from small, interesting producers). That means an unfamiliar set of names and grapes to all but the most committed oenophile but there’s absolutely no need to feel out of your depth – the staff love their wine and are more than happy to recommend, chat or pour a wee sip before you make up your mind. All the bottles on pour are available to take home, or you can open something from the shop to drink there for a £10 corkage fee. Food is simple – cheese and charcuterie for nibbling. It’s not the comfiest of spaces but it seems clear the locals have taken it to their hearts, using it as drop-in space for a quick drink before or after dinner, or a place to take the dog while picking up a bottle for the house – beats nipping to Tesco. + Unusual and interesting wines - A slightly awkward, Ikea-chic space

NEW The Lodge Edinburgh

100 Lindsay Road, Leith, 0131 552 7904, thelodgeedinburgh.co.uk | £13 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Bar Prince

Q HITLIST

Watching proprietor Simon Ptolomey wait on his guests with real passion and attention, it is natural to hope that Newhaven’s latest hangout will flourish. Granted the road-side patio

BARS & PUBS ✱ Bar à Vin Atmospheric central bar focusing on French cheese, charcuterie and wine. La vie est belle.

✱ The Last Word Saloon

Edinburgh isn’t short of a cocktail den or two, but the Last Word’s cosy atmosphere and welcoming service set it apart.

✱ Leith Depot An unashamedly

sentimental mention for a brilliant bar which has fought hard against the ongoing development of Leith Walk. Get yourself down there before it’s too late.

✱ Nauticus A gorgeous makeover of a traditional boozer in a slightly unloved part of Leith, offering creative cocktails based on the best of Scottish booze.

✱ Nobles Café, Bar and

Restaurant This beautiful bar hits the sweet spot between decent pub and dining destination, with brunch a particular highlight.

✱ The Roseleaf A welcoming

neighbourhood bar with a chintzy clutter of board games, beer, healthy juices, comfort food and cocktails.

✱ Under the Stairs While quality is high at Under the Stairs, they don’t take themselves too seriously – a brilliant bar for brilliant times.

✱ Woodland Creatures

Woodland Creatures’ new owners are working hard to freshen things up while keeping the original laidback, quirky spirit of this Leith Walk bar.

would benefit from a seaview if moved a stone’s Nothrow to the side, but this unpretentious pub, offering everything from brunch to cocktails, live sports and a family-friendly attitude already seems popular with the neighbourhood. Harking back to the sixties, a sundae glass is packed with mini prawns folded generously in Thousand Island dressing. Plump, juicy and delicately spiced king prawns demonstrate fresh sourcing, alongside options of tempura squid, steamed mussels and smoked salmon. For mains, the macaroni cheese is proper, its cast-iron pot bubbling over with baked-on cheese. It joins pies, stews, fish suppers and a decent grill selection to deliver pub classics done well. While the décor is left over from the previous occupier, the logs stacked The List Eating & Drinking Guide

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beside the burning fire, muted earthy tones and wood-style panelling justify the name and successfully inject a homely feel into the capacious room. + A surprisingly good wine list - It’s not the handiest location

Q NEW Nauticus

142 Duke Street, Leith, Leith (Map 5: N4), 0131 629 9055, nauticusbar.co.uk | No kids | £12 (charcuterie board)

Leith has a long, colourful maritime history; exotic botanicals and spices flowed through the port for hundreds of years making it a great place to distil, bottle and indeed sample a range of spirits and wines. This colourful boozy history is celebrated in Nauticus, a handsome new pub on Duke Street, a wee bit off the Shore’s familiar beaten track. Here skilled bartenders take you on a journey through time to celebrate Leith and Scottish produce through their cocktail menu, from spice routes to the gin era (stop off here to sample a Trinity and Beyond featuring Arbikie Kirsty’s gin, Braemble gin liqueur and a delicious tea syrup) before continuing on to wine trading with a Leith sherry, perhaps. They know their whiskies too, which are helpfully arranged by flavour from light to smoky. With a good range beers and wines and a friendly vibe, Nauticus is a great addition to the Leith pub scene. + Knowledgeable staff make trying new things easy - No kid’s license makes this one for adults only

NEW One20 Wine Café

120 Dundas Street, New Town (Map 3: F6), 0131 556 1911, one-20.co.uk | £21 (lunch) / £21 (dinner)

Father and son team Ronnie and Kyle Reid have a background in importing Italian wines. They’re now opening bottles for customers in this bright, light Dundas street wine café, along with Italian meats and cheeses from their favourite regions. The menu is small, but appealing, with lasagne and parmigiana di melanzane customer favourites. The melanzane is intensely flavoured with soft collapsing aubergines and a rich, if slightly overseasoned, sauce. Burrata is beautifully soft with semi-dried tomatoes and a tasty fresh pesto to compliment it. The wine list is predominantly Italian and the crisp Sicilian grillo is a welcome discovery. For a glass of wine and a sharing platter, or a coffee and a few dainty pastry mignons, this is a smart new addition to the area. With a linked food and wine boutique due to open later in 2019, One20 is one to watch. + Delicious Italian ingredients served with care - Seems to still be finding its identity

OX184

184 Cowgate, Old Town (Map 2: I9), 0131 226 1645, ox184.co.uk | £20 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

The Cowgate has something of a reputation for raucous, beer-soaked nights; the home of heavy drinking in the city. But such assumptions couldn’t be further from the relaxed atmosphere OX184 has created. Nestled under South Bridge, this smoke-scented bar-come-grill has been reborn after a fire in 2018. Little has changed in the interior though, with the familiar stripped-back warehouse aesthetic, red-tinted lighting and large communal tables creating an effortlessly cool vibe. They pride themselves on their ability to cater well for large groups and late-night diners, with a grill menu running till 2.30am, and indeed quality is consistent. Old favourites like burgers and steaks feature heavily but the menu really excels in less pedestrian options like 74

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whole grilled trout with a seaweed butter, deliciously uncomplicated and perfectly cooked. Coupled with an extensive drinks list including house taps, gins and cocktails, OX184 is a great place for any stage of your night, from after-work drinks, to a relaxing evening meal or latenight cravings. + Where else could you get a full menu at 2.30am? - It’s busy, so space can feel tight

NEW The Pop Up Geeks

27 East Market Street, Old Town (Map 2: J8), 0131 557 1224, thepopupgeeks.com | No kids | No food

As the name suggests, The Pop Up Geeks started out running immersive events around Edinburgh before settling in their current home in the New Waverley Arches. If the thought of themed parties and fancy dress fills you with dread, your fears will be laid to rest when you walk through the door. Appealing to cocktail aficionados as much as fans of whatever the current theme may be, as much attention is paid to the quality of the cocktails as to the décor. Themes rotate every three months, but their Game of Thrones Blood and Wine experience is a typical example of what to expect. The eponymous signature cocktail is served, as expected, in an iced goblet. The subtle balance of flavours, including whisky and sherry, prove the mixologists know their stuff. There’s an impressive attention to detail, from choice of font to the cocktail names. Every bar tender has input into the cocktails for each theme and their passion shines. With Game of Thrones whiskies sourced from local suppliers and the support of some of the big players in Edinburgh’s cocktail scene, this unassuming wee bar is causing equal stir amongst both cocktail geeks and regular geeks. + Imaginative, unique cocktails you won’t see anywhere else - It’s small – do book

NEW The Register Club

42 St Andrew Square, New Town (Map 1: I8), 0131 230 0571, lateralcity.com/ register-club | No kids after 8pm; 5pm weekends | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

The state of the world right now encourages nostalgia for a simpler era. For a time when bankers were simply benevolent old duffers, divvying up the city from the board room on the fourth floor of the National Bank of Scotland. But now that board room is a woodpanelled lounge bar, painstakingly restored and open to all. (But when a glass of wine costs upwards of £7.50, it’s a reminder that divisions still exist.) Champagne, whisky and cocktails are the (standing) order of the day but the food won’t break the bank. Careful sourcing goes into high-class comfort food such as oven-baked cheese with garlic and thyme, crab melt, smoked venison tartare and charcuterie. There is table tennis in the committee room should the historical club tipples not impede your play, and phones are discouraged throughout (hurrah!). Brunch looks good and honestly, it’s worth going in for the staircase alone. + The building is amazing - The drinks are expensive

Scotch

The Balmoral Hotel, 1 Princes Street, New Town (Map 2: I8), 0131 524 7142, roccofortehotels.com | No kids | £20 (dinner)

To the novice, whisky is a drink veiled in ritual and mystery – an inaccessible amber liquid. And when you’re confronted with over 550 whiskies in high-end, high-reputation hotel, it would be easy to become overwhelmed. Luckily they’ve been working hard to shed any reputation

Whiskers Wine Café

for stuffiness at the Balmoral Hotel’s Scotch bar in recent months, creating a space where the novice and aficionado can happily rub shoulders together. It’s a small room dressed in tweed, tartan and subtle Scottish ephemera, with an entire wall given over to what’s an impressive whisky collection in anyone’s book. Well-known brands feature alongside rare and ghost whiskies (rare malts from closed distilleries that are re-blended with new whisky to create unique bottlings). Relaxed staff are called whisky ambassadors and manage to both know their stuff and put guests at ease, so it’s easy to ask for recommendations. Tasting experiences area also available. Food is fairly limited and Scottish in approach: haggis bon bons, a cheese board and smoked salmon. Scotch is an excellent place for both locals and tourists to relax and unwind with a dram. + Surprisingly relaxed atmosphere - If whisky isn’t your thing, there aren’t many alternatives

NEW Smoke & Mirrors

159 Constitution Street, Leith, Leith (Map 5: N3), 0131 467 0402 | No kids | £3 (bar snacks)

Smoke and Mirrors is a wee bar with a big heart. Sweep aside the velvet curtain and you’ll find ambient lighting, comfy mismatched furniture, psychedelic art and a warm welcome. You couldn’t be further from the bright gleam of a city centre cocktail bar, but the drinks are just as good (if not better). There’s a really friendly vibe, with clientele as diverse as Leith itself – old-timers from the bar’s Alan Breck days still perch happily at the bar. Beers are local and there’s a small but lovingly chosen wine list with a delicious selection of organic and biodynamic wines, most of which are available by the glass. Food is very limited (mainly stromboli) which allows staff to focus on the seasonally changing cocktails, which all highlight local spirits and mixers and show a real level of care. No illusions here, this is a magic local pub.

+ Great drinks and relaxed community feel - Trippy lighting won’t be for everyone

Sofi’s Southside

42–44 Buccleuch St, Southside (Map 9: J10), 0131 285 8400, bodabar.com |

The Boda Bar team (behind the likes of Sofi’s, Boda, Akva and more) have come and sprinkled their Swedish magic over Harry’s Southside and instantly transformed it into a place where you want to hang out. ‘When Harry’s met Sofi’s’ goes the strapline, but the cosiness, quirky touches, friendliness, good food and drinks are classic Boda. Food at the moment is just sandwiches (but good sandwiches on ciabatta that can be toasted), though a kitchen promising nachos and chips is underway. And you can bring your own food for £2 ‘forkage’. The drinks are extremely satisfying: crazy cocktails invented by staff, sharing gin teapots with added cinnamon or rose and orange blossom, Sofi’s own lager on tap or a nice Drygate ale. And plenty of teas, coffee and soft drinks. Check Facebook for games nights, clothes swaps or the monthly neighbourhood parties everyone is invited to. You can even organise a work meeting there to make the daily grind more fun. + Open, welcoming feel - Temporary lack of food – check for kitchen progress

Thrive Café Bar

171 Bruntsfield Place, Southside See Cafés

Villager

49–50 George IV Bridge, Old Town (Map 1: H9), 0131 226 2781, oldtownpubco.com | No under 5s; no under 18s after 8pm | £13 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Under new management, early 2019 saw a complete refurbishment for Villager. Now featuring bare stone walls, comfy wooden benches and dark wallpaper (with bonus lemur motifs), its location makes it a tourist haven, but there’s also a significant after-work crowd having cocktails, gins or choosing from a strong beer menu.


BARS & PUBS

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EDINBURGH

Food-wise, it’s classic pub grub with lots of veggie and vegan choices. There are burgers and steaks but also Malay-style curry and cottage Puy (Puy lentil pie, geddit?) plus a long list of sandwiches with great names like wrapper’s delight. With a new brunch menu due soon, this friendly bar offers something for everyone. + The new décor is a huge improvement - Leave the baby at home – no under 5s

The WestRoom

3 Melville Place, West End (Map 6: D8), 0131 629 9868, thewestroom.co.uk | £19 (lunch) / £19 (dinner)

The WestRoom is under new management and it’s Scottish-Italian. Enthusiastic entrepreneur Stefane Pieraccini comes from a restaurateur family and also runs the Seafood Ristorante in St Andrews. He brings a cicchetti menu to the WestRoom, which means small plates, but it’s Italian so sounds more fun. ‘In Italy we eat while we’re drinking,’ says the menu, and who can argue with that? Mix top-notch prosciutto with zucchini fries; leek, chilli and pecorino crochette (yes, croquettes); spicy nduja sausage; tomato and burrata bruschetta; the WestRoom ravioli of the day; Ardgay venison meatballs . . . wait, how much are you drinking? One of four kinds of Negroni, a Spritz, an Old Fashioned, a beer, or a wine or three? Whatever you’re up to, you’ll be fine – there’s a neighbourhood feel, a good mix of people and a lively atmosphere suitable for pretty much all occasions. + An easy choice with something for everyone - It’s quite small so can get noisy

Whighams Wine Cellars

13 Hope Street, West End (Map 6: E8),

0131 225 8674, whighams.com | £19 (lunch) / £19 (dinner)

A basement wine bar that’s attracted a strongly loyal following since its inception in 1983, Whighams feels like it’s always been a permanent fixture in the West End. A recent refurbishment has freshened things up somewhat, though the idea was never to radically change what’s always been a popular formula with their varied mix of customers, including office workers, shoppers and couples. The original wine cellars in particular are prized for an after-work relaxation session, offering cosy drinking nooks, muted tones and a touch of tartan which serves to enforce the solid, old school feel of the menus. The extensive wine list is populated with familiar names, while the food features classics such as Cullen skink, steaks and burgers. Jazz on a Sunday night brings the punters in, the regular wine club nights are fun and four-legged friends are also made very welcome. + Relaxed atmosphere, even on Saturdays - The food isn’t particularly elevated

NEW Whiskers Wine Café

48 Raeburn Place, Stockbridge, Stockbridge (Map 7: D6), 0131 343 3681, whiskerswinecafe.co.uk | No kids after 6pm | £12 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

The whiskers in the name actually belong to a mouse, so don’t go thinking this is a cat café. Henri of Edinburgh will be missed, but the new owner of this space, Jonnie Cook, comes fresh from Chop House and has dropped the deli to focus on cooking food beautifully. He didn’t go far to find suppliers – meat comes from George Bower a few doors down, fish from Armstrong’s and cheese from Mellis.

He’s researched the wine thoroughly (and the beers, choosing Tempest Brewery) and has 31 available by glass or carafe, which the informative staff will happily match with your meal. Food comes on small plates with big attention to detail – cured sea trout with gin cucumber, avocado and nori or highland venison tartare with egg yolk and brioche. Minus the deli shelves, the space is surprisingly roomy and the atmosphere low-key, all the better to focus on the food and wine, or even a leisurely breakfast. + Quality ingredients perfectly cooked - Minimalist décor

NEW The Wine House 1821

4 Picardy Place, New Town (Map 3: J7), 0131 557 1821, winehouse1821.co.uk | £12 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

Lovers of fine wine and Italian food may perhaps raise an eyebrow on hearing that Wine House 1821 is the brainchild of Sep Marini, MD of the popular Tony Macaroni restaurant chain. But their reaction would be misplaced as he has teamed up with Zonin wines to bring a touch of sophistication and refinement to Picardy Place. An unassuming Georgian facade hints towards the understated, grown-up interior of this wine-bar-with-rooms. Pale wooden-clad walls and a back counter filled with bottles (all available to take home) gives the sense of walking into an exclusive wine cellar that’s just waiting to be plundered. The extensive wine list with expected emphasis on regional Italian varieties is accompanied by a light menu with imported offerings from most regions of Italy. Montepulciano classico goes perfectly with a buffalo mozzarella, tomato and pesto focaccia (like an Italian toastie), while the antipasti combo platter offers

a little taste of everything. Sophisticated, grown up and chic. + Extensive regional wine list - No option to taste wines from smaller vineyards

Q Woodland Creatures

260–262 Leith Walk, Leith (Map 4: L5), 0131 629 5509, woodlandcreaturesleith. co.uk | No kids after 7pm | £11.50 (lunch) / £14.50 (dinner)

Call off the search party, we’ve found Edinburgh’s best mac and cheese. It comes laced with bacon, chorizo, haggis or black pudding with enough stringy mozzarella to create the most Instagrammable cheese pull – if you’re of that ilk. In comparison, the slightly dry beef burger comprised off too-thin patties and an equally okay flatbread take a back seat. Though finally, here’s an eatery that layers their nachos properly and isn’t shy on the toppings – hallelujah! Local hipsters typically wash these down with craft beers, perhaps from the popular Beavertown tap, or sip on a cocktail. The coupe of Pickerings Gin, lemon and homemade earl grey syrup, shaken up with egg white, is a liquidised lemon meringue pie. With reggae and funk tunes throughout the week, escalating into electro dubstep come Saturday nights, there’s an addictive energy about the place. When the unpretentious exposed brick and wood furnished bar bustles, you’ll be reluctant to leave. So, best to grab a table on the Leith walk kerb or nip out back through the Narnia wardrobe for a breath of fresh air before diving back in. + Dog friendliness, extending to bowls, bones and blankies - You’ll wish the hidden beer garden was bigger

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BISTROS & BRASSERIES

1a Dock Place, Leith See Scottish

true to timeless touches like natural materials, low lighting and splashes of warm colour. It’s also stayed true to an uncomplicated bistro-style menu, with an occasional bell or whistle to keep diners interested. A starter of crunchy haggis fritters with sweet apple jam and a main of beef brisket soused in rich liquor both steal the spotlight in the affordable prix fixe menu, while à la carte specials might include barbary duck breast with kimchi and crunchy green beans. Sometimes it seems that the kitchen hasn’t kept up with the times; the duck arrives as a slightly 90s shade of pale pink and there’s a distinct lack of pear in a pear and chicory salad, but a with a bit of forward direction there’s no reason the Apartment won’t be happily with us in 2039. + A strong line of inexpensive set menus - Some of the cooking could use a touch more enthusiasm

A Room in the West End

Apiary Restaurant

Loyal to their French roots while showcasing Scotland’s larder, Edinburgh’s bistros and brasseries are thriving. From fine dining in prime locations with breathtaking views to cosy local joints serving up comfort food, the high standard across the city is supported by great service and talented chefs Reviewers: Will Bain, Malcolm McGonigle, Colin Renton, Susan Smith

A Room in Leith

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 (Map 8: F11), 0131 228 6456, apartmentrestaurant.com | Closed Sun | £14 (set lunch) / £26 (dinner)

Clocking in an impressive two decades, the Apartment set something of a precedent in the now stiffly competitive Bruntsfield/Tollcross area. It’s changed remarkably little in 20 years; it looked hip in ‘99, and it looks hip now, staying

33 Newington Road, Southside (Map 9: L11), 0131 668 4999, apiaryrestaurant. co.uk | £12 (set lunch) / £23 (dinner)

The watchword of Edinburgh’s blossoming Three Birds group is eclecticism, and nowhere is this more evident than in the largest of its restaurants, Apiary. Here, eclectic features run through the restrained shabby-chic of the interior, the joviality of the service, and most definitely through the menu, which plays fast and loose with, well, all sorts of things. A fish scotch ‘egg’, for example, is eggless, stuffed instead with smoked mozzarella; saag aloo comes as gnocchi, and horseradish and white chocolate is an option on the ice-cream list. It’s an

enticing read, and showcases what this wee chain is about; imagination with flavour. Occasionally there are issues with execution; the aforementioned fishy egg is a little dry, and grainy coconut cream sends an otherwise successful vegan pavlova awry. But when it works, it works. Fenugreek and amchoor lend heady spice to a venison haunch main, and a brisk little starter of pickled pear, paired with hazels and endive, is delicious. You can see why Apiary and her eclectic sisters have become so popular. + Fun to the flavours - When it works it works, and when it doesn’t, it doesn’t

Q Aurora

187 Great Junction Street, Leith, Leith (Map 5: L3), 0131 554 5537, auroraedinburgh.co.uk | Closed Mon/ Tue | £12 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Chef-patron places sometimes give the impression that the food is there to be revered rather than enjoyed. Not so with Aurora, Kamil Witek’s stylish twentyseat bistro, where personal touches and a palpable sense of fun dial down any moves toward aloof cheffiness, resulting in very enjoyable food indeed. Sure, the menu seems a little earnest at points, but while potato glass and burnt apple could seem out of place at this end of Great Junction Street they’re quite at home in an imaginative surf and turf dish of pork cheek and langoustine bisque. A playful mix of cuisines mean you might have ktipiti (a feta dip) on one plate and kroppkakor on another – plump beetrootstuffed dumplings with a dilly tumble of celeriac remoulade, all comfort and satisfaction. Not everything is perfectly executed, but that sort of adds to the charm – this is a neighbourhood bistro, not some highfalutin fine diner, and there are minor revelations to be had; fried pickles (frickles) and hot, sweet sriracha cauliflower are both serious addiction risks. Perhaps the food at Aurora deserves reverence after all. Good job it’s so enjoyable. + Outstanding wine list and exciting menus - It’s so small that the coffee machine can take over conversation

Bia Bistrot

19 Colinton Road, Southside, 0131 452 8453, biabistrot.co.uk | Closed Sun/Mon | £10 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

The junction of Holy Corner in Morningside can be a bit chaotic, but just a few steps away you’ll find care and respite in the Gallic embrace of Bia Bistrot, where plaudits continue to amass for the clever, satisfying dining produced by chef-owners Roisin & Matthias Llorente. Here local sourcing and seasonality are guiding principles of a menu that changes regularly, supplemented by daily specials. To start, roasted bone marrow that glistens on toasted sourdough is cause for appreciation, while a tangy beetroot carpaccio is both jewel-like on the plate and refreshing on the palate. Mains balance the unusual with the comforting, like a 28-day aged steak or venison haunch. Sweets are equally pleasing and definitely worth the calories. + Creative menu that puts ingredients first - Dining room could be cosier

Bijou

2 Restalrig Road, Leith, 0131 538 0664, bijoubistro.co.uk | Closed Tue | £16 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

This neighbourhood eatery is small in size but large in ambition, and that’s why it has been beloved by its local clientele 76

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for over a decade. Its initial concept of offering bijou and main portions of the same dishes is still reflected in the updated menu following a major renovation in 2018. Haggis, neeps and tatties, fish and chips and gnocchi fricassee are all available in two sizes. But there’s more to Bijou than pub grub. It’s hard to resist the cheese and cured meats appetiser – the meat has travelled about 100 metres from East Coast Cured across the road, and is delightfully paired with an array of Arran cheddars, blues and goat’s cheeses. There’s nothing bijou about the pink-in-the-middle 6oz burger with a heap of skinny fries, but a special of beef cassoulet served with chunks of soft brown bread is a rewarding main. Desserts are homemade and the bread and butter pudding is damn good. If breakfast takes your fancy, try The Leither, which comes complete with haggis bonbons. + A great neighbourhood all-rounder - The big or bijou dilemma

Bistro Deluxe by Paul Tamburrini

81 Holyrood Road, Old Town (Map 2: L8), 0344 879 9028, paultamburrini.co.uk | £21 (set lunch) / £21 (set dinner)

It may sit just a short stroll from the bustling Royal Mile, but the calm atmosphere of Bistro Deluxe by Paul Tamburrini is a world away. The attached hotel provides much of the traffic for the stylishly decorated dining room which remains a little undiscovered by others. The service is professional and efficient, while the chef-patron boasts an impressive CV, with his experience of high-end kitchens evident in a short but classy bistro menu. A starter of foie gras served with aubergine purée and a sauternes jelly is nicely balanced. Scallops make an appearance among starters and mains, where you’ll find braised ox cheek cooked to moist perfection, accompanied by red wine jus, mushrooms and bacon. It’s the perfect foil to smoky mash in a dish that is simple yet showcases the kitchen’s skills. There’s a flamboyant finale in the shape of passion fruit and caramel sorbet, encased in chocolate and sprinkled with gold leaf, further proof that this is a cut above standard bistro food. + Classic food presented with precision and flair - Slightly off the beaten track

Blonde

75 St Leonard’s Street, Southside (Map 9: K10), 0131 668 2917, blonderestaurant. co.uk | £12.90 (set lunch) / £23 (dinner)

It’s testament to the quality of the menu at Blonde that despite being slightly off the beaten track, it is busy most nights. It’s been around since the turn of the millennium and retains a loyal clientele who enjoy its straightforward modern Scottish cuisine. Croquettes of Stornoway black pudding and haggis make a tasty starter with a rich dark fruity sauce, and a similar veggie version is available filled with tofu and a lighter carrot and cumin relish. Owner Imelda McCafferty’s commitment to inclusive eating is apparent with a good choice of vegetarian mains, such as an aubergine and spinach flavoured dhal with quinoa, and a whole vegan menu on request. Alternatively, a lovely sea bass fillet is unusually set on a salmon and green pea macaroni, while a rich confit of duck comes with an intense red wine and mustard gravy, soft gooey mash and red cabbage. The banana and walnut pudding with nutmeg ice-cream is a yummy finish. + Good all-rounder offering a twist on Scottish classics - Room feels a tiny bit dated


In association with

NEW Borough

50–54 Henderson Street, Leith (Map 5: M3), 0131 629 2525, boroughrestaurant. com | Closed Mon/Tue | £18.50 (set lunch) / £35 (set dinner)

Borough is all about competitively priced, accomplished cooking with a conscience. It’s a well thought-out venture driven by amiable chef-proprietor Darren Murray – a man with an impressive CV – and restaurant manager Aleksandra Murray, championing ethical sourcing, careful recycling of waste and supporting local charities. This cosy neighbourhood spot is pitched at the Leith market and fits neatly between the Michelin-starred glitz nearby and more basic cooking. The availability of ingredients defines the ever-changing menu – what’s bought that day will be transformed into well-presented dishes. There are limited options at lunchtime and no choice for the four-course evening menu offering one veggie, one fish, one meat and dessert. That might mean a clever combination of squash, carrot and crowdie followed by hake with cauliflower and blood orange dressing, then a perfectly cooked lamb loin served with meatballs made from lamb offal. It’s rounded off with a dessert featuring a twist on traditional flavours – for example, set chocolate cream, barley and mint granita. There’s also an interesting wine list, or BYO on Wednesdays and Thursdays. + Clever dishes and great value - No-choice evening menu

NEW Brasserie Prince by Alain Roux The Balmoral Hotel, 1 Princes Street, New Town (Map 2: I8), 0131 557 5000, roccofortehotels.com | £25 (set lunch) / £35 (dinner)

Formal waiters and polite service staff oversee this plush outfit on the ground floor of one of Princes Street’s most prestigious hotels. Art deco hints, silverservice manners and a well-organised kitchen combine to create a smidgen of formality in relaxed, contemporary surroundings. The menu draws inspiration from French classics while allowing head chef Phil Hickman the freedom to embellish and entertain. A solid starter of onion soup is thick, unctuous and cheesy while a Parisian-style gnocchi comes in long piped logs, submerged in a dense mix of béchamel, cheese and choux pastry. Main of roast duck is perfectly cooked in a light but vibrant orange sauce dotted with slithers of mandarin, while a vegetarian offering of chickpea flour chips is served in crunchy, deep-fried chunks with a sprightly coating of fragrant North African spices on a bed of chard. Puddings are also noteworthy: an impressive baked Alaska has a crunchy sculptural outer and a filling of ice-cream and blood orange sorbet, a flawless little creation. + Upmarket bistro dining - Prices to suit

Café Marlayne

76 Thistle Street, New Town See French

Café Grande

182–184 Bruntsfield Place, Southside (Map 8: D12), 0131 228 1188, cafegrande. cafe | £8 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

Competition for your dining-out cash has intensified in Bruntsfield recently. One place that’s risen to the challenge is Café Grande, which has undergone a shake-up since being taken over by Robbie Park. He has cleverly transformed this long-established local favourite into an all-day destination, now billed as a bistro by night. Regulars have remained loyal – familiar faces are greeted warmly by staff – while an effort is being made to lure new customers with the traditional

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BISTROS & BRASSERIES Q Aurora A playfully innovative

menu and brilliant wine list make this chic little venue shine like a beacon on Great Junction Street.

Q Forage & Chatter Daring,

inventive and eccentric, this venture oozes confidence and culinary ingenuity, setting a high bar for exciting brasserie cuisine.

Q LeftField Alongside the chef’s

fertile brain, this wee bistro continues to evolve with creative use of veg, pretty desserts and exceptionally friendly service in a cute, sunny room.

Q The Little Chartroom

Precision cooking and focused flavours are the hallmarks of this little gem on Leith Walk. A petite venue packing a seriously big punch.

T&Cs: Free V60 Kit offer applicable with first coffee bag, when you sign up to a Pact plan, or £5 for your first bag, when you sign up to a Pact plan. Valid for new Pact customers only, one offer per person. Valid credit or debit card required on sign up. Pause or cancel your subscription anytime. See list.co.uk/offers for full list of terms and conditions.

Q The Outsider In the heart of

the tourist trail, but still popular with locals attracted by the great atmosphere, pleasant service and good-value lunch specials.

Q The Rabbit Hole The epitome

of a local brasserie with a hugely loyal following – a little off the beaten track but well worth the trip.

Q Sonder An exciting newcomer

serving refined small plates in stylish surroundings, with an open kitchen where diners can watch the chef in action.

Q The Walnut The tiny Walnut on Leith Walk is one of the toughest tables to book in town, thanks to a classy French-Scottish menu and excellent prices.

coffee and homemade scones and cakes being joined lunch-time favourites and a fuller menu in the evening. Once breakfast service is finished, it’s time for sandwiches and burgers plus popular dishes such as Thai fishcake oozing freshness and enlivened by spices, and zucchini noodles with avocado, nuts and mushrooms, zesty with lime and mint. Both dishes also find their way onto the wider evening selection, alongside meatier choices including steak and duck. The space divides neatly into two inside, with art for sale adorning the walls, and there are outdoor seats too if you fancy a bit of Bruntsfield people-watching. + Widening its appeal while remaining loyal to its roots - Needs to keep evolving in an increasingly competitive market The List Eating & Drinking Guide

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Cannonball Restaurant & Bar

Cannonball House, 356 Castlehill, Royal Mile, Old Town (Map 1: G9), 0131 225 1550, contini.com/contini-cannonball | Closed Sun/Mon | £15 (set lunch) / £28.50 (dinner)

Historic Cannonball House enjoys a spectacular setting adjacent to Edinburgh Castle. Over the centuries, it has had various uses; indeed, classroom memorabilia nods to its days as a primary school. Moody black and white images adorn the walls in the dining room which has tartan-covered banquettes and tables positioned to enjoy views of the castle and Royal Mile. Friendly staff explain the reliance on local produce, some of it from the restaurant’s kitchen garden that adjoins the Contini family home in Midlothian. Alongside à la carte and vegan menus is a flavour-packed, fivecourse Taste of Scotland option. Homegrown mint adds a new dimension to creamy celeriac soup, the smoked salmon that follows is enhanced by pickled salsify and crispy capers, while pork belly and dauphinoise potatoes are nicely teamed with spiced pear and spinach. A tour of local cheeses brings a range of textures and flavours to the table before a dessert combining light ginger cake with vanilla custard and poached rhubarb, followed by a petits fours finale featuring that timeless sweet favourite, Scottish tablet. + Spectacular setting and well-executed Scottish dishes - Evening dining not available during the Tattoo

Checkpoint

3 Bristo Place, Old Town (Map 2: I9), 0131 225 9352, checkpointedinburgh.com | £14 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

It’s truly impressive that not only did someone have the idea to plant a shipping container in the middle of a bistro, but that they actually went ahead and did it. The internal open-plan room this creates in Checkpoint adds both trendy and cosy notes to what would otherwise be a vast space. This eclectic approach continues in the drinks list and menu, where you’ll find beers from all over the world and vegan bowls sitting alongside sharing boards. Choices like cauliflower shawarma with red quinoa tabbouleh are interesting and will appeal to any dietary requirement, and meat eaters are well-served too – rump of lamb served North African style is lovely and pink, while the burger is definitely a highlight: thick, juicy and well-flavoured, it comes with deliciously crunchy triple-cooked or sweet potato fries. You’ll probably still have room for a sweet treat – thick creamy green avocado and lime cheesecake ticks both vegan and gluten-free boxes, while the rhubarb and blood orange tarte tatin is crispy, a little sharp and nicely sweetened with buttermilk ice-cream. + Tasty eclectic food to suit all tastes and dietary requirements - Are you cool enough to be here?

Chez Mal

Malmaison Edinburgh, 1 Tower Place, Leith (Map 5: N2), 0131 468 5000, malmaison.com | £20 (set lunch) / £20 (set dinner)

A favourite with passing tourists, hotel guests and locals since the early days of Leith’s revival, Chez Mal continues to flourish. It boasts a fine location with views over the water and is a tranquil place to enjoy outdoor dining when the weather allows. If conditions are less kind, indoors is also relaxed, with exposed brick walls, colourful sea-related images and glass-fronted wine cabinets. The décor is reminiscent of a traditional bistro, and 78

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Forth Floor Restaurant, Brasserie and Bar

the food adds to this feeling. Alongside the eclectic à la carte is a good value fixed-price menu that changes seasonally. Traditional starters include eggs meurette, a delicious version of the French regional favourite, featuring two perfectly poached eggs with a rich sauce enhanced by pancetta, mushroom and onion. Among the similarly well-executed mains is a confit duck leg that falls from the bone, perfectly partnered by Toulouse sausage and tomato-infused coco beans. The tradition continues with desserts which include wine-poached pear served with a vanilla panacotta that has the perfect wobble. + Classic bistro favourites - Nabbing an outdoor table when the sun shines on Leith

Cook School & Dining Room By Martin Wishart

14 Bonnington Road, Leith (Map 5: L3), 0131 553 3557, restaurantmartinwishart. co.uk | £38 (set dinner)

Restaurateurs across the globe are (probably) continuously asking themselves, how do I get my customers truly salivating? Martin Wishart has found the answer. Sit 20 or so guests in a modern, comfortable setting, facing a spotless stainless-steel kitchen with a large mirror across the ceiling. Serve excellent wines from a small list perfectly matched to a set four-course menu that changes monthly. Get your chosen chef to talk about rillettes of crab with pickled cucumber and bergamot as he assembles it, so their ears and eyes are feasting but they have to wait a little before you let them eat it. Get chef to cook another course, like braised rabbit ravioli with rocket pesto and parmesan velouté, so the aromas gently assault their nostrils. Invite them up to watch and ask questions as the chef sizzles the finest Merguez sausage with confit duck, tomatoes, beans and saucisson de Morteau so all their senses are buzzing, then reward them by serving them the resulting cassoulet. Tease and satisfy them again with a beautiful Armagnac parfait with praline tuile. Job done. + An innovative concept, beautifully executed

- Don’t meet a long-lost friend there –

it’d be rude to ignore the chef

David Bann

56–58 St Mary’s Street, Old Town (Map 2: K8), 0131 556 5888, davidbann.com | £20 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

It’s hard to believe there are still vegetarian naysayers in 2019, but they’d be eating their doubting words after a visit to David Bann’s. Its lovingly created menu of delicious vegetable-based concoctions can’t leave many dissatisfied diners. For starters, three generous crisp on the outside, soft and spicy on the inside aubergine, chickpea and cashew koftas come with an unforgettable light banana chutney. A quinoa salad with walnut and pomegranate is daintier, a tasty mix of crunchy ingredients and a sweet maple dressing. Baked parsnip pudding with potato and swede dauphinoise is far from a health food, creamily scrumptious on its pool of subtle pea purée. The mushroom, goat’s cheese and heather ale strudel is also a popular new addition to the menu. Desserts have a wow factor whether it’s the chocolate soufflé or the ginger lime ice-cream with orange cake, presented like a work of art. At least a quarter of dishes are vegan and more can be vegan on request. + Why can’t other chefs do vegetarian food this good? - Almost 20 years on, is it time for some new ideas?

The Dome

14 George Street, New Town (Map 1: H8), 0131 624 8624, thedomeedinburgh.com | £16 (set lunch) / £30 (dinner)

The Dome is the kind of place Hercule Poirot might dine with an associate just before something truly awful happens. Its famous skylight dome dominates but columns, ornate iron-paned windows, chandeliers and magnificent flower arrangements complete the scene. Fortunately for Edinburgh diners, the Dome’s friendly and efficient staff run a smooth ship where nothing as untoward as a misplaced fork occurs. The Grill Room menu reflects this, offering solid takes on all the Scottish classics. The

haggis is specially made by Lothian butcher Hornigs and is presented as a neat starter, nicely wrapped in filo pastry. All the meat and fish are sourced locally, and the Angus venison fillet is lightly seasoned and delicately cooked, complementing tasty gratin potatoes – only a wee blue cheese bon bon feels a bit odd. Surly teenagers forced into a posh suit aren’t forgotten and might even crack a smile when they spot the massive Dome burger with a mound of chips. Desserts include a lovely lightly poached pear sweetened with butterscotch sauce. Afternoon tea is on offer in the separate Georgian tea room. + Gosh this is posh – fun posh though - Overly eager staff might cramp your style

Educated Flea

32b Broughton Street, New Town (Map 3: I7), 0131 556 8092, educatedflea.co.uk | £12 (set lunch) / £23 (dinner)

Busy for brunch, lunch and dinner, Educated Flea is the most petite outpost from the team that brought us Three Birds and Apiary. Like its sisters, it makes great shakes of its gluten-free friendliness and excellent vegan options; and, also like its sisters, it’s definitely not easy to pigeonhole. The menu and cosily stylish space are both full of unusual personal touches, sending the message ‘love us for what we are’, and luckily that’s quite easy. Cheerfully informal service and creative dishes such as ox cheek fritters with minted hollandaise, or confit duck with kimchi and dehydrated starfruit, brim with an idiosyncratic charm that has turned many Broughton locals into regulars. There’s a free hand with flavour, pushing classic combinations into new territories, as in a pea and mint risotto, zhooshed up with hazelnuts, carrot oil and goat’s cheese. A critical eye might observe that some additions would be best subtracted, but it almost seems cruel approaching this place from that standpoint, because it is, like everyone of us, loveable in its own way. + Creative, fresh new takes on classics - . . . that very occasionally miss the mark


In association with

L’Escargot Blanc Restaurant & Wine Bar

17 Queensferry Street, West End See French

L’Escargot Bleu

56 Broughton Street, New Town 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) / £18 (dinner)

Plucky little First Coast has held its own against an explosion of restaurants on Dalry Road for over 16 years now. It’s easy to see why – in Hector Macrae they have an ambitious, creative chef who is excited about creating bespoke dishes built around solid local sourcing and seasonal ingredients. Starters like beef rendang reach well beyond the average, featuring tiny coconut infused meatballs rolled in coriander, star anise and shrimp paste with lime leaves and lemongrass adding an aromatic kick. A main of chargrilled chicken is elevated with expert touches like caponata, a brash and warming aubergine stew, while venison haunch comes rare and juicy, steeped in beetroot and artichoke purée and bolstered by a deep, dark raisin and prune gravy. Puddings are enchanting, a light and fragrant ginger nut parfait laced with lime caramel and tiny biscuit crumbs being a particular belter. It’s all served up in a modest interior with a stripped stone wall, where a cosy bar and roaring fire set a relaxed, easy vibe – as does a nicely priced wine list featuring natural wines and special malts. + Confident, creative, affordable cooking - Chillier tables away from the fire

Q Forage & Chatter

1A Alva Street, West End (Map 6: D8), 0131 225 4599, forageandchatter.com | Closed Sun/Mon | No under 5s | £15 (set lunch) / £24 (dinner)

The flagstone floors and cosy nooks of this subterranean venue have hosted some decent restaurants and bistros over the years, but few can boast the sheer panache and flair of the present incumbents. A prosaically worded menu which modestly lists ingredients doesn’t even hint at the variety of appetising techniques the food is subject to before it reaches the table. For example, a seemingly humble oxtail starter comes as two intensely flavoured patties exuding a slow-cooked depth and bolstered by the sweetest roasted onion amid fruity dabs and creamy squash smudges, while beetroot-soaked gnocchi is more than the sum of its parts: moist, velvety and juicy with highlights of ginger adding a racy edge. The adventure continues through the mains where a chunky crispy-skinned halibut sings with sea-freshness on a bed of pearl barley and foraged wild mushrooms enriched by a sprinkling of bracing samphire. Each plate is dusted with harmonious powders, crumbs and micro-herbs that add texture and surprising accents, ably highlighting the chef’s creativity. Service is relaxed and knowledgeable, while the atmosphere is lively and congenial. + High-end cooking at bistro prices - The basement can’t be disabled-friendly

Forth Floor Restaurant, Brasserie and Bar

Harvey Nichols, 30–34 St Andrew Square, New Town (Map 1: H7), 0131 524 8350, harveynichols.com/restaurant/ edinburgh-dining | £18 (set lunch) / £24 (dinner)

The Forth Floor Brasserie was a trailblazer, opening almost two decades before St Andrew Square became a dining destination and it still has a superior air, looking down on the army of newcomers. The glass-fronted dining room is bright and airy, service is friendly, and the small tables lend a feeling of cosiness. And when the weather allows, the terrace offers spectacular views of Edinburgh Castle in one direction and Fife in the other. With an attractive seasonal menu and an ambitious à la carte, the brasserie is a haven for hungry shoppers and an equally popular choice for those not undergoing retail therapy. A starter of roasted beetroot with hazelnut-crusted goat’s cheese and honey truffle dressing is a tasty twist on a classic. Mains include a moist pan-fried duck breast which borrows smokiness from the accompanying Morteau sausage, while black pudding balls and sautéed potato add further textures to the dish. To finish, dark chocolate brownie with a luscious pecan maple mousse will fortify diners, whether they are planning more shopping or just a stroll round the square. + More than just a refuelling stop for shoppers - Trying to get a terrace table when the sun shines

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

NEW Grand Café at The Scotsman

20 North Bridge, Old Town (Map 2: I8), 0131 622 2999, grandcafeedinburgh. co.uk | £15 (set lunch) / £23 (dinner)

No expense was spared in the recent refurbishment of the Scotsman Hotel’s Grand Café. The former newspaper advertising hall is a stunning venue, with huge marble pillars, pretty chandeliers and a beautiful balcony which draws the eye up to a gorgeously corniced ceiling. Added fixtures and fittings enhance the effect, with jewel-bright upholstery and marble-topped tables. There’s a real sense you’ve entered somewhere special, which sadly starts to drift away as you begin to sample the menu. Hummus with flatbread should be a safe option but lacks seasoning, and the burger – surely one of the mainstays of a bistro menu – is dry and cold. Things look up with fish and chips – the fish is flaky and batter is crisp, though adding chunky wedges rather than chips is a bit disappointing. A lot of thought and care has gone into this venue – a wee bit more needs to go into the food so that the Grand Café can take its rightful place as one of the city’s destination venues. + A truly beautiful room - At the moment, it’s a bit style over substance

Hendersons Salad Table 94 Hanover Street, New Town See Scottish

Hendersons Vegan

25c Thistle Street, New Town (Map 1: G7), 0131 225 2605, hendersonsofedinburgh.co.uk | £20.50 (lunch) / £20.50 (dinner)

Beloved Hendersons has been improving the lives of Edinburgh’s vegetarian community since 1962, so it’s not a surprise that you’ll have to hustle for a table if you haven’t booked in advance at its vegan restaurant. This relaxed and modern venue opened in 2015 to cater for the growing vegan market and the menu is people-pleasing without resorting to the lure of fake meat – there’s no Quorn or seitan in sight. Start with The List Eating & Drinking Guide

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a playful platter to share or perhaps roasted Portobello mushrooms, tastily adorned with pesto, seeds and grilled tomato. The sliders are a popular main course that could easily find a home in any pub, with three little black bean puddings surrounded by homemade dips, alongside light, crisp and greasefree shoestring fries and onion rings. Pasta with ragù of lentil, walnut and smoked aubergine has a less enticing presentation, with a dollop of basil cream on top, but goes down well. Surprisingly, it’s worth leaving room for some really good desserts – including a you-can’t-believe-it’s-not-dairy thick chocolate mousse. + Varied vegan menu with mass appeal - Smarter surroundings would take things up notch

Honeycomb & Co

1 Merchiston Place, Southside See Cafés

The Honours

58a North Castle Street, New Town (Map 1: E8), 0131 220 2513, thehonours. co.uk | Closed Sun/Mon | £19.50 (set lunch) / £47 (dinner)

Though calling itself a brasserie, The Honours sits decidedly at the haute end of things. Its lofty interior is divided into a long, luxuriant bar area – serving excellent cocktails and snacks – and a generously spaced dining room, bedecked in browns, beiges and golds. It’s all poise and elegance, embellished by gliding service and background tootlings of trad jazz, a perfect foil for the food which is imbued with Michelin technique and class. Starters such as a buoyant cheese soufflé or a silky crab cappuccino are both rich as Croesus, but have a delicacy of touch only found in the most rigorous of kitchens. The menu’s extensive grill section is a major feature, with delicious steaks and specials slicked with a signature sweetsalty madeira glaze, and garnished with grilled cherry tomatoes. Continuing the classics theme, cheese is exclusively French, and exclusively very good, and a burnished tarte tatin makes a fine and fitting finale to The Honours’ proudly old-school experience. + Sometimes you just can’t beat the classics - Unseasonal veg accompaniments

the wide range of mostly French wines that are available from Hotel Du Vin’s temperature-controlled wine loft. + Classy, upmarket venue - Prices to match

Jules Verne Brasserie Francaise

Q NEW The Little Chartroom

Howies (Victoria Street)

Laila’s Bistro

63 Cockburn Street, Old Town See Round the World

Proving size isn’t all, this petite neighbourhood diner packs a bounty of gastronomic knowledge, creativity and talent into a café-sized space where blue wood and stone-coloured panelling set a nautical theme for the small row of tables lining the back wall. The prep counter also serves as a gleaming bar where a few diners can admire some nifty choreography as chef Roberta Hall and her skilful team weave silently around the tiny kitchen. Culinary alchemy abounds, with pickles, creams, seeds and gels lifting quality ingredients to sublime and sprightly heights. A starter of torched mackerel abounds with fresh flavour and smoky depth while a chunky portion of wood pigeon and chicken terrine surges with gamey notes, perfectly offset by the aromatic highlights of pickled rhubarb. Flat iron steak is tender and juicy, strewn in slices across a mound of intense, slowcooked shin meat. It’s perched on a nest of zingy salad leaves laced with tiny marinated vegetables which somehow combine to bolster the meatiness of the dish. The chef’s expert touch continues in the desserts where poached pickled pears resonate on a bed of pine honey and blue cheese. + Creative takes and exciting flavours - Only room for 18 so booking essential

10–14 Victoria Street, Old Town See Scottish

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

Ishka

83 Morrison Street, West End (Map 6: D10), 0131 228 7517, ishkaedinburgh. co.uk | Closed Sun | £15 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Ideally placed to pick up custom from office workers, businesses and visitors heading for the nearby conference centre, Ishka has all the hallmarks of a chic neighbourhood brasserie right in the heart of the financial district. Head chef Claire Lund and a small service team keep the venue ticking along day and night, dispensing an array of well-structured dishes that creatively showcase prime ingredients. Case in point: a halloumi starter featuring chunky crisp croquettes on a bed of shredded cabbage, with light fruity drizzles of lime and sesame, is bright, zingy and filling. From the mains, a perfectly handled pan-fried hake flakes effortlessly into its tomato, butterbean and red pepper stew, boosted by perky hits of coriander and basil pesto. Puddings also have charm, with a creamy panacotta delivering lustrous vanilla notes among spiky rhubarb mousse and unctuous homemade blueberry jam. Chatty service and a cordial atmosphere make dining here feel like hanging out in your mum’s kitchen, if your mum was a superb cook with access to fab wine and twinkling cocktails. + Creative cooking in a fun and funky setting - Tables by the window are a little bit cramped

The List Eating & Drinking Guide

12 Barclay Terrace, Southside (Map 8: F11), 0131 229 1394, leftfieldedinburgh. co.uk | Closed Mon | No under 5s after 8pn | £13 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

What a joy – LeftField is the kind of bistro every neighbourhood needs. Set into a modest tenement with views over Bruntsfield Links, it’s bright, welcoming and, under the restless imagination of chef-proprietor Phil White, it’s ever so quietly pushing boundaries too. Most of their wine is natural or biodynamic, the short drinks list features local suppliers, he’s fermenting and sprouting up a storm, and while there are no plans to abandon the steak and seafood that established their reputation, it’s clear that creative plant-based cooking is a passion. Pumpkin seed hummus with sumac roast butternut is a case in point – vibrant, light and beautifully presented. The steaks are everything you’d expect and come with good chips but do yourself a favour and add a side of the amazing crispy scallions too – you won’t regret it. Service is easygoing and feels like one of those places where the waiter will learn your starsign by your second visit. With Sunday brunch planned, a fantastic early-dining sharing board and carafe deal and a wildly popular weekend lunch, this wee place is striving to be adaptable and accessible in the now hugely competitive Bruntsfield micro-climate: all power to them. + Feeling at home away from home - With veg so well-treated, it would be great to see more veggie courses

The Light House

3 Pier Place, Newhaven, Leith See Fish

The Lodge Edinburgh 100 Lindsay Road, Leith See Bars & Pubs

Macau Kitchen

93 St Leonard’s Street, Southside See East Asian

Maison Bleue Le Bistrot

370–372 Morningside Road, Southside See French

Maison Bleue

36–38 Victoria Street, Old Town See French

57–61 High Street, Old Town (Map 2: J8), 0131 557 0330, monteithsrestaurant.co.uk | £31 (lunch) / £31 (dinner)

11 Bristo Place, Old Town (Map 2: I9), 0131 247 4900, hotelduvin.com/ locations/edinburgh/bistro | £18.95 (set lunch) / £26 (dinner)

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Q LeftField

30–31 Albert Place, Leith (Map 4: K6), 0131 556 6600, thelittlechartroom.com | Closed Mon/Tue | £16 (set lunch) / £28 (dinner)

Monteiths

Hotel du Vin Bistro

Duck into an almost clandestine entrance on Bristo Place and a flagstone courtyard offers instant respite from the hustle and bustle of the city streets, while setting a classy scene for stylish brasserie dining. The bistro occupies a spacious former townhouse, stripped back to stone walls with original wooden floors, antique tables and an assortment of poster art. Head chef Ross Edgar oversees a classic menu featuring escargot, onglet steak and moules marinières, as well as sharing platters like whole guinea fowl. A starter of sautéed mushrooms buzzes with flavour, presented in creamy madeira sauce on sweet brioche toast, while tartiflette is rich and unctuous, held together by ripe and chewy reblochon cheese. Mains include an exceptional take on shepherd’s pie showcasing braised duck legs in a luxurious gravy, topped with delicate piped mash, while chargrilled tuna steak is given gusto through its tingling pepper and tomato sauce. Service is professional and detailed, and you’ll have fun exploring

13 Antigua Street, New Town See French

Cook School & Dining Room by Martin Wishart

Hidden from view down a historic close off the Royal Mile, Monteiths is reached by a narrow path, framed by twigs and illuminated by twinkling lights. There are stairs up to the main area which features a cocktail bar that’s popular with late-night drinkers. Given its location, tourists occupy several of the restaurant tables on a typical night. However, there’s also a loyal following of regulars, attracted by the quality of cooking from a kitchen that has been turning out brasserie staples using quality local produce for more than a decade. Starters include mussels in a white wine sauce, but the chef raises the dish a notch by adding fennel and pig cheek. For mains, high-end fish dishes such as lobster and monkfish jostle with steaks and other meat options. Roast chicken is simply prepared but combines with mushroom and a rich peppercorn sauce to form a flavourpacked dish; sides are extra though. To round off the night, an individual lemon tart with ice-cream and crushed meringue is a perfect mix of textures and flavours. + Great flavours using top-notch local produce - The location means no wheelchair access


In association with

Montpeliers of Bruntsfield

159–161 Bruntsfield Place, Southside (Map 8: D12), 0131 229 3115, montpeliersedinburgh.co.uk | £12.50 (set lunch) / £24 (dinner)

This venerable Bruntsfield institution has a lot on the go. It’s a popular watering hole with the locals, dishing out delicious cocktails and perfect serves, plus it’s a reliable spot for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Moreover, offers like cinema Mondays (the bill including a screening at the Dominion) or BYOB Tuesdays (as long as the bottle is from the Oddbins opposite) keep customers interested and connected with local businesses. Throw in mobbed weekend brunches and a popular burger Wednesday and the result is a constant healthy bustle, and the staff, clearly enjoying themselves, turn on sixpences to keep the vibe alive. Menus showcase a mix of globetrotting classics and sharing options, including a textbook poached egg atop crunchy black pudding hash for starters, handsomely bar-marked steak frîtes for mains, or a huggable apple crumble for dessert. The cooking is more soothing than sophisticated – confit duck lacks crisp skin and plays second fiddle to its satiating, cheesy baked tattie accompaniment – but all in, Montpeliers does an impressive job spinning plates, while putting decent stuff on them. + Busy, buzzy, and there’s always something happening - The chatter and clatter might be too much for some

New Chapter

18 Eyre Place, New Town See Scottish

Olive Branch Bistro

91 Broughton Street, New Town (Map 3: I6), 0131 557 8589, theolivebranchscotland.co.uk | £20 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Well-positioned to welcome theatre and cinemagoers as well as guests from nearby hotels, Olive Branch also has a loyal local following, attracted by familiar bistro favourites. Chef-owner Adam Young hits the mark with consistently good food at this corner site, where light streams in, illuminating exposed brick walls displaying an interesting range of images by a local photographer. A menu enhanced by daily specials features starters such as a well-executed iteration of goat’s cheese salad which exceeds expectations, its flavour enhanced by walnuts, beetroot and apple purée. The chef’s focus on crowd-pleasers is exemplified by braised beef cheeks with chorizo, garlic mash and ham hock potato cake, a perfect marriage of flavours that define comfort food at its best. Desserts include a banoffee cheesecake that is a creamy slab of deliciousness on a crunchy base. With friendly service and a wine list offering a good selection for less than £20, it’s little wonder that this place is regularly packed. + Familiar favourites and good reliable cooking - Friendly service but occasionally a bit rushed

One Square

1 Festival Square, West End (Map 6: E9), 0131 221 6422, onesquareedinburgh. co.uk | £17 (set lunch) / £24 (dinner)

Set back from the bustle of Lothian Road, the Sheraton Grand’s in-house restaurant is worth a visit for the view of Edinburgh Castle alone. The food isn’t bad either, whether it’s the fixed-price or à la carte menu, or Sunday lunch which has the added attraction of ice-cream and popcorn carts. The arrival of chef Shaun Woodhouse at the end of 2018 has led to a move away from pretty plates to a

more straightforward style. That doesn’t mean any less imagination or skill in the kitchen, as starters including a baby beet and quinoa salad (that also features on a separate vegan menu) or a classic confit chicken roulade with mushroom ketchup, will attest. And there are simple yet accomplished desserts such as a perfectly executed tarte tatin or coconut cheesecake with compressed apple. In between, mains exhibit a transparent local sourcing policy and will satisfy the keenest of appetites. There are fish and vegetarian options, while carnivores can tuck into steak or maybe a burger in a brioche bun accompanied by a luscious béarnaise sauce. + Great sourcing, reliable cooking and friendly service - Tough to disguise the fact it’s a hotel restaurant

AWARD WINNING RESTAURANT IN THE HEART OF EDINBURGH À la carte fine dining Afternoon teas Private dining room

Otro

22 Coates Crescent, West End (Map 6: C9), 0131 556 0004, otrorestaurant.co.uk | £15.95 (set lunch) / £35 (dinner)

Otro means ‘other’ but don’t take that as reference to some transgressive element at this quietly classy West End bistro, as this is a place that doesn’t rely on weird flourishes to stand out. Nestled in a capacious network of cobalt-blue Georgian dining rooms, there’s a confident, faintly businesslike air, tempered by swift, affable service and a diverse clientele. Thanks to head chef Maciej Szymik and team, dishes have personality without pretence. A haggis and egg starter, for instance, comes scattered with crunchy granola, in a harmonious, oaty duet; while some verdantly green (and wonderfully buttery) parsley mash accompanying a pearlescent cod steak lends contrast to a dish that could look pallid in other hands. Desserts are treated with a similar flair; a rhubarb pavlova is floridly fragrant with rosewater, while a dark chocolate fondant is spiked with sweet-sour maraschinos. Sometimes there’s a heavy hand with the seasoning or an occasional flavour misstep, but there’s life to the cooking which isn’t all about finesse and flair. You don’t need to rely on the ‘other’ to do something well. + Creative dishes with a real visual pop - Mildly corporate touch to otherwise elegant rooms

10 Hill Place, Edinburgh, EH8 9DS | 0131 662 2080 www.tenhillplace.com/drinks-dining

Summerhall Ads 134 x 93 List Adverts final_Layout 1 01/03/2019 17:12 Page 1

BAR & RESTAURANT

ONE OF EDINBURGH’S HIDDEN GEMS

✱ The Outsider

15–16 George IV Bridge, Old Town (Map 1: H9), 0131 226 3131, theoutsiderrestaurant. com | £12.50 (lunch) / £25 (dinner)

There is no online booking and the Outsider’s limited website shows screenshots of handwritten menus. But that clearly doesn’t deter customers: the large but simply decorated dining room, with a mezzanine floor and great views of the castle, is frequently packed and staff look as if they’re enjoying their work. The range of diners spans all ages and types. There are tourists plotting their sightseeing programme, students eating between classes or regulars drawn by the variety and attractive prices of the ever-changing daily specials – choosing from one soup, one meat and one fish for little more than a tenner when washed down with a glass of something from an entertainingly written wine list. A wide-ranging evening menu includes starters such as a complex pigeon dish with carrot and nutmeg purée or a straightforward goat’s cheese salad. Mains cover similarly broad territory, featuring perfectly moist hake with pea velouté and vegetables that lend further texture. To finish, a light coconut panacotta or a substantial chunk of chocolate and espresso pavé offer more reasons for regulars to keep coming back. + Buzzing atmosphere and great service - Once the daily specials are gone, they’re gone

Great food Great bar Great prices RESERVATIONS :

OPENING HOURS :

EMAIL: trd@summerhall.co.uk

Mon - Fri: 12noon - late Sat - Sun: 12noon - 1am

0131 560 1572

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BISTROS & BRASSERIES

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EDINBURGH

NEW The Perch

and chunks of shredded pancetta. Grazers can also opt for a hearty sharing board where chilli brisket and sticky wings are escorted by fries, pork ribs and beer-braised onions. The funky bar serves a wide range of cocktails and quality beers, of which unpasteurised Staropramen straight from the brewery is a tasty thirst quencher. + Fun and funky - Occassional dishes lacking punch

110 Hanover Street, New Town (Map 1: G7), 0131 220 1208 | £12 (set lunch) / £19 (dinner)

A modest street-level entrance frames this new arrival on Hanover Street, where vintage ceramic tiles and an antique wooden stairway set a tranquil tone for the funky first-floor restaurant. The newly refurbished room is smart but informal, with dark blue and cream walls, a stylish gantry and church pews lining the edges. The kitchen, meanwhile, focuses on contemporary Scottish seasonal menus with lively twists and turns. A starter of salmon timbale cured with rum displays this imaginative approach – a tightly packaged parcel stuffed with zesty crab meat in a spiky mustard crème-fraîche; it’s light and tangy with a warming afterburn. Elsewhere, main of venison loin is roasted medium-rare and presented as soft slices of springy meat, lolling on a thick homemade blini laced with sharp horseradish sparkles. The accompanying sauce is deep, dusky and chocolatey. It’s a routine bistro dish but elevated to finest restaurant quality by adroit technique and big flavour combinations. With robust culinary expertise and exciting dishes at reasonable prices, this punchy little place has all the benefits of a friendly neighbourhood bistro bang in the heart of the city centre. + Attractively priced weekday express lunch - Bit of a squeeze at tables by the window

Petit Paris

38–40 Grassmarket, Old Town See French

La Petite Mort

32 Valleyfield Street, Tollcross (Map 8: F10), 0131 229 3693, lapetitemortedinburgh.co.uk | £11.95 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Set behind Bennets Bar and accessed off Valleyfield Street, this diminutive diner punches way above its weight with a resourceful kitchen specialising in precision French technique and inventive creations. Proximity to the King’s Theatre makes it a prime spot for pretheatre adventures and inspires a stagey informal interior of deep blue walls, red velvet drapes, mismatched tables and a tapered wooden bar. The reassuringly small menu includes a starter of goat’s cheese mousse, brought into sharp focus with a smattering of spiky pickled carrots. A hefty slice of duck terrine is loaded with aromatic leg meat, enhanced by a seam of velvety foie gras in a flawless apple and celeriac sauce. Mains include a bravura vegetarian wellington comprising three swirled pastries packed with resonant pine nut, broccoli and spinach on a bed of sweet parsnip purée, with sharp lemon zest adding brazen, zingy surges. Popping flavours continue through desserts, where candied peel and dark chocolate add sweetness and indulgence to a punchy orange posset. Amiable staff and a nicely priced wine list round off an authentic bistro experience. + First-class cooking at amazing prices - Loos are shared with the adjoining bar

La P’tite Folie

Tudor House, 9 Randolph Place, West End See French

The Printing Press

21–25 George Street, New Town (Map 1: G8), 0131 240 7177, printingpressedinburgh.co.uk | £15.50 (set lunch) / £24 (dinner)

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The List Eating & Drinking Guide

Radicibus Italian Bistro

2 Deanhaugh Street, Stockbridge See Italian

Le Roi Fou

1 Forth Street, New Town See French

The Royal Dick Bar & Bistro

1 Summerhall, Southside (Map 9: K11), 0131 560 1572, summerhall.co.uk/theroyal-dick | £10 (lunch) / £11 (dinner)

Sonder

The swish entrance to this former publishing house attached to the Principal Hotel leads diners into a stunning interior. The theatrical, original starburst ceiling and art deco features act as a dramatic backdrop for a contemporary cocktail bar, replicating the smooth lines and curves of the era. A further two elegant rooms are used for the bar and kitchen experience, where aproned waiting staff work the floor with aplomb. Starters include a perfectly executed thermidor tart bristling with flakes of Orkney crab in a creamy filling with mild, soft leeks, while Jerusalem artichoke soup has a velvety smooth texture and buttery finish, accompanied by springy, homemade mushroom brioche. From the mains, a densely packed but tender ox cheek flourishes in its lively trimmings of smoked potato and sharp buttermilk sauce, alongside a nest of cabbage and bacon. Elsewhere, roasted pork fillet is enlivened with sweet parsnip purée, a delicately seasoned crispy black pudding bonbon and strident apple sauce. Although the portions are hefty, leave room for interesting puddings like savarin cake with lime and pineapple. + Fabulous cocktails and swish surroundings - Can be a bit confusing where to go on arrival

Q The Rabbit Hole

11 Roseneath Street, Southside (Map 9: H11), 0131 229 7953, therabbitholerestaurant.com | Closed Sun/Mon | £13 (set lunch) / £24 (dinner)

What started out as a neighbourhood restaurant is now drawing diners from across the city. And it’s certainly worth the trip. A well-designed dining room is decorated with muted, classy tones that bring to mind a top-notch Parisian bistro. Several diners are seated at the bar, while there is a little more privacy at tables in the window or a cosy alcove. Just visible

along a narrow corridor is the kitchen where chefs can be seen cooking up some fabulous flavours, whether for a popular midweek steak night, good value fixed-price lunch or at dinner. The quality of the dishes is high, with starters that include a fishcake packed with haddock and salmon and topped with a poached egg and béarnaise sauce. Mains feature delicate poached chicken, served in a bowl of flavourpacked consommé and finely chopped vegetables – potatoes are extra. And, in keeping with that traditional feel, the desserts are classics, such as a gooey chocolate fondant or a lemon tart, where bitterness is offset perfectly by a lemon sorbet and blueberry sauce. + Classics done well in classy surroundings - Booking times are generally early or late(ish)

Rabble Taphouse & Grill

55a Frederick Street, New Town (Map 1: F8), 0131 622 7800, rabbleedinburgh. co.uk | £25 (set lunch) / £25 (dinner)

Once the home of city-centre stalwart Rick’s, this classy bistro has been updated with a chic makeover which reaffirms its stone wall foundations while sprinkling the room with highlights of shiny copper lighting, tall tables and a few tasteful dining zones surrounding a stylish bar. Starters include monkfish scampi which evokes the aromas of a good chippy with a splendid pea and vinegar purée adding zest to three large chunks of breadcrumbed tail meat. The mild and creamy prawn risotto also hits home, laced with spring onion, crispy seaweed and occasional chilli hits. From the charcoal grill, a generous portion of ox cheek is rich and delicately seasoned on a bed of fluffy mash with a sharp juniper berry sauce, while coq au vin is bright and smoky, featuring button mushrooms

The Royal Dick acts as the cheerful beating heart of the various workshops, venues, studios and businesses that make up Edinburgh’s inimitable Summerhall complex. Indeed, it’s a primary outlet for some of them, serving as it does Barney’s beer and Pickering’s gin, both made a very short stone’s throw away. Being such a crucial part of a cultural hub brings a bubbling vibrancy to this former veterinary hospital, and as drinkers and diners are made equally welcome, sitting space for dinner can be hard to find. There’s a pubby feel to the menu, with a strong focus on quick bites and sandwiches, and a couple of main options thrown in for good measure. From the frier, jalapeño poppers and puff pastry samosas make for tasty bar snacks, while a substantial brisket-filled Reuben or a comforting aubergine parmigiana might help sop up a beer or two (or three). There’s hardly a surfeit of sophistication to the cooking, but that’s ok, as the place itself beats with enough life to ensure a good time, all the time. + Great beers, great gins, great folks, great place. - Cheerful pub grub making no nods towards refinement

Salt Café

54–56 Morningside Road, Southside (Map 8: D13), 0131 447 7382 | £13 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Salt Café, set on the brow of Morningside Road just opposite the Churchill Theatre, returned to life after a hiatus at the back-end of 2018. Same name, same driftwood, leather and brick look, but new owners, with the guys behind Broughton Street’s fondly remembered Blue Moon Café involved as supporters and mentors. A hipster joint in Morningside will always struggle to find a critical mass of local hipsters, so expect to find all generations and all styles from tatts to tweeds settling into the different spaces ranged around the central bar/servery: window stools, petite booths, chunky sleeper-slab tables and a discreet room at the back with space for ten. When the morning sun floods in through the front windows it’s a mood-lifting brunch spot, smashing out avocado, eggs Benedict or mushrooms on toast (with bread from Bakery Andante down the hill). Soup or lunch specials give the food legs into the afternoon, then after 4pm during the second half of the week it’s more of a wine bar, with some house twists on classic cocktails and modest food featuring cheese and charcuterie sharing boards. + It’s where you want to be for brunch on a sunny morning - Slimmest hipsters only in the booths


BISTROS & BRASSERIES

In association with

EDINBURGH

The Shore Bar & Restaurant

3 The Shore, Leith (Map 5: N2), 0131 553 5080, fishersbistros.co.uk | £15 (set lunch) / £27 (dinner)

Step back in time to a jazz era of woodpanelled gin joints and waiters appearing suddenly from behind corner curtains carrying plates of oysters. A delight for lovers of music and food, the Shore Bar feels like it’s barely changed in a century. The menu though is contemporary Leith – lots of fish and good-quality meat cooked simply and well. It’s hard to see past the seafood starters such as half a dozen oysters, or a massive bowl of fat mussels in a slightly spicy Provençal sauce. The perennial fish and homemade chips is popular in the bar on a Sunday lunchtime when the live music flows. But the more refined catch of the day – pan-fried with a crispy skin atop choux gnocchi, broccoli and hot roast beetroot – is simply lovely, set off with a scatting of almonds flakes. For something a bit heartier, try a beautiful lamb shank that melts off the bone into a pool of soft polenta and rich red wine gravy. Classic desserts include a lemony treacle tart and bread and butter pudding. + Good food in a great environment - Your wallet will need to be as healthy as your appetite

Six by Nico

97 Hanover Street, New Town (Map 1: G7), 0131 225 5050, sixbynico.co.uk/ edinburgh | £28 (set lunch) / £28 (set dinner)

Every six weeks, Six by Nico weaves a new story with its tasting menu. Past menus have seen familiar dishes like fish and chips, New York cheesecake and even Pot Noodle deconstructed to create gastronomic works of art. It’s affordable fine dining with a sense of humour in every concept. To start, chips and cheese is given a makeover and ends up a million miles from the stodgy chip shop mess of Friday night takeaways. Slivers of crispy potato hide under a sharp and salty parmesan foam. The fish and chips redefines everything you knew about a fish supper. A crispy beer emulsion batter practically pops on the tongue, working perfectly with vinegary little picked mussels and flaky Shetland cod. Indulgent puddings like the New York cheesecake pick apart a staple dish, served as a glimmering, fairytale-red apple on a bed of crunchy granola, the tang of lemon curd offsetting the vanilla cheesecake filling inside. For an upmarket dinner with friends, this buzzing restaurant serves gastronomic talking points with a side helping of playfulness. + Inventive fine dining without the crazy price tag - Gets pretty noisy, so you might have to shout to be heard

The Skylark

241–243 High Street, Portobello, Portobello, 0131 629 3037, theskylark. co.uk | £10.50 (lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Once downtrodden and forgotten, the seaside resort of Portobello has transformed itself into the home of yummy mummies, their cool kiddies and curly cockapoos. Trendy communityfocused Skylark fits in perfectly with its wide-open layout, colourful Formica tables and old wooden school chairs. The menu has a great choice of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free dishes – meat eaters will be sorry if they turn their noses up at the leek and mature cheddar arancini, deliciously seasoned with a chilli tomato relish. Every box is ticked with an ambitious and flavoursome main of saffron pilaf new potatoes accompanied by smoked aubergine, chermoula, and roast tomato chilli coulis.

There’s also possibly the poshest sausage and mash in Edinburgh, featuring pork rib ragù herb sausages from Portobello butcher Findlay with a puff pastry pie top. Skylark is admirably committed to local suppliers and the local economy, so everything from meat and fish to organic milk and bread is sourced as close to home as possible. + Good quality local food served with love and imagination - Porty not handy for everyone

Smoke Stack

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

Q NEW Sonder

74–78 South Clerk Street, Southside (Map 9: K11), 0131 667 7032, restaurantsonder.com | Closed Mon/Tue | £22 (lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Opened in August 2018, Sonder is an expression of the eclectic culinary experiences of far-travelled owner Trisha McCrae and the cooking skills of her fellow globetrotter Paul Graham. Cool colours and exposed walls give a relaxed vibe, enhanced by dining booths and banquette-style seating. Diners can also sit at the open kitchen and watch the chef cook up imaginative small plates, designed for sharing and made to order. A regularly changing menu is divided into snacks, garden, sea and land – the recommendation being two or three dishes per person. Snacks could include a tastebud-tingling diced venison bresaola with yuzu mayonnaise and marjoram, served on wafer squares. Roast cauliflower with romanesco broccoli and blobs of black garlic is a popular garden selection, while the sea options feature the likes of monkfish with sea vegetables, enhanced by a subtle curry sauce. Four delicate discs of tender lamb loin served with purple potatoes and oyster sauce confirm the chef’s talents, which are underlined by the desserts, including an ingenious blue cheese mousse with figs, served between two crackers to resemble an ice-cream wafer. + Every ingredient enhances the dish - Small plates leave you wanting more

NEW Southside Scran

14–17 Bruntsfield Place, Southside (Map 8: E11), 0131 342 3333, southsidescran. com | £17.50 (set lunch) / £35 (dinner)

Anticipation has been at fever-pitch (well, as fevered as the douce Southside gets) for the opening of this latest offshoot of Tom and Michaela Kitchin’s growing family of restaurants. A soft grey shopfront leads to a chic, tranquil interior filled with deep greens and blues, honeycomb tiles, sumptuous leather seating and a sparkling bar area. There’s all of the buzz and bustle of a typical French brasserie, while the menu (as expected) is a masterclass in Scottish sourcing, drawing exceptional farm, sea and loch produce from Scotland’s remarkable larder. A vivid risotto sets the tone – bright, pungent and full of flavour, it’s laced with smoky roasted pumpkin, toasted seeds and topped with crispy sage leaves. Notable mains include moist and creamy monkfish tail topped with lively cajun spices and Clash Farm pork belly – tender, juicy with a crisp crackling skin in a rich meaty sauce. Star of the show and at the heart of the menu is a rotisserie, which dominates the back wall and casts mouth-watering scents into the room as it grills various meats, fruits and vegetables, with a couple of sharing dishes like a whole roast Gartmorn chicken serving two or three diners. + Over 60 wines served by the glass . . . - . . . but wines are pricey

Spoon

6a Nicolson Street, Old Town (Map 2: J9), 0131 623 1752, spoonedinburgh.co.uk | £15 (lunch) / £22 (dinner)

It’s been a decade since Spoon relocated to this airy space, which has variously been a Chinese buffet and (famously) the café where JK Rowling wrote parts of the Harry Potter books. Today it welcomes regulars, students, theatregoers and tourists, who enjoy an all-day and into evening menu that is creative and eclectic. In fact, the food is a bit like the restaurant itself – the furniture doesn’t match, pictures are slightly crooked and the crockery is retro. But it’s all charming, with a very modern attitude: good local sourcing and no plastic in sight. Breakfast is served until 5pm, lunch from noon and pre-theatre is a popular choice before popping across to the Festival Theatre for a show. Dinner is wide-ranging and includes starters such as sweet potato with lentil mash and blue cheese. Among the mains, an aubergine, tomato and lentil curry hits the spot but is a little light on spice; or meat-eaters can go for braised brisket that falls apart to the touch and is served with bacon and marrowfat peas. And it’s tough to resist warm brownie with mascarpone at any time of day. + Good options for all appetites and diets - Closes early on Sundays, except during the Festival

Stocks Urban Bistro & Bar

Fraser Suites , 24–26 St Giles Street, Old Town (Map 1: H9), 0131 221 7211, stocksedinburgh.co.uk | £16.50 (set lunch) / £24 (dinner)

Tucked away at the top of the Mound and the News Steps, Stocks is the inhouse restaurant and room service for the adjoining Fraser Suites. But Robbie Mitchell, owner since 2017, is also developing it as a dining destination. A recent addition is a terrace with spectacular views. Inside, the two-tier dining room is decked out in muted colours, with banquettes and an eclectic mix of pictures on the walls. It is popular for breakfast, offers a good value lunch and has a growing reputation for its cocktails. The evening à la carte combines traditional bistro dishes with occasional forays off the beaten track. Haggis scotch egg is a popular starter, a crunchy outer on a perfectly-yolked egg accompanied by curry velouté, which adds a warming kick. Among the mains, slow cooked lamb falls apart to the touch, while tuna is seared on the outside and on the right side of pink when sliced open. Desserts are light – a tonka bean panacotta with berry coulis has a perfect wobble and is an ideal finale before heading outside into the tourist maelstrom. + Many of the bistro classics and a little bit more - On the tourist trail, so booking recommended in high season

Kiev that oozes truffle butter and comes with a flavoursome fettucini. Guinea fowl breast, nicely roasted on a bed of mixed grains and savoy cabbage, will suit smaller appetites, or there’s a good choice of steaks for traditionalists. A child-like joie de vivre suffuses the dessert menu, so leave room for the simply lovely rhubarb soufflé with a pink rose of candy floss. + Creative people-pleasing menu - Relaxing the corporate hotel vibe might entice more locals

Three Birds Restaurant

3–5 Viewforth, , Bruntsfield, Southside (Map 8: E12), 0131 229 3252, threebirds. co.uk | £12 (set lunch) / £23 (dinner)

Three Birds is the original venue in a small chain that’s been making a quiet splash on the Edinburgh dining scene these past few years. Their USP is a strong line in mid-level neighbourhood dining with a core of cheerful informality and a generous twist of playfulness. Seasonally changing menus run to an unformulaic kind of formula, inviting every flavour to the party and encouraging mingling. Caribbean chicken with a coconut and mango salad might, for example, share a table with homemade haggis, poached eggs and sriracha hollandaise. Imaginative combos feature across many dishes, like brown butter miso aioli supplying umami depth to clam fritters, or pistachio and chilli ice-cream lending a cooling factor to a warm beetroot and carrot cake. With lots of flavours vying for attention, it’s ironic that it occasionally feels like there’s something missing, but a pinch of salt or a squeeze of lemon usually sorts that out. And it’s clear why Three Birds has won so many regulars; it’s refreshing to find somewhere that has so much fun playing with its food. + Confidence with flavour - Less confidence with seasoning

Tigerlily

125 George Street, New Town (Map 1: E8), 0131 225 5005, tigerlilyedinburgh. co.uk | £24 (lunch) / £24 (dinner)

City centre diners don’t come much glitzier than this spacious hotel brasserie where mood lighting and imaginative design provide a glittering backdrop for delighted selfies. Larger groups make use of impressive beaded booths lining one wall while cosy twos and fours settle in chic feasting zones surrounding a large sparkling cocktail bar, lit by a suitably bling display of pinks and purples. The menu has a contemporary fusion vibe making use of Asian spices, seasonal ingredients and precise presentation. A substantial starter of beef rendang comes

Ten Hill Place

10 Hill Place, Old Town (Map 2: K9), 0131 662 2080, tenhillplace.com | £27 (dinner)

You could live a lifetime in Edinburgh and not come across Ten Hill Place, which is tucked down a side street in the city’s Southside. That would be a shame as the hotel and restaurant run by the Royal College of Surgeons is a very pleasant place to grab a bite to eat, especially before or after a concert at the Queens Hall. A 2018 renovation and expansion has seen it open a new modern restaurant with a creative Scottish menu. Starters range from scallops to a fresh and tasty tartare of Highland beef with toasted aioli ciabatta. Garlic lovers will enjoy an unusual and filling chicken The List Eating & Drinking Guide

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EDINBURGH

as two fluffy Asian bao buns stuffed with rich warming stew. A succulent main of confit chicken leg is served with a grilled breast and mild, fruity red curry sauce with lively highlights of coconut and lemongrass. Puddings include a creamy passion fruit panacotta offset with thin slivers of pineapple, coconut crunch and sharp mint. It’s a cool hangout, popular with twenty and thirtysomethings, especially on Friday and Saturday nights when resident (occasionally name) DJs spin the decks. + Lush interiors, Mellis cheeses and Brewdog on tap - Seasoning a tad faint-hearted for Pacific Rim dishes

NEW The Urban Fox

19–21 Causewayside, Southside (Map 9: K11), 0131 662 6766, the-urban-fox.com | £14 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

At first glance, this homely Causewayside local appears to be another identikit hipster joint, replete with Victoriana, taxidermy and a chic Farrow and Ball paint job. But peer a little closer and the Urban Fox eschews those conventions in favour of a little individuality, manifested here by striking purple and orange bursts of colour on the walls and some oddball hugging-animal table decorations. Personal touches distinguish this place, though the extensive menu struggles a little in finding an identity. Starters roam the globe, like beetroot and coriander falafel with tzatziki, or salt and pepper squid with sriracha mayo, while mains focus on tried and tested bistro staples – the ubiquitous slab of pork belly here comes with black pudding mash and baby leeks – or a wide range of chunky burgers, such as the Fox burger, piled intimidatingly high with onion rings, haggis, bacon and cheese. The food’s

not as memorable as the colour scheme but portions are generous and prices keen, making this neighbourhood fox an affordable choice for a satiating feast. + Hearty, homely and inexpensive, with lots of personality - Personal touches don’t extend to the menu

NEW Vesta Restaurant and Bar

7–8 Queensferry Street, West End (Map 6: D8), 0131 220 0773, vestaedinburgh. co.uk | £17 (lunch) / £21 (dinner)

Named after the Roman goddess of home, hearth and family, revamped Social Bite restaurant Vesta serves fresh, healthy comfort food to both the general public and the homeless community (there’s a special service on Monday afternoons, when the restaurant is closed to the public). The décor is modern and cosy with exposed brick walls, fresh potted herbs, and wooden furnishings. The menu focuses on feel-good food, much of which is vegan, although there’s also a good selection of meat and fish, while chunky burgers are made with either beef or delicious homemade seitan. The king oyster mushroom scallops are seared till supple and very reminiscent of the fishy version. Balsamic and cherry pork loin is cut thick, pan-fried tenderly, and served with rich black pudding. Desserts are a mixed bag with a fairly ordinary cheesecake on offer alongside a marvellously fluffy toffee sponge cake with gooey peanut butter icing and crunchy popcorn garnish. Lunch is a pared down version of the dinner menu with the addition of sandwich platters and on Sundays there’s brunch to be had, with keenly priced bubbles to accompany the eggs Benedict and avo toast. Enjoyed your meal? Gift the same to a homeless

person by adding its value to your bill. + Taste good/feel good Brewgooder lager on offer - Closed Monday afternoon (but it’s hard to see a homeless service as a negative)

The Voodoo Rooms

19a West Register Street, New Town (Map 2: I7), 0131 556 7060, thevoodoorooms.com | No kids | £18 (lunch) / £21 (dinner)

Known more for it’s raucous weekend nights and excellent cocktails, this bar and gig venue also runs a busy restaurant in its opulent Victorian gothic rooms. Lofty ceilings, panelled walls, leather banquettes and curlicue chairs are a uniform black and gold, lending an eclectic Joan-Crawford-meets-Slayer vibe. At night it perhaps suggests good times and strong drinks more than dinner, but lunch times are quieter, and popular with city shoppers and tourists alike. Eclecticism runs to the menu too: beetroot sorbet accompanies smoked duck and blue cheese, and dark chocolate jelly tops a pearly cauliflower risotto. More conventional items include crunchy courgette fritters to start, or crab claw meat on wholemeal bread from the range of sandwiches available during lunch, though the latter’s mammoth proportions could stifle the rest of the day’s activities. Cocktail bar, venue, restaurant: the Voodoo Rooms packs it all in, and doesn’t do a bad job, but maybe it’s not the best place to take your gran – unless she’s into Slayer. + Brilliant cocktails in fine, fin de siècle settings - Some menu items could do with a rethink

Q The Walnut

9 Croall Place, Leith Walk, Leith (Map 4: K6), 0131 281 1236 | Closed Mon/Tue | £10 (set lunch) / £20 (set dinner)

This could possibly be the hardest table to get in Edinburgh. Tiny Walnut on Leith Walk has room for just 24 people and if you want to be one, you’re going to have to book in advance. When you finally arrive, you’ll understand why – this is populist food, cooked and presented beautifully at very reasonable prices. Chef and owner Ben Waumsley cut his teeth at The Grain Store, one of Edinburgh’s most enduring high-end restaurants and its influence is apparent. His is rich French-Scottish fusion food full of flavour and depth with quality ingredients. Waumsley keeps it simple with a menu of three or four dishes augmented by a specials board. Pan-fried soft and succulent scallops are a regular special, sometimes served with a neat caesar salad with shards of parmesan. Follow that with a crispy skinned confit duck leg, a delight sitting on a cassoulet topped with a crunchy crust of parmesan. The meat floats off the bone and it all tastes amazing. A gingerrich contemporary twist on a clootie dumpling, with a light crème anglaise, is a great finale. + Three courses of great food for a bargain price - Keep ringing till you get through – booking is a bit of pain

The Wee Restaurant Edinburgh

61 Frederick Street, New Town See Scottish

Whiski Rooms

4, 6 & 7 North Bank Street, Old Town See Scottish

Vesta Restaurant and Bar

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83 Hanover Street

83 Hanover Street, New Town See Round the World

CAFES Edinburgh’s café scene continues to evolve and remains as vibrant as ever. These daytime foodies are often a source of real innovation, from coffee roasters to artisan bakers to scientists of salad, they push the boundaries of breakfast and lunch. And with creative menus, come creative spaces as cake counters make room for supper clubs and cookery workshops. Here we share the best of the new openings, rebrands and updates as well as our coveted Hitlist. Turn to page 31 for our Tiplists – recommendations for some of the best cafés and wee places in the city. You’ll also find hundreds of reviews at list. co.uk/food Reviewers: Anahit Behrooz, Hannah Jefferson, Suzy Pope, Ellen Renton

NEW Artisan Coffee

274 Leith Walk, Leith (Map 4:L5), 07802 353485, facebook.com/ artisancoffeeedinburgh | £7 (lunch)

With wooden floors and stripped back tables, there’s a dark but beachy feel to Artisan Coffee on Leith Walk. Old rope trims the walls and well-thumbed books on ledges create a cosy atmosphere. The space is a wee warren of secluded nooks where you can curl up and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee, with sumptuous-looking cakes and bakes from the Sicilian Bakery. The savoury menu features interesting choices like crispy borek, with flavours that could be straight from the streets of Istanbul, plus a side of smooth, garlicky hummus, fresh salad and crispy coleslaw. The veggie breakfast boasts roasted avocado slices, grilled halloumi and squishy tomatoes for a lovely light option. Everything has a warm hint of spices and it’s far from the stodge of a traditional fry-up. Even when busy there’s no pressure to move on, inviting you to stay a while and make yourself at home. + Cosy atmosphere and no pressure to move on - The coffee is a little bitter

Aurora

187 Great Junction Street, Leith, Leith See Bistros & Brasseries

NEW Beetroot Sauvage

33–41 Ratcliffe Terrace, Southside, 0131 229 4484, beetrootsauvage.co.uk | Closed Mon | £13 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Edinburgh’s embrace of all things plant-based shows no sign of slowing down. Newington’s Beetroot Sauvage does things with a twist though, with an upstairs studio space for yoga and other wellbeing classes so you can practice your downward dog before grabbing an oat milk latte. For less active types there’s still a full menu: all-day breakfasts, mains and desserts are all meat and dairy-free, and other dietary requirements are more than catered for. They make their own vegan cheeses, like mozzarella for toasted ciabatta sandwiches with pesto and tomatoes – it also features in a substantial mac and cheese. Cakes include raw bakes, and Steampunk coffee provide one vice at least. There’s plenty of outdoor seating and a Sunday market and Saturday evening dining sessions all provide lots of reasons to stop by. + Good choices for dietary requirements - Plant-based isn’t necessarily cheaper


In association with

Bon Papillon

15 Howe Street, Stockbridge See Arts Venues

✱ HITLIST

By Appointment to Her Majesty The Queen Supplier of Fine Cheese Valvona & Crolla Limited

Bross Bagels

105 Leith Walk, Leith See Cafés: Wee Places

Established 1934

Bross Bagels

19 Queensferry Street, West End See Cafés: Wee Places

C EL EB R ATI N G 8 5 YE A R S!

