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The Arches Glasgow

You may know Glasgow's Arches as a pulsating nightclub, vibrant theatre or eclectic arts venue.

What you may not be as familiar with is The Arches Cafe Bar which serves up freshly cooked, seasonally inspired dishes from its regularly changing menus.

Arches Cafe Bar

Located downstairs in The Arches under an array of funky flying saucer lights, The Arches Cafe Bar may just be one of Glasgow's best kept dining secrets.

"I think a lot of people are surprised by the food and drink when they come in," Danny Byrne, chef at The Arches Cafe Bar said. "They do know about the Arches but they don't know about the standard of the food and service."

"Our customers tend to be events lead. Before the theatre we will get the arty crowd in, depending on what gig is on we might get metal heads or film buffs. At the weekends we will couples and families in. It is really mixed."

French, Scottish and Vegetarian

As well as lunch and dinner menus which feature a range of burgers, fajitas, curries and a few Scottish dishes thrown in, The Arches serves a market menu which changes every day.

Danny described the food as "classic French with a Scottish twist" as well as a strong focus on vegetarian.

"A lot of the clients are vegetarian so we try to cater to that as much as we can," he said. "We are currently serving a "vegetarian fish and chips" of beer battered halloumi, which is flying out the door."

“The dishes are seasonal and everything is locally sourced. All our meat is from Cairnhill Farm."

Creativity

Creating a new menu on a daily basis certainly is a challenge but one Danny, and the other chefs at The Arches, thrives on.

“When I'm creating a dish I think of the colours on the plate, the flavours, the balance, what has been selling and what hasn't."

"Changing the market menu every day is a challenge but I enjoy the creativity."

"It gives the customers diversity. And for the price they pay, it is amazing value."

Watch Danny cook pain fried scallops and chicken supreme in the video below.

20% a la carte discount OR £10.95 for 2 courses on pre-theatre menu + glass of wine OR £15 2 person offer - 1 course each on the chef's burger and pasta menu + drink OR £5 for lunch offer at Arches Cafe Bar when booking on 5pm.



Who has got your goat?

The Grump Goat has a sunny disposition.

The Grump Goat has a sunny disposition.

The 5pm Dining blog would like to extend a cheery ‘Hiya!’ to The Grumpy Goat which recently started welcoming customers to its lair on Old Dumbarton Road.

It’s a new venture from the Matteo family who have been involved with Glasgow’s dining scene for donkey’s years.

Their website is worth a browse. Not least for the mini-history covering The Grumpy Goat’s West End stomping ground.

Graze your livestock

Apparently, in the 17th and 18th century, the west end of Glasgow was predominately countryside with quiet meadows, small farms and, of course, farm animals. Which is where the Byres Road name comes in.

A few hundred years from where the restaurant and bar now stands there was a grazing area for goats. So, a couple of hundred years back, the area was known as The Goat.

See where all this is heading?

Intriguing menu

The Grumpy Goat’s menu is a really intriguing mix of classic influences, traditional dishes and cutting edge trends.

On the plate, this means traditional dishes like pressed Ayrshire pig’s head, potted Morecambe Bay shrimps and meat puddings.

More modern touches can be seen in options like the Clyde Valley cauliflower fritters with a curry mayonnaise sauce, the Cullen skink soufflé and the pan-roasted rock cod (from a day boat, natch) which is served with a lentil broth, cod cheek pakora and an organic yoghurt and chilli dip.

We wish them well.

Not so very far away, a new venture called The Scullery Bar & Kitchen is taking shape on Claremont Street.

According to their Facebook page, the just-off-Finnieston business ‘features atmospheric relaxed dining, stripped back decadence, and a well stocked bar.’



Al fresco dining & cocktails at The Social

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Ahh... summer has finally arrived in Glasgow and one of the venues that lets you enjoy it to perfection is The Social in Glasgow’s Royal Exchange Square.

Al fresco dining

It has the perfect location for an al fresco area, right in the heart of the city, that lets you enjoy the views of the Gallery of Modern Art, the fairy lights on top of the square, and the shoppers passing through the square.

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If you’re lucky enough to get a spot outside there are some great sunshine options on the menu such as the chargrilled cayenne halloumi kebabs served with lemon & thyme potatoes and a fresh tomato salsa or the super food salad - roast pepper, butternut, quinoa, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, mint & tahini dressing.

Summertime cocktails

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The Social has a fantastic cocktail list too, alongside your classic mojitos and margaritas, the Solero is the perfect sunshine tipple: Sminoff black vodka, vanilla, passionfruit, fresh lime juice, sugar and a passoa float.

