Take a fresh look at the city and always remember to look up. That was one of the founding principles of the Glasgowist website that I started writing five years about this month. In the spirit of renewing my perspective, I took a holiday in the city centre recently. The journey from Dennistoun took no time at all. 

I stayed overnight at the Ibis Styles West on Waterloo Street. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed waking up in a hotel room. It had been a while. Their design motif is Glasgow music with nods towards local venues and bands. The lobby is a comfortable open space where you can book space to meet up with friends or for meetings even if you are not staying in the hotel. It’s a handy midpoint between Central Station and the West End beyond the M8. 

I haven’t exactly been a stranger to the city centre, but I’ve been a less frequent visitor. Striding between some of the key shopping landmarks on Buchanan Street, it’s clear that while the city centre remains opening, footfall is down. Retailers are taking a proactive approach, ensuring they can offer safe conditions for folk to shop in town, while also offering alternatives and continuing to maintain a connection with clients. At John Lewis, sitting at the top of the Style Mile, they offer a personal shopping service where you can arrange to chat through what you might need from the home, clothing or baby department. The idea is to still be able to take advantage of the resources in store even if you can’t make a visit. Alternatively you can contact them to discuss what you might need in way of support if you are going into the store. 

At Rox Jewellery at Argyll Arcade they take advantage of the showroom space they have - you can relax and enjoy a glass of champagne and afternoon tea while a range of options are brought to your table, whether it be engagement rings, statement pieces or high end watches. If you are going to make an important purchase to mark a special moment, you may as well enjoy the experience. Staff there say they have also been able to arrange remote options for customers and encourage people to phone if they are interested in having a chat. 

Princes Square remains one of the city centre’s most interesting landmark buildings, carved out of an open car park space, the centre retains its own distinctive personality. There’s food and drink on the ground floor and the top, gallery space, Glasgow’s most stylish small cinema at Everyman and new businesses like Essence of Harris to join the established design boutiques. In terms of being able to shop safely, they have made changes that matter and have the space to make things work. 

A walk then around Bath Street and up Sauchiehall Street before dinner at Gamba where you can enjoy some of the best seafood dishes in the city. Here since 1998, chef Derek Marshall is happy to welcome back familiar faces once again after lockdown. The cooking is immaculate and dishes like Isle of Gigha halibut with sweetcorn, peat smoked haddock, torched tomatoes and garden peas really remind you why it is good to be back in a Glasgow dining room. 


Lunch at Sugo 

On Tuesday afternoon I visited the reworked dining room at Sugo. It still has a buzz despite the reduced capacity to comply with the current covid restrictions. The impressive procession of freshly-made dishes continues unabated as staff navigate the one way system. It’s mesmerising watching the chefs in the open kitchen plate up pappardelle and layer with ragu, or prepare the next batch of ravioli from elongated sheets of thinly pressed pasta. It’s a performance. 

Sugo opened at the start of December last year. They had a strong debut, making an immediate connection in the city centre and drawing crowds. The restaurant is from the same team behind Paesano so there was an existing fan base to attract. 

Momentum was curtailed by lockdown but they’ve bounced back with a Sugo at Home range and a new menu in the restaurant. The highlights from the latest dishes: The rich but not overpowering tagliarini with black truffle on the specials menu, a really quite delightful crab and prawn ravioli served in a langoustine bisque, rigatoni al arrabbiata with a welcome spicy kick. 


Harris arrives at Cafe Gandolfi 

The well-appointed bar above Cafe Gandolfi has a new identity this autumn with the opening of The Isle of Harris Gin Bar. With a capacity of 16 people per session, “guests will enjoy an intimate Isle of Harris experience, where stories will be shared, connections created and guests encouraged to take a moment to indulge in the simple pleasures in life”.

The new city centre experience will operate on a ticketed basis on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings up until the middle of December. Go for drinks combining Isle of Harris gin and innovative ingredients, alongside fresh seafood from Gandolfi’s kitchen. Each evening will be hosted by a distillery brand ambassador with a dedicated bartender.  

Tickets will be priced at £40 per head. This includes three cocktails and a sorbet, with three small plate seafood pairings.


1. The Gannet (-)

Back leading the way in Finnieston with a dinner menu that triumphantly showcases the best of Scottish produce. The team have returned with a renewed sense of purpose after lockdown and some truly spectacular dishes.


2. Brian Maule at Chardon d'Or (N/E)

They've just opened up a downstairs cocktail lounge for bookings and are continuing to do creative things with Scottish ingredients as we move into the autumn season for produce. A great time to revisit one of Glasgow's dining landmarks. 


3. One Devonshire Gardens (Up 1)


Chef Gary Townsend’s fine dining menu brings many reasons to visit one of Glasgow’s most elegant dining rooms this week. A restaurant within the landmark boutique hotel that's always aiming for the highest possible standards. 


4. Alchemilla (Down 2)


A favourite for local hospitality workers, head chef Rory Weymes has brought a broader pallet of flavours to this local favourite. Visit for exciting combinations of three or four ingredients served in a relaxed setting.


5. Glaschu (Down 2)


Creating a buzz at weekends with a new brunch menu with refined and fun dishes alongside an excellent Bloody Mary. Fine dining with a view over Royal Exchange Square. Order the lobster and langoustine tortellini. Attracting a stylish crowd.