Christmas dining recommendations: winter warmers and family-friendly food
The best spots in Edinburgh and Glasgow to unwind after a hard day's Christmas shopping
If you’re feeling a bit like a zombie or a prickly pear after a hard afternoon’s shopping in the capital, put your feet up away from the bustle with a trip down to Leith and The Vintage (60 Henderson Street, Edinburgh, 0131 563 5293), which made its name offering a range of craft beers and cured meats. The food here is a delight and you’ll be in for a warm welcome, too. Christmas wouldn’t be the same without some warmed-up alcohol to get you in the spirit, though, and you can cradle a cup of warming spiced wine or buttered rum and nibble on gingerbread biscuits at one of Leith’s Swedish bars. Boda (229 Leith Walk, Edinburgh, 0131 553 5900), Sofi’s (65 Henderson Street, Edinburgh, 0131 555 7019) and Joseph Pearce’s (23 Elm Row, Edinburgh, 0131 556 4140) have Christmas fairs, Christmas Eve & Hogmanay parties and a special candlelit Sankta Lucia evening on Fri 13 Dec.
In central Glasgow, the Blue Dog cocktail bar (151 West George Street, Glasgow, 0141 229 0707) can mix you whatever you’re after. Relax with a pick-me-up and enjoy live music while choosing from a selection of over 70 expertly mixed classic and contemporary drinks. In Glasgow’s West End, step under the magical twinkling lights of Ashton Lane and into The Grosvenor (24 Ashton Lane, Glasgow, 0845 166 6028) to sample their kindly sounding sharing cocktails – and perhaps take in a film at the on-site cinema while you’re at it. The dependable Arches (253 Argyle Street, Glasgow, 0141 565 1000) continues to prove that as an arts-scene stalwart, it can serve up some tasty food too. Traditional turkey and trimmings are on offer here, alongside a menu showing international influences.
If you’re looking for somewhere to unwind with the whole family, though, build your best snowman in the exquisite surroundings of Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Garden – then run indoors to warm up in the child-welcoming Gateway Restaurant (Arboretum Place, Edinburgh, 0131 552 2674). Also great for kids is Cottiers (93 Hyndland Street, Glasgow, 0141 357 5825) in Glasgow’s West End – and with its shimmeringly spacious gold interior, you’d be forgiven for thinking the place had been made especially for Christmas. The theatre / bar / restaurant is housed in an impressive converted church and handily offers 10% off Christmas dinner with a ticket to the in-house panto. Over at Mono (12 King’s Court, Glasgow, 0141 553 2400), meanwhile, the whole family has the space to eat, drink, shop for gifts and experience this arts venue together. Food served here is fresh and caters to vegans and vegetarians.