I moved to Dennistoun in July 2016 from Shawlands, thinking I would miss much of the lovely food scene in the Southside – but glad to say, the east end of the city proved me wrong.
Dennistoun has changed much in the past few years, and quickly. The streets of Duke Street, Alexandra Parade and the in-between ‘drives’ have witnessed the opening of quick-to-become popular cafes, spots for a lush brunch and unique independent shops. No longer it’s that place only known for Celino’s!
I have enjoyed the positive change in the area and certainly embraced it by supporting new local shops and going for some delicious food.
Without further ado, here’s my selection of 8 of the best places to eat in Dennistoun, as it stands now in 2019 – because who knows what will happen in the coming years, as I said, the change has been quick!
Occupying quite a small space in Alexandra Parade, Scran is the ideal café for a very nice, unexpensive breakfast or lunch.
It opened its doors in 2018 and became popular almost instantly, loved by foodies and everyone in the area. There aren’t too many options on the menu, but there are always some carefully crafted specials that will make you forget the idea of having a light brunch.
Top score for ingredients, flavours, service and presentation – everything here is a joy to experience. I personally love their Stornoway black pudding with poached egg and hollandaise, pictured here.
2. Pizza East
Don’t we all love a good pizza? And with Pizza East in the area, east enders don’t have to go to town or the west end to get a lovely and genuine Napolitan pizza.
The place has only a few tables but the service is usually very quick, and you can order for take away. Italian beers are available in bottle to go with your pizza – boom.
A more recent addition to the expanding brunching scene in Dennistoun – Mesa on Duke Street is the sister venue to the widely popular Café Strange Brew in the southside.
With a menu full of interesting combinations for your brunch, whether it is something savoury or sweet you’re after, Mesa is sure to offer something to cater for everyone’s taste.
4. Dennistoun Bar-B-Que
When the burger cravings strike, nothing beats the east end burger joint Dennistoun Bar-B-Que with its massive burgers. Check out some of the pictures of their burgers on Instagram, seriously; not for the faint hearted!
Slightly obscene portions! But I think the place is fantastic and totally get the hype over it – delicious food with some very interesting options on the menu.
You can also have Brooklyn lager (in a can), which just happens to be one of my favourite beers ever!
5. East Coffee Company
Before the brunching scene in Dennistoun stepped up the game with Scran and Mesa – East was stealing all the attention, and if you ask me, it should continue to do so!
When you step into this rustic, charming little place, you can immediately notice the busy staff preparing lovely coffee and awesome food in their exposed kitchen.
When you read their menu you get a feeling that every dish has been thoughtfully designed, and when your food arrives you can easily appreciate the quality of the ingredients, and the talent behind its preparation. Yum.
6. The Palais Bar
With a rather sudden and quick refurb, The Palais replaced the Duchess on Duke Street and it’s been quickly attracting the locals. A nice new menu and a fantastic range of beers and drinks make of this place a fine choice for a good night out.
There’s options for lunch and dinner, vegetarian, burgers, seafood (thumbs up to the delicious mussels cooked in whisky sauce!) and more.
Together with Redmond’s, the Palais Bar is probably the best place in Duke street for drinks & pub grub.
Last but not least, Tibo Bistro has been around for a good number of years and continues to impress. The place is lovely inside and they pride themselves on their eclectic menu – every dish seems to offer something unique, and there’s often changes and specials to spice it up.
They do a ‘Black and blue burger’ which is an original burger topped with a Stornoway black pudding, duck and blue cheese fritter – an absolute taste sensation.
8. Nakodar Grill
Glasgow city has so many options when it comes to Indian restaurants, but I could very easily place Nakodar on the top of the list.
The food is simply delicious, and service is always spot-on. This is a restaurant we have been in several times and have also used for the occasional take-away, and it’s never disappointed.
Any more places worth mentioning?
Certainly: Celino’s and Coia’s Cafe may have not made it to my list, but they are real institutions in the area and continue to be so for a reason – they are fantastic.
Italian food will forever be amazing, and these two old school Italian restaurants have all the expertise to deliver genuine recipes and great quality food.
Here’s our review for Red Onion, on 257 W Campbell St, Glasgow G2 4TT.
This place combines classic Scottish food with some international twists. The menu isn’t too large, but it does seem to have a good range of different meats – duck, chicken, beef, fish, plus a number of veggie options.
Inside, the place is big, it has a mezzanine level on top of the bar with booths. Not exactly a romantic, cosy setting – just spacious and modern looking.
I’d say it’s an expensive place, but only if you go with a la carte. The good news is most items from the a la carte menu are on the pre-theatre menu, which means the set menu is actually great and affordable, to choose from 2 or 3 courses for around £13 or £17, respectively.
What we had
Starter: We both had the crispy goats cheese salad with tomato chutney. It was delicious, seriously perfectly crispy cheese.