So after dinner and cocktails, you can enjoy even more cocktails (!) as the Social is open until 2am - the ideal day to night venue.

5pm Dining has the perfect offer to help you enjoy The Social's summertime treats:

£12.95 for 2 courses on the fixed deal menu + cocktail or glass of wine - view menus & book here.



Vegetarian dining in Glasgow City Centre

Glasgow is an easy city for vegetarians to dine out in. In every restaurant there will be at least one vegetarian dish on the menu. In fact, last year PETA voted Glasgow the best city in the UK for vegans.

Rather than stick one bog standard veggie dish on the menu, many restaurants in Glasgow are committed to prioritising their vegetarian customers. All the restaurants listed below feature delicious, inventive dishes that will inspire glances of envy from even the meat eating diners.

Daawat

indian food

Most Indian restaurants have good veggie options but Daawat pushes the boat out, with a staggering eighteen vegetarian chef's speciality main courses. Plus, the fourteen curry sauces come with the option of vegetables as a filler. Picking just one is a tough choice but we think the paneer butter masala finished in silky tomato, butter, cream and cashew nut sauce looks like a winner.

20% a la carte discount at Daawat when booking on 5pm.

Sapporo Teppanyaki

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Sapporo Teppanyaki's vegetarian menu is inventive and impressive, with dishes such as roast peppers stuffed with wild brown rice, assorted vegetables, shiitake mushrooms and edamame beans served on a bed of spinach with toasted sesame and peanut sauce, and Japanese savoury pancake with cabbage, shiitake mushrooms, topped with mayonnaise, yakisoba sauce and nori seaweed. There's also plenty of veggie sushi, noodle and teppanyaki options.

15% a la carte discount at Sapporo Teppanyaki when booking on 5pm.

Cafe Andaluz

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Tapas is another great option for vegetarians and Cafe Andaluz's mammoth menu includes eleven vegetarian dishes. The wide variety ensures several dishes to suit every taste, such as patas bravas, grilled goats cheese with Seville orange and chilli marmalade, and Padron peppers served in the traditional way seared with coarse sea salt (pictured above).

£13.95 for 3 tapas + dessert at Cafe Andaluz City Centre when booking on 5pm.

Dakhin

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Dakhin is another Indian restaurant that deserves a gold star for its vegetarian menu. Regarded as one of the best Indian restaurants in Glasgow, Dahkin serves dishes specific to South India that you won't find in your average curry house. Veggie specialities include Kai Kurma, assorted vegetables cooked in a medium sauce of coconut milk, mustard seeds and bay leaves, and Ennai Kathrikai, aubergines cooked in a peanut and sesame seed sauce, tempered with mustard seeds and flavoured with tamarind.

50% main course a la carte discount at Dakhin when booking on 5pm.

Roma

Roma pizza Glasgow

Roma's mouthwatering vegetarian mains include Penne Alla Meditterraneo , mixed mediterranean vegetables cooked in garlic, roasted peppers and white wine finished with a rich tomato sauce and served with penne pasta, as well as Spinache Raviole, ravioli stuffed with spinach and ricotta cheese cooked in extra virgin olive oil, garlic, fresh sage and white wine and finished with rocket and parmesan shavings. There's also a huge selection of hot and cold veggie starters such as bruschetta, Caprese and minestrone.

20% a la carte discount at Roma when booking on 5pm.

Driftwood

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Driftwood's menu is packed with Mexican and American food, many of which comes as a vegetarian option; the fajitas, burritos, chimichangas and homemade chilli can all be created using veggie chilli. You can also build your own veggie platter using a selection of starters and dips.

£12 for 3 courses on set menu + glass of wine at Driftwood when booking on 5pm.

For more vegetarian friendly restaurants in Glasgow check out 5pm Dining.



Rogano – Glasgow’s most famous restaurant?

Many would regard Rogano as Glasgow’s most famous restaurant. It is certainly one of its most celeb-friendly. Over the years, the Exchange Place venue has attracted everyone from Rikki Fulton to David Bowie – presumably not at the same table on the same night.

Although it first opened its doors in 1935, the city centre site has a long history as a hostelry. As far back as 1874, 11 Exchange Place was the Bodega Spanish Wine Cellar and it sold drink straight from the barrel.

How did the name come about?

The Rogano name came into being in 1879 when one James Henry Roger when into partnership running the premises with a Mr Anderson. The latter wished to be a silent partner in the business so the name Rogano was formed by combining the first three letters of Roger and the first three letters of ‘another’.

Perhaps the most famous and even defining phase of Rogano’s history came about some 50 odd years later when another owner, Don Grant, set about refurbishing the business in 1935. Previously a working men’s drinking establishment, he wanted to change it into a fine seafood restaurant and bar catering for Glasgow’s professional classes.

