Glasgow’s growing restaurant scene is a highlight of the city. Alongside the increasing number of new eateries and enterprising chefs has come their adaptation to the city’s changing culinary attitudes. The city’s culinary calendar now features many alternative gastronomic experiences: vegan food festivals, raw food pop-ups and evenings dedicated to pairing vegetarian food and drinks. Cafes and restaurants, which spread across every pocket of the city, offer great vegetarian and vegan options to rival meat classics; many now catering solely to vegetarians.
Usually recognised for their less than healthy diet choices, Glasgow might surprise many with is increasing number of health conscious restaurants, complete with endless vegan and vegetarian options. This growing trend doesn’t look like it’s going to dwindle anytime soon; many chefs showcase their skills creating inventive vegetarian and vegan meals across the city’s restaurants ensuring there is no shortage of options for those looking for meat free meals in Glasgow.
The creative hub at the Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts extends to in house chefs of Saramago, where there is the option of the bar and terrace upstairs or the large cafe in the open area of the ground floor. Bread is baked fresh every morning with a special brunch menu on Sundays; during weekdays pre-theatre menus have deals on meals of both two or three course. Offering the same dishes in both areas of the CCA, the Mediterranean inspired menu is made up of small sharing plates and sandwiches as well as main meals. To finish off desserts are served with vegan ice cream, alternatively an option which is hard to pass up is the bar’s vegan White Russians. In the surrounding space of the CCA enjoy film screenings, exhibitions and talks, before or after you savour the flavours that Saramago serves up.
350 Sauchiehall Street
Opposite Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Glasgow School of Art, Singl-end has adopted the creative spirit of its neighbours. The basement cafe is furnished with an eclectic mix of stools and chairs, which surround tables encasing stamps, postcards and trinkets from across the world. A large stand at the entrance to this bakehouse showcases the freshly baked cakes, many of which are vegan takes on classics that would normally be off limits to those not able to eat eggs or milk. The menu covers breakfast and lunch with a variety of delicious meat, vegetarian and vegan dishes: something for all dietary requirements and diners, including children.
265 Renfrew Street
This award winning restaurant is headed by chef John Quigley. His culinary skills enable five star dining and flavours for all dietary requirements. Found toward the Charing Cross end of the city centre, Red Onion has various menus including the pre theatre for early diners and tasting menus that are inclusive for everyone: vegan, gluten free, dairy free and regular menus are all offered. The dishes are full of flavour and served over two floors of this this cosy and welcoming restaurant. For a taste of Scotland opt for the vegan haggis, or be tempted by the fusion of flavours that extends across the continents: oriental influences creep into dishes, curries are delicately spiced with a nod to India and risotto, a favourite of our Mediterranean neighbours, all feature on the menu. The only difficulty during a dining experience in the Red Onion is deciding what to order.
257 West Campbell Street
The 78 has long been the hangout spot for vegans and vegetarians due to its great selection of food, beers and atmosphere. There are few venues with 100% vegan menus throughout the city and, along side this, it provides a welcoming atmosphere with great value food. The menu also features discounted prices for students and daily specials. In this busy West End pub, crowds gather day and night during the week and weekends, with live music and events often taking place. The friendly staff welcome dogs too, so there is often competition during the winter for the seats surrounding the pub’s cosy fire.
10-14 Kelvinhaugh Street
The Hug and Pint
Venturing further north in the West End toward Maryhill, The Hug and Pint has the character of an old pub, complete with a backroom regularly hosting live music, but serves up a contemporary and diverse vegan menu. The child-friendly venue offers Asian inspired options for those on meat free diets: jackfruit, kimchi, guava, papaya and coconut are some of the exotic flavours that fill salads, curries, soups, noodle and rice dishes. Normally diners will find a selection of five dishes to choose from with plates being updated weekly, highlighting the restaurant’s use of fresh produce. The atmosphere in this trendy bar is laid back, with friendly staff also offering the option of takeaway meals.