Main: We both went for the char-grilled chicken with korma sauce, rice and tzatziki salad. It was also delicious! A generous portion of chicken, grilled to perfection. The korma dressing was fabulous. The grill makes the chicken slightly crunchy on the outside – I think it’s quite a nice twist to the traditional korma chicken.
The tzatziki salad was a nice and fresh addition to this dish, but we were not impressed with the rice (plain and overcooked).
I had a latte coffee to finish, and Felix had a brownie with ice cream which was well-presented and reportedly very tasty – particularly the vanilla ice cream.
No beers on draught (Come oooonnnn ) We hate when this happens. On the bright side, Felix decided to try the house beer, and it was actually really lovely. It also came in a cool bottle with a colourful label. Points for that.
So, we give Red Onion a rating of 8/10. Good place for experience some fine dining with a rich set menu, very tasty indeed. But the décor isn’t too inviting in my opinion – nothing special! Great house beer to compensate for the lack of options on draught!
A well-known seafood restaurant, Rogano has been established in Glasgow since 1935.
For a place that’s been in the city centre for over 70 years, I was looking forward to visiting this place and both of us had high expectations. Sadly, the place didn’t really impress us. The reasons:
1. Mains: What ever happened to good ol’ salmon?
I can’t really speak for the main restaurant, but the Café menu has only 6 mains to choose from – only 2 of which appealed to us. Why a well-known Scottish seafood restaurant doesn’t offer a salmon dish as a main is beyond me. Felix ordered chicken and I went for a seafood pasta.
2. Menu: forget about sharing
We thought we’d share something to complement our mains, but found literally nothing worth ordering. Yes, there’s oysters and seafood stuff, but no sweet potato fries, olives, or anything nice of the sharing sort. Do they not know everyone is going crazy for halloumi fries?
I’d say the menu at Café Rogano is screaming for some updates to reflect new food trends.
3. Portions. Not for the hungry
Both our mains were unsatisfyingly small. We had to resort to desserts, not so much because we wanted to, but because we were still hungry.
4. Quality of food: Meh.
It may be a seafood institution and 70 years old and all, but I expected more from my pasta. It was tasty, but it could have definitely had more meat, or more animals, rather than a few shells and tiny shrimps. The tiny shrimps, by the way, came unpeeled, and I wasn’t given any scented wipes to proceed with the messy peeling procedure. Shocking.
Regarding Felix’s chicken, when asked about it he said it was ‘just ok’.
5. Price: The off-putting combination of high & not worth it.
We had an Itison voucher, so we paid £18 for the two mains. Considering the size of the portions, I would have not been happy had I had to pay the full price.
Voucher aside, the bill came to £21.50 for just two beers and two desserts. Now, the desserts were good, they really were lovely – but they were over £6 each. Ouch.
The highlight of the evening
It wasn’t all bad. Thankfully, our desserts – albeit the overprice – were delicious and large (not like the mains). Felix had an iced Toblerone parfait and I had tablet cheesecake. Yum-yum.
How do we rate Café Rogano?
We’re going for a mediocre 5/10. The restaurant has a nice vintage setting but nothing particularly special for a place that is over 70 years old. Limited menu, ordinary food. Service was fine. All in – definitely overpriced.
Visited in August 2017, Cafe Sono can be found under the rail tracks, just past the 4 Corners. It is that area of town that most go out of their way to avoid. It is also one of our greatest finds. It is a small place with a few chairs in the back and a sofa. A mezzanine is built above with another small seating area. The decor is quirky and reminded me of a hobbit’s house. It really is just a cool little place.
The Menu is a simple cafe/Kebab style menu and the prices are super reasonable. Unfortunately as such, they do not sell alcohol.
We both ordered Bacon Cheeseburgers which came with salad and chips and we were not disappointed. These burgers were awesome, the chips were great and the salad was basic but tasty. (not the usual nod to salad supplied by most kebab shops AKA lettuce and onion) I would be lying if I said we didn’t need our napkins to wipe the grease from our chins. But I recall the noises of complete food joy that Cat and I made as we wiped our greasy chins.
We give Cafe Sono 9 stars out of 10 simply for its lack of beer. I can think of no better place with such character in the city centre to grab a quality burger and chips.
This restaurant is part of a French brasserie chain. Quoting their website, Côte is “inspired by the brasseries of Paris, championing relaxed all-day dining and serving authentic French classics made from great quality, fresh ingredients.”
Did it feel Parisian? I can’t say it did, but what we did think was that the place had a 1930’s feel about it, with the lighting some details in the décor giving some general vintage vibes. We definitely liked the ambience. And we were also digging the jazz tunes in the background.
What did we have and how was it?
The place has a very rich a la carte menu and there’s also a ‘prestige set menu’ for early evenings. So many options to choose from had us pondering for a while deciding what to go for!