Art Deco style

Crucially, Grant had the restaurant fitted out in the same Art Deco style as the Cunard liner the Queen Mary. The liner was being built in Clydebank at the time. Persistent legend has it that workers from the shipyard paid their bar bills at Rogano with burr walnut and bird's eye maple panelling originally destined for the liner.

Rogano legend

Whether true or not, it is a story which has added to Rogano’s considerable legend. The restaurant has long had a reputation as a place where the powerful and famous came to do deals and be seen. Or not be seen. One of the most sought after tables is Number 16 where diners can watch everyone else come and go without being seen themselves. Handy for those having a bite with someone they shouldn’t be.

Famous visitors

In its time, visitors to Rogano have included, deep breath, Mick Jagger, Winston Churchill, Helena Christensen, Elizabeth Taylor, Harvey Keitel, Bob Dylan, Kylie Minogue, Frank Sinatra, Madonna and Rod Stewart. Gerard Butler was in earlier this month.

There is even a story that Michael Heseltine was given a standing ovation from diners when he announced that he would be challenging Margaret Thatcher for the leadership of the Conservative party. That may not have worked out entirely successfully for Mr Heseltine but it’s still a great story.

Scottish seafood

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The history, the famous faces and the anecdotes are all part of Rogano’s appeal but it would count for nothing if the food didn’t live up to the legend. With veteran Head Chef Andy Cummings in the kitchen, the menus on offer in the restaurant, cafe and oyster bar still showcase the best Scottish seafood. In addition to annually selling over 7000 bottles of its house Joseph Perrier Champagne, Rogano gets through more than 10,000 lobsters and 100,000 oysters every year. Chef Cummings reckons that he has shucked at least half a million of the latter.

Classic dishes

Rogano is not afraid to move with the times. They even have their own Twitter account and Facebook page these days. However, along with much of the decor, some of the classic dishes on the menus would not startle a time traveller from the 1930s.

In Rogano Restaurant, the menu still offers lobster thermidore; a splendid fruits de mer platter and oysters from Cumbrae alongside lemon sole served simply grilled or a la meunière – cooked in clarified butter and finished with brown butter, lemon and parsley. Some things simply don’t need to be modernised.

Elsewhere on the restaurant menu, more modern trends are prominent in dishes such as the pan-fried scallops with five spice pork belly, a warm sweet potato salad and beetroot coulis. While Rogano is most famous for its seafood, there are plenty of other choices. A warm salad of smoked partridge with pancetta is a starter on the current a la carte. Meat-driven main courses include roast rabbit wrapped in Parma ham and a 28-day-aged fillet of beef.

Affordable luxuries

Top quality seafood is never a budget option and tackling a fruits de mer platter, washed down with a glass or two of fizz, is probably not the sort of meal that most of us have on an idle whim. However, there are plenty of ways to enjoy Rogano for a more modest outlay.

The early evening and lunch menus offer very affordable routes to Rogano. The current lunch menu has two courses for £16.50 or three for £21.50 and features main courses such as grilled cod with sun-blushed tomato polenta, chilli beetroot and radicchio dressing or a roast rack of lamb which is served with dauphinoise potatoes, spiced redcurrant jelly and rosemary jus.

Cafe Rogano

Another option would be to visit the less formal Cafe Rogano which is just below the restaurant. Open all day, it has a bistro style menu. In Cafe Rogano, diners could start with a Shetland crab and pickled ginger tart before moving on to a main course of grilled sea bass with a leek and potato rosti, sautéed green beans, king prawns and a lemon beurre blanc.

Alternatively, visitors can soak up the atmosphere in the Oyster Bar. The bar menu, best viewed over a G ‘n’ T or glass of Champagne, includes the famous Rogano fish soup, a dressed crab salad and the classic fish and chips with mushy peas and tartare sauce.

It goes without saying that they also serve oysters which are available, among other options, au naturel, with caviar or deep-fried in polenta with a horseradish cream.

Now within sight of its 80th birthday, Rogano is still rather sprightly for a Glasgow dining institution. By blending culinary tradition with Art Deco looks and modern cooking trends, Rogano seems set to serenely sail on to its 100th birthday and beyond.

 



Summer drinks in Edinburgh

Bar GandV

Naturally, the Commonwealth Games mean that the 5pm Dining blog has focused a lot on Glasgow recently.

But fear not, Edinburghers, we are keeping a weather eye on developments at the other end of the M8.

As you may have noticed, the weather has been scorchio of late; a fact which has made us spend most of yesterday dreaming of long, cool drinks.

