As someone who has lived in the southside of Glasgow for 23 years, I’ve seen first-hand the rejuvenation of areas such as Giffnock, Shawlands, and Strathbungo. Following in the footsteps of the West End and the city centre, these neighbourhoods have become a hub of cafes, bars, and restaurants which cater to a variety of needs for resident Glaswegians, or those who are new to the city. Here are five of the best spots to visit if you decide to venture south of the river for some breakfast, brunch or dinner, and maybe a drink or two.
Bramble is a tiny gem located on the busy main street of Giffnock, Fenwick Road. Serving breakfast and brunch until 4.30 in the afternoon (4pm on Sundays) and seating roughly 20 people, it’s fairly likely you’ll have to wait for a table - but it’s certainly worth it. Southside locals flock here at around midday during the week and all day at the weekend, and the fact that tables are full is a testament to how good the food is. Dishes are varied, from a traditional fry up to numerous egg-based dishes. For those with a sweet tooth, there are plenty of options to choose from including french toast, pancakes, and waffles. If you’re visiting later in the day, the Korean pork tacos, huevos rancheros (a flat bread-based dish with fried eggs, cheese, and spicy tomato sauce), or the nasi goreng (a traditional Indonesian dish), might tempt you and give you the chance to try something new.
The Glad Café, Shawlands
Shawlands is home to Glasgow’s southside cultural hub The Glad Café. It’s earned this title by hosting an eclectic mix of events, concerts, exhibitions and film screenings within its non-profit, intimate venue. However, before entering the venue, you are welcomed by a spacious café/bar area which is open until 11pm Sunday to Wednesday and 12am Thursday, Friday and Saturday, giving you the chance to enjoy the relaxed and artistic environment even if you are not attending an event. The café serves vegetarian and vegan-friendly menus of brunches and lunches from 9-4pm during the week, and from 10am at the weekend. The Glad Café shares the same fantastic kitchen team as the West End’s The Hug and Pint on Great Western Road, so if you’ve been to The Hug, you’re certain to love it here. However, although The Hug and Pint have recently introduced an evening menu, The Glad Café has not, which is something to keep in mind if you’re planning a visit. The café also stocks cakes and sweet treats from Glasgow famous Big Bear Bakery and gluten free items from Giffnock’s Wild Flours bakery.
A few doors down from The Glad Café sits the understated Buongiorno - a traditional, family-run Italian restaurant on Kilmarnock Road. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner from 10am to 11pm every day, every bite of food at Buongiorno confirms that nothing but the best produce is used in every meal. Although it’s small, it is an intimate and romantic setting, and is frequented by regular customers who have enjoyed the food for all the years they have lived in the southside of the city. Bookings may be required at the weekend, as the limited seating is usually filled at peak times. The menu is authentic Italian, with every dish you may expect from a traditional Italian menu, alongside burgers, salads and fantastic sandwiches at lunchtime. The minestrone soup is an absolute must!
Church On The Hill, Shawlands
Off the beaten track of Shawlands main street, Kilmarnock Road sits Church On The Hill – a pub/restaurant that serves fantastic cocktails and drinks alongside equally impressive food for a very reasonable price. After a recent refurbishment, the interior is stylish and warm and, as there is plenty of space, it’s likely that you will be able to get a table during weekdays and weekends, however you can still easily book online. Every day of the week (with the exception of Saturday) hosts a culinary theme: Monday night is macaroni cheese and quiz night, Tuesday is burger night, Wednesday is Mexican, Thursday is curry club, steak night is Friday, and Sunday serves Sunday roast all day until supplies are sold out. Brunch is also served daily until 3pm and includes dishes such as a full Scottish or vegetarian breakfast, haggis stovies and the restaurant’s take on the French croque monsieur. If you find yourself in Glasgow’s southside, it is a no brainer to try this eclectic menu.
Ranjit’s Kitchen, Strathbungo
If you’re in the mood for a solid curry, a trip to Ranjit’s Kitchen is fantastic motivation to explore the southside. This relaxed, cosy restaurant (which hosts more of a café vibe) serves traditional, home-cooked Punjabi meals daily from 12pm to 8.30pm. The recipes have been passed down from Ranjit Kaur, a Sikh woman from the north west of India who has resided in Glasgow for over twenty years. Her children opened this restaurant in order to share her fantastic meals with a wider audience, and it has been nothing short of a fantastic success. Some things to keep in mind prior to your visit: all dishes are vegetarian, and the kitchen does not serve alcohol. The restaurant is closed on Mondays and meals are served as they are made, therefore a short wait only means that everything is being prepared from scratch for you to enjoy.