We shared some olives and flatbread with onion & camembert. A very good start, light and yummy. For mains, Felix went for the Roast Duck Breast. Nicely presented, this duck was accompanied by some rather delightful sweet cherries. I had the spinach and mushroom crêpes, part of the ‘light mains’ selections, but a filling dish nonetheless, and quite tasty too!
Desserts: I had apple crumble. It was warm, topped with ice cream and a mint leave. Felix had frozen berries with white chocolate sauce. We were both making very happy noices.
What we did NOT like…
I guess they decided to keep it so French that they only focused on offering a wide selection of wines, totally neglecting the interests of beer lovers like ourselves. There’s only bottles of beer, nothing on draught, and these bottles are tiny and overpriced. *Sigh*.
What was the £££ damage?
Well, we definitely indulged ourselves a bit more this time, with a couple sharers to start with and desserts at the end. We also had to order a couple more beers because of the disappointing bottle sizes… So, the bill came to almost £70, which we thought was reasonable, considering how much we ordered and how nice everything was.
Our overall rating
We’re giving 9/10 to this all-round fine restaurant. I like the fact that it felt like a fine dining experience, but in a relaxed atmosphere, and affordable. We were very pleased with the service and the food was fantastic. Shame about the beers though – £3.80 for a tiny 27.5 cl bottle of Kronenbourg has to prevent me from giving them the top score.
Bill’s is a chain of restaurants and the one in Glasgow is right in the centre of the city, on West Nile Street. The moment we stepped in we were pleasantly surprised with how nice it is inside.
It’s finished with original brickwork and wood panelling – while this is something many places have now (too many, in my opinion), the place has some distinctive nice touches like dry chillies hanging from the ceiling, and vintage French chandeliers. The mismatching chairs is, again, not something I’d consider unique, but it’s still cool.
What did we have and how was it?
With a couple of burger options and different meats, there really isn’t much on the menu. One can argue that a place with a limited menu is a sign of specialising in certain food options, and I think that’s true for some places, but not for this one. It feels like a mixture of sort of traditional British/European/whatever – resulting in just a few international box standard dishes.
Felix went for the Pan Fried Chicken with Truffle and Wild Mushrooms; he said it was nice but wasn’t impressed. I had the Chicken Caesar Salad, and I thought it was lovely, but really thinking can you go wrong with Chicken Caesar Salad? I did think that the poached egg on this dish was a nice touch, but it was slightly overcooked.
So, the food was just ok. We weren’t expecting much after seeing the menu, and I guess it didn’t exceed our expectations.
There wasn’t much on draught, 4 or 5 options, mostly house beers. I believe we just had a couple of pints of Bill’s Beer, which was alright – nothing memorable!
How do we rate it?
It’s a 6/10 for us. We did think the place is lovely inside and worth a visit, but the menu is disappointing; limited and ordinary. Nothing special on draught tends to also disappoint us. The restaurant is very big but feels quite cosy, it’s got a good atmosphere. We felt the prices were appropriate. The staff were friendly, and the service was really quick, which is always a bonus.
A friend of us recommended this place for indian food. He said it didn’t look as much from outside, but that is was nicer inside. Funnily enough, I’d been walking past it every day for 2 years on my way to work and hadn’t ever noticed it.
Charcoals is quite small, and probably the most distinctive thing about its decor is that the walls are completely covered with awards and certificates.
What did we have and how was it?
I had Chicken Chasni and Felix had the Lamb Palak. We shared a started of veggie pakora.
We both really enjoyed our food here, however we both commented on the fact that we’d had the same at a different indian restaurant and it was definitely nicer! (namely, at Nakodar on Duke street – our favourite indian food place so far!)
They do like to display their awards, but as Felix said, “let the food speak for itself“.
They only had Tennants on draught, so I opted for a bottle of Cobra instead. To my surprise, the bottle of Cobra was larger than a pint, so would highly recommend to go for that!
Some other good things to say
Considering its city centre location, this is a very fine option for a nice indian meal. The portions were good and the prices reasonable. Worth mentioning they have a very affordable set menu. The service was quick and the staff very friendly!
Overall rating? We give Charcoals 7/10. Good food, great location, decor is meh although it’s nicer than the outside look suggests!
Never let it be said that Glasgow has a limited choice of great places to eat. We’ve been on our mid-weekend journey for a while, and every week – even lately, when we sometimes think we may be running out of options – we find a fabulous place.
We are Felix and Cat. We live in Glasgow, and every Wednesday after work, we go out for dinner in a restaurant where we’ve never been, and we go for a pint in a pub we’ve never been.
So, like date night? No. No, no. I (Cat) think the concept of date night represents the downfall of a couple. We’re not trying to save our relationship and forcing ourselves to do something fun together, because we’re desperate or lost the spark or something! We’re doing this for very different reasons.
We’ve been doing this consistently (priorities!) since August 2017. Now, nearly a year on, we reckon we’ve got a lot to share about places to eat and drink in Glasgow, and we felt it would be good for us and the world if we created a blog. So here we are.