Preferably with a kick.

Happily, help is at hand.

The eye-catching bar (pictured) in the G&V Royal Mile Hotel has just relaunched their Aperitivo Hour with a brand new cocktail menu.

The menu offers a selection of signature serves accompanied by complimentary Italian appetisers every Monday to Wednesday evening from 6pm to 8pm.

Aperitivo trolley

The cocktails are served from the bar’s rather snazzy Aperitivo trolley which is trundled up to each table. Customers then order their own bespoke take on six cocktails ranging from a classic Martini to a Smoked Ice Tea Margarita.

A cheeky aperitivo is the ideal prelude to dinner in the hotel’s award-winning Cucina restaurant.

You can check out Cucina’s 5pm offers here.

A hop, skip and a jump away, another venue with a distinct Italian flavour is making waves with its new cocktail menu.

Old Town Italian

Tucked away in the heart of the Old Town, the Italian restaurant and wine bar Divino Enoteca has unveiled a new selection of classic and freshly concocted cocktails.

We liked the look of the Basil Grande which mixes Absolut, Aurum, Chambord, strawberries, basil and cranberry.

To be honest, we don’t even know what Aurum is but that is not going to stop us from having a snifter or two.

Divino Enoteca’s 5pm offers and menus can be perused from here.

Hidden gem

Incidentally, in the evenings, when lit up with candles, fairy lights and lanterns, Divino Enoteca’s little courtyard is one of Edinburgh’s hidden gems.

Divino Enoteca has been rustling up some new cocktail recipes.

Divino Enoteca has been rustling up some new cocktail recipes.

Bon Vivant wins international recognition

Finally, huge congratulations are due to The Bon Vivant. The Edinburgh bar scooped the Best International Restaurant Bar award at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans earlier this week.

The Thistle Street bar was up against Moscow’s Delicatessen and the Spitalsfield Bar at Hawksmoor and the Blind Pig at Social Eating House, both of which are in London.

Chairman of the International Judging Committee and Global Trade Advocacy Director for Bacardi, Jacob Briars said:

‘The Spirited Awards are regarded as the pinnacle of the industry. Fifty well-travelled industry veterans voted on the top bars around the world, with nominations from more than 40 countries.

‘This is the first year an international restaurant bar will be recognised, and the four finalists range from new openings to old favourites, and from Michelin-starred venues to relaxed (but no less excellent) eateries, all combining great food with some of the best drinks on earth in a seamless, professional manner.

Hard work and passion

‘The Bon Vivant’s recognition is a testament both to the amazing vitality of the Edinburgh hospitality scene, and to the hard work and passion of Stuart and his team. It is known around the world for its combination of high standards and relaxed atmosphere; I never visit Edinburgh without stopping here.’

The Bon Vivant is no stranger to industry recognition. It received a Scottish Style Award for Most Stylish Bar in 2011, won the 2013 Food & Travel Magazine Bar of the Year award, and has been recommended in the Michelin Guide in 2013 and 2014.

The Bon Vivant has been rocking New Orleans with its cocktails.

The Bon Vivant has been rocking New Orleans with its cocktails.

 



5pm Dining guide to Glasgow City Centre restaurants

With the Commonwealth Games launching tomorrow, this is the perfect time to cast an eye over the huge diversity of restaurants in Glasgow city centre. We can’t claim to have restaurants from all 71 of the Commonwealth countries but you can eat out in Glasgow restaurants which take their cue from the four corners of the globe.

Eat global

Nippon Kitchen

In the mood for some sushi or tempura? Make tracks for Nippon Kitchen where the sea bass is always sparkling and the soft shell crab is always crunchy. Prefer to sip a top notch tequila while chowing down on chipotle-basted rib-eye? Our amigos at Juan Chihuahua will sort you out.

Perhaps you would rather go Greek? Then Elia Greek Restaurant on George Square has a slow-cooked lamb kleftiko with your name on it. Sailing across the Aegean from Greece, we come to Turkey; a country whose cuisine is ably represented by Alla Turca Turkish Restaurant. Their starter selection of meze, or mini-dishes, such as stuffed vine leaves, filo pastries and humus, is always popular.

Tiki Bar & Kitsch Inn

If Greek or Turkish isn’t quite exotic enough to tickle your taste buds then book a table at Cafe Cossachok where the borscht and blinis are often accompanied by Russian folk or Klezmer performances.

Alternatively, you could mix it up at the Tiki Bar & Kitsch Inn, a Bath Street venue where tasty Thai dishes are served alongside Hawaiian-themed decor and tiki cocktails.