Café Modern One

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art One, 75 Belford Road, West End See Arts Venues

Café Modern Two

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Two, 73 Belford Road, West End See Arts Venues

Café at the Palace

Palace of Holyroodhouse, Old Town See Arts Venues

Café Portrait

Scottish National Portrait Gallery, 1 Queen Street, New Town See Arts Venues

Café Tartine

72 Commercial Quay, Leith See French

Café 1505

18 Nicolson Street, Southside See Arts Venues

Café Grande

182–184 Bruntsfield Place, Southside See Bistros & Brasseries

NEW The Chaumer Teahouse and Bar

61 Queen Street, New Town (Map 1: E8), thechaumer.com | £9 (lunch)

Initially conceived as a sort of glorious waiting room for customers of the adjoining Stewart Christie and Co tailors and guests of the rooms above, the Chaumer it has already grown into a far more special venue in its own right. The menu boasts a roll call of respected Scottish producers from Jarvis Pickle pies to Glutteny cakes alongside sandwiches and salads prepared onsite, with an extensive choice of teas and an approachable wine list. Asparagus and barley salad is flavoured with an unobtrusive dressing that allows for the vividly fresh ingredients to speak for themselves, while the smoked cheese and Puddledub ham grilled sandwich is satisfyingly comforting. The setting, with its ornate cornices and quintessential New Town architecture, feels special while service strikes the elusive balance of true professionalism and genuine warmth. + A remarkably peaceful spot in the centre of town - Cakes are on the pricey side

Checkpoint

3 Bristo Place, Old Town See Bistros & Brasseries

NEW Coates Café

62 Haymarket Terrace, West End (Map 6: B9), 0131 556 8124 | £9 (lunch)

Coates Café is a deceptively large space situated just before the bustle of Haymarket turns into the slightly more laid-back residential vibe of Roseburn. As such, it’s perfectly positioned for commuters needing a quick bite and locals wanting to kick back and enjoy a lazy lunch or brunch, and its pleasant jumble of mismatched furniture, comfy old couches, dark walls and patterned tiles seem to do an admirable job of

CAFES ✱ Di Giorgio A rustic yet cosy interior, exemplary Italian cooking, and invariably generous service all culminate in a thoroughly enjoyable experience. ✱ Honeycomb & Co This attractive Bruntsfield spot has really hit its stride, with excellent baking and lots of attention to the wee details helping set it apart. ✱ Loudons Now with two branches in the city, Loudons know how to throw a brunch. ✱ Milk The original Milk, this trendy café offers an eclectic menu of homemade breakfast and lunch favourites just a few minutes from Haymarket station. ✱ Ostara Definitely worth seeking out, Ostara is a friendly local cafébistro with a cosy atmosphere and genuine commitment to local suppliers. ✱ The Pantry Busy and deservedly popular spot, with beautiful options for breakfast, brunch and lunch. ✱ Söderberg A familiar sight around the city, Söderberg’s cafés and bakery shops are an ever-reliable option for everything from a quick coffee stop to a more leisurely lunch. ✱ 27 Elliot’s Jessica Elliott Dennison’s experience as a food stylist and writer helps this delightful café punch well above its weight. catering for both constituencies. They bake everything in-house with inviting pastries and bakes stacked on the counter. While there are a handful of pastas and salads for lunch, all-day breakfasts are the main draw. Breakfast rolls, a decent full veggie (which comes with a potato fritter which feels like a cross between a fritter and a pakora), shakshuka and eggs every which way make convincing options for a decent munch while you while away some time. + Interesting breakfast options - Absolutely no table service – you even have to go and find the menu yourself

Colonnades

Signet Library, Parliament Square, High Street, Old Town See Arts Venues

Contini George Street

The Original

Now open for dinner Only £4 corkage on all wines from our list ‘It hasn’t changed much in 25 years but we love it for that. It was always just right’ PETE IRVINE SCOTLAND THE BEST, 2019/20

Private events & parties catered for 19 Elm Row • Edinburgh EH7 4AA • 0131 556 6066 Book online valvonacrolla.co.uk

103 George Street, New Town See Italian

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CAFES

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EDINBURGH

NEW Don’t Tell Mama

64 Home Street, Tollcross (Map 8: F10) | £9 (lunch)

Apparently Edinburgh’s first Greek coffee bar, Don’t Tell Mama is a delightful addition to diverse Home Street. The space is small yet lovely, combining modern furniture and white-washed walls with charming touches like a vine-entangled, soft blue and gold trellis which covers a stretch of tables and sits just beneath the ceiling. The menu is just as appealing: feta cheese bougatsa (which like all their pastries is imported from Greece) is served with a dollop of tangy Greek yoghurt and melts in the mouth, while the open sandwich layers bread baked in-house with whipped Greek yoghurt and soft cheese, generous amounts of sliced avocado and smoked salmon for a delicious Mediterranean take on the quintessential avo-on-toast. When this is followed by an impossibly decadent avocado chocolate cake and the whole thing wrapped round with friendly service with a real personal touch, it’s no surprise that Don’t Tell Mama is fast becoming one of Tollcross’s unmissable spots. + The avocado chocolate cake - Bar stools which aren’t that comfy

are now two spaces operating under one name, with slightly different menus. The new second space, billed as the Larder’s little cousin, has a single-page menu that’s available all-day. There’s porridge, homemade beans on toast, and a range of chunky and satisfying toasties, like a rich, comforting melt with thick slices of ham, tangy cheese and red onion, all wrapped in two super-crunchy slabs of sourdough. Hearty and filling, it looks expensive at just under a tenner, but is the sort of quick brunch that will keep you going long into the evening. Wash it all down with good coffee and admire the brand-new-yetrustic space, with its big picture windows and cheerful staff. Next door is business as usual, with an excellent brunch and lunch menu, all immaculately sourced. Clearly it’s not fair to have a favourite cousin, especially when you’re choosing between the likes of eggs benny and bacon baps, so best to be on the safe side and visit each one in strict rotation. + That savoury gooey melt - The rustic furniture isn’t very comfy

with lime juice, feta and chilli flakes. Alternatively, plump for the equally tempting toast with artichoke, roasted peppers and yoghurt. Though owners Sibel and Nigel are new to the scene, they have been quick to identify some dependable local suppliers with soups from Union of Genius and coffee from Edinburgh roasters Machina. Cakes – particularly the homemade brownies – entice, but for the sweet-toothed, the hazelnut praline on toast, beautifully topped with an array of fruit, honey and seeds, will surely be a highlight. A happy, bright spot for lunch or brunch. + Fantastic coffee, decent beer and wine - More home-baked cakes please

The Festival Theatre Café

With behind the scenes changes, Honeycomb has now hit a sweet spot among the throng of Bruntsfield eateries. Equally tempting breakfast and lunch menus mean that it really is buzzing all day. Inspired French toast and bacon, with a sticky chilli jam, generous pepperings of spices, seeds and tahini yoghurt, is served happily morning and noon. The sweet-toothed have the happy choice of a chocolate cardamom honey bun or pistachio, carrot, and coconut morsels. Owner Ian D’Annunzio-Green’s affiliation with ethical business Plan Bee makes for an obvious focus on the sweet stuff but savoury options are no

13–29 Nicolson Street, Old Town See Arts Venues

The Drill Hall Café

NEW Fortuna Coffee Bar

Edinburgh Larder Café

For an excellent cup of coffee in central Edinburgh, this little modern eatery is well worth remembering. A simple but creative menu makes it hard to resist something more on the side, too. While an avocado open sandwich may be par for the course, it’s enlivened here with peri peri, tomatoes and well balanced

34 Dalmeny Street, Leith See Arts Venues

77 Queen Street, West End (Map 1: E8), 0131 467 0179, fortunaqueenst.co.uk | £8 (lunch)

15 Blackfriars Street, Old Town (Map 2: J8), 0131 556 6922, edinburghlarder.co.uk | £8 (soup & half sandwich) (set lunch)

Edinburgh Larder have owned the spot next door to them for a few years now, but have never quite worked out the best way to use it. But that’s all changed: there

Groats

17 St Stephen Street, Edinburgh, Stockbridge See Cafés: Wee Places

Q Honeycomb & Co

1 Merchiston Place, Southside (Map 8: D12), 0131 228 4641, honeycombandco. com | £14.50 (lunch)

less creative. Take the popular North African dish of shakshuka, which can be made into a shak and black here with the addition of black pudding. Hospitality is competently professional but exudes warmth, both from the attentive staff and details like baskets of hot-water bottles at the door for al fresco diners. + Baking to make the mouth water - Quality food inevitably costs more

Hula Juice Bar and Gallery

103–105 West Bow, Old Town (Map 1: H9), 0131 220 1121, hulajuicebar.co.uk | £8 (lunch)

Tucked at the base of Victoria Street on the hectic Grassmarket and under recent new ownership, Hula Juice Bar and Gallery is a welcome respite from the crowds, hills, and Harry Potter shops. While it offers an array of freshly pressed juices and made-to-order smoothies to take away, those with more time on their hands should settle at a table and delve into Hula’s fresh take on traditional café food. Although there are a handful of omnivorous options, most of Hula’s locally sourced dishes are vegetarian and vegan friendly. The rainbow bowl, a rice and curry dish based around a daily selection of seasonal vegetables (in this case a warming mix of mushrooms and spinach) showcases their emphasis on freshness, while the acai bowl layers colourful berries and a crunch of nuts and granola over a sharp yet sweet banana and berry smoothie which is the perfect balance for the rainbow bowl’s spicy bite. An impossibly creamy vegan coconut cheesecake rounds the meal off perfectly with just a touch of decadence. + The changing specials board - Slightly cramped seating

NE LO W UD N O WA O N S W VER OP LE EN Y

At Loudons we offer delicious breakfasts, lunches and of course our famous all-day brunches, along with cakes and bakes, loose leaf teas and superb coffee All food made from scratch | Vast range of free-from dishes, including vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free

NOW OPEN

Independent all-day eatery | Open seven days a week 2 Sibbald Walk, New Waverley Edinburgh | EH8 8FT loudons.co.uk

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94b Fountainbridge Edinburgh | EH3 9QA @Loudonscafe

@loudons


CAFES

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EDINBURGH

SE LIST.CO E .U FOR EX K/FOOD TRA IN FO & LINK S

Rose Theatre Café

NEW Sugar Daddy’s

St Giles’ Cathedral Café

Established in 2015, Sugar Daddy’s in Canonmills became a haven for the gluten-intolerant in search of homemade, well-crafted baked goods. Its new, larger, Marchmont branch keeps up the good work, with more seating and an even more expansive menu. French toast, thickly cut and crisp on the outside and served with a generous helping of bacon and maple syrup, is a welcome treat for those who normally have to avoid bread-based menu options, while the pastrami sandwich similarly hits the right spot. But as with their original branch, it’s the bakery that stands out. Inspired by the owner’s own experiences as a coeliac, there is a real personal touch and creative urge behind each gluten-free option. A banana chocolate chip pancake cupcake is as promising as it sounds, oozing with melted chocolate and finished with a tiny pancake on its buttercream top. + The colourful cupcake range - The main menu could be broader

204 Rose Street, New Town See Arts Venues

St Giles’ Cathedral, High Street, Old Town See Arts Venues

Salt Café

54–56 Morningside Road, Southside See Bistros & Brasseries

Scotts Kitchen

4–6 Victoria Terrace, Old Town See Scottish

The Skylark

241–243 High Street, Portobello, Portobello See Bistros & Brasseries

Q Söderberg Morningside 310 Morningside Road, Southside See Cafés: Wee Places

Söderberg Pavilion

1 Lister Square, Quartermile, Old Town See Round the World

Spoon

Loudons

NEW Little Fitzroy

46 Easter Road, Leith (Map 4: M6), 0131 659 5161, littlefitzroy.coffee | Closed Tue | £6 (lunch)

This wee place on Easter Road may lure you in with its steadily building reputation as a serious coffee destination, but there’s plenty else on offer too. Once inside, a fully veggie lunch and breakfast menu entices you to stay for more than just a caffeine injection. Maple syrup-soaked French toast with soy yoghurt and forest berries is so tangy and tasty you won’t even notice it’s vegan. For lunch, the falafels that top a hummus flatbread are moist and don’t crumble into nothing when you take a bite. But the true stars of this tiny joint are strong Fortitude coffees and aromatic loose-leaf teas; that said, freshly baked banana bread with warm custard and a zesty berry compote on the side could give both a decent run for their money. + No messing about with the coffee - The old lino floor is shabby rather than chic

Q NEW Loudons

2 Sibbald Walk , New Waverley, Old Town (Map 2: K8), 0131 556 7734, loudons.co.uk | £15 (lunch)

Fountainbridge’s acclaimed café has expanded to the New Waverley development, much to the delight of anyone in the city centre who likes to brunch. The original branch is known for a readiness to cater cheerfully for any kind of dietary requirement, and the new Loudons not only maintains this ethic but mirrors its friendly, relaxed atmosphere, with an added bonus of the square’s public art installations. Spinach and goat’s cheese eggs Benedict, drizzled with fresh pesto rather than hollandaise, fragrantly balances a palette of distinctive flavours. Dipping into the lunch menu proves that brunch isn’t Loudons only strong suit: the garlic lamb burger blends Mediterranean influences of mint yoghurt and cumin-spiced lamb with all the pub food comfort of a burger and fries. A glass counter showcases freshly baked cakes, but American-style pancakes also make a great dessert option: their great flan-like texture, caramelised baked bananas, and a small jug of maple syrup is definitely decadent. + Incredibly friendly service - Décor is a bit too Scandi-minimal

Milk at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop 21 Hawthornvale, Leith See Arts Venues

Milk at The Fruitmarket Gallery

Fruitmarket Gallery, 45 Market Street, Old Town See Arts Venues

6a Nicolson Street, Old Town See Bistros & Brasseries

Stocks Urban Bistro & Bar

Fraser Suites , 24–26 St Giles Street, Old Town See Bistros & Brasseries

The Story Café

Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43 High Street, Old Town See Arts Venues

8 Roseneath Street, Southside (Map 9; H11), sugardaddysedinburgh.com | £8 (lunch)

Summerhall Café

1 Summerhall, Southside See Arts Venues

NEW Thrive Café Bar

171 Bruntsfield Place, Southside (Map 8: D12), 0131 623 6885, thrive-edinburgh. co.uk | £18 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

A new addition to Edinburgh’s veggie and vegan landscape, Thrive Café and Bar fuses high-end ingredients and presentation with comfort-food inspiration. Inside, lush plants and hessian accents sit alongside exposed brick

One20 Wine Café

120 Dundas Street, New Town See Bars & Pubs

The Pantry at Dovecot

Dovecot Studios, 10 Infirmary Street, Old Town See Arts Venues

Punjabi Junction

122–124 Leith Walk, Leith See Indian

Red Box Marchmont

2–6 Spottiswoode Road, Southside (Map 8: H12), 0131 446 0188, redboxcoffee.com | £9 (lunch)

There’s nothing box-like about Red Box. Inside, it’s all high ceilings and exposed brick, with a massive, painted mural covering one of the walls. A red phone box stands by the door, surrounded by products from local businesses like reusable coffee cups, fudge and whisky. Grab a stool at the window or find a secluded little nook at the back – there are plenty of seats to choose from. Coffees are small but well-crafted, tasting deliciously like woodsmoke. The menu won’t win any awards for innovation with loaded baked potatoes and eggs on toast being the main content, but daily ciabatta specials adventure areas like hummus, beetroot and chicory, while the croque monsieur is creamy and bread still fluffy. Fist-sized baked potatoes don’t skimp on the filling and come dripping with baked beans and melted cheese. With plenty of room there’s no pressure to move on if you want to crack open your laptop, and it’s well worth pitching up here to enjoy coffee after coffee while you work. + Loads of places to sit and incredibly welcoming service - Window posters block out natural light and views The List Eating & Drinking Guide

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CAFES: THE WEE PLACES

In association with

EDINBURGH

walls and contemporary copper lighting, drawing on the hippie origins of the vegan scene while blending seamlessly into Bruntsfield’s trendy, upmarket aesthetic. While the brunch menu features a few poached eggs, the main menu is entirely vegan. The buffalo wings are a stand out: cauliflower and a crisp tempura coating act as a vehicle for homemade hot sauce and pair perfectly with the equally spicy and indulgent dirty fries smothered in vegan cheese sauce and jalapeños. Mains are solid, but the pear and cardamom crumble is an outrageously decadent way to finish, marrying the sweetness of pears and coconut ice cream with a twist on traditional cinnamon spice mix. Despite the burgers and fries on offer this isn’t diner food: expect locally sourced ingredients, artfully prepared drinks, and a chic, intimate vibe. + Creative fresh juice and alcohol menu - Mains don’t quite live up to the starters and mains

Traverse Coffee

10 Cambridge Street, West End See Arts Venues

Q NEW 27 Elliott’s

27 Sciennes Road, Southside (Map 9: J11), 27elliotts.com | Closed Mon | £13 (lunch) / £35 (set dinner)

It would be wholly right to have high expectations of this confidently casual new neighbourhood eatery. Happily it more than exceeds them. The joy here is in the details, from the carefully chosen modern rustic décor to plates of food with competent, bold and inventive balances of flavour. Jessica Elliott Dennison brings with her a wealth of experience as a food stylist and writer as well as having produced her own cookery book. Lentils and beetroot are enlivened with walnuts and brambles and scattered with a comforting, creamy grating of feta. A humble egg on sourdough is exciting, served with yoghurt, harissa and lemon. Cordials, pickles and cakes, including a hazelnut chocolate and pear loaf, are all made in-house. Obadiah coffee is predictably top-notch, particularly alongside a homemade tahini ice-cream with red wine-poached figs. All this enjoyed in the cosy surrounds of this bright, sunny gem makes for genuinely memorable eating. + Joyful and inventive food - Excellent baking is limited in choice Edinburgh Larder

Valvona & Crolla Caffè Bar

CAFES: THE WEE PLACES

Victor Hugo Delicatessen and Lounge

From patisseries to porridge bars, the wee places are the small but valued answer to our morning wake-up call for coffee and our afternoon cravings for cake. Unsurprisingly, these neighbourhood stop-offs delight to focus on the details; thanks to them, the city is rife with discerningly brewed coffee and inspired lunches to-go. Here we share the best of the new openings, rebrands and updates as well as our coveted Hitlist. Turn to page 31 for our Tiplists – recommendations for some of the best cafés and wee places in the city. You’ll also find hundreds of reviews at list.co.uk/food

19 Elm Row, Leith Walk, New Town See Italian

26–29 Melville Terrace, Southside (Map 9: J11), 0131 667 1827, victorhugodeli.com | £8.50 (lunch) / £9 (dinner)

Sitting on a corner of the Meadows since 1969, Victor Hugo continues to bring a little bit of continental culture to Edinburgh. But there’s change afoot in the Victor Hugo camp, with a new opening planned for George Street in the late spring of 2019. Fans can expect their take on classic French café classics to travel downtown, while the mothership continues in much the same vein. Croque monsieur and a huge pastrami on rye, stuffed with plenty of spiced beef, pickles and lashings of mustard, are satisfying. Cakes, tarts and pastries cover the counter and the café hums throughout the day to the hiss of a coffee machine brewing their own speciality roast. As well as sandwiches, they also serve sharing platters, hot dishes, salads and, for the less virtuous, syrup-topped waffles. + That pastrami on rye is good - No disabled loos in the Meadows branch

NEW Williams and Johnson Coffee Co Waverley Mall, Princes Street, New Town (Map 1: I8), 07542 974642, williamsandjohnson.com | £8 (lunch)

The Waverley Mall branch of the Leith coffee roastery opened in 2018 and gives an independent alternative to the chain coffee shops down in the train station. Entering via Princes Street, it’s easy to spot the sleek looking coffee shop looking over the shops. You can order one of their own Leith roasted and seasonally curated coffees, a PekoeTea or a chilled bottle of kombucha to go for the train, or sign up for their espresso subscription and get very freshly roasted beans posted straight to your home or office. Soups, fancy cheese toasties and cakes are available to sit in or to go, and there’s a small selection of tote bags, expert coffee gear and magazines to buy from a bright yellow display rack. On good weather days, one of the pillar box red outdoor tables would be a great spot to enjoy an affogato. + Quality locally roasted coffee - Not the cheapest

Reviewers: Anahit Behrooz, Hannah Jefferson, Suzy Pope, Ellen Renton

NEW The Beach House Bakery 112 Portobello High Street, Portobello, Portobello , 0131 669 9634, thebeachhousebakery.com | Closed Sun | £8 (lunch)

Their larger Porty prom premises has been a local favourite for years, and now The Beach House have added a takeaway on the nearby high street. The Beach House Bakery is a neat distillation of all its sister café is known and loved for; friendly service that fosters a neighbourhood atmosphere, simple yet charmingly effective seaside décor and crowd-pleasing dishes made fresh with locally sourced ingredients. The bakery operates without a menu, instead creating changing daily choices that prioritise seasonal flavours. This flexibility is a hit with customers, especially those with specific dietary requirements. Although no two days are the same in the kitchen there are a few staples that tend to stay put on the chalkboard, such as heartily thick soups and their famous sourdough breads. Keep an eye out for their pop-up supper club too – a monthly three-course dinner prepared by the Bakery staff. + The bread is second to none - No menu means your favourites won’t always be available

Q NEW Bross Bagels

105 Leith Walk, Leith (Map 4: M4), 0131 629 4560, brossbagels.com | £7 (lunch)

The arrival of Bross Bagels on Leith Walk in June 2018 cemented their reputation as one of Edinburgh’s most talked about lunch spots – and rightly so. Hot bagels, a unique feature of the menu at this branch, include dynamic specials like the spicy Scot; haggis, chorizo, smoked applewood cheddar and chilli mayo. It’s a surprisingly intricate combination where heat and depth of flavour complement each other rather than wrestling for attention. The hungry vegan is a masterclass in jazzing up a classic, with chilli oil and rock salt bringing a touch of elegance to avocado and tomato. The seating area, where exposed brick and corrugated iron meets neon signs and comfy sofas, feels cool without trying too hard, creating a relaxed atmosphere. + Simply brilliant bagels - Hectic takeaway queue

Q HITLIST

CAFÉS: THE WEE PLACES ✱ Archipelago Bakery This

stalwart of the New Town scene continues to produce ingenious breads and bakes that keep customers coming back for more.

✱ The Bearded Baker

Homemade doughnuts compete with freshly baked bagels for the top spot at this tiny Canonmills bakery.

✱ Brochan Hopelessly devoted

to oats and grains, this small Marchmont café turns porridge into an unexpected treat.

✱ Bross Bagels It’s been the year of the bagel in Edinburgh as Bross expanded their empire to three shops and thousands of loyal fans.

✱ Fieldwork Personal and local,

Fieldwork’s food is as inventive as its welcome is warm.

✱ Union of Genius Just quietly

making soup year-on-year, Union epitomises the charm of the wee place. More power to their elbows.

the perfect quick breakfast or lunch spot, with a handful of tables and window seats, freshly ground coffee and an array of authentic Montreal-style bagels. Classic cream cheese and lox on a poppy seed bagel is decadent, piling slivers of melt-inthe-mouth smoked salmon over a notably generous schmear of cream cheese, but the goy bagel truly stands out. Combining traditional Jewish latkes with seven or eight rashers of not-so-kosher bacon caramelised in maple syrup and finished with creamy scrambled eggs, melted cheese, and some extra avocado, it’s a towering masterpiece of perfectly balanced sweet and savoury encased a perfectly

Q NEW Bross Bagels

19 Queensferry Street, West End (Map 6: D8), 0131 467 1411, brossbagels.com | Closed Sun | £7 (lunch)

The latest member of the ever-growing Bross Bagels family, this tiny eatery is

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crisp yet chewy bagel. With a bracing cup of freshly brewed coffee alongside, it is the perfect way to start or pause the day. + The breakfast menu - Closes earlyish and can sell out

NEW Fiocchi Di Neve

93 Dalry Road, West End, 0131 446 3151, fiocchidineve.co.uk | £8 (lunch)

Uncompromisingly authentic, Fiocchi Di Neve is a small taste of Italy. A deli counter packed with traditional Italian favourites makes for a delightfully bewildering choice of lunch options. Frittatas range from simple ricotta to vegetable varieties, while rice arancini are comfortingly cheesy. Stuffed peppers and homemade pasta abound, with supplies of plump fresh halloumi bread from sister restaurant Pizzeria 1926, as well as other tasty things cooked across the road at Loconda de Gusti. What this bright new little venue really showcases though is a beautiful array of cakes and pastries that will pull in many a passer-by. Creamy amaretto layered slices or boozy rum babas are tempting, but a beautiful choux pastry swan is satisfying in its simplicity alongside a Kimbo Italian coffee. The bright friendly eating space is pleasant for a sit-in lunch, though tables are limited and takeaway is clearly popular. + A cabinet of beautiful Italian patisserie - No toilet

NEW Good & Proper Deli Co

74 Raeburn Place, Stockbridge, Stockbridge (Map 7: C6), gandpdelico. co.uk | Closed Mon | £7 (lunch)

In a small, minimalist space with just 15 seats, owner Sally Macleod makes wholesome, fresh food onsite everyday, using local produce where possible. It’s small enough to not really be suitable for buggies (a selling point for some) but if full, everything can be ordered to go. Quiche, frittata and soup are fixture on the menu, often with vegan options, and flavours change daily to keep customers interested, as well as healthy and happy. Their sausage rolls, such as the pork, lemon, fennel and chilli, have acquired a faithful local following as have their bacon rolls with homemade tomato sauce. Further indulge with scones (sweet and savoury) or cakes and take five with a loose-leaf tea or a cappuccino from local small-batch roasters Red Box Coffee. + Colourful, healthy Ottolenghi-style salads - No WiFi

NEW Gooseneck Café

22 Grindlay Street, West End (Map 1: E9), 0131 629 9331, gooseneckcafe.com | Closed Sun | £6.50 (lunch)

This modern little café is handily

positioned opposite the Lyceum Theatre, and just round the corner from the Usher Hall and Traverse, so it’s well worth remembering pre or post-show for a discerningly brewed cup of coffee. Seating is scarce though and those lucky enough to bag the chaise longue may be tempted to linger. Lunch is a simple line-up of toasts with avocado and goat’s cheese or brie with apple and pear compote. A cranberry and cashew salad pot is packed with fresh greens, red cabbage and apple pleasingly served with homemade pesto on top and sourdough on the side. Attention to detail shines through most of the drinks’ menu. A chai latte is made with a blend of house spices, freshly ground to order and sweetened with maple syrup, while a hot chocolate bowl indulgently arrives with whipped coconut cream and a croissant for dipping. + Good value, great coffee and friendly service - Not much for the meat eater

NEW Groats

17 St Stephen Street, Edinburgh, Stockbridge (Map 7: E7), facebook.com/ groats.edi | Closed Tue | £6 (lunch)

It’s almost all about the oats here – porridge, to be precise, in all manner of creative combinations. After popping-up for stints at Williams and Johnson Coffee and Artisan Roast, the Groats team have now found a more permanent base on pretty-as-a-picture St Stephen Street in Stockbridge. It’s a serene space, with big picture window (big enough for seats) and Scandi-chic décor; walls of bare stone and distressed paint; pale wood floors, benches and tables; and a few artistically strewn throws and cushions. The focus is firmly on an ever-changing list of porridge creations, with the pear and caramel version silky, sweet and creamy. If the oats don’t grab your fancy, though, try a tempting plate of cottage cheese, ham and soft poached egg with rye sourdough, or maybe just a thick slice of chocolate babka cake. + Doing magical things with oats - A couple of non-sweet porridge options would be good

NEW Hungry Wolf Café & Takeaway

16 Iona Street, Leith, (Map 4: L5), facebook.com/HungryWolfCafeTakeaway | Closed Tue | £10 (dinner)

Grab one of the limited seats at Hungry Wolf’s big window and listen to the tinkle of takeaway orders stream in. The exposed chipboard motif is reminiscent of the Screwfix catalogue, but it’s not about the décor in here – it’s all about the food. Classic takeaway burgers and hotdogs are cooked fresh to order without a hint

of re-heated stodge and have interesting touches. For example, a succulent chicken burger might be expected on the menu at a Scottish takeaway, but pairing it with pickles and cooling tzatziki sauce gives a hint of the Caucasus. But it’s the Georgian national dish, khachapuri, that offers something really different and unique in Edinburgh. They are freshly baked fluffy bread boats filled with piping hot cheese topped off with a runny egg, to make a satisfying late night meal or quick dinner. Pro tip: eat it by ripping the bread off the edges and dipping it into the gooey mix in the centre. What’s not to love? + Takeaway food is cooked fresh to order - Décor is a bit of a mish-mash

NEW It’s All Good

127 Easter Road, Leith (Map 4: M6), itsall-good-cafe.business.site | Closed Mon | £8 (lunch)

It’s refreshing to find a new opening like It’s All Good – an accessible café that focuses on healthy balance rather than keeping up with fads. A range of dietary and budgetary needs are catered for and all dishes are created in line with their ethos of honest cooking and local sourcing. The Moroccan lamb and salsa is a highlight among the toasted wraps, with a complex marinade and a perfectly matched mound of raita-style yogurt. The veggie burger with halloumi sees flavour prioritised over bulk in a delicate patty featuring red peppers and apricots. Alongside the main dishes there are vegan cakes, revitalising smoothies and colourful salads, in a compact menu that convincingly covers all bases. + A refreshing attitude towards healthy eating - Punny name doesn’t quite do the café justice

NEW The Kilted Donut

191 Great Junction Street, Leith (Map 5: L3), kilteddonut.com | Closed Mon/Tue | £5 (doughnut and coffee) (lunch)

A good doughnut is one of life’s ultimate treats, and luckily for the people of Leith some real specialists have arrived with inventive recipes and a flourishing takeaway business. The Kilted Donut started life as a market stall, but now operates from a compact yet cosy unit with a tantalising counter display and a few tables for sit-in customers, who can wash down their sweet treat with an Eteaket tea or Williams and Johnson coffee. Classic flavours like the jammy – a miraculously unstodgy marriage of fresh jam and delicate dough – are always available, while specials are served on a rotational basis (it’s worth keeping an eye on their Facebook page to see what’s on each day). For something a little different try the crème brûlée with a crème patissiere filling and a crisp burnt sugar surface, just like the dessert that inspired it. + Innovative baking - The drawback of daily baking - stocks dwindle as the day goes on

NEW The Milk Coffee Shack

Inverleith Park, Nr Arboretum Place, Inverleith, cafemilk.co.uk/inverleith-park | £5 (lunch)

Every dog walker who pauses for breath at the pond, or any parent who has stood shivering on the sidelines of the sports pitches, will undoubtedly agree that the Milk Coffee Shack is a welcome addition to Inverleith Park. Permanently located between the playpark and the Sundial Garden, the shack offers a choice selection of drinks and bakes to take away. Naturally, coffees of varying tastes and sizes make up most of the menu, but there are also a few refrigerated fizzy options and a velvet-textured hot chocolate that will thaw chilly fingers and 90

The List Eating & Drinking Guide

satisfy cravings. One of the highlights among the cakes comes in the form of the unexpectedly wonderful match of bitter pistachio, unmistakable cardamom heat, and sweet white chocolate in a soft dough cookie. Humans aren’t the only ones catered for either: water bowls are available and dog biscuits are for sale. + Idyllic spot for a coffee stop - A couple of vegan bakes wouldn’t go amiss

NEW 101 Bakery

101 Newington Road, Southside (Map 9: L11), 101bakery.com | Closed Sun | £5 (lunch)

Painted in a very easy on the eye colour scheme of pale pink and bottle green, this Southside bakery opened in October 2018 and is fast collecting a fanbase of Newington regulars. Open from 8.30am during the week and 10am on Saturday, those in the know rush to get their slices of raspberry cheesecake, creme egg brownies, dark chocolate cookies and banoffee pie before they sell out. Wholesale orders of their Grace & Co buns and celebration cakes are available too, and they have a cake chauffeur if you fancy ordering some of their gold and rose-coloured macaroons in bulk for a party. There’s a small, green-tiled shop counter and a row of window seats if you fancy perching with a luxurious PB&J cupcake and coffee in a pink mug – it wouldn’t do to clash with the décor. + Delicious baking and good free-from options - When they’re gone, they’re gone

NEW Söderberg Morningside

310 Morningside Road, Southside, 0131 446 0350, soderberg.uk | £9 (lunch)

The newest member of the Soderberg family is a welcome addition to Morningside’s bustling high street. With only four tables inside, this understated café does a lot of takeaway business but those lucky enough to snag a table can enjoy the Swedish-inspired menu in the café’s equally Swedish-minimalist surroundings. Post-breakfast, they serve a small selection of hot food: chana masala soup is a satisfying option, a hearty, chunky mix of chickpeas, tomatoes, and heady spices served with a few slices of freshly baked baguette. A further dive into the bakery reveals intricately plaited cardamom buns, crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, which tear into soft, fluffy layers sprinkled throughout with freshly ground cardamom. Eaten alongside their famously rich hot chocolate, this is fika at its best. + The fresh, spiced buns - Could be a little cosier

NEW Thirsty Pallet

15 Elm Row, Leith (Map 4: K6), 0131 556 8826| £9 (lunch)

A dog friendly – in fact, generally friendly – café in Elm Row, Thirsty Pallet is run by a mother and son team. Supplies of fresh scones and home baking are topped up every day, and there’s a nod to New York in the deli-style food like filled bagels, breakfast muffins, croissants and toasties. Upcycled wooden pallets have been made into low benches and coffee tables where you can admire the tropical fish gliding around in the tank and listen to local radio while you wait for your coffee and bacon roll to go. Alternatively you can sit-in with a black haggis cheese grill (black pudding and haggis with melted Monterey Jack cheese). This is a nice café to have up your sleeve; it’s neither too cool for school or expensive and it’s handy for a multitude of locations and transport options. + Warm service and homebaking - Opens up early so it shuts up shop early too


EAST ASIAN

In association with

EDINBURGH

EAST ASIAN

B&D’s Kitchen

Café Andamiro

From Chinese hot pots and Korean barbecues to eclectic Malaysian, Vietnamese and Thai street food, plus daring fusions, the choice from Asia has never been wider. And with new additions turning up the heat on the old guard, there are plenty of fresh flavours for the adventurous.

214 Dalry Road, West End, 0131 261 9248, bdskitchen.co.uk | Closed Mon | £14 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

113 Buccleuch Street, Southside (Map 9: J10), 0131 667 0048, cafe-andamiro. co.uk | Closed Sun/Mon | £12 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Reviewers: Courtney Hyde Peyton, Chris Marks

Absolute Thai THAI

22 Valleyfield Street, Tollcross (Map 8: F10), 0131 228 8022, absolutethai.co.uk | Closed Sun | £19 (lunch) / £19 (dinner)

Tucked around the corner from the King’s Theatre, Absolute Thai may be unassuming but more than makes up for it with the quality of its food. The dining room is small and simple, the service unflashy but genuinely warm and kind. Try pushing the boat out and start by sharing a Thai salad of chicken larb; the minced chicken lightly seasoned with chilli, lime, mint and red onion to produce a clean, hot, fresh hit. Or venture to a sirloin or scallop option, with the vinegary sweetness and heat countering the grilled savoury flavours. One of the best pad Thais in Edinburgh is to be found here; moist, unctuous with plenty of prawns, comforting and moreish. Crispy duck with pepper and garlic sauce is beautifully cooked and with enough garlic to keep your demons at bay. Fish and seafood options are particularly tempting – steamed sea bass with spicy lime dressing is a fitting example of the light, confident touch of chef Kachen Gerdphol’s magical kitchen. BYOB is a bonus. + A sure and confident hand in the kitchen - Not open for lunch

CHINESE

It’s easy to walk right past B&D’s Kitchen, yet hiding within is some seriously good Cantonese cooking. That said, you might want to plan ahead, as many of the more unusual dishes require pre-ordering. But if you’re not that organised the main menu offers readily available dishes, like three treasures: aubergine, peppers and tofu stuffed with prawn and cooked in a savoury black bean sauce. The signature ‘hot sand’ dishes feature lightly battered meat of your choice covered in finely chopped, oven-roasted garlic, while homemade dumplings are full of flavour. It’s small and tables are close together, but it’s comfortable enough and don’t forget to bring your tipple of choice – it’s BYOB and a fair walk to the nearest bottle shop. + Unusual Cantonese cooking - Forgetting to BYOB

Bar Soba FUSION

104 Hanover Street, New Town (Map 1: G7), 0131 225 6220, barsoba.co.uk | £17 (lunch) / £17 (dinner)

This New Town bar walks the line between bar and restaurant, offering pan-Asian street food, cheap cocktails and loud music to a young, lively crowd. The menu covers all the bases from dumplings and noodles to curries and rice dishes, and takes its fusions to the extreme with choices such as cheeseburger spring rolls and a salt and pepper fish finger sandwich. Highlights include a buttermilk fried chicken katsu curry and soft shell crab with chilli-lime mayo. The cocktails take equal billing with the food, and the weekend boozy brunch menu combines the two into a fixed-price offer. Student nights, cheap deals and regular DJs ensure this place is buzzing throughout the week. + It’s also a bar! - Service can be slow

Andamiro Ramen Bar

Bentoya

117–119 Buccleuch Street, Southside See Japanese

13 Bread Street, Tollcross See Japanese

KOREAN

Dumplings of China

NOODLE & SUSHI BARS

KOREAN

Andamiro is a Korean word conjuring the image of a basket overflowing with fish – in other words, a bounty. Split between a restaurant and a ramen bar of the same name next door, this place is a go-to for generous bowls of comforting Korean and Japanese home cooking. They certainly won’t be winning any awards for interior design, but the predominantly student clientele don’t seem to mind. The menu lists its Korean and Japanese starters together and the pancakes of both are worth a try. But Japan wins this round as the okonomiyaki can’t be beat. Made with cabbage, seafood, and generously adorned with fluttering bonito flakes, it’s ridiculously delicious and large enough for two. Main courses are divided by nationality, with tender pork belly and squid in piquant chilli sauce a Korean highlight. On Japan’s side, the tri-colour donburi of soft scrambled egg, flaked salmon and lightly sautéed spinach, prettily arranged on a mound of rice, is wholesome and satisfying. Round your meal off with one of the speciality teas, made by the head chef’s mother and shipped over from Korea. + Well-priced, comforting Korean and Japanese food - Packed tables make it a quick stop rather than a leisurely meal

Chop Chop CHINESE

248 Morrison Street, West End (Map 6: C9), 0131 221 1155, chop-chop.co.uk | £19 (set lunch) / £19 (dinner)

Chop Chop has been serving up cheap, fast and reliable Chinese food for well over a decade now from its bright and colourful Haymarket outpost. Its success has seen it branch out with a dumpling factory and a slick online marketing operation. Yet it still feels like a family business, with founder Jian Wang leading the kitchen team and her son Yin Fei working front of house and performing the occasional magic show. The dumplings are the centrepiece of the menu, boiled or fried in nine different flavours, from classic pork and prawn to

Q HITLIST

EAST ASIAN ✱ Lucky Yu Tiny, friendly Leith

Walk newcomer which crams a lot of flavour into a menu starring gorgeous gyozas and brilliant bao buns.

✱ Passorn This sophisticated Thai serves family recipes with an eye for detail, delighting all of the senses.

✱ Saboteur Relaxed and

welcoming casual dining joint offering Vietnamese and fusion at street food prices.

✱ Stack Dim Sum Bar Still the

place to go for the best dumplings in town, but be sure to book if you want a table.

✱ Wing Sing Inn Expect the

unexpected. Great Northern Chinese cooking shines and delights in this down-to-earth restaurant.

lamb and cumin. Mains take in the usual selection of noodles, rice, sweet, sour and spicy with a few surprises in the vegetarian section such as a delicious dish of panfried aubergine and garlic. Vegans and vegetarians get entire menus to themselves and dumplings and noodles come in gluten-free versions. + Friendly, family feel - Starting to show its age

NEW Dumplings of China CHINESE

60 Home Street, Tollcross (Map 8: F10), 0131 624 0056, dumplingsofchina.co.uk | £18 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Good things come in small packages and that certainly applies to Dumplings of China. At this low-key spot in Tollcross, the kitchen massively outperforms expectations and all at a very reasonable price. Dumplings are the name of the game, with ten different varieties to choose from. Cuttlefish is housed in a black wonton, with juicy gentle fishiness filling the steamed casing. Pork, prawn and chive comes in a rosy parcel and fulfils classic dumpling expectations. Normally steamed, ask if you want them fried. Elsewhere on the menu, fried whole king prawn with dried chilli is sizzling and tender. Braised aubergine yu xiang-style features yummy ground meat in the mix, so be sure to clarify your dietary preferences when ordering – the kitchen will meet your desires. Fried lamb with onion and cumin seed is so satisfying it will make your bleakest, post-work Monday night feel restorative. If you’re looking for glamour, this isn’t the place. But if you’re looking for excellent no-fuss Chinese food, book a table immediately. + Dumplings of happiness - Not somewhere you go for its looks The List Eating & Drinking Guide

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EDINBURGH

Fusion Gourmet

Krua Khun Mae

14–18 Lady Lawson Street, Old Town (Map 1: F9), 0131 228 6463, fusiongourmet.co.uk | £8 (set lunch) / £24 (dinner)

29 Cockburn Street, 1 Craig’s Close, Old Town (Map 2: I8), 0131 225 7007 | Closed Mon | £10 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

CHINESE

THAI

If you’re looking for a classic Thai meal, where all the dishes go to plan, the environment is relaxed and the staff are friendly, you could do worse than Krua Khun Mae off Cockburn Street. The setting is cosy, with diners clustered in a series of small, gently lit rooms, while the wine list is unusually reasonable and well-suited to the cuisine. Thai fishcakes are satisfying but try their spring rolls too; crispy, well-filled and nicely seasoned, they are a cut above the usual. A crying tiger steak, charred and pink, languishes in chilli, lime, rice powder and the edgy saltiness of fish sauce. Gaeng pha with chicken, a hot jungle curry flavoured with Chinese ginger and holy basil, has enough punch to grab your attention but doesn’t overwhelm. Pad Thai is oh so pleasing, and if you’re stuffed by this stage you’ll definitely want to take the leftovers home to cheer you up the following day. A great spot for special evenings out, or just curing the midweek blues. + Satisfying and pleasing Thai food - Closed Mondays

The fusion here is between China’s varied regional cuisines with a menu drawing together a wide swathe of recipes from across the country. Many of the dishes are on the fiery side but a handy chilli guide, ranging from mild to super hot, steers diners along the spice road from Shanghai to Sichuan. As well as the usual choices of spring rolls, spare ribs and beef in black bean sauce, the more adventurous can try less common dishes such as beef stomach, ox tongue and jellyfish. The result is a menu of bewildering variety, but friendly waiting staff are happy to guide diners through the list. Highlights include crispy king prawns coated with salted duck egg yolk and a rich stew of thinly sliced beef with enoki mushrooms. There’s a good value lunch deal and keep an eye on the specials board for new dishes. With so many options, Fusion Gourmet’s fresh, authentic Chinese food is bound to have something to suit the fussiest of diners. + A menu full of surprises - It can get a bit chilly

Kwok Restaurant

NEW GōN Vietnamese Cafe

CHINESE

VIETNAMESE

17 Cadzow Place, Leith (Map 4: N7), 07450 931952, goncafe.co.uk | Closed Wed | £14 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

Chef Lila Nguyen honed her skills in the Vietnamese coffee shops of Australia before moving to Scotland and opening this bright and spacious Abbeyhill café. She’s teamed up with her husband to create a welcoming spot serving Vietnamese street food, where locals are as likely to pop in for coffee and cake as linger for lunch or dinner. The pho broth is a rich and hearty brew, while bun cha gio is a tasty mix of noodles, vegetables and chopped-up fried spring rolls. Fat rice paper rolls are a popular choice, while baguettes, sticky rice dishes and curries complete the menu, along with a selection of cakes and bakes. There are plenty of soft drinks, teas and coffees available including the sweet and nutty Vietnamese dripping tea (not for the impatient) and a tasty avocado smoothie. If you want something stronger, you can BYOB. + The pho broth - Early closing most days

Imperial Palace CHINESE

36 Inglis Green Road, West End, 0131 443 6898, imperialpalaceedinburgh. co.uk | Closed Wed | £9.90 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Imperial Palace does many things well but the yummiest fun is the dim sum. Packed-out at weekend lunchtimes, make a reservation and be prepared to share a table if you’re in a small group – it’s all part of the experience. With 46 dim sum to choose from, plus a full Chinese menu, you may need to take a breath before tackling the blue checklist distributed by helpful waitstaff to mark off your order. Steamed dumplings bursting with moist pork and prawn or a char siu bun – sticky, savoury and sweet – might be just what you need. Squid cake sizzles, with lacy edges just perfect for dunking in soy. Garlic and prawn spring rolls are a massive step up from the standard, prawns filling every tasty bite. Cheung fun, a soft rice noodle similar to a cannoli, may be stuffed with king prawns, a moist beef filling or char siu. Order as you go and brace yourself for a bit of gluttony in the nicest possible way. 92

The List Eating & Drinking Guide

GōN Vietnamese Cafe + With so many dim sum options, come

hungry and pace yourself - Desserts aren’t fascinating but it’s unlikely you’ll have room

Kampong Ah Lee Malaysian Delight MALAYSIAN

28 Clerk Street, Southside (Map 9: K10), 0131 662 9050 | Closed Tue | £14 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

Coming from a family boasting four generations of chefs, Peter Lee arrived in Edinburgh with a plan to bring the taste of his native Malaysia to the city. Since opening in 2007, this snug Newington restaurant has been a popular draw, serving up a delicious menu combining Chinese, Malay and Indian flavours. It’s a successful formula, attracting locals and students as well as a loyal following among the Chinese, Singaporean and Malaysian communities of Edinburgh. Ribs, wings and spring rolls all feature among the starters but the showstopper is the crispy roti pancakes with curry sauce. Mains are split into rice, noodles, big bowls and seafood. The laksa’s spicy coconut curry broth is swimming with seafood; the beef rendang is a sticky, fiery delight; and the chao koay teow is a lush pile of meaty stir-fried noodles. There’s a short beer and wine list, and some interesting Malaysian drinks, while service is fast and friendly. This is the kind of place that draws you back for repeat visits to work your way through the menu. Carry on Kampong. + The roti with curry sauce - Tables are rather crammed in

Kanpai

NOODLE & SUSHI BARS 8–10 Grindlay Street, West End See Japanese

Kim’s Bulgogi KOREAN

11 St Stephen Street, Stockbridge (Map 7: E7), 0131 225 5213 | Closed Sun | £8 (lunch) / £8 (dinner)

Occupying a tiny space on St Stephen

Street, Kim’s Bulgogi cooks up fresh and wholesome Korean food in a clean, bright room. There’s a takeaway counter at the back with four comfortable tables to sit-in and enjoy steaming bowls of bibimbap, noodles and, of course, bulgogi. All the dishes are made fresh, and meats are marinated, cooked until tender, and bursting with flavour. The firecracker chicken is just as the name suggests and deserves its two chilli rating. If you can’t stand the heat, opt for the teriyaki chicken or beef bulgogi. There is a small selection of sides like crunchy chicken wings in an aromatic chilli glaze, or delicate veggie dumplings imported from Korea. Everything is served with a smile and a warm welcome, making it feel more like a friendly café than a busy takeaway. + Fresh Korean at a great price - Uninspiring drinks on offer

Korean BBQ KOREAN

3 Tarvit Street, Tollcross (Map 8: F10), 0131 229 6789, daochef.com/koreanbbq | £16 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

In a prime location next to the King’s Theatre, Korean BBQ does what it says on the tin, delivering quality raw ingredients ready for grilling by your own fair hands. It may seem daunting at first, but after instruction from the helpful staff you’ll soon be searing and cooking your meat, seafood, or vegetables like a pro. Fire up the tabletop grill and feast on sliced pork neck enhanced with soy and shaved fruit, or beef marinated in soy, garlic and honey. If cooking your own dinner doesn’t appeal, there’s a large selection of traditional Korean dishes to choose from including kimchi jjigae, a brothy stew made of kimchi, pork belly and tofu. The menu also includes a small collection of Japanese dishes and an array of starters, most notably the seafood pancake, which is the size of a dinner plate with flavours just as large. + The amazing smell as you approach - Not much table room when the grill is out

44 Ratcliffe Terrace, Causewayside, Southside, 0131 668 1818, kwokrestaurant.co.uk | Closed Mon | £19 (dinner)

Kwok may be tucked away on the Southside but it draws a loyal band of regulars from across the Lothians. That is in part down to the extremely warm welcome from owner Rebecca Kwok who treats customers like old friends. It’s also down to a strong menu which adds some delicious specials to the usual roll call of British-Chinese restaurant standards. Standout dishes include aubergine hot pot topped with chicken in a rich and spicy sauce and the sizzling special version which comes with beef, chicken and king prawn. Seafood features prominently, with starters including crispy stuffed crab claws and mussels in black bean sauce, while steamed sea bass with ginger and spring onions, or garlic langoustines feature among the specials. There are plenty of vegetarian options too, along with a decent wine list. Kwok might cater to western tastes – spices are a little subdued and there’s the usual corner of the menu reserved for European dishes – but it’s the kind of place that leaves you with a warm glow as you head off into the night. + The aubergine hot pot - Sometimes needs a touch more spice

Loon Fung CHINESE

2 Warriston Place, Canonmills, Inverleith (Map 3: F5), 0131 556 1781/557 0940, loonfungedinburgh.co.uk | Closed Tue | £10.50 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Just along from the bridge at Canonmills, Loon Fung has been serving devoted customers since 1972. The welcome is warm and the full array of Cantonese classics are on offer. Portions are generous, seasoning generally subtle and seafood features prominently. Classic won ton soup is packed with tender noodle parcels in a simple broth, while crescent dumplings filled with tasty chicken and prawn are perfect for dipping in soy sauce or chilli oil. Lightly stir-fried slices of beef in black bean sauce have a pleasing texture and tang, though king prawn with vegetables is a little bland. However, stir-fried egg noodle stuffed with seafood and meat hits the spot. Open nightly, it’s a relaxing place to unwind.


EAST ASIAN

In association with

EDINBURGH

+ Open nightly until 11pm - Flavours maybe a bit understated for

some tastes

Q NEW Lucky Yu FUSION

62 Elm Row, Leith Walk, Leith (Map 4: K6), 0131 556 7930 | Closed Mon | £15 (set lunch) / £11 (dinner)

The team behind Bodega TollX turn their attention to Asia in this relaxed and friendly little Leith Walk eatery. It’s a contemporary take on fusion where traditional Vietnamese and Japanese recipes combine with western ingredients in a bold collision of flavours. Dirty burger gyozas come stuffed with ground beef, mustard and cheddar cheese, while ichiban chicken dumplings are loaded with blue cheese and paprika. The menu is short, with the emphasis on gyozas and bao buns – lobster tail with chorizo and coconut chilli mayo stand out among the more obvious pork belly or chicken options. Added variety comes in a longer list of sides and starters, including sautéed seasonal greens in a rich mirin broth, the most tender honey and tamarind ribs, and the signature sambal and garlic chicken wings. Décor is simple with a wall of bamboo blinds the only nod to the East. It’s a dry bar but BYOB is welcome. + Bold and punchy flavours - Closed weekday lunchtimes

NEW Macau Kitchen MACANESE

93 St Leonard’s Street, Southside (Map 9: L10), 07577667334 | Closed Mon | £20 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

According to its exuberant owners, there are few authentic Macanese restaurants outside of Macau itself and this is the only one in the UK. So it’s hard not to be intrigued by the cuisine of this former Portuguese trading post when dining at this intimate venue. Infused with traditions from Portugal, Goa, Malacca and Macau, the fusion feels naturally evolved, rather than manufactured. The menu is concise, featuring daily specials of Macau classics. Kick off with a polvo salad of octopus, satisfyingly seasoned with coriander, mint, chilli and lime, with a hit of sea saltiness coming through the fresh citrus tang. If you want to catch the bacalhau a Macau (salted cod in coconut sauce), come early as it sells out. However, house gambas piri piri (spicy prawns still in their shells) won’t disappoint. Rabo de boi, rich oxtail simmered down in cinnamon soy sauce, is truly delicious, the spice dancing over the sweetness of the meat. Pastel de nata, the classic Portuguese egg custard in flaky pastry shells, are an excellent way to finish up with sweet white Ipoh coffee. + The excitement of experiencing a rare cuisine - Good things sell out, so come early

awaiting dipping. Rendang beef, the coconut-y Malay classic, lives up to its delicious reputation, with a good kick of heat that doesn’t overpower more subtle flavours. Moist grilled sea bass is wrapped in banana leaf and drizzled with a tangy sambal sauce, which sets off the sweetness of the fish, while tender water spinach sautéed in Nanyang sauce is light and clean – definitely worth trying. Finish with warm, creamy sago in coconut milk, and ice-cream. + Enticing menu of classics and fusion - Hard surfaces mean high volume levels

feather-cut beef, pork belly, ox tongue and chicken slithers which customers cook themselves on the griddles set into each table. This personal touch sets Ong Gie apart, with the owners happy to talk diners through the traditions of Korean ingredients and recipes. A carefully selected wine list helps diners pair their grape to what might be unfamiliar flavours. + A very warm welcome - Slim pickings for vegetarians

Nok’s Kitchen

23–23a Brougham Place, Tollcross (Map 8: F10), 0131 229 1537, passornthai.com | Closed Sun |

THAI

8 Gloucester Street, Stockbridge (Map 7: E7), 0131 225 4804, nokskitchen.co.uk | £10.50 (set lunch) / £19 (dinner)

You could wander through the nooks and crannies of Stockbridge and never know Nok’s Kitchen existed, tucked away as it is off the main drag, up the narrowest stretch of Gloucester Street. The menu at this cosy, elongated dining room mainly covers traditional Thai favourites but also works hard to make use of Scotland’s larder. Yum ped is a salad of deep-fried, rather than roasted duck, losing a little moistness which would benefit the accompanying mango, cucumber and shallots, but the lime and chilli dressing pulls the dish together. The krung tod (king prawn tempura) stands crispy, light and tall in its serving stand. Gaeng massaman is a mild, creamy coconut curry of tender lamb Pad ka prow of king prawns spills out of a grilled red pepper, the heat of red chilli and cleansing flavour of thai basil shaping a fresh, zinging sauce mopped up by subtle coconut rice. Desserts range from the expected black rice pudding to ten flavours of ice-cream, including some unusual Thai variations like panang. + The intimate atmosphere - More Thai influence in décor would be nice

O’Kitchen KOREAN

27a Marchmont Road, Southside (Map 8: H11), 0131 466 4873 | Closed Tue | £13 (lunch) / £13 (dinner)

NOODLE & SUSHI BARS

Tucked away on the edge of Marchmont, this tiny no-frills place keeps it simple. A short menu covers all the bases of Korean food, from sizzling bibimbaps to heaps of spicy kimchi. Starters include dumplings, pancakes and rice cakes, while mains are split into rice dishes, soups and noodles along with a short selection of sides. It’s a quiet spot during the day, with often just the owner holding court over both the counter and the kitchen, but a steady stream of locals and Koreans keep it ticking over. It’s as much a takeaway as a sit-in place and there’s no alcohol on the menu, but a good selection of soft drinks and teas and BYOB is welcome. + Cheap and fresh Korean favourites - Not many seats

37 Leith Street, New Town See Japanese

Ong Gie

Maki & Ramen

Nanyang Malaysian Cuisine MALAYSIAN

Unit 1, 3–5 Lister Square, South Pavilion, Quartermile, Southside (Map 8: H10), 0131 629 1797, nanyangrestaurant.com | £20 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Overlooking a modern courtyard in the slick Quartermile, Nanyang Malaysian Cuisine caters for handholding couples, work colleagues or family reunions. The sleek space is all glass walls and open aspects, with a subtle Malaysian vibe. Kick-off with crispy potato-filled curry puffs, perfect for dunking in Malaysian sweet and spicy curry sauce. Siu mai dumplings spill over their edges, also

KOREAN

22a Brougham Place, Tollcross (Map 8: F10), 0131 229 0869 | Closed Sun | £17 (lunch) / £17 (dinner)

A delicious and friendly taste of Korea in Tollcross, Ong Gie takes in barbecue, stews, rice and noodle dishes. The flavours are bold mixes of sweet, soy and chilli, served up alongside fresh salads, homemade kimchi and fragrant bowls of rice. A seafood stew, loaded with crab, mussels, squid, scallops and wood ear mushrooms, is a sumptuous combination of flavours and textures. But for sheer theatre and fun, the bulgogi barbecue dishes are hard to beat, with Wan on hand to advise on how best to prepare the

Q Passorn THAI

Passorn gets it just right, as owner Cindy Sirapassorn directs all the dining elements to deliver a memorable meal. The hushed and pleasant atmosphere, soft-spoken service, wine list to make you smile and lovely, interesting menu choices set the stage for a wonderful experience. Just a few footsteps from Tollcross, the restaurant is tranquil, with muted colours relaxing the eye and the mind. Then attention is refocused as artistically arranged plates arrive. Spicy Thai tenderloin beef salad sings with the fresh flavour combination of lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, chilli and mint. Kaeng phet ped yang, a mouthwatering red curry enhanced with the perfume of Thai sweet basil, handsomely soothes the sweetness of duck breast. Kaeng massaman lamb shank falls off the bone, as it should, into a mild, creamy curry. Excitingly, pudding holds its own – a rich chocolate icecream countering the cleansing, openness of green tea ice-cream. More special still is the black rice pudding, warm and unctuous against creamy, pure coconut cream. + An elegant and satisfying experience - If only they delivered to your front door

Q Saboteur

VIETNAMESE 19–20 Teviot Place, Old Town (Map 2; I9), 0131 623 0384, saboteurrestaurant.com | £12 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

This cheerful, casual joint brings cheap and tasty Vietnamese street food to the heart of the city with a mix and match of favourites. The menu is split into large boxes and bowls of rice, noodle, soup and curry alongside smaller sides, crêpes and baguettes. The kuay tiaw tom yam is a sweet and spicy noodle soup, full of pork, prawn, fishballs and vegetables, while the yellow ga curry is a fragrant mix of chicken, coconut milk and chilli. Portions are generous, but with prices kept low you can throw in a couple of sticky bao buns and dip into the side orders of peanut chicken skewers, chillifried tofu and wok-fried vegetables with oyster sauce without breaking the bank. Like its nearby stablemate Ting Thai Caravan, Saboteur doesn’t take bookings so you might want an alternative up your sleeve on a busy day. But it’s less frantic and crammed than its Thai neighbour, so those who do get a table can enjoy a more leisurely meal. + Plenty of bao buns for your bucks - No disabled toilets

Saigon Saigon CHINESE

14 South St Andrew Street, New Town (Map 1: H8), 0131 557 3737, saigonsaigon.co.uk | £10 (set lunch) / £14 (dinner)

This city centre family restaurant seems deceptively mainstream, with tasteful but nondescript décor, a soundtrack of Chinese musicians playing incongruously western tunes and an à la carte menu featuring the usual suspects. However,

the further you stray away from the familiar sweet and sour and spring rolls, the more fun can be had. The Northern Chinese menu is full of unusual delights, especially for those into nose-to-tail eating while the lunchtime dim sum menu is apparently one of the best-kept secrets in town. The efforts taken to make a cavernous space seem less barn-like are not wholly successful but a gang of people with adventurous palates can have a very fine time indeed, with the right menu. + So many things to discover . . . - . . . if you get your hands on the right food

Saiko Kitchen VIETNAMESE

15 Roseneath Street, Southside (Map 9: H11), 0131 281 5613, saikokitchen. co.uk | Closed Sun/Mon | £15 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

The student vibe of Marchmont is apparent in this buzzy, local hotspot for pan-Asian street food, as evidenced by the frequent comings and goings for a quick bite or to collect takeaway. The menu is casual, focusing predominantly on noodles, rice, soups and rolls, with Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches, stuffed with char siu, katsu chicken or crispy tofu, whizzing out the door. Pho ga, the subtle chicken and lemongrass broth laden with noodles, is fine Vietnamese comfort food while tender chicken gyoza are hot and pleasing. The savoury pork, beef and lemongrass meatballs will leave you wanting to order the same again and again, but pad Thai s a little dry and could do with a few more prawns. Desserts are limited, but the banana and peanut butter ice-cream cake will suit those craving a sweet ending to the meal. + Really friendly service - Setting can be a bit sterile

Slurp at the Kirk

NOODLE & SUSHI BARS 44 Candlemaker Row, Old Town See Japanese

Sodaeng KOREAN

94 Buccleuch Street, Southside (Map 9: J10), 0131 629 1190 | Closed Sun | £16 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Buccleuch Street has become the goto spot for good Korean and Sodaeng is a star within its class. Simple and understated décor gives a low-key vibe. Gun man du, fried dumplings stuffed with pork and tofu, ooze flavour from their crisp jackets while the saeng sun jeon – homemade fish cake in breadcrumbs – is tender, light and crunchy. Mains feature a wide range of hot pots for those who enjoy active participation at the table and are a popular option. Still, don’t let that distract you from the delights of maekon saewoo, deep-fried king prawns stir-fried with chilli and soy sauce; absolutely crisp with not a whisper of greasiness to compromise those sweet, tender prawns. Equally satisfying, but on the serious comfort food end of the scale, is jap chae – stir-fried glass noodles with minced beef and vegetables. The noodles are a springy pleasure, the beef a low rumble of resonance that’s so satisfying that you may want to order extra to take home. Service is pretty low-key so be prepared to kick back and relax. + Those maekon saewoo prawns are worth the trip - Service really is relaxed

Soul Sushi

NOODLE & SUSHI BARS 126 Nicolson Street, Old Town See Japanese

The List Eating & Drinking Guide

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EAST ASIAN

list.co.uk

EDINBURGH

Q Stack Dim Sum Bar

Vietnam House Restaurant

42 Dalmeny Street, Leith (Map 4: M5), 0131 553 7330 | Closed Wed | £14 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

1–3 Grove Street, West End (Map 6: C9), 0131 228 3383, vietnamhouserestaurant.co.uk | £21 (lunch) / £21 (dinner)

CHINESE

Stack keeps it simple with the focus on freshly made dim sum in a wide variety of flavours. From silken, steaming, translucent globes of spinach and scallop, to crispy fried spring rolls of Chinese black truffle and vegetables, the choices go way beyond the usual pork and prawn varieties. Dishes arrive through the kitchen hatch fresh from the steamer or fryer, allowing diners to mix and match from a choice of more than 30, along with a selection of rice or noodle dishes. The décor is simple and the service brisk but friendly. But with the kitchen taking last food orders at 8.30pm, this is a place to eat and leave rather than linger over a long and intimate meal. It’s a small, homely space and almost always busy so it’s worth booking ahead. And with the emphasis on quality ingredients rather than quantity cooking, don’t be surprised if the most popular dishes sell out. + Some of the best dim sum in town - When they’re gone, they’re gone

Ting Thai Caravan THAI

8–9 Teviot Place, Old Town (Map 2: I9), 0131 225 9801, tingthai-caravan.com | £13 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

This small and often packed place serves up tasty Thai street food with skill, passion and edge to a mostly young and studenty crowd. Acid-neon collages, communal tables and upbeat tunes replace the carved wooden panelling and serene atmosphere of more traditional Thai outposts. Meals mostly come in boxes, in keeping with Ting Thai’s street food roots. Along with the signature dishes of pad Thai and green curry, diners can choose from small boxes of fat prawns in a crisp beer batter, crunchy tofu pieces with a chilli jam, deep-fried eggs with crispy shallots, or larger portions of pan-fried sea bass and honey duck breast. With a no-booking policy, queues can often stretch down the street, but the service is fast and the queue moves quickly. Waiting staff spring into action within moments of you taking a seat, food appears minutes later and chopsticks have barely been put down before the bill arrives. + Great value - Be prepared to queue

Umi Japanese Cuisine NOODLE & SUSHI BARS

18–24 Deanhaugh Street, Stockbridge See Japanese

Saboteur

94

The List Eating & Drinking Guide

VIETNAMESE

Be prepared to book or to be disappointed – small, friendly and delicious, Vietnam House pulls in locals and visitors with astonishing devotion. Just off Morrison Street, and truly off the well-trodden tourist path, this consistently rewarding restaurant has been going for nearly a decade and hasn’t missed a beat. Dishes are plentiful, attractively arranged, fresh and creative. Spring rolls encase chicken or prawn along with vermicelli, salad and mint in delicate, translucent rice paper. Mild Vietnamese fishcakes gently absorb their sweet chilli sauce. Braised pork in caramel sauce tenderly falls off the bone in a fragrant puddle of star anise and garlic. Lotus rice is steamed and nicely sticky with plentiful shredded chicken, shitake mushrooms and caramelised shrimp. Bo xao cuon banh trang requires a bit of agility to fill the softening rice paper with stir-fried beef in lemongrass, garlic and chilli, along with salad and noodles, but is worth the effort and dexterity. BYOB means you need to think ahead but see it as part of the adventure. + Memorable Vietnamese food and gracious staff - Books out really quickly

Wagamama

NOODLE & SUSHI BARS 5 St Andrew Square, New Town (Map 1: H8), 0131 285 4787, wagamama.com/ restaurants/edinburgh-st-andrewssquare | £18 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Yes it’s a big chain where all the food is centrally devised and sourced. And yes, it’s a familiar set-up that’s been rolled out time and again across the country. But it’s hard not to like this pan-Asian giant for its offer of fast, fresh, varied food. Like most of the recent openings on the revamped St Andrew Square, it’s a cavernous place and often packed. There are no bookings for groups of less than six but, with a fast turnaround and a capacity of more than 200, there’s rarely a long wait for a table. Service is friendly and efficient and the menu is clear and varied, with regular new additions alongside old favourites such as the katsu curries, ramen broths, donburi rice bowls and stir fries. The steamed buns are spectacular and there’s a good list of sides, extras and gyoza to ring the changes. Vegans,

vegetarians, the gluten-intolerant and children get their own dedicated menus. + Reliable, fast and fun - Lacks the individual touch

Q Wing Sing Inn CHINESE

147–149 Dundee Street, West End, 0131 228 6668 | £16 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Wing Sing Inn is a bit special. Off the well-worn tourist path in Fountainbridge, those in the know are devoted fans. The space itself is simple but staff bring their own brightness and warmth to this haven of Northern Chinese cooking. Expect the unexpected: you’ll find chicken feet, pig stomach, shredded pig’s ear in chilli, jellyfish with cabbage in garlic sauce and vinegary black agarics (mushroom fungus). Be prepared. But if that all sounds a little adventurous, don’t worry – the fried dumplings are juicy and crispy and the soups satisfying. Mains cover the full territory, with seafood a particular highlight. Razor clams are tender and garlicky in their long shells, while scallops sizzle hot from the grill. Variations of beef, pork, chicken, lamb and vegetables are extensive yet nothing disappoints. It’s licensed but feel free to take advantage of their BYOB policy and make friends with the staff – you will be coming back. + The fun of deciding what to order - Low-key setting, but who cares?

Xiangbala Hotpot CHINESE

63 Dalry Road, West End, 0131 313 4408 | £17 (set lunch) / £17 (set dinner)

Xiangbala has its own micro-climate. All those simmering hotpots create a heady fog of savoury goodness in this small restaurant, which is clearly loved by the local Chinese community. That means you need to book if you want a pot of your own, served either in one deep dish for sharing or split down the middle, offering two differently flavoured bases. Staff will explain how to order the raw ingredients, which are then prepped for poaching in your chosen broth. There’s a large selection of vegetables with some more adventurous choices such as lotus root, edible fungus and kelp. Seafood dominates with a bounty of razor clams, prawns, mussels, crab, squid, and a variety of fish balls to choose from. Meats come deli-thin sliced, the fat melting deliciously into the pot while cooking. + Best hotpot in town - Not the place for a romantic evening

FISH Scottish seafood is renowned across the globe for its quality. In this compact and bijou section, you’ll find venues providing everything from cheap and cheerful fish and chips to extravagant towers of succulent shellfish, with price tags to match. Reviewer: Steve Morton

NEW Bertie’s Restaurant & Bar

9 Victoria Street, Old Town (Map 1: H9), 0131 322 1000, bertiesfishandchips. com | £16 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

The December 2018 opening of Bertie’s in the fire-ravaged former home of Khushi’s on Victoria Street represented one of the largest single additions to the capital’s restaurant scene in recent memory, with seating for an astonishing 300 across two floors. Despite its size, the family-run venue has managed to retain a personal, friendly feel that could easily have been lost. The décor is bright and fun, in keeping with the uncomplicated nature of the food. A black pudding and sausage meat scotch egg on beetroot ketchup kicks things off very nicely and chargrilled halloumi with a salsa dip is equally pleasing. Mains are predominantly chip shop staples, but there are a wide range of comprehensively labelled options for those with specific dietary requirements, including a comfortingly large portion of deep-fried veggie haggis. Excellent battered haddock is the undoubted star of their ‘proper fish and chips’ section. The dessert list runs all the way from indulgent to laughably calorific, with a delicious sticky toffee pudding being surprisingly light. The drinks list should meet most needs and service is pleasant and well-judged. + Great to see this derelict building brought back to life - Not ideal for those watching their waistlines

Cadiz

First Floor, 77b George Street, New Town (Map1: F8), 0131 226 3000, cadizedinburgh.co.uk | £17 (set lunch) / £25 (dinner)

Cadiz is an attractive first floor restaurant with picture windows looking down to busy George Street, clubby leather seats, a marble-topped bar with high chairs for perching and lots of pictures of fish and fisherfolk on the walls. A versatile layout means it’s just as suitable for catching up with friends as it is for dinner à deux. It’s Mediterranean-inspired, but really that means fish in all its glory. Small plates like fried squid, padron peppers and whitebait make for good sharing starters, while larger plates feature simply presented dishes like whole lemon sole, sea bass and langoustines. These are sweet and juicy, smartly grilled and drenched in garlic butter, but they’re let down a little by nondescript skinny fries: when a dish is this simple, every element has to pull its weight. Friendly staff manage larger tables with ease and there’s no doubt Cadiz is a cut above the standard George Street fodder. Desserts are pretty, as are cocktails, and perhaps that’s the key: here it’s as much about a great night out as it is about a great meal. + Lovely environment to meet with friends - Sharing the loos with the downstairs restaurant breaks the spell somewhat


FISH

In association with

EDINBURGH

Q HITLIST PHOTO: CAITLIN COOKE

FISH ✱ Fishers in Leith Excelling in

both fish and shellfish, this relaxed, atmospheric location alongside the Water of Leith is a long-standing favourite.

✱ Ondine Arguably the capital’s

finest seafood in a setting to match – inevitably, that’s not cheap, but then the best seldom is.

