Glasgow is slowly but steadily turning into a foodie hotspot, and that is not just because of its proximity to some of Scotland’s freshest local produce. Street food markets are sprouting like mushrooms and pop-up dining experiences like Section33 or the Spiegeltent during the Glasgow Restaurant Festival keep everybody at the edges of their culinary seats.
While some might say the epicentre of Glasgow’s food scene lies further West, I believe that the city’s East End is particularly interesting to watch. New restaurants, coffee shops and artisan eateries open on a regular basis and slowly change the gritty feel of the neighbourhoods of Dennistoun, Bridgeton & Co.
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I’ve lived in and eaten my way around this area for almost a year now and thought it is time for a Food Guide for Glasgow’s East End! Here is my selection of favourite places to grab a bite or have a drink.
The Best Brunch: Tapa Organic Bakery
There are three Tapa locations spread out over Glasgow, but the East End branch on Whitehall Street is the original bakery. This is where the bread magic happens and where I love to come for my loaf of sourdough or pumpkin seed bread.
Tapa also serves a small selection of warm food – not the craziest breakfast selection (most of the kitchen space is in fact used as bakery) – but great for a brunch of soup, focaccia sandwiches, homemade potato tortilla and fresh salads. You can also soothe your sweet tooth with cakes and biscuits, have a coffee or choose a cold drink from the fridge.
Space is limited and Tapa is such a neighbourhood favourite that it is best to come early.
21 Whitehill Street, G31 2LH, Monday – Saturday 8am-5pm, Sunday 9am-5pm, www.tapaorganic.com
Best for Coffee & Cake: Stan’s
If you’re looking for a classic coffee shop with a twist, head to Stan’s Studio on Alexandra Park Street. Artist Sarah J Stanley runs this tiny parlour at the front of her studio space and serves up a mean cuppa, brewed freshly by the cup – sorry no steamed milk available! The coffee goes down so smoothly though, it’s a real treat.
Stan’s also sells little cakes and pastries, and homemade soup (or sometimes chili). The shop has WiFi and you’re welcome to come in with your laptop!
43 Alexandra Park Street, G31 2UB, Wednesday – Saturday 10am-5am, www.stans-studio.com
Vegan Sandwiches: Kind Crusts
When a friend from the Southside recently mentioned this new vegan joint in Dennistoun I got all excited about it. Kind Crusts is a tiny shop that offers all-vegan sandwiches and bagels, and takeaway lunchboxes for kids and grownups. I love bagels and am trying to transition to a more vegan diet, so I was happy to hear that this place existed.
We went on a sunny Saturday morning in October, maybe the last such morning of the year with suitable temperatures for an al fresco lunch.
And not only are these vegan bagels delicious, they are also good for you and help spread the word about the diversity and richness of a vegan diet.
160 Garthland Drive, G31 2SG, Monday – Friday 8am-4pm, Saturday 9am-3pm, Sunday 10am-3pm, www.kindcrusts.com
Meat Galore: Dennistoun Bar B Que
While I have switched to a vegetarian diet at the beginning of this year, a meal at Dennistoun Bar B Que was one of my first food experiences in the East End – and what a delicious one it was!
At the time of my first visit I was having a rough day, so I ordered something very unusual for me – a BLT. i was always very apprehensive ordering bacon in the UK, because I preferred my bacon American style – thin and crispy. The bacon that Dennistoun Bar B Que served up though, was some of the best I’ve ever tried! The menu includes burgers, ribs, sandwiches and variety of sides.
Vegetarians who want to come here with the carnivorous friends will be happy to hear that veggie options are available as well!
585 Duke Street, G31 1PY, Daily 12-10pm, www.facebook.com/dennistounbarbque
Italian Trattoria: Celino’s
Glasgow is not short of fantastic Italian restaurants and one of my favourites is conventionally located just 5 minutes from where I live. Alexandra Parade is quite frankly not the kind of road where you expect to find such a culinary gem – Dennistoun’s beating heart is located a bit further south around Duke Street. And yet, there is Celino’s, an Italian deli and trattoria that serves up some of the best pasta of the city.
As expected from a trattoria Celino’s has a very traditional and rustic feel. Pasta, biscotti and other Italian treats are hanging from the ceiling; the deli counter boasts with olives, a variety of cheeses and cold cuts and fresh salads; the staff is always up for a joke and create a very intimate atmosphere. An evening here is almost like an imaginative journey to Italy, with a touch of Glaswegian charm.
620 Alexandra Parade, G31 3BT, Monday – Wednesday 8.15am-10pm, Thursday – Saturday 8.15am-10.30pm, Sunday 10am-10pm, celinos.com
Glasgow’s Best Beer: WEST on the Green
No food guide would be complete without at least mentioning a few places for drinks as well. And while WEST on the Green dishes up some fantastic German delicacies (think sausages, Schnitzel, sauerkraut and the likes), it really is all about the booze.
WEST brews beers in accordance with the German Purity Law from 1516, which naturally makes it the best beer in town. My personal favourite is Munich Red, a red lager with hints of caramel. Brewery tours are offered throughout the weekends. Tickets are £11.50 per person and include a tasting session.
During the summer months the beergarden at the front of the brewery is the perfect place to spend a sunny afternoon or evening, but be prepared to share your table, as it get busy!
Templeton Building, Glasgow Green, G40 1AW, Sunday – Thursday 11am-11pm, Friday & Saturday 11am-midnight, westonthegreen.com
Time for the Pub: The Duchess of Duke Street
There are many pubs in the East End, particularly on Duke Street, London Road and Gallowgate, but my favourite is the Duchess of Duke Street.
It has a traditional look, with large windows and a beautiful wooden bar, and they serve a great Irish beer called Rebel Red. The pub hosts live music, quizzes and open mic night son a regular basis and the regular crowd is a mix of all kinds of people – which is good to know, because many pubs in the area are heavily frequented by hardcore football fans… Not the Duchess though!
380 Duke Street, G31 1DN, Daily 11am-midnight, www.facebook.com/TheDuchessOfDukeStreet
The East End of Glasgow is too often overlooked, but with the food scene becoming bigger and bigger in Glasgow and places opening up all the time, it is a good idea to keep an eye on what’s happening in Dennistoun and beyond. My food guide for Glasgow’s East End is by no means complete, so if you love a place that is not on this list, let me know – I’m always keen to try new things!
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