Italian faves

While Glasgow’s city centre has plenty of opportunities for culinary adventure, the most popular cuisines are, drum roll... Italian and Indian. Since 1997, Antipasti has been making friends on Sauchiehall Street. With a tremendous 5pm rating of 4.3/5, this friendly Italian serves plenty of old favourites but also spices up the selection with less familiar dishes such as linguine tossed with Scottish crab and hot 'Nduja sausage.

The Di Maggio’s on Royal Exchange Square is another city centre Italian with a very firm grasp on what the dining public wants. Family-run and family-friendly, its Italian American menus attract everyone from business lunchers to celebrating groups. The sun terrace is a big draw here during the warmer months.

Amarone is the sister operation to Di Maggio’s and if the Royal Exchange Square restaurant offers casual dining then Amarone is that little bit smarter. If Di Maggio’s feels like a friendly trattoria, then the award-winning Amarone is more like a contemporary Milanese ristorante. Of course, pizza and pasta feature but so do more complex dishes like the pan-seared duck breast, served pink with an Amarone wine sauce, braised Savoy cabbage, pancetta and a confit of figs.

Viva

Naturally, there are other Italians in Glasgow city centre with their own loyal following. Featuring a cosy, traditional interior, Viva on Bothwell Street was awarded the Best Pasta prize at last year’s Scottish Italian Awards. At the same ceremony, Ristorante Piccolo Mondo on Argyle Street scooped the overall Best Italian award. A second-generation, family-run business, Piccolo Mondo is also very highly rated by 5pm customers who give it an outstanding 4.6/5 rating.

As well as a handy central location on George Square, La Vita is also a hit with 5pm customers who cite its generous portions and friendly service. For the full Scots Italian dining experience, you could try their penne pasta with Stornoway black pudding and pepperoni. Alternatively, push the boat out with the handmade lobster ravioli.

Fancy a Ruby?

Kama Sutra

Kama Sutra

As we noted earlier, Indian restaurants have always hit the sweet spot with Glaswegian diners. Although it is named after the famous Indian erotic text, and has demure pictures from the book on the walls, the Kama Sutra on Sauchiehall Street focuses more on the pleasures of the table. Lots of diners love the kebabi khazana – a medley of BBQ chicken, lamb, king prawns, lamb chops and mince kebab. Among the regional specialities are the spicy Himalayan hotpot and an authentic Bengali fish curry.

Charcoals Restaurant on Renfield Street and the more casual Charcoals Cafe on the Trongate merit a mention for their freshly prepared dishes. The restaurant, in particular, has a gleaming reputation for friendly, welcoming service and has won multiple awards to back up the claims. We suggest the mango chicken tikka – proof that there is life beyond the tikka masala.

While some restaurants try to push the boundaries of Indian cooking, Rawalpindi Tandoori on Sauchiehall Street sticks with a more tried and tested formula. A hit with Glasgow curry lovers since 1979, they dish up times-served favourites such as the king prawn bhoona, lamb dopiaza and a wide range of gorgeous tandoori dishes. Sometimes, old school is best.

A further city centre option is the Indian Gallery, again on Sauchiehall Street. As well as a smart, contemporary interior, the restaurant offers trad and modern Indian dishes. The chef recommends the tandoori scallops.

Tapas time

Cafe Andaluz City Centre

Cafe Andaluz City Centre

While Italian and Indian restaurants have long enjoyed a warm place in the affections of Glasgow’s diners, other cuisines have started to stake a claim in more recent years. Spanish tapas have proved particularly popular and Cafe Andaluz on St Vincent Place has, in many ways, led the charge.

One of two Cafe Andaluz branches in the city, it offers an inviting Andalucian decor and classic tapas such as roasted padron peppers; Spanish black pudding with chutney; patatas bravas and our old friend gambas pil pil, or prawns in a punchy garlic and chilli combo.

Torres Tapas Restaurant is a good place to go if you are torn between Mexican and Spanish tapas. If the choice between fiery Mexican chicken and calamari is a dilemma that you can’t resolve, this Sauchiehall Street venue can solve your problems.

Many would put their hands on their hearts and say that La Boca, which opened this spring, could make solid claims to being Glasgow’s most authentic tapas restaurant. The Spanish chefs dish up cooling gazpacho soups, hand-carved Iberico jamon and crispy chipirones or baby squid.

Belly up to the bar

Mama Sans

Mama Sans

Arguably, the biggest shake-up in Glasgow’s dining scene over the last decade or so has been the same as that in most other UK cities: the bars and pubs have made real efforts to focus on their food offer. The sands of time have definitely run out on the old heated cage sitting on the bar with its motley collection of imprisoned, forlorn-looking pies.