Bertie’s Restaurant & Bar

Q Fishers in Leith

Fishers in the City

Set in the base of a 17th-century watchtower on the picturesque Shore, Fishers’ Leith outpost should be wellknown to most of the capital’s seafood aficionados. The dining space is split between two equally atmospheric sections, both panelled in dark wood and decorated with assorted nautical paraphernalia. Starters frequently celebrate shellfish; flash-fried salt and pepper squid is a highly successful example, the flesh soft and light. Meanwhile, fishcakes are packed with salmon and enlivened by a strong hit of dill. White fish dominates the mains. There’s a North African feel about hake with tomato and olive tagine, the skin coated with zesty chermoula. A thick fillet of Aberdeen cod has been on its holidays too, paired as it is with flavoursome chorizo, pumpkin and butter bean cassoulet. No caloriecounting should be attempted when considering dessert but the addition of clotted cream ice-cream to the splendid bread and butter pudding may require a minute or two extra on the treadmill. Knowledgeable staff are on hand to assist with navigating the comprehensive and varied wine list. Unusually for seafood-focused establishments, considerable effort has been made for vegetarians and vegans with inventive separate menus available for each. + Excellent seafood at an affordable price - It’s snug, so arm-waving theatrics aren’t recommended

Having benefitted from a cosmetic makeover and a menu revamp at the start of 2019, Fishers’ city-centre operation is raring to go. The room offers an assortment of nooks and crannies at the front before opening up into a more capacious space at the back. The menu is unapologetic in its devotion to seafood and even extends onto a shellfish specials list. Polenta and parmesan crumbed cod (think posh fish fingers) comes with an excellent hazelnut pesto but is outdone by langoustine tails with cockles and giant couscous. Main of Loch Duart salmon with mushrooms in a radish dashi broth is light with an Asian twist, while crab spaghetti vongole is indulgent and comforting, the chilli and garlic leaving taste buds gently buzzing. Dessert options feature several old favourites including a delightful crème brûlée. The comprehensive drinks list is especially good for champagne and wines by the glass (the pricier ones dispensed via the Coravin system) and service is attentive without being overbearing. Their set lunch deal extends all the way up to 6pm, giving you an early-evening dining option that doesn’t break the bank. + Huge range of fish and shellfish - Slim pickings for veggies

1 The Shore, Leith (Map 5: N2), 0131 554 5666, fishersrestaurants.co.uk | £15 (set lunch) / £27 (dinner)

58 Thistle Street, New Town (Map 1: G8), 0131 225 5109, fishersrestaurantgroup. co.uk | £15 (set lunch) / £28 (dinner)

NEW The Fishmarket

23a Pier Place, Newhaven, Leith, 0131 552 8262, thefishmarketnewhaven. co.uk | £22 (lunch) / £22 (dinner)

What better location for a seafoodfocused restaurant than right next to

pretty Newhaven harbour? Housed in the harbour’s old fishmarket building, this venture is from the same stable as upscale restaurant Ondine and respected fishmongers Welch’s, so the benchmark is high. There may be a fryer on one side of the vast space servicing takeaway customers but the menu in the separate dining area has loftier ambitions, showcasing Northumberland oysters, Dunbar lobster and Scrabster crab. The smoked haddock chowder is excellent, packed with fish and leeks and not simply relying on lashings of cream to provide flavour. Cod, sole, monkfish and haddock variants of fish and chips are available and those with an appetite can upgrade to a ‘whale-sized’ fillet. The drinks list is impressive, particularly for white wine and cocktails, and service is attentive and friendly. + The impressive range of seafood – and the setting - No separate lunch menu (though discounted afternoon tea kicks in at 3pm)

Konkana

30–32 Leven Street, Southside See Indian

The Light House

3 Pier Place, Newhaven, Leith, 0131 552 1457, thelighthouseedinburgh.co.uk | Closed Sun/Mon | No under 5s | £15 (set lunch) / £25 (dinner)

Given that some of the produce is sourced from boats in Newhaven harbour (just a long cast from their front door), The Light House could justifiably boast the shortest distance from harvest to plate of any Edinburgh restaurant. The compact interior is

simply decorated with stylish, colourful prints frequently showcasing the funkily lit lighthouse on the far side of the harbour. Menus are short and change daily but tandoori-spiced scallop and king prawn, laid across a large, crisp poppadum is close to a permanent fixture – the chunky, moist seafood and perfectly judged spicing results in what is probably the most accomplished dish on offer. However you’ll not be heartbroken if you opt for baked Finnan haddock with Stornoway black pudding and a tattie scone. Duo of monkfish and scallops in a saffron cream with chips straddles the line between upmarket and comforting, as several of the mains do. Prettily presented pan-fried chicken with vegetables and a mustard and red wine sauce is perfect for a dining partner less enamoured of fishy things. Portion sizes are decent but sticky toffee pudding is worth saving room for. Service is breezy and efficient and there’s a pleasant buzz about the place from the mix of regulars and visitors. + Good quality, affordable food in a relaxed setting - The invigorating blast of cold air at door-side tables during winter

Loch Fyne Seafood and Grill

25 Pier Place, Newhaven Harbour, Leith, 0131 559 3900, lochfyneseafoodandgrill. co.uk | £10.95 (set lunch) / £24 (dinner)

The setting is wonderfully scenic – this spacious, high-ceilinged former fishmarket has tall windows along its entire length, affording great views of sleepy Newhaven harbour and further out across the Forth. Oysters, mussels and salmon feature prominently but there’s almost every sort of sustainably sourced seafood you could imagine. A small bowl of delicious hot-smoked anchovies can be either a modest starter or simply a snack while selections are made. Pan-fried king prawns in a piquant chilli and garlic oil is a splendid way to get things properly underway. For mains, the seafood grill delivers an impressive array of well-cooked fish and shellfish including salmon, bream, scallops and squid, accompanied by sautéed heritage potatoes. Fisherman’s stew also showcases a respectable selection of seafood in a light tomato broth. The drinks list has commendable range and The List Eating & Drinking Guide

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children and gluten-avoiders are both well catered for, each receiving their own menu (though only the former get an activity pack). There are regular discounts and offers, so savvy diners should keep their eyes open for a bargain. + An excellent outdoor dining proposition - Large room can lack atmosphere even when busy

The Mussel and Steak Bar

AT THE HEART OF GREAT SEAFOOD SINCE 1991

110 West Bow, Grassmarket, Old Town (Map 1: H9), 0131 225 5028, musselandsteakbar.com | £16 (set lunch) / £30 (dinner)

The Mussel and Steak Bar has been quietly watching over the bustling Grassmarket for well over a decade, making a name for quality seafood and steaks. Homely and inviting with wooden tables and calming sea colours, there are platters of gleaming oysters and big pots of plump Shetland mussels with various sauces. As the name suggests, this place also majors in steak – all Scottish beef, aged for a minimum of 35 days and chargrilled to your liking. Choose from ribeye, sirloin or their speciality, the picanha 12oz rump. Sauces and sides can be added to suit. If you can’t decide between them there’s always the surf and turf option of 8oz ribeye, a half-kilo of mussels and handful of crevettes served with your choice of sauce. + Quality cooking - The Grassmarket isn’t always the most pleasant place to hang out

Mussel Inn

61–65 Rose Street, New Town (Map 1: G8), 0131 225 5979, mussel-inn.com | £6.95 (set lunch) / £24 (dinner)

For a restaurant in the heart of tourist central to reach its third decade of operation requires something akin to a Faustian pact, or witchcraft at the very least. The main dining area is brightly lit with large prints on the wall and windows looking out onto Rose Street. Given the name, it’s no surprise to see a number of crustacean options on the menu but there’s a solid range of alternatives and also a specials board beside the pass. Pan-fried marinated squid in Cajun spices, served on sliced plum tomatoes, is a simple but wellexecuted starter, a thin circle of fragrant basil oil provoking thoughts of insalata caprese. Moroccan mussels with chilli, garlic, ginger and cumin offer quite a kick, especially when the sauce is soaked up using the dangerously addictive bread. Chargrilled sea bass, skin crisped beautifully, is accompanied by sautéed butter beans, sweetcorn and chorizo; a love letter to Mediterranean cooking. The dessert list is relatively short, the standout being a delightful pear and cinnamon tart. The white-leaning wine list offers an impressive range by the glass and higher end bottles are competitively priced. + Affordable, dependable seafood - The lighting can make the interior seem a little stark

Q Ondine

2 George IV Bridge, Old Town (Map 1: H9), 0131 226 1888, ondinerestaurant. co.uk | Closed Sun | £23 (set lunch) / £40 (dinner)

A decade on from its inception, Ondine has certainly carved out a niche in Edinburgh’s culinary landscape. Plainly put, it serves the very best seafood in town. Bright, modern and airy, its first floor corner location offers views down the capital’s prettiest thoroughfare, Victoria Street. Chef-patron Roy Brett 96

The List Eating & Drinking Guide

eschews fuss, so full-flavoured oaksmoked salmon is simply plated in six narrow strips with shallots, capers and horseradish mayo clustered in little mounds, waiting for when they’re called upon to assist. Lightly battered tempura squid is another winner, accompanied by a bruiser of a Vietnamese dipping sauce. Mains include a beautifully balanced curried monkfish (on the bone) with bharta aubergine and jeera rice. Grilled scallops with garlic butter are superb and bacon jam adds the darker, richer contrast often provided by black pudding (though those with an appetite may wish to treat themselves to a side dish). Service is practically faultless and there’s a well-thought-out wine list and a wide range of whiskies. Their bar-based oyster happy hour is popular so book ahead. + Fresh, high-quality seafood - Inevitably the best seldom comes cheap

The Ship on the Shore

24–26 The Shore, Leith (Map 5: N2), 0131 555 0409, theshipontheshore.co.uk | £16.50 (set lunch) / £32 (dinner)

Those who know Edinburgh’s seafood scene know that the fruits de mer platter at the Ship on the Shore is a work of art. Lobster, langoustines, scallops, oysters – if it’s from the sea and it tastes good, it’s there. There are other variations to choose from, including an interesting smoked platter, as well as wellexecuted mains like lobster and chips, whole lemon sole and fish curry. The champagne menu is wide-reaching and appropriately pricey (don’t forget to ask about their pairings) while the equally prestigious wine list is certainly not to be sniffed at. Cocktails are worth a try too, particularly if you don’t feel brunch is complete without a Bloody Mary. The Ship on the Shore’s reputation for decadence and excellence is undoubtedly well-deserved. + Fabulously decadent seafood platters - Nabbing an outside table on a sunny day takes sharp elbows

White Horse Oyster & Seafood Bar

266 Canongate, Old Town (Map 2: K8), 0131 629 5300, whitehorseoysterbar. co.uk | £28 (lunch) / £28 (dinner)

For those that remember it under its former guise, the transformation from the oldest bar on Edinburgh’s High Street to cool, stylish seafood restaurant has been nothing short of astonishing. The front section with its bar stools, high tables and window seat is more suited to a casual experience while the rear accommodates those after more conventional dining. As the name suggests, oyster fans are particularly well-catered for with both natural and dressed options, but the bulk of the menu is made up of sharing plates. The sesame tuna with grapefruit is excellent, the outer edges just barely paled and the centre a raw, dark pink. Octopus and merguez sausage with pine nut, mint and basil is a beautifully balanced dish that has you pondering if it’s indecent to order a second portion straight away. Likewise, oily smoked mackerel works superbly with the sharpness of its accompanying pickled beetroot. There’s a short dessert list and a good range of Mellis-supplied cheeses, too. Drink options favour bubbles and cocktails but there should be enough to please all but the pickiest. Look out for their ‘buck a shuck’ oyster happy hours and BYOB deals. + Imaginatively prepared, prettily presented seafood - May need side dishes to bulk out some smaller sharing plates


FRENCH

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EDINBURGH

FRENCH

L’Escargot Blanc

From fine dining to bistro-style plates, the French restaurants of Edinburgh offer a mixed bag of traditional cooking, influences of North Africa and some Scottish twists. With a range of venues that cover every price point, expect some of the best cooking that the city has to offer.

Q HITLIST

Reviewers: Louise Donoghue, Megan Welford

Bia Bistrot

19 Colinton Road, Southside See Bistros & Brasseries

FRENCH

NEW Le Bistrot

West Parliament Square, Old Town (Map 1: I9), 0131 225 4021, lebistrot. co.uk | £13 (set lunch)

The Auld Alliance seems to be going strong as far as the French Institute is concerned. Their 2018 move to an imposing building at the corner of Parliament Square aims to give them a platform to promote French culture, and how better to do that than through the medium of food? Operated by Patisserie Maxime, the Bistrot spreads across two rooms on the ground floor of the institute, where bentwood chairs, blackboard wine lists and piles of bread contrasting with exactingly laidout patisserie on the counter invoke the feeling of a provincial French city. Bien sur, there’s a set menu which is competitively priced for this part of town and features options like fish of the day, sausage of the day and chicken brochettes, with snacks like croque monsieur available on an all-day menu. Service can be a little haphazard when things are particularly busy, but cheerful staff keep you informed. + A charming room in a grand building - Does get very busy at lunchtime

Café Marlayne

76 Thistle Street, New Town (Map 1: F8), 0131 226 2230, cafemarlayne.com | £12.90 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

On cobbled Thistle Street, Café Marlayne has an intimate bistro feel, with twinkling fairy lights and a distinctly French charm. The menu is small but offers more than enough choice, with classic dishes showcasing prawns, mussels, venison, duck and fish. Mains concentrate on fish and meat, like impressive rack of lamb with celeriac and parmesan purée, roasted chicory, crispy capers and red wine jus, or a salmon fillet with seafood butter, carrot and ginger purée and pickled vegetables. Desserts range from traditional French options (frangipane, crème brûlée) to more standard British sweet treats like sticky toffee pudding and cheesecake. Café Marlayne offers a flair in its cooking to rival some fine dining venues in the city, and a reasonably priced wine list is just a bonus. + Cooking with attention to detail and French flair - It’s small, so be sure to book

Café St Honoré

34 North West Thistle Street Lane, New Town See Scottish

Café Tartine

72 Commercial Quay, Leith (Map 5: M2), 0131 554 2588, cafetartine.co.uk | £16 (lunch) / £23 (dinner)

Café Tartine is the original family-run

✱ L’Escargot Blanc and

L’Escargot Bleu Blanc ou bleu? With a passion for sourcing, flair for menu design and pure Gallic love of food, there’s nothing between these two snails.

✱ Restaurant Martin Wishart

business from owners Michael and Joanne Graham – their cocktail bar with food, Papillion, is just three doors down, and their latest venture, the Fly Half (formerly the Constitution Bar), is just minutes away. Supportive of the spirit of Leith, the Grahams’ ethos for Café Tartine is to offer a rustic French experience, from coffee and very good pain au chocolat, to toasted croque monsieur or a three-course meal with French and Scottish influences. The space has a large warehouse feel to it; for daytime dining, the dog-friendly conservatory at the rear feels more comfortable and cosy. Crêpes in all forms dominate the lunch menu, with sweet or savoury options cooked before your eyes, offering a quick and popular takeaway option for nearby workers. Onion soup with traditional cheese crouton is earthy and comforting, with moules marinières another popular choice. They’re unapologetic about the blending of French cuisine with Scottish staples and their battered fish and chips is an example of where this works well. + Family friendly, dog friendly - Not a full-blown French restaurant experience

Castle Terrace

33–35 Castle Terrace, West End See Scottish

Chez Jules

109 Hanover Street, New Town (Map 1: G7), 0131 226 6992, chezjulesbistro. com | £8 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

A French bistro transplanted straight from the arrondissements of Paris to a New Town basement, Chez Jules exudes quirky charm. Blackboard walls covered in cursive spell out the week’s specials, red and white checked tablecloths drape over tightly clustered tables, and stacks of wine bottles behind the bar and near the doorway speak to the excellent wine list. The menu is equally, unashamedly, French – it’s not the place to go for creative twists or experimental fusions. Rather, Chez Jules focuses on the classics of French cuisine, and does them exceptionally well. Warm goat’s

cheese salad layers crisp leaves, a crunch of walnut, softened cheese, and a generous drizzle of honey for a sumptuous blend of flavours and textures. Steak frîtes are some of the best in town: thinly cut skirt steak is chargrilled on the outside and juicy rare on the inside (and although its normally served with a peppercorn sauce, go off-piste and have a slab of garlic butter to melt into the crispy fries). A rich, airy chocolate mousse and a glass of Kir rounds off the incredibly reasonably priced lunch menu: independent yet inexpensive traditional dining at its best. + An outrageously well-priced lunch menu - The building isn’t very accessible

Cook School & Dining Room By Martin Wishart 14 Bonnington Road, Leith See Bistros & Brasseries

Q L’Escargot Blanc Restaurant & Wine Bar

17 Queensferry Street, West End (Map 6: D8), 0131 226 1890, lescargotblanc. co.uk | Closed Sun | £12.90 (set lunch) / £29 (dinner)

There are a few things that make a

Do believe the hype . . . the excellent food, the sommelier, the faultless service – the whole experience is worthy of its almost mythical status.

✱ Le Roi Fou With much

experience from the fine dining world, chef-patron Jérôme Henry offers accomplished cooking in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere.

restaurant feel truly French. Excellent service, Toulouse Lautrec pictures, bread on the table, and attention to provenance. This last isn’t a food trend or rising environmental consciousness for the French – it’s normal. And at L’Escargot Blanc it means owner Fred Berkmiller is out every day meeting producers (they’re all listed on the menu), buying what’s good – the whole animal or bird – and wasting nothing, turning it lovingly into duck-blood black pudding, for example, to go with Orkney scallops as a starter, and into duck confit with gratin dauphinois for a main. Leftovers might become the terrine or casserole of the day. The à la carte menu is seasonal and the excellent-value set lunch changes daily. For £2 extra you can add an extra course, to ‘finir en beauté’ (it literally says that on the dessert menu), with a chocolate nemesis, a crème

Café Marlayne A little piece of Paris in Edinburgh

76 Thistle St | EH2 1EN 0131 226 2230 cafemarlayne@ymail.com

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brûlée or a sorbet (made by Lucy at Over Langshaw farmhouse). This is traditional French cooking at its best, right here in Edinburgh. + Hearty portions are extremely satisfying - Hearty portions make it difficult to have three courses – try though

an in-house chef/pâtissier and impress too, and there’s outside dining to watch the world go by in the warmer months. + Good food and friendly staff - Interior could be brighter

SEE OD .UK/FO O FO LIST.C TRA IN FOR EX KS & LIN

The Kitchin

78 Commercial Quay, Leith See Scottish

Q L’Escargot Bleu

Maison Bleue Le Bistrot

56 Broughton Street, New Town (Map 3: I6), 0131 557 1600, lescargotbleu.co.uk | Closed Sun | £12.90 (set lunch) / £29 (dinner)

L’Escargot Bleu is only six months the junior of its West End sibling Blanc, but both do the same things very well: hearty portions and excellent ingredients, delivered with flair and confidence. Bleu has a little more busy bistro bustle than her slightly more sedate sister. Unashamedly meaty and French, you can enjoy steak tartare or snails for starter, or a sublimely comforting gratin de St Jacques. The menu changes monthly and is seasonal, while the set menu changes daily. Owner Fred Berkmiller is passionate about provenance, knows his suppliers personally and grows as many herbs and veg as he can in a walled garden in East Lothian. Do lunch French-style with the fantastic-value set menu and a large glass of chardonnay, or settle in for the evening with a gutsy red and a Shetland beef bourguignon. Most days there’s not only a soup of the day but a terrine, fish, casserole and dessert of the day too. You may think you don’t have room for that dessert but, for goodness sake, make the effort; the creme brûlée is the best in town. + A good experience guaranteed - Love thy neighbour: the tables are close together

370–372 Morningside Road, Southside, 0131 447 0345, maisonbleuerestaurant. com | £11.50 (set lunch) / £17.50 (set dinner)

Jules Verne Brasserie Francaise

La Garrigue

31 Jeffrey Street, Old Town (Map 2: J8), 0131 557 3032, lagarrigue.co.uk | £14.95 (set lunch) / £29 (dinner)

Post-Brexit it might be harder to go to France, so just go to La Garrigue instead. You may not be able to hear

the crickets of south-west France chirping, but you can hear Edith Piaf (‘the sparrow’) on the stereo. You may not have spent the day in the Pyrenees, but you can still have an authentic meal from the Midi region in the evening. Start with a house aperitif while you pore over the menu – it can take a while to choose between a roquefort soufflé and a pigeon and pheasant terrine; or between the fish of the day and a cassoulet. Then there’s the wine. La Garrigue founder, former owner and chef Jean-Michel Gauffre, now spends his time seeking out the best wines from Languedoc for the wine list, or deciding what to feature in the Tour de France part of the menu, which showcases other regional French dishes. It’s a tough life but, in the end, everyone’s a winner. Go at lunchtime for a fully French experience (and take advantage of the decently priced lunch menu). + All the best bits of French cooking - The décor could be cosier

The Honours

58a North Castle Street, New Town See Bistros & Brasseries

BRASSERIE FRAnCAISE

FRESH, TRADITIONNAL, HOMEMADE sun TO THU 9Am - 1 0Pm FRI, SAT 9Am - 1 0.30Pm 1 3 AnTIGUA ST, EDlnBURG.H 0131 629 2670

f@

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Hotel du Vin Bistro

11 Bristo Place, Old Town See Bistros & Brasseries

NEW Jules Verne Brasserie Francaise 13 Antigua Street, New Town (Map 4: J7), 0131 629 2670, julesvernerestaurant.co.uk | £13 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

Just across the road from the Playhouse, Jules Verne Brasserie Française aims to be an easygoing bistro where everyone is welcome. They’re open from breakfast time with menus running right through till the evening, with frequent deals available. The interior is a little lacklustre; it’s a bit brown, with lots of globes and maps to reflect Jules’ travels, but the food is bright and cheerful. Smoked salmon and scrambled eggs make a tasty brekkie while a lunchtime steak frîtes will convince you that you’re in a Parisian bistro. Pastries are created by

Morningside’s Maison Bleue Le Bistrot is the suburban little sister to the original Maison Bleue, located in Victoria Street, the heart of tourist central. Although they share pretty much the same French / North African menu and similar décor, Le Bistrot still manages to feel very different. With a charismatic supervisor running the show, this cosy neighbourhood restaurant is much more geared towards locals and regulars. There’s a good mix of the French dishes you would expect on the menu: onion soup, moules frîtes, steaks and the popular lunch choice of lapin à la moutarde – rabbit cooked in a white wine, mushroom and mustard cream, served with mousseline of mash. With two Algerian chefs creating the dishes, expect lots of spices in the North African options, such as their twist on fish of the day, cod cooked with harissa pesto and served with sun-dried tomato rice. It all adds up to an eclectic menu with some hearty choices. + Very popular formule lunch - South-east Asian dishes feel out of place

Maison Bleue

36–38 Victoria Street, Old Town (Map 1: H9), 0131 226 1900, maisonbleuerestaurant.com | £12.50 (set lunch) / £29.90 (set dinner)

Maison Bleue has been a fixture on picturesque Victoria Street for over 20 years now. A French restaurant with a North African twist, this is certainly reflected in the décor, with stunning brick arches (dating back to the 15th century), scattered cushions, and a distinctive blue and turquoise colour scheme. The atmosphere is relaxed, with deals to suit locals and tourists, such as their formule lunch and set menus. North African street food choices such as spicy merguez lamb sausage are great, though it feels more like a brunch dish with its tomato base and fried egg on top. A couple of main courses have rightly been staples since the restaurant opened, including succulent beef cheeks slow-cooked in red wine with creamy parsley mash, shallots and garlic confit, and La Bleue-abaisse, their take on the famed Marseillaise fish and seafood stew, with its crayfish and lobster bisque. Round off a satisfying meal with an impressive crème brûlée. + The blend of traditional French dishes with North African spice - Some choices don’t fit the theme

Petit Paris

38–40 Grassmarket, Old Town (Map 1: G9), 0131 226 2442, petitparisrestaurant.co.uk | No under 5s | £14 (set lunch) / £23 (dinner)

Smack bang in the middle of the Old Town, Petit Paris will be a nice surprise for visitors expecting a tourist rip-off, and has enough charm to draw in the locals too. Owner Mathieu Cagna manages a tiny kitchen with aplomb, churning out 600 meals a day in the


FRENCH

In association with

EDINBURGH

summer, all of them French classics. Snails nestling in garlic butter with an innovative hint of Pernod, onion soup, coq au vin, entrecôte, Toulouse sausages, stew of the day . . . nothing’s fancy but it’s done well. The decor is rustic with checked red and white plastic tablecloths and framed vintage adverts hanging on whitewashed stone walls. Linger longer than you meant to over a pichet of good house red or make a special trip for fondue night. In summer, outdoor dining spreads out into the Grassmarket, so enjoy the lunch or pre-theatre deal and soak up the atmosphere. + Classic Frenchiness doesn’t disappoint - Sacrifices to efficiency, like plastic tablecloths and laminated menus

La P’tite Folie

Tudor House, 9 Randolph Place, West End (Map 6: D8), 0131 225 8678, laptitefolie.co.uk | Closed Sun | £13.95 (set lunch) / £24 (dinner)

A gossipy lunch with friends, informal catch-up with family or something a bit more romantic – they’re all diningout scenarios to which La P’tite Folie, a stalwart of Edinburgh’s French bistro scene, flexibly lends itself. Traditional in look and service, the menu is simultaneously contemporary in its interpretation of the classics. In fish dishes, for instance, flaky hake is imaginatively teamed with gazpacho salsa. It’s a tough call, though, to choose between this or a more typically Gallic heap of Shetland mussels, steamed with shallots, garlic, white wine and cream. Going à la carte for time-honoured steak frîtes, the reward

is succulent melt-in-the-mouth sirloin. It’s great value for money, with enough options on the menu to make selection challenging but not impossible. La P’tite Folie also offers a very good wine list, with an emphasis, naturally, on the wines of France. + Exceptional value at lunchtime - Closed on Sundays

Q Restaurant Martin Wishart

54 The Shore, Leith (Map 5: N2), 0131 553 3557, restaurantmartinwishart. co.uk | Closed Sun/Mon | No under 7s | £32 (set lunch) / £75 (set dinner)

Martin Wishart’s restaurant on the shores of Leith is a gastronomic experience. Expertly combining seasonal Scottish produce with French fine dining, the restaurant offers six or eight-course tasting menus (for vegetarians too) in the evenings and a more modestly priced lunch menu. The team strike the perfect balance between conveying detailed knowledge of the dishes, while keeping service charming and friendly. This is not a stuffy fine dining experience; it’s relaxed yet uses ceremony to great effect, such as a white-gloved waiter grating seasonal black truffle over a sublime risotto with roasted Orkney scallop, or serving white chocolate meringue, parsnip mousse and lapsang souchong icecream over a bowl of tea. Ceviche of Gigha halibut with mango and passion fruit is tangy and fresh, while saddle of Border roe deer with butternut squash, beetroot and dauphine potato is rich and comforting. Matthieu, the sommelier, elevates each of the dishes with his expert pairing of wines as well

restaurants

as knowledgeable and entertaining chat. The setting is elegant, the food divine and service on point. Please go. + Everything meets and exceeds expectations - Not being able to eat here every day

+ Everything is delicious - Very busy at weekends

Q Le Roi Fou

21212

1 Forth Street, New Town (Map 3: I7), 0131 557 9346, leroifou.com | Closed Sun/Mon | No under 5s in evening | £19.50 (set lunch) / £38 (dinner)

Jérôme Henry, chef-owner of Le Roi Fou, has always worked in fine dining and this shines through in the quality and scope of the experience he delivers. There’s nothing stuffy about this operation; the welcome from staff and proprietor is genuinely warm and, whether choosing a full tasting menu with wine pairing or just popping in for one course and a glass of wine, anything goes. Traditional cooking techniques, with sauces created over days based on years of experience, elevate the cooking to another level in dishes such as roasted wild Highland venison saddle with root vegetables and sauce grand veneur, or sensational grilled Orkney hand-dived scallops with black pudding and crispy pork belly. Their hand-cut beef fillet steak tartare is raised to another level by the addition of piquillo peppers, while grilled calf liver with market vegetables and chimichurri sauce is popular with regulars. Desserts are plentiful for those with a sweet tooth or try a savoury end to the evening with their Welsh rarebit. As well as the beautiful street level space, there’s a private dining area in the basement, perfect for a special occasion.

Southside Scran

14–17 Bruntsfield Place, Southside See Bistros & Brasseries

3 Royal Terrace, New Town (Map 2: K7), 0845 22 21212/0131 523 1030, 21212restaurant.co.uk | Closed Sun/ Mon | No under 5s | £28 (set lunch) / £70 (set dinner)

Set in stunning Georgian townhouse rooms, Paul Kitching’s 21212 is a rollercoaster ride of taste, texture and above all of presentation. Diners sit side by side on love seats and menu decisions are restricted to a strict choice of two starter options, a soup, two mains, a cheese and two desserts (hence the name 21212). That said, at lunch and dinner midweek you don’t have to go the whole hog and can decide to have a smaller number of courses, which makes it possible to try this unique dining style without breaking the bank. It’s all very theatrical, from the pun-tastic names to the mismatched crockery, to the pouring of porridge milk (a pre-dessert palate cleanser) from a ceramic cow into miniature paper cups. Kitching admirably seems to set out to shatter the stuffy, starchy Michelin perception. More power to his elbow, but this won’t suit every diner seeking to worship at the temple of ‘fine’. Menus change weekly and most ingredients are sourced locally, while service is generally slickly professional, yet with a welcome touch of personality. + Genuinely different fine dining - Which won’t suit every fine diner

French twist using the best of Scotland and the finest Scottish seasonal larder from top quality local suppliers. 56 Broughton Street Edinburgh EH1 3SA 0131 557 1600 lescargotbleu.co.uk

17 Queensferry Street Edinburgh EH2 4QW 0131 226 1890 lescargotblanc.co.uk

@Lescargot_B

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INDIAN Bold in flavour as well as in spirit, the Indian food scene in Edinburgh goes from strength to strength. From innovative twists on quintessential dishes to highend dining experiences with a focus on fresh, local sourcing, the boundaries of the traditional Indian menu are expanding in new and dynamic directions. Reviewers: Tom Bruce-Gardyne, Deborah Chu, Claire Sawers

Annakut Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurant

13 Newington Road, Southside (Map 9: L11), 0131 667 9897, annakut.uk | Closed Mon | £15 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

The home of Indian vegetarian food is Gujarat – birthplace of Ghandi – and inspiration for Annakut, which brought its vegan and vegetarian cooking to Newington two years ago. The menu is full of subtle, health-conscious dishes where the use of oil and buttery sauces is kept to a minimum. Some allegedly have medicinal properties like kaju karela – fried bitter gourd – which is said to be good for cleansing the gut. The dhal makhani – smoked black lentils in a light, creamy sauce – is easily mopped up with a choice of equally light, well-cooked naans, as is the sweetly spiced ringan no oro (mashed grilled aubergines). A bowl of Annakut royal biryani with fragrant basmati rice, loaded with fresh beans, cashews, ginger and saffron, is almost a meal in itself and perfect for sharing. And fear not if you’re not a fan of ultraspicy food; aside from the tangy veg kohlhapuri, the dishes tend to be on the mild side. + A chef with a deft touch - The functional space jars with the soulful cooking

Q Dishoom

3a St Andrew Square, New Town (Map 1: H8), 0131 202 6406, dishoom.com/ edinburgh | £20 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Paying homage to the disappearing Irani cafés of Bombay, Dishoom itself is certainly going nowhere, having proven itself a fixture in the trendy AngloIndian culinary scene here in the UK. Their menu offers up tapas-style dining ranging from old familiar favourites, like the quintessential chicken tikka, to more exotic street food such as their pau bhaji – spicy mashed vegetables served alongside generously buttered buns. Other scene stealers here include the signature house black dhal, a gloriously creamy concoction that’s cooked for over 24 hours, and an unbelievably tender chicken ruby swimming in a silky sauce. Their spiced house chai is served piping-hot and subject to bottomless refills until 5pm, and breakfast guests are encouraged to linger over their bacon naan rolls, filled with locally sourced, smoked streaky bacon, cream cheese and sharp chilli tomato jam. Wood panelling and delicate screens sectioning the dining area evoke a genteel, yet warmly bustling atmosphere, and highly personable waiting staff mean you never feel lost in the crowd, no matter how busy it gets. + Highly atmospheric setting and beautifully crafted menu - No reservations after 6pm, so queues

NEW Gautam’s

13–14 Dalziel Place, Leith, 0131 656 9604, gautamsedinburgh.co.uk | £18 (dinner)

Despite having only opened its doors 100

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four months ago, Gautam’s has already become a fixture in its Meadowbank neighbourhood. Weekends find the place packed with locals enjoying generous plates of Indian and Nepalese food, which feels particularly appropriate given that Gautam’s is a family affair: a pair of brothers cook up a storm in the kitchen, while their children run the front of house. A clear pride in the details – as displayed in the real flowers on every table and the Nepalese paintings on the walls – extends from the décor to the food itself, from the Scottish-sourced meats to their innovative touches on traditional cuisine. The handmade samosas are a real revelation, full of flavour and served with a side of chickpeas for that extra savoury bite. The chicken of the gau’ ko kukhuro falls off the bone and into a spiced tomato sauce that is surprisingly subtle in flavour, while raja’s nihari gohst boasts a similarly tender and delicately-flavoured lamb swimming in an aromatic gravy. Such a strong start can only augur great things for Gautam’s future. + Incredibly friendly service and perhaps the best samosas in town - Prepare to book well in advance for a table on the weekends

Golden Ambal

1 Albert Place, Leith (Map 4: L6), 0131 555 5505, goldenambal.com | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

This friendly and welcoming Indian restaurant about halfway down Leith Walk does excellent traditional snacks like pakora and samosa, but that’s not the main selling point. It’s best to try out their speciality dishes – the gobi manchurian is a winner every time, with fried, crispy cauliflower in a hot and sour sauce, or for pescatarians they do a very good Goan prawn curry, salmon tikka or whole chargrilled, tandoori sea bass. South Indian dosa can be eaten plain or filled with potato onion masala, and the uppatham (rice and lentil pancakes) are also recommended and come with sambar and chutney for dipping. The downstairs room is closed midweek, when diners sit upstairs on street level surrounded by carved Persian artefacts and wall hangings. But if you want to book in advance for a larger group, they can fit over 50 covers in the basement. It’s worth checking their Facebook page, as they’ll often do home delivery discounts or free glasses of wine for Valentine’s Day, for example. Plus early birds that order before 5.45pm get two for one on curries, Monday to Friday. + Very flexible for food intolerances and allergies - No disabled access to the downstairs dining room

Indian Lounge

129a Rose Street, New Town (Map 1: F8), 0131 226 2862, indianloungeedinburgh. co.uk | £7 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

This family-run Indian restaurant opened in 1983 and has its fair share of loyal regulars who’ve been coming in for years. While the service is uneven, there are real high spots to be found among the menu: salmon tikka is rich and delicious and comes with generous chunks of fish, with a mellow heat spicing up the tomato and coriander curry sauce. The naan is fluffy and sweet, topped with fresh parsley and garlic butter while the mango lassis hit the spot. Besides many well-cooked British Indian menu staples, chef specials include Scottish grass-fed lamb bhuna, king prawn kahai and garlic chicken. Set price lunch and dinner options work out as good value too; a two course veggie lunch is well under a tenner and the evening banquet, where chef chooses starters, mains, sides, naan and rice,

Konkana

finished off with kulfi or gulabjamon for dessert, is excellent value too. There’s no corkage charge if you BYOB either. + Good value lunch and dinner menus - The location means you may have to share with loud groups

Kalpna

2/3 St Patrick Square, Southside (Map 9: K10), 0131 667 9890, kalpnarestaurant. com | £8.50 (set lunch) / £25 (dinner)

Having reopened in 2018 after an extensive renovation, Kalpna’s new look certainly doesn’t disappoint. The freshened jewel-box interior is adorned with colourful mosaics, while seethrough table tops reveal an assortment of spices beneath – a tantalising precursor of the meal to come. Aesthetics aside, Kalpna remains much beloved by Edinburgh’s vegan and vegetarian community for its plant-based delights, which are elegantly presented on burnished brass crockery. The sev dahi poori is a particular stunner, with delicate yet crispy poori shells densely stuffed with potatoes, chickpea and onion, and smothered in honey-flavoured yoghurt. Kalpna’s wide selection of dosas is an excellent testament to its South Indian roots, and their list of specialities include saam saveera, a rich, creamy dish of spinach stuffed with homemade cheese, vegetables and nuts. For the chronically indecisive, their thalis allow guests to try a bit of everything and are tailored for different dietary requirements and appetite sizes, though some dishes don’t quite pack the same flavoursome punch as their à la carte selections. + Excellent eye for detail, from the food to the gorgeous interiors - Be prepared to wait a while for service

Kebab Mahal

7 Nicolson Square, Old Town (Map 2: J9), 0131 667 5214, kebab-mahal.co.uk | £12 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

Though open late and not much of a looker, it would be a mistake to dismiss

Kebab Mahal as merely another takeaway spot. There’s a reason why they’ve remained in business now for 30 years, in an area of Edinburgh that has no shortage of cheap Indian eateries, and it’s all down to reliably tasty tandoori, curry and kebabs. Though perhaps not quite as inexpensive as some of their competitors on the square, smaller portion sizes mean it’s easier for parties to sample different flavours from a varied menu of lamb, chicken and vegetarian plates. The meat of the mixed kebab contains a welcome hint of char, while the tandoori chicken is a bit on the dry side but remains nicely flavoursome. Swimming in stewed tomato and onion, the chicken tikka bhuna packs a spicy punch, while the saag aloo is velvety and mild. The dining area is cosy, with plenty of customers popping in for takeaways or a quick chat with the friendly staff, so be prepared to queue during busy periods. + Great flavours at low prices - Pizza options are an unnecessary afterthought

Q NEW Konkana

30–32 Leven Street, Southside (Map 8: F11), 0131 228 6694, konkana.co.uk | Closed Sun | £20 (dinner)

Run by the team behind Kalpna, the vegan and vegetarian at St Patrick’s Square, Konkana is a more elegant, seafood-focused sister restaurant in Tollcross. A lot of thought has gone into both the menu and room; there are soft green and pink mood lights, blingy crystal drop decorations and purple orchids in the main front area, with leather banquette seating and green pot plants through the back. The chefs take great care to not overpower the fresh fish with too many spices and exotic Indian flavours, getting the balance right with aromatic, light sauces. The seafood appetisers deserve a look; choose from local catch of the day fried in a delicate gram flour batter and served with tamarind and mint chutney or sea bass


INDIAN

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with a potato and pomegranate take on chaat, the roadside snack. Presentation and service raises the bar well above the standard curry house, with fresh flowers, dainty salad garnishes and tasteful dots and squiggles of colourful sauces sitting prettily on minimal white tableware. Leave space for dessert - they do a delicious gulab jamun dribbled (but not drenched) in a perfumey rose and cinnamon syrup and a potent mango kulfi with crunchy pistachios on top. + Colourful presentation, well thought out flavours - Only open at dinner time

as a chicken tikka which boasts a nice touch of cream, and an aloo gobi that is generously spiced with turmeric and cumin, all of which is poured atop a truly massive mountain of golden-hued rice. Though the filling of their samosas could use more spice, the pastry shell is beautifully crisp. And if somehow you’ve still got room for more, a separate dessert bar offers up make-your-own ice-cream shakes and refreshingly sweet faloodas. + Extremely generous portion sizes - Curry-to-rice ratio is heavily skewed in favour of rice

Mintleaf

3–5 Infirmary Street, Old Town (Map 2: J9), 0131 524 9801, motherindiascafeedinburgh.co.uk | £10 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

28 Bernard Street, Leith (Map 5: N2), 0131 555 5552, mintleafrestaurant.co.uk | £21 (dinner)

Mintleaf’s spacious dining room is decked out in an opulent mix of dark red crushed velvet, gilt mirrors and candles, and its Bernard Street entrance is framed by pink marble pillars (although a refurbishment is planned for later in 2019). The kitchen has both a Thai chef and an Indian one and the menu splits in two, meaning you can pick from murgh tikka skewers or tod mun fish cakes to start, then king prawn biryani or gaeng ped (roast duck) penyang as a main course, with coconut milk rice or peshwari nan. The Indian pathia style seabass salad is a generous portion of crispy fish in a light lime, chilli, ginger and soy sauce and the homemade pistachio kulfi is creamy and indulgent, with the Indian flavours tending to stand out more than the Thai in terms of punchy, fresh flavours. They’re closed at lunchtimes, but this is a good place for a low-lit, unhurried meal down by the Shore, where the ornate window decorations and dangling lamps make it feel like a cosy hideaway. + Attention to detail in the cooking and service - The large room can lack atmosphere

The Mosque Kitchen

31–33 Nicolson Square, Southside (Map 2: J9), 0131 667 4035, mosquekitchen. com | £10 (lunch) / £10 (dinner)

Located just off the University of Edinburgh’s George Square campus, the Mosque Kitchen’s regular clientele extends to a wide cross section of the city’s population — from large parties of families and tourists to students and suited professionals — all drawn to their cheap prices, fast service and extremely generous portion sizes. The dining room features long tables of communal seating, and the canteen-style service makes for a bustling cafeteria of people from all walks of life. The menu is basic but covers all the familiar favourites, such

Q Mother India’s Café

This offshoot of the famed Glasgow mothership has been going since 2008 and is still as popular as ever – small wonder given the quality of the generous, tapas-style dishes steaming out of the kitchen. A seasonally changing menu – with daily specials such as Friday’s monkfish tikka or Monday’s vegetable shaslik (sweet potato, paneer, peppers and mushrooms) – revolves around staples like chilli garlic chicken, railway lamb curry and spiced haddock. The latter is supremely tasty in its Punjabi spices, and matches well with the light and airy deep-fried aubergine fritters, washed down with some craft beer. Other vegetarian options include black dhal in butter and cream, aloo gobi (potato and cauliflower) and various lentil pancakes and samosas. Three or four dishes to share between two should suffice; the only agony is what to choose – it’s all good at Mother India, even if the ambience doesn’t quite match the warmth of the cooking. + The genius in the kitchen - The hard wooden chairs

NEW Mumbai Diners’ Club

3 Atholl Place, West End (Map 6: C9), 0131 229 8291, mumbaidinersclub.co.uk | Closed Mon | £10 (set lunch) / £25 (dinner)

Located in a plush renovated townhouse in Edinburgh’s West End, this elegant Indian restaurant impresses from start to finish. The menu fuses the very best Scottish produce with Indian flavours, including North Sea monkfish grilled in the tandoor, hake smoked in-house and served with tamarind spiced courgettes, and the restaurant’s most popular dish - venison boti kebab. The nine-course tasting menu is highly recommended if you fancy a blowout – dishes include Shetland scallops and mussels dressed in an aromatic coconut and curry leaf sauce, grilled tawa lobster and succulent seekh

kebab. A sommelier is on-hand to guide diners through the extensive wine list, while a dedicated patisserie chef crafts exquisite desserts to round off the meal, such as saffron poached pears served with cinnamon ice cream, and star anise and Callebout hot chocolate mousse. Mumbai Diner’s Club is already well on its way to establishing itself as one of the city’s top restaurants for fine Indian dining. + In a restaurant of highs. . . it might just have to be the glorious desserts - The open space may not work for those seeking a romantic meal

Q HITLIST

Namaste Kathmandu

17–19 Forrest Road, Old Town (Map 1: I9), 0131 220 2273, namastektm.co.uk | £11 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

A stone’s throw away from the University of Edinburgh’s main campus, Namaste Kathmandu is a student hotspot serving up authentic cuisine from Nepal and North India. The main dining area is unfussy, yet also displays an eye to cultural detail in its ornate wooden wall hangings and the Bollywood hits softly piping through the stereo. The menu pays equal attention to the dishes of both regions and offers plentiful options for vegetarians. One particular standout is their traditional vegetable momo, a generously stuffed dumpling served alongside a flavoursome tomatobased sauce. Channa masala contains delightfully zingy bites of ginger, and aloo bodi tama balances its hearty stew of potatoes with crunchy, sour bamboo shoots. Certain dishes don’t always hit the desired notes, such as the sherpa’s checha which, despite the chicken being nicely tender, is accompanied by a cheese that doesn’t pull its weight flavour-wise. The true star, however, is the garlic naan, which manages that highly desirous balance of being soft yet crispy, and is very generously coated in a garlic paste. + Garlic naan is truly something else - Sherpa’s checha slightly underseasoned

Navadhanya

32–34 Grindlay Street, West End (Map 1: E9), 0131 629 7868, navadhanyascotland.co.uk | Closed Mon | £10 (set lunch) / £25 (dinner)

After a few years playing to an audience around Haymarket, Navadhanya has brought its modern take on Indian cuisine to the heart of Theatreland. Directly opposite the Lyceum, its waistcoated waiters pad beneath subdued lighting to talk you through a compact, imaginative menu. For dinner, you can opt for the full-blown five-course tasting menu, also available as a vegetarian

INDIAN ✱ Dishoom Trendy Irani cafe

serving up small plates straight off the streets of Bombay, deliciously potent cups of chai and a great breakfast.

✱ Konkana New Tollcross

restaurant doing well-seasoned, artfully presented Indian dishes, with a strong focus on fresh fish and seafood.

✱ Mother India’s Café Anyone who likes their Indian food vibrant yet subtle and not weighed down by creamy sauces will warm to Mother India’s generous, tapasstyle dishes.

✱ Tanjore South Indian

establishment rightfully famous for their delicious dosas, as well as their spicy curries and generous veggie options.

option, and have it paired with wines if you desire (though sadly not with local craft beer). By day, there’s the excellent value two-course business lunch. Starters are particularly impressive, especially the tawa paneer - Indian cottage cheese marinated in ginger, on a sweet puddle of reduced beetroot, topped with coriander chutney. For mains, there are fish options including a catch of the day, dum biryani, as well as dishes like lamb malabar or jhingha courgette with meaty, perfectly cooked king prawns, both in a mild (possibly too creamy) coconut sauce. + An imaginative chef - The richness of some of the milder curries

INDIAN LOUNGE EST 1983

FAMILY BUSINESS SERVING REAL INDIAN AND PUNJABI FLAVOURS

Grass-fed Scottish lamb • Free range poultry Fresh vegetables • Olive oil cooking

Ship to plate seafood in 24 hours VEGAN AND GLUTEN FREE OPTIONS AVAILABLE

BYOB | NO CORKAGE CHARGE | FULLY LICENSED 129a Rose Street, Edinburgh | 0131 226 2862 | indianloungeedinburgh.co.uk

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Pataka

Ronaq

Roti

This neighbourhood Indian restaurant has been well loved in the Southside since 1991. The original idea was a Charles Rennie Mackintosh theme for the décor with Indian and Bengali food on the menu, but maybe don’t overthink that one, just admire the carved wood booths, framed prints and rose motif murals on the fresh white walls. Although the connection may be a bit tenuous, and a few details seem stuck in the 90s – albeit in a comforting and welcoming way – the cooking is reliably great, and cheaper than many city-centre options. The menu covers many British Indian favourites such as lamb rogan josh or butter chicken, or if you’d prefer something less familiar, order from their special dishes like Persian vegetables (lentils and veg with pineapple, mango chutney and coriander) or mangsho roti (spicy lamb with ginger and garlic, served with chapatis). An extension a few years ago added the White Room, which can be booked for a group of 35 if you need to celebrate a special something with mango lassis. + Good-value dishes and unhurried service - Closed at lunchtime

Cocooned from the traffic beyond its windows, Ronaq’s interior is spacious and subdued – a blend of dark wood, copper and comfy banquettes. Attentive tweed-clad waiters talk you through a menu of mainly north Indian and Pakistani cooking, with signature mains such as lamb kathmandu or chersada balti which features marinaded barbecued chicken and lamb mince. There are plenty of vegetarian and tandoori options – hardy perennials like rogan josh and tikka masala – and some very tasty starters. Of these, tandoori mushroom stuffed with a spicy potato and pea filling, topped with Indian cheese, or the plump and fleshy king prawn tikka, grilled over charcoal, are both excellent. A main of garlic chilli king prawn masala is almost as good in its reduced sauce with onions and charred green peppers, but cauliflower-dominated vegetable shashlick is a bit disappointing. If you still have room, share some pistachio kulfi ice-cream, and for drinks try Ronaq’s very own pale ale on tap. + Warmth of the staff - The view

It’s hard to know what to expect when you first walk into Roti, with its dark fixtures and hot-pink banquettes. Yet despite eschewing traditional décor for a sleeker vibe, Roti’s small dishes of Indian and Pakistani cuisine remain authentic and unfussy in the best way. The portion sizes are nicely calibrated for parties to sample a variety of dishes, but there’s also the option for regular-sized entrées for those who know what they like and aren’t keen to share. The tandoori chicken leg is wonderfully tender and the baigen aloo – a spicy mash of aubergine and potato cooked in tomato – is so tasty you’ll be eagerly mopping the dish with your generously buttered paratha. The deep-fried parcel at the bottom of the vegetable samosa chaat is a bit dry, but even that can be forgiven when drizzled with a yoghurt-based sauce and garnished with crunchy cucumber. Be sure to top it off with their gulab jamun, which avoids the common pratfall of sickly sweetness by balancing it with a scoop of light, refreshing vanilla ice-cream. + Big, flexible menu means there’s something for everyone - The samosa could pack a bigger punch

190 Causewayside, Southside (Map 9: K12), 0131 668 1167, patakarestaurant. co.uk | £22 (dinner)

Punjabi Junction

122–124 Leith Walk, Leith (Map 4: M4), 0131 281 0159, punjabijunction.org | Closed Sun/Mon | £8 (set lunch) / £8 (set dinner)

This homespun community café has a giant Indian rail map painted on the wall where the stations have been replaced with spices. Among the lesser-known ones is ajwain, whose seeds give a wonderful thyme-like flavour to the fish curry which, as the menu proudly states, featured on Paul Hollywood’s TV show Puds & Pies. You can have it on its own or as part of the Punjabi Junction thali, served on a metal tray with chapatti, rice and tarka dhal (yellow lentils) – for those on a tight budget it’s only around a fiver on Tuesday nights. For starters, the crispy, deep-fried pakoras are a delight and come with the sweetest, tangiest homemade carrot chutney in town. The aubergine or haggis pakora (quite fiery) is particularly good, and if you want a selection, pick the full pakora platter as a main. For drinks, it’s water and fruit juice or free BYOB – some well-hopped local craft beer would be ideal. Leith Walk’s tribulations have been well-recorded elsewhere; suffice to say, Punjabi Junction’s future is far from certain, so get down there while you can. + Fanatstic value home cooking - Echoey canteen-like space can get noisy

10–12 Craigleith Road, Stockbridge, 0131 332 3362, ronaqrestaurant.co.uk | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Ronaq New Waverley

31 East Market Street, Old Town (Map 2: J8), 0131 558 7683, ronaqrestaurant. co.uk/new_waverley | £10 (set lunch) / £23 (dinner)

Across the road from Waverley train station, just behind the Royal Mile and with a panoramic view over the train tracks to the Balmoral Hotel and Calton Hill, this is a modern Indian restaurant in a fantastic location. The city centre branch of its popular Comely Bank sister restaurant, their set price business lunch is popular with local office and council workers and guests at the nearby budget hotels, who can pop in for curry and chapati while taking in the big views out the shiny glass windows. The service is swift and friendly, which makes up for the slightly corporate feel to the room which is decked out with chandeliers and has loud muzak on a loop. Vegans and vegetarians are well catered for, and meat eaters can choose from the likes of prawn tikka, Scottish lamb in bhindi gohst and chilli garlic chicken. Some of the pricing is a bit steep compared to other Indians in the city, and a few sauces don’t stand out as much as they should, but the desserts make a nice end note, with sticky gulab jamun covered in syrup to finish things off. + Good location just off the Royal Mile - Potential surcharge for packaging up your left-overs

Bringing a taste of authentic, home-cooked southern Indian food to Edinburgh Try our delicious Dosai, Idli, Biryani, Kothu Parotta and Curries 6-8 Clerk Street, Edinburgh EH8 9HX | 0131 478 6518 tanjore.co.uk

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HITLIS IN THE EA TED DRINKING TING & G FOR 7 YEA UIDE RS

42 South Bridge, Old Town (Map 2: J9), 0131 557 8820, roti-edinburgh.co.uk | £6.50 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Spice Lounge Kitchen

1 Craigmount View, Corstorphine, 0131 476 9999, spiceloungekitchen.co.uk | £7.50 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

The Spice Lounge Kitchen on Drumbrae casts its net wide in a neighbourhood that is not awash with places to eat and drink. Under one roof you will find a fullblown Indian restaurant with a sideline in pizzas and ‘international dishes’, from penne Punjabi pasta to fish and chips, plus a separate bar selling keenly priced Tennents, Guinness and Cobra on tap. Choosing from such a packed menu takes time, as you settle into padded banquettes in the low-ceilinged, spacious main room. Among starters, the vegetarian option may be best; the burrah champ lamb chops are slightly overcooked. There’s a range of sizzling tandoori dishes, biryanis and AngloIndian stalwarts, as well as main courses that include a generous, garlicky Punjabi lamb palak and a mildly spicy maccher johl of haddock, with green chillis and mustard seeds. + Good-value drinks list - Huge menu needs pruning back

Q Tanjore

6–8 Clerk Street, Southside (Map 9: K10), 0131 478 6518, tanjore.co.uk | £12 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Serving up the aromatic flavours of South India, this cosy, informal restaurant is rushed off its feet. In addition to Tanjore being particularly beloved by the city’s vegan and vegetarian community for their many veggie-friendly options, its BYOB policy and lack of a corkage charge means that its often bustling with large, happy parties. But, of course, it’s the food that really draws the crowds. The chicken milagu soup, stewed in a broth packed with lentils and fresh curry leaves, is the perfect tonic to a cold day. Their curry options are certainly no slouch either, such as a Chennai mango seafood curry that successfully harmonises the creaminess of the cashew with the acidic tang of mango and tamarind. However, the menu’s true crowning jewel remains its dosa selection, with a special shoutout to the masala dosa, which encases a mash of spiced potatoes, tomato and onion in a wrapper that is perfectly crisp yet soft, served alongside generous portions of sambar and chutneys.

+ Best dosas in the city - Service a bit slow

10 to 10 In Delhi

• 63 Clerk Street, Southside (Map 9: K10) • 67 Nicolson Street, Old Town (Map 2: J9), 0131 629 1130 / 07536757770 | £9 (lunch) / £9 (dinner)

A student favourite, this small cafe and tea house has colourful scarves and textiles pinned to the ceiling and draped over the furniture. There’s the original Nicolson Street café plus a second branch further up the road on Clerk Street; both do filling portions of African-Indian fusion food for under a tenner, which also makes them popular at festival time. Chef Alieu Badjan’s domoda sauce is recommended – a smooth peanut sauce with spices that can be served with chicken breast, or a tomato and coconut version for vegetarians. Dhal curry, lamb with a South Indian sauce, biryani and muttar paneer (cheese and green peas cooked in an Indian sauce) are all available from 10am to 10pm (except on Sundays when they open slightly later). No alcohol is served so it’s a good option for those on a dry month or people who want to meet away from drinkers. It can be hard to get a seat in the evenings, but you’re likely to find space in the mornings to enjoy a slow mango lassi or coffee. + A place to meet in the evening that’s not a pub - brilliant - Friendly service can be slow

Tuk Tuk

1 Leven Street, Tollcross (Map 8: F10), 0131 228 3322, tuktukonline.com | £12 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Tuk Tuk has been serving tapas-style Indian street food in Bruntsfield for seven years and its slick format feels a little chain-like, though so far has spawned just one off-shoot in Glasgow. It attracts local families, theatregoers from the King’s opposite and students who come armed with clinking bags from the Coop next-door. A generous BYOB policy (just £1 per head for recycling) is part of the appeal, and allows Tuk Tuk to focus on the food. Poppadums and some sweet tangy chutneys make a good start, but the roadside plates to follow include slightly stodgy Bengali fishcakes and dhal kachori. A pair of lamb chops from the grill are tender yet fiery thanks to a spicy overnight marinade, while the railway station lamb curry on its bed of spinach is deservedly popular. The work canteen décor is fun, but be warned, it can get a bit noisy. + Enightened BYOB policy - The acoustics

Voujon

107 Newington Road, Southside (Map 9: L11), 0131 667 5046, voujonedinburgh. com | £25 (dinner)

This Southside Indian restaurant serves up North Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi dishes on its fusion menu. Vegetarians can choose from the likes of carrot and broccoli bhaji or badami sabzi (mixed vegetables in a mild creamy coconut sauce with almonds) and vegans are well catered for too, but should ask the waiters for advice as it’s not marked on the menu. The fish and seafood selection is excellent – West Bengali-style lightly fried trout, a rich, not too heavy on the ghee salmon tikka or king prawn curry in parsi sauce for example, which arrive with fluffy naan or neat domes of rice. Tables are set with smart folded, white napkins and the room has a formal feel, although some of the details could maybe do with a refresh. Finish with a spiced Voujon tea or a few scoops of pineapple ice-cream. + Separate party suite - Closed at lunchtime


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ITALIAN

@pizza

4 Charlotte Lane, West End (Map 6: D8), 0131 285 5940, atpizza.com | £9.50 for all pizzas

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

Italian cuisine has been blended into Scottish culture for generations, especially here in Edinburgh. Cosy, family-run restaurants serve dishes that have been passed down through the ages, while some of Edinburgh’s top establishments work magic with their ingredients to push culinary boundaries. And there’s an embarrassment of great restaurants squarely focused on pizza. Reviewers: Rachael Cloughton, Carol Main, Murray Robertson

Diners can construct their own pizzas – choosing the dough, selecting sauce, toppings and finishing touches, before the server gives it the short, sharp cooking treatment. Everything is calorie-counted for those seeking healthy creations and all pizzas cost the same. For those who are less decisive, a half-and-half option makes it possible to create two pizzas in one, or there are pre-designed alternatives, including a chocolate and berry confection that is perfect for sharing as dessert. A self-service soda machine adds to the fun as an alternative to local beers or a limited selection of single-serve Italian wines. + Build your own pizza! - There’s no-one else to blame if it isn’t very nice

La Bruschetta

13 Clifton Terrace, Haymarket, West End (Map 6: A9), 0131 467 7464, labruschetta. co.uk | Closed Sun/Mon | £16.95 (set lunch) / £30 (dinner)

La Bruschetta is a small, intimate restaurant, just across the road from the commuter frenzy of Haymarket station. Full of old-school Italian charm, tables are elegantly dressed in crisp, white tablecloths and service is just as immaculate. The menu follows a traditional Italian format – stuzzichini, antipasti, primi and secondi. Combinations of local vegetables and Italian meats and cheeses, drizzled with warm honey and crumbled goat’s cheese, make for indulgent antipasti, best followed by classic Italian fresh

egg pasta dishes. Head chef and owner Giovanni Cariello worked in some of the best restaurants in Italy before setting up La Bruschetta in 2002 and this training shines through in his cuisine. Seafood is a particular speciality; scampi breval and grilled sea bass are available on the à la carte menu but the real treasures are on the specials board, where the likes of dover sole, lobster and swordfish regularly make an appearance. + Superb classic Italian cuisine - Toilets positioned awkwardly through the bar area

Café Domenico

30 Sandport Street, Leith (Map 5: M2), 0131 467 7266, cafedomenico.co.uk | £13 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Despite being open for 25 years, Café Domenico remains something of a local secret – one that, quite rightly, Leithers don’t want getting out. With a large deli counter at the front serving takeaway sandwiches, you could easily assume that’s all it is. But tucked behind is a softly lit, bistro-style restaurant with a handful of gingham-dressed tables attentively waited on by friendly staff. In 2018, Café Domenico launched a new à la carte menu, showcasing their love of rich Italian cuisine with a kick. Among the tempting creations, check out the spicy sausage pasta or hearty bowls of casarecce pugliese with broccoli, anchovies and chilli. Chicken stuffed with smoky nduja and topped with béchamel sauce is a deliciously spiced-up twist on a typical chicken parma, served with a plentiful side of sweet potato wedges. There’s also a weekend breakfast menu that runs just past noon and includes some epic breakfast platters that will easily see you right through the day. + Delicious, generous Italian comfort food, perfectly spiced - Seats at the front lack the bistro-style charm of the rest

Civerinos Italian Street Food & Pizza 5 Hunter Square, Old Town (Map 2: I8), 0131 220 0851, civerinos.com | £10 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

THE HOME OF FRESH HANDMADE PASTA 7 South St David Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2BW

EAT IN •TAKEAWAY

Civerino’s has been a hit on Edinburgh’s dining scene since it opened its doors in 2015. Typical Italian dishes are served like street food on silver trays and wooden boards, with diners seated on long sharing tables. The atmosphere is hip and relaxed – even the restaurant’s eye-catching replica of Michelangelo’s David sports a pair of Ray-Bans. When it comes to the food, carbonara comes with huge chunks of guanciale and generous shavings of parmesan, topped with a perfect yellow yoke waiting to be mixed. Antipasti boards are piled high with meat, cheese and chunky focaccia and the crispy pizzas are just as generously topped. The signature pizza The Civerinos – with Sicilian sausage, spicy pepperoni and melted burrata – is a must, best washed down with a delicious frozen Aperol Spritz straight from the slushy machine. Save space for the zeppole doughnuts, which can only be described as little nuggets of deep-fried heaven. + The Aperol Spritz slushies are a revelation - Sharing tables can get quite cramped

Civerinos Slice

49 Forrest Road, Old Town (Map 1: I10), 0131 225 4026, civerinos.com | £10 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Civerino’s Slice opened in 2017 to help ease the demand facing its increasingly popular sister restaurant on Hunter Square. Serving exclusively pizza from a roaring wood-fired oven, this diner manages the bulk of delivery orders as 104

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well as dishing out generously topped slices for hungry patrons looking for a quick bite on the go. As a result, the place is bustling with people popping in and out among the long sharing tables and American diner-style high-backed seating. The pizza menu is extensive, with unusual combinations of toppings; the white-base polar pear combines roasted pear and pecorino with softly smoked nduja sausage, while the crouching brisket hidden kimchi is a mouth-watering ensemble of braised hoi sin beef brisket, kimchi spring onions, pickled cucumber and sesame seeds. For a heftier slice, go with the grandma slice – a thick, doughy pizza pie, baked in a deep Sicilian pan. + Option to order a few slices is perfect for diners with FOMO - Limited number of grandma slices baked each day

✱ Contini George Street

103 George Street, New Town (Map 1: F8), 0131 225 1550, contini.com/continigeorge-street | £15 (set lunch) / £26 (dinner)

While George Street is not exactly shy of impressively designed restaurant spaces, the interior of Contini is still quite a sight to behold. Following a friendly welcome, the first thing that grabs you in this converted banking hall is the extraordinary Italian renaissance-style wall display, Corinthian columns and stuccoed ceiling. This opulence might well prompt a double-take of the menu for the prices really don’t match the surroundings – this is exceptional-value quality dining. Perhaps kick things off with an aperitivo from the exhaustive drinks menu, featuring plenty of nonalcoholic options. Starters include a wonderfully light carpaccio served with porcini cream and caper crust or, for something a little more substantial, fresh Scottish baby squid, deep fried with vegetables and seaweed and served with homemade mayonnaise. Main courses include plenty of pasta options, as well as meat and fish dishes like spiced pork and sultana meatballs with nduja oil or baked lemon sole fillet, beautifully cooked, with wilted spinach and samphire. Service from start to finish is magical, with knowledgable staff eager to suggest various dishes and matching drinks. Finally, don’t think you have to restrict your visits to lunch and dinner. Get things off on the right foot with their breakfast, which features the likes of eggs on sourdough, a full Scottish, or delicious focaccia with a variety of fillings – it’s a lovely calm way to start a day. + Great food in stunning surroundings - Almost too many beautiful choices

Di Giorgio

1 Brandon Terrace, Canonmills, New Town See Cafés

Divino Enoteca

5 Merchant Street, Old Town (Map 1: H9), 0131 225 1770, divinoedinburgh. com | Closed Sun | £20 (set lunch) / £35 (dinner)

Divino Enoteca is a luxurious Italian restaurant and bar discreetly tucked away beneath the arches of George IV Bridge. Down in the basement of a towering tenement, you descend a flight of stairs to reach the awaiting maître’d (there’s a lift for wheelchair users). But once you’re in the door, it feels like an escape to much further afield. Softly lit and elegantly designed, it could be a luxury après-ski resort in the Italian Alps. The bar area is relaxed, with cosy leather banquettes and walls stacked with wine. More than just an


ITALIAN

In association with

EDINBURGH

Q HITLIST

ITALIAN Q Contini George Street Beautiful surroundings, impeccable service and sumptuous food; an upmarket dining experience that won’t cost the earth. Q Locanda de Gusti Superb Neapolitan cuisine in a restaurant so authentically Italian you can practically smell the Mediterranean. Q Mono An oasis of calm in the bustle that is South Bridge, Mono serves exceptional quality dishes using the finest ingredients, presented with deserved pride. Tempo Perso

eye-catching design feature, the wine list here is magnificent, with 32 served by the glass alone. In comparison, the main dining space is more formal and serves dishes exclusively from the à la carte menu. ‘Fine wine deserves fine dining’ is the restaurant’s mantra and with perfectly cooked prime cuts of meat and freshly caught fish presented in dainty, delicious portions, the menu is more than a match. + One of the city’s best and most comprehensive wine lists - The main dining area can feel a little formal compared to the relaxed bar

Dough

• 47 South Clerk Street, Newington, Southside, 0131 667 5343 • 172 Rose Street, New Town (Map 1: E8), 0131 225 1588, dough-pizza.co.uk | £15 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

As the name suggests, Dough’s philosophy begins with the very basis of good pizza: a simple but carefully judged mixture of flour, salt and yeast allowed to rise for 72 hours. There are 22 pizzas to choose from on the extensive menu. As well as the usual classic Italian flavours, there’s a few pizzas that really stand out, such as the Italian-Scottish hybrid scozia, combining Stornoway black pudding, haggis, pancetta, egg and mozzarella, and others with pork belly or beef ribs, both slow-cooked in oaky Innis & Gunn beer. If you’re after something extra, then buttermilk chicken poppers are particularly tasty with a parmesan aioli dip. There’s also a choice of seven flatbreads (from smoked mackerel to carbonara) and a variety of crisp salads. Delivery is available from this store or from the newer opening in South Clerk Street, which is just as well since seating is very limited. A shame, really, as it’s a beautifully decorated wee space. + Superb ingredients make for delicious pizzas - Not much space to sit

East Pizzas

7 Commercial Street, Leith (Map 5: M2), 0131 629 2430, eastpizzas.com | Closed Mon | £14 (dinner)

One of The Shore’s more recent additions, East Pizzas is a cosy wee place specialising in sourdough pizzas made using ingredients sourced as locally as possible. A board on the wall proudly displays the names of nearby suppliers, and there’s a broad selection of Scottish drinks behind the counter. There’s a nice variety of starters on offer, including olives, smoked almonds, air-dried ham and organic mozzarella balls. As you might expect from the name, the main courses are exclusively pizza-based, including a number of vegetarian options, plus a vegan pizza with olives, capers, chilli and oregano. For meat eaters, the venison salami with caramelised onions and Hebridean blue cheese is wonderfully sweet and tangy. There’s also a gluten-free option using a chickpea pancake base. Unlike some pizzerias, these dishes aren’t so huge that they carelessly spill across the crockery: portions are sensible, making three courses a tempting and realistic prospect. Sticking with the theme, follow up by indulging in a chocolate pizza with icecream or a banana pizza with caramel, cinnamon and ice-cream, or perhaps something a little less pizza-oriented. + Great value, delicious pizzas - Pizzas only for mains

La Favorita

325–331 Leith Walk, Leith (Map 4: L5), 0131 554 2430, vittoriagroup.co.uk | £11.95 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

If you live in Edinburgh, you’ve probably seen one of La Favorita’s bright yellow Fiat 500s on the road; this busy spot on Leith Walk is their mothership and just as unmissable. Inside, the atmosphere is relaxed and informal; wood-lined walls add a touch of rustic charm to an otherwise thoroughly modern restaurant. There’s something for everyone on the

extensive menu; gluten-free pizza and pasta as well as vegan cheese alternatives. Friendly staff add to the welcome. The thin, crisp pizza, cooked inside a woodfired oven by the restaurant’s master piazzioli, is recommended. Alongside the classics are more unusual toppings like smoky nduja sausage served with crumbled amaretti biscuit or the Emilia Romagna pizza with bolognese base. Save room for dolce; there are almost 20 different ice-cream flavours on a dessert menu that is admirably the same size as the main card. + Superb menu for diners with food intolerances and allergies - You can’t see the wood-fired pizza oven from the restaurant

Fiocchi Di Neve

93 Dalry Road, West End See Cafés: Wee Places

The High Dive

81–85 St Leonards Street, Southside See Bars & Pubs

Q Locanda de Gusti

102 Dalry Road, West End, 0131 346 8800, locandadegusti.com | Closed Sun | £16.95 (set lunch) / £27 (dinner)

Head chef Rosario Sartore established Locanda de Gusti with his wife, Maria, to recreate the culinary traditions of his Neapolitan upbringing. And this beautiful, traditional trattoria really does feel like it’s been transplanted direct from Italy. Diced octopus salad is perfectly paired with delicious sweet yellow pepper drops, lemon citronette and garlic, while hot-smoked Scottish salmon comes with capers, extra virgin olive oil and fresh buffalo mozzarella from Campania. Indeed, fish and seafood are abundant here; for something a little adventurous, try the charcoal-grilled fish and Scottish crustaceans, an eye-catching plate with gorgeous smoky sea bass, prawn, scallops, sword fish, tuna steak and rainbow trout. Alternatively, slow-

Q Pizzeria 1926 A no-frills pizzeria serving the closest you’ll get to real Neapolitan pizza in Edinburgh – the fritturina is pretty good too. cooked Scottish beef shin is sublime in cacciatora sauce, with olive oil, garlic and fresh herbs. This cosy space has a wonderful atmosphere and the friendly staff seem genuinely delighted to help. And if you close your eyes, you can practically smell the Mediterranean. + Fabulous food in beautiful surroundings - Could be a bit too cosy for some

Q NEW Mono

85 South Bridge, Old Town (Map 2: J9), 0131 466 4726, monorestaurant.co.uk | No under 5s | £15 (set lunch) / £33 (dinner)

This beautifully appointed restaurant is the result of an inspired collaboration between chef Maciek Zielinski and Edinburgh dining institution, Joseph Crolla. The contemporary South Bridge venue is extremely spacious and understated, and it’s remarkably easy to forget about all the hustle and bustle (and buses) outside. Waiting staff proudly present every course, taking time to detail the various intricacies of each dish, and they are intricate indeed, from starters including mackerel saor (a pickled Venetian speciality) and squid ink tagliolini to main courses such as lamb saddle and exquisite aged-parmesan risotto, laced with crispy pancetta and golden egg yolks. The à la carte menu is small but varied, while there are two tasting menus, including one dedicated to vegetarian dishes. An extensive and somewhat daunting wine list has something for every taste, and the large wine bar area is a nice addition. Staff are exceptionally courteous and attentive without ever being intrusive, serving imaginative, well-cooked and beautifully presented food. + It’s a tie between food and service - Wine list could do with a few more details The List Eating & Drinking Guide

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EDINBURGH

NEW Nero a Metà

39–41 Slateford Road, West End, 0131 337 0326, neroameta.co.uk | Closed Sun | £16 (lunch) / £22 (dinner)

They say good things come in threes, and that’s certainly the case for Locanda de Gusti and Pizzeria 1926 owner Rosario Sartore. His third Italian restaurant, Nero a Metà, opened in February on Slateford Road opposite the Caledonian Brewery, a part of town rather under-served for decent restaurants. It’s a small laid-back restaurant with a homely atmosphere and warm waiters who greet diners like friends and while Sartore may be building an empire (wee deli Fiocchi Di Neve also opened earlier this year) there isn’t the slightest whiff of a chain. The menu is a mix of Northern Italian and Southern Sardinian dishes – many from chef Guiseppe Magrone’s own family. Specialities include orecchiette served with a sumptuous Scottish shin beef ragù and the house take on lasagne: bitter friarielli, oyster mushrooms and smoky provola served on top of pasta sheets in a deconstructed style. The menu changes regularly to reflect what’s in season but expect traditional Sardinian dishes like calves’ liver marinated in Ichnusa beer, cured slices of wild boar and slowcooked tripe served with borlotti beans and guanciale; in other words, expect the unexpected. + Traditional recipes not commonly found on Edinburgh’s dining scene - Limited desserts - though that promises to change

Nonna’s Kitchen

45 Morningside Road, Southside, 0131 466 6767, nonnas-kitchen.co.uk | Closed Mon | £16 (lunch) / £24 (dinner)

For almost a decade, owner Gino Stornaiuolo has been welcoming diners to his family-run Morningside restaurant. Nonna’s Kitchen specialises in fresh fish and seafood, with a wide variety of traditional pizza and pasta dishes on offer, as well as famous specialities such as pumpkin ravioli. Nonna’s is blessed with a family atmosphere and the hosts are invariably friendly and patient, taking time to explain (from memory) the many intricacies of their menu. To start, try the tiger prawns, firm and sweet in a tomato sauce with garlic and chilli. Or if you fancy something to share, the huge bresaola is perfect for two. The crisp pizzas are beautifully presented and thankfully not so big that you’ll swear off the dessert menu, which is just as well as the crisp cannoli, filled to the brim with sweet ricotta, is too good to resist. Topped and tailed with genuinely warm service, this is a haven for Southside diners, but with retirement beckoning for some of the family don’t hang about if you haven’t ticked this one off your dining bucket list. + The impeccably warm service - Can be a bit of a squeeze when busy

dish. But the pizzas are very much the star attraction, with beautiful golden thin crusts and absolutely loaded with toppings. Available in one of three sizes, the largest would test the most voracious appetite, although the prices are very reasonable indeed. To finish, the tiramisu offers some sweet balance to all that dough. + Delicious pizzas at a sensible price - Service can be very laid-back

Piccolino

103 High Riggs, Tollcross (Map 8: F10), 07415 849715, piccolinoedinburgh.com | £9.95 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Piccolino feels more like a quaint trattoria perched on the Italian coast than a restaurant bang in the middle of Tollcross. Inside it’s bright and full of character; bottles of wine, cocktail glasses and gigantic orange bottles of Aperol are stacked on every spare surface. There’s a Vespa pulled up in the doorway and Italian cooking shows play on loop on a big screen. The menu is reassuringly simple with a concise selection of classic Italian dishes. Meatballs in a rich tomato sauce and garlicky mussels are standout starters, both served with generous chunks of toasted focaccia. Pasta is made to order and served al dente; seafood lovers should try the spaghetti vongole, which is drenched in a white wine sauce and delicately decorated with clams. The paccheri is a heartier dish, served with tender chunks of Scottish venison in a sumptuous ragù. The wine list is small but lovingly sourced, with each bottle carefully selected by the owner from vineyards near his home in southern Italy. + An escape to southern Italy, even on the greyest Edinburgh days - Menu might be a little on the safe side for more daring palates

NEW Pizza Geeks

19 Dalry Road, West End, 0131 3478863, pizzageeks.co.uk | £13 (dinner)

Formerly a roaming street-food pizzeria, Pizza Geeks settled into its Haymarket home in late 2018. Theirs is a small

The List Eating & Drinking Guide

16 Nicolson Street, Old Town (Map 2: J9), 0131 557 9941, pizzaposto.co.uk | £10 (lunch) / £10 (dinner)

Popular Pizza Posto focuses on value for money. Its pared-down menu features just ten pizzas, ranging in price from around a fiver to around a tenner, all made Neapolitan-style with slow-rising multi-cereal dough. Expect a soft bubbly base with thick crusts and toppings such as ham and mushroom, which comes with big globs of mozzarella and plenty of long-stemmed mushrooms. If you’re looking for more than just pizza, there’s a handful of starters, sides and salads. The antipasto with mozzarella, ham, cured meat and roast veg is generous and a focaccia garlic bread is pretty good. Desserts include a gooey chocolate cheesecake. It’s an in-and-out kind of place, but that’s no bad thing, especially when it’s as close to the Festival Theatre, making it a perfect pre-show pitstop before or after a show. + Tasty pizza at tasty prices - Wine list a bit dull

85 Dalry Road, West End, 0131 337 5757, pizzeria1926.com | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Pizzeria 1926 refers to the founding year of Napoli football club and this restaurant is a thorough homage to the legendary team. Football strips hang from the ceiling, the gigantic pizza oven is painted in the club’s iconic cerulean blue and even some of the pizzas are named after Napoli players. They’re as close to real Neapolitan pizza as you’ll get in Edinburgh, each stacked with toppings that are imported almost entirely from Italy (and priced accordingly). The marekiaro (No.17) combines Italian sausage with bitter friarielli, its sharpness balanced by creamy ricotta. The signature 1926 pizza is topped with the colours of the Italian flag; luscious tomato and ham, fior di latte, and fresh basil, with a football-esque boiled egg perched on top and a Vesuvius-like crust filled with pepper-infused ricotta. Dolce is just as indulgent, with wobbly caramel panacotta served in tubs and warm brioche buns stuffed with balls of ice-cream. Elegant it is not, but when the food is this good, who cares? + Pizzas rightly steal the show - If only they delivered

Radicibus Italian Bistro

2 Deanhaugh Street, Stockbridge (Map 7: D7), 0131 332 1469, radicibistro.com | £22 (lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Tucked away below street level among a row of shops and restaurants, Radicibus fulfils Stockbridge’s requirements for a high-quality Italian. The compact space with exposed brick walls, a decorative pile of logs in the fireplace, light wooden floors, wall-mounted wine bottles and monochrome images has a welcoming feel. The pared-back menu brims with fresh, simply presented creations made from well-sourced ingredients, including some imported from an organic farm in Italy. Starters feature the likes of calamari and salumi, while mains follow the same philosophy of keeping it simple and packed with flavour, like ragù of venison and grilled lamb chops with braised red cabbage. Traditional desserts like affogato and panacotta round off a well-executed meal in style. + Top-notch food and sourcing - Small space so booking is essential 9 Baxter’s Place, New Town (Map 4: J7), 0131 557 9998, vittoriagroup.co.uk | £11 (lunch) / £11 (dinner)

236 Leith Walk, Leith (Map 4: L5), 0131 554 6539, origano-leith.co.uk | £18 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

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Pizza Posto

Q Pizzeria 1926

Taste of Italy

Origano

This perpetually busy pizzeria has made a great name for itself over the past eight years. Located in the quieter northern half of Leith Walk, its Grade C-listed premises (formerly the Victoria India Rubber Mill) have been tastefully decorated, with a small bar area perfect for an aperitif or two; the effect is cosy and romantic. The menu is resolutely focused on pizza, with no fewer than 21 on offer (plus gluten-free versions). If you’re wary of consuming too much bread, then your choices are rather limited to olives to start or a choice of salad or lasagne as a main

but varied menu with pizzas and sides, all named after pop-cultural references from gaming, comic books, film and TV. Starters include dragon ballz: dough balls stuffed with two fillings of your choice (cheese and onion work beautifully with their garlic mayo dip), and the MacGyver and cheese, a delicious pot of macaroni cheese, pesto and breadcrumbs. The pizzas are made in the Neapolitan style; thin bases are loaded with toppings and crusts are soft and chewy with a distinctive charred flavour. There’s a good range of ingredients and toppings, including Scottish favourites such as Stornoway black pudding and haggis from Macsween. Although primarily a takeaway, there’s room for 22 diners, and it’s a bright and colourful space adorned with geeky knick-knacks. All this, and the guys work with local homeless charity Soul Food, donating pizzas to vulnerable people at a special event every month. + Fantastic pizzas, loaded with flavour - Wishing the menu was bigger

Pizza Geeks

No matter what frame of mind you’re in when you step into Taste of Italy, you’ll be caught up in the cheerful and welcoming warmth of what is, indeed, a taste of informal Italian café culture. Slap bang in the middle of the city-centre action, and handy for Playhouse theatregoers, this casual café, diner and takeaway is a slick and well-honed operation. Its flexible menu offers honest, home-cooked Italian classics, albeit with a more Scottishthemed selection at breakfast. Nourishing, chunky minestrone soup is a veritable vegetable garden while mixed antipasti makes for a more sophisticated choice, with gentle curls of Parma ham, olives and thinly sliced salami surrounding a ball of creamy mozzarella. Pizzas come in two sizes, with the folded-over calzone a golden package of ham, mushroom and spicy sausage topped with bright tomato sauce and cubes of parmesan. Ravioli taste is the signature choice from a long list of pasta dishes, its garlicky porcini sauce well-matched to the squares of soft pasta filled with spinach and ricotta. + Great value, service and location - Can’t reserve in advance


AUTHENTIC FOOD MADE WITH LOVE AND PASSION 102 DALRY RD, EDINBURGH EH11 2DW | 0131 346 8800 | LOCANDADEGUSTI.COM

REAL NEAPOLITAN PIZZAS MADE BY REAL NEAPOLITAN PIZZA CHEFS IN EDINBURGH 85 DALRY RD, EDINBURGH EH11 2AA | 0131 337 5757 | PIZZERIA1926.COM

COFFEE SHOP AND GASTRO DELI 103 DALRY RD, EDINBURGH EH11 2AB | 0131 446 3151 FACEBOOK.COM/FIOCCHIDINEVEEDINBURGH

THE SIMPLE WAY TO TASTE NORTHERN AND SOUTHERN ITALIAN CUISINE 39-41 SLATEFORD ROAD, EDINBURGH EH11 1PR | 0131 337 0326


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Tempo Perso

208 Bruntsfield Place, Southside (Map 8: D12), 0131 221 1777, osteriadeltempoperso.info/edinburgh | £10.50 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Marco Iacobelli owns two restaurants called Tempo Perso; one in his hometown Casalvieri in Lazio and the other in Bruntsfield. He travels between them every week, bringing charming Italian hospitality and the very best produce from each location to diners. Recently, a selection of spelt vegan tagliatelle was added to the menu and later this year a selection of dynamic wines, grown on vineyards in Casalvieri, will join the wine list. The menu is extensive but finely tuned; delicately flavoured pasta dishes like cacao e pepe with porcini and walnuts are offered alongside hearty prime cuts of Scottish beef. Italian twists on popular dishes like the polpette ‘burger’ or the Italy-meets-Scotland take on chicken stuffed with haggis and a whisky cream sauce shows off the more playful side of an otherwise serious restaurant. Excellent seafood dishes can be found on the specials menu; expect handsome bowls of mussels, clams and prawns, perched on top of fish fillets or folded through fresh egg pasta. + Great atmosphere - Tightly packed in

Valvona & Crolla Caffè Bar

19 Elm Row, Leith Walk, New Town (Map 4: K6), 0131 556 6066, valvonacrolla.co.uk | £16 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

If you don’t have much of an appetite when you arrive at Valvona & Crolla, you definitely will do by the time you arrive at their caffè. To reach it, you must first walk through the shop – which is stacked to the rafters with delicious Italian artisan produce including pasta, chocolate, cheeses and cured meats. There’s an impressive Italian wine section too and you can select a bottle from the shop to accompany your meal for £4 corkage. Valvona & Crolla only started opening for evening meals recently, and the café’s laid-back, informal atmosphere continues through to dinner service. Dishes are light and fresh, with ingredients sourced almost exclusively from the handsome larder next door. The signature antipasto board has delicately delicious arrangements of cheese, meats and marinated or roasted vegetables. There’s also a selection of main meals available; mostly traditional Italian pasta and meat dishes following simple, but exquisitely executed recipes. Taglierini siciliana runs pistachio pesto, Parmigiano Reggiano and lemon zest through fresh egg pasta, while the bistecca di manzo is served with an Italian rocket and tomato salad. It’s all fad-free and full of flavour and the emphasis throughout is on the quality of the food - a simple recipe for success. + Unrivalled ingredients that you can buy on the way out - Informal atmosphere won’t suit those looking for an intimate experience

Vapiano Edinburgh

South St David Street, New Town (Map 1: H8), uk.vapiano.com | £15 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Edinburgh’s Vapiano is an impressive three-storey restaurant, with two floors built below street level, the lowest of which is the largest dining space. Despite the subterranean setting, the building is bright and airy, sensitively converted so light from the large, ground-floor windows filters down a dramatic central shaft. The rest of the 108

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décor is neutral, bordering on impersonal (this is a global chain after all) but happily, this is not reflected in the food. There are two kitchens, one serving decent homemade pizza and antipasti, the other pasta and risotto. The latter is recommended, with chefs cooking your order in front of you and adapting recipes to your taste. The menu is relatively safe, dominated by traditional Italian dishes, but the exceptions are well worth trying: particularly cognac pasta, with the spirit cooked gently into a rich garlicky cream sauce, served with peas, chicken and bacon, and a delicately flavoured strawberry spinach salad. + Watching your meal cooked exactly to your taste - Two different kitchens, two different floors: expect food to arrive at different times

Vittoria on the Bridge

19 George IV Bridge, Old Town (Map 1: H9), 0131 225 1740, vittoriarestaurant. com | £13 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

Fresh from its new year makeover, this mainstay of the Vittoria restaurant group has a new spring in its step with light décor and warm staff who are proud to show it off. Starters are imaginative, with a Sicilian oven-baked sandwich of sardines filled with pine nuts in a rich tomato sauce standing out from standard Italian choices. Calamari fritti veers towards bland, although the mayonnaise accompaniment helps jazz things up. It’s little wonder though that tagliatelle alla Vittoria is the house’s best-selling dish: delicately spicy sausage mingles with an expertly freehand balance of mushrooms, onions and minced meat in a creamy pasta dish that is relatively simple, but distinctively effective. Braised beef with truffle mash comes in a chunky portion and not much in the way of greenery, but the tender meat falls apart at a light touch. Pizzas are a popular choice, with eighteen variations ranging from the predictable to the more innovative smoked haddock, which appears with cherry tomatoes and spring onions. + Great location and value - Can be very, very busy

Vittoria on the Walk

113 Brunswick Street, Leith Walk, Leith (Map 4: K6), 0131 556 6171, vittoriarestaurant.com | £13 (set lunch) / £29 (dinner)

Opened by Alberto Crolla way back in 1970, Vittoria on the Walk is one of Leith’s best-known culinary landmarks. It’s a lively establishment, divided into three separate dining rooms across a labyrinthine layout. The comprehensive menu is handsomely laid out and it’s impressive to see common food allergens clearly noted for every single dish. Starters are divided into bread, olives and antipasti, none of which are so large they’ll ruin your appetite. Meatballs are a comforting appetiser, with a tangy sweet and sour sauce, and the garlic bread is crisp and buttery. For mains, choose from a huge variety of pasta and risotto dishes, 18 pizzas and a generous selection of classic Italian dishes or steaks. There’s also a dedicated vegan section featuring three starters, three mains and two desserts. Main meal portions are very generous, but if you still have room, then there’s a whole world of desserts including a selection of 16 ice-cream flavours. With friendly and efficient staff added to the mix, Vittoria’s is the sort of restaurant you could visit for any occasion. + Buzzing atmosphere and making a fuss of the kies - It’s hard to choose from such a comprehensive menu

JAPANESE With a range of eateries offering everything from fine dining experiences to tiny grab-and-go takeaways, Japanese food has never been more accessible. You can feed your soul with a rich tonkotsu ramen or seek out the more unusual flavours of hamachi, sea urchin or Wagyu beef, all within the city centre. Reviewers: Catriona Crawford, Rachel Kavish Wheatley

NEW Andamiro Ramen Bar

117–119 Buccleuch Street, Southside (Map 9: J10), 0131 667 0048, cafeandamiro.co.uk | Closed Sun/Mon | £11 (lunch) / £11 (dinner)

Serving as the ramen kitchen for itself and its neighbouring sister café, Andamiro Ramen Bar is a tiny outpost for the delicious soupy stuff. This is a no-frills space with raised seating at the window and counter, a couple of tables, and a succinct menu of Japanese ramen and Korean noodle bowls. It’s a good place for a quick, low-cost meal without any pretence or fuss, but if you want more variety, visit the café next door. The ramen selection consists of a number of flavour bases including miso, soy, chicken and the classic pork broth which is simmered all day, resulting in a milky, velvety texture. Topped with chashu, wood ear mushrooms, menma, beansprouts and a soft boiled egg, it’s clear to see why it’s the most popular choice. If soup isn’t your bag, try one of the jjajangmyeon noodles with either pork or seafood in a Korean black bean sauce for that fermented umami kick. Round off your meal with an order of veggie dumplings or the fluffy chashu hirata buns, filled with supple pork belly, crisp lettuce, and tangy chilli mayo. + Cheap, delicious eats - Having to go outside and next door to use the toilet

Bentoya

13 Bread Street, Tollcross (Map 1: E9), 0131 629 3993, bentoya-edinburgh.com | £12 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Not far from the city’s theatres and the hustle and bustle of Lothian Road, and boasting a menu with something to suit all tastes, Bentoya understandably does both a brisk lunch and lively evening trade. Describing itself as Japanese fusion, there’s certainly something for everyone on a menu which offers traditional sushi and starters alongside donburi, noodles and curries. A separate bento box menu offers a great lunchtime option, or you could opt for one of the typical hot plates that round out the menu. The sushi list is particularly comprehensive, with rolls like the red dragon – topped with torched salmon and finished with tobiko – providing an interesting alternative to its ubiquitous green counterpart. Bentoya has much to recommend it and there’s a real sense that this is a place with a loyal band of regulars, kicking back and enjoying casual dining and attentive service in a relaxed atmosphere. + You’ll never run out of options . . . - . . . so it’s hard to make up your mind

Bonsai Bar Bistro

46 West Richmond Street, Old Town (Map 2: K9), 0131 668 3847, bonsaibarbistro.co.uk | £7 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Bonsai brought its tapas-style sushi dining to Edinburgh almost twenty years

ago and it’s still going strong. The small, casual dining room is adorned with quirky artwork, Japanese lanterns, and an illuminated specials board showcasing seasonal creations. It’s here you’ll find choices like hotate karaage: lightly fried scallops with paper-thin golden beetroot and tangy ponzu sauce, or Thai-style sea bream gunkan with its punchy lime and chilli kick. The standard menu is broken into sections including teppanyaki, agemono and dumplings, and various sushi, sashimi and maki. The food isn’t refined but it’s certainly tasty and swiftly served by friendly staff. Portions are small but so are the prices, encouraging diners to try a variety of dishes, while the weekday set lunch deals are a steal and make Bonsai a popular haunt for students. There’s good Japanese beer, or try something different and go for one of the cocktails made with shochu, tonic, and various fruit flavours. + Coconut panacotta with pineapple, chilli and basil salsa - The décor and small tables feel a bit tired

Café Andamiro

113 Buccleuch Street, Southside See East Asian

Chizuru Tei

278 Morrison Street, West End (Map 6: C9), 0131 228 1688, chizurutei.co.uk | Closed Tue | £8.50 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Located close to both tram and train, this popular wee diner is turning tables for lunch and dinner six days a week. A substantial menu offers a wide choice of both sushi and main course rice and noodle dishes as well as several set menu and bento combinations for busy diners happy to let the chef decide – the dinner bento selections are particularly good value. The chef’s recommendation of inside out rolls are worth checking out, while unagi rice with miso soup comes in a lacquered box packed with steamed rice, a thick slab of sticky glazed eel and a wok-fried egg on top. You are only allocated an hour and a half for a booking, so this is more a place for a quick lunch or fast feed after hitting the shops than a place to linger, but go with it – the brisk turnaround lends a pleasant buzz and bustle to the relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. There are more refined competitors out there for sure, but Chizuru Tei is a great bet for a quick, tasty and affordable feed. + Bento box bargains - Don’t forget your money – cash only accepted

Hakataya

120–122 Rose Street South Lane, New Town (Map 1: F8), 0131 629 3320, hakatayauk.com | £8.50 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

You’re unlikely to stumble across this sushi and noodle bar, hidden as it is down a cobbled side street off Rose Street (between Charlotte Square and Castle Street). It’s a compact and stylish room, with dimmed lighting, kitted out with low-hanging bronze light fittings and geometric shelving showing off some of the tasteful matcha tea cups and ramen bowls. Hell ramen is intensely rich, a deliciously salty broth with pork belly and a boiled egg on top while scallop sashimi and prawn tempura maki score highly too. Service can be a little patchy but the selection of Japanese spirits and beers help pass the time – finish your meal with a dram of Nikka whisky or a smooth, clean shot of shochu (a distilled alcohol made from sweet potato) which can be served on the rocks or, more traditionally, with a little hot water. Their


JAPANESE

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Q HITLIST

JAPANESE Q Maki & Ramen All four branches of this local independent chain are worth a visit, especially the flagship in Fountainbridge which serves a full menu of Japanese hits with excellent sushi. Q Soul Sushi Eat in, take out or order for delivery – a gem offering the convenience of grab and go with the mastery of restaurant sushi chefs.

