Interested in Glasgow?
We'll send you updates with the latest deals, reviews and articles for Glasgow each week.
Topics include Transportation, United Kingdom: For Foreign Visitors & more!
Eating cheaply in Glasgow is easy! No need to resort to the likes of Burger King, KFC and MacDonald, which seem to have sprung up everywhere unless you really want to. On every major thoroughfare you'll find vibrant independent cafes, diners and chippies (fish and chips). And of course there are more than a few places to find a late night kebab.
As far as cafes are concerned, one of the best, and definitely the most atmospheric and olde-worldy of these, is Jaconelli's on Maryhill Road. A little out of town, it's well worth a visit and a quick journey from the centre of town on buses 40 or 61 from Hope Street. Ask to get off at Queen's Cross. As well as great fry-ups which don't cost the earth, they do fantastic ice-cream in the summer.
Another extremely cheap option, which will undoubtedly fill you up, is to get a fish and chip supper at one of the Jack McPhee outlets in town, either to sit in, or take away. Their two locations are at the top of Hope Street, near the Theatre Royal, and on Byres Road in the West End (see www.jackmcphee.com for maps and sit in menus). For the money, this is as consisently good a fish supper as any in Glasgow. Of special appeal for those needing to fill up very cheaply, is the offer of a supper and a drink, all for £1.95, before 8.30pm each day. You usually get a choice between a sausage, or that Glasgow "delicacy" (actually, it's really good, but boy, does it make your arteries hurt!), deep fried pizza, and chips on the side. They do pasta dishes as well, but it's not really what you'd come here for. Also fantastic for fish and chips, but a little more expensive, is Philadelphia cafe on Great Western Road, at Kelvinbridge. Oh, and don't forget: in Glasgow a "single" doesn't necessarily mean you get one, it just means you get it without chips. So a single sausage, might well mean two! If you want chips included, you need to order a "supper", whatever the time of day!
Just peckish? Venture into any little cafe or food bar (there are several excellent ones in the little row of shops on Queen Margaret Drive), and ask for that atypical Glasgow snack, a roll and sausage. Don't be perplexed if you're asked "flat or link"? Scotland is the only place known of so far where you can get slices of sausage - perfect for sarnies! If you're not brave enough to try the flat version (admittedly it is a little different), then be sure to ask for "links". You can also get hot rolls with bacon, lovely runny egg, potato scone (also a Scottish special), black pudding - in fact, virtually anything you can think of. Cold rolls are very cheap in many places too; in fact, Glasgow seems to have made the idea of "filled rolls" into an institution! A full-to-bursting roll can be as cheap as 80p, although depending what filling you ask for you could be paying anything up to £3 or so.
Byres Road in Glasgow's bohemian West End (Hillhead Subway) is a good place to find cheap eats, thanks perhaps to the nearby Glasgow University and its penniless students! Little Italy in the centre of Byres Road is an iconic and much-loved cafe that's always busy. If you can find a seat then grab it quick. They serve the most delicious pizza at a very cheap price, and if you can't manage a whole one to yourself, you can share it with a friend or just buy a single slice. The nearby University Cafe is another reasonably priced option. It's a traditional Italian cafe; one that time forgot. It's had the same old-fashioned booth seating since time immemorial and is full of character. On warm summer days canny students grab some inexpensive and delicious take-away food from one of the many delis and head to Kelvingrove Park or the Botanical Gardens for a picnic. Cheap food doesn't have to mean nasty food!
Its easy to find an inexpensive eatery in the city centre, particularly in the areas around the Garage club (west end of Sauchiehall Street), and Central Station. Pub chain J. D. Wetherspoon's have quite a few properties in Glasgow, and serve cheap and cheerful pub food designed to fill you up without emptying your pocket. The food is basic and hearty and is made all the more palatable when washed down with one of Wetherspoons fine and very reasonably priced real ales. The Counting House in George Square is their flagship property in Glasgow and housed in a stunning building that was once a grand bank. www.jdwetherspoon.co.uk for more details.
Fish and Chips, that favourite UK staple, can be found on virtually every street in Glasgow. If you prefer your traditional fish supper/fish tea sitting down rather than taken-away the nicely appointed Chippy Doon the Lane Cafe is the place to go. Down a lane just off Buchanan Street their fish tea special costs little more than a takeaway, but the deal includes a pot of tea or cup of coffee, bread and butter, homemade tartar sauce and a chunk of lemon.
If you're vegetarian or vegan then finding inexpensive food is no longer the challenge it used to be. Stereo Cafe Bar is a hugely popular cafe and live music venue that makes innovative veggie food at a budget friendly price. Stereo is well worth seeking out and is tucked down a lane near Central Station. Cafe Hula, on Hope Street, opposite the Theatre Royal, is one reasonably inexpensive eatery which serves good, homemade food, and is handy for the theatre. Just off Argyle Street (West End) on Kelvinhaugh Street is the popular veggie eaterie 78 Cafe Bar. They have daily meal deals which they usually announce on their Facebook page to whet everyone's appetite.
For more refined evening meals, things get a little bit trickier. One very popular option is to try to dine early and make use of the many good-value pre-theatre menus that are on offer at the more upmarket reataurants in the city before about 7.30pm. If you are fan of fine Chinese food, Dragon I, at the top of Hope Street, is something a little different, and more affordable if you eat there at lunchtime, or early evening. Both Boozy Rouge restaurants in town also do a pre-theatre menu and are very central. Another excellent, fine-dining restaurant in Glasgow's West End is Stravaigin, on Gibson Street. Cheaper than the very high-class restaurant downstairs, but still giving that taste of luxury cuisine, is the cafe-bar area upstairs. Particularly good, and reasonable value for money if you watch you beverage consumption, is the Sunday brunch which always takes place there until about 5pm every Sunday. Check out www.stravaigin.com for details, where you will also find information about their sister eatery, Stravaigin 2.
All the fine-dining places mentioned above participate, along with many others across the city, in the discount scheme run by the excellent Scottish website www.5pm.co.uk. If you are looking for high class Scottish cuisine at the cheapest possible prices, it is de rigeur to book yourself a deal here. Although many options still work out quite expensive, it's good to know that you are getting yourself a special luxury treat at a fraction of the normal price. In fact, it's the only way most of us afford a trip to some of Glasgow's most exclusive eateries!
All this is simply the tip of the iceberg, and every Glaswegian you ask will have a different point of view. There is no substitute for asking the individual opinions of the people around you when you're here. Make friends with the staff at your hotel or hostel when you arrive, and they'll likely have a myriad of options ready to recommend nearby. Glaswegians are friendly folk, always ready to help, and you'll probably find yourself spoilt for choice with all the recommendations! One thing's for sure, budget or not, you'll never go hungry here!