We’ll pick out the Meat Bar and Bath Street Palomino as two city centre venues which are riding the current wave of enthusiasm for dishes which are smoked, barbequed and wouldn’t look out of place in a Texan pit restaurant.

For funky cocktails and pan-Asian dishes, try scoping out Bar Soba on Mitchell Lane and Mama San at Saint Judes. The young at heart may care to note that both venues feature DJs as the night wears on.

If a pianist appeals more than a DJ, then the Baby Grand at Charing Cross could float your boat. The venue has a bistro menu filled with garlic chicken salads; the char grilled house burger and more fantoosh dishes such as the whole roast wood pigeon with boulangere potatoes, red and white grapes plus a Muscat glaze.

Darcy’s and October Cafe and Late Bar, both in Prince Square, are good examples of Glasgow institutions which have kept pulling in the customers by constantly re-inventing themselves. With a toy room and 3D (!) kids’ menu, Darcy’s is probably the more family-friendly venue while October has two distinct personalities. By day, it’s a pleasant spot for lunch. In the evenings, it’s more geared to cocktail-loving pre-clubbers. Both offer modern bistro/gastropub menus.

For those in search of a more traditional Glasgow bar experience, we would recommend popping into the venerable Griffin Bar. Yes, they serve a goat’s cheese salad and a Thai chicken but they also kick it old school with options such as the mac ‘n’ cheese; mince ‘n’ tatties plus ‘Glasgow salad’ A.K.A. chips.

Push the boat out

Brian Maule at Chardon D'Or

Brian Maule at Chardon D'Or

While the wonderful world of the Glasgow boozer has many merits, it may not be suitable for every occasion. If you were keen to celebrate something, say, for example, a podium place for the 100 metre sprint, then you might want to consider other options. The following, given in no particular order, would all make the Top City Centre Restaurant list for many people.

Lots of people have pondered why Brian Maule at Chardon D'Or doesn’t have a Michelin star. Chef Maule, who trained with the Roux brothers, doesn’t seem unduly concerned and just keeps on producing enviable, modern and seasonal French cooking.

Over on Royal Exchange Square, 29 - The Grill At The Square, is part of a plush members club and specialises in a great range of Scottish seafood along with carefully sourced, dry aged steaks which are available in a wide variety of cuts. Good service and good views over the Square are all part of the package.

No round-up of notable Glasgow restaurants would be complete without mention of the tremendous seafood and memorable atmosphere available at Rogano and Cafe Rogano. However, you will have to wait until Wednesday when they get a blog post all to themselves.

However, we will stick with seafood and point you towards the Two Fat Ladies city centre branch. Part of a very popular, five-strong family of Two Fats restaurants, the city centre branch is cosy, bijou and rather sleek. Fish dishes such as the whole lemon sole with tarragon and an almond and garlic butter are prominent alongside more meaty options like the roast Gressingham duck breast with a cherry and pancetta jus.

Blythswood Square Restaurant

Blythswood Square Restaurant

Its near neighbour, The Restaurant at Blythswood Square, is part of the five star Blythswood Square hotel. Formerly the Clubhouse for The Royal Scottish Automobile Club, the restaurant used to be the RSAC’s ballroom.

It is still a stylish, eye-catching space with an inventive menu. Typical dishes might be the starter of Inverlochy smoked salmon with Atlantic crab, vichyssoise, crab essence, caviar and wild herbs or the main course of roast haunch of venison with honey-spiced beetroot, quince fluid gel, hazelnut mayonnaise, goat's cheese and toasted hazelnuts. Pride of place in the kitchen goes to the Josper charcoal oven which is used to sear dry aged Aberdeenshire beef.

Carefully sourced, dry aged steaks are also a key feature at Barolo Grill alongside classic Italian risotto, pizza and pasta dishes such as the pappardelle with fresh, West Coast crab and smoked pancetta. As the name suggests, Italian wines are also one of the big attractions here. If you wanted to push the boat out, we would kick off with a classic Champagne cocktail followed by the ripasso Valpolicella which is partially made with dried grapes for a more intense flavour. The house reds start at £16.95.

Last but by no means least, the Urban Bar & Brasserie on St Vincent Place is a handsome building which once housed the Bank of England’s Scottish HQ. With staff decked out in smart black and white uniforms, wood panelling and huge booths, a meal here always feels like an occasion.

The menu is modern British and changes with the seasons. Typical dishes might be the simply grilled lemon sole with citrus crème fraiche; the saddle of venison with port wine gravy, buttery mash or the Granny Smith apple and pumpkin ravioli with Parmesan cheese and dressed leaves. Desserts might feature a cheeseboard comprising a brie de Meaux, Roquefort and Keens cheddar or a decadent pud like the Valrhona chocolate tart with caramel ice cream and a Champagne and blueberry jelly with vanilla yogurt.

