PEOPLE often make strong connections with Glasgow restaurants – and those places become culinary touchstones in their lives.

“Going out for a meal. It’s very spiritual,” Seumas MacInnes says as I begin to reminisce about my first visits to Cafe Gandolfi as a student and how, when I lived away from the city, it became a familiar and reassuring fixed point in an area that seemed to be in a perpetual state of flux.

Seumas arrived at Cafe Gandolfi in 1983 to work as a kitchen-porter, peeling potatoes and chopping red cabbage. By 1995, he’d become manager and then owner when founder Iain Mackenzie “passed the flame on”.

Last year, Gandolfi celebrated its 40th anniversary with gusto, taking it as an opportunity to reassert its position in the local food firmament.

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Seumas says: “Sometimes folk go off at a tangent and when they find their new favourite place, they forget their old favourite. Last year for us was all about reminding people we are here, we are still working hard and we are making the types of food you would like to eat. It was lovely to hear memories of the restaurant.”

Seumas enjoys seeing familiar faces, many of whom have grown up enjoying meals in the famous dining room, with its distinctive sculpture-like furniture, designed by Tim Stead, a graduate of the Glasgow School of Art.

There’s also plenty of room for the next generation of diners. With that in mind, Seumas’ son Alasdair is taking the lead as chef in the bar upstairs.

“The cafe itself is as it was. No changes. You can still order your Cullen skink or Stornoway black pudding. Upstairs, Alasdair’s menu will have its own identity.

“Savour at Bar Gandolfi is all about seasonal small plates and interesting drinks. It has already attracted a younger audience.

“We’re launching it gently over the next couple of weeks and I’m looking forward to seeing the response.”

Innovation will also mean consolidation. I ask about the future of Gandolfi Fish, which opened in the Merchant City in 2007.

“I’ve put it on the market. I’ve tried everything with it, but it’s never really taken off. I just feel I need to concentrate my attention here,” Seumas explains.

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There’s now two contrasting styles of dining on offer in a place full of character and fun. Both menus are laden with the best of Scottish produce available. Seumas is enjoying his time working with his son in the kitchen as Gandolfi looks towards the next decade of breakfast, lunch and dinners.