Yamato

lunch deals are also good value, giving local workers a quick taste of Tokyo life on their lunch hour. + Cosy atmosphere, delicious flavours - Occasionally running out of supplies on busy nights

Harajuku Kitchen

10 Gillespie Place, Tollcross (Map 8: F11), 0131 281 0526, harajukukitchen.co.uk | £12.95 (set lunch) / £25 (dinner)

On a prime corner in Bruntsfield, Harajuku Kitchen serves up vibrant Japanese cuisine to loyal neighbourhood diners. The vibe is laid-back with friendly staff happy to explain the menu and offer up forks to those whose dexterity falls foul of chopsticks. It’s a cosy dining room of chunky wooden tables and charming murals, with the daily specials board listing the more intriguing dishes on offer. There’s a good cross-section of Japanese cuisine, such as yakisobas and katsu curries, but the main event is certainly the sushi. There are plenty of rolls to choose from, some more interesting than others, but all filled with well-seasoned rice and sustainable, locally sourced fish wherever possible. Thinly sliced sashimi features rich salmon, meaty tuna and tender mackerel, and the takoyaki from the starter menu are tantalising cloud-like balls of goodness, made with fluffy batter and chunks of octopus. Wash it all down with Japanese beer or tea and try the mochi ice-cream or sweet gyoza for pudding. + Japanese cuisine to suit all tastes - Slow service when busy

Kanpai

8–10 Grindlay Street, West End (Map 1: F9), 0131 228 1602, kanpaisushiedinburgh.co.uk | No under 5s | Closed Sun/Mon | £25 (lunch) / £30 (dinner)

It’s on a quiet street with an unassuming exterior, but there’s little need for fanfare to draw custom to this well-established sushi shrine. After years at the top,

quality shows no signs of dipping and Kanapi continues to be marked out as one of the city’s best sushi spots. There’s nothing showy about the menu but chefs are serious about their craft; each immaculate plate of traditional sushi served on simple glazed earthenware promises clean flavours and shows beautiful presentation. Classics like tataki beef and wakame seaweed salad are perfectly executed. More unusual dishes like delicate snow crab vulcan offer a subtle balance of citrus ponzu and smoky bonito with a pleasing combination of textures. But this is a sushi-led menu and for purists the sashimi is hard to beat, especially with market specials offering some less common fish not often seen in the city. + Pristine plates and sublime sashimi - It’s somewhat cool - take a jumper

Kenji

42 St Stephen Street, Stockbridge (Map 7: E7), 0131 226 5111, kenjisushi.co.uk | Closed Mon | £12 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Occupying an upper-level space on pretty St Stephen Street, Kenji enjoys a loyal local following. It’s a modest but well-organised space, with mirrors and glass doors illuminating the front room plus a mezzanine level where you can perch. While the dining area may be somewhat small, the menu is anything but – a full page of starters is followed by an extensive sushi selection plus the usual hot noodle and curry dishes. Some of the sauces are a bit sweet but overall quantity does not diminish quality and Kenji manages to be one of those do-itall Japanese places that pulls most things off well. Crazy salmon roll and sizzling platters of teriyaki salmon, chicken or ribeye with a side of miso soup hit the spot and this reasonably-priced wee place makes for a worthy detour if you’re strolling the Georgian streets of the New Town. + Great value for accomplished cooking - More choice than space

Q Yamato Elevating the sushi scene in Edinburgh, serving harder to find cuts like o-toro and Wagyu imported from Japan and presented with exceptional skill and flair.

Q NEW Maki & Ramen

• 97–101 Fountainbridge, West End (Map 8: E10), 0131 228 5069 • 37 Leith Street, New Town (Map 2: J7), 0131 556 4719 • 75 Nicolson Street, Southside (Map 2: J9), 07599 651609 • 13 West Richmond Street, Southside (Map 2: K9), 07548 628685, makiramen.com | £16 (lunch) / £25 (dinner)

Maki & Ramen is a well-loved local chain with consistently high standards and individual character in each of its four locations. All are worth a visit, and all have their own charms: Fountainbridge is the largest and the only one that takes reservations, essential at weekends. It’s worth planning in a visit here to try the chef’s choice 12-course omakase menu, only available to pre-booked parties of four. Tiny Nicolson Street is a pocket-sized joint with seats around a central bar; West Richmond Street is busy and bustling; and the

newest arrival in Leith Street is handy for town whether you’re on your way in or on your way out. All are covered in their trademark post-it note collections, where customers leave cute wee messages behind. Generally, the menu has everything you’d want from a Japanese restaurant with each dish exuding quality and freshness. Their ramen is not to be missed, whether it’s the tantan ramen which imparts subtle sesame flavours to its silken texture and chilli-infused shredded chicken, or the appropriately named hell ramen designed for chilli fiends. For the indecisive, there are sushi and sashimi sets starring bright red surf clams, translucent tender squid, and thick cuts of exceptionally lean tuna. Recommended when you want a good time, a good bowlful of food, and a good atmosphere. + Fun food and fun times - Having to plan ahead for omakase

Harajuku Kitchen is a cosy,

family run restaurant on the South of Bruntsfield Come in to enjoy our exclusive lunch set menu, pre-theatre menu (for only £12.99) and a variety of speciality Japanese dishes to choose from! We also do outside catering - a perfect choice for your office party, family gathering or wedding!

To enquire, call 0131 281 0526 Visit us at 10 Gillespie Pl, Edinburgh EH10 4HS or book through our website: https://harajukukitchen.co.uk/

@HarajukuKitchen @HarajukuKitchen

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EDINBURGH

NEW Slurp at the Kirk

44 Candlemaker Row, Old Town (Map 1: H9), 0131 220 5000, slurpkirk.com | No kids after 8pm | £8 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Overlooking Greyfriars Bobby, Slurp at the Kirk draws a steady crowd of students and tourists looking to fill themselves up on delicious ramen and affordable katsu curries. The Formica tables, large paper lanterns and ethereal Japanese music miss the atmospheric mark, but get a seat in the upstairs dining room where the view makes up for it. Take the edge off by choosing a Japanese cocktail, beer or whisky to accompany the handmade pork gyoza before diving into mains. While the sushi and sashimi are perfectly serviceable, it’s the ramen and donburi which make a visit worthwhile. Tonkatsu translates to pork bones, which is the base for the house ramen. Pork trotters, heads and chicken bones are simmered for three days, creating a rich and sumptuous broth that’s one of the best in the city and perfect for slurping with thin wheat noodles. Topped with thinly sliced chashu roast pork, earthy black mushrooms, and half a soft-boiled egg, it is gratifying and heavenly. For something different, try the eel don, its soft fatty flesh taking on the sweet soy glaze, making for a meltin-the-mouth delight. + Well-executed traditional ramen - The atmosphere needs a bit of work

Q Soul Sushi

126 Nicolson Street, Old Town (Map 9: J10), 0131 667 0200, soulsushi.co.uk | Closed Mon | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Where there was once only the stark choice between rock hard supermarket boxes or booking a restaurant for handmade rolls, nowadays it’s perfectly possible to find freshly rolled sushi to grab-and-go. This independent outlet, now into its second year, is a cut above the competition, producing some of the best takeaway in the city with none of the kitsch or cutesy branding displayed by some of the chain venues; there are no gimmicks, just quality-focused sushi with attention to freshness and sourcing. You can order everything to be made fresh for sitting-in or takeaway, while those in a hurry can choose from the counter selection of classic rolls and popular combo boxes, like the maritime king prawn tempura and california roll or beautifully sliced mixed sashimi with ponzu. A selection of hot dishes like miso soup, katsu curry and gyoza round out the menu; look out for the unusual breaded butternut squash roll with sweet chilli and the distinctive coriander tuna sashimi. + Restaurant quality, takeaway convenience - Half-price end of day deals don’t start until 8.30pm

NEW Umi Japanese Cuisine

18–24 Deanhaugh Street, Stockbridge (Map 7: D7), 0131 343 6991, umiedinburgh.com | Closed Mon | £16 (lunch) / £26 (dinner)

Hidden below ground, stepping into Umi’s basement takes you into a cosy multi-level dining area gleaming with lustrous lacquered wood. Those familiar with Umi’s sister restaurants (Bentoya and Kenji) won’t be disappointed by the sushi and sashimi on offer, but this latest opening aims to carve out a noodle niche with a line of soulful new ramen dishes. Subtly flavoured, they are elevated by attention to detail, whether that’s a tangle of bright chilli hairs, a backdrop of nori 110

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or a traditional ajitama soy-seasoned egg with just-set, custardy yolk. If the house is full it’s a slight squeeze in to the traditional tatami room, but the light filtering through the translucent paper of the sliding wooden lattice creates instant ambience and charm. Relax on the bench seating as you contemplate a parade of raw fish that includes the prized fatty toro, though creative liberties have been taken with the sushi toppings and fillings; look out for cheddar, jalapeno, cranberry and pomegranate. + Hamachi on the menu all year round - There’s some leaning and passing to get dishes on the table

White Sushi

31 Crighton Place, Leith (Map 4: L5), whitesushi.uk | £14 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

White Sushi is a little place with big ideas. Head chef Sebastian Szpilski is bringing American-style fusion sushi rolls to Edinburgh, and with 14 years’ experience he’s keen to experiment and offer bespoke rolls and creations too. His combos may initially sound odd to sushi traditionalists, but they taste great: the three fish futomaki is rolled fat with a generous amount of fish and the balance between the added chilli and sweet oshinko works so well that you can forgo the soy and wasabi. If you want to try something very different go for duck futomaki with cranberry and cucumber, or dragon eel tempura with kanpyo topped with cream cheese, avocado and masago. Sushi is clearly the passion and it’s probably where you want to keep your focus – seafood goulash is an interesting idea with a spicy, zesty flavour but is let down by overcooked udon. With only 18 seats in this simply decorated restaurant full of dark greys and wood grain, keep in mind that takeaway and delivery are always on offer. + Generously filled sushi rolls - Not for traditionalists

Q NEW Yamato

11 Lochrin Terrace, Tollcross (Map 8: E10), 0131 466 5964, yamatosushiedinburgh.co.uk | Closed Sun/Mon | No kids after 8pm | £26 (lunch) / £35 (dinner)

Aficionados of Kanpai may experience mild déjà vu visiting its little sibling Yamato, though its similarly minimalist décor is warmer, with delicate pink lampshades and elegant wooden screens breaking the dining room into intimate nooks. The menu’s instantly recognisable; however, here they’ve added bluefin tuna and the highest grade A5 waygu beef. It’s all exceptionally fresh, remarkably good and expertly handled. Each dish is a piece of art adorned with flowers, leaves, shells or bamboo ribbons. The yellowtail sashimi is as pretty as sunrise, with its crimson edge fading to ivory flesh, embellished with a drop of yuzu pepper paste complementing the natural tang of the fish. The o-toro, or tuna belly, is practically melting before it hits your mouth, the generous lines of fat adding unctuous depth and texture. While most dishes are beautifully executed classics, there are some modern takes worth exploring, such as the strangely delicious Yamato roll, filled with king prawn tempura and topped with melted emmental. Give yourself time to explore the extensive sake list too – the chilled Umenoyado Yuzu makes an excellent apéritif. + Unusual, hard-to-find delicacies - The carbon footprint – most fish and all the waygu is imported from Japan

MEXICAN Like a veteran luchadore, trad Tex-Mex continues to pull in the punters. Yet go down Mexico way and you’ll find the city has gone full street food, from on-the-go burritos to fish and chip tacos, from vans to chains and the hippest hangouts in Margaritaville. Reviewer: James Teideman

Barburrito

• 55 Forrest Road, Old Town (Map 1: I10), 0131 225 4779 • 119 Lothian Road, West End (Map 6: E9), 0131 228 8269 • 6 Shandwick Place, West End (Map 6: D8), 0131 226 4289, barburrito.co.uk | £11 (set lunch) / £11 (dinner)

Barburrito brought their brash, bold, burrito bar brand from LA to the UK back in 2005. Fourteen years later, it has spread to 22 locations, from stations to shopping centres. Edinburgh has four for a Mexican-style pitstop – one at the airport and three in the city centre at Shandwick Place, Lothian Road and Forrest Road. While there are also nachos, tacos and quesadillas, the core dish is of course the burrito, with a choice of fillings. However, some, like chicken and chorizo, cost a little extra, while you’ll need to add guacamole as an extra to your classic burrito. For the carb-conscious, there’s the wrap-less naked burrito, while in the superfood version, ’slaw replaces rice. Add sides like dirty fries, and wash down your wrap with bottomless soft drinks, while beer and cider are also available. Ping-pong and table football provide the entertainment. + Tequila-flavoured beer with your burrito - Fast-food chain feel

The Basement Bar and Restaurant

10–12a Broughton Street, New Town (Map 3: I7), 0131 557 0097, basement-baredinburgh.co.uk | £12 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Held fondly in the hazy memories of imbibers of a certain age, Broughton Street favourite The Basement stays everpopular, as much for its food as its range of tequilas and mezcals – the largest in Scotland. Now under the slick stewardship of Signature Pubs, this boisterous den draws you down to Margaritaville with an interesting menu of Mexican dishes and a lengthy list of cocktails. Fire up with a bowl of freshly concocted house guacamole. Sample a starter like salmon and crayfish ceviche served with avocado hummus; try a pair of totty tacos like the cheeseburger taco (oh yes); then get stuck into mains like beef brisket and chorizo chilli, with its chocolate and ale sauce; or Veracruz bream – a grilled fillet on potato and pea shoot salad with black olive oil. Finish with chocolate pistachio and avocado brownie with avocado and lime mousse, or an almond, cinnamon and vanilla panacotta. Now, how about a round of tequilas? + Freshly prepared guacamole - Music in the bar area a bit loud for dining

The Blue Parrot Cantina

49 St Stephen Street, Stockbridge (Map 7: E7), 0131 225 2941, blueparrotcantina. co.uk | Closed Sun–Thu | £18 (dinner)

Whitney Houston was topping the charts with ‘I Will Always Love You’ when Fiona MacRae opened her cosy little Blue Parrot Cantina down some steps in St Stephen’s Street, Stockbridge. It’s an Edinburgh

institution, in an iconic Edinburgh street, since 1993. Yes 1993 – that’s a long time in Edinburgh restaurant-land. But the Blue Parrot is definitely alive and serving up its time-honoured menu of traditional Mexican favourites from its tiny kitchen to locals – who will always love it. To start, there’s chorizo-dotted nachos spilling over a strangely small serving plate, or a prawn and tomato taco de Cameron deep-fried flour tortilla. For mains, there are burritos, chimichangas, enchiladas and fajitas – including a vegetable version with squash, sugar snaps, asparagus and baby corn – or the more adventurous, if not especially successful, pescado Baja – haddock in jalapeño and coriander sauce with a lime breadcrumb topping. Several desserts include homemade nieve, a Mexicanstyle mango sorbet, or the pink parrot, a concoction of vanilla ice-cream, Tequila Rose liqueur and strawberries sprinkled with sugar. + Its classic Edinburgh street location - Outside toilets

Q Bodega TollX

36 Leven Street, Tollcross (Map 8: F11), 0131 228 9485, ilovebodega.com | £20 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

While the original Bodega moves to bigger premises on Leith Walk, its sibling taqueria keeps its legion of Mexi-fans as happy as victorious luchadores with its irresistibly Instagrammable tacos. It’s a simple room, no mariachi jollity required: exposed brick, ice-cream pastel walls, monochrome portraits of Mexican wrestlers and wall-hanging greenery. Kick off with a cranberry and blood orange Margarita to saltily whet the buds for sparkly cod and tiger prawn cerviche or some chunky guac and tortillas. Then it’s tacos all the way. Opt for one of the new sharing platters or pick a couple of street-size delights each, then compare and share. You can’t go wrong, but highlights might be cochinita pibil – slow-cooked pork shoulder with feta and pretty-inpink pickled red onion; or texture-tastic avocado tempura with wasabi mayo; or the Baja cod bites, two fun fish and chip butties, Mex-style, with panko-crumbed cod and potato matchsticks, with a slurp of smoky sauce. Those with a wrestler’s appetite, or sweet tooth, should finish with three-milk sponge cake with strawberries and cream. Or another cocktail. + Exquisite cliché-free Mexican food in taco form - Low-hanging lights: mind your head if you’re tall (and clumsy)

Bonnie Burrito

• 82 South Clerk Street, Southside • 118 Gorgie Road, West End • 41 Lauriston Place, Southside (Map 1: G10), 0131 662 0007, bonnieburrito.com | Truck closed Sat/Sun | £9 (lunch) / £9 (dinner)

The Bonnie Burrito crew have been fusing Mexican food with, as they say, ‘the delights of Scotland’ (cue many, many possible jokes) since they threw up the shutters of their Lauriston Place truck back in 2015. Since that early day in Edinburgh’s surging street food scene, they’ve added two takeaway stores (Gorgie Road and South Clerk Street) to serve up satisfactorily stuffed burritos-with-a-twistor-two. Stack your fillings your way, but do be tempted to go full Mexican-Scottish with haggis, or their signature Irn-Bru pulled pork. Load it up with coriander and lime rice, black beans, guac, sour cream and salsa; add a sweet-and-heat hit of mango habañero or hot, hot, hot Scotch bonnet sauce, and feel a lot warmer about life for a while. You could even indulge in an ingenious stuffed burrito, or if you’re carb-counting, choose a wrap-less ‘naked’ burrito. Which would of course


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El Cartel New Town

64 Thistle Street, New Town (Map 1: G8), 0131 226 7171, elcartelmexicana.co.uk | £23 (lunch) / £23 (dinner)

El Cartel’s no-booking policy may mean a while-you-wait apéro over the road at sister venue Bon Vivant, but save a thirst for a Slush Puppy-esque frozen Margarita, perhaps a pretty white peach version, or maybe blackcurrant. Or something from a very long list of tequilas and mezcals. In contrast, El C’s taco-sized Thistle Street tuck-away has a suitably compact food menu: seven options apiece of soft tacos and antojitos (snacks), served when they’re ready. This is stylish street food, all irresistibly Instagrammable, like the fresh guacamole topped with sheep’s milk cheese and pomegranate, served with plantain chips. Other antojitos include fun cream cheese bombers, citrusy and surprisingly chunky ceviche, sweet potato quesadillas, and an immense plate of chicken wings. Tacos include fish fingers of battered Baja cod, pulled pork cousin conchita pibil, and crispy shredded ox tongue, as well as a couple of veggie options such as the beetroot doubler taco de remolacha. And be warned - they love their hip hop . . . loud! + Colourful frozen Margaritas - Music volume might be off-putting for some

NEW El Cartel Old Town

15–16 Teviot Place, Old Town (Map 2: I9), 0131 370 8189, elcartelmexicana.co.uk | £5 lunch special (set lunch) / £14 (dinner)

The Teviot Place version of El Cartel serves up the same Mexican delights as the original Thistle Street restaurant in a slightly bigger space (15 tables to 10). And – cue great rejoicing among the city’s less fly by the seat of their pants

diners – you can now book ahead in the Old Town. Expect the same funky calaveras (skull art), the same Mexican tiles and the same hip hop beats. You still have your 80 tequilas, mezcals and agaves, your Mexican beers and your peach or mixed berry Margarita slushies turning slowly in the machines, but after a straight-up Margarita or four you won’t need anything else. Or actually you will – the superb, spicy small plates are a crucial accompaniment. If you’ve never had the bombers – cream cheese balls with jalapeño and black onion seed – then get yourself over there immediately. While you’re there, add some chamoy chicken wings (with apricot and tamarind sauce), some guacamole with plantain chips and at least a couple of smoky tacos and settle in for the evening or, heck, go at lunch and spend the day. + The Margaritas or the food? Both - They haven’t turned the music down here either

Illegal Jack’s

44–45 St Patrick Square, Southside (Map 9: J10), 0131 629 2722, illegaljacks.co.uk | £7 (set lunch) / £12 (dinner)

Serving quality Tex-Mex food at seriously good-value prices, Illegal Jack’s is popular with locals, students and tourists alike. It’s an unfussy place to relax over a taco or two, although everything on the menu can be taken away too. Vegans are well catered for, with jackfruit carnitas, veggie chilli and veggie haggis all served up as fillings, each available topped with vegan cheese and drizzled with fabulous homemade hot sauce. Meat is of a high quality, with steak from Perthshire and haggis ‘locally caught’ in West Lothian. The drinks list features craft ales and lagers, wines and cocktails. If you’re looking for a cheap, casual bite without compromising on taste or quality, you’ve found the right place. + Great for veggies and vegans - Not really designed for lingering

SE LIST.CO E .U FOR EX K/FOOD TRA IN FO & LINK S

Los Cardos Nacho Bar

224 Leith Walk, Leith (Map 4: M4), 0131 560 1039, loscardosnachobar.co.uk | £9 (lunch) / £9 (dinner)

Judging by its constant custom, Los Cardos Nacho Bar is a go-to takeaway for Leith locals seeking a post-work, post-gym (or post-anything) Tex-Mex takeaway. Whack your bulging burrito in the microwave or feast on reliable, really good value, slap-up wraps on the spot. Their new, larger Leith Walk premises has a couple of tables and more room to conjure up some more unusual menu items like Adobo lamb, beef barbacoa and tortilla soup – a spicy veg broth with green chill and lime, and customisable toppings. Or give in to a pile of homemade nachos in creamy queso sauce. Then make it your own: choose your wrap, filling, topping, beans, salsa and level of heat. How about soft tacos with pork slow-roasted in verde salsa marinade? Or a haggis quesadilla with roasting red salsa? You bet. You can even have your burrito in a bowl instead of a tortilla. If you want dessert, there’s only Ben and Jerry’s ice-cream tubs, but you’ll probably be full, in a good way. Best be hitting the gym again tomorrow. + Great value, crowd-pleasing Tex-Mex - Plastic cutlery if eating in

Mariachi

7 Victoria Street, Old Town (Map 1: H9), 0131 623 0077, mariachi-restaurant.co.uk | £10 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Family-owned and run long before Mexican street food was a thing, Mariachi’s has fun, friendly, no-frills traditional Tex-Mex down to a tee. Cacti, smiling skulls, lucha libre masks, comic Dia de Muertos art: it’s all there, and when you’re out for a feast and a few El Diablos, that’s what you want from a Mexican restaurant. You’ll quite possibly also want lashings of melted cheese on your nachos – and in your quesadillas – and you’ll get it. If you’re not full up already, for your main course go large on favourites like king prawn fajitas, chicken chimichanga, and pulled pork enchiladas baked in a rich tomato sauce. There’s steak or chicken from the grill, or burgers including the impressive el mariachi, complete with all the Tex-Mex trimmings and fries. If dessert means more than another Margarita, try the churros or the quite-possibly-highly calorific, but most-definitely-memorable, deep-fried icecream. And then another Margarita. + Classic Tex-Mex served up in a lively, welcoming atmosphere - A long way to the loos

Sabor Criollo

36 Deanhaugh Street, Stockbridge See Round the World

Topolabamba

Q HITLIST PHOTO: JAMES GOURLAY

let you have a tablet milkshake too, and a brownie for afters. + Making merry with our nation’s finest produce - Is a naked burrito really a burrito?

MEXICAN ✱ Bodega TollX Tacos to make you go wow and the cocktails are brilliant too at the top taqueria in town.

the heat off with churros or a tequila toffee pineapple dessert. While not every dish sings, Topolabamba offers a no-fuss, fun stop on a night out. Don’t forget to ask for a sombrero. + Fun vibes - Smaller tables a squeeze for sharing several dishes

Viva Mexico

41 Cockburn Street, Old Town (Map 2: I8), 0131 226 5145, viva-mexico.co.uk | £9.95 (set lunch) / £19 (dinner)

When it opened way back in 1984, Viva Mexico was Edinburgh’s first Mexican restaurant. Thirty-five years on, it’s proud that little has changed. Sepia photos of long-gone times back home line the walls, while papel picado (cut-out paper shapes) string across the room like washing. After all these years, it’s still packing in visitors and loyal locals alike with a menu combining crowd-pleasing TexMex favourites, rarely found traditional Mexican mains and a touch of haggis. If you want to save yourself for a major main course, then start with two tiny corn tortillas, deep-fried and crispy; or calamari with spicy chipotle mayo to dip. Choose a chimichanga or tacos; pick pork and pineapple or sautéed spicy steak. Select sizzling beef fajitas, a special of camarones or maybe a baja burrito or pollo mole (chicken in chocolatey sauce). But be warned: the homemade desserts – perhaps chocolate chilli cheesecake or a custardy egg flan – are tried and tested classics and worth leaving room for. + An old favourite, still going strong - Limited wine list

93 Lothian Road, West End (Map 6: E9), 0131 228 6863, topolabamba.com | £9.95 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Bonnie Burrito

Spectrums of hanging lights, dangles of bright red chilli, gilt mirrors framed with Frida Khalo, Dali-esque geckos above the bar: Topolabamba brings a happy tapas of Pacific coast primary colour to Lothian Road. The three-strong Scottish chain goes all in on the fun-time sunshine vibes, its fiesta of knick-knackery, graffiti walls and gleeful Day of the Dead wallpaper (even in the loos) is a fitting setting for sharing a sprawling selection of street food-y dishes with friends over a few Friday night frozen Margaritas. Inspired by their own travels, the owners have spiced up the standard Mexican selection with a mix ’n’ Mex of tapas dishes, like crab ceviche, queso fundido, big Californian Gulf Coast prawns, chipotle bbq pulled beef burger on a torta roll (go on, slap on some chipotle sauce!) and chorizo taquitos. Then take The List Eating & Drinking Guide

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83 Hanover Street

Phileas Fogg can leave his balloon at home, because there have never been more opportunities to voyage around the world from right here in Edinburgh. Small tapas, mezzestyle sharing plates, chargrilled meat and seafood abound, with influences from the Med to the Middle East, with quality ingredients and carefully sourced wine to match. Reviewers: Jason Campbell Thomson, Nicola Pym, Gill Thomson

Baba

MIDDLE EASTERN 130 George Street, New Town (Map 1: E8), 0131 527 4999, baba.restaurant | £14.50 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Within the stately Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel, Baba offers a contemporary take on classic Levantine dining. While the décor is almost shabby in its chicness, this restaurant is somewhere to be seen: begin at the bar for a bespoke cocktail, before heading through to an intimate corner table or the scene-stealing communal centrepiece of the dining room. Waiting staff are well-informed and attentive without being intrusive. Even though relatively compact, the menu is a pick and mix of flavours, textures and price tags, so a little guidance goes a long way. Order abundantly from the snacks, side and mezze sections: smoky trout pastirma sliced thinly and paired with sharp pickled cucumber and contrasting herb labneh (a cheese made from salted strained yoghurt) is a standout. Throw in at least a couple of dips with accompanying flat breads in modish brown paper bags: hummus is reinvented several ways, spicy with green zhug, or cooler with beetroot and whipped feta. Perhaps even (whisper it) bypass a main or two to leave room for the desserts, showstoppers every one. + Great place to get the gang together for good food and good times - Chargrilling brings joy to many things, broccoli is not one of them

Beirut

MIDDLE EASTERN 24 Nicolson Square, Southside (Map 2: J9), 0131 667 9919, beirutrestaurant. co.uk | £22.50 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

A charcoal-scented haze hovers promisingly over Beirut’s dining room, where carved wooden panels are suspended over close-quartered tables, lit by traditional colouredglass lanterns. Its Southside location and BYOB policy make Beirut an unsurprising favourite with students. A broader demographic is attracted by a wide-ranging menu with prices to match, and an unexpected delight of a wine list featuring memorable vintages. Feeling indecisive? Head straight for the banquet-style set menu for two or four. Alternatively, start small with thick, oil-slicked dips such as smoky baba ganoush or citrusy hummus to ensure you leave room for what follows – although baskets of complimentary Lebanese flat bread may put paid to that plan. Mixed kebabs with tender chicken, minced and marinated lamb, are caramelised where meat meets charcoal, while hearty chunks of aubergine and potato come unencumbered by cheese in Lebanese112

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style vegetarian moussaka. Digestion permitting, rosewater-infused rice pudding is a game changer for those still scarred by thick-skinned schooldinner versions of the dessert. + Truly brings something to the table for all - Rough-hewn wooden serving platters perhaps a branch too far

Boteco do Brasil BRAZILIAN

47 Lothian Street, Old Town (Map 2: I9), 0131 220 2487, botecodobrasil.com | £16 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Just off Bristo Square and deep inside Edinburgh’s student heartland lies Boteco de Brasil. As such, if you pop in during the week you’ll find generous deals on cocktails, many of which are made using cachaça, a white rum native to Brazil and not seen around much locally. Their Brazilian twist to traditional tapas are well worth exploring and work equally well for a light bite or a starter – try the coxinha de frango, a soft potato bite filled with well-cooked chicken. If you’re looking for something filling and warming then feijoada, a traditional stew packed with black beans and smoked sausage, should hit the spot. Picanha na chapa (grilled steak) sizzles as it arrives at the table with your choice of fries or cassava. Many mains are gluten-free and there are enough choices for vegetarians to enjoy too. If dessert is on the cards, the brigadeiro (billed as Brazil’s number one dessert) is a set of thick, rich truffles which any chocolate lover will go head over heels for. + Learning the joys of cachaça - Over 30? Then you’ll feel old

Bubba Q

NORTH AMERICAN 209 –213 High Street, Old Town (Map 2: I8), 0131 4785471, bubbaq.co.uk | £11 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Edinburgh’s Royal Mile might not

be the first place you’d think to look for standout American BBQ, but that’s where you’ll find Bubba Q. Appealingly, this wee place has a strong sense of its own identity and embraces every aspect of the bigportioned, flavour-packed food culture it represents. Starters are simple and effective: nachos, chicken tenders and tater tots are the only options. And that’s just fine – when the aroma of the long, slow, cook grabs your attention you’ll already be eager to get to the BBQ mains. Traditionalists should try the six-hour slow-cooked brisket, which falls apart as soon as you attempt to tackle it, while the more adventurous will revel in the dirty donut, a burger masquerading as a dessert. Come hungry – portions are large – or share. If you do manage pud, desserts keep to the American theme with waffles and New York cheesecake. There is a decent selection of American craft beers, though wine lovers choose between simply red, white and rosé – try a milkshake instead, you’ll be in for a treat. + Meat that falls apart at the touch of a fork - Not much choice of wine to go with it

Huge. For here is something almost completely different: Chilean flavours melded with Scottish produce, served in a sunny, comfy basement by a young team who exemplify switched-on-yetlaid-back service. There’s a confidence here that belies the restaurant’s relative youth: a plate of charcuterie from the (excellent) East Coast Cured is served simply and cleanly so the produce shines. Yet elsewhere on the menu it’s the accompaniments that add intrigue: sharp, oniony pebre salsa with the sopaipillas (squidgy little fried breads made to the owner’s mother’s recipe); savoury bean stew with tender octopus; squidgy, spicy new potatoes with the punchy swordfish and chorizo skewers (and while everything is designed to be shared, you’ll probably want to keep them tatties to yourself). There’s a short but interesting wine list, with plenty by the glass or carafe, and while service can feel speedy, just let the staff know you’re in it for the long haul and they’ll happily spread your order out. Lovely stuff. + A genuinely intriguing menu - All those small plates on a small table

Cadiz

13a Brougham Street, Tollcross (Map 8: F10), 0131 478 2856, quijotetapas. co.uk | Closed Mon/Tue | £24 (dinner)

SPANISH First Floor, 77b George Street, New Town See Fish

Q NEW 83 Hanover Street SOUTH AMERICAN

83 Hanover Street, New Town (Map 1: G8), 0131 225 4862, 83hanoverstreet. com | Closed Mon/Tue | £18 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

They say there’s nothing new under the sun and so it’s entirely possible that yet another small-plate restaurant could easily slip under your radar. But when it comes to 83 Hanover Street, that would be a big mistake. Big.

El Quijote SPANISH

The word rustic can sound alarm bells when it comes to restaurants. In the case of El Quijote, however, this is no euphemism; there is simply no better way to describe the charms of this cosy, wood-lined Spanish eatery, where cart wheels double as chandeliers and flower pots as sinks. A largely Spanish clientele suggest you’re in for a real flavour of Spain. Further evidence comes in the form of an ambitious wine list spanning many Spanish regions and a tapas menu featuring some serious artisan produce. While tried and tested favourites are subtler


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and more accomplished than the norm, go for the regional specialities like revuelto de setas del bosque, essentially a deconstructed wild mushroom omelette, packed with flavour. The signature Ibérico pork is pink and oh so tender, with straw-thin chips providing a delicate but salty accompanying crunch. Dismiss dessert at your own peril and, at the very least, enjoy a throat and heart-warming speciality sherry. + Trying lesser-known regional speciality dishes - Wheelchairs or buggies almost impossible in such a compact space

Fazenda

BRAZILIAN 102 George Street, New Town (Map 1: F8), 0131 215 1234, fazenda.co.uk/ edinburgh | No under 8s after 6pm | £19.50 (set lunch) / £32.50 (set dinner)

Much like Brazil, the country that inspires it, Fadenza is a busy, atmospheric place with a wonderful, lively feel. The concept is simple: pay the set price for lunch or dinner, then sit back and get ready to sample a huge array of meats cooked in a multitude of ways, delivered to your table by welcoming and attentive staff who keep the whole experience from feeling conveyor-belt impersonal. With eight cuts available for lunch and a gluttonous fifteen for dinner, it can be tough to keep up the pace, but if you turn your handy card from green to red the servers will give you a break while your stomach catches up. Meat is cooked medium rare as standard, but you can request that some cuts are cooked to your preference. Sides are served buffet-style and range from cured meats to salad to feijoada, making a welcome contrast to all that meat – but don’t overload as the skewers are definitely the main event. Brilliant for groups (a set price makes the end of meal bill-wrangling a dream) they have convincing veggie and vegan options too. The wine list is full of accessible choices, and desserts (if you have room) are mostly light and refreshing. + The joy of having skewers of meat brought to you - Feeling fit to burst when you leave

Hanam’s

KURDISH 3 Johnston Terrace, Old Town (Map 1: H9), 0131 225 1329, hanams.com | £10 (set lunch) / £19 (dinner)

Hanam’s is a deceptively large restaurant, spanning two floors, with outdoor seating for dining or smoking shisha pipes. Serving a selection of hot, cold and chargrilled mezze, Kurdish specialities and wraps, you can choose to go the sharing route or take the starter and main course option. Muhamara is great for dipping and is a delightful alternative to classic baba ganoush and hummus. If you’re having trouble deciding, try a trio of dips or mixed dolma stuffed with fragrant rice. Meat dishes arrive beautifully caramelised on the outside, delivering a rich flavour and a hint of spice in the case of the soujuk sausage, while lamb features heavily in kebabs, stews and mezze. Leave room for the exotic-flavoured sorbets, with the rosewater option providing a satisfying palate cleanser. Arabic coffee is not to be overlooked – or confused with Turkish coffee – and provides a perfect ending. The restaurant is BYOB, but has a selection of non-alcoholic beer and cider. + Discovering new flavours - Scarves for sale on the wall feels incongruous

Indaba

FUSION 3 Lochrin Terrace, Tollcross (Map 8: F10), 0131 221 1554, edindaba.co.uk | Closed Sun | No under 5s |£ 24 (dinner)

Spain meets South Africa in a Scottish side street, where Lochrin Terrace is home to Indaba – the restaurant version of sister venture Indaba Deli. Unassuming from the outside, the interior is engaging; colourful African arts and crafts adorn bright-hued walls as inviting aromas drift from the open kitchen. A generous seasonal specials board is ceremoniously brought to the table, complementing a regular menu of predominantly Spanish tapas with several more substantial South African options. Boerewors, pap en sous is sheer comfort food: a dense beef and pork sausage with a generous helping of pap (maize porridge) and chakalaka (spicy fruit relish). Speciality meats feature strongly: try the Iberian aircured platter of salchicón, chorizo and jamón with homemade biltong for the best of both Spain and South Africa. There are plenty of non-meat options though, like rollitos de calabacín which combine contrasting textures of grilled courgette with rich goat’s cheese, accompanied with membrillo (quince jelly) and manzanillo drizzle to cut through the queso. If choosing one dessert is too difficult, you can pick your three favourites and have them in half-sized portions – genius. + Unique tapas with a focus on highquality ingredients - Leaving little ones at home. Wait, is that a low point?

Kezban

MEDITERRANEAN 9 & 10 Commercial Street, Leith (Map 5: M2), 0131 553 1078, kezbanedinburgh.co.uk | £16 (lunch) / £21 (dinner)

A visit to Kezban should be available on prescription for those suffering from post-holiday blues. Brightly coloured lanterns, tiles and tablecloths, lively music and sweet, smoky aromas transport diners from the Shore in Leith to the shores of the Med. Host Kirsty has a knack for putting everyone instantly at ease while offering expert insight into the numerous menu options. A favourite with Turkish and Kurdish communities, Kezban offers mezze, kebabs, set menus and feasts. There’s even a kids’ menu which combines mainly meaty options with that essential staple: crisp, pipinghot chips. Load up on dips: patlican tarator combines cool yoghurt with smoky aubergine, providing the perfect accompaniment to complimentary, lightly toasted and salted Turkish bread. Leave plenty of room for mains, usually featuring chargrills and stews served with rice. The lamb in the mixed skewer is particularly tender, while sebze guvec is a rich stew of tomatoes, onions, peppers, mushrooms, aubergines and garlic cooked in an earthenware pot and topped with cheese. If squeezing in dessert proves impossible, sweet, syrupy pomegranate tea is an excellent substitute. + A warm and welcoming dining experience - Easy to over-order with such abundant and tasty carbs

outdoor seating on an iconic Old Town street is a bit of an oasis for tourists looking to take the weight off, but its congenial service and Med-inspired menu means Laila’s is more than just another tourist trap. Sister restaurant to Hanam’s, Pomegranate and Souq, the flexible menu means there’s something on offer for most occasions – toasted panini for a light lunch; a reliable (though not huge) choice of mezze for grazing with friends; and chargrills for that classic Mediterranean experience. There is a short selection of bistro-style dishes too, but best allow this wee place to play to its strengths and splash in the Med: try batata harra (cubes of potato fried with plenty of chilli) – unusual, crunchy and delicious, perhaps followed up with a prawn skewer or nicely charred lamb chops, and you won’t go far wrong. + Service elevates beyond the typical tourist spot - Some dishes could be more refined

Los Argentinos AMERICAS

28–30 West Preston Street, Southside (Map 9: K11), 0131 668 3111, losargentinos.co.uk | £22 (dinner)

Steaks are the star attraction at Los Argentinos, so when you’re in the mood for a well-cooked hunk of beef this Newington grill should be near the top of your list. All the favourite cuts are available – sirloin, T-bone, ribeye, fillet and rump – at varying weights, cooked to your liking and pleasingly charred. If you like things a bit saucy there are several to choose from, including homemade chimichurri. For lighter options, check out the grilled chicken or salmon. Starters are worth a look too: the meat falls from the bones of the barbeque ribs and mince stuffed into a red pepper is spectacularly seasoned. Desserts are more standard, including cheesecake and apple pie to round things off. Their wine list is full of great options for matching with your meal, with several bottles highlighted as great companions for the meaty menu, and all in, it’s really good value. + Working your way through some well-cooked beef - The look on your vegetarian friend’s face

Q HITLIST

ROUND THE WORLD ✱ 83 Hanover Street Chilean

flavours in a sunshiney space with excellent service makes this relative newcomer feel genuinely fresh, interesting and different.

✱ Merienda Exquisitely presented, Mediterranean-influenced small sharing plates using seasonal produce, with a wine list that’s been sourced with just as much care.

✱ Pera: Turkish Mangal &

Meze Bar Expect warm service and generous portions of tasty Turkish delights from this tiny mangal and mezze bar.

✱ Spitaki This family-run taverna

is slightly off the beaten track, but locals in the know happily travel for its sunny Greek vibes.

✱ Tapa It’s happy tenth birthday

to this stylish Spanish restaurant which offers flexible menus and adventurous food and drink pairings in a former warehouse.

✱ Taxidi Tucked away in Tollcross, this little slice of Greece is a delightful experience with flavourpacked dishes at their best when shared.

Magna Hungaria HUNGARIAN

29 West Maitland Street, West End (Map 6: C9), 0131 225 3199, magnahungaria.co.uk | £10 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

Magna Hungaria is a family friendly restaurant with a homely feel serving hearty food in the West End. Chefs

and staff are proudly Hungarian and happy to help you navigate your way through the menu, where dishes contain smoked pork, beans, homemade pasta and a lot of passion. Starters are substantial but a great way to whet your appetite. Potato pancakes

Laila’s Bistro

MEDITERRANEAN 63 Cockburn Street, Old Town (Map 2: I8), 0131 226 5097, lailas-bistro.co.uk | £14 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

This chilled-out wee bistro with its olive-green walls, pretty lamps and

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PHOTO: JAMES GOURLAY

are simple, yet full of flavour and great with some pickled vegetables, or choose from a number of soups, including cold sour cherry for those on a culinary quest. Mains are meatheavy, from stews to fried and grilled cuts of pork, veal, chicken and duck. Goulash (with a choice of meat) is a must, or go with a veggie mushroom stew. The drinks list includes many delicious hand-picked native wines and beers, as well as a traditional liqueur called Unicum; love it or hate it, first you gotta try it! + Hearty portions - Not much in Hungarian cuisine for veggies

Malvarosa SPANISH

262 Portobello High Street, Portobello, 0131 669 7711, malvarosa.co.uk | Closed Mon/Tue | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Tapas by the sea have long been a staple for holidaymakers, but lucky Edinburgh residents need only to head to their own seafront of Portobello to enjoy the same style of delicious dishes. Malvarosa is a snug and welcoming place where the menu is exactly what you would hope for; lots of traditional tapas peppered with interesting, worthwhile additions. It should come as no surprise that sharing is encouraged, with dishes coming as tapa and the larger ración size. Squid rings are crispy, and vegetarians don’t need to worry about finding something enjoyable when the escalivada is a such a stand-out: baked peppers, aubergine, onion and tomato on toasted bread all covered in melted goat’s cheese. If time is on your side, paellas are made to order (which takes at least half an hour). The modest wine list has a heavy Spanish influence and if you’re really looking to embrace the feel of the place then why not grab a jug of sangria to complete the holiday atmosphere? + Feeling on holiday at home - Not great for large groups

Q NEW Merienda MEDITERRANEAN

30 North West Circus Place, Stockbridge (Map 7: E7), 0131 220 2020, eat-merienda.com | Closed Mon/Tues | No under 10s | £32 (lunch) / £32 (dinner)

Merienda, the Spanish version: ‘a light meal’; Merienda, the Stockbridge version: small, exquisite Mediterranean-inspired plates, showcasing the best of seasonal, Scottish produce. Chef-owner Campbell Mickel invites diners to build their own tasting menu, with 10–12 dishes recommended to share between two. The dining room is bright, elegant but unpretentious, ensuring focus is placed on the unfolding visual feast. With such attention to provenance and seasonality, it’s no surprise that the menu changes monthly, with new dishes appearing under five permanent categories – Merienda staples; farms and pastures; fields and gardens; rivers and seas; and sweetness. Top picks could be hot parsnip and truffle air with parsnip crisps, which has a breathtaking depth of flavour; textures of beetroot, a love letter to this humble root veg, bathed in silky, salty goat’s cheese; or Borders pheasant terrine with East Lothian leek and Jerusalem artichoke, which is translucent, delicate, yet robust. Make the most of the Merienda experience by soaking up the passion and expertise of Campbell and his team to guide you through the meticulously sourced menu and 114

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accompanying wine list. + Seasonal fine dining, exquisitely presented, affordably priced - Those not paying attention may find small plates on the small side

Q Pera: Turkish Mangal & Meze Bar TURKISH

57 Elm Row, Leith (Map 4: K6), 07756 122730, turkishrestaurantedinburgh. co.uk | £20 (dinner)

Pera is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Turkish delight at the top of Leith Walk. The mezze selection is an everchanging chef’s selection of homemade dips and vegetables, olives and bread. The charcoal grill is put to good use flavouring vegetables and bread, but really comes into its own when used to barbeque meat to caramelised glory. The sultan’s feast is a great way to try a little bit of almost everything from the vegetable dishes, followed by a platter of lamb and chicken and finished with baklava – it’s modestly priced and very generously portioned. The freshly made and theatrically presented sizzling vegetable tagine is a perfectly balanced wildcard of figs, walnuts and tomatoes. Salads pop with pomegranate and throughout flavouring is intense and on point. Bring your own bottle and come hungry; you’ll leave full and happy and feeling like you have just visited family in this tiny bit of Turkey. + Freshly prepared food - Portion sizes can be a little intimidating

Pierogi Najlepsze w Mieście POLISH

29 Crichton Place, Leith (Map 4: L5), 07553 543258, pieroginajlepszewmiescie.business. site | Closed Mon | £15 (lunch) / £19 (dinner)

Pierogi play an important role in Polish cuisine. Variations of the dumplings are associated with different celebrations, as well as being an everyday staple. Leith’s Pierogi Najlepsze w Mieście claims to serve the best in town and judging by the many Polish regulars you’ll find there, they definitely seem to be serving up the taste of home. Their pierogi, made of unleavened dough, come in sweet and savoury varieties and are sold mainly in portions of ten – leave room for the delicious dessert set filled with soft summer fruits and contrasting sweet cottage cheese. For the main event, go traditional with pork, potato and cheese, or sauerkraut and mushroom, then mix it up with the unexpectedly delicious vegan haggis. Fine dining this isn’t, but the bright and homely room filled with shabby-chic tables feels like exactly the right setting to enjoy this feel-good food, served with a warm welcome whether you’ve been raised on pierogi or are a recent convert. It’s BYOB too. + Delicious vegan and gluten-free options - Home delivery a little old school: no app or delivery service

Pomegranate

MIDDLE EASTERN 1 Antigua Street, New Town (Map 4: J7), 0131 556 8337, pomegranatesrestaurant.com | £14.95 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Pomegranate has become synonymous with parties and pre-theatre, thanks to an easy-going BYOB policy, a mezze menu ideal for sharing, and proximity to the Playhouse Theatre. Now licensed, the BYOB policy isn’t quite the steal it once was, though still generous enough to keep those parties coming. But it’s still a good choice for all sorts of diners, thanks to interesting

menu items that aren’t that common around Edinburgh. Be discerning and load your table with soujuk (spicy sausage) kullcha (naan fritters) and ful (fava beans and chickpeas) as well as the more standard (though still yummy) choices like hummus and baba ganoush. Mains are generous and also good for sharing, split into dishes that are served with rice, kebabs and shwarma, and there are platters available too if you’re heading for a full-on blow-out. In contrast, puddings are more restrained, mostly featuring ice-creams with unusual flavours like saffron and cardamom. + Some interesting food in laid-back surroundings - Timing it wrong and dining in the pre-theatre rush

NEW Pomegranate Express MIDDLE EASTERN

12 Nicolson Street, Old Town (Map 2: J9), 0131 557 4040, pom-express.com | £13 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Edinburgh’s Middle Eastern minichain has a new link. Hanam’s, Laila’s Bistro, Pomegranate and Souq have recently been joined by Pomegranate Express, which aims to bring Middle Eastern street food to the table and to your home (via Deliveroo). Open daily from noon to 11pm, its Nicolson Street location and BYOB policy means it’s convenient and affordable for students, theatre-goers and anyone looking for dependably tasty mezze, shawarma and wraps served in comfortable, unpretentious surroundings. The service is efficient yet warm. A wallmounted TV plays mesmerising Arabic music videos in the background, as you start by sharing dips and warm mezze. Whipped feta has the expected salty tang but aeration and slivers of caramelised fig elevate it, while the accompanying Lebanese flat bread


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does the scooping job but isn’t the star of the show. Crispy cauliflower fritters are served tempura-style and give good crunch, while the chargrilled marinated meat options – chicken and lamb – are melt-in-the-mouth delicious. Buddha bowls majoring in couscous with assorted vegetarian accoutrements cater to the calorie conscious. A robust dessert list caters to everyone else. + A convenient location to grab goodvalue food - Not so much shredded lettuce, please

Ransacked Black Oven PERSIAN

27–29 Marshall Street, Old Town (Map 2: J9), 0131 667 7001, ransackedblackoven.co.uk | £9 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Classroom-style décor, softened with scatter cushions, creates a familiar and comfortable (if unconventional) setting for Persian street food. Specials are displayed on a blackboard which, along with the menu, is clearly marked for allergies and dietary requirements. The space is great for groups, with a central table large enough to cope with all of your friends, family and their food foibles. The menu is divided into sections such as soul bowls, steak boards and wraps. Freshly prepared salads are available by generously sized scoop, allowing you to choose one as a starter or a side, or all of them to share. A special of lentil and vegetable stew is warming, filling and accompanied by freshly baked sourdough, while chargrilled aubergine is enlivened with za’atar which contrasts with the smoky soft flesh. Vegan cheese is available for Lebanese-style pizzas which feature cross-continental toppings: sauerkraut, halloumi, shawarma chicken, haggis, artichoke and even chocolate (for dessert). The chef here has an obvious flair for flavour – case in point: the edamame beans are not to be missed. + Freshness of ingredients - Beer served in schooners

Sabor Criollo AMERICAS

36 Deanhaugh Street, Stockbridge (Map 7: D7), 0131 332 3322, saborcriollo. co.uk | £18 (dinner)

This Stockbridge cantina promises Venezuelan food interspersed with Mexican favourites. The basement space is brightened up with colourful painted seascapes and lively Latin American music. The menu reflects this vibrancy through its use of colourful ingredients: black beans, guacamole, fried plantains and the gloriously pink prawns of the gambas pil pil. A selection of dishes can be prepared with your choice of chicken, beef or vegetables; dietary information is available, with helpful advice given by the restaurant team. Yuca fritta are a must as a starter or a side, as is the quintessential Venezuelan shredded beef dish of pabellon criollo. Mexican cuisine is represented through the usual suspects of nachos, fajitas and tacos and there are clear Spanish and Portuguese influences on show too. Desserts are rich and filling – perhaps the selection of cocktails may better satisfy a sweet tooth at the end of the meal. + Emphasis on fun, casual dining - Some dishes expensive for the size

Söderberg Pavilion SWEDISH

1 Lister Square, Quartermile, Old Town (Map 8: H10), 0131 228 1905, soderberg. uk | £14 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Söderberg Pavilion sits at the heart of the Quartermile development, bringing a comforting helping of cosy

Scandinavian chic to surroundings that verge on the corporate. Although it’s not far from the Meadows, this day-to-evening venue feels sufficiently tucked away that you can imagine it was once a jealously guarded secret for Quartermile’s residents and workers. But word has got out: perhaps it was the draw of freshly baked sourdough pizzas produced from the central wood-burning oven; the lip-smacking satisfaction of Swedish bakery staples such as cinnamon buns; or the friendly staff dishing it all up in a laid-back environment which transitions easily from day to night. Sourdough pizzas and salads are their staples and great for sharing. The pick of the salads combines just the right balance of fresh greens, salty gorgonzola, toasted walnuts and lightly caramelised pear. Pizzas are thin-crusted with a satisfying charcoal bite and topped with deli-style combinations (think chorizo rather than pepperoni); the star of the show is spread generously with crème fraiche, mozzarella, dill, capers and Belhaven smoked salmon. + Central Perk reworked for the postFriends generation - Slightly incongruous with its surroundings (positively so)

Souq Edinburgh NORTH AFRICAN

57–59 South Clerk Street, Southside (Map 9: K11), 0131 667 6601, souqedinburgh.com | | £8 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

With rows and rows of stunning Arabicstyle lamps suspended from the ceiling, Souq is certainly eye-catching. And the welcome is just as twinkly as the lamps, with lovely staff who are just as happy to give recommendations as they are to offer more of their warm, fluffy naan bread at the exact moment you realise you are about to run out. Sister restaurant to Pomegranate, Laila’s Bistro and Hanam’s, Souq is the only member of the family to serve tagines – hearty, rustic comfort food, with the chicken and lemon a particular highlight (and also the server’s favourite). If you’re more into sharing and snacking though, there is a broad range of mezze too. Fried cauliflower is light and crispy (but the whipped feta dip steals the show), while soujuk – spicy lamb sausage – comes with a generous puddle of sauce that’s perfect for dipping. With lots of different spaces for various sizes of groups, BYOB, and belly dancing on Saturdays, Souq is an equally good choice if you fancy getting the team together for something a bit different, or for when you need the equivalent of a culinary cuddle on a cold night. + Faultless service - Some dishes billed as spicy didn’t deliver the expected kick

their sharing platters to get a little bit of everything: wings, half a marinated chicken, slow-cooked ribs, slaw and corn all make for a well-cooked feast. It might be tempting to skip the side dishes with such a bounty, but make sure to check out their ultra-Scottish haggis fritters served with Irn Bru chilli jam. If you’ve room for dessert the orange sorbet (accompanied by a rich chocolate torte) is a refreshing reviver to set you on your way. + Getting lost in the meat platter - Bringing a vegetarian friend

refreshing to see more than just wine on offer – beer, cocktails and liqueurs are all embraced and continue to set a high bar (though it would be good to see some more Scottish beers to rival the well-curated wine list). The service is attentive, and the different menu options means it’s an equally good choice for a midweek lunch as for a romantic weekend dinner date. + The technique is without fault - Some flavour combinations may be daunting

Q Spitaki

SPANISH

GREEK

133–135 East Claremont Street, New Town (Map 3: I5), 0131 556 9423, spitaki. co.uk | £19 (lunch) / £19 (dinner)

It’s slightly off the beaten track, but Spitaki is well worth the journey. Freshly cooked mezze dishes arrive as they are ready, with dips and pita hitting the table swiftly after the carafe of house wine. Next come salads and heavenly discs of oregano-dressed potatoes. Octopus takes a little more time, but tastes as if it has arrived fresh off the grill in Greece, and is truly deserving of gracing tables here in the Athens of the north. Spicy baked feta packs a punch, while relief comes from fresh cabbage salad. Bean dishes are rich and filling and meat is chargrilled and served with tzatziki dressing. Basically, it feels as if you’re on holiday, even on a rainy Tuesday. The mezzanine-level table is perfect for hosting a party large enough to give you an excuse to try all the dishes, and the whole family is welcome, even the canine members. + Freshly prepared and delicious food - It’s a bit out of the way

Taisteal FUSION

1 Raeburn Place, Stockbridge (Map 7: D6), 0131 332 9977, taisteal.co.uk | Closed Sun/Mon | No kids weekend evenings | £13 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Taisteal means journey, but for people eating here the word adventure may be a better fit. Chef Gordon Craig takes traditional Scottish ingredients and elevates them, with techniques from across the world. Curried parsnip soup sets the tone of the menu, with a wonderful contrast of sweet and spicy; but Taisteal’s ethos is perhaps shown best by the grilled venison, paired with artichokes, wild mushrooms and a truffle filled raviolo. It’s all brave – and bravery does have its downside as some flavour combinations are a little challenging. The tasting menu comes with the drinks pairing options and it’s

Q Tapa

19 Shore Place, Leith (Map 5: N3), 0131 476 6776, tapaedinburgh.co.uk | Closed Sun/Mon | £15 for two (set lunch) / £25 (dinner)

A decade is a seriously long time to stay a success in Edinburgh’s competitive dining scene. But plucky Tapa is celebrating its tenth birthday this year, despite being ever so slightly off the main drag in Leith’s busy Shore. Perhaps it’s the stylish warehouse conversion. Perhaps it’s the careful sourcing and importing of ingredients like Iberian pork or interesting sherry. Perhaps it’s the deft and welcoming service. Or perhaps it’s because their tapas menu really does offer something for everyone. That’s far from damning with faint praise: after all, we’ve all been stuck trying to find a table that will suit the fussy pal, the picky kid, the veg-refusing colleague. But what’s special about Tapa is that it covers all these bases so very elegantly, with beautiful dishes that show real care in the kitchen and definitely do their bit to bring the sunshine to Leith. So felicidades Tapa – here’s to the next ten years, + Imaginative dishes that really will make everyone happy - The big space can feel a bit empty when quiet

Q Taxidi GREEK

6 Brougham Street, Tollcross (Map 8: F10), 0131 228 1030 | Closed Mon | £12 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

There’s something lovely about walking into a restaurant and being struck by that feeling that we tend to describe as authenticity; whatever it is, Taxidi, a cosy bistro in busy Tollcross, has it in spades. Mezze options are plentiful and cater for a wide audience. Sheep’s milk talagani cheese, named for the winter cape worn by Greek shepherds, is halloumi-like and deliciously squeaky. Pitta bread is perfectly seasoned with lashings of olive oil and oregano (and indeed, as the staff will tell you, it’s

Spatch

EUROPEAN 3 Hunter Square, Old Town (Map 2: I8), 0131 285 5240, spatchchicken.co.uk | £20 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Unsurprisingly, you’ll find that chicken is the main event at Spatch, although it’s not all they have to offer in a refreshingly concise menu. Slap bang in the middle of town, the exposed bricks and sloping skylights are enough to make you forget all about the hustle and bustle of the Royal Mile outside. If you’re stopping in for a quick bite their punny burger menu includes a Cluck Norris (breaded chicken topped with slow-cooked bbq chicken) and the Kevin Double Bacon (traditional bacon double cheese burger). Treat yourself (and possibly someone else) to one of

A spot of Greek sunshine, in the heart of Edinburgh

133-135 East Claremont St | Edinburgh | EH7 4JA 0131 556 9423 spitaki.co.uk

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all about the olive oil here). Fava Santorinia, described as Greek hummus, is a wonderful discovery which begs to be scooped up; it’s made from yellow split peas rounded out with caramelised onion, capers, lemon and (of course) olive oil. If you’re not in the mood for sharing, main dishes are all packed with character and flavour, and there are daily specials too. Even the drinks carry through the Greek heritage, with wines and a selection of soft options rounding off an entirely enjoyable experience. + Getting lost in the atmosphere - Not being able to sit together in a large group

SCOTTISH

Tupiniquim

Reviewers: Stan Blackley, Ailidh Forlan, Ian Hogg, Yana Thandrayen

BRAZILIAN

The Green Police Box, Middle Meadow Walk, Lauriston Place, Old Town (Map 1: I10), 07984 526884, tupiniquim.co.uk | Closed Sun | £10 (lunch) / £10 (dinner)

You’ll find Tupiniquim at the top of Meadow Walk, but you’ll more than likely smell their delicious wares before you spot the unassuming green police box. Family run since 2010, their bubbly, light crêpes are all glutenfree and make perfect containers for the rich, beautifully seasoned fillings they enclose. Whether you plump for their pulled beef, shredded chicken or a veggie offering, the pancakes are all prepared freshly to order and are loaded with flavour. Densely packed, the crêpes don’t feel too heavy – the addition of sweet potato or butternut squash (or both) keeps them feeling fresh right to the last bite. Those looking to indulge can rest assured that the sweet pancakes hold up to scrutiny just as well, with the double chocolate being a particular hit with children. The location is ideal, although a tad exposed on colder days, and you’re sure to be right in the thick of some sort of entertainment if you visit during the Festival. + Fantastic food in one of Edinburgh’s best settings - Outside eating in Edinburgh is at the mercy of the weather

Zara’s Mediterranean Bistro MEDITERRANEAN

176/1 Rose Street, New Town (Map 1: F8), 0131 225 2333, zarabistro.com | £14.50 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Zara’s is one of the first restaurants that Rose Street’s many shoppers and tourists encounter when moving from west to east, and the broad appeal to an equally broad clientele. Weather permitting, al fresco dining is an attractive option and competitively priced lunch and early dining options provide a further draw. Inside, the restaurant’s compact and understated dining room is tastefully decorated with wood and tartan accents. The menu combines both Mediterraneaninspired options (mezze and chargrilled meat, seafood and vegetables) and bistro staples, including steak, seafood and pasta – with an element of midmenu crossover. The mixed grill is an example of where this fusion works well, with a deftly spiced kofta elevating the dish. Mezze-style starters can be combined with a main for a traditional two-course format or, for a true taste of the Med, share two to three per person, being sure to include the roasted pepper dip – a house speciality – scooped up with plenty of warm pita. + Attractive place to soak up Rose Street’s atmosphere when the sun’s out - House white doesn’t hold its own against the Mediterranean flavours 116

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The city’s vibrant Scottish scene works hard to elevate itself beyond traditional tourist-driven plates. Friendly neighbourhood bistros, elegant city centre eateries and polished fine dining venues combine to deliver precise and considered cooking that showcases the country’s finest seasonal produce, often washed down with the best Scotland’s brewers and distillers have to offer.

A Room in Leith

1a Dock Place, Leith (Map 5: M2), 0131 554 7427, teuchtersbar.co.uk | £18 (lunch) / £24 (dinner)

Hidden away around a corner at the end of a cobbled lane near the Leith waterfront, this room is actually three adjoining nautically themed spaces with a sunny conservatory and a bright outdoor terrace. The lengthy and varied menu features traditional Scottish options like fish and chips, haggis and Cullen skink, as well as more adventurous choices of game, seafood and veggie options, such as seared hare fillet, monkfish curry and whole baked brie. A starter of warm smoked partridge with bramble and bacon is a hearty and satisfying way to begin, while pan-fried scallops are lightly cooked and served in their shells. A main of seared venison loin is served with celeriac and potato dauphinoise and a rich port gravy, while a fabulously hearty and filling fish pie features coley, salmon, smoked haddock and cheese mash. Desserts include lemon posset with sponge, dark chocolate pot and whisky and ginger ice cream. As the sister venue of nearby Teuchters Landing, drink options are plentiful. Service is exemplary too, making this a room well worth seeking out. + Wonderful service from warm staff - Some dishes lack seasoning seasoning

Aizle

107–109 St Leonard’s Street, Southside (Map 9: L10), 0131 662 9349, aizle.co.uk | Closed Sun–Tue | £55 (set dinner)

Raising Edinburgh’s gastronomy bar with an injection of culinary flair in a quieter part of town, Aizle is a simply decorated, compact restaurant. The name (Gaelic for a burning coal or spark; rhymes with hazel) tees up diners for the fiery and deftly decisive meal that follows; a no-choice six-course set tasting menu that unapologetically showcases the versatility of Scotland’s larder, with a large blackboard chalked up with each ingredient in the harvest taking. Depending when you go, expect a handful of well-known caught and shot animals, interspersed with unfamiliar foraged, home-fermented and locally grown goodies – and recently a wee focus on Japanese seasonings and flavours like yuzukosho, umeboshi and katsuobushi, set to have even the most discerning foodie tablegoogling. Snacks of potato dauphinoise and delicate cylinders of beef tartare are potentially the tastiest morsels ever eaten only to be immediately trumped by intensely rich shellfish or unctuously tender koji short rib dressed with parsnip crisps and smatterings of sticky cherry; all works of art. There may well be the odd crowd divider, such as an almost cheese-flavoured sea buckthorn and yoghurt savoury dessert but overall,

A Room in the West End

26 William Street, West End (Map 6: D9), 0131 226 1036, teuchtersbar.co.uk | £14.50 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Nestling below Teuchters bar, A Room in the West End blends honest and wellcomposed Scottish food with the best that the country’s distilleries have to offer. A bistro-style basement room of dark timber warmth reveals a colourful ‘spot the celebrity’ mural alongside a trio of quirky two-person snugs. Seafood deli boards showcasing soused herring and crayfish salsa emerge on weekdays, alongside venison and pork dogs with caramelised onions, and blue cheese-stacked buffalo steak burgers. A good-value set lunch deal features beef and whisky sausages with onion gravy, together with creamy Cullen skink and baked salmon with sautéed kale and aioli. The evening à la carte steps up a gear, matching quail and smoked bacon roulade to a roasted parsnip and apple purée, alongside seared fillet of hare, with haggis bridie and madeira jus. BYOB, dainty mini cocktails and whisky flights drawn from an extensive list of malts prove popular in a venue that continues to satisfy its fair share of tourists, office workers and returning regulars. + Strong Scottish staples and whiskies - Not your first thought for sunny day dining

Edinburgh Food Studio

it’s an outstanding experience, only made better by considerate service and quality wine pairings. + Tremendous surprises on every menu - Not for the fussy diner

Amber Restaurant

The Scotch Whisky Experience, 354 Castlehill, The Royal Mile, Old Town (Map 1: H9), 0131 477 8477, scotchwhiskyexperience.co.uk/ restaurant | £9.95 (set lunch) / £24 (dinner)

The basement restaurant of the Scotch Whisky Experience is just a stone’s throw from Edinburgh Castle in the city’s tourism heart. Unsurprisingly, there are hundreds of malts and blends to choose from here, with knowledgeable staff on hand to guide diners through the very keenly priced list. The room itself resembles a cosy cafeteria with a casual, calm atmosphere in stark contrast to the throngs of tourists outside on the Royal Mile. Substantial dishes of locally sourced produce form the core of the menu. Little ‘pots’ of Scottish classics such as stovies, haggis or Cullen skink provide a novel introduction to the national cuisine, as do the Scottish tapas, a changing array of hot and cold meats and fish. For mains, a loin of venison is competently roasted and well paired with a buttery celeriac purée but the accompanying potato gnocchi


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lack punch. An unctuous shellfish risotto provides a comforting bed for a moist, meaty sea bream. Finish with a luxuriantly silky panacotta, its richness cut by the tang of rhubarb and passion fruit, while a white chocolate and pistachio parfait is all mild, cooling creaminess. + Pairing whisky with food - The cafeteria-style cake display

Q Angels with Bagpipes

343 High Street, Old Town (Map 1: I9), 0131 220 1111, angelswithbagpipes. co.uk | £18 (set lunch) / £28 (dinner)

Spread through a series of subtly decorated, atmospheric rooms in a 17th century building on the Royal Mile, Angels with Bagpipes is perfectly positioned to capture the year-round tourist trade and could perhaps be forgiven for taking a simplistic approach to doing so. But, thankfully, that’s not the case. Considerable effort has gone into an engaging and quality dining experience based on wellsourced ingredients and impressive modern Scottish cooking. A starter of cauliflower, spelt, walnut, blue cheese and cider is a revelation, although there are more traditional options like haggis and smoked salmon available. Mains of cod with onion velouté, purple sprouting broccoli and bacon; and chicken supreme with barley, cavolo nero and leek are simply conceived, beautifully presented and packed with flavour. Desserts of dark chocolate, hazelnut, blackcurrant and violet, and a deconstructed apple crumble with toffee, cinnamon and walnut, are lickthe-plate good. The staff are friendly and attentive and the whole experience is a reassuring reminder that Edinburgh retains some divine food and heavenly dining experiences to offer visitors and residents alike. + Divine food - Fighting through the crowds to get to the door

Bertie’s Restaurant & Bar 9 Victoria Street, Old Town See Fish

Bistro Deluxe by Paul Tamburrini 81 Holyrood Road, Old Town See Bistros & Brasseries

Blonde

75 St Leonard’s Street, Southside See Bistros & Brasseries

Q Café St Honoré

34 North West Thistle Street Lane, New Town (Map 1: F8), 0131 226 2211, cafesthonore.com | £14.50 (set lunch) / £32 (dinner)

Café St Honoré continues to overlay an award-winning ethical, organic and sustainable ethos across every aspect of its dining experience. Set against a delightful French bistro backdrop, chef-director Neil Forbes confidently showcases classic technique, contemporary flourishes and impeccably sourced Scottish produce. A rich mix of organic choices on a carefully selected wine list supports a focused à la carte which runs from lunch to dinner, with plenty of dishes that can be carefully refashioned as dairy or gluten-free. Smoked salmon terrine with horseradish and pickled cucumbers appears alongside the likes of braised pork belly with Peelham Farm nduja or North Sea hake with Shetland blueshell mussels. Crispy sage adds texture to pumpkin and pearl barley risotto, featuring on the appealing fixed-price lunch and

evening options, together with venison cottage pie and Arran mustard greens. Lunchtime cookery masterclasses and meet the producer evenings are worth keeping an eye out for, in a venue that applies enviable rigour towards the happiness of its suppliers, staff and customers. Also, don’t leave without sampling the dark chocolate fondant – it’s sensational. + Hard to see past the fondant - Occasionally the wonderful message doesn’t translate to the plate

Cannonball Restaurant & Bar

Cannonball House, 356 Castlehill, Royal Mile, Old Town See Bistros & Brasseries

Castle Terrace

33–35 Castle Terrace, West End (Map 1: F9), 0131 229 1222, castleterracerestaurant.com | Closed Sun/Mon | No under 5s | £35 (set lunch) / £65 (dinner)

Hearing mutterings of ‘exquisite’ and ‘mind-blowing’ from fellow diners, expectations are set sky-high in this airy dining room. But these are instantly met by a trio of intricate canapés, including a dollop of goat’s cheese with apricot and pork collar masquerading as a mini fry-up and an emerald sphere bursting on your tongue with the intensified flavours of a Caesar salad. What follows is equally spectacular. Delicate parcels of gently braised duck sit in a crystal-clear aromatic consommé and demonstrate chef Dominick Jack’s eye for beautiful presentation, alongside a rocher of rhubarb sorbet atop fresh red gurnard tartare. Moans of excitement echo from neighbouring tables on the gastronomic tasting journey as a mini burger, chef’s playful take on haggis, neeps and tatties, makes its way to the table. With the option of wine pairings from sommelier Joël Bastian, the tasting menus, seasonal à la carte and excellent value set-lunch option are all winners. Visits are made all the more memorable with the allure of petit fours at the chef’s table; a very special climax to a business lunch or evening celebration in this luxurious yet pared-back contemporary restaurant. + Class cooking from start to perfect crème brûlée finish - Having over ten servers can feel a little impersonal

tastefully lit room. Pan-fried duck breast arrives drizzled with honey harvested from beehives on the roof of the neighbouring Lyceum Theatre, and dressed with red cabbage purée and light spring greens. Pretty-in-pink roast quail nestles in spiced Puy lentils and butternut squash, while john dory is paired with sea vegetables and sweet and sour grapes. A stripped-back market menu offering lunch and pre-theatre options features the likes of sea bass fillet with artichoke purée or haggis with root vegetable crisps and red wine jus. There are popular ‘dine with wine’ deals at the weekend, and a ground level champagne terrace when weather permits, in a venue that works hard to please its audience. + A stylish spot to wine and dine - Some dishes not quite the sum of their parts

butter beans alongside a wonderfully rich Black Isle beef cheek with polenta and caramelised cauliflower. Complex whisky flavour profiles and a carefully composed wine list are cleverly matched to a generous five-course tasting menu that draws inspiration from well-sourced and foraged seasonal food. Pan-seared Orkney scallop with fennel and chestnut purée kicks off a fixed price à la carte, alongside slowcooked pork belly and sole fillet with pickled raisins and a velvety beurre blanc. A pair of private dining rooms and the upper floor members’ bar and snug completes the picture at a venue whose appeal extends beyond those who enjoy a wee dram. + Ambitious kitchen paired to a wonderful whisky selection - Some dishes would benefit from a lessis-more approach

The Dining Room

The Dome

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, 28 Queen Street, New Town (Map 1: G7), 0131 220 2044, thediningroomedinburgh.co.uk | No under 14s | Restaurant closed Sun/ Mon | £21.95 (set lunch) / £45 (dinner)

Housed in a stylish Queen Street townhouse, the Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s elegant first floor Dining Room is the ideal accompaniment for a venue dedicated to Scotland’s favourite tipple. A whisky-lined foyer showcasing hundreds of independently bottled, single-cask malts leads to a cosy ground floor bar offering appealing charcuterie platters and a handful of familiar mains. Upstairs, a lunchtime and early evening menu du jour features North Sea cod with

14 George Street, New Town See Bistros & Brasseries

Q Edinburgh Food Studio

158 Dalkeith Road, Southside, 0131 258 0758, edinburghfoodstudio.com | Closed Mon/Tue | £60 (set dinner)

Unique in Edinburgh, this isn’t simply a restaurant but a hub of food alchemy, research and experimentation. Set up by a group of young creative chefs with Noma credentials, it has added regular lunch and dinner service to its already popular gastronomic happenings. Dinner is a dynamic seven-course menu: one sitting lasts the entire evening, with diners served simultaneously, creating a convivial communal experience. The night begins with an explanation

Chop House Bruntsfield 88 Bruntsfield Place, Southside See Steakhouses & Burgers

SCOTTISH PRODUCE AT ITS BEST

Chop House Leith

102 Constitution Street, Leith See Steakhouses & Burgers

Chop House Market Street

Arch 15, East Market Street, Old Town See Steakhouses & Burgers

David Bann

56–58 St Mary’s Street, Old Town See Bistros & Brasseries

Dine

Saltire Court, 10 (1F) Cambridge Street, Tollcross (Map 1: E9), 0131 218 1818, dineedinburgh.co.uk | £15.50 (set lunch) / £31 (dinner)

Dine is an elegant first floor brasserie, perched above the Traverse in the heart of theatreland. A stylish lounge bar with sink-in leather sofas showcases a strong wine list and great-value classic cocktails. Lindisfarne oysters kick off an appealing à la carte menu that changes with the seasons and runs from lunch to dinner in this contemporary,

Supporting local suppliers, farmers and fishermen since 2012.

One Square 1 Festival Square EH3 9SR T. 0131 221 6422 info@onesquareedinburgh.co.uk www.onesquareedinburgh.co.uk

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Q HITLIST

SCOTTISH ✱ Angels with Bagpipes

Impressive modern Scottish cooking in an atmospheric restaurant at the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town.

