Did you know that there are no Michelin star restaurants in Glasgow? In decades gone past, the Dear Green Place was traditionally a more “roll and square sausage” city than fine dining. Which might be why it’s taken us so long to gain that bloomin’ Michelin star that Edinburgh got years ago with The Kitchin, The Witchery and others.
However, anyone who’s visited Glasgow will tell you that us Weegies are throwing off the fried roll shackles and becoming more and more interested in good grub. Glasgow was recently voted the most vegan-friendly city in the UK and boasts quite a few AA rosette restaurants.
Now we know the folks at Michelin love formal dining but that’s not really what we do here. If you’re going to drive out of your way to find a great dining spot (the Michelin Guide started as a list of places worth detouring to) then we think you need to see the real Glasgow, in all its friendly, cosy glory. So we’ve picked out our favourite spots which serve the best food and should showcase to those elusive Michelin inspectors exactly what us West Coast lot are all about.
Ox and Finch
No deep fried Mars Bars here
Among the first Glasgow restaurants to really take on fine dining in 2014, it’s still almost impossible to get a weekend table here, three years on. Focusing on tapas-style Scottish dishes, Ox and Finch is a wee bit fine dining, a wee bit casual hang out. The food comes beautifully prepared (obviously we took some Instagrammable photos) and the decor is cool and hip, but you don’t end up feeling as though using the wrong knife would earn you a glare. Check out the smoked haddock dauphinoise with beer pickled onions and nori creme fraiche or the braised ox cheek with coconut, both absolute favourites with the ResDiary team. A shoe-in to be one of the first Michelin star restaurants in Glasgow.
A distinct lack of square sausage
Loyal fans have been screaming out for this spot to become one of the first Michelin star restaurants in Glasgow for years. (Not in an angry way; that whole grumpy thing is a Weegie cliche!) It’s currently sitting with 3 AA rosettes but hasn’t quite made the leap to being a “star”. Sitting in an unassuming spot on Great Western Road, this little gem focuses on seasonal produce with a Scottish/French twist. A tempting tasting menu has persuaded many a diner and, at just £55, it’s a steal considering the skill that goes into preparing dishes that include Inverurie lamb and sourdough with smoked marrow fat. You won’t find any fried tattie scones here, but you will find delicious Scottish fayre and warm, knowledgeable staff.
111 by Nico
More refined than Irn Bru in a wine glass
We know, we know. Surely Six by Nico is the hot topic at the moment, you’re asking. Well, we like to be a bit contrary. It is unmistakably fantastic, but it’s 111 that we think should be one of the Michelin star restaurants in Glasgow. Why? It’s a bit more refined.Diners can choose from Trust or Total Trust where you either choose the base ingredients that go into each dish, or let the chefs have carte blanche over your whole dining experience. Both menus can also be paired with wines that match each dish perfectly. It’s also obvious that this restaurant is an absolute labour of love, from the cosy tables to the open kitchen, it’s a truly welcoming space with excellent food that just feels like a big Glaswegian hug.
A few steps up from a munchie box
Never in our lives have we been treated so well as when we visited Jimmy Lee’s restaurant (you may recognise the name from The Great British menu a couple of years back). Nothing is too much trouble and everything is done without fuss. Championing an oriental menu with a modern twist, Lychee is high on the list of places we’re championing to be one of the Michelin star restaurants in Glasgow. Try the crispy, shredded, chilli chicken which comes in a basket of noodles, perfect if you want to take a foodie photo. They even do an exclusively gluten free menu for those with a sensitive tummy – c’mon Michelin Guide, get your fingers out!
Almost as good as chips and cheese
An old lady of the Glasgow dining scene, “The Chip” has been serving up delicious food on Ashton Lane’s cobbled path for over 45 years and is one of the most beloved restaurants in Scotland. It’s rumoured that JK Rowling based Diagon Alley on Ashton Lane and The Chip is a magical spot to dine. Filled with beautiful plants and twinkling fairy lights, many graduation dinners or wedding breakfast have taken place in their mezzanine level restaurant. The grub is refined but with a classic Scottish twist, there’s even a side of stovies to go with your main if you fancy it. (And who doesn’t fancy stovies?) After dinner you can retire to the main bar where a roaring fireplace and a pack of snoring dogs will assure you that all is well in the world.
(Probably) better than a pizza crunch
This Glasgow institution has been around for a while now and, thankfully, has never fallen out of fashion. They have won pretty much every foodie award available in the city and beyond, and their seasonal cooking has us returning time and again. They also focus on local, sustainable ingredients meaning your carbon footprint can feel slightly better about taking a big blundering Glasgow bus to get there. Try out the four or six course menus, all changing regularly with the seasons. Best of all, it’s in the trendy area of Finnieston, meaning there’s no shortage of places for an after-dinner tipple. If this place doesn’t get a Michelin star soon, we’ll be seriously upset. (Or ragin’ as we’re prone to get in Glasgow.)