Restaurant review: Glasgow's Barolo Grill

Barolo Grill

Unflashy elegance and a fine choice for Italian food in city centre

Replacing a restaurant of nearly 50 years standing is a daunting task but Barolo Grill pulls it off with panache, as Jay Thundercliffe discovers

It is an indication of the institution that L’Ariosto had become in Glasgow that even a month after being replaced by Barolo Grill the phone is answered with a cheery ‘Hello, L’Ariosto’. It also a reminder that the staff – some of whom have been around for decades – have been retained throughout the Di Maggio’s group takeover a few years ago and the recent transformation into a stylish Italian grillhouse.

Barolo is an attractive restaurant, smart and comfortable, with an unflashy elegance – full of warm browny red and cream tones, with patchwork mirrors, stonework walls, a huge photomural depicting the eponymous town and illuminated glass panels between the booths that comprise most of the seating. It’s a far cry from the mock piazza décor of its predecessor and will appeal to a wider audience, whether suits, shoppers, lovers or a celebrating family.

The menu blends pasta and pizza choices with regional specialities and grills. To start, the Piedmont filo parcels, filled with crumbed Italian sausage and earthy porcini mushrooms, are a delicious opening, while an excellent carpaccio justifies its price with tender slices of seared beef fillet with a delicately marinated bean salad.

Pizzas are cooked in the newly installed ‘woodstone’ pizza oven, and there are various pastas and risottos on offer. The grill mains include beef cuts from Simon Howie butchers, plus a successful translation of bangers and mash featuring succulent Italian sausages and a creamy celeriac mash — though the covering of Fontina cheese overdoes the richness somewhat. A rack of lamb, while no longer pink, is tender and tasty, complemented by broad beans enlivened by mint and garlic.

Desserts include tiramisù and gelato, as well as a rich and airy chocolate cheesecake with hazelnuts, and a well-executed strudel with pear and black grape. The impressive wine list has various barolos – from £30 to £100 – and other excellent Italian offerings. Prices overall aren’t a massive increase on a standard Di Maggio’s bill, yet the food is way ahead – add in attractive lunch and pre-theatre deals and Barolo proves itself a fine choice for Italian food in the city centre.

+ Smart, stylish surroundings for top Italian food
- Booths for two can get a little tight

Barolo Grill
92–94 Mitchell Street, Glasgow, G3 8RS
0141 221 0971,
Food served: Mon–Sat noon–10.30pm; Sun 12.30–10.30pm
Ave. price two-course meal: £13.95 (set lunch) / £23 (dinner)

Barolo Grill

92–94 Mitchell Street, Glasgow, G1 3NQ

An ambitious and seductive city centre restaurant where attention to the details of contemporary dining is combined with inventive classic Italian cuisine.