✱ Café St Honoré A strong

sustainable ethos overlays accomplished cooking and exemplary sourcing in a delightful French bistro setting.

✱ Edinburgh Food Studio A

communal, convivial fine-dining experience. Expect intense flavours and creative cooking using impeccably sourced ingredients.

✱ Fhior A low-key and likeable

modern Scottish restaurant showcasing seasonal Scottish produce prepared with considerable care.

✱ The Gardener’s Cottage A

pretty cottage set in an urban park provides a picturesque setting for high-end inventive seasonal cooking.

✱ The Kitchin A revered and

respected Edinburgh institution with a Michelin star since 2007 and a nature-to-plate approach to fine dining.

✱ New Chapter Contemporary

Scottish food with hints of European influence in a stylish neighbourhood venue that’s worth crossing town for.

✱ Timberyard Achingly cool

dining in a converted warehouse restaurant that’s daringly different and deeply delicious.

of the dishes, cooking techniques and where the produce is from. The dishes are stunning; flavours are clear and intense, whether it be a deeply savoury celeriac broth or a smoky sheep yoghurt with earthy, rich beetroot. Seemingly ordinary ingredients are transformed, such as the sweet and sour interplay of turnip and neep tops combined with haddock with an incredible woody smoke. Chicken and leeks is exactly that, but the depth of flavour is immense, while Scottish produce is showcased in playful ways, such as a doughnut filled with Scots pine-infused custard. It’s informal fine dining but with an atmosphere akin to a secret club for food lovers. + Sensational flavours, each dish is a new delight - The communal experience won’t be for everyone 118

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Q NEW Fhior

36 Broughton Street, New Town (Map 3: I7), 0131 477 5000, fhior.com | Closed Sun–Tue | £18 (lunch) / £40 (set dinner)

At Fhior, Scott and Laura Smith and team deliver a low-key and likeable modern Scottish dining experience that is cool but not clinical, serious but not solemn. The ever-changing à la carte lunch, and four or sevencourse tasting menus for dinner, showcase seasonal Scottish produce which is treated with considerable care and competence. Dishes include crab with turnip and apple; guinea fowl with chard and cabbage; halibut with fennel and buttermilk; and lamb with mushroom and watercress – the brevity of the menu descriptions at odds with the playful imagination and skilled preparation that goes into producing these plates. There are foraged ingredients like pepper dulse and sea buckthorn, and unusual combinations of ingredients, such as a whipped Jerusalem artichoke dessert with chocolate that’s given added sweetness and crunch by the surprising yet successful addition of the roasted artichoke skins. The menus can be wine-matched with well-chosen wines from small artisanal producers, staff are charming and knowledgeable, and the experience is one of professionalism without pretension which leaves a lasting positive impression. + Not looking at the menu until after you’ve eaten -- so many surprises! - Some will find the stripped-back décor quite austere

Field

41 West Nicolson Street, Southside (Map 9: J10), 0131 667 7010, fieldrestaurant.co.uk | Closed Sun/ Mon | No under 5s | £15 (set lunch) / £24 (dinner)

Set in a modest but smart single room, Rachel and Richard Conway’s Field is a well-established and popular restaurant with a loyal clientele. The surrounding area might buzz with

student eateries, but this is a more mature venue – welcomingly serious and seriously welcoming. Short, seasonal menus showcase a creative and committed approach to seasonal Scottish ingredients, like a starter of pan-fried wood pigeon breast served with earthy black pudding, sour-sweet apple and a bitter chocolate jus. For main, pork fillet is juicy, full of flavour and accompanied by more earthysweet ingredients, like celeriac, pear and chestnut, as well as a rich mulled wine jus that requires an extra order of bread for mopping up, or you could select from options like a fillet of bream, pheasant breast and an unusual savoury baklava. Desserts include a super-sticky chocolate and hazelnut ‘smore with beetroot marshmallow and a soft cranberry bread pudding served with a lip-smacking sauce of orange, aniseed and whipped caramel. The cooking here is confident and reliable, the service is excellent, and the whole experience is at the top of its field. + They know how to handle produce, especially game and meat - Vegetarian options can be less reliable

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 (Map 1: H7), 0131 524 8350, harveynichols.com/ restaurant/edinburgh-dining | £28 (set lunch) / £28 (set dinner)

With impressive views across the capital, the Forth Floor Restaurant has a glamorous, chic vibe that few other venues in Edinburgh can match. When the weather allows, the outdoor seating is a great vantage point to enjoy a cocktail and look down on St Andrew Square. The dining space has a modern

luxurious feel to it and, in keeping with the room’s good looks, diners are smart and dishes beautifully presented. It’s not just style – there is substance to the fine dining here. A starter of red mullet balances the delicate flesh of the fish with fresh compressed melon and cucumber salad, while the pairing of a moist quail breast with caramelised chicory is a delightful sweet and savoury hit. Mains are similarly assured with lots of creative flavour combinations. Deftly roasted stone bass is given an Italian twist with a light gnocchi, packed with parmesan flavour, and the richness of a duck breast is cut by sour cherry compote. Service is friendly and swift with knowledgeable staff on hand to guide diners through the experience. + One of the best views from a restaurant in the city - Expensive supplements

The Free Company

Cockdurno Farm House, Balerno, thefree-company.com | £10 deposit then pay what you think it’s worth

The Free Company started life as a design house, an attempt to breathe new life into Charlie and Angus BuchananSmith’s fifth-generation family farm, Cockdurno Farm House near Balerno. Their series of supper clubs take place in eight week stretches starting in April, August and November, and the whole experience is unique from the moment you’re met with the Landrover at the bus stop, to the moment you’re dropped off in time for the last bus at the end of the night. Rows of communal tables are set up in the charmingly rustic old hayloft and there’s a tiny bar at the end of the room serving an equally tiny – but extremely well-thought out – range of wine, beers and cocktails. A no-choice four-course menu is based around superlocal and seasonal produce, 80% of which is grown or raised on the farm, and usually stars their prized herd of rare-breed pigs. It’s all simply cooked in the the Firehouse – a custom-designed beast of an outdoor oven – and served


In association with

with real charm and enthusiasm. In an attempt to keep things accessible, diners pay a non-refundable reservation fee, then are invited to pay what they think the evening’s food has been worth. + It’s all just so damn charming - The nature of the farm means guests with mobility issues will struggle

Q The Gardener’s Cottage

1 Royal Terrace Gardens, New Town (Map 4: K7), 0131 677 0244, thegardenerscottage.co | Closed Mon/ Tue | No kids after 7pm | £15 (set lunch) / £60 (set dinner)

In this pretty former gardener’s cottage, two modest dining rooms with communal tables are the simple setting for some glorious food. Ingredients are seasonal, sustainable and very local as they grow some of their own herbs and vegetables right outside: expect flowers, nettles, wild herbs and berries. During the day, there’s a set lunch and à la carte, while at night, it’s exclusively the chef’s menu (three or five courses, no printed menu, based on seasonality). The dishes are artfully presented, the cooking executed with skill and imagination, enhancing the excellent produce. The menu changes often, reflecting the best of what’s available from land and sea. There may be freshly made tagliatelle topped with truffle shavings coated in a buttery sauce, cut by the salty tang of Doddington’s cheese, followed by a delicately seared, hand-dived scallop sitting in a deeply savoury broth of brown shrimp and razor clams. Vegetables are an integral part of the dishes; sweet, nutty Jerusalem artichoke, carrots and purple sprouting broccoli accompany a beautifully roasted roe deer. Flavours are deftly paired, such as the harmonious dessert marriage of dark chocolate with zesty sea buckthorn sorbet. + Excellent seasonal cooking - You need to like communal dining

The Grain Store

30 Victoria Street, Old Town (Map 1: H9), 0131 225 7635, grainstorerestaurant.co.uk | £14 (set lunch) / £34 (dinner)

To have your restaurant busy, even on a cold January evening, is one thing, but to do so for 29 years in the face of Edinburgh’s turbulent restaurant scene? That’s seriously impressive. Of course, The Grain Store is fortunate with the level of touristy footfall on Edinburgh’s most photographed street, but with solid Scottish cookery and bucket-loads of its own charm, it’s no wonder diners eagerly return. With antique furnishings, candle-lit stone walls and discreet alcoves, an inviting romantic atmosphere makes for the perfect intimate liaison or special celebration. Equally the menu – studded with local produce supported by homemade everything – entices. Dollops of homemade Pedro Ximénez syrup complement an indulgent and generously portioned seared foie gras starter. The accomplished depth of flavour teased into a velvety shellfish bisque is topped with fresh lobster tagliatelle; still enjoyable albeit on the wrong side of al dente. Tender saddle and belly of Borders lamb grace the mains, on a bed of fine ratatouille, with lightly roasted tomatoes and a pungent garlic purée. It’s all delightful and thankfully not too rich, meaning there’s room to sample the restaurant’s longstanding classic dessert of caramelised apple tarte tatin. + Sommelier’s wine recommendations - The price is punchy

Hendersons Salad Table

94 Hanover Street, New Town (Map 1: G7), 0131 225 2131, hendersonsofedinburgh.co.uk | £16 (lunch) / £19 (dinner)

Hendersons has been extolling the virtue of organic plant-based eating since the early 1960s. Their cavernous Salad Table restaurant is split into two areas: a casual canteen-style section and a larger, comfortable dining area, complete with piano. The menu has, to some extent, evolved from the days of lentil burgers although there’s plenty to keep pulse enthusiasts happy. During the day, an array of brightly coloured, wholesome salads are available while, in the evening, dishes take inspiration from Scottish and Asian cuisine. A nut loaf is a crumbly, gently herby mixture, encased in pastry and accompanied by mountains of red cabbage. Meanwhile, mushroom gyoza are paired with a vivid orange kimchi with a fresh chilli kick. There are plenty of gluten-free options too, such as sturdy quinoa and potato cakes. Puddings are a highlight, with a vegan chocolate mousse pleasantly smooth (and lighter than its dairy version) and a sticky toffee pudding nicely moistened by dollop of thick custard. + Hearty, nutritious food - Some dishes lack finesse

THE FORTH FLOOR RESTAURANT, BRASSERIE & BAR Our menus feature the finest seasonal flavours, locally sourced ingredients and an extensive drinks list to match – all with unparalleled views over the city to admire while you dine. BOOK YOUR TABLE NOW +44 131 524 8350 | harveynichols.com

Howies (Victoria Street)

10–14 Victoria Street, Old Town (Map 1: H9), 0131 225 1721, howies.uk.com | £12 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Nestled along one of the prettiest streets in the Old Town, this is a popular spot for tourists to fill up on hearty meals and sample archetypal Scottish dishes. Split into two rooms, with whitewashed stone walls and gentle lighting, it has a cosy bistro feel. But while the décor is informal, the kitchen is extremely efficient, and the waiting staff observant to the needs of diners. The short menu is built around classic Scottish meat and fish, such as a smoky Cullen skink or the ubiquitous haggis, neeps and tatties. Big meaty casseroles are a staple, changing from rich gamey stews in winter to lighter versions in summer. Venison from the owner’s estate in Glen Lyon is finely textured and roasted to bring out the best of its flavour, though a salad of roasted Jerusalem artichoke misses the mark. End the meal with their signature pudding, a huge slab of banoffee pie, which will more than satisfy any sugar cravings. Dietary information is given about all dishes and many have gluten-free versions. + Good place to get an overview of traditional Scottish food - Busy during peak tourist season

Howies (Waterloo Place)

29 Waterloo Place, New Town (Map 2: J7), 0131 556 5766, howies.uk.com | £12 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

At the foot of Calton Hill, in an old debating hall celebrating its 200th birthday this year, Howies has been quietly going about its business since 2001. Unlike their compact and bustling Victoria Street bistro, this grand restaurant boasts a double-height ceiling with mahogany-look tables nicely distanced apart for those who appreciate a little elbow room. Along with touches of tartan upholstery and a trio of antlers, Scottish roots are reinforced by the menu’s map of producers. With a slick – or slightly concerning – speed of service, slices of pigeon arrive still pleasantly cooing on a perch of shallot tarte tatin, let down by blobs of bland carrot purée. Other dishes, such as the Glen Lyon venison

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from the owner’s estate, are a delight; the meat is tender with a flavoursome charred edge. Waistbands permitting, diners might choose to follow up with a hot fudge sundae or sticky toffee pud. This informal dining room is a hotspot for tourists and a slightly more mature crowd, and judging by the stack of high chairs, families are well looked after too. + The choice of 23 whiskies - Dishes could do with more seasoning

Q The Kitchin

78 Commercial Quay, Leith (Map 5: M2), 0131 555 1755, thekitchin.com | Closed Sun–Mon | No under 6s | £35 (set lunch) / £80 (set dinner)

Located in a converted warehouse in the old dock area of Leith, The Kitchin needs little introduction to anyone with any knowledge whatsoever of Edinburgh’s food scene. This revered and respected eatery may have held a Michelin star since 2007 but it’s neither stuffy nor exclusive. The cosy dining room features warm grey and soft turquoise décor in contrast to exposed stone walls and dark steel beams. A range of menus, including set lunch, à la carte, tasting, prestige and vegetarian options, offer carefully sourced, Scottish seasonal produce transformed by French-inspired cooking and underpinned by a nature to plate philosophy and a nose to tail approach. From the lunch menu, a starter of cannelloni is stuffed with slow-cooked hogget neck in a parsley and garlic sauce. A main of pork belly is crispy then meltin-the-mouth served with roasted carrot and celeriac, and a dessert of caramelised puff pastry with citrus fruits and yoghurt sorbet is zingy and palate-cleansing. The service is impeccable and the experience is so relaxed and rewarding that you’ll want to repeat it again and again. + Beautifully-presented food and impeccable service - Regular visits will stretch finances

Kyloe Restaurant & Grill

The Rutland Hotel, 1–3 Rutland Street, West End See Steakhouses & Burgers

The Little Chartroom 30–31 Albert Place, Leith See Bistros & Brasseries

NEW The Lookout by Gardener’s Cottage

Calton Hill, New Town (Map 2: J7), 0131 322 1246, thelookoutedinburgh. co | Closed Mon | £33 (set lunch) / £27 (dinner)

Between the sweeping views rendered by floor-to-ceiling glass windows, course after course of beautifully curated dishes and the theatre of an open kitchen with wafting smoky aromas, The Lookout is nothing short of a feast for the senses. The views are stunning: a myriad of slate rooftops, awe-inspiring Georgian architecture, all leading onto the Firth of Forth – in fact, this newcomer atop Calton Hill bags the best views in Edinburgh. To begin, thick slabs of malted sourdough are spread with an aerated seaweed butter. But the delivery of the next course is far from the menu’s basic ingredient list. Hare, yakitori, plum and spring onion is a skewer of plump and tender beetroot red hare, garnished with flecks of burnt leek powder. Foods aren’t always presented in their most obvious form: chanterelles are blended through the barley on a venison main which is dominated by pickled carrot, while cockles in the sustainably farmed halibut – a true bowl of the sea – are camouflaged into the emulsion. Unsurprisingly, the the recommended 120

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The Pompadour

wines all work perfectly. In summer they’re promising barbecued, alfresco dining. But in winter, a fine balance is required when donning smart-casual and navigating the muddy path. Best take the stairs from Waterloo place or better still get a taxi to drop you at the top (essential for customers with any mobility restrictions). + Those views - Filter coffee only

McKirdy’s Steakhouse

151 Morrison Street, West End See Steakhouses & Burgers

Michael Neave Kitchen & Whisky Bar

21 Old Fishmarket Close, Old Town (Map 2: I8), 0131 226 4747, michaelneave.co.uk | £11.95 Sat (set lunch) / £28 (dinner)

Despite its location down an historic close off the Royal Mile, this is a thoroughly modern experience, with a sparse, white dining room housed in the basement of a contemporary building. Neave was once the new young star of Scottish cooking, so expect fine dining with interesting flavour combinations in an atmosphere that’s formal but not stuffy. For starters, ravioli of hot-smoked salmon is a deeply flavoured umami experience while a pigeon carpaccio is prettily presented and feather-light. Mains showcase fine Scottish produce such as velvet-soft venison saddle wrapped in robustly smoked bacon, though the accompanying carrot and lavender purée is a little pedestrian. Elsewhere, a fine, pearly cod fillet is slightly upstaged by the creamy chorizo and mussel risotto it sits upon. For puddings, a sticky toffee soufflé is a finely executed confection; however, apple tartin served with a puddle of tart whisky and marmalade ice-cream disappoints. Drinks are central to the experience, with an impressive selection of whiskies and cocktails that can be enjoyed in the upstairs lounge. + Good express lunch deal - Inconsistency in the cooking

Monteiths

57–61 High Street, Old Town See Bistros & Brasseries

Q New Chapter

18 Eyre Place, New Town (Map 3: G6), 0131 556 0006, newchapterrestaurant. co.uk | £16.95 (set lunch) / £29 (dinner)

Every neighbourhood deserves a restaurant as good as New Chapter. Spanish and Polish co-owners Carol and Matt have created an utterly charming bistro on Eyre Place, overlaying contemporary Scottish cuisine with a European influence. A recent décor refresh adds dark, sophisticated tones and striking wall graphics to a friendly front of house, which leads downstairs to a pair of popular private dining rooms. Both here and at sister venue Otro in the West End, executive chef Maciej Szymik fashions skilfully composed and elegantly plated dishes, all confidently road-tested on a loyal band of returning regulars. A stand-out starter of Orkney scallops with pork belly and black pudding kicks off an evening à la carte that features rich and yielding short rib of beef with parmesan purée and bone marrow crumb. Plaice with delicate shellfish cannelloni and fennel salad appears on the fixed-price lunch and early dining deals, alongside pancettawrapped cod in bacon broth and onion ash. A handful of tempting cocktails support a carefully selected wine list from L’Art du Vin, in a venue well worth travelling across town for. + Too good to be a neighbourhood secret - Some mains need sides to feel complete

Number One

1 Princes Street, New Town (Map 2: I7), 0131 557 6727, roccofortehotels.com | £85 (set dinner)

Number One at the Balmoral Hotel proudly boasts all the trappings of confidently delivered, Michelin-starred fine dining. A luxurious, lower-ground level room glows with candlelight and warm red tones, blending elegant fabrics and furniture with an intriguing mix of

contemporary artwork. An engaging front of house cuts through any anticipated formality and steers a journey through the evening – either à la carte or the seven-course tasting menu with wines to match. New head chef Mark Donald draws on influences from his culinary travels as he stamps his own personality on a skilful kitchen that showcases the best of the country’s larder. Roast langoustine dressed with ribbons of squash and shell butter arrives alongside hand-dived Dingwall scallop with Iberico pork and black garlic ketchup. Wild turbot with pickled clams is followed by rich and perfectly pink Highland wagyu beef with beetroot and bone marrow, then on to a wonderful chocolate millefeuille finale. An extensive wine list and a strong supporting cast of canapés and cheeses bookend the precise and carefully balanced dishes in one of the city’s most polished venues. + Canapés, cheese and petit fours trolleys so good . . . - . . . they almost outshine the main event

One Square

1 Festival Square, West End See Bistros & Brasseries

The Outsider

15–16 George IV Bridge, Old Town See Bistros & Brasseries

The Perch

110 Hanover Street, New Town See Bistros & Brasseries

La Petite Mort

32 Valleyfield Street, Tollcross See Bistros & Brasseries

The Pompadour

Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Princes Street, West End (Map 6: E9), 0131 222 8945, thepompadour.com | Closed Mon/Tue | £55 (set dinner)

Elegant surroundings, soft pastel hues, circular upholstered booths, chandeliers and spectacular cherry blossom trees; the Pompadour is a class act. Based


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in the Waldorf Astoria hotel (better known as the Caley to locals), the restaurant has recently re-opened (minus the Galvin brand) with chef Daniel Ashmore now commanding more autonomy over the menu. His eight or four-course tasting menus offer a style of cooking he describes as modern British. Each plate appears as a work of art and tastes as good as it looks, with delicate and delicious dishes like smoked haddock, leek and quail egg tart, or Berwick crab, crispy tapioca and pickled radish. Venison tartare with kombu and confit egg is a standout dish, with a beetroot alternative for vegetarians that appears as a mirror image. Fish and meat lovers will be delighted respectively by dulse-braised brill, salsify, nori and jerusalem artichoke and a loin of Ayrshire hogget with wild garlic and French white asparagus, each element expertly executed. The food is fantastic though the very formal service and quiet atmosphere will not suit all tastes. + Beautiful food in sumptuous surroundings - You may choose to use your inside voice

SE LIST.CO E .U FOR EX K/FOOD TRA IN FO & LINK S

The Printing Press

21–25 George Street, New Town See Bistros & Brasseries

Purslane

33a St Stephen Street, Stockbridge (Map 7: E7), 0131 226 3500, purslanerestaurant.co.uk | No under 5s | Closed Mon | £14.95 (set lunch) / £30 (dinner)

It’s rare to find a place where you can feel confident about ordering a chicken breast, but Paul Gunning’s Purslane is one of them. In the hands of this experienced chef, the everyday staple is enhanced by sautéed wild mushrooms, baby turnips, shards of crispy pancetta, aubergine purée and foams. With a jus to tie it all together, the dish is simply sensational. It’s just one of the many surprises found in this understated Stockbridge gem. Down a flight of stairs, the bijou, warmly lit restaurant is inoffensively decorated in neutral tones; it’s soon clear that the food does all the talking here. Cheese gougère canapes set the scene, followed perhaps by a moist sea bream amuse-bouche. Clued-up diners might opt for the five or seven-course tasting menu to ease decision making. They both feature intensive bursts of flavour delivered in a selection of sizeddown à la carte dishes, such as plump scallops with freshly diced peppers and dollops of a tangy romesco sauce or a refined take on a comforting and

Wedgwood the Restaurant

smoky Cullen skink. Take it easy on the extras, though: the hazelnut parfait with gingerbread, brandy snap and frozen yoghurt is a masterpiece worth saving room for. + Fine dining at a reasonable cost - It’s small so books out quickly 54 The Shore, Leith See French

or family occasions. As well as lunch and dinner, there’s a traditional Sunday lunch and an afternoon tea service, both of which seem ideally suited to whiling away a few lazy hours. The setting is the real star though: be sure to finish with a post-prandial coffee in the simply awesome tapestry room upstairs. + A simply splendid room - Destination dining definitely doesn’t come cheap

Rhubarb

Scotts Kitchen

Restaurant Martin Wishart

Prestonfield House, Priestfield Road, Southside, 0131 662 2211, prestonfield. com/dine/rhubarb | £27 (set lunch) / £45 (dinner)

Opulent and elegant, James Thomson’s Rhubarb at Prestonfield House Hotel doesn’t so much challenge the stereotypes associated with hotel dining as completely explode them. It’s all rococo splendour: 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 dining room. It makes a memorable backdrop for special dates

4–6 Victoria Terrace, Old Town (Map 1: H9), 0131 322 6868, scottskitchen.co.uk | £12 (set lunch)

In the city’s tourist heart, Scotts Kitchen is a great find. Perched above Victoria Street, the latest offshoot from the Howies stable is a delightful daytime venue that confidently covers a huge amount of ground. A bright, contemporary interior, lined with wine bottles and artisan coffee, stretches from all-day breakfasts through brunch to afternoon cakes, prosecco and grazing nibbles. Belhaven hot-smoked salmon peps up popular eggs Benedict, alongside runny, honey-drenched porridge and a pair of pick-me-up smoothies. Familiar favourite Cullen skink appears on great-value lunch deals, together with couscous and roast butternut squash, croque monsieur and a crispy chorizo-flecked mac and cheese. Blackboard specials feature the likes of venison casserole, or try one of a trio of sharing boards packed with Scottish cheeses, charcuterie and Au Gourmand sourdough bread. Whisky flights and a handful of cocktails complement the wine list. Early evening dining emerges in summer when the year-round outdoor terrace bursts into life at a venue that is too good to be just a Harry Potter trail secret. + Friendly and flexible daytime dining - Shame there’s no winter evening service

The Scran & Scallie

1 Comely Bank Road, Stockbridge See Bars & Pubs

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Sonder

74–78 South Clerk Street, Southside See Bistros & Brasseries

Steak

14 Picardy Place, New Town See Steakhouses & Burgers

The Stockbridge Restaurant

54 St Stephen Street, Stockbridge (Map 7: E7), 0131 226 6766, thestockbridgerestaurant.co.uk | Closed Mon | £33 (dinner)

With the recent rise of tasting menus and sharing plates, it’s a rare delight to be presented with an indulgent à la carte meal at a linen-clothed table. Lovingly prepared with an abundance of butter, each dish here teases intense flavour out of Scotland’s natural larder. Chef proprietor Jason Gallagher keeps it playful with dishes such as avocado icecream and crab spring rolls perched on a disc of shellfish risotto. Set-menu starters include a gorgeously pink pigeon breast, gracing a slab of pâté-smeared brioche. But with the allure of tender beef cheeks and creamy horseradish potatoes, the eyes can easily wander to the à la carte options. The charming appeal of this St Stephen Street basement space is reflected in the atmospheric glow of its flickering candles and cosy warmth. Its unchanging nature is a positive, right down to the seasonal extras such as cubes of mozzarella served with prosciutto in a delicate amuse-bouche or the complimentary pre-dessert plum truffle, a precursor to a decadent quartet of chocolate. Add all this to a decent wine list and friendly service and it’s easy to see why this 15-year-old restaurant is still a contender in Stockbridge’s thriving restaurant scene. + Solid cookery without pretentiousness - Feeling like you’ve gone up a waist size

The Table

3a Dundas Street, New Town (Map 3: G7), 0131 281 1689, thetableedinburgh. com | Closed Sun/Mon | £80 (set dinner)

Behind an anonymous New Town front door on Dundas Street, bagging one of


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the limited seats at the Table feels like being part of an elite club. Bookings have release dates, like concert tickets, three months in advance. Just ten high seats surround an open kitchen where an imaginative (and slightly manic) chef prepares some absolute masterpieces right before your eyes. The only option is a seven-course blind tasting menu, leaving you in the very capable hands of chef Sean - make yourself comfortable because the whole experience can take over four hours. Start the evening with braised beef cheeks atop a polenta parmesan reduction that’s smooth and heavy with umami flavour, while partridge breast with a rose-pink core is deliciously tender. The death by chocolate dessert is a uniform line of bitterness and sweetness vying for the attention of your taste buds. It’s a plate of pure chocolate, yet somehow isn’t overkill. Crisp slivers of dark chocolate so bitter it almost tastes sour complement a sweet milk chocolate mousse. It’s one of the most distinctive dining experiences in the city, so forget concert tickets; sit at your computer screen on the day of release and join the club. + A private party with your very own chef - Trying to get a booking

Taisteal

1 Raeburn Place, Stockbridge See Round the World

Q Timberyard

10 Lady Lawson Street, West End (Map 1: F9), 0131 221 1222, timberyard. co | Closed Sun/Mon | Over 10s only in evening | £40 (set lunch) / £56 (set dinner)

This old timber warehouse features exposed concrete beams, whitewashed stone walls and, unsurprisingly, plenty of bare wood, yet manages to retain an air of cosy comfort. Like the space, the food here is filled with understated character and interest. Scottish scallops, rabbit, pigeon and pork belly are partnered with foraged ingredients such as sea buckthorn, scurvy grass and sorrel to produce mouthwatering, multi-course tasting menus that can be adapted for all diets and diners. Ingredients are sourced from local producers and butchered, preserved, fermented and smoked in-house, then supplemented with herbs and flowers grown in the courtyard, which is also a dining space in summer. Menus can be wine-matched from an extensive list of natural wines and other drinks devised and produced in-house. Timberyard is owned by Edinburgh’s near-legendary Radford family but boldly wears the stamp of its younger generation, with knowledgeable waiting staff exhibiting considerable commitment to maintaining the achingly cool feel of this place. It’s daringly different and delicious dining. + Everything is packed with interest - Maybe a bit too trendy for some

Tower Restaurant

National Museum of Scotland,, Chambers Street, Old Town (Map 2: I9), 0131 225 3003, tower-restaurant. com | No under 8s after 8pm | £20 (set lunch) / £38 (set dinner)

At the top of the National Museum of Scotland, the big windows at the Tower Restaurant show off one of the most enviable views of the castle in Edinburgh. There’s a terrace for al fresco dining, too, if weather permits and inside the interior is plush, with suave waiting staff keeping things

ticking over. It’s a world away from the hustle and bustle of the museum café downstairs. Gourmet lunches and dinners are served as pre-set menus or à la carte, packed with fresh Scottish produce. Carlingford rock oysters are the stars of the starter section. Panseared hake flakes beautifully and is light in flavour, arriving on a bed of buttery crushed potatoes, studded with mussels. Finish with a plate of fine Scottish cheeses with a stilton that’s smooth and sharp. Or opt for a sharing platter of sweet treats where a peanut butter parfait offsets the deep chocolatey goodness of brownie icecream and a light, creamy rice pudding brûlée. This upmarket establishment also serves afternoon tea, where petits fours, finger sandwiches and a glass of bubbly – combined with that view – make for a memorable experience. + Exceptional views of the Castle - Set-lunch dishes lack sparkle

Twenty Princes Street Grill & Smokehouse 20 Princes Street, New Town (Map 1: I8), 0131 652 7370, twentyprincesstreet.co.uk | £22 (set lunch for two) / £29 (dinner)

The elegant dining room at Twenty Princes Street is decorated with decadent gold upholstery and black leather banquettes, positioned to make the most of the panoramic views through huge windows to Edinburgh’s Old Town. Being a hotel dining room, albeit a very grand one, there are separate breakfast, lunch, set lunch, Sunday roast and dinner menus available featuring a wide variety of Scottish produce like oysters, mussels and scallops, sea bass and plaice, chicken, lamb and pork, as well as burgers and mac and cheese. But the grass-fed, 35-day-aged beef steaks are the star of the show here, from rump to porterhouse, arriving smoky, crunchy and juicy from the Josper grill. There are plenty of vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and children’s options and an extensive drinks list, with a range of wines by the bottle and glass, bottled beers, and cocktails from the mixologists at the adjoining Juniper bar. The service is workmanlike rather than warm, but you may not even notice as your attention is more likely to be drawn to the views outside. + Superb panoramic views of Edinburgh - Desserts don’t quite live up to promise

by potato and crab salad, while the aniseed notes of tarragon jus enhance robustly flavoured pheasant. But the star dish is an indulgent sticky toffee pudding with an incredibly rich caramel sauce. The drink list is a particular passion; new wines are introduced on a regular basis and there’s even one from India served as a refreshing cocktail. + Great game and innovative wine list - You do have to book in peak tourist season

steak, Scottish king scallops, Shetland mussels and wholesome fishcakes. Wash it all down with accessibly priced L’art Du Vin wines and feel regret that you’ve not discovered the Wee Restaurant’s charms before. + Deliciously sticky pineapple tarte tatin - There’s not a lot of choice for vegan diners

Whiskers Wine Café

48 Raeburn Place, Stockbridge, Stockbridge See Bars & Pubs

The Wee Restaurant Edinburgh

61 Frederick Street, New Town (Map 1: F8), 0131 225 7983, theweerestaurant. co.uk | Closed Sun/Mon | £16 (set lunch) / £28 (dinner)

Craig and Vikki Wood’s ethos is to serve simple, good food in a relaxed atmosphere. With possibly the comfiest dining chairs in Edinburgh – which make tucking into their deftly executed Scottish cooking all the more enjoyable – this family-run restaurant (complete with waiter son) more than fulfils that promise. It ticks all the boxes for any stylish bistro, with a blackboard boasting local gins and lagers hanging on dusky walls, illuminated by luxe brass fittings. It’s a suitably elegant destination for date night, but spacious enough for larger gatherings. A bed of crunchy Asian vegetables comes topped with plenty of delicately breaded calamari, zinging with splatters of chilli and coriander dressing. This generous starter joins a beautifully tender Iberico pork steak main in diverting from the menu’s dependable Scottish core, which ranges across the likes of Black Isle

Whiski Bar & Restaurant

119 High Street, Old Town (Map 2: J8), 0131 556 3095, whiskibar.co.uk | £23 (lunch) / £23 (dinner)

Lined with an abundance of quirky mirrors and frames of proud Scottish depictions, Whiski Bar & Restaurant is a playground for curious tourists enticed by an impressive collection of over 300 whiskies. From a menu studded with Scottish classics, a mound of haggis, neeps and tatties – bizarrely jutting with oatcakes – is clearly the go-to dish, inciting groans of both excitement and fear among the (unbookable) tables in the pauses from the live traditional band. A less obvious choice might be Atlantic salmon with lemon cream sauce, or a stuffed chicken breast which comes in a mushroom and tarragon sauce. There’s a small selection of wines, Scottish craft and world beers to wash it all down, but sampling the impressive selection of drams is clearly a must. + Whisky tasting flights - Dishes can feel a wee bit heavyhanded

WHISKI Bar & Restaurant

The Walnut

9 Croall Place, Leith Walk, Leith See Bistros & Brasseries

Wedgwood the Restaurant

267 Canongate, Old Town (Map 2: K8), 0131 558 8737, wedgwoodtherestaurant.co.uk | £15.95 (set lunch) / £33 (dinner)

This popular restaurant has earned well-deserved accolades by producing consistently high-quality cooking with an emphasis on game and foraged foods. At the lower end of the Royal Mile, it provides a haven for wellheeled tourists and locals in search of interesting Scottish cuisine. The space is smart, with large windows looking out onto the street and an additional basement dining area. A cheddar-andonion bread and butter pudding starter is given an extra savoury hit by intense mushroom ketchup. Cured salmon has a subtle Douglas fir char, paired with the fresh tang of grapefruit. For mains, a deft hand in the kitchen brings out the earthiness in grey mullet, complemented

Multi award winning whisky bar and restaurant Fresh Scottish food served all day Over 300 whiskies Live Scottish music every night “the ultimate Scottish experience” 119 High Street (Royal Mile), Edinburgh, EH1 1SG T: 0131 556 3095 E: info@whiskibar.co.uk

www.whiskibar.com follow us on twitter @whiskibar

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Whiski Rooms

4, 6 & 7 North Bank Street, Old Town (Map 1: H9), 0131 225 7224, whiskirooms. co.uk | £12 (set lunch) / £27 (dinner)

Perched high on the Mound, just minutes from the castle, the Whiski Rooms invites you in with twinkling lights and a warm glow. As the name suggests, whisky is a large part of the deal here, with a separate bar area to sample one of the hundreds of malts available. There are regular whisky tasting events and most dishes, including the desserts, come with a whisky pairing suggestion. Dining is informal, focusing on Scottish traditional food with a few twists, such as adding lobster to macaroni cheese; basically it’s the type of food you might find in a gastro pub. Haggis comes in spring rolls as well as with the traditional neeps and tatties, a popular choice for tourists curious about the national dish. There’s a decent selection of steaks too, sourced from farms in the Scottish Borders, competently chargrilled and served with chips. Or try Whiski’s burger, a juicy, smoky meat feast, full of flavour, though the plate could do with a side salad. Desserts are comforting and homely such as sticky toffee pudding or a cranachan rich with whisky. + Huge range of whisky - Table spacing is rather cosy

Wildfire Scottish Steak & Seafood Bistro

192 Rose Street, New Town (Map 1: E8), 0131 225 3636, wildfirerestaurant.co.uk | No under 5s | £14.95 (set lunch) / £26 (dinner)

Chef-owner Lesley McDonald is understandably proud of the provenance and preparation of the steaks and seafood in her relaxed and friendly Rose Street bistro. Drawn from a longstanding list of trusted producers, Tranent’s John Gilmour supplies the carefully sourced 21-day aged Aberdeen Angus, with options to add king prawn surf to the ribeye and fillet turf. Salmon, home-cured with beetroot, dill and Edinburgh Gin,

is teamed with Loch Crinan oysters and tarragon-infused lobster gratin on seasonal seafood tapas platters. Cullen skink, bursting with smoked haddock, kicks off an evening à la carte that features haggis in mustard cream sauce and a mammoth pot of mussels and clams in tomato and saffron broth. An evenly priced set lunch and occasional one-course deal features charcuterie from Leith’s East Coast Cured, alongside blackboard specials like roast cod with salsa verde and mixed berry cranachan to finish. Outdoor tables emerge when the weather permits, while indoors it’s a cosy mix of dark timber and exposed stone with comfy bench seating and a warming wood-burning stove. + Well-sourced surf and turf - Chilly cheese plate

STEAKHOUSES & BURGER BARS

The Witchery by the Castle

Bell’s Diner

Castlehill, Royal Mile, Old Town (Map 1: H9), 0131 225 5613, thewitchery.com | No under 8s after 8pm | £22 (set lunch) / £40 (dinner)

Hunkering near the castle at the top of the Royal Mile, the Witchery has the most beautiful dining rooms in Edinburgh. The oak-panelled, tapestry-hung Witchery and the sweeping staircased Secret Garden are beautifully maintained – this 16th-century Scottish merchant’s house has tremendous wow factor. Patronised by well-heeled tourists, it’s still popular with locals and business people who have been coming for years. Serving from lunchtime through to post-theatre, diners select from a choice of set or à la carte menus. Scottish seafood shines – Oban oysters, Buckie crab, Mull scallops and Loch Etive eel – while mains are equally divided between vegetarian, fish and meat options, be it a parmesan and roasted vegetable tart, wild sea trout or Cairngorm venison. If you’ve still room, passion fruit and mascarpone trifle or Kir Royale sorbet offer a fresh finish. + Stunningly beautiful rooms - Beauty costs

Scottish beef is firmly at the heart of the city’s steakhouses and burger bars, and although the trend for the latter seems to have gone off the boil, there are still plenty of places fighting the good fight against the chains. With options to suit almost every pocket, meat lovers are spoilt for choice. Reviewers: Jo Laidlaw, Assa SamakéRoman

7 St Stephen Street, Stockbridge (Map 7: E7), 0131 225 8116, bellsdineredinburgh. com | £14 (dinner)

They’ve been serving burgers in St Stephen Street since 1972, so if Bell’s Diner’s legendary pickle tray could talk, what do you think it would say? It wouldn’t be ‘change it up’ because Bell’s have built an enduringly loyal clientele over the years; you’ll see a huge cross-section of people piling into its single room for simple tasty food. And perhaps this simplicity is what makes Bell’s work: nothing is weird or unfamiliar, your burger isn’t packed with so many wacky toppings that it doesn’t fit it into your mouth. Everything feels homely. Their beef burger (which comes in a range of sizes) is crumbly and savoury, with the option to add different types of cheese from the specials board, while a chicken burger remains moist and is well-seasoned enough to hold the attention. Portions are generous but manageable and if you pace yourself you’ll have enough room for a pleasingly retro sundae, served in an appropriately vintage-style glass, of course. This is easy-going casual family dining for the nights when you really can’t be bothered to cook. Don’t go changing, as the pickle tray might have said to the bishop. + A charming Edinburgh institution - That window seat really is freezing in winter

The Boozy Cow

17 Frederick Street, New Town (Map 1: G8), 0131 226 6055, boozycow.com | No under 5s | £16 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Burgers don’t have to be cerebral: it’s much easier to just jump straight in, eat with your hands and have a great time. And that’s exactly what’s expected of diners at Boozy Cow. It’s totally informal, so say goodbye to traditional dining, ditch the plates and cutlery, roll up your sleeves and get stuck in – you will be sharing your food, even if you didn’t plan to when you sat down. Portions are generous and the burgers are real showstoppers: the meet is juicy, the bun is soft, and they don’t disintegrate when you start to dig in. In contrast, the spicy Philly cheese steak is harder to handle but no-one’s going to tell if you do resort to fork and knife. If you’re still hungry after all that then the milkshakes are a delight: the strawberry version, with a mountain of cream, will undoubtedly take you back to childhood. + The classic cheeseburger is traditional but delicious - Not a lot of choice for dessert if you’re not into milkshakes

Bread Meats Bread

92 Lothian Road, Tollcross (Map 6: E9), 0131 225 3000, breadmeatsbread.com | £12 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

Fhior

*2Remember the heady days of the 124

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Q HITLIST

STEAKHOUSES & BURGER BARS ✱ Buffalo Great burgers and

steaks are the focus at this cosy, trendy American-style spot near Edinburgh University.

✱ Chop House Three restaurants

in three neighbourhoods means three times the treat – Chop House has some of the best steaks in town.

✱ Kyloe Restaurant & Grill

Some of the finest dining in Edinburgh, with delicious locally sourced steaks and stunning views of the castle.

✱ McKirdy’s Steakhouse The

family behind this casual restaurant also own a butchers, so it’s no wonder the quality of their Scottish beef is so high.

gourmet burger fad? Turns out Bread Meats Bread is still pioneering the trend, because as other places have floundered, they’ve continued to flourish. Their Lothian Road hangout keeps the fast in fast food, but there’s enough details to make it worth paying a little more than the standard chains, such as smart table service and their own lager on tap. They’re aware of how the wind is blowing too, with a comprehensive vegan menu – no fewer than ten burger and chicken options using homemade seitan and Moving Mountains’ B12 burger as well as shakes and sides – which is going down a storm. Meat is carefully sourced, which shows on a black and blue burger which pulls off the tricky balancing act of black pudding, beef patty and blue cheese successfully, while a pulled pork sandwich is juicy and tender, though slightly off-puttingly huge to eat. Nothing here could be described as dainty (though thankfully the poutine comes as a side) but it’s all part of the fun – it’s clear that this is one trend that’s here to stay, on Lothian Road at least. + Can’t get enough poutine - Some portions off-puttingly big

BRGR

6 Nicolson Street, Old Town (Map 2: J9), 0131 556 5646, brgr-glasgow.com | £9 (lunch) / £9 (dinner)

BRGR’s philosophy can be summed up as back to basics, and that’s no bad thing when it comes to a burger. Conveniently located near Edinburgh University and the Festival Theatre, it’s a decent option if you just want to grab a quick bite between classes or before a show. The menu features all the classic beef and chicken burgers, plus some more elaborate options with double beef, double cheese or indeed double bacon.


STEAKHOUSES & BURGER BARS

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EDINBURGH

Gluten-free buns are available and sides include chicken nuggets and all sorts of fries. There’s also a vegan menu, created with Daring Foods, a Glasgowbased start-up aiming to make GMO and palm-oil free vegan ingredients for fast food restaurants. There are four of their burgers to choose from, plus a chilli cheese bowl. Desserts include ice-creams and some very sweet milkshakes, with tastes ranging from Oreo to strawberry. + Decent burgers for these prices - Slow service at peak times

Gaucho

Chop House Market Street

4a St Andrew Square, New Town (Map 1: H8), 0131 278 3410, gauchorestaurants.com | £21 (set lunch) / £45 (dinner)

From outside, it’s impossible to guess that Gaucho is so big. But as you walk down the stairs from the bar to your table, you realise you’re in for a very special experience. It’s certainly glamorous, a place to dress up for. But their phenomenal steaks are worth the effort. These stars of the menu are described in Spanish, but don’t panic: amicable staff will soon be over to walk you through every cut. Their beef comes from grass-fed Argentinian Aberdeen Angus cows and is so tender you won’t need a steak knife. Packed full of flavour, each steak comes with a salad seasoned with parmesan and sunflower seeds but you’ll need to add sides (which soon adds up on the bill). But never mind, throw caution to the wind and dive into an excellent wine list, particularly the malbecs from their own vineyards. After all, there’s nothing wrong in treating yourself once in a while. + The steak is among the best you’ll eat in Edinburgh - Quality comes at a price

Q Buffalo

12–14 Chapel Street, Old Town (Map 9: J10), 0131 667 7427, buffalogrill.co.uk | £10 (set lunch) / £25 (dinner)

Established in 1986 but under new ownership since 2015, Buffalo is an American-style restaurant offering delicious steaks and burgers seven days a week. The cosy, snug atmosphere aims to make you sit back, relax, and just take your time with your meal – and time may be needed as the portions are extremely generous. The build a burger option on the lunch menu is an interesting option, allowing you to create your dream burger, including toppings and sides, for a reasonable price. Scotch beef from Tweeddale in the Borders, dry-aged for 35 days, is cooked with respect and goes very well with a pint of local beer. As far as the décor goes, the portraits of Native American leaders and the beautiful prints transport you directly to the heart of Texas. Buffalo is a great place to hang out, with pleasant and accommodating service which will make you want to return. + Balmoral burger is a must for meat lovers - Some call the booths cosy, others would say tiny

Burgers and Beers Grillhouse

192a High Street, Old Town (Map 2: I8), 0131 226 1214, burgersandbeersgrillhouse.co.uk | £19 (lunch) / £19 (dinner)

Burgers and Beers Grillhouse delivers exactly what it says on the tin – massive burgers and a decent pint. It’s a match made in heaven, especially when the products are locally sourced. This trendy but relaxed restaurant gets its Aberdeen Angus beef from the Buffalo Farm in Fife, its buns from a local boulangerie, and many beers are brewed in Scotland. The menu features seven permanent burgers made with massive beef patties, plus occasional specials, for example six burgers in honour of the participating teams during the Six Nations. There are also hot dogs and delicious steaks, an avalanche of sides, and finger licking good chicken wings to get your hands dirty. If you manage to make it to puddings and love your chocolate then you’re in luck: the brookie is a cross between a chocolate cookie and a brownie. Topped with dark chocolate sauce it’s crunchy on the outside but soft and warm inside, while gluten-free chocolate torte is also a winner. + The burgers and the chocolate desserts - Good selection of beers, but not many on draught

Q NEW Chop House Bruntsfield

88 Bruntsfield Place, Southside (Map 8: E12), 0131 629 6565, chophousesteak. co.uk | No kids after 5pm | £11 (set lunch) / £35 (dinner)

Chop House in Bruntsfield is the newest Chop House in town, and 126

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NEW Hawksmoor

23 West Register Street, New Town (Map 1: I8), 0131 526 4790, thehawksmoor.com/locations/ edinburgh | £25 (set lunch) / £40 (dinner)

there’s a real sense that the team have very much perfected their formula. Food, drink and service are slick and the interior is modern, sophisticated and unpretentious, with beautiful views over Bruntsfield Links. Choosing a predinner drink from the extensive cocktail list is bound to lead to FOMO: from the classics to the alcohol-free signature serves, each is picture-perfect. Then turn to the steaks – Scottish beef is dryaged in house using Himalayan salts for a minimum of 35 days, then cooked on an open-flame charcoal grill. From the first bite of ribeye the meat is tender, juicy, and full of flavour. Just don’t forget the thick-cut dripping chips. Desserts feature the usual sticky toffee pudding, sorbets and ice creams, plus unexpected delicacies such as the coalroasted pineapple sundae. + Fantastic steaks - All that grilling makes the temperature rise

Q Chop House Leith

102 Constitution Street, Leith (Map 5: N3), 0131 629 1919, chophousesteak. co.uk | No kids after 5pm | £11 (set lunch) / £35 (dinner)

Located in the heart of Leith, Chop House on Constitution Street is a great restaurant in a neighbourhood wellserved by places to eat. In fact, quality ingredients, great service, a fantastic atmosphere and attractive interior almost have to be a given around The Shore, but what makes Chop House really stand out among tough competition is their beef: dry-aged in-house, full of flavour and made in Scotland. The classic choices of cut are all available, as well as sharing options like chateaubriand, with well-informed staff helping the undecided make the

right decisions. There is a good range of sides including lighter choices, or mac and cheese for the hungry (or greedy). The dessert menu is compact but tempting, and if you’re full after your steak the three luscious sorbets won’t disappoint. + Outstanding steak - Not a lot of dessert options

Q Chop House Market Street Arch 15, East Market Street, Old Town (Map 2: J8), 0131 629 1551, chophousesteak.co.uk | No kids after 5pm | £11 (set lunch) / £35 (dinner)

There’s nothing ordinary about Chop House Market Street, from the setting in a converted arch looking out over the city, to the quality of ingredients, it’s all special. The menu isn’t overly complicated – it’s based around simple dishes made with great ingredients. Well-drilled and knowledgeable staff expertly talk you through the different cuts, the best way to cook them, and the best wines to pair them with. Beef is carefully sourced, skilfully dry-aged, then cooked on a coal grill to delicious effect. Sides are strong too: onion rings are crispy outside but tender inside, and the mash with gravy has a distinctive rustic feel. For dessert, chocolate orange tart served with a scoop of burnt orange ice-cream is a delight, with the bitterness of the chocolate and icecream balancing the sweetness to end your meal on a high note. + Impeccable service from well-drilled staff - It’s not easy to get on up on those high chairs if you’re wee

Fazenda

102 George Street, New Town See Round the World

Hawksmoor’s humble West Register Street entrance gives few clues about the glorious space beyond. With warmly worn parquet floors, more marble than you can shake a stick at and a set of eight original stunning Sadie McLellan windows, the austere beauty of this former banking hall immediately lays claim to special occasion territory. The menu leans towards classics done well and seafood is strong, much of it Scottish – Eyemouth crab, Armstrong’s smoked salmon and Peterhead hake. But most are here for the steak: a range of individual and sharing cuts all grassfed, dry-aged and UK-sourced, with a selection of Scottish guest breeds on as specials. And when a sharing T-bone arrives, properly rested on its massive skillet and surrounded by a party pack of sides (including excellent chips), there’s a real sense of theatricality and abundance. Leave room though, because the ambassador’s reception is a delight of a pud, especially to those who can remember the advert it’s named after. All this doesn’t come cheap – and it’s hard to argue that it should – but a decent lunch deal and a steal of a Sunday roast deal means it’s not inaccessible either. While there may be a risk of somewhere this glossy tipping into a parody of itself, perfect service means there’s real heart behind the glamour. + Hard to decide; service or setting? - This is not a place for your vegan pals

Q Kyloe Restaurant & Grill

The Rutland Hotel, 1–3 Rutland Street, West End (Map 6: E9), 0131 229 3402, kyloerestaurant.com | £16 (set lunch) / £40 (dinner)

Kyloe manages to feel luxurious and special, without being ostentatious or making more casual diners feel out of place. You can tell that a great deal of effort and thought has been put into creating the most comfortable dining experience possible, from the snug chairs to the attentive staff guiding you from start to finish. Know nothing about steak? No problem: your waiter


STEAKHOUSES & BURGER BARS

In association with

EDINBURGH

will bring a board with all the cuts, explain the differences and advise how they should be cooked. All the beef is Scottish and dry-aged for at least 28 days to bring out the flavour. The expected cuts, like ribeye and fillet, are of course present but there are also sharing cuts like côte de boeuf. There is plenty of choice when it comes to sides too: beef dripping chips are terrific, and the mash with Mull cheddar is heart-warming. Starters are appetising, particularly delicate carpaccio made with Hardiesmill beef which is displayed like fine lace. Wine lovers will be spoilt for choice, particularly when it comes to steak-loving reds. Of course all this quality comes at a price, but this is remarkable food in a lovely atmosphere. + Outstanding service for amazing food - Wines are quite expensive

LeftField

12 Barclay Terrace, Southside See Bistros & Brasseries

Los Argentinos

28–30 West Preston Street, Southside See Round the World

Q McKirdy’s Steakhouse 151 Morrison Street, West End (Map 6: D9), 0131 229 6660, mckirdyssteakhouse.co.uk | £25 (dinner)

McKirdy’s Steakhouse is not the most Insta-friendly, hipster-cool restaurant: plain walls with just a few rugby shirts hanging up and wooden furniture are the only decoration. But don’t walk by based on looks, because you’ll miss some outstanding meat – this no-frills, family-run restaurant serves Scottish beef straight from their own butchers shop. Waiting staff know their stuff and if you don’t know your rump from

your ribeye they’ll recommend a cut, tell you how it should be cooked, and suggest a wine to drink with it. Ribeye fans are in for a treat: medium-rare and tender, served with lightly salted curly fries it’s a perfect match for a glass of French malbec. If you are still hungry for dessert after the main dish, go for the crème brûlée – simple but definitely a win with such a crispy, thin layer of sugar on top you won’t be able to help channelling your inner Amélie as you break through to the creamy sweetness beneath. + That ribeye: fat and tasty - It does get very noisy when it’s full

served with cheese or bacon. Puddings are pretty standard but tasty nonetheless, especially their take on a Dime bar cake. The space is small and often full of larger tables on work nights out, stag or hen dos, or family get-togethers – with BYOB at £1 per person and a great value three-course meal deal, it’s easy to see why. + Great value venue for groups - Booking is essential as they may not open without one

The Mussel and Steak Bar

Smoke Stack is a restaurant for everyone who loves beef. Bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside, it’s cool enough for a date but not so achingly hip that you wouldn’t be able to take your grandparents there for a burger. The menu itself is a testimony of how simple Smoke Stack wants to remain: no lengthy choices here, just great beef from Shaw’s in the Borders, or salmon from Loch Duart. The décor is on the minimalist side too: wooden furniture, tiled walls and handmade lampshades. Locals, tourists, and neighbouring office workers alike come for their rump, sirloin, ribeye and fillet steaks, served with sauce and homemade chips or baby potatoes and tomatoes. The well-informed staff can recommend a wine to pair with your meal and an Argentinian malbec goes beautifully with a rare ribeye. The express lunch menu is excellent value for money, while the restaurant is also doing its bit to reduce its carbon footprint by sourcing locally, avoiding single-use plastics and recycling as much as possible. + The ribeye steak - Not a massive choice for veggies

110 West Bow, Grassmarket, Old Town See Fish

The New York Steam Packet 31 Rose Street Lane North, New Town (Map 1: G8), 0131 220 4825, newyorksteampacket.co.uk | Closed Sun/Mon, only open Tue–Thu for prebooked groups | £16.50 (set lunch) / £16.50 (set dinner)

Making your way to the New York Steam Packet is a bit of an adventure. Traversing the little alley off Rose street, finding the door at the back of the building, being unsure if they’re actually open or not (top tip, call ahead). Then, as you scale the narrow spiral staircase to the dining room, it’s a good idea to hold on tight, especially on the way out if you’ve overindulged. But once upstairs the atmosphere is warm and welcoming, with a retro-nautical theme. Starters include bowls of mussels, potato skins with a spicy mayo dip, or falafel-like haggis balls with salad. For mains, sirloin steak slathered in a rich peppercorn sauce or garlic butter tends to be but the burgers shouldn’t be overlooked – they are well-seasoned and

Smoke Stack

53–55 Broughton Street, New Town (Map 3: I7), 0131 556 6032, smokestack. org.uk | £10 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Steak

14 Picardy Place, New Town (Map 3: J7), 0131 556 1289, steakedinburgh. com | £37 (dinner)

2018 saw the closure of Steak Brasserie (although the space is still available for events and groups) and a bit of a re-focus at Steak Restaurant. Rest assured though, the theatricality of the venue hasn’t diminished one little bit: it’s dramatic and plush, with clever dividers between tables, slick staff and plenty of candles setting the scene for romantic liaisons. Their new tasting menu is a brilliant innovation, perfect for those who think going out for a simple steak is (whisper it) just a little bit predictable or who find ploughing through a huge fillet tough going. Six wee courses let the kitchen bust out their best moves (haggis bon bons are particularly successful), while a penultimate course of a 180g rump steak with all the trimmings means no one feels short-changed. It’s great value too and the whole thing works a treat. For those who prefer to keep things traditional there is the usual array of high-end cuts plus a more modestly priced range of butcher’s cuts: all come from Donald Russell, so it’s hard to think that sacrificing on price will sacrifice on quality, especially with this kitchen, who clearly know their stuff. + Genuinely innovative tasting menu - Hard to get a buzz going in a big room

Twenty Princes Street Grill & Smokehouse 20 Princes Street, New Town See Scottish

Wildfire Scottish Steak & Seafood Bistro 192 Rose Street, New Town See Scottish

Hawksmoor

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GLASGOW ARTS VENUES & ATTRACTIONS | BARS & PUBS | BISTROS & BRASSERIES | CAFES CAFES: THE WEE PLACES | CHINESE | EAST ASIAN | FISH | FRENCH | INDIAN | ITALIAN JAPANESE | ROUND THE WORLD | SCOTTISH | SPANISH | STEAKHOUSES & BURGER BARS


ARTS VENUES & ATTRACTIONS

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ARTS VENUES & ATTRACTIONS From café bars to designer tea rooms and fine-dining restaurants, Glasgow’s creative food and drink scene is an important aspect of its arts and culture offering. Theatre audiences and gallery visitors need sustenance and some of Glasgow’s leading arts venues also house innovative and popular eateries. Reviewers: Jane Allan, Fionn Corbett

A’Challtainn

54 Calton Entry, East End See Fish

Q Art Lovers Café

House for an Art Lover, Bellahouston Park, 10 Dumbreck Road, Southside, 0141 353 4779, houseforanartlover. co.uk | £13.50 (set lunch)

The decorative interior of the House for an Art Lover, constructed in the 1990s from original Mackintosh designs, offers a unique perspective on his range and innovative style. The House has a café, a shop and an outdoor seating area. Effectively a French-style lunchtime bistro, the café offers nicely priced set and à la carte menus, and buzzes with tourists and locals enjoying the ambience and the attentive without being intrusive service. Although coffee, cakes and afternoon teas are available, the real focus of the café is lunch, including the traditional Sunday options. Food is characterised by its freshness both in terms of produce and product. Dishes are individually prepared to order; the confit chicken leg starter with smoked tomato relish and crispy bacon is moist in its elegant simplicity, while the succulent roast cod accompanied by mash, a sprout top and chestnut fricassee and a wholegrain cream is delicate and delicious. With a dedicated pastry chef to hand, desserts such as dark chocolate delice with orange and brownie crumb should not be missed. + Careful attention to detail - Difficult to reach by public transport

The Balcony Café

Upstairs @ The Glasgow Climbing Centre, 534 Paisley Road West, Southside, 0141 427 9550, glasgowclimbingcentre.com/thebalcony-cafe | £9 (lunch)

After a hearty workout on the climbing wall, it’s only fitting to enjoy a wellmatched hearty meal in the centre’s café, found up a spiral staircase. Sit in awe of the exquisite full-length stained-glass windows, taking in the view of the chalky overhanging walls among the large wooden Gothic-style church arches. Despite appearances, this small café packs a whole lot of flavour into its menu. With dishes like Indian-style French toast with spiced garam masala roast vegetables and a cooling mint yoghurt or the beef and chorizo quesadilla with paprika courgette, salsa, sour cream and fresh herby salad, the menu is out to impress. Not to mention the sweet treats at the counter, baked by two local independent bakers that prove to be tasty classic bakes with a twist, such as the luxurious Oreo brownie. Head chef, Liam ‘the flavabomb king’ McAlpine, only uses locally sourced and seasonal ingredients in 130

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The Balcony Café

his appetising experiments, showcased best at the monthly pop-up events, hosted at this venue. A five-course tasting menu in spring 2019 showed chef truly impressing – taking diners on a journey of culinary twists and curated flavours with plenty of nods to Scottish produce. Keep an eye out for these occasional kitchen events – an unquestionably unique experience where anything can happen on the plate. + Unique dishes - Small space

Bar Varia

Snow Factor, Intu at Soar, Kings Inch Road, Southside, 0141 885 7078, snowfactor.com/bar-varia | £12 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

This cavernous café bar is an undeniably unique venue with its panoramic views of Glasgow’s only indoor ski slope. Divided loosely into restaurant and bar areas it offers hearty German dishes as well as a range of fast-food items including toasted sandwiches, burgers and pizzas. The sharing ‘haus platters’ are probably the best way to sample the variety of wurst sausages as well as interesting accompaniments such as sauerkraut, warm mustard and enormous baked pretzels. A key feature is the unique range of German beers including unusual Bavarian brews such as Bavarian Helles Lager and Munich Dunkel. Customers’ own selection of music from the juke-box is inevitably eclectic and mostly very loud although the space is big enough to absorb it. The small but enthusiastic young staff do their best to cope with the demands of the restaurant and bar but at times the system can result in long queues.

+ Unusual setting - Could benefit from refurbishment

Café Source

1 St Andrew’s Square, Merchant City See Scottish

The Clydeside Distillery Café

The Old Pumphouse, Queen’s Dock, 100 Stobcross Road, West End, 0141 212 1401, theclydeside.com | £9 (lunch)

The Clydeside Distillery opened in 2017, located within the pump house, that used to control entry in and out of the Queen’s Dock, once a thriving empire of export in liquid gold. After partaking in a dram or two and touring the distillery (with takeaway drams available for designated drivers), enjoy a tour of locally sourced Scottish flavours in the ‘taste of Scotland platter’. Highlights include delicate Inverlochy hot kiln smoked salmon that melts in the mouth and peppery Great Glen venison salami creating an earthy flavour that transports you to the rolling Highland hills. Explore Scotland with one of their five flights of whisky or pick any dram from the enormous selection and add it to a coffee. Alternatively, complete your visit with Tantrum Doughnut’s whisky-glazed confection, exclusive to Clydeside, made with a buttery brioche bun and a malty glaze made using Bank Note whisky. So, ‘gaun yersel and hae a wee scran and dram’. Slàinte! + Variety of whisky - Limited menu

The Edwardian Kitchen

Pollok House, Pollok Country Park, 2060 Pollokshaws Road, Southside,

0141 616 6410, nts.org.uk/visit/places/ pollok-house | £15 (lunch)

Shades of Downton Abbey inhabit the wonderful Edwardian Kitchen with its twinkling brass pans and elegant ceiling. The menu on offer is, however, very much of the 21st century and the garden space is a true family refuge after a walk round the country park or a couple of hours in the adventure playground. This space also has outdoor heaters for cooler days. What about a toasted marshmallow hot chocolate for the kids and a glass of mulled wine for the grown ups? A keen awareness of current food trends can be detected in the offerings, such as a main course of fiery vegan macaroni cheese, which – accompanied by a plate of sweet potato wedges, a glass of Scottish raspberry lemonade and an outsize scone or slice of housebaked pistachio and cardamom chai cake – cannot fail to satisfy the most demanding palate. Children are well catered for with excellent picnic bags and anyone wanting to relax in the garden with a glass of wine and a gourmet sandwich will be pleasantly surprised by the very reasonable price tag. + An inside–outside venue for eating, pleasure and relaxation - The indoor space can be rather noisy and echoing

The Glad Café

1006A Pollokshaws Road, Southside See Cafés

Glasgow School of Art: The Vic Café Bar

Glasgow School of Art Students’ Association, 20 Scott Street, City Centre (Map 10: L4), 0141 353 4540,


ARTS VENUES & ATTRACTIONS

In association with

GLASGOW

theartschool.co.uk | Closed Sun | £9.50 (lunch) / £9.50 (dinner)

Adjacent to the historical Mackintosh building – devastated by a second fire in 2018 – on the corner of Renfrew Street and Scott Street lies the Vic Café Bar. Attracting a student based crowd, due to its reasonable prices, accessibility to the Art School and a wide variety of events and club nights, it is buzzing with energy and creativity all day. The bar has an industrialstyle interior, decorated with exposed brick and red iron, juxtaposed with quirky hand-painted menu boards and highlighted with fresh flowers and plants. The menu caters to those ready for a quick bite before a lecture or those after a hot meal and a board game marathon, featuring a good vegetarian selection and hosting a variety of vegan and gluten-free options also. The almost creamy slowcooked lamb, is accented with tangy yoghurt, nutty tahini and coleslaw to provide a much-needed crunch, all wrapped in a soft floury flatbread washed down with a pint picked from a selection of rotating craft lagers. Just up the hill from Sauchiehall Street, it’s worth the climb. + Energy and ambience of the venue - Presentation of food

The Hidden Lane Tearoom

8 Argyle Court, 1103 Argyle Street, West End (Map 11: H4), 0141 237 4391, hiddenlanetearoom.com | £10 (lunch)

There is no time to discuss the ageold cream before jam debate in this venue. The scones and cakes are far too appealing and beautifully presented to worry about how to eat them. The tearoom is neatly tucked away just off Argyle Street and surrounded by a colourful, vibrant growing community of artists, creatives, jewellers, illustrators and more. The décor is dainty with a range of repeating floral patterns which reflect in the quirky mismatched vintage teacups and pots. There are over 30 delicious loose-leaf teas, whether it’s a smoky lapsang souchong or a fruity mango tango there are teas for all palates, which pair exquisitely with the generous £15 afternoon tea. There’s also a morning tea option for your early cravings to be dainty, providing a selection of savoury brioches, sweet pastries and mini baked egg muffins. Although somewhat hidden in the lane, this is not a spot to be missed. + Aesthetic cakes and bakes - Dietary requirements for afternoon tea needs 24hr notice

KG Café

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Kelvingrove Park, Argyle Street, West End (Map 11: F3), 0141 276 9530, encorehospitalityservices.co.uk | £15 (lunch)

Housed in the basement / ground floor level of the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, the KG Café is one of the better art venue dining spots in the city, particularly of the places that are run by the council. It’s a big and spacious dining area – with plenty of room for babies in prams as well as families piling in after a turn around the many exhibits and galleries upstairs. And there are more tables in a large conservatory space – an ideal place for gazing out across the park to the imposing Gothic revival building of Glasgow University up on the hillside. With a selection of menus throughout the day, there’s plenty of options, from kids’ boxes and coffee and cakes, to heartier offerings that include some

classic favourites (fish and chips) and somewhat fancier numbers. + Food that's good enough to attract more than the captive tourists - Service times and appropriate menus can be confusing

NEW Lucky Sparrow Games Café 1091 Pollokshaws Road, Southside (Map 15: H12), 0141 649 8156, luckysparrow.co.uk | £5 (lunch) / £5 (dinner)

Pollokshaws Road is becoming home to new, unique and interesting cafés and restaurants, and the Lucky Sparrow is no exception. Craving retro games like Scrabble and draughts? Or, for the more experienced board gamers, Catan and Pandemic? Then this is the perfect venue to spend your evening. Over 80 board, card and roleplay games are available for all ages to choose from, especially for those with a penchant for games found in only the nerdiest collections. The menu is minimal, offering toasties and paninis, which prove the appropriate sustenance during an Arkham Horror marathon. The venue also accepts BYOB with a £3 corkage charge for wine or four cans of beer, and £1 charge per large bottle of beer, which is excellent for a fun evening with friends. The venue can be booked out for events, birthdays, team-building evenings and Dungeons and Dragons nights. The perfect place to Risk a Monopoly of Scattegories and enjoy a Battleship full of fun. + Game library - Menu is minimal

Q NEW Mackintosh at the Willow

217 Sauchiehall Street, City Centre (Map 10: M4), 0141 204 1903, mackintoshatthewillow.com | £17 (lunch)

It is rare to find a café, a gift shop and an exhibition space complementing each other as impeccably as they do in this unique venue. The entire building including the tearooms was initially designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in 1903, while the integrated exhibition brings all that the latest interactive technology and research can provide to explain the origins of the remarkable partnership between Kate Cranston and Mackintosh which resulted in the Willow Tearooms. Cossetted within the pink, purple, grey and cream toned Salon de Luxe, piano music in the background, customers encounter a truly immersive experience. The impressive tea and coffee menu makes drinks decisions a challenge, while the food arrives on a three-tiered cake stand as an exciting array of succulent sandwiches, Glasgow scones with cream and jam and delicate patisserie begging to be consumed. Downstairs in the front and back salons the buzz is louder and the menu more extensive with breakfast, lunch and high tea options including a full breakfast, curried lentil soup and sandwiches, fish and chips or steak frites and a glorious selection of desserts, sorbets and icecreams. + A unique and immersive experience - Only afternoon tea served in the Salon de Luxe

The Pipers’ Tryst

The National Piping Centre, 30–34 McPhater Street, City Centre (Map 10: N3), 0141 353 5551, thepipingcentre. co.uk | Closed Sun | £15.95 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

The menu at the Pipers’ Tryst features wholesome Scottish ingredients in some traditional dishes that draw inspiration from Granny’s kitchen, while delivering some delicious contemporary twists. It’s an approach highlighted by steaming hot clootie dumpling fusing tastes of winter spice and cloves to warm ‘yer thrapple’, complemented by a whisky ice-cream and a honey drizzle – this dish is a real winner. Using local ingredients, the pan-fried lamb rump impresses with delicately curated flavours and textures, atop grilled courgette, with a sweet chunky tomato stew, while goats’ cheese bon-bons burst with flavour, assuring another excellent dish. The staff are very enthusiastic and clued up on the venue’s history, the events they host and what’s on in the surrounding area. This brasserie is ideal for dinner and then a show. Sharing the National Piping Centre, who run courses for hundreds of piping students from all over the world, the Pipers’ Tryst offers a fine venue during Celtic Connections, hosting live music and situated directly opposite the Theatre Royal. A fitting and enticing place to indulge in both culture and food. + Enthusiastic staff - Hidden away from the centre

The Project Cafe CIC

2–1a Fleming House, 134 Renfrew Street, City Centre (Map 10: M4), 0141 332 9520, theprojectcafe.co.uk | Closed Sun | £7 (lunch)

The Project Café, which sits on the crest of the City Centre just as Cowcaddens and Garnethill begin, is a shining example of the Community Interest Company model that’s becoming increasingly prominent across both Glasgow and Edinburgh. All profits here go towards a named social enterprise, which in this case means funding a packed events programme that runs almost nightly, with diversity and accessibillity for all at its core. Owner Eilidh Mackay is well aware that the best café possible means the best possible standard in the evenings. A concise range of everchanging vegetarian dishes is available, that put locally and carefully sourced produce through a Middle Eastern sphere. Expect delights such as a hearty salad of hazelnuts, parsnips, apple and tender stem broccoli, or an Afghani flatbread stuffed with beans and pulses. Close to the Glasgow School of Art, the atmosphere is understandably artsy, and cheerful, and most welcoming to all who pass through. + The ethos and the ethics - Closed Sundays

Q Saramago Café Bar

CCA, 350 Sauchiehall Street, City Centre (Map 10: L4), 0141 352 4920, cca-glasgow.com/cafe | £14.50 (lunch) / £14.50 (dinner)

It takes creativity and wholesome ingredients for a vegan menu to not only appeal to those choosing the meat and dairy-free path, but to win over the carnivores’ taste buds, too. Saramago uses fresh local ingredients to create a nutritious, energetic menu, which is entirely vegan. Dining in what appears to be a repurposed courtyard provides a fun al fresco experience, complete with colourful festoon lights, with none of Glasgow’s winter climate. Small plates such as roasted cauliflower with tangy tahini, mint and date syrup are delicious on their own, but for the indecisive or the ravenous, the mezze platter delivers a highlights reel of the small plates offerings, featuring

Q HITLIST

ARTS VENUES ✱ Art Lovers Café New and

exciting things are happening at this much-loved Southside fine dining establishment.

✱ Mackintosh at the Willow

The quintessential afternoon tea experience in Glasgow, painstakingly restored in 2018 to its former glory, with adjacent visitor centre.

✱ Saramago Café Bar A cool,

creative hangout inside the CCA, with exciting animal-free dining, plus separate bar and outdoor terrace.

✱ Tron Theatre Bar & Kitchen An intimate restaurant experience with great food and drink, housed in one of Glasgow’s most distinctive creative spaces.

Wine Champagne Craft Beer Whisky Gin Spirits 21 Clarence Drive G12 9QN 0141 334 4312

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peppery haggis fritters, fluffy sweet potato and chickpea fritters, nutty confit garlic and wild mushrooms, freshly baked bread and more. The CCA is fizzing, hosting exhibitions, films, art, live music and game nights, all delightfully accompanied by Saramago’s enticing drinks list, which can also be enjoyed in the bar upstairs or even on the outdoor terrace. With 18 wines by the glass, rotating craft lagers and even a wide selection of tea, Saramago is worth the visit, even if it’s just for a drink. + Imaginative vegan food - Can be a bit of a wait

Q Tron Theatre Bar & Kitchen 63 Trongate, Merchant City (Map 14: Q6), 0141 552 8587, tronbarandkitchen. co.uk | £6 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Small plates dining caters to the contemporary love of sharing, tasting and grazing and is well suited to a pretheatre meal or an extended evening of snacking, chatting and drinking. The new menu at the Tron Bar and Kitchen designed by chef Mark Mackenzie caters for a wide range of tastes and preferences. Into the mix add incredibly reasonable prices, an informal setting, outstanding events and performances and an extended children’s licence and you have a venue with endless appeal. Soups are prepared daily and served with interesting sandwiches at lunchtime. However, inventive small plates such as the luscious Ayrshire chicken croquettes served with a flavoursome cock-a-leekie pearl barley risotto or the zingy spiced lentil potato cakes with kale slaw and tomato and chilli chutney are the real winners. Desserts include toffee apple with a

sea salt and thyme caramel parfait and a pecan crumble or the cake of the day accompanied by good coffee. Of further interest is the Scottish craft gin menu and a new range of Thistly Cross organic ciders. + Freshly prepared interesting small plates menu - Tables for two a little small for all those small plates

afternoon tea served on a special three tier stand with a choice of sandwiches, a cream, jam and fruit scone and an enormous slice of millionaire’s shortbread. + The White Dining Room – a spacious and intimate interior - Very little fish in the fishcakes

The Willow Tea Rooms

119–121 Sauchiehall Street, City Centre (Map 10: N4), 0141 204 5242, willowtearooms.co.uk | £12 (lunch)

97 Buchanan Street, City Centre (Map 10: N5), 0141 204 5242, willowtearooms.co.uk | £12 (lunch)

Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s very first Willow Tearoom on Sauchiehall Street was opened in 1903 as a joint venture with Kate Cranston following the success of other Glasgow tearooms designed and run by the entrepreneurial pair. Today the Buchanan Street Willow Tea Room is a homage to Mackintosh with its two reproduction interiors echoing the Ingram Street Tea Room’s White Dining Room and Chinese (blue) Room. The café itself is on two levels perched high above Buchanan Street. The reproduction Mackintosh furniture on the first level creates a series of virtually enclosed spaces where groups or couples can settle down to enjoy their choice of Scottish traditional dishes including haggis, neeps and tatties, Cullen skink (which is up there with the best in Glasgow), afternoon tea with scones and meringues or indeed the increasingly popular and competitively priced full Scottish breakfast. All cakes are homemade and if ordered as part of afternoon tea are indeed sumptuous. The real bargain surprise is the child’s

The Willow Tea Rooms at Watt Brothers

Enter Watt Brothers through the Hope Street, Bath Street entrance and be transported to the heyday of the department store when walnut interiors and gold-painted lifts reigned supreme. In 2019 the Willow Tearooms brand, developed over the last 30 years by Anne Mulhern, has two cafés in central Glasgow. Each one offers a different dining experience, and the Willow Tearooms at Watt Brothers – opened in 2016 to replace the Sauchiehall Street Willow Tearooms which had been taken over by the Mackintosh Trust – offers impeccable service and traditional Scottish dishes as well as vegan-friendly and gluten-free menus. Genuinely homemade Scotch broth is always on offer and locals flock here for homely comfort foods such as mince and tatties and clootie dumpling. There are two styles of afternoon tea: traditional and savoury offering a range of cakes, scones, pastries and sandwiches, accompanied by capacious pots of freshly brewed leaf tea. + Walking from the lift into the world of Mackintosh tearoom - Last orders at 4pm

BARS & PUBS Glasgow’s bar scene is one full of not just good drinking – be it cocktails, craft beer, wine, gin or whisky – but also good eating too. In this section, recent openers and those that have had major rebrands or kitchen takeovers have a full review printed, while existing premises have their reviews online at list.co.uk/food. You’ll also find our Tiplists from page 31 – our recommendations and insights into the bars that are the best at what they do throughout town. Reviewers: Craig Angus, Malcolm Jack, David Kirkwood, Jay Thundercliffe

NEW The Amsterdam

Brunswick Hotel, 106 Brunswick Street, Merchant City (Map 14: P5), 0141 552 5108, thedamglasgow.com | £12 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

Brutti Ma Buoni had let its identity slip to the extent that no-one even called it that anymore – ‘The Brunswick’ (actually the street and the adjoining hotel) was how it was referred to, and it had lost its way. In a welcome change, the team behind St Luke’s have turned this prime location into a sassy, unapologetically unsubtle bar that evokes a weekend in Holland’s cultural capital. Think red lights, bicycles, and, yes, a sex shop sign. But they’ve also got some clever choices of beer on the taps and the staff are great. The mezzanine is a delightful place to have a munch, and the menu hits its mark with loaded fries (including baconnaise), an impressive sirloin steak frites with chewy, charcoally charring, and some salty and moreish chicken wings in a dry rub. There’s also a stuffed French toast of the day, and Roman-style pizza slices courtesy of Baked in Dennistoun. Overall, it’s an operation which is assured, fun, and genuinely welcome in this part of town. + The mezzanine seating section - With a kids licence, the sex shop sign might be a bit much

Q NEW The Bell Jar

21 Dixon Avenue, Southside, 0141 423 3989 | £16 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

This bar just off Vicky Road is from the folks who own the immensely popular Sparkle Horse in Partick and it pulls off the same marvellous alchemy of feeling like it’s not doing much while actually doing everything really rather well. There’s the same black exterior and spartan setup inside, with coolness coming from the punters themselves. The back of the space is kept for diners and the concise menu treads the ‘small plates’ path with confident, unfussy steps. Peatsmoked haddock with potatoes manages to be both hearty and delicate, while beef and ’nduja meatballs are satisfyingly misshapen and spicy. The goat’s cheese on the lamb lasagne might split the jury, but pretty much everything else is on point — prawn pilau that’s livened up with some sweet little brown shrimp, or pork belly in a sweet, boozy cider sauce. The whole operation is well thought-out, and it successfully feels like both a traditional boozer and a place you can have your dinner. It’s a very impressive affair. + Effortlessly cool - Beer range is quite limited

NEW The Botany Mackintosh at the Willow

795 Maryhill Road, West End, 0141 946 3131, botanyglasgow.co.uk | £20 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

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In association with

GLASGOW

Road, the Botany – previously the Strathmore – isn’t exactly blessed with a prime location. But then it depends on your perspective. Concealed out back is a lovely, bright, glass-wrapped elevated modern extension overlooking a green space – added a few years ago during a major refit. This evolution under the same management sees it retain much the same character, but with the food offering upgraded. The restaurant is in that attractive extension, atmospherically heated by a wood burner in winter; big windows opened wide in summer (a side-door opens onto a beer terrace). The food, while smartly presented and made with care, doesn’t take too many risks – think steak, burger, curry and fish and chips – although monkfish tail scampi with saffron aioli and frites is a pleasantly posh spin on a pub-grub classic. It’s the setting which is the real star – and well worth experiencing. Kick back with a cocktail or craft beer and a plate of charcuterie and take your time. + A folk band occasionally rehearses in the pub = peak cosiness - Neighbours include a petrol station and a fire station

NEW Crescent

The Amsterdam

1102–1106 Argyle Street, West End (Map 11: G4), crescentbar.co.uk | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Crescent is the latest incarnation of the unit that was most successfully the Ivy, back before Finnieston was trendy and the Ivy in London had a problem with a Glasgow bar sharing their name. ‘Good Drinks & Food To Share’ is what it says on the windows, which is fair enough. As a place to drink, it’s a nice use of the space – natural wood and lots of air and light. The usual array of craft beer and boutique gins are on show, and it definitely feels like a safe, assured newcomer in an area that’s increasingly driven by what weekend and Hydro customers are expecting. But Crescent have kept things Asian with the food, with some basic bao buns, wings and various other spicy dishes on a concise menu that fills a hole, though not perhaps with the vibrancy and punch of similar plates found elsewhere in the city. Still, with fish and chips and mac and cheese and a burger as well, there should be something for everyone. + A nice use of what is a great space for a drink - Asian menu needs some extra oomph

Church on the Hill

16 Algie Street, Southside (Map 15: J13), 0141 343 7569, churchonthehill.co.uk | £17 (lunch) / £17 (dinner)

The stunning former Langside Hill Church, with its temple front facade and imposing ionic columns, is one of the Southside’s most impressive architectural achievements. At refurbed bar Church on the Hill, prayers and hymns have been swapped for burgers and cocktails, but you have to concede it’s preferable that such a magnificent venue gets used. With

an outdoor space that looks out onto the Battlefield Monument and Queens Park, there’s no doubt that locals will flock here when the sun’s out, filling up the 140-capacity outdoor area once finished. There’s an array of reasonably priced classic and signature cocktails – the fruity Baptism of Fire is a favourite – and admirable attention is given to the classic gin and tonic. The food menu consists

B T H E R AV E N

SOUTHSIDE CHURCH ON THE HILL

84–86 West Nile Street, City Centre (Map 10: N5), 0141 332 7013, culcuil.com | No Kids | £9 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

Glaswegians of a certain age will recognise this spot as that which was once the Courtyard, home of the infamous Sunday Social daytime rave. Times have changed and been less kind in subsequent years, but with Cùl Cùil, things are looking promising. It was

ST VINCENT STREET

CATHEDRAL STREET

QUEEN ST STATION

GEORGE SQUARE

GEORGE SQUARE

ON STR EET

HOPE STREET

CENTRAL STATION

MILLER STREET

UNI

WATERLOO STREET

QUEEN STREET

BOTHWELL STREET

BUCHANAN STREET

16 Algie Street G41 3DJ churchonthehill.co.uk

WEST GEORGE STREET

RENFIELD STREET

62 Miller Street G1 1DT thespiritualistglasgow.com

HOPE STREET

C THE SPIRITUALIST

WEST REGENT ST ST

81-85 Renfield Street G2 1NQ theravenglasgow.com

BATH ST

BUCHANAN STREET

6-8 Waterloo Street G2 6DA smokinfox.co.uk

WEST NILE STREET

A THE SMOKIN’ FOX

NEW Cùl Cùil

SAUCHIEHALL STREET WELLINGTON

CITY CENTRE

of familiar pub grub – the comforting mac and cheese is available as a (very generous) side portion, and on Mac Mondays, is part of the bar’s various weekday deals. A kids play area is in the pipeline, and dog-lovers can bring their loyal friends. + Spectacular building with loads of outdoor space - Food menu plays it safe

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Q HITLIST

BARS & PUBS ✱ The Bell Jar Second pub

from the good folk at the excellent Sparkle Horse in Partick, serving up small plates of upscale bar food on the Southside.