Restaurant offers, menus & reviews

5pm Dining has offers, customer reviews and menus for all these restaurants and more - check out our Glasgow City Centre page here where you can search according to your availability.

We've also got a handy map so you can see what & hotels here"http://www.5pm.co.uk/restaurant/glasgow2014commonwealthgames/">restaurants and offers are near your hotel and where to eat out near sporting venues.



10 Italian restaurants in Glasgow City Centre to try

Glasgow City Centre has numerous options if you're an Italian food fan. Here are 10 Italian restaurants in Glasgow City Centre to try from 5pm Dining. View menus, reviews and more offers via the links.

Ristorante Piccolo Mondo

Head down Argyle Street and near the Radisson Blu you'll find Ristorante Piccolo Mondo, a second generation family run Italian restaurant. The family brought the taste of Barga in the hills of Tuscany to Glasgow with the opening of the original restaurant in 1974. The second generation opened up the Argyle Street restaurant in 2005 and its traditional dishes with mordern touches have been very popular with 5pm diners since. 

Offer: £19.50 for 2 courses on variety menu + aperitif + an Italian liqueur - more info

La Lanterna

La Lanterna on Glasgow's Hope Street receives glowing reviews from 5pm diners. We really don't have to say much more, here's a review from Margaret Mooney on 24 June 2014:

"Glasgow's Italian Gem -- I cannot fault La Lanterna at all. Went here with another 4 adults and a child for my son in laws 30th birthday as it's his favourite Italian restaurant. The food was delish as usual, the service impeccable. The waiter and waitress are lovely people so welcoming and accommodating. The value for money is amazing. I love La Lanterna and will return."

Offer -  £13.95 for 2 courses on pre-theatre menu - more info

Pulcinella

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Sticking to Hope Street, Pulcinella offers a slice of traditional Italy. Gingham table cloths, murals and Italian flags are served up with generous portions of Italian cuisine. Great value for money.

Offer - £12.50 for 3 courses on pre-theatre menu + glass of wine or beer - more info

Singl-end

Off the beat and track of the main city centre hub, Single-end is close to Glasgow School of Art in Garnethill. With a fun mix of industrial furniture, decorations made from old postcards and menus displayed on drop down tablet screens, this family run restaurant offers rustic Italian food. Whatever is fresh that day will be on the daily changing menus and authenticity is guaranteed.

Offer - £7.95 for 2 courses - more info

Il Pavone

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Perfect if you've been enjoying a day's shopping, either for lunch or dinner, Il Pavone is in the heart of Glasgow's Princes Square. Located at the bottom of the shopping centre, children are welcomed and perfectly free to run around the bottom of the Square whilst you enjoy their popular dishes.

Of particular note is the Miale Porchetta, a pork joint rolled with apple and fresh mint, served over a red chard, walnut, orange and grape salad with a honey and mustard dressing.

Offer - £12.95 for 2 courses on set menu + glass of wine or beer - more info

Fratelli Sarti - Wellington Street & Renfield Street

A popular and well established family run Glasgow Italian, you can choose between Sarti's on Renfield Street or their restaurant on Wellington Street.

The Renfield Street restaurant is housed in a converted 1890s banking hall, the opulent touches still remain such as the Murano chandeliers. The Wellingston Street restaurant has a relaxed, traditional Italian deli feel. Both offer delicious Tuscan style cuisine with a large range of pizza and pasta.

Offer - £9.95 for 2 courses on menu del giorno - Renfield Street or Wellington Street

La Vita George Square

In prime location overlooking George Square, La Vita is a popular family friendly Italian set over several floors. Known for its friendly and effecient service and warm welcome La Vita is a great option if you're enjoying a night in the city centre. The penne del Giorno is particularly popular, crumbled Italian sausage, pan fried with extra virgin olive oil, cherry tomatoes and pine nuts, with garlic and chilli, and dressed with parmesan shavings.

Offer - £13.95 for 3 courses on 5pm menu + glass of sangria or prosecco - more info

Amarone

 

Amarone is on Glasgow's main shopping area, Buchanan Street, and this Italian restaurant has a stylish and classy interior with ingredients sourced from specialist Italian suppliers ensuring an authentic meal. Their Linguine ai Frutti di mare is definitely worth a try; mixed Scottish fish and shellfish with olive oil, garlic and parsley in tomato or bianco sauce. 

Offer - £13.95 for 2 courses on 5pm menu - more info

Antipasti

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Offering fantastic value for money, Cafe Antipasti is well placed as a dining stop before enjoying the bars on Sauchiehall Street and Bath Street or the theatres nearby.

