Power Rankings: Glasgow’s Best Restaurants Right Now

It’s different out there, but one thing stays the same. Glasgow has a dynamic food and drink scene. It’s emerging from slumber and ready to go. As we move into August, this is our countdown of the most-talked-about, must-visit restaurants in the city right now, ranked according to one important, ever-fluctuating quality: Who has the most buzz? We consider them the most interesting places to eat right now. You should too.

1 Mother India’s Café

Sometimes you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone, and then it comes back again. We probably take the outstanding cooking at Mother India's Café for granted. No more. Pioneering Indian small plates and authentic home cooking at affordable prices. They reopen today on Argyle Street across from the Kelvingrove Art Gallery.

2 Gnom

Turkish eggs. Lamb ragu with parpadelle and pine nuts and a big glass of tempranillo. Just a couple of reasons we are glad this Strathbungo eatery is back. Expect a playful, experimental and global approach to food. Go for brunch or try their evening menu.

3 Thundercat

A new arrival on Miller Street, where SoHo pizza once was, Thundercat Pub and Diner is the reason you now see so many Chicago style deep dish pizzas lathered in tomato sauce on your Instagram feed. Their fried chicken and waffles have also captured the imagination. From the team behind Buck’s Bar with Yvonne Noon, formerly of The Sisters restaurant, in the kitchen.

4 Glaschu

Head Chef Dion Scott previously trained in Heston Blumenthal’s kitchens and some of London’s top eateries. He is looking forward to bringing some classic French techniques and influences together with some of Scotland’s best local produce. “I am looking forward to being back in the kitchen, it’s all about the food for me and I can’t wait to see how people respond to the dishes”. Look out for the beef Wellington signature dish and Glasgow inspired cocktails. Opening today.

5 La Vita Spuntini

After La Vita Pizzeria restaurants on George Square and in Bishopbriggs, Piccolino E Vino in Newton Mearns and Spuntini Byres Road, the Gordon Street venture, La Vita Spuntini, is Mario Arcari and his father Marco’s fifth restaurant in Glasgow. The stylish spot has adapted well to post-lockdown restrictions. Order lobster ravioli finished with a touch of chilli.

6 Bibi’s Cantina

Undaunted by the challenges of reopening their small Partick hangout, Bibi’s have moved outside to their backcourt, bringing in picnic tables, deckchairs and a frozen Margarita drinks truck. We like their style. Burritos are back on the menu, weather permitting.

7 Ubiquitous Chip

They celebrate 50 years of local hospitality next year. Having kept the West End supplied with lobsters and wine from their shop over lockdown, you can now return for a proper celebration, enjoying food in a place that’s become a byword for Glasgow hospitality. You can also book the rooftop terrace with pals.  

8 Ka Pao

Inspired by Southeast Asian cuisine, Ka Pao’s chefs design dishes that pack a flavourful punch. A smash hit on Vinicombe Street, they were just getting into their stride before being forced to close. Retaining attention with their dine at home kits, you can now find a table in their spacious dining room and order a steady supply of spicy combinations.

9 Sugo

A pasta place, from the team behind Paesano, they’ve bounced back after lockdown, reopening the restaurant and designing a fresh pasta delivery service that starts next week. Try squid ink spaghetti with baby squid ragu and lemon pangrattato inspired by Sicily or Pappardelle with slow cooked beef ragu from Tuscany.

10 Mamasan

The latest venture from Brad Stevens, the man behind Bar Soba and Pizza Punks. Kanjana Burke, former head chef at Chaophraya and Kevin Davidson, who was previously at The Finnieston and Hanoi Bike Shop have put together a punchy southeast Asian inspired menu at this stylish bar and restaurant. Try the Hebridean crab claw and king prawn pad thai, Loch Fyne oysters with chilli, lime and coriander or the crispy spring roll of north-sea cod, smoked haddock and chilli jam, topped with fresh trout roe. Denied the opportunity to open in March, they’ve made their debut last week.

The government’s Eat Out to Help Out Scheme offers a 50% discount on food or non-alcoholic drinks to eat or drink in hospitality venues, up to a maximum of £10 discount per person. The offer runs every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday between 3rd and 31st August, it is automatically deducted from your bill and you can use as many times as you like.

For a full picture of local food and drink, order a copy of our Glasgow's 100 Best Restaurants book at glasgowist.com/100Best

From Gleneagles to Glasgow

After four months of isolation, a bit of kitchen intrigue and restaurant gossip is long overdue. Lorna McNee joined Restaurant Andrew Fairlie at the Gleneagles Hotel as an apprentice in October 2008. She rose through the ranks, supported by Andrew and head chef Stevie McLaughlin. Now, having spent 12 years in the kitchen at Scotland's only two Michelin star, she is set to take over at a Glasgow restaurant as head chef.  

Lorna tells me she has been "very busy menu planning, re-organising the kitchen and getting everything else ready for what is to come". However, she won’t reveal what restaurant is soon to welcome her significant talents.

We know it’s an existing independent fine-dining restaurant in the city and the launch date is in the diary for 5th August. While we speculate, Lorna is assembling her team and experimenting with potential dishes for the menu. Her arrival is an exciting postscript to lockdown.

Meanwhile, the team behind Van Winkle at the Gallowgate are currently recruiting for a new version of their bourbon bar and barbeque food venue. They will open on Byres Road later in the summer.

Also in the West End, Modou Diagne has confirmed he will open his debut restaurant, 111 by Modou, in the middle of August. The dining experience on Cleveden Road was slated to open in March before plans were put on hold due to the Covid-19 crisis.

Work is currently underway to transform the former 111 by Nico to align with the vision of the new owner and head chef. The 46-cover restaurant will open with a reduced capacity of 28. There will be a choice of a six course or four course seasonal tasting menu priced at £35 per person or £30 per person and available every Tuesday to Saturday.