✱ 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.

✱ Inn Deep Dog-friendly riverside

bar with a great beer selection, and now with supper clubbers That’s Yer Dinner being inventive in the kitchen.

✱ Phillies of Shawlands The

team behind Redmond’s conquer the Southside, with a food menu full of delights, cocktails and craft beers, with plenty of entertainments and an attached bottle shop.

✱ 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 south of the river or your favourite neighbourhood bar.

always a great site, plum in the middle of the City Centre’s office zone, but with a too-good-to-be-true subterranean beer garden at the back. That remains, and is better than it ever was – the jewel in the crown. The large menu is unashamedly of the classic pub grub variety – mac and cheese with nice creaminess and bite, or a steak pie with skin-on chips and good old baby carrots. All very reasonable. Drinks-wise, there are some artisan gins and craft beers, but overall it’s very much for the afterwork office crowd – albeit with a fair bit more personality, and love, and warmth, than most. + The beer garden - Menu spreads itself a little bit too thin

NEW Embargo

71–77 Byres Road, West End (Map 13: D2), 0141 342 5726, embargoglasgow. co.uk | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Taking over the old Bar Gumbo spot, Embargo is rightfully proving popular thanks to its compelling and enjoyable menu of food and drink that looks to Asia for inspiration. There are some great value always-on deals, where you 134

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literally can’t go wrong, such as £15 for two small plates and a wine or cocktail, chosen from a decent selection on the extensive drinks list (the Thai Me Down is a gin-fuelled aniseedy delight). Bao buns – also available in a good midweek lunch deal – with the likes of cured salmon and wasabi or hoisin duck, are fluffy and gone in a flash. Small plates of Balinese boneless beef rib and Thaifried lime cod tacos are good looking, great tasting dishes. With big windows brightening up the place, and a tasteful tropical foliage theme going on, it’s also a nice spot to spend time – whether with kids or grannies, it works. And they do a spiced-up brunch offering at weekends, plus it’s got music worth listening to. Just go. + Got the whole bar package - That £15 deal is a dangerous temptation

Five March

140 Elderslie Street, West End See Bistros & Brasseries

Grunting Growler

51 Old Dumbarton Road, West End (Map 11: E3), 0141 258 4551, gruntinggrowler.com | Closed Mon | No kids for sit-ins, only shop

This place, on a subdued street a block back from the Kelvingrove Art Gallery, isn’t technically a bar. It’s a bottle shop with beer taps and a tasting licence, the type of place which is pretty common across the Atlantic in the US. Grunting Growler is the only one in the fair city of Glasgow, and it’s a real asset to be appreciated. Owner Jehad Hatu, a native of Chicago, is always on-site with an energy and knowledge of beer that really adds to the experience of sitting at the narrow tables on refashioned beer kegs. It closes at 10pm, but until then you can choose from over 100 bottles and cans, as well as at least 5 draught beers that will cover a broad range of the craft beer spectrum. You can also grab a growler and fill it up to enjoy at home. There are bigger and more categorical ranges in town, but this is as discerning a place as you’ll find. + It’s all about the beer - Early closing time

NEW JAX

Ground Floor, Princes Square, City Centre (Map 10: O5), 0141 530 1808, jaxglasgow.com | £16 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Jax comes to the ground floor of the Princes Square complex courtesy of the Eden Mill group, picking up the shopping trade during daylight and then welcoming evening revellers after hours. There’s an irresistible cocktail menu – with the Fife distillery’s favourites all in place. From St Andrews With Love is the pick of the gin-based options – a fusion of mint, raspberries, sugarcane, lime and ginger beer matched with the signature Love Gin. The dangerously moreish Pink Russian has raspberry vodka, Kahlúa and Tequila Rose layered with double cream and milk, and topped with confectionery. The party atmosphere is undeniable, the playlist is a parade of disco, with weekend DJs upping the ante. With such a strength in the mixed drinks department, it’s a hard act for the food to follow. Steaks are impressive here, while a selection of small plates such as popcorn prawns, tacos, bonbons, chorizo croquettes, tend towards the fried nibbles-with-drinks variety, a supporting role to the stars of the show – the drinks. + Inventive cocktails are a joy - Food doesn’t match the high standards of the drinks

The Bell Jar

Jacques

1146 Argyle Street, West End See Bistros & Brasseries

Knolls

162 Dumbarton Road, West End See Cafés

Lock 27

1100 Crow Road, West End, 0141 954 1144, lock27glasgow.co.uk | £14 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

After being closed for over a year, this canal-side pub is back in action. It was a bit of a blow to the Anniesland locals, as well as many towpath users, when it was mothballed. The old look of the place, with its big bar and nooks and crannies, has been opened up into one big room, with a smaller bar at the back – free to be that size thanks to table service for food and drinks. It gives the place the feel of a bier hall when packed – which is often – with servers busying themselves around tables, delivering drinks and food, cracking jokes, and generally being a slick and helpful addition to proceedings. Food is an extensive offering of pub favourites, nothing too fancy but plenty of choice – burgers, fajitas, fish and chips, various pies (pastry topped, big and filling). There’s also a reduced menu of hotdogs and sandwiches for enjoying in the beer garden next to the canal when the sun’s out. Sunday lunch, plenty of sports and pub quizzes bolster the offerings. + A welcome return - Nothing too adventurous on menu

bit of a shame in this day and age. They serve up the classics too - fish and chips, burgers, etc, and the Palais slots nicely in between the area’s old-fashioned boozers that don’t do food, and the bistro-gastro vibes of other places nearby. + Deceptively large at the back - The pizzas

NEW Pavement

69 Hutcheson Street, Merchant City (Map 14: P5), 0141 552 1625, pavementglasgow.co.uk | £13 (lunch) / £13 (dinner)

Nestling in a corner building at the edge of the Merchant City, Pavement quietly opened its doors last year, and makes up for its fairly spartan décor with a genuine warmth of personality and service – as well as being friendly and welcoming to both kids and dogs. The basic geometry of an old-fashioned pub is maintained, with small circular tables flanking curved bench seating. It has regulars, and locals, which gives it a bit more energy than many a Merchant City spot can muster during the week. There’s also an impressive little range of craft beers behind the fridge, with makes like Beerbliotek form Gothenburg, and Glasgow breweries Acid Brewing Cartel and Overtone. Food keeps with the times, too, with specials available such as Greek chicken soup, or gochujang chicken pitta, alongside more familiar bar staples such as good old fish and chips and burgers. + Unassumingly cool - Basic décor

NEW The Palais

Public House by Nico

The team behind the Record Factory on Byres Road have taken over the old Duchess of Duke Street and now we have the Palais. It’s been pleasingly spruced up, while still keeping hold of the salt-of-the-earth customers that its predecessor entertained. Pizzas and nachos are the order of the day on the menu, with a hand-cut and fried version of the latter, smothered in haggis, cheese, salsa and guacamole being the standout and stomach-coating guilty pleasure. The pizzas have bought-in bases, which is a

NEW Sammy’s Bar & Kitchen

380 Duke Street, East End, 0141 572 7323, thepalaisbar.co.uk | £13 (lunch) / £13 (dinner)

333 Great Western Road, West End See Bistros & Brasseries

69 Nithsdale Road, Southside (Map 15: J11), 0141 423 3332, sammysbar.co.uk | Closed Mon/Tue | £6 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

The menus at Sammy’s playfully says ‘Re-Est 2018’, an acknowledgement of the building’s previous, previous, previous iteration, the boozer Sammy Dow’s. Much has changed in Strathbungo in the subsequent years, and this particular corner site has often struggled to find its feet. But now, we


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have a nod to the past and a bold step forward. It has the trappings of a pub as you enter: arcade machine, wooden bench seating, stools at the bar, but still feels very much like a place one comes to eat. A casual eatery, that’s dog and kid friendly. And most amicable for non-carnivores, too, with nearly half the menu vegetarian (and for plurality, meat dishes are marked ‘M’ rather than just the veggie ones being marked ‘V’). Its straight up the middle stuff, a mushroom and spinach bolognese with vegetarian mince, or a chicken burger of blackened Cajun fillets. Classic pub grub, but with a keen eye on catering for everyone. Lots of wines by the glass, too. + The number of veggie and vegan options - Hard to keep track of the opening hours

Saramago Café Bar

CCA, 350 Sauchiehall Street, City Centre See Arts Venues

NEW Stag & Thistle

778 Pollokshaws Road, Southside (Map 15: J11), 0141 424 0858, thestagandthistle.com | £12.50 (set lunch) / £18.50 (dinner)

With two successful village pubs in Ayrshire bearing the name already, Stag & Thistle now has a Glasgow outpost in the old Mulberry Street spot in Strathbungo. It makes sense, in so much as this corner unit has always had a homely, neighbourhood feel about it, with a cheerful buzz during the day and well into the evening as locals from the many tenement flats nearby come in for a drink and a chat. Natural wood and light coming in from two sides make it a pleasant space in which to sit, with a separate dining room that comes into play in the evening. Food is kept simple and served elegantly, in a Scottish/bistro style. A fillet of haddock is smokey and pearlescent, with potatoes beneath and a runny poached egg on top. Veg tempura is suitably light, crisp and chewy. Then they do lots of burgers as well as steaks, crêpes, lasagne – it’s a big menu with no mystery, but a lot that is satisfyingly decent. And the lunch menu is great value. + Warm atmosphere - Menu is overwhelmingly big

NEW The Thornwood

724 Dumbarton Road, West End | £12 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

Never have the Thornwood Roundabout and Clyde Expressway looked so good as through the big windows in this nicely refurbished bar. With owner links to the Admiral in the city centre, they've taken similar care in adeptly treading that line between old-school boozer and modern drinking den. ‘Est. 1890’ it says on the fetching green tiled exterior, but this is the Victorian pub updated, with decent draughts (Beavertown, BrewDog) and an interesting fridge with lots of nearby Yoker’s own Overtone (excellent milk choc stout). The compact food menu centres on a couple of Glasgow bar faves: a selection of mac and cheeses, with fries of course, and burgers – plus a token salad or two. The kitchen’s given good produce to work with – brioche buns from Bavarian Bakehouse (vegan available) and meat from Gaindykehead Farm make the burger a cut above the norm. ‘No Bams’ says the wry neon sign on the back wall. While that might be hard to fully police round these parts, any bams will probably be okay amid the eclectic and friendly punters that add to the bar’s enticement. + A nicely done, sympathetic refurb - Speaker system sounds a bit scrappy

BISTROS & BRASSERIES

Central Station, 79 Gordon Street, City Centre See Steakhouses & Burgers

affording patrons a balcony view of that room below, but with the added delightful whiff of peat from the fire that permeates the upstairs. The whole affair is an institution, and it’s always busy. Prices are keener upstairs too, and the oft-changing menu has the same emphasis on classy ingredients from all around Scotland. To start, think full-bodied numbers like pig cheek with a maple glaze and parmesan, or a chowder of haddock and mussels with a soft-boiled egg and Serrano crisps widening the flavour profile. Mains have the same tendencies – Shetland cod just about stands up to the massiveness of ham hough and the garlic of the aioli, as does an elegantly prepared lamb rump alongside smoked yoghurt. Panacotta is the knockout dessert, properly wobbly and milky – and all the more impressive because it’s entirely dairy free. Rounding things off, both wine list and whisky range are suitably impressive too, because, well, it’s the Chip. + The sights, the smell, the surroundings - It’s always a busy and full-on experience

Ardnamurchan

The Bungo Bar & Kitchen

Art Lovers Café

Bungo is the kind of neighbourhood bar-restaurant where locals might drop in several times in a day. On one side it’s an inviting pub serving excellent beer and welcoming kids and dogs, on the other it’s a casual but proper dining room. The food is the same either side of the divide, and works through from brunch – Scottish, Mexican and Lebanese breakfast dishes – to all-day mains and small plates. Burgers, fish and chips and pasta are joined on the menu by more exotic creations featuring Indian and North African flavours. The small plates work as bar snacks and starters, or assembled into a spread for sharing. Among these, beetroot gnocchi are pan-fried for an unusual and satisfying crunch and served with a gentle wild garlic pesto, while chargrilled chicken skewers come with a sweet-hot Korean take on satay sauce. Excellent hand-cut chips are enlivened by a sprinkle of rosemary salt. Weekly theme nights – curry Mondays, steak Thursdays and so on – are a good-value fixture. + Excellent draught beers by Williams Bros and West - Atmosphere better in the bar than the restaurant

Mostly laid-back and dressed down (with a few posher exceptions), the bistros and brasseries of Glasgow are often at the forefront of foodie fashion. Trends for brunch, small plates and sharing platters are very much in evidence, as is innovative cooking at accessible prices. Many places here are responding to growing vegetarian and vegan demand – though there are still plenty of meaty mains around, too. Reviewers: Martin Cross, Malcolm Jack, David Kirkwood

Alston Bar & Beef

325 Hope Street, City Centre See Scottish

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

3–7 Elmbank Gardens, City Centre (Map 10: K4), 0141 248 4942, babygrandglasgow.com | £15 (lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Baby Grand is one of those places that everyone in Glasgow is vaguely aware of, yet many have never been. It’s the restaurant and bar directly opposite Charing Cross station – recently undergone a refurb and expanded into next door – and thus sees many an office worker pass its doors on a daily basis. Accordingly, broad opening hours and a multitude of menus aim to please the 7am breakfast market, working lunches, and the evening bistro set. There’s maybe a wee bit of a lack of identity because of all this, though the current evening menu has a satisfying and rather unique New York Jewish Deli thing going on, which fares not too badly at all. The salt beef brisket is satisfyingly soft and pink, beneath a mound of sweet onion gravy, only just outdone for full-on meatiness by the pastrami burger. Two gigantic, chewy matzah balls arrive bobbling up and down in a clean, light chicken stock. Not many places in town will offer such dishes — and they have a rotisserie as well. The front of the space purrs along nicely as a bar, while the other USP is that there’s live piano music Wednesday to Saturday evenings. + The selection of Jewish delicatessen offerings - The window view . . . of the M8

Q The Brasserie at the Chip

12 Ashton Lane, West End (Map 13: E2), 0141 334 5007, ubiquitouschip.co.uk | £22 (lunch) / £24 (dinner)

The main room at Ubiquitous Chip is one of Glasgow’s special dining spaces, with its magnificent skylight and abundance of foliage. It could be argued, though, that the Brasserie above is an even better prospect –

17–21 Nithsdale Road, Southside (Map 15: J11), 0141 423 0023, thebungo. co.uk | £17 (lunch) / £17 (dinner)

The Butchershop Bar & Grill 1055 Sauchiehall Street, West End See Steakhouses & Burgers

Café Gandolfi

64 Albion Street, Merchant City (Map 14: Q6), 0141 552 6813, cafegandolfi. com | £25 (lunch) / £25 (dinner)

Four decades young in 2019, Café Gandolfi – the flagship outlet of a mini-empire on Albion Street – remains a timeless institution. The revolving doors salvaged from the Grand Hotel at Charing Cross bear the scars of ages. The unmistakable driftwood-like sanded pine furniture looks more weathered than ever. The first fashionable eatery in the Merchant City back in 1979, Gandolfi is today surrounded by competitors. And yet the sense of confidence and pride hasn’t waned. Gandolfi is most popular as a brunch and lunch restaurant, with its stacks of pancakes and French toast and classic Cullen skink and Finnan haddie – the night-time crowd tending towards Bar Gandolfi upstairs and nearby Gandolfi

Fish. But they still do an exceptional evening meal, using Scottish ingredients with flourish. Be it a salad of smoked beetroot jumbled among charred gem lettuce, radicchio, croutons, caramelized fig and candied walnuts. Or a main of pan-seared Barra scallops in Hollandaise with smoked haddock and Stornoway black pudding hash. Or a simple-as-you-like home-baked caramel shortcake for dessert. The seasonal menu is always changing, and forty years on Gandolfi still offers something a little different practically every time. + Great service and wine suggestions - Lowering the lights after dark would add atmosphere

Café Source Too

Hillhead Sports Club, 32 Hughenden Road, West End See Scottish

Cafezique

66 Hyndland Street, West End (Map 13: C2), 0141 339 7180, delizique.com | £12.50 (lunch) / £21 (dinner)

Sister venue Gather by Zique as well as the Partick Duck Club (run by a team who ran this place for many years) have tended to take the plaudits of late on this road, but Cafezique still ticks over as a daytime café – in that relaxed and airy West End fashion – before drifting into upmarket neighbourhood bistro territory in the evening. For lunch, expect simple pleasures such as chicken and chorizo penne finished with crème fraîche, or gourmet sandwiches made using their own baked bread. The evening menu jumps about a bit, offering kimchi salad (vibrant, peppery, though not best matched with the European salad leaves

Craft Beer Wine Ales & Lagers Champagne Port Sherry 105 West Nile St G1 2SD 0141 332 4481

The List Eating & Drinking Guide

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BISTROS & BRASSERIES

list.co.uk

GLASGOW

Q HITLIST PHOTO: STEPHEN ROBINSON, MOTIONANDSTILLS.COM

BISTROS & BRASSERIES ✱ The Brasserie at the

Chip The informal offshoot of the renowned Ubiquitous Chip showcases innovative bistro dishes that elevate local produce.

✱ Five March A convivial and

spacious restaurant and bar with its finger on Finnieston’s pulse, doing inventive small plates and exotic cocktails.

✱ Gather by Zique The

sophisticated young sibling of the Zique family brings a focus on modern European dishes with quality Scottish ingredients.

✱ Niven’s by Café Source

Neighbourhood bar and brasserie with particular focus on brunch, small plates and an elegant bar.

✱ Ox & Finch Creative,

contemporary cooking in Finnieston’s bustling food scene, serving sharing plates and excellent drinks.

✱ Stravaigin Café Bar An informal bar-restaurant embodying the best of bistro dining with international dishes, big flavours and quality ingredients. beneath) and soy-glazed chicken wings, before substantial offerings such as a yoghurt-marinated lamb shank that is moist and slips off the bone, even if it may lack a tad of seasoning. Venison is nicely cooked though, pleasingly purple and soft in the middle. Cafezique’s best hours are perhaps its daylight ones, where this sunny space really has a buzz about itself. + The daytime demeanour - Evening menu loses its identity a bit

Chez Mal

Malmaison, 278 West George Street, City Centre See French

Citation

40 Wilson Street, Merchant City (Map 14: P5), 0141 559 6799, citation-glasgow. com | £14.95 (inc. drink) (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Citation occupies one of the Merchant City’s grandest Victorian buildings – the former Sheriff Court – and crossing the threshold of the magnificent neo-classical facade feels like it should lead to a glamorous, special-occasion evening. It comes as a surprise then that the restaurant majors on a bargain ‘market menu’ at just £14.95 for two courses and 136

The List Eating & Drinking Guide

a glass of wine or beer, available till 9pm (6.15pm on Saturday), and that the food tends to be no-nonsense, somewhat oldfashioned favourites like prawn cocktail, roast beef, fish and chips and breast of chicken. It’s a formula that works for many shoppers, visitors and loyal locals, ensuring the place is particularly busy in the early evening. With two smart bars stocked with a huge range of gins and whiskies, a killer cocktail list and a good line in champagne and prosecco, the glamour’s more evident on the liquid side of the business than the hearty, dependable food. + Customers can get discounted all-day city-centre parking - Food can be unremarkable (though good value)

SE LIST.CO E .U FOR EX K/FOOD TRA IN & LINK FO S

Côte Brasserie

41–43 West Nile Street, City Centre See French

Dakota Deluxe Bar and Grill 179 West Regent Street, City Centre (Map 10: L4), 0141 404 3680, glasgow. dakotahotels.co.uk | £17 (set lunch) / £34 (dinner)

Hotel restaurants with a stand-alone identity aren’t much of a thing in Glasgow. But Dakota is keen to engage with that idea. It’s an impressive place, clearly with one eye on the surrounding financial district and the corporate credit cards that bring much of the custom. Down the stairs and into the mighty space, the weightiness of wooden booths and champagne bottles is what strikes you. Nearly half the menu is seafood — a decadent lobster macaroni with a bisque that cuts through the cheese, or thoroughly impressive halibut with caviar, atop a light mousseline that’s enlivened by shreds of lemon. Very nicely done. Steaks and lavish cuts of Scottish produce (venison, duck) complete the spread, all cooked with the requisite skill. If the occasional dish doesn’t exceed the sum of its (admittedly expensive) parts, overall the standard is still very high. Posh riffs on the classics continue into dessert, where the fragrancy of a vanilla pavlova, and the caramelised crunch of banana tarte tatin, stand out. The market menu offers pared-down dishes at a fantastic price considering the surroundings, and there are over 30 wines and champagnes by the glass. + A top-end eating experience . . . - . . . with prices to match

Fanny Trollope’s

1066 Argyle Street, West End (Map 11: G4), 0141 564 6464, fannytrollopes.co.uk | Closed Mon | £16.50 (set lunch) / £23 (dinner)

In Finnieston, not much apart from the crane itself has displayed the longevity of Fanny Trollope’s. It opened in 2004, when Glasgow’s bistro scene was far more a collection of neighbourhood joints and market menus compared to the Class of 2019 and its upward mobility. This place exists nicely between such worlds, with a steadfast following – especially on occasions such as Mothers’ Day or Christmas Day. The trusted formula is substantial Scottish food, with delicate nods and culinary touches from around the globe. They’re pretty solid on big flavours, like pigeon in a salty jus with bacon and mushrooms, or just-pinkenough venison fillet with red cabbage giving an aromatic sweetness. The little spring roll of braised leg is the sort of canny touch that adds additional depth and enjoyment. Lighter plates are perhaps better still – the sweetness of charred pumpkin, saltiness of feta, and hit of mint balanced in a vibrant salad. Then there are comfort dishes like plum rice

Five March

pudding, with an unapologetic crust of brown sugar. A vague notion of Art Deco traces the interior, but Fanny Trollope’s is really less about décor, and more about staff who know their customers and their jobs inside out. + Warmth and calm in an ever-changing neighbourhood - Narrow opening hours and availability

by a three-scoop, straight-up ice-cream dessert. Nobody’s too old for ice-cream. + Solid service even when it’s really busy - Superfluous bread with the fagioli is a bit in the way

Firebird

Q NEW Five March

With several fashionable eateries having opened in its immediate midst in recent years, and further down the road in Finnieston, veteran neighbourhood bar-bistro Firebird could easily be the forgotten man of the Kelvinhaugh area. It has successfully refreshed its offering in recent years, however, particularly by catering very successfully to families – flocks of whom assemble here on busy days, to avail themselves of its nice spacious layout, inexpensive and accessible but quality Mediterranean inspired cuisine (with plenty of kids’ options), patient and accommodating service, and a handy ground-floor loo with changing facilities. Once a popular haunt among a young pre-clubbing crowd, it’s probably still serving a lot of the same people a few years on – only now for brunch with their kids. Although that’s not to say for a moment that it’s not a place to visit for grown-ups-only boozy dinners, to enjoy specialty house pizzas, nicely charred and crispy round the edges, or rib-sticking mains like fagioli al forno with slow-cooked pork greenbean stew and chargrilled bread. Followed

Five March resides somewhere between Finnieston, Anderston, Kelvinbridge and Charing Cross – but most Glaswegians will probably agree that ‘just down from the start of the park’ will do. And what a locale it is. There aren’t really any other bars nearby, which works out nicely seeing as few restaurants in the city do as good a job of articulating that they’re also an out-and-out place to drink, with a long and separate space, some nice tap beer, and an engaging, concise cocktail list. So expect crowds aplenty at this beer garden when the sun’s out. It’s also a highly accomplished kitchen, executing small plate dining with a sense of identity and swagger. Zaalouk, a Moroccan aubergine and tomato dish, is vibrant in the mouth yet comforting, too, served with juicy falafel and flatbread. Mussels come in a sauce with a sledgehammer hit of wine and fennel sausage. The humble carrot is placed front-and-centre in a dish that works its natural sweetness round maple and seaweed. Those three plates also exemplify the ease with which this menu skips from Med to Middle East to East Asia at will, while maintaining a

1321 Argyle Street, West End (Map 11: F4), 0141 334 0594, firebirdglasgow.com | £12 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

The Fish People Café

350 Scotland Street, Southside See Fish

140 Elderslie Street, West End (Map 11: I3), 0141 573 1400, fivemarch.co.uk | £8 (set lunch) / £23 (dinner)


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knowing cohesion of flavours throughout. That’s tough. The whole operation embraces trendy informality — as has become so familiar these days — but Five March’s execution is up there with the best. + Those carrots - Wine list is great, but too concise for some

Gandolfi Fish

84 Albion Street, Merchant City See Fish

The Gannet

1155 Argyle Street, West End See Scottish

Q Gather by Zique

70–72 Hyndland Street, West End (Map 13: C2), 0141 339 2000, gatherbyzique. com | Closed Mon/Tue | £17 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Spanning Cafezique and Bakery by Zique, and even Monachyle Mhor and its affiliates if you count her husband Dick Lewis’s side of the business, Mhairi Taylor’s Zique brand has long been a stamp of quality. Opened in 2018 in the premises which previously housed Delizique, Gather brings something to the stable which has arguably been missing – an urban fine-dining experience. Behind huge floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking red sandstone tenements, the vibe is sophisticated, laid-back, almost Scandi-cool – pale whites and greys contrasted by noisy pops of colour in the furnishings and lighting. Comprising European-inspired dishes made with the best of Scottish seasonal produce, much of it from their Trossachs estate, every dish on the menu can be served either as a large or small plate, giving you flexibility to do sharers or designated plates. Bloody-red beetroot risotto laced with smoked mozzarella is exceptional. Tender venison meatballs with black kale and walnut salsa served in a porridge of polenta is abundant in flavours. A sumptuous apple and calvados toffee tart for two with ice-cream completes a meal that barely misses a beat. + Small plates / large plates versatility - Some garishly over-loud touches in the interior design

The Grahamston

Radisson Blu Hotel, 301 Argyle Street, City Centre See Scottish

The Grill on the Corner

21–25 Bothwell Street, City Centre See Steakhouses & Burgers

Hutchesons City Grill

158 Ingram Street, Merchant City See Steakhouses & Burgers

Ian Brown Food and Drink

55 Eastwoodmains Road, Southside See Scottish

NEW The Ivy Buchanan Street 106 Buchanan Street, City Centre (Map 10: O5), theivyglasgow.com | £16.50 (set lunch) / £26 (dinner)

The Ivy is coming to town. After the famous restaurant in London (a century old in 2017) began spreading its upscale dining offerings around the UK, it arrived in Edinburgh a couple of years ago to a fair bit of razzmatazz. It’s due to open, appropriately enough, on Glasgow’s selfproclaimed Style Mile in spring/summer 2019 – and should prove a popular spot for the city’s glitterati. Taking up two floors in the listed ex-bank on the corner of Buchanan Street and Royal Bank Place, the brasserie-style set-up will feature British–Euro dishes, including

brunch and afternoon tea. But don’t expect them to be raiding Scotland’s larder – menus are centrally devised and exactly the same across all branches. And, of course, some Glaswegians might still hold a grudge after they made the old Finnieston rum bar, Ivy, change its name to Distill. [Not open for a full review at time of going to press – check food.list. co.uk for updates].

NEW Jacques

1146 Argyle Street, West End (Map 11: G4), 0141 339 6909, jacquesbar.co.uk | £22 (lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Open since November 2018, Jacques is the ‘wee brother’ to Brel on Ashton Lane. While it lacks the beer garden and conservatory that helped make the original a West End institution, the new Finnieston outpost stays faithful to the continental theme, and the menu, while not identical to Brel’s, shows a distinct family resemblance. Jacques is big on cheese, with fondue a daily fixture and a giant melting wheel of raclette featuring on Sundays, plus there’s a tendency for the stuff to turn up elsewhere – Toulouse sausage and chips comes with a little pot of grated comté on the side. The FrancoBelgian alliance carries through to big bowls of mussels with chips, while the ‘poisson frites’ is a reassuringly Scottish piece of haddock in a light, crisp beer batter. Enterprisingly, Jacques offers a vegan cheese fondue, as well as a vegan seitan sausage and a chickpea burger. Bare brick walls, bar stools and wellupholstered booths give the interior a comfortable pub-like feel, complemented by a wide-ranging drinks list naturally including half a dozen Belgian beers, as well as more than 20 different gins. + Exemplary batter on the haddock - A tad expensive for pub classics

it was upon opening over a decade ago. But then neither has it aged unkindly; rather it has settled comfortably into the role of faithful neighbourhood haunt, a place to roll up unplanned of a weekday evening or lazy weekend and know exactly what you’re going to get. Which is to say imaginative, well-considered dishes taking in a rich array of global flavours. For instance a Glasgow-meetsMumbai starter of cauliflower pakora with chickpeas and raita, or zingy fresh hoi an chargrilled chicken skewers with lime leaf, lemongrass and sesame spicy satay sauce. Or a main as traditional as beer-battered North Sea haddock and chips or as exotic as Goan masala in seafood, chicken or tofu variants for all tastes and diets. With its stripped brick walls, tables and couches tucked hither and thither for whiling away the day and big floor-to-ceiling windows for watching the world go by, the Left Bank hasn’t been left behind. + Brunch, lunch, dinner or drinks – it’s always dependable - A contemporary refresh of the interiors might not be a bad idea

Leiper’s Attic at Cottier’s

93–95 Hyndland Street, West End (Map 13: C2), 0141 357 5825, cottiers.com | Closed Mon/Tue (rest. only) | £28 (lunch) / £28 (dinner)

As a theatre, pub, beer garden and wedding venue, this restored Victorian Gothic pile is a much-loved fixture of West End life. Amid all the activity the upstairs restaurant – recently renamed Leiper’s Attic in honour of the architect who, along with Daniel Cottier, built the church in 1865 – could easily be overlooked. It deserves attention

though, as the food is up there with the best Scottish restaurants in town. The emphasis is on fine local produce, cooked fairly simply. Beef is prime grass-fed meat from Perthshire, dry-aged in-house for 28 days. Game is prominent, too, and a succulent piece of venison haunch comes with a clever haggis, neep and tattie pithivier that would work as a main course in its own right. Care and attention are lavished on accompanying veg like baby beetroot and roast cauliflower, though there’s not much among the mains for non-carnivores. Reached by a spiral staircase, the room retains original architectural features and offers a pleasant view into the garden below. + Exceptional beef, skilfully prepared - Frequent private bookings – check before travelling

Metropolitan

Merchant Square, Candleriggs, Merchant City (Map 14: Q5), 0141 553 1488, metropolitan-bar.com | £12 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Metropolitan’s website proudly talks about ‘cocktails with the girls’, and you can book a table or booth in the piano bar just for drinks here, perhaps enjoying a Glasgow Iced Tea (Auchentoshan, Glasgow gin, Mandarine Napoleon, rhubarb, lemon and Irn-Bru). With an open courtyard, a see-and-be-seen balcony and a huge list of inventive cocktails, this place does seem to be more about partying than dining, though there’s plenty of choice available from the kitchen. Burgers, steaks and pasta dishes rub shoulders on the menu with more exotic options, including beef rendang and chicken with harissa and couscous. Classic fish and chips delivers

NEW Kilmurry & Co

210 Kilmarnock Road, Southside, 0141 632 5606, kilmurryandco.co.uk | £14 (lunch) / £17 (dinner)

The mile or so from Strathbungo to Shawlands is jam-packed with places to eat and drink, and 2018 saw an interesting new arrival towards the southern end of the stretch. With an interior of reclaimed timber and exposed brick, Kilmurry & Co wouldn’t look out of place in hipster Finnieston – nor would its relaxed brunch-to-supper, small-plate-and-sharing-platter format. Here breakfast classics like buttermilk pancakes and avo toast segue as the day progresses into meatier ‘tapas’, like steak tacos made with proper corn tortillas and a steamed bao bun filled with mildly spiced and richly savoury Korean pulled pork. By the evening the emphasis moves onto seafood, including raw oysters and squid tempura, though most dishes are available throughout the day. There isn’t much that’s animal-free, though a vegan mac and cheese is a satisfying plateful. Portions are generous for small plates, and many of the dishes are the kind of salty, crispy, addictive things you want to share with friends over drinks. While the beer list could be a bit more interesting, there’s a good choice of cocktails, mocktails and wine by the glass. + Food that’s good to share over drinks - Little that’s free from animal products

The Left Bank

33–35 Gibson Street, West End (Map 12: H2), 0141 339 5969, theleftbank.co.uk | £19 (lunch) / £19 (dinner)

Beyond its most dedicated of customers – and the Left Bank has plenty of them – not many people would likely proclaim this bright and airy Gibson Street all-rounder to be the same symbol of cool contemporary dining today that

140 Elderslie St, Glasgow 0141 573 1400

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a huge fillet of haddock in a light and crunchy batter with peas and tartare sauce, for under twelve quid. Despite the hedonistic feel, daytimes are familyfriendly, and a 60-seater private dining room is a favourite for multi-generational birthday parties. + Cocktails - Food plays second fiddle

with Bombay potatoes. Craft ales are a speciality, and there’s a fair range of gins, cocktails and wines by the glass. Casual, pub-y, kid-and-dog-friendly it may be – but Niven’s is also a serious choice for exciting dining. + Exciting food at accessible prices - Short menu (though likely to change)

Mharsanta

16 Byres Road, West End See Scottish

26 Bell Street, Merchant City See Scottish

Monadh Kitchen

19 Kirk Road, Bearsden, West End See Scottish

Mussel Inn

157 Hope Street, City Centre See Fish

Q NEW Niven’s by Café Source 72 Nithsdale Road, Southside (Map 15: J11), 0141 471 9666 | £12 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

The Southside food scene goes from strength to strength, and this part of town is now packed with pleasant little neighbourhood places serving happy locals. At Niven’s, though, Nithsdale Road has a food venue that makes it worth travelling to taste, with a clever, inventive small-plate menu to compete with trendy Finnieston’s finest. Backed by the Café Source brand, Niven’s might be expected to serve reliable, good-value standards, but the cooking here is of a higher and more memorable order. Cullen skink arancini come as a pair of crispy spheres of smoked fish and carbs, satisfying in their own right but lifted to another level by an intensely flavoured leek purée and light lemon-potato foam. Ox cheek and haggis pithivier is a rich, juicy assembly of meat in a delicate pastry shell, and again it’s the accessories that make it genuinely special – in this case a deeply umami turnip purée, and horseradish mash. Earlier in the day, breakfast and brunch options feature Niven’s own sourdough bread, plus exotica like Indian scrambled eggs

Number 16

Ollie’s

122 Nithsdale Road, Southside (Map 15: J10), 0141 424 4600, olliesglasgow.co.uk | £13.50 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Ollie’s lies just a couple of minutes up from the stretch of Nithsdale Road that has really felt Strathbungo’s culinary upturn of late, and while many a venue has come and gone in the last five years, this one merrily ticks along by unashamedly embracing the ‘neighbourhood eatery’ ethos of what a brasserie can be. It’s a café by morning and a well-priced restaurant at night, with soups, sandwiches and their very popular pizzas connecting mealtimes in between. For dinner, think haddock and pea risotto, simple enough, with a pleasantly runny poached egg perched atop. Or braised beef with mashed potatoes that’s nicely turned out and comforting. They keep it simple and play to the local crowd, and thus options like fish and chips and the ‘Ollie’s Beef Burger’ are satisfying and safe bets. Some of the starters almost feel more like finger food (hummus and dip, broccoli and potato croquettes), but that’s fine, too – Ollie’s has the relaxed demeanour of a place where popping in for a nibble and a glass of wine is as natural as a full-scale meal. + No airs or graces - Disappointing wine list

Q Ox and Finch

920 Sauchiehall Street, West End (Map 11: G4), 0141 339 8627, oxandfinch.com | £14 (lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Ox and Finch opened in 2014 and already feels like an influential mainstay

of the Glasgow food scene. Riding a growing trend for small-plate dining, this place was something of an instant hit, and it’s often still hard to score a table in the tasteful tenement corner venue at short notice. Actually the plates here aren’t that small – slow-cooked lamb shoulder brings a generous helping of gently spiced, tender meat sitting on a bed of bulgur and apricots, all dressed with toasted almonds and mint yoghurt, while a special of green pea and harissa hummus with feta comes with a mountain of thick-cut toasted sourdough. With most dishes priced around £8 or £9 and three or four being enough for a couple, it works out at surprisingly good value. There’s an impressive attention to detail here, with everything from complex cocktails to chunky chips made, presented and served with care and style. They’ve even managed to solve the ‘too much at once’ problem of small plates by thoughtfully staggering the arrival of your order. Note the same team’s panAsian pop-up, Ka Pao, is slated to open a permanent outlet in Vinnicombe Street around June 2019. + Exciting, carefully prepared and presented food for sharing - House wine is a bit pricey

Partick Duck Club

27 Hyndland Street, West End (Map 13: C2), 0141 334 9909, partickduckclub. co.uk | £20 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Duck and you’d probably still get hit with duck at the Partick Duck Club – the corner diner which derives its name from 18th-century Glasgow merchants’ and bankers’ enthusiasm for a riverside bun house specialising in roast . . . well, you can probably guess what. From duck fat fries done five different ways to duck rillettes, spiced BBQ duck leg in a bun and 12-hour duck leg with crispy duck egg, the waterfowl is well and truly cooked in the open kitchen here. But that’s by no means to say that the food offering, which is expansive and wide-ranging enough to offer everything from a lazy hungover all-day brunch to a smart three-course meal, is a one-note

affair. Fresh and tasty smoked mackerel pâté with radish, shallot and lemon on sourdough toast from Freedom Bakery could serve as a starter or just as a snack with a glass of wine. So tender it shreds easily on the fork, the 12-hour duck leg proves that they really do know how to handle their menu staple. With newly added outdoor seating almost doubling capacity in good weather, people will be flocking to the Duck Club in even greater numbers. + It would have to be the duck really, wouldn’t it? - A wider range of beers wouldn’t go amiss

NEW Public House by Nico

333 Great Western Road, West End (Map 12: I2), 0141 339 3701, publichousebynico.co.uk | £20 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Let’s be clear: this public house is not a pub. There’s a bar, of course, and a scattering of seats encourage people to pop in for a beverage. But the recent Kelvinbridge opener from owner Nico Simeone (111 By Nico, Six By Nico, Supper Club By, well, you get the idea), with restaurant-style seating and a small plates sharing menu, places it firmly among the city’s bistros. The ‘public house’ notion is the starting point for dishes that look to reimagine British pub and comfort food classics – and some that don’t. There’s deconstructed ‘cock a leekie’ sandwich where terrine, charred leek and crisp, buttery bread combine marvellously in the mouth, and the immense and satisfying meatiness of a lamb faggot with mint sauce. The burger soars with truffle cheese, the gnocchi is made with choux pastry (though with bacon, sprouts and sage, perhaps one flavour too many). Best of all, salt-baked celeriac achieves remarkable savouriness with browned celeriac that’s been made into a ‘jus’ bringing the umami. Some clever cooking is on show, and even if the inevitable tension between style, substance and concept pulls the occasional dish apart, the experience itself is a thoroughly enjoyable one. + The whole experience is pretty special - You probably wouldn’t pop in for a quick pint

Red Onion

257 West Campbell Street, City Centre (Map 10: M4), 0141 221 6000, red-onion. co.uk | £10.95 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

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Accessibility is a big thing at Red Onion. It opens its wide doors and extends a warm welcome to the business lunchers, the shoppers, and many a large celebratory group. Chef-owner John Quigley was one of the first in Glasgow to really focus on catering to different dietary requirements, and this has been a defining trait of his restaurant for some time now. Dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan menus are all available, given equal time and coverage as everything else. Quigley himself calls it “inclusive dining”. Accordingly, food is pitched at a big, broad crowd. Dishes like a trio of bonbons (Ramsay’s haggis, black pudding, and Finnan haddie) or brisket that’s braised in their own Quigley Red Ale are big on portion size and flavour. The tastes of paprika and harissa and tomato-based sauces work their way through many a dish, like a rugged hunk of monkfish in a chorizo ragu. And when lighter plates drift more towards Asia – like bang bang chicken salad with peanut dressing – there’s still nothing too challenging, spicy or fussy. Truly, every customer is in safe hands here. + The emphasis on different dietary requirements - Unapologetically mainstream


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The Shandon Belles

are packed tight. Yet French cooking is serious business, meaning there are less of the playful hooks of previous offerings like The Chippie or Picnic. There are still clever and enjoyable twists to enjoy, from a ‘French onion soup’ as a delicious amuse-bouche to a ‘coq au vin’ terrine – there’s always excitement as each dish is delivered and discussed. Expectation can occasionally be dashed – an insipid crab bisque sauce derails delightfully cooked sole in the ‘bouillabaise’, while the ‘beef bourguignon’ should be a highlight but ends up confusing on the palate. Value is good, with an accompanying wine flight an enticing extra cost. Popularity means booking is essential – but make sure you show up or cancel or you’ll be debited the full menu price. + Exciting, contrasting, themed menus - Terrible, inappropriate MOR music

652 Argyle Street, City Centre (Map 11: J5), 0141 221 8188, twofatladiesrestaurant.com/ shandonbelles | Closed Sun–Wed | £16 (dinner)

Tucked away in a little pocket of Finnieston that has no concern for being part of the ‘strip’, Shandon Belles is a quiet delight of a place, where simplicity and deftness of touch are the defining traits. Lighting is low, tables are spaciously set apart. There’s only one, small menu, and as such, each dish feels like it’s made with love and affection. Think starters like hot flaked salmon risotto, elegantly portioned, and balanced by herbaceous green leaves and some citrus. Or roll mops, drizzled with an orangey dressing that hints of chilli and South East Asia. The restaurant is owned by the Two Fat Ladies group, so any fish dish is worth checking out. Onto the land, where pigeon (a Glaswegian bistro favourite) is ably paired with its bedfellows Savoy cabbage and a sweet redcurrant sauce. The combination of richness and sweetness is nicely achieved, while the presentation in a little basket of filo pastry is indicative of the extra wee touches that set the Shandon Belles apart. Everything is concise: that menu, the wine list, the number of covers, and when dining here, one really appreciates the extra attention it all seems to afford. + Intimacy and elegance - Narrow opening hours

The Sisters Kelvingrove

36 Kelvingrove Street, West End See Scottish

So L.A.

43 Mitchell Street, City Centre See Round the World

NEW Soul Food Kitchen

973 Sauchiehall Street, West End (Map 11: G4), 0141 406 5292, soulfoodkitchen.co.uk | Closed Mon | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Niven’s by Café Source

Six by Nico

1132 Argyle Street, West End (Map 11: G4), 0141 334 5661, sixbynico.co.uk | Closed Mon | £28 (set lunch / dinner)

When Scots-Italian chef Nico Simeone opened La Famiglia back in 2011, there was little sign he’d soon have a string of heavily branded, high-concept venues. His first spot is now 111 by Nico,

while his Six by Nico gimmick – a different six-course set menu every six weeks – has spread to Edinburgh and now Belfast. He’s also opened Public House and Supper Club (both ‘by Nico’, of course). His ‘Cooking Paris’ menu (spring 2019) is a hit and miss affair. It’s well suited to the venue, with its tones of a continental bistro, where tables

Soul Food is a bold name with a bold and noble aim. No jambalaya or gumbo here – the ’soul’ refers to well-being; food that’s better for your body and spirit. Because everything on the menu here is entirely plant-based. It starts a conversation for sure – because recent trends in veganism have looked to focus more on the natural beauty of vegetables and how to enhance their flavours, rather than dishes that set out to copy

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the meaty originals. But owner Debbie Moran, previously of café Soy Division, is clear of purpose that the meat-eating ‘experience’ as it were, is one that nonmeat eaters can still crave and enjoy, and that everyone will benefit from these (undoubtedly) healthier versions of chilli ‘beef’ ramen – where perhaps the tofu egg is the most curiously successful element, or a bacon cheeseburger made with seitan and coconut bacon. The cauliflower hot wings, with a smokey, fruity dry rub, and the coconut and beetroot soup – thick, sweet, nutty and creamy all at the same time – are the ones that vie for best dish on the menu, while kombucha (fermented, sparkling tea) on tap, and various workshops such as fermentation, meditation, tempeh, are other unique and vibrant touches. + A really admirable and brave venture - Not using the word ‘vegan’ anywhere is perhaps a bold move too far

The Square Bar & Restaurant

6–8 Norby Road, Broomhill, West End, 0141 337 6988, thesquareglasgow.com | £10.95 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Broomhill is a pleasant but quiet part of the West End, overshadowed in the food and drink department by nearby Hyndland and Partick. It’s the kind of place that needs a decent neighbourhood restaurant, and the Square admirably fits the bill. Serving everything from a quick coffee or a bacon roll (it’s next door to shops and a dry cleaners) to confit duck leg with dauphinoise potatoes, the Square serves local residents and workers from morning till night, seven days a week. Independently owned, this place is free to go its own way and has settled on a mixed all-day menu that

Jacques

includes toasted sandwiches and burgers alongside more elaborate and creative dishes, such as chicken breast stuffed with skirlie and sea bass with a bean and pepper cassoulet. À la carte prices are reasonable and it runs a number of

attractive deals, including a Tuesday steak night package of sirloin and chips for two, plus a bottle of wine, for under thirty quid. Desserts are a strong point, with a variety of cheesecake made fresh every day. + Excellent cheesecake - Not much choice if you want to avoid meat

Q Stravaigin Café Bar

28 Gibson Street, West End (Map 12: H2), 0141 334 2665, stravaigin.co.uk | £25 (lunch) / £25 (dinner)

Going strong since 1994, Stravaigin is now as much a West End institution as its older, posher sister, Ubiquitous Chip. The rallying cry here is ‘think global, eat local’, so flavours from India and North Africa meet Scotch beef and Shetland shellfish while haggis, neeps and tatties are a permanent fixture on an otherwise everchanging menu. There’s a line in brave combinations here, with some working so well you wonder why everyone doesn’t do them – such as an airy duck liver parfait with apricot jam, granola and toasted brioche that combines sweet, savoury, smooth and crunchy to extraordinary and irresistible effect. But Stravaigin is a busy pub as much as anything, and if you’re in the mood for dependable comfort food with your pint you’ll find an excellent burger, or a plate of ham stovies to share. Booked tables are mostly on the mezzanine here, with a more walk-in, kid-anddog-friendly vibe on the ground floor. The basement restaurant has a separate, pricier menu, though everything comes from one kitchen. With lovely staff and a terrific wine list, Stravaigin’s one of those rare places that works for a quick bite, a big night out or anything in between. + Creative meets comfort - No bargain lunch or pre-theatre deal

NEW Supper Club By Nico

142 Nithsdale Road, Southside), supperclubglasgow.co | £45 (set lunch / dinner)

The latest venture from well-kent Glasgow chef Nico Simeone, Supper 140

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Club is proof that the city’s Southside is just as desirable a dinner destination as the West End. Modern ScotsEuropean in style, during the week this chic bistro is the development kitchen for Nico’s restaurant family, where chefs can flex their culinary skills and desires into on-trend masterpieces. Set up as a proving ground for menu changes, it’s only open at weekends and will soon become the hottest ticket in town for food fans with a taste for the future. It’s rare to experience this type of no-holds-barred experimental dining. Each limited edition ten-course tasting menu varies, from aged beef carpaccio with fermented pepper and smoked marrow to a surprisingly light salmon tartare contrasting with crispy wild rice, while a later course of barbecue heritage potato shows that anything could be next. The aptly named ‘On Reflection’ South African white is a stand out on the matching wine flight (add on £35), and is sure to get taste buds and conversation sparking. + Intimate and sociable - Some experiments miss the mark

Tibo

443 Duke Street, Dennistoun, East End, 0141 550 2050, tibobistro.co.uk | £14 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

Tibo has cheerfully sat on the corner of Duke St and Hillfoot Street for 13 years and watched as Dennistoun has gone from being the ‘coming area’ to being the area that’s arrived. All the while, this place ticks along nicely, as popular for morning coffee and cake – a cracking, moist carrot cake, no less – as for lunchtime sandwiches or bistro-y plates like sea bass on a pesto mash in the evening. Flavour combinations are tried and tested, and don’t aim to challenge as much as to crowd please. More is more: lots of cheese, mushrooms, gnocchi, fish and chips. Vegetarians are well catered for as well – some decent small plates, and a vegan chilli which, with its big hit of smoky depth, is perhaps the standout dish on the menu. Glaswegian artists’ work hangs on the wall, everyone


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seems to know each other, and there’s usually a chirpy buzz in the air. It’s a local spot for local people, and it plays its hand sensibly. + Equally at ease as a 9am cafe or a 9pm supper club - Some dishes lack subtlety

NEW Tomillo

8 Speirs Wharf, West End, 0141 332 6229, tomilloglasgow.co.uk | Closed Sun–Wed | £16 dinner

Tomillo has the sort of small plate/large plate Med/Middle East/Asian menu that gets diners excited and struggling to choose. It’s also entirely vegan. And worth making the trip up to Spiers Wharf for a great example of how animal-free cooking can be immensely satisfying and filling. A sharing plater allows you to try all the small plates, including a tangy chickpea stew, and sweet potato and black bean tacos which typify the kitchen’s skill. They’re just smoky enough – more smoky and the sweet potato gets lost. That sensitivity to ingredients is on display throughout. A tofu satay, similarly, is lip lickingly defined by peanut and a faint growl of heat that lets the tofu still come through. Fried cauliflower, all too often overly dry or tediously soft, here, is perfectly crisp. And the seitan king rib burger with cashew cream gives the junk food experience – all charred lines and chewy bread – while still being vibrant and easy on the stomach. There’s a thoughtful range of vegan cocktails, too. Tomillo sits somewhere between pop-up and kitchen residency at the Ocho café, so check opening times before a visit. But visit you should. + Sensitive, sensible meat-free cooking - Narrow opening hours

Tron Theatre Bar & Kitchen 63 Trongate, Merchant City See Arts Venues

Two Fat Ladies in the City

118a Blythswood Street, City Centre See Fish

Urban Bar & Brasserie

23–25 St Vincent Place, City Centre (Map 10: O5), 0141 248 5636, urbanbrasserie.co.uk | £15.95 (set lunch) / £28 (dinner)

This grand building has done time as a banking hall and a pub, but it feels well suited to the kind of smart-casual city-centre dining and cocktails that Urban has been serving up here since 2006. Imposing original features are complemented by opulent leatherupholstered booths, subdued lighting and some striking modern art, while service is smart and professional without the fuss of full-on fine dining. A few years ago this guide listed Urban in the ‘fish’ section, and the current menu is still close to half pescatarian, with simply grilled lemon sole, roast cod with wild mushrooms and crab linguini the stand-out mains. There’s also a good line in aged Scotch beef steaks and a burger, though there’s little for vegetarians or vegans on the standard à la carte. Prices are on the high side, though a two-course market menu at £15.95 is available right though till nine o’clock Sunday to Thursday, with an earlier cut-off at the weekend. An excellent wine list has some rare and interesting choices by the glass. + Interesting wine list - High prices for fairly straightforward cooking

Wee Lochan

340 Crow Road, West End See Scottish

CAFES Glasgow’s café scene is always expanding, and it makes for an exciting, ever-changing feast of brunch, cakes and coffee. Here we include full reviews on the recent arrivals as well as any major rebrands and takeovers, while full reviews for existing venues can be found online at list.co.uk/food. Our Tiplists (from page 31) aim to show you spots worth knowing about in particular categories and geographical areas. Reviewers: Deborah Bell, David Kirkwood, Andrea Pearson, Jay Thundercliffe, Gareth K Vile

The Balcony Café

Upstairs @ The Glasgow Climbing Centre, 534 Paisley Road West, Southside See Arts Venues

NEW Beefcake Café

808 Crow Road, West End, 07949 564025, beefcakecafe.com | Closed Mon/Tue | £8 (lunch)

Although situated just off Anniesland Cross, Beefcake captures a gentle, intimate atmosphere and has already developed a coterie of local regulars. Despite being a bustling lunchtime location, the staff are affable and willing to spend a little extra time to make sure that the customers can make a good selection from the diverse, and often changing, menu. The chef excels in bringing the telling detail to the simplest of dishes – the homemade sourdough toast and the granola with Greek yoghurt are exceptional, while the heartier dishes, especially the shakshuka eggs, showcase the delicious vegetables, cooked to perfection. While the cake range is limited, Beefcake concentrates on the quality – the cinnamon and orange bun is a rare treat – and the coffee can compete with the more dedicated outlets for smoothness and sweetness. The soups are rich and creamy, bringing a freshness to old favourites and the generous portions make it both a good brunch choice and a candidate for lazy afternoons of cakes and teas. + The home-baked sourdough bread - The location is a little out of the way

Brazuca Café

1–3 Methil Street, West End See Round the World

NEW The Brunch Club

67 Old Dumbarton Road, West End (Map 11: E3), 0141 237 7374, thebrunchclub.co | £12 (lunch)

Tucking into an all-day brunch (vegan option a must) is about as zeitgeisty as Glasgow dining gets these days. Joining this trend is the Brunch Club, opened last year in the former Drugstore Social. It’s picked a nice spot – big windows illuminating a pleasant corner a block back from Kelvingrove Museum. No reservations and the current popularity of doing brunch mean you’ll be waiting for a seat if you rock up at 11am on a weekend. There’s a decent capacity so it’s not too onerous, plus there’s a neighbourhood brunchy buzz to soak up. A few global influences – fish tacos, chilli labneh – bolster the eggs, waffles, French toast and fry-ups (meat/veggie/ vegan) that dominate. Waffles are big, enjoyable, and come with crispy fried chicken, while French toast is decent – somewhat oddly priced at a fiver,

needing half that again for three bits of streaky bacon. If sweet’s your thing, the choc ganache and peanut almond butter topping for the toast is a serious sugary pick-me-up – or choose from the Bloody Marys and cocktails to really get your day going. + Revel in the brunchy buzz - Weekends are hoaching

Coia’s Café

473–477 Duke Street, East End See Italian

NEW Down to Earth

351 Dumbarton Road, West End (Map 13: B3), 0141 258 0865 | Closed Mon | £12 (lunch)

Opened originally a couple of years ago before a year-long mothball, this health-minded café is back with all-new management and menu – and a new billing as a ‘flexitarian kitchen’, not the old ‘organic kitchen’. It’s in the right place. Despite Partick’s recent rise in the food districts of note in town, it could still do with a shot in the arm of the natural goodness offered here. The nicely designed and slickly branded spot offers breakfast and all-day menus, with helpful icons for the many dishes that are vegan, veggie, gluten-free or contain oily fish. For brekkie there are various fry-ups that go easy on the fry aspect, as well as eggs many ways, bowls of souped-up porridge and toasted sourdough from local Bavarian Bakehouse. Mightier mains include various meat-free burgers, meaty curries, and, of course, mac and cheese. Juices and smoothies are fresh and enticing – much like this wholesome (re)addition to the Partick scene. + Wholesome goodness in deepest Partick - Fast-food ethos not always the most relaxing

NEW Jodandys

1139 Pollokshaws Road, Southside (Map 15: H12), 0141 636 1513 | £10 (lunch)

Another wonderful little café aimed at that generation of people who just did not get the memo from Irvine Welsh that it’s a bit rubbish being Scottish. It oozes with charm and features soups, generously piled brunches, delicious home bakes and a huge variety of coffees and black and green teas (it is good to see smoky lapsang souchong). There’s plenty of humour – the Freak Shakes are served in chemistry lab flasks and the all-day brunch menu features options such as ‘Don’t go bacon my heart’, ‘Hipster’s paradise’, ‘Meet me in St Lewis’ and the veggie ‘21st century Scotsman’. Vegans and restricted diets are all catered for with ease – the gluten-free bread is particularly good. As a mini-bonus it has one of the nicest views on Kilmarnock Road. If you are feeling a little low head here – the animal-themed salt and pepper pots alone will cheer you up. + Homely in the best way - No real surprises on menu

Kilmurry & Co

210 Kilmarnock Road, Southside See Bistros & Brasseries

NEW Kitchenetta

187 Hyndland Road, West End (Map 13: B1), 0141 339 3303, kitchenettacatering. co.uk | £8.50 (lunch)

Having emerged from a catering business, Kitchenetta is clearly aware of the value of beautifully presented and unique dishes. From their delicious cakes to their distinctive take on the humble sausage roll, the offering is enchanting to the eye and values both

The Edwardian Kitchen

Pollok House, Pollok Country Park, 2060 Pollokshaws Road, Southside See Arts Venues

✱ The Glad Café

1006A Pollokshaws Road, Southside (Map 15: I12), 0141 636 6119, thegladcafe.co.uk | £8.50 (lunch)

Chilled out vibes, eclectic music and friendly, mellow staff – the Glad Café is everything a mildly hipsterish dining spot should be. That said, the arty atmosphere doesn’t quite prepare you for the absolute flavour wallop of the veggie food on offer. The daytime menu is crafted by Hen of the Woods, a highlight being the poached eggs with salted yoghurt, chilli brown butter and sourdough toast – it is a rich, runny, comforting plate of joy. Scrambled eggs on sourdough is airy and delicious, while the French toast – doorstop hunks of brioche topped with lemon curd, labneh, spiced plums and almonds – is a taste cavalcade of sweet, sour, acidic, savoury, spicy and creamy. By night, the menu moves on to Pan-Asian small plates from the Hug and Pint team. It is clear that this cheerful hangout is flying the flag for the culinary potential of the neighbourhood café. + Creative dishes that pack a real flavour punch - Wooden chairs would benefit from cushions

BREAKFAST BRUNCH LUNCH

The Glasvegan

50 St Enoch Square, City Centre See Cafés: Wee Places

The Hidden Lane Tearoom 8 Argyle Court, 1103 Argyle Street, West End See Arts Venues

1082 Pollockshaws Road Shawlands | Glasgow 0141 440 7290

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Q HITLIST

CAFES ✱ 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 Hen of the Woods, aka the Hug & Pint.

✱ Gnom Home to pop-up street

food specialists Chompsky, with a global brunchy lunch menu taking in sourdough toasts, bao buns and some alluring puds.

✱ Lagom Kitchen With its skilled collaborative team of chefs and bakers, Lagom Kitchen is always an attraction to the discerning brunch diner and cake seeker. ✱ Locavore Finally a café

operation for the righteous people at Locavore, who’ve been showing us how we should be buying and eating food for years.

✱ 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.

✱ Mesa East End sister venue to

the Southside’s Café Strange Brew, with a similar focus on creative breakfasts, brunches and classy coffee.

✱ Singl-end Spacious, bright

and quirkily rustic basement café on Garnethill, serving refined all-day breakfasts and lunches, with an equally good, newer branch in the Merchant City.

subtle flavours and hearty portions. Even the humble baked spud is given a fresh twist through the option of sweet potato and imaginative toppings. Their determination to develop sustainable practice is evinced through their use of minimal plastics – even the milk comes in returnable bottles. As well as offering another bustling, comfortable café in the Hyndland area, Kitchenetta is committed to ethical, locally sourced products and ingredients. Smooth coffee, excellent home-baked cakes and a wide choice of mains has rapidly made this a local favourite, despite the area hosting an abundance of rival cafés, and its unique blend of sustainability and flavour bodes well for its future. + Wide variety of local produce - Small space can feel rather stuffed

NEW Knolls

162 Dumbarton Road, West End (Map 13: C3), 0141 234 2385, knollsbar.com | £11 (lunch) / £11 (dinner)

Taking over Siempre Bicycle Café at Partick Cross, which was all white, clinical and a bit healthy-looking, Knolls has transformed into a cosy spot, heavy with rustic wood from furnishings to wall panels. It’s working on that café/bar cross-over, open until 10pm a few nights, but it’s a strong café vibe. It’s always been a good commuter spot, with one side down the subway entrance, while it’s roomy enough to accommodate mums and prams without disturbing the solitary laptoppers – or is that vice versa? Plus there’s the huge bonus of a garden out back. Extensive brunch options feature – mixing the trad with the rad – as well as sandwiches that look like they might actually eat you instead. A bit pricey but they’re big – the Reubens is an enjoyable triple-decked toasted mass of pastrami, pickles and Swiss cheese. There’s a small but thoughtfully stocked bar for when the night draws in, and the menu is dynamic with specials to drag an appreciative crowd back. + Brunch in the sun - Big sangers – doggy bag available

Q NEW Locavore

349 Victoria Road, Southside, 0141 423 8685, glasgowlocavore.org | £9 (lunch)

Spreading around a corner venue, Locavore’s exterior stands proud in racing green and sunshine yellow hues. It’s a bigger, better, busier hub for this community interest company helping us to rethink the way we grow, buy and eat food. Cheery orange coats the walls up to ornate cornicing, framing a bustling one-stop shop for wholesome organic needs – scoop/pour-your-own, homegrown veg, groceries, local bread – it’s a cornucopia of organic goodness. The

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communal café has a tight, enticing menu from homemade smoky beans on toast to open sandwiches and the doesthe-lot ‘Locavore Fare’ – a tin plate loaded with three seasonal salads (could be quinoa and squash, cherry tomato and vegetables, a refreshing cucumber number). There is some top-notch evoodrizzled Freedom Bakery bread, dunked into homemade hummus and dips, while the meaty plate (vegan available) includes beautiful Peelham farm charcuterie. Their choc chip banana cake is dense, delicious, and comes with a proper cake fork – on a chipped plate – which frankly shows priorities are spot on: cake forks matter, chips don’t. Sourcing, as you’d imagine, is impeccable, ingredients shout and sing with righteous self-worth and the kitchen handles it all with aplomb. + Every district needs a Locavore - Compelled to buy take-home goods even if just in for the café lunch

Lucky Sparrow Games Café 1091 Pollokshaws Road, Southside See Arts Venues

Mackintosh at the Willow

217 Sauchiehall Street, City Centre See Arts Venues

NEW Mayze

974 Argyle Street, West End (Map 11: H4), | £7 (lunch)

Situated on a busy corner, Mayze is a busy yet cosy café that prides itself on the welcoming atmosphere and a menu that is vegetarian yet adaptable for vegans. The selection of breakfast and lunch options range from delicious and light to more hearty toastie and sourdough choices, with imaginative combinations of fillings and generous portions: the French Toast combines brioche and crumble, while the moist homemade cakes are both vegan and enticing. Its décor is contemporary and fresh, the staff are on the ball and the place has a clientiele that includes many local returners. With a good menu of hot drinks, including a matcha latte, Mayze is ideal for an afternoon coffee stop or a quick lunch – it can be busy over lunchtime but the turnover is swift and the service is fast. The emphasis is on familiar sandwich favourites with a twist, the selection of vegetarian sausage rolls and the cakes make Mayze stand out through a modest yet clear vision. + The cakes selection - Can be a little crowded

Q NEW Mesa

567 Duke Street, East End | £13 (lunch)

When Café Strange Brew owner Laurie MacMillan and one of the chefs – Sardinian Andrea Bartolini – announced a co-venture in Dennistoun, people across town got very excited. Rarely has brunch been so anticipated. This isn’t Strange Brew 2 – there’s a more chilled demeanour and a different menu, but the same canny combo of pretty plates with a bit of rock’n’roll attitude is definitely on show. Pancakes arrive with a poached pear, a fig, and a remarkably floral Middle Eastern panacotta called ‘malabi’, all under honey-sweet dukkah. Very cool, very tasty. Tom Waits looks down from the open brick wall, and anything from A Tribe Called Quest to the Stone Roses might be playing. The east end (of the Med) dominates the culinary influence, while embracing both seasonality and locality. A salty, cutting, lamb shakshuka in a skillet stands out, as does a vibrant pastrami sandwich on thick, tuggy bread. A welcome addition, not just to the neighbourhood, but to the whole city. + Dishes not found anywhere else - It’s very small

Partick Duck Club

27 Hyndland Street, West End See Bistros & Brasseries

The Project Cafe CIC

2–1a Fleming House, 134 Renfrew Street, City Centre See Arts Venues

NEW Rawnchy

58 Maryhill Road, West End, 07478 993883, rawnchy.co.uk | £6.50 (lunch)

A pastel hideaway on Maryhill Road, Rawnchy is Glasgow’s first raw vegan dessert café. Inside, you will find something like a dairy-free fairyland that is charming without being overly chintzy. Garnished with flowers and other dainty touches, many of the treats on display delight the eye as much as the taste buds. The cheesecake-style strawberry and pistachio slice is topped with a fluffy, zesty mousse that contrasts nicely with its salty nut base. The ‘vegan twix’ is a rich, gooey little indulgence with natural sweeteners that make it healthier than its famous namesake. As well as your usual selection of caffeine fixes, the range of coffee-free lattes — including lavender, rose and matcha — are so dreamy that they could put Colombian beans right out of business. Although desserts are the definite focus here, a new savoury menu of soups, breads and nibbles has just been launched as well. + Desserts that are both healthy and indulgent - Limited seating space

NEW Scran

594 Alexandra Parade, East End, scranglasgow.co.uk | Closed Mon/Tue | £10 (lunch)

Another welcome arrival on the East End’s blossoming scene, Scran is located up on Alexandra Parade and pulls in punters from nearby businesses and the high school. It treads a nice line between cafés of old and the Instagrammable new school – rolls and sausage sit happily alongside artful plates of eggs Benedict, with nicely chunky Ayrshire bacon and the requisite rush of runny yolk as you get stuck in. Sandwiches are big, bread is soft, and ingredients are vibrant and classily matched. For talking points, the brioche French toast (with Nutella mascarpone) is the decadent choice, while chips with either halloumi and hot sauce, or with smashed burger patty, are becoming cult favourites (apparently some patrons even ask for both, for the ultimate filthy joyride). It’s a ‘sit-in and eat’ vibe, though a roaring trade in takeaway coffees continues throughout the day. Neighbourhood daytime dining is enjoying a moment right now in this town, and in Dennistoun this is a great choice. + Those dirty fries - Very busy at lunchtime with schoolkid takeawayers

NEW Short Long Black

501 Victoria Road, Southside (Map 15: L11), | Closed Wed | £9.50 (lunch)

Glasgow is not short of hipster/hygge cafés serving great coffee and cakes – and Short Long Black on Victoria Road on the city’s Southside, with its original painted walls, fairy-lit beams and potted plants interiors appears at first to be another cast in the same mould. But this spot has originality in spades. In place of smashed avo on toast find instead freshly cooked crispy potato waffles with chipotle spiced beans, puréed sweetcorn, coriander – and avocado. The all-day brunch menu might be fairly simple but it’s delightful, with each dish delivered with flourishes that take it up a notch. Two variations on eggs Florentine, for


CAFES: THE WEE PLACES

In association with

GLASGOW

CAFES: THE WEE PLACES

Q HITLIST

This section covers the small places – compact cafés, coffee bars, bakeries and delis, generally lower on the seat counts and often geared more towards takeaways. New additions to our guide’s coverage have full reviews in this section, while reviews and details for many more can be found online at list.co.uk/food Reviewers: Deborah Bell, Andrea Pearson, Jay Thundercliffe

NEW Big Bear Bakery

54 Sinclair Drive, Southside, 07917 640793, bigbearbakery.com | Closed Mon–Fri | £5 (lunch)

Singl-end Merchant City

instance, feature halloumi, dill and pea purée and za’atar flatbread, aged spiced butter and feta yoghurt. Coffee roasting and grinding is a speciality – but if you want an off-piste treat, try the roseflavoured hot chocolate. + Everything beautifully made - Can be a bit chilly

Q NEW Singl-end Merchant City

15 John Street, Merchant City (Map 14: P5), 0141 552 4433, thesingl-end.co.uk | £11 (lunch)

The first thing you notice about Singlend is the wafting scent of freshly baked bread, which adds a certain homeliness to this very cosmopolitan café. The atmosphere is brisk but welcoming, with cheery servers weaving around a busy space decorated with vintage touches. Alongside a brunch and lunch menu showcasing the artisan bakehouse breads on offer, you can also choose from a range of daily specials. Portions are mountainous, with the chorizo and Stornoway black pudding open sandwich offering plenty of flavour atop generous chunks of Italian Altamura bread, while the French toast with poached fruit is crowned with a quiff of mascarpone stiff enough to stand your fork in. The Cure Yer Heid berry smoothie certainly keeps its promise, being packed with enough zing to put a spring into your step for the rest of the day. Lively though the whole vibe is, it is also all very comforting. + Generous portions - Might have to queue when it’s busy

Space Speciality Coffee House 540 Dumbarton Road, West End See Cafés: Wee Places

Sprigg

241 Ingram Street, Merchant City See Cafés: Wee Places

NEW Toro Coffee

1484 Pollokshaws Road, Southside, 07772 703540, torocoffeeglasgow.co.uk | £7 (lunch)

If you like your coffee like you like your fighting bulls – strong and black – then you are in for a treat at the newly opened Toro on the edge of Pollok Park on Glasgow’s southside. Its USP is a flight of

three coffees: a double espresso, a pretty and fluffy double-shot latte and a glass of three-shot filter – yeah baby, that’s seven! The daily selection may include a range of indie roasters (including Glasgow’s own The Good Coffee Cartel). A recent sampling featured the Narco Blend (Colombia meets Ethiopia) in both the espresso and latte, and an Ethiopian Koke as the filter. The citrusy burst of the Narco espresso is then tempered in the cleansing comfort of the latte. A sip of hot filter transports you to East Africa after a rain shower – but its soft fruit emerges as it cools. Ideal for the Insta generation, Toro is a carefully curated space created by photographer and co-owner Ross Walker, and there are plenty of toasts (Freedom Bakery) and bakes (Amo Torta) to accompany your caffeine hit. And you can bring the dog. + Caffeine heaven - No savoury snack options

NEW Tulipanè

682 Dumbarton Road, West End, 0141 339 2223, tulipane.co.uk | £4.50 (lunch)

At the far end of Dumbarton Road – an area with multiplying cafés – Tulipanè has big ambitions, managing to balance the ambience of an old-school café with a more contemporary, artisan coffee feel. Their smooth roasted beans compete on a menu with more homely meals, including both fashionable toasted sourdough and more traditional baguettes. With the clientele coming from both the local area and a few from the university, a Tulipanè lunch becomes a unique and fun experience. It is, however, in the attention to detail that makes this place excel – the roll combinations are imaginative, the small stall of gifts speaks to the café’s interest in quality over quantity, and the staff are exceptionally welcoming and friendly. While its location makes it slightly off the main drag of the West End, the quality of the food, coffee and service ensures that it will develop a strong customer base and encourage return visits. + Filling rolls with imaginative flavours - Location out on a limb a bit

The Willow Tea Rooms

97 Buchanan Street, City Centre See Arts Venues

If you need a sign that independent bakers are sorely missed on our high streets, then check out the queues snaking down Sinclair Drive on a regular basis at weekends when Big Bear Bakery opens for business. The bakery, run by Ian Pediani with partner Dominique, has been operating for over a decade, supplying some of the biggest restaurant names in Glasgow and beyond, with their Battlefield shop opening to great demand in 2018. Get there early to maximise choice from their range of breads – including sourdough, baguettes and speciality loaves, and various savouries such as a couple of sandwich options, pizzas and Danishes. Not forgetting the sweet stuff – from croissants and cookies to cruffins (the offspring of marrying croissants with muffins), frangipanes and natas, Big Bear delivers a delectable pastry. They also do vegan specials and good local coffee – plus there are a couple of perches outside if you simply can’t make it home with your goodies. + Classy contemporary cakes and bakes - They will sell out if you have a long lie-in

NEW Deanston Bakery

167 Deanston Drive, Southside, 07799 063214 | Closed Sun–Tue | £5 (lunch)

When an international chef arrives in Shawlands to set up a business – you know things are happening Southside. Former London-based Ukrainian chef Yuriy Kachak chucked his too-busy life to pursue his passion for baking and selected Glasgow’s Deanston Drive in which to do it. Barely more than a hole in the wall, Deanston Bakery is now the kind of place where breads and bakes, served straight from the oven, go like, well, hot cakes. Sourdough is the speciality, but rye breads and bagels also feature, along with savoury buns in flavour combos such as tomato, feta and basil. Brownies and lemon cakes delight in the mouth, while chunky cinnamon rolls are the ideal accompaniment to a cup of freshly roasted Dear Green coffee from the DIY thermos. It also serves as a terrific daily supplies shop, with Mossgiel milk, Corrie Mains Farm eggs and honey on sale. It feels very European in the best way possible. + Haute cuisine in a corner shop - Nowhere to linger

NEW The Glasvegan

50 St Enoch Square, City Centre, 0141 226 3075 | £9 (lunch)

When it opened in 2018, the superbly

CAFES: THE WEE PLACES ✱ The Bakery by Zique A bakery and deli from the folks behind Cafezique, with wideranging bakes and cakes and plenty of savoury options.

✱ Cottonrake A West End

classic pretty much as soon as it opened, with artisan-baked breads, tarts and sandwiches of striking quality.

✱ The Good Coffee Cartel

A Kinning Park roastery with a rotating selection of coffee, as well as coffee equipment, subscriptions, and beans to take home.

✱ Riverhill Coffee Bar A

contemporary bar with a bare-brick interior and a smattering of seating, serving up delicious snacks, cakes and coffee.

✱ Sprigg Health-conscious

takeaway with pick-and-mix bowls for breakfast and lunch, including Glasgow-based produce.

named Glasvegan was offering something unique – a fast-food takeaway that was animal-free, smack bang in the city centre. It’s a bit of a godsend for the ever-growing plantbased diners market – and anyone, in fact, who wants fresh, enjoyable food while shopping/working. The puns don’t stop at the shop name – try the Sweet Home Avocado vegan burger, or the Houmoucide with falafel, beetroot, peppers and hummus. Or for sweet-toothers, the Gloreos – crêpes with Oreos (yes, they’re vegan), strawberries chocolate syrup and cream, or a colourful slice of cake from local producer Rawnchy. Their motto ‘Green, Greener, Vegan’ extends to such practices as using all biodegradable packaging and organising litter-picking walks around the shop. A shift about recently created more seating, and they’re even having gigs now, too. A righteous and delicious option for lunch – even for the meatiest carnivore. + Compelling ethos, nicely realised - Grabbing a seat can be a struggle

NEW Locker 1012

1012 Argyle Street, West End (Map 11: H4) | £10 (lunch)

Pink! If you ever want an unequivocal first impression – walk into this compact café in Finnieston and you’ll no doubt think ‘Pink!’. It’s all-pervading, from the splashes in the mock marble floor, to the chairs, crockery and wall décorations of The List Eating & Drinking Guide

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artificial flowers in multi-hues of pink. Needless to say, there generally isn’t a queue of hi-vis workmen waiting on rolls and sausage here – you’re more likely to catch a glamorous fashion shoot utilising the rose-coloured interior. The compact menu is for brunching, from smoothie bowls and buckwheat pancakes in sweet or savoury versions, to sourdough toast and a skillet of the week – an eggs, tomato and chorizo bake possibly. Dishes are decent – pancakes with bacon are fluffy and filling, with a pretty sprinkling of flowers and leaves – and helped by good produce including Peelham Farm bacon and sourdough from Glasgow’s Freedom Bakery. + If pink’s your thing - If pink’s not your thing

NEW Space Speciality Coffee House

540 Dumbarton Road, West End, 07456 672726 | Closed Mon | £10 (lunch)

Another new café along the Dumbarton Road that is compact and punching above its weight in originality. From the Chinese tea ceremony – with a good quality green tea option – to the kimchi-flavoured toasties, Space is a cool coffee stop and a refreshing change from the familiar lunch options. Already popular and bustling – at lunchtimes it can be hard to find a seat – Space’s limited menu is dedicated to quality, with a range of delicious cakes, chai lattes and rotating coffees making it ideal for an afternoon break. The range of loose leaf teas is rare and remarkable, and the service is warm and vigilant: there is as much attention

paid to coffee as to the customers, with a surprisingly relaxed atmosphere for such a busy venue. While it provides familiar dishes – bagels, avocado – that appear across Glasgow’s café scene, its clean, fresh décor make it a surprisingly calm oasis. + The Chinese tea ceremony making a rare appearance - Difficult to always find a space

Q NEW Sprigg

241 Ingram Street, Merchant City (Map 10: O5), 0141 221 2223, sprigg.co.uk | Closed Sun | £6 (lunch)

Snuggled up across the road from GoMA in a compact, nicely designed spot, this ‘urban takeaway’ is bringing a healthy, righteous mentality to the city’s workers, not to mention shoppers and visitors. Specialising in bowls of pick-and-mix goodness for breakfast and lunch, Sprigg’s Living Wage staff will enthuse as they lead you through the filling of your various sized vegware (take back your used containers for conscience-easing recycle certainty). The set-up is pick premium, e.g. chicken, halloumi, falafel (which is top notch), and add a few or more standard ingredients, including homemade salads – tabbouleh, kimchi, etc – which are fresh and vibrant. Soups feature on the menu too – tomato and chilli is nicely balanced – accompanied by Freedom Bakery bread, while other local suppliers include the Good Coffee Cartel for beans and Rapscallion for juices. + Enticing bowls of goodness, extending to business attitude - Remember your own container to reduce and reuse Sprigg

CHINESE Chinese food in Glasgow may not be the on-trend cuisine, especially compared to other East Asian offerings, but the city has a number of quality operators. From long-standing fine-dining affairs to more canteen set-ups, the city can supply top-notch dining for both the Western palate and those seeking a more authentic feast. Reviewers: Rowan Anderson, Marta Matvijev

Amber Regent

50 West Regent Street, City Centre (Map 10: N4), 0141 331 1655, amberregent.com | £12.50 (set lunch) / £26 (dinner)

Amber Regent is a stalwart of the traditional approach to dining. Launched in 1988, the family-run restaurant underwent a revamp in 2017. While the new attire is unquestionably contemporary, it still emanates an air of timeless and sober elegance, thanks to subdued lights and subtle artistic décor. There are multitudinous skilfully delivered Chinese snacks in the starters section, from crunchy spring rolls and diverse satays to bouncy dim sums. In terms of flavours, there is a constant tug of war between savoury and sweet. The salty seaweed plate with dried seafood pairs wondrously with softer flavours, like a dim sum, or a bao. The generously sized barbecued duck with plum sauce is characterised chiefly by a sugary note. The mains section features well-known Cantonese dishes grouped into sections such as duck, beef and pork, or seafood. A particularly unforgettable example is the Chinesestyle sizzling steak – a tender and juicy cut served with a dramatic flourish as the sizzling meat is doused in the sugary sauce at the table. The house special section steps away from the Cantonese classics, offering interesting seafood dishes with spicy XO or black truffle sauce. + Dazzling starters - Not the cheapest Chinese around

Asian Gourmet

17 West Princes Street, West End (Map 12: K3), 0141 332 1639 | £14 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

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If walking down a dingy side street and then down some steep stairs doesn’t fill you with confidence, prepare to be won over at this Chinese restaurant. This might be a no-frills affair – red polka dot oilcloths sit alongside a splattering of red Chinese lanterns – but who cares when the food is this good? There’s an emphasis on Szechuan food, and dishes such as Szechuan-style double-cooked sliced pork are popular with all its customers. The regular contingent from Glasgow’s Chinese community always seem to order something more exciting than you’ve just ordered – though staff will happily recommend the Mongolian barbecue beef, braised sea bass, or fried jade tofu with spinach. Surprisingly, this place works as well for a first date or a family meal and, as soon as you taste the food, the lack of frills simply adds to the overall charm of the place. + Going in a group and tasting lots of dishes - Access is by stairs only

Banana Leaf

5–9 Byres Road, West End See East Asian

China Blue

96 Renfield Street, City Centre (Map 10: N4), 0141 333 1881 | Closed Mon | £8.50 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

While its location, hidden up a tiled close off bustling Renfield Street, might not suggest impressive dining, this unassuming spot offers some of the most interesting Cantonese food in the city. Commitment to providing exceptional hospitality is clear – manager Cindy personally greets guests while presiding over the excellent service that the staff provide. Diners are treated to detailed and informed advice on the menu, which includes well known dishes in addition to the more exciting and authentic. Food is plated at the table, bringing a little elegance as bamboo steamers laden with delicious offerings are carefully unwrapped by the waiting staff. Highlights on the menu include an excellent kung po – tender and tasty beef in a rich, spicy sauce, the crunch of the cashew a welcome interruption from the heat. From the more authentic pages of the menu, sanbei chicken, which comes with careful warnings not to eat the purple chillies, is full of colour and fiery flavour, a great combination of garlic warmth and chilli spice. China Blue might not look much from the outside, but it’s definitely worth exploring. + Superb Cantonese cooking - Not accessible for wheelchairs

Q Ho Wong

82 York Street, City Centre (Map 10: M5), 0141 221 3550, ho-wong.com | £13.80 (set lunch) / £25 (dinner)

The sophisticated and unashamedly upscale Ho Wong presses heavily on the pedal of top-tier Scottish produce, and, judging from the fact that it has survived the ebb and flow of food trends for over 30 years, they know their stuff. The restaurant offers plenty of famed Cantonese dishes, from dim sums, to satays, sizzling sweet and sour dishes, duck and chicken. If you want a crashcourse in Cantonese flavours or you’re just feeling like trying out a bit of everything, the mixed appetisers option is ideal, covering everything from ribs to prawn, for great value. Anything from the sea is a treat at Ho Wong – from the prodigious doses of mussels in black bean sauce, with a sprinkling of green and red chillies, or a lemon sole doused in a well balanced sweet and sour sauce, with decadently generous pineapple slices. A heavier option are loon rolls, stuffed with strings of ham and prawn, with a breadcrumb finish. Fans of duck will have a heyday at Ho Wong, with profuse carefully crafted dishes – soo chow duck comes, for example, with king prawns, chicken, bamboo shoots and water chestnuts. + Formidable seafood dishes - Limited opening times

Ka Ka Lok

175 St Georges Road, West End (Map 12: K3), 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 East Asia 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 cookie-cutter Chinese menus


CHINESE

In association with

GLASGOW

It’s hard to find fault with Lychee Oriental, and from the food to the ambience it seems to effortlessly reach the heights. + Enthusiastic staff - Limited vegetarian options

Q HITLIST

Nam Tuk Tram Stop

2 Partick Bridge Street, West End See East Asian

Satu Satu

93–97 St George’s Road, West End See East Asian

Sichuan House

345–349 Sauchiehall Street, City Centre (Map 10: L4), 0141 333 1788, sichuanhouse.co.uk | £8.95 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Ho Wong

elsewhere in the city is very refreshing. A cumin lamb on skewer is a super spicy starter as is the oily but delicious salt and chilli chicken. In mains the Szechuan-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

Little Canteen

1164 Argyle Street, West End (Map 11: G4), 0141 339 9355, littlecanteen.co.uk | £9.80 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

This trendy little spot stylises its Finneston address well. It’s offbeat inside with an impressive menu edging toward the more exotic end of Chinese cooking. The décor and dining experience is quirky, with food served on mismatched melamine plates in this compact, busy space where guests are cosied in close proximity to maximise available seating. Portions are ample, ordering a couple of dishes each will mean mountains of food being delivered to the table with dazzling efficiency. The bustle of this little place means long, lingering dinners are not an option, rather it’s the kind of place for a quick and satisfying pitstop. For the bold, the menu includes speciality dishes of duck tongue and chicken feet, but worry not, there is plenty of options for the more cautious diner who seeks the familiar – but impressive – Chinese food. The extensive menu ranges from stir-fry to street food so expect plates laden with tofu – fried until crispy – piles of succulent braised aubergine glistening in a spicy oil or rich shredded Peking pork pancakes, tender and full of deep soybean flavours. + Genuine Chinese food, expertly prepared - Can feel a little crowded due to its popularity

Loon Fung

417–419 Sauchiehall Street, City Centre (Map 10: K4), 0141 332 1240, loonfungglasgow.com | £7.95 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

A pair of miniature golden dragons

unobtrusively guard the dining area here, as if watching for any break in tradition. Glorious aromas fill the room under soft-glowing lanterns while auspiciously coloured red linen is draped under a Chinese patterned mosaic. Tradition, continuity and balance. And why not? Exquisitely steamed sea bream holds its shape perfectly while supporting ginger and soy dressing and the crab rolls taste as if they just scuttled from the beach and into your bowl. There’s a whole farmyard of ways to enjoy some duck, with the chilli and garlic version a particular delight. Whole chillis stuffed with smashed prawns are skilfully seasoned and burst with harmonious heat and sweetness. Add some steamed greens or salt and pepper tofu and it’s hard to imagine a fresher, more authentic experience. Those dragons might as well relax and tuck into some dim sum – it doesn’t need a fortune cookie to suggest that the Loon Fung won’t be changing anytime soon. Thank goodness for that. + Excellent balance of flavours - Big screen TVs

This popular spot on the busy stretch of Sauchiehall Street is famed for its Szechuan-style cooking. The chic space is cavernous, but carefully decorated with heavy furniture to bring a feeling of intimacy and luxuriousness to the dining experience. The menu is as expansive as the dining space, with helpful pictures to guide diners through the more authentic dishes; these specialities mean this place is popular with the Chinese community in Glasgow. Starters include salt and pepper chicken wings and prawn toasts – sizzling and full of earthy sesame flavour. Given that the cooking here is based on food culture from the Szechuan province of China, it would be a missed opportunity not to try the crispy Szechuan chicken for mains – sweet and spicy with a rich, gently fiery sticky sauce. Sam bai chicken, tender and cooked on the bone, is

CHINESE ✱ Ho Wong A special occasion

type of family-run restaurant that delivers awe-inspiring Cantonese treats with high-quality ingredients.

