Credit: Alexander Popov via Unsplash

Glasgow’s best alternative restaurants

By Monica Brotherton

Our guide to the city’s more unique dining spots.

Glasgow is home to the alternative: with thriving art scenes and schools, the city has never struggled to be inventive – and this quirky city has spawned many a quirky restaurant. Here are some of the most unique places that are worth your time and money – from absurdly sized chicken to communal brunches, Glasgow cannot be faulted for its creativity. 

Buck’s Bar

You have probably already heard of it, and there’s a reason why: Buck’s Bar is iconic. With a relatively new location in Trongate to accompany the flourishing restaurant in Regent Street, business is booming – and so it should be. Famous for big food and big atmosphere, red neon lights cast a glow upon almost grotesquely-sized burgers. The ridiculously large chicken burgers come in too many flavours for any reasonable person to ever fully sample, but they’re delicious. Burgers start from about £10.50, but are certainly worth it. These filling mains are accompanied by competing sides; if you go, you must try the classic salt and chilli chips which are any Glaswegians’ go-to. Even better, the chips are priced at £1 when bought with a burger! Perhaps not for vegetarians or vegans, however; Buck’s only offer one alternative to replace the chicken in their famous burgers. 

Wilson Street Pantry 

Located on – you guessed it – Wilson Street, a short walk from George Square, this spot offers delicious brunch-food and drinks. Pre-covid, you may have wandered in and ended up sharing a large table with strangers, which was actually a lot more pleasant than it sounds. You felt warmed by the atmosphere and delicious lattes. Now, I suggest you book before you go, because I guarantee you’ll struggle to get a spot at the isolated tables. However, I can promise you’ll still be warmed by their faultless lattes. A far cry from Buck’s Bar, there are many options for the vegetarian or particularly health-conscious amongst us. Creamy avocado smeared on toasted sourdough is an absolute staple at this exclusive brunch spot. Priced at £7.50, it’s a little on the pricey side, but it is undeniably fabulous.

Absurd Bird 

Another one for the chicken burger books, Absurd Bird takes a more American angle. The restaurant is located on Nelson Mandela Place, a stone’s throw from Buchanan Street. Absurd Bird takes the American diner and makes it alternative. Half the fun is going for the flowered booths, neon cherry-signs and bare lampshades. Offering a wide list of vegan and vegetarian options, Absurd Bird is inclusive and thoughtful. The fun doesn’t stop at chicken, though, as the macaroni cheese is actually a bit of a spotlight stealer. The all-day breakfast macaroni cheese, priced at £8.50, was everything you’d ever want in a macaroni cheese: cheesy, rich, and did I mention cheesy?


Found in the centre of Glasgow on St. Vincent Street, Topolobamba is fun to say and fun to dine in. While you lounge in comfy booths surrounded by an entirely unnecessary amount of lampshades, you may take your pick from any number of Mexican tapas dishes. Small dishes mean lots of dishes, and you can feast yourself full on taquitos and tostadas. Frozen margaritas are, of course, a must with the satisfying Mexican street food. Don’t forget the dessert though, which I think is actually some of the best food they have available. Churros and horchata ice cream, individually priced at £5.50 and £3.25, are real treats and easily shareable. 


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