A cosy restaurant that's pretty much been full everyday since it opened in 1997 you can expect a good selection of pizza and pasta, the goats cheese and mozzarella pizza with kalamata olives, sweet cherry tomatoes and pine nuts is particularly popular. 

Offer - £8.95 for 2 courses on seasonal menu - more info

Di Maggio's Royal Exchange Square

This branch of the extremely popular Glasgow Italian group Di Maggio's has a fantastic location on Royal Exchange Square overlooking the Gallery of Modern Art. In the summer, you might be lucky enough to get a seat in their al fresco area plus you can admire the beautiful canopy of lights across the square throughout the year from Di Maggios.

Offering Italian dining with an American twist, you'll find pizza and pasta alongside burgers, ribs and steaks. The restaurant is very family friendly.

Offer - £9.95 for 2 courses on 5pm set menu - more info

 



New restaurants in Dundee

Bento boxes are one of the many attractions at Dundee's Oshibori.

Bento boxes are one of the many attractions at Dundee's Oshibori.

Desperate Dan may be noted for his love of steak pies but Dundonians have a much wider choice of culinary goodies to get stuck into.

In the last week, the City of Discovery has seen two new ventures open.

Oshibori is a new ramen and sushi bar on the Nethergate. According to their Facebook page, the business has links with Paris, New York, Tokyo and Dubai.

In that context, it's easy to see why Dundee would have been top of the list of new openings.

Sushi and sashimi

You can view their full menus via their Facebook page but it looks pretty comprehenive to us with everything from sushi and sashimi platters to teriyaki dishes and all manner of ramen.

More dishes will be added as the kitchen finds its feet.

Interestingly, the restaurant seems to be divided into four area:

Heritage - decked out with dining tables with chairs, carvers and benches.


Contemporary - featuring a granite marble table with benches and low height bar stools + a ramen/sushi bar/cocktail bar with bar stools.


Traditional - Japanese style low seating and tables.


Beer garden - with gazebo, parasols with dining chairs and tables.

Artisan pizza

A hop, skip and a jump away on Whitehall Crescent, the True Pizza Co. has started serving up some fine looking pizza alongside dishes such as mac 'n' cheese; baked canneloni and chicken or pork with fries and coleslaw. Or rather 'slaw.

The good people at STV Dundee have an in-depth interview with the owner of the new venture here.

Stripped back is the decor call at True Pizza Co.

Stripped back is the decor call at True Pizza Co.

 



Secrets of a good coffee from Cranachan in Glasgow’s Princes Square

There's no doubt about it, Glasgow loves coffee. New coffee spots continue to pop up all over the city at a rapid rate, each one proclaiming to have the city's best blend.

And gone are the days of pre packed instant coffees. Today's discerning Glaswegians expect beans roasted in house served with an aeropress, smooth with just the right amount of bitterness.

Cranachan in Glasgow's upmarket Princes Square is popular spot to grab an afternoon coffee and a cake. We asked manager Murray Barr to let us in on the secrets of a good coffee.

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Cranachan Princes Square

Consistency

"Coffee in general is all about consistency, having the right amount of coffee each time. It's all about getting the air in and making sure you do it early so you don't over steam the milk and make it too hot. It's about free pouring; you don't want to hold back the froth, you want to make sure it's nice and smooth."

Cappucino

"Cappuccinos are the most popular here at Cranachan. In Italy they only drink cappuccinos for breakfast but here we just buck that trend. There's no set time for cappuccinos."When you get a cappuccino you don't want it to be a big layer of froth, You want it nice and smooth and creamy. The portion of milk to froth should be 50/50 for a cappuccino.

Latte

"Lattes should have just a little bit of froth at the top. For a latté, just a quarter inch on top and super milky."

Flat white

"After cappuccinos and lattes, flat whites are the most popular coffee at Cranachan. Flat whites originated in London's Soho. They are a more intense coffee, slightly less frothy milk than a cappuccino. It's in between a latte and a cappuccino but with more coffee so it's a punchier but shorter coffee. Flat whites are where coffee art came from. I try my best at coffee art myself but more often than not I end up with an apple or a love heart. From what I've heard from the experts, it's all about keeping the surface of your milk jug close to the expresso."

Sociable

"People in Glasgow are really sociable and enjoy sitting down and having a chat. There's no better way to do it than with a coffee. It's a nice routine to get into and a good excuse to have a gab."

Watch Cranachan's Sheryll make a cappucino in the video below.

£12.95 afternoon tea offer at Cranachan when booking on 5pm.



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