✱ Lychee Oriental A powerhouse of innovative, wholesome, and flavour-rich Chinese fine dining, in a stylish and welcoming spot.

strongly flavoured, pungent in the soy and garlic sauce that is so synonymous with the cuisine of the region. All this great food – along with personable service from manager Joe and the team - means Sichuan House is an enticing proposition. + Excellent Szechuan cooking - Expansive menu makes choosing difficult

Q Lychee Oriental

59 Mitchell Street, City Centre (Map 10: N5), 0141 248 2240, lycheeoriental. co.uk | £11.90 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Run by much-lauded chef Jimmy Lee, this fine-dining Chinese restaurant occupies an inconspicuous location at the back of the Lighthouse. Stylishly modern and clean, with a warm and intimate feel, it brings staples and a varied choice of specialities. The fragrant, but not too spicy hot ‘n’ sour soup is immensely satiating thanks to the tofu, prawn, shredded ham and spring onions, while, all the same, its acidic notes keep one wanting more. Spare ribs coated in sweet Peking sauce go well with a fistful of sour vegetables. What is most evident in the cooking is the freshness of ingredients, whose flavours always have a chance to come through. The stir-fried beef does not conceal the flavour of meat in an excess of sauces, and is served with asparagus that is so delightfully crunchy, it breaks with a snap. Crispy noodles with heaps of king prawn and pak choi feature spongy mushrooms that merge with the oyster sauce into a rich savoury mixture. The List Eating & Drinking Guide

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GLASGOW

PHOTO: STEPHEN ROBINSON

EAST ASIAN Pan-Asian cuisine is certainly becoming fashionable across Glasgow. Influences from the street food vendors of Asia jostle with familiar Thai curries and Vietnamese specialties. From established chains through to bespoke and idiosyncratic kitchens, the range of restaurants find new ways of combining Eastern spices for all budgets and tastes, from alternatives to burgers to more sumptuous feasts. Reviewers: Rowan Anderson, Marta Matvijev, Gareth K Vile

BKK Café THAI

31 Hyndland Street, West End (Map 13: C2), 0141 237 3232, bkkthai.co.uk | Closed Mon | £9.50 (lunch) / £9.50 (dinner)

The interior of Partick’s central Thai café is a patchwork of Eastern and Western artefacts – an odd conical straw hat, a stack of books, and cooking utensils passing off for décor. A counterbalance to this charming haphazardness, BKK Café’s menu is soberly straightforward, sticking to Thai specialities that have withstood the test of time. From the quartet of appetisers, the spring rolls stand out as generously sized, albeit heavy on the vermicelli. The set of soups include the universally loved tom yum and an electrifying tom kha. From the mains, there is a sprinkling of noodles, curries and stir-fried dishes. The good old pad Thai is up to the standard, and served in a size rewarding for those of mammoth appetites. BBK’s signature curry is a lambent combination of tomato, peppers and pineapple with a distinctly strong coconut aroma. With such a succinct portfolio of Thai staples, BKK is a reminder that even in a city brimming with trailblazing culinary innovators, there is a place for the comforting classics. + Top-notch takeaway - Limited opening times

Banana Leaf MALAYSIAN

5–9 Byres Road, West End (Map 11: E3), 0300 124 5099, bananaleafglasgow.com | £11.50 (set lunch) / £17.50 (dinner)

Located in prime position at Partick Cross, the décor in the bar and dining spaces is certainly eye-catching, with intricate decorative cherry blossom woven around lanterns that hang from the ceiling, and exotic sliding doors separating the rooms. There is plenty to choose from on the Malay-Chinese inspired menu – starting with a sharing platter of deep-fried favourites including prawn toast, spring rolls and wanton with a trio of dipping sauces. The chicken and prawn dumplings are fabulous little parcels of flavour – spicy and salty thanks to the rich soy oyster sauce they are swathed in. Vegans will find plenty to enthuse over, with an array of aubergine and tofu dishes – while for the carnivorous, beef rendang is succulent and heady with lemongrass flavours bringing a light freshness to the slowcooked, tender meat. Coconut nasi lemak is a vast plate of delicate, fragrant rice surrounded by a vividly colourful chicken curry, adorned with a sizzling succulent chicken wing, all presented beautifully on a large platter. With an extensive and exotic cocktail menu, Banana Leaf offers a taste of the East in the West End. 146

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Banana Leaf + Beautiful cherry blossom display on

the ceiling - Enormous portions are difficult to finish

Bar Soba FUSION

79 Albion Street, Merchant City (Map 14: Q5), 0141 237 1551, barsoba.co.uk | £7 (set lunch, weekdays) / £17 (dinner)

With outlets in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Leeds, Bar Soba captures the clean, corporate precision of a successful franchise without losing a sense of place and intimacy. Situated on the edge of the Merchant Square – with seating in the lively indoor courtyard – it is as much a bustling bar as a restaurant, and its self-consciously hip décor reflects the menu’s willingness to ‘remix’ familiar Asian dishes. The fries are given a Thai or Japanese twist, spring rolls meet beefburgers and their Bangkok Burger is a riot of curry, noodles and premium beef. Despite this fusion energy, their nasi goreng has a classic flavour – a relatively sober version compared to the mash-up of traditions elsewhere on the menu, it has a taut, familiar quality, but holds to the high standard. With amiable staff, the division between the bar and the restaurant is well managed, making it possible to begin with a quiet meal before moving on to the more robust atmosphere of the bar. + The staff’s attentive yet appropriate service - Occasional noise bleed from other venues in the square

Bar Soba FUSION

116–122 Byres Road, West End (Map 13: E2), 0141 357 5482, barsoba.co.uk | £7 (set lunch, weekdays) / £17 (dinner)

The West End version of this eternally popular chain is certainly a crowdpleaser. Industrial chic décor includes low lighting and graffiti art aiming to bring a trendy urban Asian vibe to the bustling bar, which itself turns out

impressive (read: strong) cocktails inspired by tropical and East Asian flavours – think refreshing Coconut Coladas and fragrant Lychee Martinis. The menu plays with food genres, Americanising some well known panAsian street food styles – with the likes of cheeseburger spring rolls, full of tender beef and gooey cheese. Softshell crab is delicate in a light tempura, offering a single bite of succulent flavour, with a zesty sharpness when dunked in the accompanying chilli-lime mayo. Mains-wise, the twists on pan-Asian staples include katsu curry, this time in burger form with dark spicy curry sauce drizzled over buttermilk fried chicken bringing a smoky depth of flavour to the patty. On the more traditional side, pad Thai is presented in the classic way, a magnificent bowl of rice noodles, roasted peanuts and gently spiced prawns hidden in the broth. Fun food and great cocktails is clearly a winning formula. + Funky fusion food and exceptional cocktails - Can be loud on weekends

Bar Soba FUSION

11 Mitchell Lane, City Centre (Map 10: N5), 0141 204 2404, barsoba.co.uk | £7 (set lunch, weekdays) / £17 (dinner)

Now entering its third decade, Bar Soba’s venue in Mitchell Lane is well recognised for its pan-Asian prowess. The capacious venue sprawls over two levels, with a vibrant groundfloor atmosphere atop a more subdued underground section. A postmodern mash-up of industrial aesthetic with ludic neon lights, this location is resoundingly modern. A commensurate penchant for reinventing the traditional is seen in the cooking style. There is a section of small, simple plates such as prawn tempura, soft-shell crab, and salt and pepper squid. The broccoli tempura have a satisfyingly comforting coat of batter, while retaining a crisp vegetable interior. The large plates

offer more elaborate options, where the teriyaki beef noodles are a good example of a familiar ingredient made more interesting with Asian spices and a touch of creativity. Thin slices of seared steak laid out atop a scoop of noodles coated in teriyaki sauce is a safe choice for anyone with a craving for savoury and sweet combos. The dazzling ingredient quality and reasonable prices – and a surfeit of lunch deals throughout the week – make it a veritable mecca for Asian street food aficionados. + Great for social dining - Can be noisy

Bibimbap KOREAN

3 West Nile Street, City Centre (Map 10: N5), 0141 221 6111, bibimbap-glasgow. com | £19 (lunch) / £19 (dinner)

If jam-packed tables are a barometer of quality, Bibimbap is doing a great job at presenting Korean food to Glasgow. Its kaleidoscopic umbrella-studded ceiling and compact tables lining a narrow corridor echo a street food theme commonly found in many Asian restaurants. The décor definitely gives it character, but it’s the cooking that makes it truly stand out. The flagship bibimbap, a bowl of warm rice, sauces and veg – while definitely praiseworthy – is merely one of a stellar cast of dishes on offer. Dispensing the traditional starter/ mains concept, food is served as soon as its cooked, and the sparse intermezzos between dishes pass quickly while sipping on a cocktail with Korean soju. The fluffy jeons – savoury fried pancakes made with seafood, kimchi or potato – are a good appetite-opener. The opulent bibimbap and deobaps are filling enough to stand in for a whole meal. If you’re up for additional smaller and diverse portions, a wok-fried dish such as the tender bulgogi or sauce-laden cheese deobaps, with one of the rice rolls will do the trick. + Wide-ranging variety of Korean foods - No bookings


EAST ASIAN

In association with

GLASGOW

eSUSHI

NOODLE & SUSHI BARS 130–132 Byres Road, West End See Japanese

The Hanoi Bike Shop VIETNAMESE

8 Ruthven Lane, West End (Map 13: E1), 0141 334 7165, hanoibikeshop.co.uk | £16 (lunch) / £22 (dinner)

The popularity of the Hanoi Bike Shop, down one of the numerous cobbled lanes of Byres Road, ensures that it is often lively and bustling, with music adding to the sense of clamour and urgency – and while the serving staff can appear overworked and distracted in such an environment, the service is always polite. The menu offers up a taste of Vietnamese food with sections on street food and ‘pot and grill’ – the vit lau, a duck leg and banana hot pot, has layers of nuanced tastes, with a sweet yet spicy edge. A section lets you build your own pho, adding your personal pick of a choice of ingredients to the noodle based broth, a staple in Vietnam. The range of generously portioned main courses on offer, from chilli-glazed sesame rice cakes through a variety of dishes using the restaurant’s own homemade tofu, make the Bike Shop’s menu an adventure into a foreign land. It’s an excursion helped along by the hustle and bustle that lends the place an informal charm, enhanced by the street food ethos and bicycle-heavy interior design. + Vit lau (duck, banana and coconut pot) - Slow service

Honu

FUSION 562 Dumbarton Road, West End, 0141 334 9000, honuglasgow.co.uk | Closed Mon | £9 (lunch) / £15.50 (dinner)

At the western end of Dumbarton Road, where the bustle of pubs gives way to near suburban serenity, sits Honu – a local eatery with a markedly global outlook on food. Posited as a purveyor of food of the Pacific Rim, its menu reads like a mash-up of the most popular elements of select Asian and North American cuisines. Prawn crackers and kheo curry for a pinch of Thai; gyoza and tempura from Japan; and the ‘sweet chix’ waffles for a whiff of indulgent continental US cuisine. The heterogeneous fusion translates into plates brimming with colours and textures – a characteristic that is epitomised by the Hawaiian poke bowl where teriyaki, spring onion, cucumber, sesame, carrot, edamame beans, nori and tempura prawn gracefully lay atop rice. It looks like an impeccably wellrounded, wholesome dish. Sogginess is anathema to Honu, as the Korean chicken served with a dash of spicy gochujang sauce or the tempura prawn haven’t a single drop of oil too much. Honu’s offerings are a laudable contribution to neighbourhood dining. + Stellar deep fried foods - Somewhat too simple Thai curry

Q Julie’s Kopitiam MALAYSIAN

1109 Pollokshaws Road, Southside (Map 15: H12), 0141 237 9560 | £14 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

This unique eatery has an instant warm, welcoming vibe thanks to the charming team and delightful smells that drift from the tiny kitchen. It’s a hive of activity, where the immensely talented chef-owner Julie Macleod creates inspiring Malaysian delights that have led this wee place to become a giant on the Glasgow food scene. While the menu is small, like the kitchen, each dish is an expertly designed triumph. Food is

presented beautifully on earthenware dishes and is bursting with vibrant flavours and colours. The menu offers a mix of small and large plates, allowing a welcome opportunity to order numerous different options, such as glass noodle salad – fresh and lively with juicy mango and crisp beansprouts; the palm sugar vinaigrette a delightfully sharp contrast to the rich curries. Or chickpea roti, which comes fluffy and light but deep in flavour. The daily special curry, nyonya – intensely flavoured with fragrant lemongrass and coconut – is exceptional; the nasi goreng – an ample bowl of fried rice with succulent, turmeric seasoned prawns hidden throughout is a carnival of flavour. Join the inevitable queue outside, Julie’s cooking is absolutely worth the wait. + Exceptional Malaysian-inspired food - Popularity means a wait is inevitable

Q Kimchi Cult KOREAN

14 Chancellor Street, West End (Map 13: D2), 0141 258 8081, kimchicult.com | Closed Mon | £6.50 (set lunch) / £11 (dinner)

Despite being a really rather small diner just off the Byres Road drag, Kimchi Cult exudes a large dose of warmth and friendliness. The reasonably priced menu manages to make the place an alternative fast-food joint while at the same time offering distinctive and rich dishes, from its selection of burgers with added kimchi to its bibimbaps and baos. It’s a thriving and busy space, where the food always manages to be served quickly and is always fresh, with the relatively limited number of ingredients – panko prawns, tofu and bulgogi all make repeated appearance – allowing the restaurant to make the most of a tiny kitchen space. Given the tight conditions, it’s a wonder that the meals are presented so beautifully, and the bibimbap – a bowl of rice, vegetables and assorted toppings – is a value for money choice, especially warming on chillier days. Kimchi Cult pitches its unpretentious street-food atmosphere perfectly, making it a popular choice for local students, especially at lunchtime, and the kimchi and cheese fries are a flavoursome and filling meal in themselves. + Cosy and fun atmosphere - No toilets

gathering; either way you’ll see plenty of professionalism and dedication at play. Relaxed and inviting, Kitsch Inn offers a playful and unique evening. + The consistency across the courses - Toilets are downstairs and distant from the restaurant

Q HITLIST

NEW Mr Wu’s Disco Kitchen FUSION

87 Kilmarnock Road, Southside, 0141 230 1532 | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

A recent arrival in Shawlands, the intriguingly named Mr Wu’s Disco Kitchen is still finding its sense of identity somewhat. Torn between a kitsch Chinese restaurant atmosphere and an equally kitsch disco vibe, where the padded booths conjure up an idealised 1970s’ underground club, its design is more functional than seductive. The fairly conscise menu suggests that a large group could do well with a tapas and drinks evening against a more intimate dining experience. The small plates can be a little salty, but the selection of fries (from Disco to Hoisin Pork) is fun, and the ramen-based soups are filling and nicely seasoned. The larger plates are strong examples of crowd-pleasing favourites – katsu curries and satay dishes – but the imagination has been reserved for the burger menu, which cleverly adapts some Asian flavours to the brioche bun. Whether it is busy – it has the bustling energy of a pub – or quiet, the service is spot on, and its idiosyncratic mash-up of styles makes it worth spending an extended evening here. + The attentive service - Certain dishes run out on busy weekends

EAST ASIAN ✱ Julie’s Kopitiam Bustling

20-seater Shawlands diner, kitted out in warm, earthenware tones, doing excellent casual Malaysian food.

✱ 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.

✱ Nanika In Glasgow’s most

ethnically diverse area, Nanika offers exciting and original South-east Asian dishes at affordable prices.

✱ Non Viet Top-quality Vietnamese

cuisine prepared with great care and attention in a relaxed and contemporary diner at Charing Cross.

Kitsch Inn THAI

214 Bath Street, City Centre (Map 10: L4), 0141 332 1341, tikibarglasgow.com | £9.50 (set lunch) / £18.50 (dinner)

The combination of retro chic decoration – the Tiki theme of the downstairs bar is reflected in the 1960s’ magazines that cover the walls – and Thai specialities lends Kitsch Inn a distinctive identity. The menus, based on MAD magazines, set the tone for a quirky dining experience, yet the attention to detail in the cooking and presentation of the dishes ensures that it is not a mere novelty. From the rich starters to the small but delicious desserts, lead chef Tommy Leskin presents a selection of familiar Thai dishes that have a consistent, subtle and spicy quality. The chicken with chili jam elegantly balances sweet and hearty, the jungle curry has the necessary kick, and the sharing platters – which bundle together highlights from the starters – are a generous showcase of the restaurant’s versatility. The atmosphere is laid-back, and staff have an obvious enthusiasm for the Inn’s personality, which thanks to its design works as both a location for an intimate meal and a more raucous party The List Eating & Drinking Guide

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Nam Tuk Tram Stop FUSION

flavours, there’s the dry stir-fried seafood, also known as the famed char kway teow. The portions are universally gargantuan, and adding to that an altogether separate vegetarian menu, Rumours is a godsend for ravenous non-meat-eaters and omnivores alike. + Gargantuan portions - Plain fishcakes

Nanika

2 Partick Bridge Street, West End (Map 13: D3), 0141 357 0330, namtuk.co.uk | £10.95 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Standing at the southern end of Byres Road, this trendy little spot has tried hard to bring a little of the exotic to Partick, with its decorative bamboo caning separating areas of the restaurant and bright manga art that gives a lively vibe to the space. Low window tables mean great views up Byres Road and across the bustling Partick Cross. Immensely popular with locals thanks to the thriving take-out service, Nam Tuk is always a hive of activity. Food wise, it is an exciting amalgamation of Asian cuisine with Thai, Japanese, Korean and Chinese dishes on the menu. A generous bowlful of Singapore noodles, laden with chicken, pork and shrimp in a spicy chilli oil, is pleasingly slurpable and dangerously addictive. Vegans and vegetarians have plenty of choice here with several tasty options, including a mountainous plate of Thai-style fried tofu – crispy in a sweet chilli sauce nestled atop crunchy chow mein. Happily, there is also an extensive selection of Asian beers available to cool the mouth after this festival of spice. + Funky fusion food - Expect a longer wait during peak takeout times

Satu Satu

MALAYSIAN 93–97 St George’s Road, West End (Map 11: J3), 0141 237 4515, satusatu.co.uk | Closed Sat/Sun | £8.45 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Nanakusa

JAPANESE 441 Sauchiehall Street, City Centre See Japanese

Q NEW Nanika FUSION

72 Victoria Road, Southside, 07383 716676, nanika2.neocities.org | Closed Mon/Tue | £15 (dinner)

‘Flavour is the only goal’ is the mission statement of the team behind this tiny space on Victoria Road – and, boy, are they excelling in their pursuits. The food here is remarkable – expertly created, fresh little plates which are packed full of flavour. The restaurant only holds 14 at a time, so expect to make new friends as diners are politely requested to scooch over to make space – this eclectic informality makes this experience all the more enjoyable. Fluffy, cloud-like buns, which are stuffed with daily specials including breaded chicken or sharp tangy prawns, are a must order. The salmon and sweet potato bowl is vibrant and hearty, with a pleasing bite from citrus ponzu dressing. Spicy prawn fries – heavily flavoured with floss and sriracha come laden with scallions and are devilishly delicious, but can be eaten without guilt when enjoyed beside delicate kimchi noodles that are full of umami – or the green papaya salad, an expert balance of sweet and savoury with herbs, peanuts and fish sauce dressing. Nanika should be marked ‘urgent’ on the to-do list for all Asian food fans – whether living in Glasgow or not. + Exceptional cooking in a quirky space - Takeaway limited to collection only

Nippon Kitchen JAPANESE

91 West George Street, City Centre See Japanese

Q Non Viet

VIETNAMESE 536–538 Sauchiehall Street, City Centre (Map 10: K4), 0141 332 2975, nonviet. co.uk | £12 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Towards the Charing Cross end of Sauchiehall Street, Non Viet has established a relaxed, informal atmosphere, with a menu that invites adventurous dining. From the squid 148

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and mango salad starter to the fried icecream dessert, the choices are distinctive and combine familiar ingredients and imaginative combinations. The slowcooked caramelised dishes, for example, explore a fresh take on sweet and savoury tastes, while the seafood selection offers expertly cooked squid, catfish as well as prawn and scallops. The generous portions of the starters are a hearty meal in themselves, but much of the food’s quality comes from the attention paid to the details – the rice and noodles are cooked with care, and the service never becomes intrusive. Their Vietnamese traditional coffee provides a strong caffeine kick, and a transportative taste of the country, helpfully evoked by décor that doesn’t fall into kitsch or cliché. While the spices have a subtle and nuanced flavour, the quality and quantity of the ingredients makes Non Viet a great spot for both a change of taste and a filling, warming meal. + Starter menu is full of intriguing dishes - Service a little too relaxed at the end of the meal

NEW Non Viet Hai VIETNAMESE

609 Great Western Road, West End (Map 12: G1), 0141 334 3090, nonviet.co.uk | £14.50 (lunch) / £21 (dinner)

In a city where Vietnamese restaurants are few and far between, Non Viet Hai – the newer sibling of the Charing Cross original – is a welcome addition. A bike, a scooter, cone paper hats, and the obligatory timber-panelled walls give the space an air of charming nonchalance. The menu is characterised by an equally seductive panoply of invigorating ingredients. The mixed platter of starters gives a good overview of the flavour spectrum – from crispy spring rolls and fish cakes, soft grilled squid, to the savoury pork in betel leaf, served with three different sauces. In terms of mains, Non Viet Hai has brazenly eschewed the current ‘tapas’ fashion, and sticks to the

standard mains size, which is more than enough for one person. And kudos is well-deserved for serving up truly piping hot, sizzling mains. You can choose from a range of widely known Vietnamese phos, plenty of refreshing lemongrass and chilli dishes, or chargrilled and stir-fried vegetables. Notable is the slow-cooked caramelised section, with the soft, highly indulgent pork belly. + Platters offer loads of food for an affordable price - Payment is cash only

Pickled Ginger

NOODLE & SUSHI BARS 512 St Vincent Street, West End See Japanese

Ramen Dayo

NOODLE & SUSHI BARS 25 Queen Street, City Centre See Japanese

Rumours Kopitiam MALAYSIAN

21 Bath Street, City Centre (Map 10: N4), 0141 353 0678, rumoursrestaurant.co.uk | Closed Mon | £17 (lunch) / £17 (dinner)

An honestly simple, no-frills interior can do more for a good-mood atmosphere than the touch of the most creative decorator, as Rumours Kopitiam shows. As the name ‘kopitiam’ designates, it purports to be nothing more than a café – but one that boasts one of the most copious offerings of Malaysian food in Glasgow. With a formidable 100-plus item list menu to comb through, newcomers may freeze at the thought of actually placing an order – but the rewards are great for those who persevere. The roti chanai coupled with a spicy sauce to pep it up coaxes the appetite, as well as the slightly sweet satay chicken on skewers. The mains cover a copious range of soups, stir-fried dishes, omelettes, and curries. A standout dish, the stir-fried king prawn doused in piquant shrimp paste, has an addictive savouriness. For more subdued

Although Satu Satu appears to be caught between two identities – a restaurant providing both familiar and unfamiliar Malaysian dishes and a ‘dessert café’ – its strength is undeniably in the imaginative and intriguing selection of puds on offer. Featuring sweet treats that profess health benefits, bubble tea, rice and mochi balls – which have a texture and taste that evade easy description – the dessert menu is a clear highlight and a visit for tea and pudding is highly recommended. The main dishes are hearty, if occasionally lacking nuance in the flavouring, and appeal to the more adventurous diner who wants to escape the tropes of East Asian cuisine. The atmosphere, with open kitchen, busy but polite staff and a family friendly warmth, replaces the seriousness of the restaurant experience with something more informal and homely. The idiosyncratic opening hours – it is closed at weekends – should not distract diners from a menu that is certainly distinctive and, in the case of the desserts, one of the most original selections in Glasgow. + The dessert range – large, delicious and distinctive - Noodles a little over-salted

Temaki FUSION

113 Hope Street, City Centre See Japanese

Thairiffic THAI

303 Sauchiehall Street, City Centre (Map 10: L4), 0141 332 3000, thairifficrestaurant. com | £7.95 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Aiming for a contemporary, clean and fresh atmosphere, with attentive and polite staff who are constantly checking in with the customers, Thairiffic is a surprisingly quiet and cosy presence on Sauchiehall Street. The name’s already a give-away before being presented with the menu of Thai cuisine, which offers a strong selection of starters and main courses. From the rich and creamy curries through to the more austere yet flavoursome noodle-based dishes (the pad Thai is exceptional), Thairiffic provides a warming and hearty selection that does not deviate too far from traditional dishes – yet adds focus on distinctive ingredients. Each dish seems designed to showcase different produce, although krachai (a form of ginger) does make repeat appearances. The desserts are limited to fairly generic ice-cream based items, so better to take on some starters at the beginning, with their mixture of familiar spices, superb sweet chilli sauce and idiosyncratic ingredients. Elegant and efficient service, discreet décor and a well-designed pair of dining rooms that retain a feeling of intimacy and privacy, makes this place an enticing option for a relaxing Thai meal in town. + Thai calamari - Limited dessert menu

Wagamama JAPANESE

97–103 West George Street, City Centre See Japanese


FISH

In association with

GLASGOW

FISH From the legend of Saint Mungo that gave Glasgow its fishy coat of arms to the River Clyde’s seafaring history, this is a city that knows much about quality catch. Indeed, the ubiquity of fresh fish has seen a wealth of restaurants spread out across the city; stalwarts seemingly unchanged since forever and pacemakers pushing the piscine envelope minus the white tablecloths. So be it sashimi, ceviche or deep-fried haddock – whatever your taste – this section’s got something for you. Reviewer: Robbie Armstrong

A’Challtainn

54 Calton Entry, East End (Map 14: S6), 0141 237 9220, achalltainn.com | Closed Mon | £24 (lunch) / £24 (dinner)

A’Challtainn is a fish restaurant, and a good one at that. What makes it unique though is its place at the heart of Barras Art and Design, a flexible, multi-purpose community and business space with a busy programme of art and performance events throughout the year – plus regular markets for vintage fashion, collectables, crafts and food. The mezzanine restaurant sits within the hanger-like open space, so ‘outside’ tables overlook the huge floor below while a glazed-in room offers a cosier, enclosed dining space. Dishes on the monthly menu are as eclectic as the venue – oysters and hot or cold lobster are fixtures, while more inventive dishes might include gurnard fillets in a polenta crust, or stone bass with a Vietnamesestyle salad. Fish and chips (also available to eat outside or take away from a ground floor shop) features a huge piece of snow-white haddock in a light, crisp batter, for a reasonable £14. If fish is not your thing there will always be a couple of red meat options on offer – venison and pork belly were recent stars – and at least one decent vegan main. Downstairs, a well-stocked bar serves a paired-down version of the menu, together with craft beers and a great line in cocktails. + Great fresh fish in a unique venue

- Big-screen telly can be distracting from

the balcony

Catch

186 Fenwick Road, Southside, 0141 638 9169, catchfishandchips.co.uk | £20 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Elevating the humble chippy above heights seldom seen, from the temperature controlled fryers to the spray bottles of vinegar, there’s an attention to detail here that goes beyond the expected. Fresh catch sits in an ice counter as you walk past the tiled bar and dining booths. Stay traditional or switch it up, splash out or stick to something simple – the menu’s organised into starters, grill, favourites, great catch, buns and platters. A taco starter comes with grilled prawns and chipotle mayo, tasting like it was cooked on a summer barbecue, but better. Tempura prawns come with a sweet chilli sauce and are encased in a crunchy breaded crumb. The smoked haddock with chips sees yet more delightfully cooked flakes of fish wrapped in dreamy batter, dry and crispy, with wisps breaking to give way to the smoky tang of saltwater fish. If you’re feeling opulent (and ravenous) try the lobster mac and cheese – it’s rich and decadent – and you’ll never finish the whole thing. There’s a good selection of wines, bubbles and bottled beers to boot. + Top drawer chippy - Chips fall a tad short compared to the fish

NEW Catch

27 Gibson Street, West End (Map 12: H2), 0141 370 8181, catchfishandchips.co.uk | £20 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Escape the bustle of Gibson Street and you’ll find this is a posh, sit-down chippy par excellence. Much attention is paid to the slick, maritime-themed décor, from the exposed brickwork and hanging boats that display menus, to the blue and white banquettes and lobster crates above the door. The menu is vast and offers a wealth of choice, with everything from starters and platters to tacos, fish à la plancha, classics, buns and more. Most starters are shareable, from the salt and chilli squid with roast garlic and ginger mayo to the scotch egg with Dingwall black pudding and pear chutney. Less amenable to sharing is the vegetable and

tofu tempura taco – a delicious, vegan mess. But let’s not jest, the main event is battered fish and chips – take your pick of haddock, cod, sole goujons or langoustine tails. The crunchy batter is light, crispy and nigh-on faultless, the perfect shell for moist flakes of North Sea haddock. Grilled fillets of sea bass in lime and black pepper, meanwhile, come with crushed potatoes, sautéed greens and hollandaise sauce. + Serious about fresh Scottish fish - £12.50 supper might be a tad too much for some

Q Crabshakk

1114 Argyle Street, West End (Map 11: G4), 0141 334 6127, crabshakk.com | £27 (lunch) / £27 (dinner)

Celebrating its ten year anniversary in 2019 – a fact that is testament to how much Finnieston has changed recently, when Crabshakk’s arrival heralded a bright new beginning for the district. It’s remarkable how much they’ve packed into a tiny space, from a marble bar and mirrored wall to ornamental ships and curved railings leading upstairs to a compact mezzanine. It’s all about the specials and fresh catch in this bustling spot, but there’s a modern touch to match the décor. Mussels in nduja and puttanesca sauce gives the bivalves a spicy, earthy depth of flavour with crusty sourdough to soak it up. Share some salt and pepper squid, with gurnard goujon and Asian slaw, or seared scallops with anchovy butter. The main menu comprises mainly shellfish – from crab and lobster, to oysters, langoustines and a fruits de mer platter. There’s a real focus on specials that champion the catch of the day too – halibut with a creamed cod roe polenta, diced potatoes and rock samphire, or cod with olive oil mash, black pudding, broccoli and a green apple salsa. + Trendiest fish spot in town - It’s pricey

Q The Fish People Café

350 Scotland Street, Southside, 0141 429 8787, thefishpeoplecafe.co.uk | Closed Mon | £16.50 (set lunch) / £26 (dinner)

The Fish People Café, along with the adjoining fishmonger that spawned it, has earned the status of Glasgow institution, and for good reason. It’s situated in a bit of a no-man’s land, but what it lacks in postcode it more than makes up for in warm welcomes and character. The chequered tiled floor and marble bar are elegant and transportive – more becoming of Paris than Glasgow. Crucially, the fish people serve their name proud. The menu is refined and full of fresh Scottish catch, with a few vegetarian and meat options thrown in. And from the maritime wash of fresh and saline oysters, to Barra scallops served with smoked anchovies – the food doesn’t disappoint from the get-go. It’s a kitchen that isn’t afraid to switch things up either – take the swordfish sashimi served with pickled ginger, wasabi and nori. Or even better – tandoori-baked Anglesey sea bass in curry oil – yielding flakes of melt-in-the-mouth fish aglow with spice. In short, it’s a place that understands the allure of simplicity first and foremost – fruits of the sea, expertly sourced and deftly handled. + Fish doesn’t get fresher than this - Book up – it can be a can of sardines at weekends

Gamba Catch

225a West George Street, City Centre (Map 10: M4), 0141 572 0899, gamba. co.uk | £22 (set lunch) / £33 (dinner)

Gamba has a hard-won reputation for fish

Q HITLIST

FISH ✱ Crabshakk Compact fish

restaurant where cooking, service and ingredients are carefully balanced to create an unforgettable dining experience.

✱ The Fish People Café A

Glasgow institution determined to bring the freshest fish to your plate, with light-touch cooking and creative twists.

✱ Two Fat Ladies at the

Buttery Traditional Scottish cuisine focused on seafood cooked with French flair, in an old-school Highland dining room setting.

served with a touch of luxury, attributable to the tireless work of chef-proprietor Derek Marshall. It’s a classy affair, from the reception area with its well-stocked bar through to the dining area where you’re greeted by hand-painted artworks of various varieties of sea creatures, tallbacked chairs, wooden flooring and mood lighting. Starters are elegant and refined, with nods to a worldly culinary outlook. Try an energetic little dish of yellowfin tuna sashimi with wasabi, pickled ginger and tamari dipping sauce, or a sea bass tartare served with goat’s cheese, sundried tomato, sesame, and a Bloody Mary sorbet that tastes every bit like the lazy Sunday cocktail. For mains, there are the likes of a whole Gigha halibut with king prawns, mussels, mangetout and maple syrup, or steamed monkfish and scallops with spring onions, ginger, fish sauce, lemon and tamari. Though you come here for the fish, desserts don’t disappoint either – a yielding banana and cinnamon sponge with a creamy milk sorbet is the stuff of dreams. + Attention to detail across the board - This level of attention comes at a price

Gandolfi Fish

84 Albion Street, Merchant City (Map 14: Q5), 0141 552 9475, cafegandolfi.com | £17.95 (set lunch) / £24 (dinner)

The slick sister of Café Gandolfi, this stalwart spot’s been serving the city since 2007. The décor is sleek and swaps the wood next door for glass, tiles and colourful artwork. There’s a simple respect for quality ingredients that makes the place stand out. Cumbrae oysters taste as though plucked straight from the ocean, with splashes of vinegar, shallots and lemon. Salt and pepper calamari tastes textured and crispy next to a Thai dipping sauce, while grilled lobsters are moist, and cut through with the caper and gherkin tang of salsa verde. Mains are heartier – sea trout Wellington or fish pie. Fish choice changes depending on catch and season – such as sea bass with crispy potatoes, sautéed greens and caper butter. It’s best not to skip the desserts here, either – the chocolate brownie is rich and The List Eating & Drinking Guide

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cacao-laden, with a scoop of vanilla icecream. Wines are clever, too. Each main comes with a recommended glass, taking complication out the equation. It’s a welcomely stripped-back and beautifully refined menu across the board. + A top spot for worshipping the delights of seafood - Mains could do with more creative flair

Mussel Inn

157 Hope Street, City Centre (Map 10: M5), 0141 572 1405, mussel-inn.com | £10.95 (set lunch) / £23 (dinner)

A capacious space opens up as you enter Mussel Inn, with seating on two floors and an open kitchen. The chefs don’t overcomplicate things too much, but give nods to various culinary styles across the menu. Kick things off with a delicious bowl of Cullen skink with smoked haddock and salmon. Or try a less traditional but just as good starter of calamari à la plancha, with Cajun spice and basil oil. For mains you can choose from the likes of tiger prawns, scallops, shellfish pasta or sea bass. If you can’t make up your mind, the hot seafood platter comes with all of the above, swimming in a rich lobster bisque. As you’d expect, much is made of the West Coast mussels which come by the full kilo or half. There are four cooking options, but you can’t beat the classic — white wine, garlic, shallots and cream. If you’re still hungry, the baked chocolate mousse with hazelnut biscuits, chocolate sauce and cream cheese makes for a sweet finish. + Mussels galore - The space feels a touch impersonal

Rogano

11 Exchange Place, City Centre (Map 10: O5), 0141 248 4055, roganoglasgow.com | £18.50 (set lunch) / £35 (dinner)

A space that’s seemingly stayed the same since the days of George V, you shouldn’t need to be told that this is a Glasgow institution par excellence. Rogano delights in doing things exactly the way they once were, from the classic cocktail bar and retro Art Deco interior, to the seafood platters and champagne on ice. Share some oysters to kick things off, or go for a few starters – langoustines in a green herb butter, or scallops with braised fennel, rock samphire, saffron potatoes and an apple gel. Mains don’t deviate too much from the traditional either. Sole meunière is served with a rich, caramelised lick of brown butter, the fish deliciously tenderised – a plate destined to be left with only bones. Or switch it up somewhat with Monkfish, curly kale and a turmeric yellow sauce (or the poshest and nicest chip shop curry sauce you’ve ever had). There’s a fine selection of sides, wines, cocktails and desserts, too. Service is the definition of attentive – black aprons, white shirts and starched linen. Just don’t expect it to change. + Almost unaltered since 1935 - Almost unaltered since 1935

Salt & Vinegar

1044 Pollokshaws Rd, Southside (Map 15: H12), 0141 632 7289, saltandvinegarglasgow.co.uk | £16 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Step through the seafaring signage and you’re transported back to happy childhood memories enjoying a chippy after a summer’s day at the beach. But this is a cut above many other chippies. There’s a detailed focus to everything – from the service and nautical décor, to the woodwork and the porthole windows. While the focus here’s the fish and chips, the menu goes beyond just suppers – try the crispy calamari with garlic mayo, or hot chilli king prawns fried in butter.

If you’re not in the mood for fish, don’t shy away from the courgette, pea and asparagus risotto – nicely cooked in white wine and garlic, the rice retaining a pleasing bite. Let’s not prevaricate further – the star of the show is the battered fish and chips – and rest assured the haddock more than meets expectations. The delightful crunch and lightness of the casing is the ideal foil for the flaky fish inside. Chips are on point, not too soggy and testament to the attention paid to a proper fry at this Southside establishment. + An exemplary chippy - Tad pricey for standard chippy favourites

Q Two Fat Ladies at the Buttery

652 Argyle Street, West End (Map 11: J5), 0141 221 8188, twofatladiesrestaurant. com | £17.50 (set lunch) / £30 (dinner)

Despite being nestled in a positively pedestrian part of town, inside the coloured glass doors and cut-out crabs you’re welcomed in like an old friend. The space inside has the trappings of a baronial Highland country house, from the assortment of crockery to wood panelling, marble bar and tweed chairs. Like the décor, the menu is Scottish, but with a backbone of classic French cooking. The Cullen skink, in all its fishy splendour, is executed faultlessly – potatoes and delicious flakes of salmon and haddock sit in a smoky cream sauce. Less traditional is the potato hash, smoked salmon and poached egg, topped with rose harissa hollandaise. There’s nary a dud choice here – halibut is wrapped in smoked salmon, topped with asparagus, caviar and placed on a bed of lemon risotto and spinach purée. Or stay traditional with the grilled whole lemon sole Thermidor, in a sauce oozingly rich and cheesy. Wrap up the party with millefeuille – a crispy delight with oodles of raspberry jam, salted caramel ice-cream and hazelnut and praline cream. + Can the chefs do no wrong? - Surrounding area lacks a bit of vibe

Two Fat Ladies in the City

118a Blythswood Street, City Centre (Map 10: M4), 0141 847 0088, twofatladiesrestaurant.com | £16 (set lunch) / £25 (dinner)

Taking its name from the currently shuttered 88 Dumbarton Road premises, the city centre establishment works on the same premise – fresh seafood in a comforting setting with smart and stylish fish-themed décor. Starters are as you’d expect from a Scottish-dedicated seafood place – the likes of Cullen skink or a dish of hot smoked salmon, served with pickled courgette, cucumber, apple and the odd parsnip crisp. The roasted cauliflower salad is more unusual, and comes with a punchy blue cheese cream and raspberry vinaigrette. For mains, there are scallops, mussels and a selection of plated fish dishes such as honey miso red mullet with parsnip purée and roasted broccoli, or a whole sole with orange, almond and caper butter. A dessert of chocolate ganache with pistachio coconut cream and cherry coulis is oh so rich, dark and decadent. Sticky toffee pudding and crème anglaise is, well, sticky and deliciously moist. There’s a good choice of wines and beers, too, and plenty of dessert wine options for a super sweet end. + Great setting and location - Prices can be high for what you get at times

FRENCH France may be the home of modern culinary endeavour, and it may have an affinity with Scotland in general à la the Auld Alliance, but its representation in the restaurants of Glasgow is surprisingly minimal. Still, this section features one of the heavyweights of the city’s dining scene and other cosy restaurants and casual bistros well worth investigating. Reviewers: Martin Cross, Colette Magee, Rory McGinley

Atlantic Bar & Brasserie

Lower Ground, 12–16 St Vincent Place, City Centre (Map 10: O5), 0141 221 0220, atlanticbrasserie.co.uk | £16.95 (set lunch) / £28 (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 where rotisserie chickens revolve 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 à l’orange, beef bourguignon and an enjoyable bouillabaisse with soft white fish cooked in a Pernod and saffron broth, with potato gnocchi adding 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. + Classy joint with glamorous credentials - Menu a bit overwhelming with choice

Beaumartin - The Cottage

156 Milngavie Road, West End, 0141 258 1881, beaumartinthecottage.co.uk | Closed Mon | £18.50 (set lunch) / £27 (dinner)

There are very few restaurants in Glasgow at which the chef-patron will greet tables with the day’s specials or explain that the homemade ice-cream should be just about set by dessert. Yet, this is not an unusual sight at this sleepy outpost in Bearsden, where a compact and historic white

Q HITLIST

FRENCH ✱ Brian Maule at Chardon

d’Or A masterclass in fine dining, impeccable local sourcing and cooking with skill and complexity.

cottage is now the site of an intimate, 32-cover restaurant, which, in commitment to using organic, local produce, is, if not redefining what French cuisine is to its Gaelic audience, certainly giving it a more progressive voice. A well-priced market menu contains an appealing trio of cod, grey mullet and brown trout dressed in a caper and lemon butter, complemented by some star veg, namely caramelised shallots and roasted courgette. Special of the day, corn-fed chicken, is accompanied by a generous helping of sautéed wild mushrooms and spiced couscous. If the move from the city centre residence has allowed proprietor Richard Dupupet to loosen some of the culinary shackles at Beaumartin – The Cottage (bourguignon and steak frites are conspicuous by their absence here), then Bearsden is most certainly the beneficiary for the change. + Appealing wine list - Not a great selection of veggie mains

Q Brian Maule at Chardon d’Or

176 West Regent Street, City Centre (Map 10: M4), 0141 248 3801, brianmaule.com | Closed Sun/Mon | £22.50 (set lunch) / £40 (dinner)

Almost 20 years since he left his head chef post at the famous Le Gavroche to set up on his own, chef/patron Brian Maule remains a visible presence at Le Chardon d’Or, personally running the kitchen to ensure that every dish that leaves it is up to his own very high standards. The name (translated as Golden Thistle) is a giveaway to the marriage of classically Gallic techniques and luxury Scottish ingredients found at this topclass restaurant. His multi-level space is configured to accommodate corporate

Urban Bar & Brasserie

23–25 St Vincent Place, City Centre See Bistros & Brasseries

Côte Brasserie

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and group entertaining on a large scale – which it manages on a regular basis – while retaining the original features of its Georgian townhouse setting. It’s smartly appointed – peaceful and elegant with soft lilac walls and thistle motifs on the blinds. Dishes are as rich and complex as you’d expect with this pedigree – a starter featuring pan-fried scallops, spiced cauliflower purée and rice crackling is abundant with a myriad of textures and flavours, and surprisingly generous with the seafood. Main courses are equally inventive, showing a level of care in creation and execution that is a real rarity in town. It’s not a place to rest on golden laurels either – a separate vegan menu keeps it up with the times. + Sophisticated fine dining - Rather tart apple tart tatin

Chez Mal

Malmaison, 278 West George Street, City Centre (Map 10: L4), 0141 378 0384, malmaison.com | £19.95 (set lunch) / £28 (dinner)

Tucked away at the quiet end of West George Street, the basement restaurant at Malmaison inevitably depends on hotel guests for much of its business. In its current incarnation as Chez Mal, though, it merits a journey in its own right. A grand vaulted room is smartly and simply furnished, with a number of elegant semicircular booths as well as open tables. Service retains the polish of earlier finedining days, though now the atmosphere is a little more casual and prices perhaps more accessible. Asian flavours rub shoulders with the Med here – calamari with a wasabi crème fraîche, for example – while the list of mains has both a lamb bhoona curry and a crab and scallop risotto. Sides are tempting, particularly the signature ‘loaded’ fries with confit duck and truffle. Desserts are generous, wellexecuted classics, such as a rich chocolate mousse with cinder toffee and cocoa-nib tuile. A whopping 23 different wines are available by the glass, and the prix-fixe is decent value at under £20 for two elegantly presented courses. + Smart dining on an accessible prix fixe - Away from the action

Côte Brasserie

INDIAN Glasgow prides itself on being a curry capital and a glance down just about any street will show you why. Those listed here go the extra mile – in some cases spending several days in the preparation of a single dish. Things haven’t changed too much in the last 12 months. But, hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Enjoying an Indian curry with friends remains one of the best ways to spend an evening in Glasgow. Reviewers: Becki Crossley, Deborah Bell, Andrea Pearson

Balbir’s

7 Church Street, West End (Map 13: D3), 0141 339 7711, balbirs.co.uk | £20 (dinner)

Balbir’s has been a part of Glasgow’s dining scene for longer even than The List. In that time it has created new dishes, such as the tandoori salmon, that have gone on to become staples elsewhere. Its cool, contemporary and flexible space makes the experience as close to fine dining as one could want for an Indian meal – it would work equally well to impress friends or clients. The menu features favourites from the karahi and tandoor, as well as several less familiar dishes such as bhel poori, a refreshing bowl of coriander leaves, red onions and crispy chickpea noodles all drizzled in tamarind sauce. Or missi roti, a gram flour bread, enriched with fresh herbs and spices, then there’s chettinad, a hot South Indian curry made with black pepper and dried chillis. Another innovative aspect of Balbir’s is the off-piste experience where diners list the kinds of ingredients and flavours they like, and staff conjure up a banquet to suit. If that seems like too much work, a handful of set menus are suggested. Either way, diners are in very, very good hands with Balbir’s. + Innovative menu that can be tailored to diners’ requests - Standard desserts don’t match the rest of the offering

Banana Leaf

76b Old Dumbarton Road, West End (Map 11: E3), 0141 334 4445, bananaleafglasgow.co.uk | £11 (lunch) / £11 (dinner)

Predominantly a takeaway, Banana Leaf also offers two tiny seating areas in its West End HQ. Prices include sides, making it the perfect budget eatery to casually call in at. Though the restaurant space is outdated, a long standing reputation of immense and reliable flavouring (plus famous dosas), mean this curry spot can afford to be unapologetically in need of a refurb. Having said that, the place is set to have one in the near future. From the immensely delicious smell wafting from the open kitchen, down to the plastic cup for beer (BYOB!) the place has a street food feel and could certainly be that one spot you gamble on and end up raving about for weeks. The menu boasts dishes strictly of South Indian origin where all the chefs learned to cook before coming to the city. Dishes are dense in flavour across the board; enjoyable options such as the vegetarian bagara baigan or the kozhi takkali chicken curry deliver a rich palette of spice and a comforting homemade feel. + Great value for money - The setting

Chaakoo Bombay Café

79 St Vincent Street, City Centre (Map 10: N5), 0141 229 0000, chaakoo.co.uk | £9.95 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Not your traditional curry house maybe, but always a lively atmosphere, with friendly staff and a menu that adapts well to modern tastes. The original Chaakoo Bombay Café in Mumbai railway station brought Iranian shish kebabs and snacks to busy commuters; and the feel is casual here too. Diners choose from a selection of small plates; the menu changes infrequently, but there is sufficient variety to justify repeat visits. As well as some traditional dishes, such as saag paneer and lamb rogan josh, there are interesting house specialities such as Kerala monkfish, a mild coconut dish, and a dum biryani, which layers slowcooked spiced lamb with fragrant basmati and caramelized onions – delicious. Sides include aloo chana with rocket and a

sweet tamarind dressing which tingles on the tongue. A simple wings starter – not conventional perhaps – shows off the grill skills, with its just-charred skin and succulent hot sauce. Washed down with a Cobra or Edinburgh-made Bellfield beer (gluten-free and vegan accredited) it all makes for an evening of good food and lively chat. No wonder this place is so often busy. + Tasty, easy small plates - The fun side won’t suit purists

Charcoals

26a Renfield Street, City Centre (Map 10: N5), 0141 221 9251, charcoals.co.uk | £6.95 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

There is something very cheerful about a meal at Charcoals. A gently buzzing little restaurant festooned by fairy lights, it seems to have its fair share of regulars, judging by the familiar greetings of the waiters. Although clearly committed to serving up a classic Indian meal, the staff also like to challenge your curry comfort zone by randomly treating you to free samples of lesser-ordered dishes. As you would expect from the name, the restaurant’s speciality is its tandoor oven, which is showcased in the subtle smokiness of the salmon tikka starter. A chef’s special is the lamb dopiaza, the tender, generous chunks of meat cooked with aplomb, the sauce revealing enough depth of flavour to give a truly layered savoury experience. The paneer makhani is as it should be — rich, creamy and fruity with enough zest to keep things interesting. Both the mango chutney and peshwari naan make for satisfying accompaniments. The restaurant’s various charity works, pictured on the walls, add to the warm glow. Overall, you are in safe hands, culinary-wise, in this cosy city centre curry spot. + Random free dish samples - Space can get a little cramped

Charcoals Café

74 Trongate, Merchant City (Map 14: P6), 0141 258 6482, charcoalscafe.co.uk | £6.95 (set lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Charcoals is best known for tandoori skills – the range of starters include meltingly soft chicken with just-charred crispiness and well-spiced minced lamb

41–43 West Nile Street, City Centre (Map 10: N5), 0141 248 1022, cote-restaurants. co.uk | £11.50 (set lunch) / £23 (dinner)

Bringing a little Parisian charm to the city centre, Côte Brasserie’s formula works up and down the country, 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 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 pudding, from the classic crème brûlée and tarte au citron through to a cracking chocolate fondant. + Fresh, tasty food in classy surroundings - Some dishes a bit under-seasoned

Hotel du Vin Bistro

1 Devonshire Gardens, West End See Scottish

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kebabs. Quality continues with the main courses, too. The menu highlights a couple of house specialities which are worth delving into. A gobi ghosht uses the sweetness of cauliflower and sourness of tomato to counter rich slow-cooked lamb. Bengali fish, by contrast, is served in a rich, creamy sauce that builds flavours in layers of fresh spice. It’s great comfort food and, pleasingly, Charcoals doesn’t hold back on the fiery flavour – the chilli naan packs a welcome punch. It’s also one of the few places where you can get a masala tea, made traditionally by warming fresh ginger and spices with milk and tea leaves. The outdoor seating also gives the place a bit of a carnival atmosphere (helped perhaps by its lively neighbours Boteco do Brasil and Maggie Mays). It’s a welcoming place – staff seem to adhere to the philosophy of the blackboard sign that reads: ‘Today’s special … and so are you.’ + Super-tender chicken, a great masala tea and a friendly team - Pre-prepared ice-cream puddings

NEW Clay Oven

67 Kilmarnock Road, Southside, 0141 632 2324, clayovenonline.com | £19 (dinner)

Another new opening and another curry house serving Punjabi-style favourites . . . so far so familiar. But wait . . . things are a little different. First clue is in the cool contemporary styling of this unlicensed diner and the cheeky menu wording (‘Chicken tikka three ways: the perfect choice for indecisive peeps’; ‘Layered paratha: Round. Flakey. Yaas’; and ‘Veg pakora: an honorary Scot probably more popular than neeps and tatties’). Another indication is in the eating. Sizzling plates of chicken tikka – succulent breast pieces, marinated in yoghurt and grilled to smoky delight – are the big crowd-pleasers. But it’s not all meat madness and there are plenty of dhals, paneers (deliciously light and fluffy) and a reasonably sized vegan section, too. In the kitchen is patron Shazad Mohammed – a modest and dedicated chef who has earned a good reputation after four years of cooking for Giffnock’s finest at his takeaway in the Southside suburb. His move to a Shawlands sit-in has attracted a good mix of clientele, with plenty of young Asian families coming along to give his home-cooking style the thumbsup. + Tasty tikka - Not much chilli punch to some dishes

Q Dakhin

89 Candleriggs, Merchant City (Map 14: Q5), 0141 553 2585, dakhin.com | £9.95 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

In an elegant block of the Merchant City sits this stylish South Indian eatery. The smartly clad interior matches the well-presented staff and, on entry, the place quickly asserts itself as a standout establishment. Sophistication and professionalism seem to sit high on Dakhin’s priorities justifying its higher price range and lavish drinks selection. The (allergen free) menu overflows with a list of compelling dishes of regional fish, meats and vegetarian options. For sides, choose from infused rice, trios of bread, dosas and more that appeal to the taste buds just as much as the mains. The distinguished menu, paired with the overall ambience make this an ideal spot for a celebration or pre-theatre treat. If ‘mouthfeel’ ever had a place in a curry review it’s this one. Attention-grabbing flavours lace dishes such as the chicken mysore chilli koli or the vegetarian palkatti chettinad encouraging one to simply sit, taste and enjoy. The complex seasoning proves addictive but, thanks to

the light nature of the dishes, room and appetite remain for dessert. Choose from a rich chocolate brownie or a house-made pistachio kulfi, among others. + Deep flavours - Quiet music

The Den at Dining In with Mother India

1347 Argyle Street, West End (Map 11: F3), 0141 334 3815, motherindiaglasgow.co.uk | Closed Mon/Tue | £6.95 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

A fantastic entry-level experience for the wider Mother India family, the Den at Dining In is a cosy and warm space, with large wooden ‘wind-breakers’ shielding diners from any icy blasts (much appreciated on cooler nights) and ideal for a catch-up with friends. It’s not a big blow-out of a menu – there are no starters, just a list of about a dozen or so curries. Fish and seafood are given a starring role, with four varieties cooked in four ways. Monkfish cooked in a South Indian-style malabar sauce is zesty, fresh and good value. It is complemented by a muttar paneer with springy cubes of paneer in a rich tomato and spinach sauce. Nothing is overly spiced, but the sauces are rich enough to see that there are layers of preparation at play. It’s no-frills in the sense that it is a simple menu – a few main courses, rice, a couple of roti and naan, and ice-cream or gulab jamin to finish – but the food is a lot more confident than in many a frillier place. + Short menu, executed perfectly - Service can feel stretched when very busy

The Dhabba

44 Candleriggs, Merchant City (Map 14: Q6), 0141 553 1249, thedhabba.com | £9.95 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

The welcome at the Dhabba is as warm as the two-chilli curries marked on the charming newspaper-style menu. Don’t be surprised if descriptions seem a little more poetic than usual (a lamb maas is suitable for ‘the most ferocious Bengal Lancer’ for instance) – the writer Jack MacLean had a hand in its compilation. A special section is devoted to the house speciality, dum pukht, a slowcooked dish sealed in a bread crust. This is just one of several things that mark the Dhabba as a little out of the ordinary – a dahi bhalla starter features fluffy lentil doughballs in a calming yoghurt sauce; breads include a lightly spiced missi roti; puddings, which are more than just an afterthought, include a traditional aromatic chawal ki kheer rice pudding; and special mention is also given to matching wines. The cooking throughout is refreshingly strong on flavour and light on oil. All in all there is fine-dining attention to detail, in a convivial and canteen-like setting that very much evokes the feeling of a traditional Indian street-side dhabba. And with more than 100 covers it would be an ideal works-night-out spot. + Friendly and fiery – a great combo - Food cools quite quickly in earthenware bowls

Green Chilli Café

1293 Argyle Street, West End (Map 11: F4), 0141 337 6378, greenchillicafe.com | Closed Mon | £12 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Where Dumbarton Road meets Argyle Street a small shop front gives way to this unassuming and surprisingly roomy establishment. The food in this contemporary curry house is served in a tapas style (aside from Saturday and Sunday evening) and five dishes, plus sides, are recommended for a pair

sharing. For those who overestimate the size of their stomachs, the vigilant staff are quick to advise, insisting on quality over quantity. A real high point of this West End spot are the friendly and forthcoming staff that know the menu like the back of their hands. They can describe and recommend dishes off the bat, which takes off the pressure of steering through the large and mouthwatering menu. A special selection of tandoori dishes, as well as the chilli paneer, keema mutta and gobhi gajar mutter jump off the page. When the dishes arrive, intermittently as is the tapas way, they are all enjoyably fresh, wholesome and nicely seasoned. The choice continues after the mains, for those still hungry, with a menu of ice-cream and sweet treats. + Bubbly atmosphere - Tapas only served until 6pm on weekends

NEW Himalayan Dine

71 Kilmarnock Road, Southside, 0141 636 1000, himalayandine.co.uk | £5.95 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

This recent addition to the Southside's Shawlands area specialises in Nepalese food and, as the geography would suggest, this means there is an East Asian influence running through the cooking. There are dumplings, sweet and sour dishes, spring rolls and black beans sitting alongside more familiar Indian-influenced dishes such as chicken tikka masala and saag paneer. The Heart of Nepal section of the menu features Manchurian veg, a satisfyingly thick soy-dashed sauce over lightly spiced vegetable dumplings. The lamb in a slow-cooked Himalayan gosht just melts away under the fork. Both dishes are refreshingly light on ghee or oil. The venue has a charming family feel about it – it’s a simple dining room draped in square Nepalese-style bunting and there is a street-food-like pace to the business as takeaways and sit-ins are served with efficiency. With offers of great value set meals, it is little wonder it is already abuzz with diners on most evenings. + Exciting influences - Can feel busy with takeaways

Q NEW The Lansdowne

7a Lansdowne Crescent, West End (Map 12: I2), 0141 334 4653, motherindia.co.uk | Closed Mon | £16.50 (lunch) / £16.50 (dinner)

For Glasgow’s curry lovers, Mother India has a long-established reputation, whose blend of tradition and creativity is in evidence in this new offshoot. The Lansdowne retains much of its previous bar layout, but with tables set for relaxed dining, and the unique glasshouse at the rear offers light on the gloomiest of Scottish days. Walls lined with portraits of customers and staff past and present illustrate that history carries plenty of weight here. Middle Eastern delicacy is combined with robust desi flavours on the new menu. Tempura-like veg pakora, with date and tamarind chutney, arrive with a fluffy roti and are gone in a flash. Roadside lamb curry is an upmarket version of Indian street food with juicy lamb chunks and a ginger kick, intriguingly adorned with straw potatoes. It’s also an expert balance of textures – crunchy chips contrasting against soft braised lamb. The labneh sauce that sprinkles taste bud magic over a skewer of succulent grilled monkfish has chef Amit Shirma displaying kitchen skill that borders on sorcery. It’s the crowning glory of a series of dazzling dishes found, somewhat curiously, in a basement curry house on a quiet, tree-

Q HITLIST

INDIAN ✱ Dakhin This South Indian

restaurant in the Merchant City stands out with a unique menu and sophisticated ambience.

✱ The Lansdowne The Mother

India restaurant group adds some Middle Eastern flavour to classic desi dishes at their latest venture.

✱ Madha Contemporary Merchant

City dining spot serving up regional Indian cuisine prepared with passion, skill and artistry.

✱ Mother India West End

trailblazer that continues to innovate after more than 20 years, and is back in stunning form.

✱ Obsession of India

Exceptional service at this newly refurbed eatery. Dishes are light and easily adapted for vegetarians.

✱ Ranjit’s Kitchen Southsider

with great sense of place and style of cooking that stands out from the rest. Unbeatable value.

lined West End crescent. + Inspired fusions, exquisitely delivered - Spirits gantry needs some of the love the food gets

Little Curry House

41 Byres Road, West End (Map 13: D2), 0141 339 1339, littlecurryhouse.co.uk | £10.95 (set lunch) / £17 (dinner)

There are immediate similarities to Mother India and the Wee Curry Shop – once upon a time all were part of one extended family. The former group ethos prevails with good freshly made food, and there are some common recipes such as the healthy-tasting spiced haddock with tomatoes. An open kitchen design means you can watch every naan bread on its journey from dough ball to plate, which all adds to the entertainment. Through the week, a mix and match tapas menu allows diners to try a variety of smaller plates (why on earth isn’t everyone doing this yet?). There are some standout features of the cooking – tender breast fillets in a traditional chicken curry succumb to the fork easily, delightfully mild and squeaky paneer is made inhouse, and the chana daal is a strong contender for best in town. It’s all served up in a convivial environment and at weekends there is a particular buzz. And the light, no-ghee cooking style means you can party afterwards – rather than head straight home to jammies and TV. + Watching the chefs prep, cook and serve - Cautious with chilli heat The List Eating & Drinking Guide

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GLASGOW

Q Madha

42 Albion Street, Merchant City (Map 14: Q6), 0141 552 6000, madha.co.uk | £10 (set lunch) / £24 (dinner)

Comfy booths, a pleasant sense of bustle and welcoming beams from the staff – Madha has a way of putting you at your ease. And while the contemporary décor is soothingly muted, the complex and thoughtful dishes are much bolder in contrast. Madha specialises in North and South Indian cuisine with chefs from each region in the kitchen, meaning you can travel back and forth on the map, flavour-wise. Vegans also have their own extensive selection. From the main menu, the Kashmiri lamb rogan josh is both rich and light, with tender chunks of lamb – prepared on the bone for extra flavour – swimming in a pleasantly gravy-like sauce. The Punjabi paneer in makhani (butter) sauce is a layered experience, with the liquorice twang of its star anise opening descending into fruity tomato notes followed by a soothing creaminess. An airy, buttery, flaky paratha and elegantly crafted peshwari naan do an excellent job of mopping up the sauces, while fresh lemon pickle on the side adds a nice kick. The semiya payasam vermicelli pudding offers a light and unassuming end to the exceptional cuisine. + Regional Indian dishes prepared with passion, care and artistry - Service can slow down when it gets busy

Masala Twist

192–194 Byres Road, West End (Map 13: E2), 0141 339 3777, masalatwist.co.uk | £18 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Open 365 days of the year, this large-

capacity venue feeds hungry punters in their masses on a Friday or Saturday night, while tranquility can be found here on weeknights. The size, coupled with the accessible West End location, makes Masala Twist ideal for larger group bookings and private hire. The interior is clad with traditional paintings and guests sit among faded pink booths, which age the establishment a little beyond its years. An already extensive menu grows larger by night with a selection of chef specials sitting among the Scottishinspired Indian dishes, exotic meats (camel, kangaroo, crocodile and more), and a good selection of vegetarian dishes. The regional dishes offer a taste of all corners of India, which sets this menu aside from many others in town while still featuring go-to dishes such as chana masala or garlic chilli chicken – although the more adventurous diner deliving into the menu’s divergencies will be well rewarded. Service is efficient and the warm and welcoming staff ensure an evening here is well spent. + Open 365 days a year - Interior rather dated

Masala Twist City Centre

261 Hope Street, City Centre (Map 10: N4), 0141 332 6002, masalatwist.co.uk/ centre | £6.95 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

Don’t be fooled – behind the brash décor is one of the best Indians in town. The bright colours, bold menu claims (‘Scotland’s hottest chicken curry’), and astonishing deals (£14.99 for two courses and wine) could make it pass for any curry-in-a-hurry spot. But there is a lot of care and attention beneath the surface. On the menu is a list of ‘one pot’ curries that reads like a map of the sub-continent

(from Andhra Pradesh to Maharashtra) as Masala Twist tries to educate diners on regional varieties. A starter of keema pav on the street food menu is a divine, spiced minced lamb served with pav (crispy roll) while a plate of fried paneer with charred veg is spritely, freshly made and stacked in a generous pile. The main attraction does not disappoint either. A Goan fish curry is a smooth and deeply satisfying balance of spice and creamy coconut, while a chettinad chicken (Tamil Nadu) offers a rich tomato and onion sauce and plenty of robust chicken breast pieces. If you wish to avoid pre-made ice-cream puds, a fresh chai is a good option. + Travelling the subcontinent via spice - Pre-made ice-cream puds

Q Mother India

28 Westminster Terrace, Sauchiehall Street, West End (Map 11: G4), 0141 221 1663, motherindiaglasgow.co.uk | £12.50 (set lunch) / £23.50 (dinner)

Yes, it is as good as people say it is. Mother India is just that bit more selfassured. The ingredients burst with freshness, the cooking is creative and staff are terrific. When you add good value into the mix it is hard to justify wandering any further into Finnieston – and let’s not forget, having opened in 1990, Mother India is certainly one of the village elders in this part of town. The menu is, thankfully, not overwhelmingly long, and includes a section of sophisticated options for vegetarians. Starters indicate the shape of things to come, where even something as seemingly perfunctory as vegetable pakora is taken to new heights with a light coating of gram flour, and super-

fresh spice that shines through. An interesting haddock starter is piled with pungent Punjabi spices and piquant roasted tomatoes. Main courses are creative and sufficiently varied to offer interest on repeat visits, and a thali option means you can dive into your own mini selection. A flavoursome smoked lamb with broccoli and green chilli, accompanied by marinated beetroot and pickle, is enough to bring on an eyeroll of appreciation. Ice-cream themed puddings now come from the adjoining Bungalow Café. + Fresh and distinct flavours that shine through - Not much creativity in puddings

Mother India’s Café

1355 Argyle Street, West End (Map 11: F3), 0141 339 9145, motherindia.co.uk | £12 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Finnieston is packed with restaurants that cater to a variety of clientele, each subsection of which can no doubt be found visiting the venerable chain that is Mother India. Mother India’s Café is the younger, but no less impressive, sibling of the original restaurant serving tapas-style Indian dishes. The restaurant has smart décor, welcoming staff and a warm and animated atmosphere. This small plate style of eating dishes that are often devoured in full leaves a satisfying and lighter feel than a typical Indian dinner, and begs to be enjoyed with friends. The reputation of the chain, paired with the knowledgeable staff, permit daring selections from the menu and daily specials keep things interesting for those returning. The bold flavours of multiple dishes do, in fact, work harmoniously with one another, and can

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wooden tables and kitschy wall art, Tuk Tuk is a cheerful setting for sampling Indian street and railway food. The menu is tapas style and is divided into roadside plates, curries and tandoori dishes, as well as breads and sides. The Bengali fishcakes — handmade railway station patties — are subtly spiced with a nice nip of heat, the fish tender and almost bhaji-esque in texture. The ‘Glasgow special’ of marinated paneer tikka is gorgeous – firm and giving in texture with a buttery, smoky flavour. Yet the outstanding moment is the signature dish of daal makhini, a black lentil curry cooked for 24 hours with kidney beans. It is a beautifully brothy, creamy, complex dish that’s not quite like anything else, conjuring up grandma in the kitchen-style hominess combined with a distinct air of panache. The gulab jamun pudding is a well-executed finish, offering firm and fluffy dough balls alongside a pleasantly milky ice-cream. In short, a great spot for sharing folksy Indian small plates in colourful, bustling surroundings. + Cheerful atmosphere – ideal for street food sharing - Service can feel a little rushed

The Wee Curry Shop

Mother India

be tied together with the noteworthy lemon and cashew rice, or a classic garlic naan. Expectations are succeeded right from the (truly) spicy onions that settle you into your meal, right through to the coffee that finishes. + Vegan options available - No reservations

New Gandhi

441 Victoria Road, Southside (Map 15: L11), 0141 423 8000, newgandhi.co.uk | £18 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Up a flight of stairs between shops, Mahatma Gandhi looks out on diners with the reminder: ‘God comes to the hungry in the form of food’. And while it may be unlikely you will experience Nirvana you may be pleasantly enlightened in this Indian from the Danny Singh family stable. The menu has several subheadings with lengthy choices – so it can seem a bit confusing. But staff will make recommendations on an if-you-like-that-you-will-love-this basis. Everything is made from scratch so it is easy to mix and match dietary requests. Among the starters are puris, monkfish tikka and a choice of pakoras – including a warming and spicy fish variety and fresh-tasting paneer in bright red cubes of batter. From the mains a simple vegetable curry is lifted by a lightly acidic tomatobased sauce that soaks deep into the cauliflower and potato, all topped with chopped green chillies. A recommended mosmi bahar is a much richer sweet and spicy sauce with succulent, marinated chicken breast pieces. Generous portions may defeat some people – but takeaway boxes are gladly provided. + Friendly and informative staff . . . - . . . which is handy as menu choice is a little overwhelming

Q Obsession of India

25 High Street, Merchant City (Map 14: Q6), 0141 552 0700, obsessionofindia. co.uk | £7.95 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

In the heart of Glasgow’s Merchant City sits the newly refurbished Obsession of India. A fresh lick of paint, cool lighting, an ultra modern bar and bathrooms have propelled the place into 2019 and made it a stand-out option for one of the best curries in the area. A lively energy awaits inside and the smartly dressed staff are on the case from the moment

the door opens. All food is made to order and the chefs are very accommodating, making no fuss over small changes. The staples of Indian eating are free from food colouring here and sit perfectly in a balance of light and rich. In keeping with the exceptional service, diners are allowed to return any dish that is not 100 per cent to their liking. Standout dishes such as the chicken tikka shahi karahi   feature good portions of tender meat, and most dishes – including house specials – can be made vegetarian, a feature rare in the city. A curry house doing dishes this conscientiously may not, quite rightly, be the keenest priced on the à la carte, yet pre-theatre and set deals help make this place a must-visit at any time. + Exceptional service - Expensive desserts

Q Ranjit’s Kitchen

607 Pollokshaws Road, Southside (Map 15: K11), 0141 423 8222, ranjitskitchen. com | Closed Mon | £11 (lunch) / £11 (dinner)

Opened in 2015, this family-run spot quickly established itself as a culinary hub, and an integral part of Glasgow’s flourishing Southside food and drink scene. Ranjit’s aims to provide food that captures Punjabi flavours true to the West Indian origins. In keeping with this, the menu is 100 per cent vegetarian and a selection of complementing lassis, teas and coffees are to be enjoyed. The menu provides a mix of regular go-tos and daily daal and sabji specials. Everything is made fresh on the day and ingredients are sourced as locally as possible. The dishes are light and carry a consistent flavour that ties the whole menu together. Ranjit’s is a true all-rounder, suitable for lunch or dinner, sharing with families or a date. The interior is modest, simple and casual, as is the style of eating – cosy and cool by day and glowing with fairy lights at night. To top it all off, the staff are affable and the affordable prices are hard to beat anywhere else in the city. + Great value for money - Expect a wait on weekends

Tuk Tuk

426 Sauchiehall Street, City Centre (Map 10: K4), 0141 332 2126, tuktukonline.com | £12 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

With its artfully casual backdrop of

29 Ashton Lane, West End (Map 13: E2), 0141 357 5280, weecurryshopglasgow. co.uk | £16 (lunch) / £24 (dinner)

Amid the cobbles of the famously quaint Aston Lane, the Wee Curry Shop sits confidently in a modestly fronted first floor building. The interior gives the feel of a family home, with photographs sitting proudly on every wall. In truth it is wee, but as an empty room fills with hungry punters the atmosphere swells to something that is anything but. Though no music can be heard on a stereo, the restaurant makes its mark with homely cookery and just as homely staff. The menu displays its strongest points for those hungry for meat or fish, including intriguing options such as methi keema peas, haddock and king prawn, while only a small selection of dishes are available for vegetarians. Go-to classics such as the butter chicken curry and saag aloo impress with their self-assured execution and fresh-tasting ingredients. The bill for an average meal of mains, sides and desserts for two racks up fairly quickly, but, with an experience like this, it is worth every penny. + Cosy and confident - Expensive dessert

cooking, and cracking prices, it’s not worth worrying about. + Fast, friendly, homely and tasty - Might need your cardigan on colder days

Yadgar Kebab House

148 Calder Street, Southside, 0141 424 3722, yadgaronline.com | £9.50 (lunch) / £9.50 (dinner)

Yadgar is an unlikely entity – an outon-a-limb, unassuming Pakistani diner and kebab house that attracts fervently dedicated customers from outside town. You wouldn’t for one second guess this from the basic décor and Formica tables, but then again that’s a big part of the charm. With the food itself – ‘kebab house’ doesn’t even begin to cover the range on offer. Everything from the fresh, creamy mango lassi to the airy, butter-puddled naan is lovingly executed here. It is sort of like a reverse Wizard of Oz – an unassuming exterior, yet with some sort of technicolor spice sorcery happening out of sight in the kitchen. For instance, bite into the light, flaky pastry of a mince samosa and you are treated to a warm cloud of meat woven with surprisingly complex flavours. The speciality lamb haleem curry offers a pleasing sharpness softened by just the right amount of coriander, while the rich, comforting aloo gobi nails its vegetable textures and combines herby comfort with a welcome after-kick. The whole experience is one long culinary lesson in never judging a place by appearances. + Rotating daily specials – there’s always something new - Queuing to order can be a wait when it’s busy

The Wee Curry Shop

7 Buccleuch Street, City Centre (Map 10: M3), 0141 353 0777, weecurryshop. co.uk | £6.50 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Very much in the if-it-ain’t-brokedon’t-fix-it category, the Wee Curry Shop has been serving top nosh since 1997. Don’t expect startling innovation, just straightforward curries, rotis and rice. Add a Kingfisher or a lassi if you are feeling flash. The price remains old-school, too, with a terrific value two-course lunch for £6.50. There is a smallish menu but the daily specials board is the main focus – expect to see an occasional fish curry, or the Scot-Asian fave of haggis pakora. Descriptions on the menu are designed not to confuse, ginger chicken and spinach leaf is exactly as advertised with chunky slices of home-pickled ginger – a good sign that food is prepped over several stages, while a saag paneer broccoli is simple and delightful. There are the odd quibbles – a daal shows little signs of the promised carmelised onion and Indian veg, for instance, and the chunky china serving bowls cool the curries a little too quickly at the table – but with such comforting, home-style The List Eating & Drinking Guide

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ITALIAN

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GLASGOW

ITALIAN

Alla Locanta

7208 | £7 (lunch) / £7 (dinner)

192 Pitt Street, City Centre See Round the World

Baffo

1377 Argyle Street, West End (Map 11: E3), 0141 583 0000, baffo.co.uk | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

The arrival of a new culture brings with it something unique and few have influenced Scotland, and Glasgow, like the Italians since they arrived on these shores. The city’s food offering from the old country is a constant source of joy, with something for all occasions; traditional family restaurants, authentic delis and cafés, trendy Neapolitan pizza vendors and, of course, new contenders to the throne emerging every year. Reviewers: Craig Angus, Bronwen Livingstone, Ruth Marsh

Not your traditional Italian restaurant, Baffo’s cool, contemporary and informal with a cheerfully hipster vibe and an excellent range of artisan beers. The menu’s almost entirely in Italian, so it helps if you know your scamorza from your spianata. Both (a semi-soft cheese and a spicy salami, respectively) appear on the Baffo antipasti board along with olives, prosciutto, bread and a forest of rocket. Bruschetta, focaccia and pasta fill out the menu, but the star attraction is the pizza. The base is thin in the middle and pillowy around the edges with clear holes in the crumb and blackened air bubbles and blisters on the surface. Impressive half-metre pizzas are great for sharing but you can also choose ‘tondo’ – generously proportioned individual rounds. Toppings are relatively restrained, often choosing to focus on just one or two standout ingredients. Especially successful are the white pizzas, eschewing tomato sauce for flavour combinations such as mortadella and artichoke, or potato, Portobello mushroom, porchetta and spicy sausage. Pizza also makes an appearance in the dessert section, covered with Nutella or coated in sugar and cinnamon and served with ice-cream. + Delicious white pizzas - Dining room can be chilly on colder nights

NEW Baked - Pizza al Taglio 120 Duke Street, East End, 0141 552

Paesan0 PIZZA Our Artisan woodfired pizza ovens have been built for us by Gianni Acunto of Naples, who have been making traditional ovens for 4 generations. Our pizza is a hybrid yeast and sourdough proofed for over 24 hours.The long proofing time together with cooking at an intense heat of 500OC produces a moist, light, soft, digestible crust which is aromatic and delicious. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Tomato sugo with garlic, oregano and evoo Tomato sugo with mozzarella, fresh basil and evoo Tomato sugo with capers, olives, anchovies, mozzarella, garlic and evoo Spianata spicy salami from Calabria with tomato sugo, mozzarella and evoo Prosciutto cotto (Italian cooked ham) with mushrooms, tomato sugo, mozzarella and evoo Roasted red peppers with spinach, tomato sugo, mozzarella, ricotta and evoo Fresh Tuscan Fennel sausage with sugo, mozzarella and evoo Mushroom, spinach, mozzarella, ricotta, oregano, garlic and evoo (no tomato) Grilled aubergine with tomato sugo, garlic and fresh Parmesan

5 6 7 8 8 7 8 8 7

sides and desserts also available 94 MILLER ST GLASGOW G1 1DT T: 0141 258 5565

471 GREAT WESTERN RD GLASGOW G12 8HL T: 0141 370 0534

www.paesanopizza.co.uk

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The young guns behind Baked are on a mission to bring the authentic thickbased, hand-held pizzas of Rome to Glasgow – served up with a view of the Tennent’s Brewery rather than the Trevi Fountain. The bubbly dough is proved in-house for 72 hours to create a unique base that’s sturdy enough to hold a barrage of toppings while being unexpectedly light and crisp. Each pizza is sold by the square slice, so you can either grab one for an incredibly affordable lunch or mix-and-match a feast with your friends. Flavours change with the seasons and what imported goodies the creative chefs can get their hands on, but expect a stellar margherita – generous with the fior di latte and fresh basil – alongside the likes of cauliflower and broccoli with a savoury anchovy crust, and a novel twist on trendy pasta dish cacio e pepe, with parmesan and stracchino cheeses. There’s a brief selection of sides, including deftly fried arancini with ox cheek ragu, but why not round things off with one final round of dough, this time with layers of sweet Nutella? + Unique Roman-style fast food - House olives a bit squidgy and uninspiring

Q Basta

561 Dumbarton Road, West End, 0141 339 8698, bastapizza.com | Closed Mon | £11 (lunch) / £11 (dinner)

This small, neighbourhood diner constantly overflows with the Partick faithful, as a steady stream of students, families and a fair few dogs wolf down authentic Poselli flour-based pizzas to a boisterous Grandmaster Flash soundtrack. Ingredients come both imported from Italian artisans and courtesy of the local Sandy Road Community Garden and co-owner Eleanor’s own city allotment. Start with a build-your-own Basta plate from the likes of manchego, prosciutto and spinach at a pound a pop or melting wee ham and cheese croquetas dipped in creamy pesto washed down with a stellar house Negroni or Glasgow’s own Brewgooder lager. Pizzas make the most of rarely seen toppings such as an unctuous ricotta cream, the star of the outrageously ribsticking house special alongside roast potato, smoked pancetta and taleggio, while those focused on cleaner eating will fall on the No 2 with artichokes, peppers and olives. Desserts are fairly perfunctory – your choice of cheesecake or chocolate brownie – but you really go to Basta to kickstart your Glasgow night out with some of the best gallus comfort food the city has to offer. + Bustling community vibe and terrific friendly welcome - It’s out on a limb a bit

Battlefield Rest

55 Battlefield Road, Southside (Map 15: K13), 0141 636 6955, battlefieldrest. co.uk | Closed Sun | £10.90 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

This Southside institution celebrates its 25th year in business this summer – and long may it continue to thrive. The location alone makes it a unique proposition. In a constantly evolving cityscape it remains a reminder of the not so recent past – where else can you dine in an old Glasgow tram shelter? Beloved of the local population, it’s a bustling, lively spot – booking is always advisable. The menu is vast, covering lunch, pretheatre and à la carte options, with a focus on the long-standing relationship between Italy and Scotland, exemplified best by the linguine Scozzese – a gorgeously creamy marriage of Shetland

mussels, Arbroath smokies and pasta. There are myriad delights: the crostini goat’s cheese, with a salad of apple, celery and walnut, is exceptionally fresh; the calzone Battlefield is a meateater’s dream; the humble rigatoni Piemonte is an old tomato-based favourite that sings. There’s an option to split a pizza and pasta dish for two – helpful for the switherers. For after, the ice-cream of choice is S Luca’s delicious dairy, with some whisky and tablet influenced treats alongside. Here’s to another quarter century. + Unique location and lively atmosphere - Desserts aren’t quite as good as the mains

Bella Vita

597 Mosspark Boulevard, Southside, 0141 882 1144, bellavitaglasgow.co.uk | £8.50 (set lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Bella Vita ticks all the boxes for convivial neighbourhood dining. You’re left in no doubt as to the nationality of the cuisine here – the dining room is decorated with black and white photos from owner Mimmo’s Neapolitan childhood, an arch is painted to look like the Bridge of Sighs, and framed football shirts of all affiliations line the walls. The warm welcome extended to families and children, and Bella Vita’s many returning customers, means there’s always a buzz about the place. The extensive menu covers much of the usual ground but does familiar dishes well and in generous portions. It’s not just pasta and pizza either, with chicken, pork, fish and burgers to choose from, too. Tagliatelle al cartoccio bundles egg pasta with Bolognese sauce, bacon, onions and cream, all baked in a foil parcel. Tender pork scallops alla Romana are topped with Parma ham and sage and served in a white wine sauce. There are different menus for lunchtimes and early evenings, offering good value for money. Dietary restrictions are easily catered for with a dedicated vegan menu and lots of gluten-free options. + A warm welcome for all - Bought-in desserts

Q Celino’s

620–624 Alexandra Parade, East End, 0141 554 0523, celinos.com | £10.95 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Everything Celino’s does looks so simple. It’s just done to such an exceptionally high standard though that you’ll leave with smile plastered on your face, planning your next visit already. The Alexandra Parade trattoria is a little off the beaten track if you’re not an East End resident - but you’d be daft to write it off for distance - we’re enthusiastically discussing the merits of our meal an hour after leaving. To start; the spicy sausage in the polenta salsiccia e sagiolo is fiercely fiery - and there’s a vegetarian version too, while the cozze is positively luxurious - Shetland mussels in white wine and cream sauce. For pasta dishes you can choose from penne, linguine and spaghetti - waiting staff are happy to recommend the latter for the vongole. The flavours; fresh clam, garlic and then chilli arrive in stages, reaching all four mortal limbs and shaking them alive. It’s a showstopper, and the parmigiana di melanzane isn’t far behind, a beautifully cooked aubergine dish. Finish up with the torta della nonna - sweet pastry topped with vanilla custard and roasted pine nuts - and take home a box of cannoli for those who weren’t lucky enough to join you. + Pasta dishes are exquisite - Can get extremely busy - particularly on football nights


ITALIAN

In association with

GLASGOW

Q HITLIST

La Vita Spuntini

ITALIAN Q Basta Socially conscious Partick pizza bar mixing quality Italian ingredients with local produce for their range of tempting toppings, accompanied by top tunes. Q Celino’s Traditional trattoria bringing beautifully cooked Italian favourites to Dennistoun, with the option to take home treats from the deli counter. Celino’s Partick

235 Dumbarton Road, West End (Map 13: C3), 0141 341 0311, celinos.com | £11.95 (set lunch) / £17 (dinner)

When long-serving East End Italian Celino’s decided to spread its wings West, it didn’t do things by half. This sprawling Partick eatery is half informal restaurant space and half an abundantly stocked licensed deli, bursting with imported goodies and in-house baked tortas and cannoli. The comparative newcomer is already embedded as a local favourite for that special occasion dinner (just accept you won’t get through your visit without singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to a merry stranger at least once) and opens round the clock, from early morning baked eggs with broccoli and sourdough to pouring one final glass of post-dinner limoncello. Stick with the classics to get the most of high-quality raw ingredients – the antipasto salumeria is a handselected tour of the country’s finest pork products served up with green Puglian olives and Sardinian pecorino, while their carbonara is made the traditional way with crispy pan-fried guanciale (cured pig jowl) and white wine, topped with egg yolk. Serious wine buffs will note Celino’s boast of Glasgow’s only Enotecca machine, allowing you to taste some of the high-end gems from its comprehensive, all-Italian list – arguably the best in the city. + That seriously focused, all-Italian wine list - Vast space means smaller parties can get a bit overshadowed

Coia’s Café

473–477 Duke Street, East End, 0141 554 3822, coiascafe.co.uk | £11.95 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

The formula that’s kept Coia’s busily trading since 1928 shows little sign of losing its appeal. They serve hearty portions of Glasgow-Italian favourites at a brisk pace to family groups, date nights and gaggles of friends jostling elbows at closely packed tables. A birthday will be celebrated with the ringing of a handbell and the whole restaurant joining the waiters singing happy birthday to the lucky/embarrassed soul. The menu has something for everyone, with a huge range of pastas, pizzas, burger

options and traditional Scottish homely offerings. A specials board expands the choice even further with speciality tortellini hand-filled in Italy, a pizza of the day as well as meat and fish dishes. Old favourites like spaghetti Bolognese and minestrone sit alongside Isle of Mull scallops with microherbs, or tagliatelle with porcini mushroom and spicy Italian sausage. Homemade gooey lasagne is rightly famous. Desserts run the gamut of sundaes, cheesecakes, bakes and Italian specialities, with Coia’s own ice-cream in its myriad flavours often playing a starring role. + Old-school Glasgow Italian food - Brusque waiting staff

NEW Errol’s Hot Pizza

379 Victoria Road, Southside | Closed Mon/Tue | £16 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

It’s hard to believe Errol’s only arrived in early 2019, so quickly has it established itself in Govanhill. Opened up by a group of friends – all local residents – its old-school dive-bar aesthetic and classic New York pizza distinguish it. First up – the small plates. The chefs are formerly of Finnieston’s Alchemilla, and there’s something reminiscent of that establishment’s excellent Mediterranean cooking – the refreshingly tangy artichoke, lemon and almonds, or purple-sprouting broccoli with chilli and garlic. That’s the opening act to the pizza’s swaggering headliner. The thin base is gorgeous – robust but flexible, so you can fold it over as you would in Brooklyn. The punchy puttanesca’s combination of anchovies, capers, and sun-dried tomato is an early hit, while the white base of gorgonzola, fior di latte and parmesan is rich and creamy but not an over-indulgence. Vegans might struggle – but pizzas can be made with meat-free parmesan-style cheese. Awaiting an alcohol licence, it’s BYOB for now, with no charge. Complete with nods to everything from Serie A and Don McLean to The Sopranos, Errol’s has bags of personality and stands out from the crowd. + The best New York style pizza for miles - Expect to wait – but grab a pint in one of the neighbourhood’s bars

Q Eusebi Deli

152 Park Road, West End (Map 12: H2), 0141 648 9999, eusebideli.com | £21 (lunch) / £25 (dinner)

Eusebi Deli may look and feel like a café, relaxed and informal, but the extraordinary food coming to the tiled-top tables would be at home in high-end, fine-dining establishments. Owner Giovanna Eusebi’s love of food and flavour results in exquisite, inspired creations and the kitchen puts in extra work to get things right – a pizza dough proves for 72 hours and is pinched Roman-style to create air bubbles and lightness; fresh pasta is made in-house, from scratch; and the breads and large selection of fancy cakes and patisserie come from Eusebi’s own bakery. Menus change every three months to keep in season – look for ox cheek and beef in winter, hare in spring and Sicilian lemons and fresh Italian tomatoes in summer. A starter of house-made ricotta with blood orange, salt beets and pistachio is beautiful on the plate and utterly joyful to eat, all pastel shades and contrasting textures and tastes, cool, salty, tangy and earthy. Pasta pillows encasing slow-cooked beef and winter mushrooms make a comforting hug of a dish. Accompanying Italian wines and beers are well chosen and

Q Eusebi Deli Bringing a halfcentury of experience to their West End venue, Eusebi Deli is simply one of the best places to eat in the city. Q La Lanterna Long-established, family-run Italian restaurant with delicious, skilfully prepared food that is by turns traditional and inventive. Q Mora Bar & Kitchen Familyrun Italian that’s both modern and traditional, hip and welcoming, with pasta favourites and cocktails that’ll plaster a grin on your face. Q Paesano Pizza Delicious and authentic, the flagship Paesano dishes out incredibly affordable artisan pizzas fresh from its woodfired ovens. Q Rossini The folks here, formerly of North Star café, draw on chef Maurizio’s home region of Apulia and the Scots larder for a showstopping restaurant. interesting.