171 Great Western Road
Hidden in the city centre, a few blocks from Central Station, Stereo is a bar, a cafe and a live music venue as well as a long standing staple for Glasgow’s vegetarian diners. Pizzas, small plates, soups and sandwiches are all available to takeaway as well, but the cosy atmosphere and selection of craft beers that accompany dishes make it difficult to leave. All food and drink are free from animal produce and even the most devout meat eater will be intrigued by the menu that Stereo has to offer. Downstairs there is a venue for live music and DJ nights, so those catching a late dinner should expect a lively atmosphere.
22-28 Renfield Lane, Glasgow G2 6PH
In the Merchant City area of Glasgow, Picnic is a great lunch spot or coffee and cake stop. All food is vegan and their ethical commitment extends to packaging: aiming to use only recycled or fully biodegradable materials when possible. Picnic proves any misconceptions about bland vegan food wrong by serving up filling varied lunches of curries, baked potatoes and burgers. They have dynamic culinary ideas when it comes to their wraps and salads, which are full of texture, featuring gluten free pasta, quinoa and zoodles- zucchini noodles. All food is made in house daily, with a selection of juices, smoothies, teas and coffees to accompany lunch. Opening at 8am, they also have a breakfast menu and a selection of cakes and biscuits; the empire biscuit is it a Scottish classic not to be missed.
103 Ingram Street
For over 15 years Mono has catered to Glaswegian vegans and regularly draws a creative crowd of music lovers to its onsite record shop Monorail. The spacious cafe and bar has a relaxed atmosphere and delivers high quality vegan meals. The flavours created by a kitchen team showcase their passion for vegan food and cooking. At Mono everyone can sample the Glasgow’s infamous meals regardless of dietary requirements: Glasgow’s classic Pizza Crunch is made vegan here and the to-fish and chips is also recommended.
12 King Street
At the top of the city centre shopping district, venture into the the Flying Duck’s basement premises to explore their fully vegan menu. This is a laid back venue that brings a fresh take on traditional fast food meals: hot dogs, burgers, mac n’ cheese. For anyone who thought vegans couldn’t enjoy these meals, the Flying Duck creates cruelty free variations on the classics. The Macarrito (a burrito with macaroni cheese in it) will be difficult to find elsewhere and there is also a range of filling burgers with alternative takes on steak, pastrami, prawns, pork… almost any meat mentionable, the Flying Duck has a delicious vegan answer for.
142 Renfield Street
It’s not technically Scotland’s national dish, but Scots love Indian food and Usha’s provides a wide selection of dishes. For parties of mixed diets there are meat and fish plates as well as vegetarian and fully vegan dishes, many dishes can also be made vegan on request. Dishes are tapas size enabling guests to order a few things and sample a range of authentic flavours. Dining over lunch offers an express street food menu, this is great value with the option of a rice bowl or wrap, served with poppadoms and spiced onions for less than a fiver. Usha’s opened at the bottom of Byres Road in 2013, in a premises that was known as cursed to restaurant traders; normally no business survived longer than a year. Still popular and expanding in the city, Usha’s charm and food has finally made this place home, it is particularly busy on weekends so it’s advisable to book!
2 Byres Road
Hanoi Bike Shop
Another one for mixed diners, Hanoi Bike Shop offers Vietnamese dishes tucked away down the cobbled streets of Ruthven Lane, just off of Byres Road. Their street food menu is best for sharing and each dish is served immediately once it is cooked, so there is never a shortage of food on the table. Sharing makes for a social dining experience and this gives Hanoi Bike Shop its lively atmosphere and charm. If it’s too difficult to choose from their vibrant, infused menu then ask the staff for recommendations. Vegan highlights are their homemade tofu, which makes up a significant proportion of dishes and gives a variety of options for all diners to choose from.
8 Ruthven Lane
Rose & Grant’s Deli Cafe
At Rose & Grant’s Deli Cafe vegetarians and vegans will never feel like an afterthought. In the heart of the Merchant City, this Deli Cafe welcomes visitors with its friendly atmosphere and options for all diners. Open for both breakfast and lunch, vegans and vegetarians can opt to pop in for a full breakfast to start the day, take a break from shopping with their soup and sandwiches or, for those needing a hearty meal, select main dishes inspired by the flavours of Asia, both dhal and Indonesian rice are on offer. The Scottish square sausage is even made vegan, so all visitors to the city can try this classic!