+ Creativity, ingredients, standard of

cooking – it’s got it all!

- Not a lot of elbow room

C O N T I N E N T A L R E S T A U R A N T

E S TA B L I S H E D

1994

“ Yo u c o m e i n a s a c u s t o m e r and leave as a friend”

55 Battlefield Road | Glasgow | G42 9JL | 0141 636 6955 | battlefieldrest@hotmail.com

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Jamie’s Italian - Glasgow

Baked – Pizza al Taglio

7 George Square, City Centre (Map 10: O5), 0141 404 2690, jamieoliver.com | £11.95 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

The celebrity chef’s face is absent from the décor, but Jamie’s values strongly influence the approach here. Kids are treated like kings with wholesome meals scaled for big or little appetites, while the grown-up menu has an emphasis on traceability and highwelfare food. The fish is Scottish and sustainable, meat comes from named farms and the pasta is made daily inhouse. Given the care taken in sourcing the raw ingredients, it’s right that the kitchen treats them with enthusiastic respect, turning out flavoursome and complex dishes that take a step or two off the usual beaten path. Handmade wooden planks carry a range of artisanal antipasti, gnocchi partners ox cheek in a rich chianti and rosemary ragu, and chicken breast turns up the heat with its tomato, ’nduja, olive and caper sauce. There’s an appealing list of ‘own label’ wines from selected producers and tempting bar snacks such as ravioli fritti or olives on ice to accompany. Service is top-notch, and special care is taken to accommodate allergies and dietary requirements. There are also gluten-free and vegan menus. + Focus on high welfare and traceable ingredients - Cavernous dining room can lack atmosphere

Q La Lanterna

35 Hope Street, City Centre (Map 10: M5), 0141 221 9160, lalanternaglasgow.co.uk | Closed Sun | £12.95 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

This family-run establishment is a staple of Glasgow’s food and drink scene, fast approaching a half century of distinguished service, and it’s still deserving of its status as one of the best. La Lanterna positively breathes Italy – pastoral photographs and paintings from the homeland adorn the walls of this dusky basement, as does – for football fans – a signed shirt courtesy of AC Milan legend Kaka. Wine buffs will find the detailed menu with information about Italy’s regions of interest – above and beyond what’s expected from a drinks selection. The service is impeccably genial, you’re treated like an old friend from the word go. To start, the piatta nordico, tuna and swordfish with a tangy citrus dressing, is excellent, as are the gamberoni in crosta – juicy prawns coated in oatmeal. There’s no pizza here so tuck into the pasta, in particular the signature dish of ravioli novelli – spinach and ricotta pasta tossed with sage and parmesan – a wonderfully rich and creamy dish but not too decadent. The tiramisù is a family recipe, conceived by co-owner Chris Martinolli’s father 39 years ago – it’s moist, firm and the flavours are exquisitely balanced. Why mess with something so classy? + Tiramisù fans - this is as good as it gets - No disabled access

La Lanterna West End

447 Great Western Road, West End (Map 12: H1), 0141 334 0686, lalanternawestend.co.uk | £12.95 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Dazzlingly well-lit, with a bird-egg grey and white washed wood interior, La Lanterna West End is high-end Italian trattoria meets New England seaside, by way of Kelvinbridge subway. Service is impeccable and the gentle buzz from its well-heeled clientele encourages lingering over antipasti 158

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and aperitif – and the sharing pesce board of marinated tuna, subtly smoked halibut, fried calamari tentacles and fresh swordfish washed down with an Aperol is just the ticket. Comfort food seekers can sink deep into rarefied peasant staples such as borlotti bean and rosemary soup followed by one of the house-made pastas like roasted veal ravioli, sauced with an intense Barolo wine reduction. The newly added small plates menu offers more of a casual mix-and-match feel alongside the traditional à la carte, with warm smoked ham filled with fried aubergine and mozzarella and a bright tricolore salad of broad beans, green beans and cherry tomatoes perfect for grazing. La Lanterna is a seminal Glasgow Italian restaurant and a visit is a must – just make sure you come with a true loved one so the fight over the delizia di dolci dessert platter of crème brûlée, mousse and more doesn’t get too messy. + Watching the pasta made fresh by hand - The bill can start to rack up

Q Mora Bar & Kitchen

1166–1170 Argyle Street, West End (Map 11: G4), 0141 560 2070, morabarandkitchen.com | Closed Tue | £18 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Having presided over a change from traditional family restaurant to sleek, modern hangout in 2016, Luciano Mora’s got something important right with his modern Finnieston restaurant. Mora is an extremely friendly, welcoming place – with all the traditional charm intact and no ultrahip nonchalance. Waiting staff know their menu, offering recommendations on food courses, wine pairings and cocktails – the signature Espresso Martini made with Frangelico is gorgeous. The menu changes with the season, and there are daily specials – spaghetti al forno with tuna is a joy. To start, sourdough crispbread with parmesan, walnuts and Glasgow honey is a snappy, light appetizer.

More substantial are the arancini with mushroom, green pea and mozzarella – well worth sampling, as are the salt and chilli tempura king prawns. Pasta is definitely king here, and you can choose between two portion sizes depending on your hunger. The wholesome orecchiette, packed with fresh vegetables and with just the right amount of chilli is the highlight – and a pound from each sale goes to Social Bite, too. A delightful bar in itself, Mora’s got a 1am licence so you won’t be rushed out after your meal – and just as well because you’ll want to stay. + Genial staff tempt you into an espresso martini or two - Big effort is made for coeliacs – but no gluten-free pizza and pasta

Mozza

39 Renfield Street, City Centre (Map 10: N5), 0141 221 4508, mozza.it | £5 (pizza) (set lunch) / £11 (dinner)

The price, in particular, with Mozza is right. The best time to visit is before 5pm, when the pizzas all cost £5. No matter what way you look at it, that’s a good deal – even if eating a whole one over your lunch hour will likely send you into a deep mid-afternoon slumber. The menu (which, with dozens of different fonts and clip art illustration reads more or less like a ransom note) has a few keepers. The number 11 is a favourite – refreshingly original – with mozzarella, gorgonzola, Parma ham, fig and balsamic jam, garnished with rocket and crushed walnuts, while the number 6, topped with Neapolitan broccoli, Italian sausage and chilli oil, doesn’t miss a tomato base. The lucky 13 gives you the chance to put your faith in the hands of the chefs, a mystery option for the carefree risk-takers. Pizzaiolos are willing to make adjustments if you want to tweak any of the staples. A downside – vegetarian options aren’t anything to shout about. In happier news, the birramisu, that classic Italian pudding served in a vessel normally used for ale, is a quirky indulgence, and

the option of 75cl sharing beers from Italian Microbrewery 32 Via dei Birrai is unique to the city. + £5 daytime pizza deal is excellent - Veggie options are weaker than most places

O Sole Mio

34–36 Bath Street, City Centre (Map 10: N4), 0141 331 1397, osolemio-glasgow. com | £7.95 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Situated about as centrally as a Glasgow restaurant could be, seconds from Queen Street station and within a walk of several popular theatres, O Sole Mio has an obvious calling card. It’s an extremely convenient spot if you’re heading out to a show, a concert or the cinema, and want a good value pretheatre menu. But what’s the rush? This long-established eatery has a veritable feast of dishes. To start, the arancini are delicious – mozzarella oozes from the centre, the accompanying chilli jam giving a complementary kick. Served with saffron mayonnaise, the juicy polenta-coated calamari is served with an excessive mound of rocket, but tastes fantastic nonetheless. Seafood is a strength – fresh prawns and mussels adorn the linguini ai frutti di mare, a highlight. The pizza oven, an old, brick wood-fired stunner from 1965, was Scotland’s first, but time has caught up with it – the Neapolitan pizza trend has ushered in better value options with punchier flavours. Desserts, particularly the panacotta with raspberry and Amaretto, are strong, and the overall sense is O Sole Mio is a solid all-rounder, open for each meal of the day, and worth a quick stop or a more relaxed, prolonged visit. + Value for money and strong pretheatre menu - Pizza not a strong point despite historic oven

ORO

85 Kilmarnock Road, Southside, 0141 632 4222, oro.restaurant | £7.95 / £10.95–£12.95 (Mon–Fri, 12–4) (set


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lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Bella Napoli became ORO in 2017, with owner Domenico Crolla looking for something unique, less generic, to brand his family business. ORO is Italian for gold and it’s an apt title for this glitzy place with a lavish interior. If subtlety is your aesthetic, look elsewhere. Myriad paintings, plants and a huge gold pizza oven vie for your attention. The vibe may or may not be to your taste. The food and service, however, are impeccable. Share the delightful bufala Caprese salad, in which tomatoes, fresh berries and beautiful mozzarella sing in harmony. A starter portion of aubergine alla parmigiana is dainty, light, and has nicely defined layers. Crolla himself is a distinguished pizza chef, and his imposing oven fires out top-class dough – the original pizza Napoli is wonderful in its simplicity, and if you’re up for something leftfield there’s the goat’s cheese and grape option. Pasta is of an equally high standard; the artichoke rigatoni, with creamy gorgonzola sauce and toasted pine nuts – and the lobster ravioli are sumptuous high points. Desserts, wines and cocktails are all spot on. ORO’s on the more expensive side, but life is for living. + The food’s fantastic – so is the nifty shoeshine machine - Glitzy décor not for everyone

Osteria Italiana

17 John Street, Merchant City (Map 11: P5), 0141 552 6009, osteriaglasgow. co.uk | £9.95 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

There are a lot of clocks adorning Osteria’s stylish interior, signifying the importance of time in cooking good Italian food, and the joys of kicking

back and savouring the moment. Osteria is indeed a delightful place to spend a few hours, with rousing music from the old country and a charming conservatory area, illuminated by fairy lights. Pride is taken here in the slowcooked tomato sauce, which tastes like it’s been loved, but the showstopper is the cacio e pepe, served with short rigatoni. This most simple of traditional dishes – black pepper and pungent pecorino with a small dose of cream – is a thing of beauty. It’s available, too, as a pizza topping – and all of Osteria’s pizzas can be made as a calzone. After all the talk of time, Osteria has a preposterously good set menu if you’ve a lack of it, or if you’re on a budget, and – unless you’re a vegetarian – no shortage of options, too. An array of puddings are on offer as well, including gigantic sundaes made with Nardini’s ice-cream. + Excellent value for money - A lack of vegetarian options

Q Paesano Pizza

94 Miller Street, Merchant City (Map 10: O5), 0141 258 5565, paesanopizza. co.uk | £10 (lunch) / £10 (dinner)

The Merchant City flagship of the allconquering Paesano must be the busiest restaurant in Glasgow, admirably sticking to the same single-sheet menu that has won them many devoted fans over the last few years. The yeast and sourdough hybrid pizzas that stream out of the wood-fired oven (imported from Napoli) feed a packed dining hall of hungry teenagers, raucous parties and contented solo diners at bargain prices. Created from painstakingly sourced ingredients, the rotating menu

of nine standard pizzas – all thin base and bubbling, scorched crust – range from the deceptively simple sweet tomato sugo (made in-house from fruity Strianese tomatoes) with extra virgin olive oil from Abruzzo through to heartier options such as Tuscan fennel sausage and mozzarella or grilled aubergines with parmesan. There are a few dishes of meaty Cerignola olives or balsamic-marinated onions to nibble on while you wait, a couple of well-chosen Italian wines served and they’ll fix you a vanilla soft-serve with Amarena cherries if you simply must stay for dessert, but with the queue forever snaking down the street it feels churlish to hog your seat for too long. + Faultless front of house team - Prepare to queue (and queue...) at peak times

Paesano Pizza GWR

471 Great Western Road, West End (Map 12: H1), 0141 370 0534, paesanopizza.co.uk | £10 (lunch) / £10 (dinner)

The appeal of the Paesano brand shows no sign of slowing down. This sister restaurant to the Miller Street original, housed in a former bank building, is a bright, modern celebration of just how good pizza can be. Everything is imported from Napoli, from the chefs to the pizza oven (which required the building’s foundations to be reinforced) and everything in-between. Paesano’s recipe for success lies in its signature hybrid sourdough – light and easily digestible, the dough is proved for 24 hours then baked at extremely high temperature for just a few minutes. It’s expertly cooked,

chewy and flavoursome and provides a good foil for the select range of classic toppings – salami, mushrooms, capers, anchovies and the like – all with impeccable provenance. The speed of cooking means there’s a quick turnaround, and waiting staff keep things moving so it’s a good spot for a speedy lunch. Its location means it’s a hit with students during the week and families at weekends, but Paesano’s ‘no reservations’ policy does mean there can be competition for tables at busy times. + Turning pizza into an art form - No reservations policy

Panevino

1075 Argyle Street, West End (Map 11: H4), 0141 221 1136, panevino.co.uk | £20 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

In the competitive market of Finneston eateries, Panevino holds its own with a classic approach to Italian dining. A marble-topped bar dominates the ground floor and diners can perch on bar stools for drinks and nibbles or enjoy meals at tables tucked away in corners and nooks. A curved staircase leads to more seating on a mezzanine level. Fish features on the menu in many guises – prawns, calamari and scallops are all available as hot starters, pasta can be dressed with clams, king prawns, salmon and even lobster and there’s a popular mixed fried fish main that takes fish and chips upmarket. Carnivores are well catered for with dishes such as Italian sausages with pepperonata or penne diavolina – grilled chicken in a fresh chilli, garlic and tomato sauce. Vegetarians may find slim pickings but melanzane alla parmigiana is a delicious combination

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of melting aubergine, rich tomato sauce and gooey mozzarella. There is a good wine menu covering all tastes, from easy-drinking Merlot to budget-busting Barolo, and there are wine flights available for those who can’t choose just one. + Good fish and seafood options - Expensive specials

Errol’s Hot Pizza

SE LIST.CO E .U FOR EX K/FOOD TRA IN & LINK FO S

Piccolo Mondo

344 Argyle Street, City Centre (Map 10: M5), 0141 248 2481, piccolomondo. co.uk | Closed Sun | £14.50 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

Piccolo Mondo is run by a family with a long history of Italian restaurants in Glasgow and their experience shows. The dining room feels old-school classy with its linen-draped tables, cloth napkins, padded menu books and smartly liveried waiting staff. The menu leans towards the traditional, with Tuscan-style cuisine taking centre stage. Expect dishes such as farmhouse vegetable, pasta and bean soup, risotto with Italian sausage and wild mushroom, and seafood stew packed with langoustines, calamari, prawns and monkfish. It’s all presented with old-fashioned care; a slab of smooth housemade pâté is adorned with a carrot rose and a flourish of balsalmic drizzle, vegetables accompanying a main course are spooned onto the plate from a metal serving tray. There is a plethora of special menus, including the excellent value celebration menu at just £30 for three courses plus aperitif, digestif, coffee and half a bottle of wine. Its town centre location, just a short stroll from Central Station, means it’s popular with visitors from nearby hotels, but locals looking for old world charm at good value prices would do equally well to pay a visit. + Great value special menus - Few surprises

La Rotunda

Ground Floor, 28 Tunnel Street, West End, 0141 375 1111, larotunda.com | £14.50 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Pizza East

575 Duke Street, East End, 0141 556 4268, pizzaeastglasgow.com | £12 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

Pizza East is something of a passion project for owner Reece Knowles, who grew up in nearby Stepps and recalls visiting the East End’s Italian cafés as a youngster. Having taken over the old Bank of Scotland building on Duke Street, his restaurant is a welcome addition to the community’s food and drink scene. Pizza chefs, recipes and ingredients have been brought over from Naples, and while it would be a stretch to say what they’re doing is novel (it’s remarkably similar to another Glasgow favourite) the food is delicious and represents excellent value for money. The aesthetic is distinctly unpretentious, minimal even – wooden booths and exposed lightbulbs are the extent of the decoration. The number 8, with anchovies, olives and mozzarella is the menu’s highlight, with the grilled vegetable option not far behind, while other toppings include fennel sausage, friarelli broccoli, prosciutto cotto and ’nduja. The dough is light, crisp and not overly stodgy. To top things off, a pizza tapas deal on Wednesdays (three small ones for a tenner) gives you the chance to sample a few without breaking the bank, or waistline. + Good value Neapolitan pizza - Sorry sweet tooth – no desserts

Pizza Punks

90 St Vincent Street, City Centre (Map 10: N5), 0141 237 8020, pizzapunks. co.uk | £5 (pizza) (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Anarchy in the oven! Let’s get the 160

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bold new path with this ambitious neighbourhood trattoria specialising in the Apulian cuisine of chef Maurizio’s homeland. His concise menu reflects the bounty found deep in the heart of Italy’s heel. Unctuous burrata from Andria pairs well with wild Scottish salmon gravlax cured with raw sugar and citrus, while bitter turnip tops from Fasano are an intriguing option, dished up sautéed on Altamura bread as antipasti and stirred into orecchiette with a dash of chilli as a hearty main. Care and thought goes into each element, from the homemade grissini alongside the pan-fried scallops to the seaweed salt that provides a saline hit to the popizze, aka mini fried pizza dough. Standards don’t dip with the secondi piatti; calamaro ripieno is a delicate, artful plateful of baby squid, fondant potato and velvet pea sauce that delivers robust savoury flavours in spades thanks to the egg, bread and pecorino stuffing, while a saffron-hued dessert of panacotta has just the right wobble under a crunchy pistachio crust. This is serious cooking, and with every table occupied on a Tuesday night, they’ve clearly tapped into Glasgow’s appetite for culinary exploration. + Southern Italian comfort food presented with real flair - Toilets could do with a bit of TLC

name out of the way. It’s easy to mock when a restaurant or bar uses the ‘P’ word, especially when it’s a baseless marketing gimmick. Pizza Punks is different – this is about as anti-establishment as pizza can get. The main draw is that you can ‘punk up’ your pizza, adding any topping you like. No limits here. You could have a pizza with Irn-Bru pulled pork, peanut butter, anchovies and pineapple if you wanted, though we urge you not to do that. Or if you want a decision made for you, go for one of the signature pizzas – the goat’s cheese option is a delight. Pizza Punks is also – by a distance – the best vegetarian and vegan-friendly pizza place in Glasgow, with a new menu offering a series of plant-based toppings. To start, the mac ’n’ cheese (also available as a pizza topping) is a joy. If you’ve not knocked yourself out, get one of the gargantuan Freakshake desserts. They’re delicious, but you’ll need a lie down after it. Different, a lot of fun, and here to stay. + The most vegan friendly of the city’s pizza joints - Careful what toppings you choose – it could go horribly wrong

NEW Romans Pizzeria

26 Candleriggs, Merchant City (Map 14: Q6), 0141 548 8859, romanspizzeria. co.uk | £5 (set lunch) / £13.50 (dinner)

We’ve the ancient Romans to thank for revolutionising concrete – without which this place wouldn’t exist. The stuff is everywhere – the drinks bar, the block walls, the ceiling, even the menu has a concrete look that

blends into the tabletops made from, yep, concrete. Add in industrial steel ducting and it’s getting a bit future dystopian correctional facility. What saves it are huge, all-encompassing murals of Rome in its pomp. The Colosseum, seen through mock stone walls and arches, looms impressively; elsewhere Roman-style inscriptions are writ large. What could easily have been really naff, somehow manages to work. The huge gas pizza oven fires out a tight menu of twelve (sorry, XII) options mixing familiar – pepperoni (has a nice kick), barbecue chicken, prosciutto – with quirkier numbers such as smashed beefburger with mac and cheese. Numeral X is enjoyably pungent – shredded garlic chicken, chorizo, roasted peppers, garlic olive oil. The bases, made with Caputo flour, are crisp-bottomed with a satisfying chew; toppings are generous – almost to a fault when things get a bit liquidy. There’s a dozen pasta dishes, as well, and both pizzas and pastas include a couple of vegan options, although more veggie options generally wouldn’t go amiss. + It’s a bonkers look - that somehow works - Would anybody appreciate non-stop Britney Spears music?

Q NEW Rossini

39–41 Hyndland Street, West End (Map 13: C2), 0141 337 3135, rossiniwestend. com | Closed Mon | £11.95 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Maurizio and Ester Rossini – once of café North Star – have forged a

Occupying the basement of Glasgow’s iconic Rotunda building, staff at this Italian are knowledgeable about the history as they proffer a menu of usual suspects alongside some more contemporary, heavily meat-focused mains. Golden arancini are a staple done well, stuffed with oozing smoked scamorza cheese while mini polpetti are a generous bowlful, with garlic bread to mop up the juices. Pastas and thin-crust pizzas are well-judged versions of classics – think tuna, black olive and oregano topping or rigatoni heaped with Italian sausage. Stray a bit with pan-seared chicken alongside a butter-rich pancetta risotto and sweet red pepper sauce or the show-stopping side of potato fondant, slow-cooked to melting in homemade stock. The kitchen shows flair with its in-house dessert menu – a cloud-light tiramisu topped with a crown of amaretti biscuit is unexpectedly one of the best in town. On the doorstep of the Hydro and a growing cluster of hotels, La Rotunda could be forgiven for serving up the basics to its captive audience of concert and conference goers, but dig a little deeper and you’ll uncover some real gems. + Those homemade desserts - Stark lighting not very atmospheric

NEW Sannino

61 Elmbank Street, City Centre (Map 10: K4), sannino.co.uk | £7.95 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Their self-proclaimed ‘World famous’ title may be pushing it, but compact basement trattoria Sannino's certainly has a dedicated Glasgow faithful that has keeps it doling out traditional Scots-Italian fare. Handily on the doorstep of the majestic Kings Theatre, join in with the pre-show crowds to experience Sannino's at its buzziest. The concise, no-frills menu highlights some of their original 1978 recipes that remain firm favourites (the Sannino brand has been resident in Glasgow for over 30 years) - a generous bowlful of spaghetti topped with slow-cooked


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meaty Bolognese sauce or homemade polpette and a shower of freshly shaved parmesan. Other house specialities include an Italian twist on the mixed grill, with pan-fried fillet steak, chicken breast and spicy, coarse sausage served up with pungent truffle mash and a red wine jus, whilst the thin-crust pizzas are more on the dainty side with refined toppings including seasonal wild mushrooms and salty curls of parma ham. Desserts continue the no-nonsense theme, with diners almost unanimously settling on their unchanged-since-theseventies tiramisu that’s heavy on the cream and surprisingly light on the booze. With gallus, swift service and an all-night set menu that’s a real steal, expect Sannino’s to still be going strong in another 30 years time. + Cheerful and quick service - Seating a little tattered

NEW te Seba

393–395 Great Western Road, West End (Map 12: I2), teseba.co.uk | Closed Mon | £14 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

In a city whose Italian restaurants have a bad habit of stretching their menus across many pages the concise ‘carbs + corks’ concept of te Seba’s single-sheet offering is a breath of fresh air. Pasta and prosecco may well be the definition of ‘people pleasing’ – something that the bustling atmosphere of this applaudably affordable neighbourhood joint testifies to. The optional classic antipasti platter to kick things off is a standard but well-constructed board of cured meats, sharp cheeses and preserved veggies, but a bit stingy on the bread front. Wash it down with your choice of fizz – dry and creamy Riflessi DOC prosecco or one of numerous fruity Bellini concoctions such as elderflower or pear. On the pasta front, vegans will feel well-loved here with imaginative options including black olive, walnut and tomato crush doled up on silky egg-free pappardelle, while a spiky Italian sausage crumbled into cream and parmesan or the slow-cooked melting beef ragu stirred into fettuccine will sate any carnivore. With all generous bowlfuls of pasta priced at comfortably under a tenner and drinks maxing out at a fiver a pop, te Seba has worked out a winning formula. + Good value for money - Tables a little cramped for size of pasta bowls

La Vita

161 Queen Street, City Centre (Map 10: O5), 0141 248 3533, lavitapizzeria. co.uk | £9.95 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

La Vita is the essence of generous Italian hospitality. There’s plenty of room for everyone over the three floors of dining space, oodles of choice on the menu and the portions are huge. Waiting staff are welcoming and the site, on the corner of George Square, is ideally positioned for people-watching. Rosettes indicate house specialities, such as ravioli Rafael, meat ravioli baked in a creamy pesto sauce with cherry tomatoes – or chicken Portofino, a breaded chicken breast with tomato sauce and mozzarella perched atop a bed of tagliatelle with wild mushrooms in a cream sauce. The inclusion of traditional Scottish ingredients on the menu leads to some interesting quirks such as Stornoway black pudding in spaghetti carbonara or haggis topping a pizza, but overall the menu is straightup Italian, as befits a restaurant dynasty stretching back three generations (you’ll find their story on the menu). Desserts are towering concoctions

of ice-cream, whipped cream and confectionary and, as a final flourish, a tooth-threatening drumstick sweetie arrives with the bill. Decent breakfasts and a good lunch deal keep the customers coming throughout the day. + You'll not leave hungry - Rather a lot of dishes with chilli in them

NEW La Vita Spuntini

40 Gordon Street, City Centre (Map 10: N5), 0141 221 4040, lavitapizzeria. co.uk | £9.99 (set lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Adjacent to Central Station, this recently opened branch of the local group, is a great place to meet friends if coming from different parts of town. Not just for the location, either – the décor is spot on, elegantly rustic with the warmth of cherry blossom permeating the room – it’s fit for a celebration. The speciality here is small plates. There are light dishes in the likes of grilled asparagus, the luxurious in deliciously creamy burrata hand-tied Mozzarella, and traditional favourites in arancini formaggio, melanzane e zucchine parmigiana, cacciucco seafood stew. The sharing spirit is alive and well, too, with the pizza – in a 12-inch size and as 5-inch pizzette – and the generous pasta bowls that sit in the middle of your table, such as the spaghetti gamberetti – a generous helping of prawns with a sizeable chilli kick. There are some tremendous dolci, take the marvellous Mario’s Fluffy Fix – a concoction of marshmallows, strawberries and nutella, which reads like the genius invention of a child with an insatiable sweet tooth, and is obviously a knockout, the archetypal ‘two spoons, please’ dessert, which is apt. Bespoke gin cocktails beckon, as does a glass – or bottle – from the lengthy wine list. + Sharing plates and warm atmosphere make it great for groups - Pizzettes are better in theory than in reality

La Vita Spuntini

199–201 Byres Road, West End (Map 13: E2), 0141 339 4222, lavitapizzeria. co.uk | £8.99 (three tapas) (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Part of the La Vita family of reliable Glasgow Italian eateries, the vast two-storey Byres Road branch dishes up above-average pizza and pasta alongside an intriguing range of seasonal small plates. Waiting staff in natty tweed accessories talk you through the varying concepts – from family-style sharing bowls of lobster ravioli and chicken and courgette risotto placed in the middle of the table to miniature Neapolitan pizzettes, cooked briefly in the log-fired oven and topped with the likes of red pesto and jalapeño. Going tapas-style is recommended, with highlights including fior di latte mozzarella deepfried in panko breadcrumbs, a generous bundle of new spring asparagus spears grilled in a sticky balsamic glaze and rabbit cacciatora slow-braised with tomato and potato. La Vita Spuntini sets the bar high for stress-free group dining, with ‘something for one’ rarely more true. The separate vegetarian and vegan menu is an always-appreciated gesture and those with a sugar craving should hit up the tuckshop-raiding cocktail list, including a tooth-tingling Drumstick signature serve, inspired by everyone’s favourite penny chew. + Hit up the small plates for the most innovative offerings - Can feel a bit cavernous on a quiet night

JAPANESE From teeny takeaways to hipster hangouts, Glasgow has a small but perfectly formed selection of Japanese restaurants. Whether you’re looking to wolf back a bowl of ramen or to engage in the intricate ritual of dining on a platter of fresh, beautiful sushi, you’ll find it in this neat, tasty little section.

Q HITLIST

Reviewer: Erica Goodey

NEW Benihana

7 West Nile Street, City Centre (Map 10: N5), 0141 442 0141, benihanainternational. com | £12 (lunch) / £26 (dinner)

Big brands and franchises don’t always take off here but Benihana’s winning formula seems to be bedding into 21stcentury Glasgow with ease. This new opener combines the ritual and theatre of Japanese teppanyaki, the slickness of a US corporation with the cheery hospitality of Glasgow. And, most importantly, the food is terrific. Diners are seated in groups around a searingly hot teppan behind which the chefs prepare the food – warming up with impressive juggling before slicing and dicing the fish, meat and veg. While the showstopper moment is an onion volcano that shoots flames into the air, the speedy butterflying of a batch of prawns is equally impressive. Most people opt for a traditional teppanyaki dinner which includes soup, salad, a dish cooked on the hot plate (usually meat, fish or a combo) with veggies and a bowl of rice. Starting at around £20 they offer great value, but prices can rise with upgrades – particularly if you opt for a Wagyu steak at around £60. Leave room for a sublime ginger and lime sorbet. The experience is uplifting and a great way to celebrate a birthday – or even the end of the working day. + Watching the mastery of the chef - Salt levels are high even by Glasgow standards

Cailin’s Sushi

1136 Argyle Street, City Centre (Map 11: G4), 0141 334 8637, cailinssushi.co.uk | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

You might squeal with excitement at Cailin’s menu – over 50 different pictures of Japanese morsels look as tantalising to a sushi lover as a huge box of brightly coloured sweeties does to a toddler. It’s difficult to choose between the classics like salmon temaki or cucumber hosomaki, and the more unusual ingredients such as surf clam nigiri or flying fish roe gunkan. The chef’s specials include the spider roll, with whole tempura soft-shell crab, or the volcano roll – which is filled with cool salmon, avocado and crab stick with a cheeky wee kick from spicy mayo and wrapped in a Chinese leaf. Beyond sushi, there’s donburi (rice bowls), bento boxes, and noodle dishes like the prawn yakisoba. The pint-sized shop has some cute artwork on the walls and a fridge full of soft drinks, including Japanese pop in novelty bottles. Although taking away seems a more popular option there are a couple of small tables to perch at, as long as you don’t mind a stream of delivery drivers filing in and out to collect their savoury swag. + Heavenly sushi feast - Lacks atmosphere if sitting in

eSUSHI

130–132 Byres Road, West End (Map 13: E2), 0141 339 8970, esushi.org | £7.90– £8.90 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Pink cherry blossoms encircle the entrance

JAPANESE Q Pickled Ginger This understatedly stylish venue serves an inventive range of Asian delicacies and an exceptional drinks menu. Q Ramen Dayo This well-priced, shabby-chic little shack on Ashton Lane specialises in serving soulwarming ramen alongside banging tunes and a tidy drinks menu. to this beautiful venue, which has dark, sophisticated characteristics, including stonework feature walls, stylish metallic lighting and a touch of oriental charm. Thankfully there are no circuit boards to be found in the midst of the maki at eSUSHI – the restaurant is named as a nod to the electronic tablets displaying the menus. Even if you could access Facebook on these devices, the menu’s vast array of enticing options is far more engrossing. Try one of the many sushi options, such as the house special of salmon, tuna, cream cheese, sea bass and tempura prawn. All sushi is faultlessly presented – it’s so elegant and dainty that you may not want to disrupt the beautiful harmony on your plate . . . for long. There are lots of other dishes to choose from – thinly shredded pork, stir-fried with noodles in a slowburning kimchi sauce, or delicate seafood with rice, served in a gorgeous ceramic bowl with a side cup of miso. The flower tea comes in a clear plastic teapot to show off the pretty petals – a final flourish of floral flavours. + Beautiful-looking food in lovely surroundings - Insipid oriental-style music

Nanakusa

441 Sauchiehall Street, City Centre (Map 10: K4), 0141 332 6303, nanakusa.co.uk | £10 (set lunch) / £14 (dinner)

With its high ceiling covered in graceful cornicing, Nanakusa is Glaswegian up top, but Japanese down below, with huge fluorescent lights cycling through oranges, pinks, greens and blues, and hibachi tables where you can sizzle your mizzle (grill your meal). The noughties interior might make hipsters sniff, but that doesn’t seem to put off the relatively young crowd who frequent the place. Starters are mainly deep-fried morsels, like vegetable tempura and chicken gyozas, or the more exotic takoyaki (octopus snacks) or soft-shell crabs. However, there’s also plenty of good sushi and sashimi on offer. Try the Philadelphia for a Western take on a Japanese classic – the soft cheese, fresh salmon and cucumber make it particularly refreshing. There are plenty of noodles and rice dishes available, too, such as amai udon – a pile of fat noodles swamped in a thick, slightly bitter-sweet sauce with prawns and the saving grace of gloriously The List Eating & Drinking Guide

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golden, hot, molten chunks of tofu. For dessert, the banana tempura may well be a glorified fritter served with a mound of squirty cream, but goodness, it’s great. + One of Sauchiehall Street’s better offerings - Not what it once was

Cailin’s Sushi

Nippon Kitchen

91 West George Street, City Centre (Map 10: N5), 0141 328 3113, nipponrestaurant.co.uk | £12 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

With its stylish venue and good-looking food, Nippon hits the sweet spot between classy and casual. The classic Glaswegian architectural features of the high-ceilinged old bank building clash a little with the restaurant’s Japanese furnishings, such as quirky illustrations, cute sculptures and paper lanterns. Nevertheless, it seems to attract plenty of office workers and shoppers. The massive menu offers oodles of sushi and sashimi, though there is plenty else to choose from such as rice dishes, teppanyakigrilled meat or seafood, bento boxes or big steaming piles of noodles. Starters include dishes such as skewers of chicken coated in thick, sticky teriyaki sauce, or sweet potatoes and courgettes in tempura batter. For mains, try the fried ramen noodles in a light ginger sauce topped with a whole, crispy duck breast – the lightness of the noodles combine with the rich duck breast and crunchy vegetables to make a delicious combination. The drinks menu deserves shelling out for – the red rice ale is pretty special, the cocktails look stylish, and the Japanese whisky is a must-try for any lover of uisge-beatha. + Stylish surroundings, relaxed atmosphere - Some dishes don’t quite hit the peaks

Okome

161 Byres Road, West End (Map 13: E2), 0141 334 1818, okome.business.site | £11 (lunch) / £11 (dinner)

This brightly lit little box of a takeaway shop is full of Japanese offerings. While there’s a sublime selection of sushi up for grabs – which comes fresh, flavoursome and funky-looking – there’s also an intriguing range of ramen, rice bowls and sides. The menu doesn’t offer much of an explanation, so be prepared to ask questions, take a risk or play it safe with items like chicken teriyaki or vegetable tempura. The spicy pork belly bowl doesn’t feature the giant, fatty chunks of meat you might expect – instead thin slivers of lean meat are gently woven through a hot sauce with vegetables, topped with crunchy beansprouts, carrots and broccoli. Although Japanese sausages may sound vaguely suspicious, if you’re more a bangers and mash type, give those yummy, smoky little guys a try – you’ll be pleasantly surprised. The dazzling white interior with a handful of seats and the sound of Clyde One doesn’t make it ideal for sitting in unless you’re looking for a quick bite on the run, but Okome would be excellent if you’re after a healthy, tasty takeaway. + Seemly choice of takeaway food - Not designed for sitting in

Q Pickled Ginger

512 St Vincent Street, West End (Map 11: I4), 0141 328 8941, pickledgingerfinnieston.co.uk | £19 (lunch) / £19 (dinner)

The edgy interior, stylish staff, and delicious house grooves playing in the background at Pickled Ginger, all give the impression that this place is very together. The interior is petite, with an industrial feel and artistic features like geometric shapes painted on the walls 162

The List Eating & Drinking Guide

and a silent black and white documentary projected behind the bar. Dig deep through the eight page drinks menu to find the excellent range of imported sakes, whiskies and other drinks. Try a Japanese whisky flight if it’s not just the ginger that you want to be pickled. There’s a huge smattering of wonderful sushi platters to choose from, some with lesser-seen ingredients, like eel sauce. The Japanese omelette comes packed with sautéed vegetables and sweet shellfish, and is so light and fluffy it should be served with The Orb playing in the background. Bigger dishes include katsu curry, or a dish of delicate sashimi salmon served in a huge bowl of salad and steamed rice with a sauce that starts with jammy-citrus flavours and finishes with a spicy punch. The dorayaki are two wee pancakes stuffed with custard, which make for a great little finisher. + Fabulous flavours in a funky environment - Nowhere to hang your jacket

NEW Ramen Dayo

25 Queen Street, City Centre (Map 10: O5), 0141 221 0573, ramendayo.com | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Ramen Dayo pours its heart and soul into perfecting the art of ramen – a hearty, warming bowl of soup packed with noodles and other titbits. The simplest base on the menu is a 20-hour pork broth called tonkotsu, but you can build from there by enriching it with miso, or ‘super-charging’ the lot with burnt garlic oil and crispy fried garlic. The result is a cloudy, nourishing potion full of aldente ramen noodles and topped with sliced pork belly, nori seaweed strips and spring onions. Definitely opt-in for the aji-tama soft boiled egg, which is bathed overnight in a dark marinade and is worthy of a #yolkporn Instagram post. The venue feels like a dimly-lit Japanese back-alley, with a bar thrown together out of corrugated iron, stacked with chubby lucky cats and intriguing looking spirits, and a wall plastered in retro Japanese posters. From the excellent ramen, to the handful of side orders like chicken karaage or beef bulgogi gyozas, and the deliciously different cocktails, everything is meticulously made. And as you might expect of a restaurant owned by notorious Glasgow DJs, the playlist is on point. + Ramen to warm the coldest of Glaswegian hearts - Hard seating isn’t too comfy

Q Ramen Dayo

31 Ashton Lane, West End (Map 13: E2), 0141 334 9095, ramendayo.com | £15

(lunch) / £15 (dinner)

The team behind the Queen Street branch of Ramen Dayo have boiled down everything they learned from their first venture into this smaller, condensed, richer version of the already superpopular restaurant. Sharing the same ramen-centric menu as its bigger sister, the tonkotsu (20-hour pork broth) is most popular, but you can choose chicken or vegetable instead. Depending on your choice, your broth comes with noodles lurking in the bottom, with piles of individual ingredients at the top, such as sliced pork belly, spring onions and sheets of nori seaweed. You can choose all sorts of added extras – don’t miss out on the ami-taja soft-boiled egg or a dollop of spicy miso paste to rev up the broth. If you’re hungry – or even if you’re not – get some sides such as chicken gyoza dumplings or a special of fries coated in smoky Japanese seasoning with sesame and shredded nori seaweed. It’s a much smaller, cosier, intimate affair than the Queen Street branch, but the interior has the same shabby-chic, slightly ramshackle vibe as well as a great drinks list, cheerful staff and wellselected music. + Banging ramen - Less accomplished ramen eaters may find it messy

Wagamama

97–103 West George Street, City Centre (Map 10: N5), 0141 229 1468, wagamama. com | £18.50 (lunch) / £18.50 (dinner)

The Glasgow branch of UK-wide chain Wagamama is like others in its canteen style, featuring plenty of wooden benches, which pack in everyone from solo diners to groups of pals. Known for bringing Asian-inspired food to the masses, the menu features big bowls of soup-based ramen, South East Asian curries, donburi rice bowls, and teppan-fried noodle dishes. There are also plenty of snacks on offer, like tama squid: hot, pungent, fishy balls covered in pastry so flaky that it flies everywhere if you so much as breathe in its direction. They are oddly delicious. Steak bulgogi comes well done on a bed of noodles with aubergines and a pile of crunchy kimchi. The chocolate and shichimi ice-cream is sweet and cooling until a ninja chilli jumps out of nowhere to whack you over the tongue with a cheeky burn – it’s a smile-inducing experience. With a menu for veggies and vegans, plus kids’ options, and some healthy extras, like the option to swap white rice for brown, an awesome range of fresh juices, and unlimited free green tea, Wagamama makes sure it caters for all. + Casual and easy-going - Can’t shake that chainy feeling

Temaki

Wudon

Recipe for Temaki: fold together great Japanese food with woke staff and a bohemian playlist. Bake in a funky little shack until you have a happy belly and are soaked in mellow-flavoured vibes. Although narrow, the venue is full of oh-so-hip reclaimed wood, flashing neon lights, and a muddle of different shaped lampshades, which look like they’re floating at the height of the high ceiling. There’s plenty on the menu beyond notorious Glasgow lunchtime staple, the sushi burrito, including lots for vegans. The k-cup is a fancy name for big bowl of rice with your choice of topping, such as chilli beef, garlic mushrooms or pankobreaded salmon in a lightly spiced, thick katsu curry sauce. Try a sushi roll which is coated in tempura batter and deep-fried – you are in the Weege, after all. The crispy batter on the outside complements your choice of hot filling, such as spicy tuna or sweet potato – though they’re so big that you can’t wolf them down in a oner, no matter how hard you try. + Lovely atmosphere - Seating is a little squished

Family-run Wudon offers a range of Japanese, Chinese or Thai-style dishes served up in pleasant surroundings, having occupied its spot at Kelvinbridge for nighon a decade. Babies and families are as welcome as couples or people popping in to pick up a takeaway. A traditional Japanese mural on one wall contrasts with more modern features, such as blown-up photographs of well-styled food, and contemporary lighting. There’s a decent range of little delights in the small plates part of the menu – which you can have as a starter or as a cluster for tapas-style dining. For those after a bigger meal, the katsu curry might be short on sauce, but the big chunky prawns coated in breadcrumb are fabulously flavoursome. The classic udon noodles are pretty good, too – the wok-fried flavour bursts through a tangle of noodles, with fresh, sweet vegetables complementing the chunks of chicken. + Popular spot with plenty of flavours - Meal could come with the soundtrack of crying babies

113 Hope Street, City Centre (Map 10: M5), 0141 248 1869, temakiglasgow.co.uk | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

535 Great Western Road, West End (Map 12: H1), 0141 357 3033, wudon-noodlebar. co.uk | Closed Mon | £16 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)


ROUND THE WORLD

In association with

GLASGOW

ROUND THE WORLD The diversity and vibrancy of Glasgow’s food scene speaks volumes about the welcoming, hospitable nature of the city, and the willingness of the locals to seek out new flavours. In just 15 tube stops, you can dine in the Americas, the Med, the Middle East and more. With no visas needed and only the traditional drizzle to brave, a world of foodie wonder awaits the bold and the curious. Reviewers: Tiff Griffin, Tara Hepburn

NEW Alla Locanta MEDITERRANEAN

192 Pitt Street, City Centre (Map 10: L4), locanta.co.uk | £6.95 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

In recent times businesses on and around Sauchiehall Street have experienced all manner of stormy waters. Yet for years Alla Turca sailed serenely through it all and in its new incarnation makes a pit-stop across the Ionian sea to Italy. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Turkish side of the menu offers a surer touch, starting with delicious fresh Turkish bread. Kebabs, still skewered on gleaming blades, come served fit for a sultan, arriving atop ornate trays. There are some upmarket grilled options of which the pistachio lamb kebab is a creative mix of flavours. Over on the Italian frontier, there’s a selection of standards ranging from pizza to pasta. The spaghetti and meatballs prove to be a satisfying, if safe, spot to land on. Of course, the proximity to surrounding theatres and cinemas make it a great place to enjoy a meal before digesting some of Glasgow’s culture. A fact that is reflected in one of the better value pretheatre menus in the city centre. + Pistachio kebab panache - Pasta sauce with no pizzazz

’Babs

MIDDLE EASTERN 49 West Nile Street, City Centre (Map 10: N5), 0141 465 1882, babs.co.uk | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

’Babs on West Nile Street is a goodlooking place. A trendy mix of patterned floor tiles, low-hanging lampshades and mosaiced tables set the tone for a restaurant which is out to redeem the humble kebab. Gone completely is any notion of a sloppy thrown-together wrap stuffed with questionable meat. These kebabs are a grown-up affair made from high-quality ingredients, served on plates and eaten with cutlery. Shish options include lamb, chicken, swordfish and vegan steak each of which arrives skewered atop freshly baked pita bread, hummus and a tangy shredded salad, which in itself is a wellconsidered mix of cabbage, onions, lettuce and gherkins. They do other stuff, too, with a lot of ’Babs best dishes lingering on the menu’s mezze section – the candied beetroot with goat’s cheese is a small triumph. This venture from the Bread Meats Bread family has been a quick hit in the city, bustling with diners most nights of the week. The winning combination of good quality food and friendly staff has made ’Babs a very pleasant place to be. + Fresh, quality ingredients cooked simply - Some tables can feel crammed in

Barburrito MEXICAN

• 115 Hope Street, City Centre (Map 10: M5), 0141 243 2321 • 138 Queen Street, City Centre (Map 10: O5), 0141 221 9330, barburrito.co.uk | £11 (lunch) / £11 (dinner)

Popular UK chain Barburrito have two branches in Glasgow city centre, located on Queen Street and Hope Street, both offering up the same trademark brand of Mexican fast food. The set-up is straightforward. Diners first choose a base from a selection of Mexican standards: burrito, quesadilla, nachos, tacos, salad or fries before topping it with their choice of main filling. Highlights here include spicy shredded beef, pulled pork and sweet potato chilli. A deli-counter’s worth of salad, beans, rice and cheese options come next where – at no extra charge – it is possible to really get your money’s worth by opting for a bit of everything. The whole operation is quick and runs smoothly. The food is good, too, making the two diners some of your best bets for reliable quality food in a hurry in the city centre. If you have more time to spare, you can take a seat at one of their roomy booth tables and linger a little longer with a frozen Margarita or chilled bottle of Sol. + Fast efficient service, good food in a hurry - Formulaic dining experience can feel impersonal

Q Beirut Star LEBANESE

450 Paisley Road, Southside, 0141 427 7277 | £30 (set mezzes, for 2 people) (set lunch) / £14.50 (dinner)

A star it truly is, showcasing the unique cuisine of the Levant. Hidden in plain sight on Paisley Road West, the first nibble of the mezze will make anyone glad of their adventure. Everything on a plate here bursts and sizzles with flavour. Crispy fatayer parcels stuffed with pomegranate, spinach and pine nuts illustrate the best of the region’s culinary identity – distinctive combinations blended together with wonderful delicacy. The small plates are perfect for sampling an inviting menu. Tabbouleh is a joyous bowl of greens and grains beautifully balanced with lemon vinaigrette and olive oil while the mini lamb sausages are juicy and richly textured. The house special lamb stew is an alternative to the grill, packed with tagine-style tenderness making the last mouthful a somewhat poignant moment. That is unless your dining partner orders the mixed grill, which is a charcoal-infused feast too vast for a mortal to undertake alone. The chunks of tangy lemon chicken steal the show here, matched perfectly with the smoky overtures of the grill. A wonderful member of Glasgow’s food scene – nuanced, layered, balanced and complex. Like its Lebanese city namesake. + Eye-catching combinations with stunning results - Plastic strawtastic drinks

Q Bibi’s Cantina MEXICAN

599 Dumbarton Road, West End, 0141 579 0179, bibiscantina.com | £11.95 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Bibi’s Cantina has been a quiet favourite in the Partick area since opening in 2007. Located just beyond the point on Dumbarton Road that a wander is likely to take you, locals have enjoyed keeping shtum about this small but big-hearted boho Mexican eatery lest it get too busy for them to grab a table. Duck in under

the twinkling fairy lights and you will find a lively Mexican cantina where diners are greeted with complimentary shots of frozen Margarita and tortilla chips as they browse the short but confident menu. Their fish of the day – marinated in garlic, chilli, tequila and coriander, served with coconut rice – is well worth coming back for. If you can get in between noon and early evening their early bird menu gives diners a swing at pretty much the full à la carte for a reduced price (£11.95 for two courses or £13.95 for three). Visiting Bibi’s is a thoroughly enjoyable experience brought together by the terrific staff who are funny and work the small room in a way that brings tables of strangers together. + Warm atmosphere – like visiting a friend - Small space means tables are very close together

Boteco do Brasil

SOUTH AMERICAN 62 Trongate, Merchant City (Map 14: Q6), 07772 847311, botecodobrasil.com | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Large groups are commonplace in the Trongate’s little slice of South America: Boteco do Brasil. This loud and convivial bar has built up a steadfast fan base of Glaswegians keen to keep partying after the pubs close, but not quite in the mood to hit the club. This is a place where food very much plays second fiddle to the fruity cocktails and party atmosphere. There are a few nods to the bar’s Brazilian heritage across the menu’s pages with options such as pão de queijo – a starter of breaded cheese balls originally from the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais – and brigadeiro, Brazil’s most popular dessert consisting of chocolate truffles made with a blend of condensed milk and dark chocolate, topped with coconut flakes. Otherwise the food on offer is pretty standard pub grub – their burgers are particularly popular. Open until 3am seven nights a week, you get the sense that Boteco do Brasil is not interested in courting a foodie crowd, this is a place to drink cocktails, dance and have fun into the early hours. + Lively party atmosphere every night of the week - Food is a bit of an afterthought

Q NEW Brazuca Café BRAZILIAN

1–3 Methil Street, West End, 0141 950 1604 | £8 (lunch)

Too shy to samba? Can’t afford the ticket to Ipanema? The ordinary exterior of this Scotstoun café hides a slice of delightful escapism. Easily the best South American food in the city and Brazilians pop in regularly for their slice, sending melodic Portuguese floating over the snug space, mingling with laid-back lounge-pop on the stereo. The food is defined by freshness and an unmistakable home-cooked care throughout. Salty cheese bread balls are the enjoyable side of doughy while the feijoada is rich with black beans and chunky meat. It even has seasoned farofa to complement it. When crunch meets pork, we’re all winners. Co-owner Cida hails from Brazil’s most easterly state so Brazuca is Brazilian born but made in Scotland. Her dedicated approach includes finding a local Portuguese baker to make the pastel de nata. The result is the kind of soft pastry that gives you sweet dreams until morning. No, Brazuca isn’t on the high street but neither are the prices; one of many reasons it’s worth a little adventure. Close your eyes and swap Glasgow for Guanabara Bay. + Tastes like Astrud Gilberto sings - Sunday morning coffee would be nice (opens noon on Sun)

Q HITLIST

ROUND THE WORLD ✱ Beirut Star Southside Lebanese restaurant offering wonderful mezzes and stunning Beirut specialities at affordable prices.

✱ Bibi’s Mexican cantina with great pedigree and warmth, testament to the ethos that good service and good food ensure success.

✱ Brazuca Café Café-deli in

Scotstoun specialising in excellent Brazilian food including street food and classic traditional dishes.

✱ Elià A family-run restaurant

using the best of Greek and Scottish produce to deliver a wide-range of wholesome dishes.

✱ Restauracja U Jarka Terrific

Polish restaurant next to Kelvingrove Park, where food is prepared with love and served with warmth and humour.

✱ So L.A. Fourth venue for

the Rusk & Rusk group (The Butchershop, Hutchesons, The Spanish Butcher), tapping into an eclectic Californian vibe.

Bread Meats Bread NORTH AMERICAN

• 701 Great Western Road, West End • 102–104 St Vincent Street, City Centre See Steakhouses & Burgers

Café Strange Brew GLOBAL

1082 Pollokshaws Road, Southside (Map 15: H12), 0141 440 7290 | Closed Mon | £10 (lunch)

Café Strange Brew continues to rise up in the world. They moved to bigger premises in Shawlands thanks to evergrowing popularity for its much-loved hangover-busting brunches, and early in 2019 owner Laurie MacMillan and one of the Strange Brew chefs, Andrea Bartolini, opened a sister venue in the East End, Mesa (see page 142). Expect eclectic and imaginative dishes that reach around the globe for inspiration – Mexican pulled pork hash with avo, salsa, puffed corn and smokey beans, or a skillet of cauliflower with eggs, smoked cheddar and dukkah. They also do plenty of pretty pancakes many ways, while seasons will dictate what is featured as toppings. With piles of cakes to choose from (including vegan options) and a good range of teas and coffees, lingering is a tempting proposition. With its mantra to ‘keep Shawlands strange’ it has earned its place in locals’ hearts. + Imaginative menu - Surroundings more shabby than chic The List Eating & Drinking Guide

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GLASGOW

The Calabash Restaurant AFRICAN

57 Union Street, City Centre (Map 10: N5), 0141 221 2711, thecalabashafricanrestaurant.co.uk | £14 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

The afro-pop is cranking up next door, six West Africans in awesome shirts are losing their marbles over the football on TV, and grilled meat is sizzling on tables. T.I.A., baby, T.I.A. In a Union Street basement it may be, but that zebraprint staircase is an inter-continental transportation device. Part restaurant, part bar and part weekend club, it’s a meeting point for Glasgow’s African community and their friends. Order a plate of cassava chips and a large Ghanaian Star lager and you’re an instant regular. The pan-African menu has a West to East Coast focus, with Kenyan nyama choma, jollof rice and fried tilapia on the list. The distinctive style of Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine means it has its own sub-section and the crumpetlike texture of njera flatbread is great for scooping up sauces. Surprisingly, it’s the veg sides that shine though, from crunchy cassava chips to the creamy green banana and potato mash. That’s a hug in a bowl from Mama Africa right there. Best enjoyed with pals, sampling exotic mystery beers and making new friends in the process. + There’s nowhere else quite like this - Lamb on the chewy side

Döner Haus

Stack and Still

GERMAN

85 West Nile Street, City Centre (Map 10: N4), 0141 353 0988, donerhaus.uk | £14 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

This is really outside food on the inside, as Berlin’s favoured night-out fuel lounges in a cosmopolitan canteen setting. The kebap is kaiser here, with various spiced meats crowned atop sourdough breads, with more than enough to keep voracious carnivores content. Route one options include the hefty one-two punch of a chilli doner but the more sophisticated chicken mustafa showcases Turkey’s eastward looking side. Feta, mint and harissa combined with schwarma is no average kebap. Service is swift, servings mountainous but for insatiable snackers a tasty notthat-mini wurst and crunchy falafel will keep the wolf from the door. Or the bear on it – Berlin’s chosen animal adorns the door, adding to the couches, bulbs, lamps of varying sizes, faux ivy and a minimalist downlit bar. Luckily, the straightforward menu is far easier to navigate. Leaving diners to get on with, quite literally, savouring the product of decades of Turkish migration. A social geography lesson that’s considerably more fun than a trade conference in Baden-Baden. + Honestly, who doesn’t love a kebab? - Décor is a little confused

Q Elià

GREEK 24 George Square, City Centre (Map 10: O5), 0141 221 9988, eliagreekrestaurant. com | £10 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

This unassuming Greek restaurant on George Square has a modern feel with a no-big-deal interior style – simple dark wood tables, a selection of landscape pictures on the walls. But the food on offer at this family-run eatery provides a real taste of Greece. In a restaurant landscape where pan-Mediterranean small-plate restaurants abound, there is something comforting about a place that nails its colours to the wall. Elià is a Greek restaurant, pure and simple – starters, mains, desserts. Ingredients are meticulously imported from family farms 164

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in the Greek countryside and it shows. Their cold-pressed olive oil takes salads to another level. You would be hard pressed to find a bad dish on the menu. Highlights include the slow-cooked lamb shank (kleftiko), the expertly grilled souvlaki skewers and even their entrée dip selection which is more than a sum of its parts. At Elià it is typical to see large families chatting away with the waiters in Greek. If you get a spot beside the large windows when the sun is shining, you could almost forget you’re in Glasgow. + Excellent imported Greek ingredients - Vegans might struggle with the menu

Halloumi GREEK

161 Hope Street, City Centre (Map 10: M5), 0141 204 1616, halloumiglasgow. co.uk | £9.95 (set lunch) / £21.50 (dinner)

Halloumi has been a fast favourite in Glaswegian hearts since opening its doors in 2016. This Greek-Cypriot restaurant dishes up bold, fresh food in a way that feels both traditional and contemporary. There’s something very agreeable about their bustling stylish setup, with striking patterned tiles, white brick walls and waiters running back and forth to grab dishes from the open kitchen. Plates of bright delicious food set the tone for a menu that encourages communal dining. Their one-page menu of mezze choices mixes things up between seafood, salads, dips and a sizeable chunk of Greek favourites. The latter is where you’ll find the best of the bunch – moussaka, dolmades and keftedes are all reassuringly well done. It comes as no surprise that they have opened a second branch across the river. Their original spot on Hope Street remains unfailingly popular – it’s not unusual to have a time limit on bookings. The quick turnaround means that walkins are more than welcome to pull up a stool at their well-stocked bar and sip on a Greek craft beer until a table opens up. + Crowd-pleasing but adventurous menu - Limited table space

NEW Halloumi South GREEK

697 Pollokshaws Road, Southside (Map 15: K11), 0141 423 6340, halloumiglasgow. co.uk | £9.95 (set lunch) / £21.50 (dinner)

More European chic than traditional taverna, only the Hellenic pillars hint at the nature of the cuisine on offer here. That and the cute piles of cut pitta adorning tables just waiting to be dipped into creamy, delicious tzatziki. Small mezze plates are the way to make the most of a menu stacked with familiar sights. Lamb souvlaki is a fine choice from the grill, tender pink meat under crunchy chargrilled edges demonstrating a deft hand over the charcoals. Slow-cooked beef stifado comes with a rich, not too sweet, tomato gravy and to make it feel truly traditional the vegetarian dolmades are light and nicely textured with crunchy veg nestling under the delicate vine leaves. The subtly lit interior is divided by minimalist shelves lined with trailing plants that provide a splash of Athenian colour to a space that’s cool without ever feeling cold. Halloumi? Grilled, in satisfying chunky fries, or stencilled in Greek on the windows. Which makes for an enjoyable linguistic puzzle to fill any lull in the conversation. + Simple dishes and stylish surrounds - Chicken tava needs more cumin kick

The Lansdowne

MIDDLE EASTERN 7a Lansdowne Crescent, West End See Indian

Las Iguanas

SOUTH AMERICAN 16–20 West Nile Street, City Centre (Map 10: N5), 0141 248 5705, iguanas.co.uk | £20 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Despite covering both hemispheres, this restaurant cantina cocktail punches above its weight on a panoramic tour of the Americas. With the moqueca at the Maracanã, these Iguanas love Brazil but scamper around Mexico, Peru and Argentina’s Gaucho grazing lands to complete the trip. The travel guide menu

is helpfully indexed to navigate this express tour. Zesty Caipirinha is a fine aperitif and part of a decent selection available at very attractive less-than-a-fiver prices. Dominican goat curry is fiery but slow cooked to tenderness with coconut and Scotch bonnet chilli battling for supremacy. From Brazil’s cultural cradle comes Bahian coconut stew – it’s creamy and tender, needing just a twist of lime to take it from good to excellent. The only off-note is a curiously generous pinch of paprika in the coxinha but the crispy bacalhau balls save the day for the starters. It may have the air of a 1970’s departure lounge but think retro-glamour days of air travel, not Ryanair London Luton. With jaunty stewards getting endearingly lost in the menu’s tongue-twisters, the food and service will have you on-board soon enough. + Ding ding cowbells ring it’s a flavour fiesta - Lime chunks atop mayonnaise spoil the samba

Mango

AMERICAS 373 Sauchiehall Street, City Centre (Map 10: K4), 07908 251200, mangolatino.uk | £17 (lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Mango on Sauchiehall Street’s nightlife strip does a little bit of everything. This colourful and chaotic tropical bar hosts salsa nights during the week, club nights at the weekends and live music on a regular basis. Food comes courtesy of a new collaboration with a pop-up kitchen named TBC who do dishes that are in keeping with Mango’s brand of Latin flavour. Fajitas, quesadillas and barbecue skewers are the pick of the bunch from the reasonably priced menu where everything comes in at under a tenner. Familiar pubgrub favourites can be found here, too, with a selection of pizzas and topped fries available to order until late. Their two-page cocktail list is a who’s who of popular choices and represents particularly good value for money if you visit between Sunday-Thursday when every cocktail is available for just £3.95. Large screens at


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GLASGOW

the back of the sprawling bar make the place popular when major sporting events are on. Mango draws in an eclectic crowd of students, tourists and regulars which gives the place a lively party atmosphere. + Great cocktail promos - Food service can be slow at busy times

Mark’s Deli JEWISH

6 Burnfield Road, Southside, 0141 638 8947, marksdeli.co.uk | Closed Sat | £11 (lunch)

Mark’s Deli is a kosher store and deli in Giffnock which opens the doors of its unassuming canteen-like café at lunchtimes to serve up hot plates of traditional Jewish food to a steady stream of enthusiastic diners. Clearly a popular community spot, Mark’s is certainly a pleasant place to be. First time visitors are greeted with warm smiles not just from the staff but also from diners at the nearby tables who happily offer nudges towards the best options on offer. There is a lot to enjoy on the menu, particularly for adventurous eaters who can sample dishes that are hard to find anywhere else in the city. The hot salt beef sandwich is a real highlight, evoking the famed delis of Tel Aviv and New York City. The falafel platter is similarly accomplished. It would be remiss not to mention some of their specialities, including the hearty chicken soup aptly named ‘Jewish penicillin’ and the humble potato latke – a deep-fried potato patty the size of a burger which is just as good as it sounds. + Unique dishes - Opening hours are short

Mezze

MEDITERRANEAN Top Floor, The Rotunda, 28 Tunnel Street, West End, 0141 375 1111, glasgowrotunda.com/mezze-glasgow | £8.95 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Skip the dips and go straight for the fish. As a delicate chunk of filleted sea bass flakes onto the rosemary, you won’t regret it. From the tender calamari to the juicy octopus, the chefs here clearly have the Midas touch around seafood. In a cosy loft with a starry aquatic dome as a centrepiece, the view over the Clyde and its iconic riverside skyline will surely be a major attraction for visitors to the city. The other is the proximity to major concert venues that loom around the historic Rotunda building – once the entrance to the tunnel under the Clyde – which makes checking the gig schedule almost essential for early evening visits. It’s a pan-Med menu with guests from Cyprus and Turkey mingling happily with their regional neighbour. Chunky courgette and feta fritters and a Greek salad make for an amenable supporting cast without offering the same quality as the seafood. More inspiring is the chance to enjoy a juicy Yianni Paranga wine, from that somewhat rare style of Greek grapes with a little body to match the fruit flavours. + Fantastic fish - Meh tabbouleh

Mezzidakia

MEDITERRANEAN 71–73 St Vincent Street, City Centre (Map 10: N5), 0141 221 0202, mezzidakia.com | £9.95 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Mezzidakia bills itself as an Eastern Mediterranean restaurant, with dishes spanning the various cuisines of Turkey, Morocco, Greece and Lebanon. If a menu that far-reaching fills you with dread, you’ll be heartened to find such a harmonious and accomplished selection of dishes on offer. Diners can choose from an extensive menu of small plates. Food arrives as soon as its ready and fresh ingredients take centre stage, with

vegetarians and seafood fans being well catered for here. The menu is designed with mixing and matching in mind and the flavours go well together. The Turkish flatbread pizzas taste great alongside the Greek filo parcels or the Lebanese lentil curry. Located on the busy dining thoroughfare of St Vincent Street, there is lots of competition nearby – some of it coming from sister restaurants Topolobamba and Chaakoo Bombay Café. Like those other ventures Mezzidakia has arrived fully formed, with confident trendy stylings, affordable lunch menus, good drinks choices and slick, efficient service. + Truly compatible small plates selection - Deliveroo drivers popping in and out can disrupt the atmosphere

Monterey Jack’s

NORTH AMERICAN Merchant Square, 71 Albion Street, Merchant City See Steakhouses & Burgers

Q Restauracja U Jarka POLISH

Sikorski Polish Club, 5 Parkgrove Terrace, West End (Map 11: G3), 07756 970306 | Closed Tue | £12 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

One of the city’s better kept secrets, the fascinating history of the Sikorksi Polish Club is found on the walls and in the delightful time-forgotten interior. Like stumbling upon your family cottage having wandered through a secluded Silesian forest glade. Okay, Kelvingrove Park will do. Never had a Polish granny? You’ll love it. Have a Polish granny? They’ll love you. Newcomers blend indistinguishably into groups of in-the-know students and Poles old and new getting a taste of home. Rustic it may be, but rewarding it definitely is. Barnstorming beef stew on crispy potato pancakes with a sizeable croquette on the side. Pierogi, the national dish, feature prominently and whether cream cheese or cabbage and mushroom, they are soft, addictive depth-charge dumplings. Richly flavoured translucent claret borscht that costs less than a bus to Baillieston? You’ll be asking if you’ve had too much hazelnut vodka. You haven’t. Yet. It’s Chopin’s left hand and Lewandowski’s right foot. It’s eating like a king and paying like a pauper. Just pray they don’t change the décor, ever. + Spoonful of soup and a slice of history - Not having two stomachs

Q NEW So L.A.

NORTH AMERICAN 43 Mitchell Street, City Centre (Map 10: N5), 0141 473 7333, solaglasgow.com | £17 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Attracting a well-heeled crowd, this chic cocktail bar and restaurant serves up a menu of Pacific coast-inspired dishes. The menu is original with lots to enjoy – the Korean fried cauliflower starter arrives slathered in a tangy barbecue and sesame seed sauce, making it a surprisingly satisfying substitute for ribs. The soft-shell crab tacos with avocado salsa are fresh and flavoursome, expertly channelling that California vibe. Everything arrives beautifully presented, particularly the cocktails – try Angel’s Candy, which is topped with pink candy floss. This is the least you would expect from a place that is so regularly tagged by verified social media personalities. So L.A. transforms as day gives way to night – the elegant hush during dinner service is replaced by a nightclub atmosphere on Friday and Saturday nights as DJs take to the decks and tables make way for a dancefloor. Their basement private hire space, the White Box, is a blank canvas which can be dressed to your party specifications. Recent guests include drinks giant Bacardi who hosted a take-over, transforming the

sparse room into a tropical rum paradise. + Elegant well-crafted menu - Lots of food photography going on

St Louis Café Bar NORTH AMERICAN

734 Dumbarton Road, West End, 0141 339 1742, stlouis-cafebar.co.uk | £6.50 (set lunch) / £14.50 (dinner)

A true neighbourhood bar, if only by virtue of its somewhat remote location next to Thornwood roundabout. Newcomers are welcome though and it’s easy to feel you’re in the front room of a flat you just moved into, where someone else makes the food. Sofas and well-loved wooden furniture are an invitation to relax and leave foodie pretensions behind. A short simple menu is set apart by the quality of the ingredients pulling it up and beyond the average. Homemade vegan ice-cream and the daily sponge bakes will tempt the sweet-toothed. Better for washing down a pint are crunchy bonbons made with rich Stornoway black pudding. The smoky joe burger, rib-sticking beef chilli and chunky chowder are all great foundations for a night spent in the pub. And a whole night it may be, because live entertainment is at the heart of what makes it worth a visit. Whether a pop-up poetry event, soul DJs or live bands, it’s that kind of place – go for one, make new friends and wonder how it got to be closing time. + Home comforts and no washing up - Music on loop

NEW Stack and Still NORTH AMERICAN

100 West George Street, City Centre (Map 10: N5), 0141 471 0417, stackandstill. co.uk | £13.50 (lunch) / £13.50 (dinner)

Stack and Still proudly boasts that it is the UK’s largest pancake house. And it certainly is large. Almost surprisingly large for a pancake spot. Are 200 people in Glasgow really going to want to eat pancakes at the exact same time? The regular queue snaking around the building on weekends would suggest yeah, they do. And it’s easy to see why. Stack and Still have nailed the interactive family dining experience. With over ten million different menu combinations, this is a place where you can be your fussiest self. Pancake varieties include buttermilk, buckwheat, protein, gluten-free or sugar-free, which can be loaded with sweet or savoury toppings ranging from standard pancake stuff (maple syrup, Nutella, bacon) to more adventurous offerings (marinated king prawns, pickled red onion). The cost can creep up if you get carried away – meaning you get more bang for your buck from one of their signature stacks. The self-serve bar is a gimmicky bit of fun. Diners are issued with a card they can tap to activate various drinks pumps and pour themselves a glass of prosecco or a pint from their good selection of beers. + Fun interactive dining experience - Maple syrup should be on the table, not £2.50 extra

Taco Mazama Mexican Kitchen MEXICAN

• 263 Byres Road, West End (Map 13: E1), 0141 337 3399, tacomazama.co.uk • 6 Renfield Street, City Centre (Map 10: N5), 0141 248 8940, tacomazama.co.uk | £10 (lunch) / £10 (dinner)

If you live or work in the West End you have probably spotted the queue outside Taco Mazama on Byres Road at lunchtimes. The popular grab-andgo Mexican spot has two other smaller takeaway-focused branches in the city (on Renfield Street and in Buchanan Galleries) but its premises in the heart of Hillhead remains the busiest. The matter of fact menu puts diners centre-stage, first choosing from a format of either

quesadilla, fajita, burrito, salad or tacos and topping it with a filling of their choice. Fillings worth a mention include the chargrilled chicken, the delicious chipotle shredded tofu and veggie chilli of the day, a warming hot pot of which is made in-house each morning using a changing mix of seasonal veg. The menu really does go above and beyond when it comes to vegetarians and vegans – more than half of the options on offer are meat-free. A fridge full of Mexican colas make for a considered soft drink selection, available in a host of brightly coloured tropical varieties including guava, mango and pineapple. + Great veggie options - Can be frustrating to wait while delivery orders are prepared

Topolabamba MEXICAN

89 St Vincent Street, City Centre (Map 10: N5), 0141 248 9359, topolabamba. com/home | £9.95 (set lunch) / £15.50 (dinner)

Por dios amigo, these tortilla chips are worth climbing a high wall for. Salty, freshly fried and pleading to dive into guacamole. By the time the churros have been disposed of though, there’ll be no climbing in or out of anywhere. Only rolling home, with the satisfaction of knowing it was worth it. Busy with post-work crowds every night, taking the edge off w