New bars and restaurants: Edinburgh and Glasgow

  • The List
  • 11 November 2015
New bars and restaurants: Edinburgh and Glasgow

credit: Robin Mair for Greater Grassmarket BID

Recent openings from Korean BBQ to Mexican street food

We run done some of the best new bars and restaurants opening in Edinburgh and Glasgow.


Bó Kantina (Korean & Mexican)
Mexican and Korean cuisine have shacked up together to make beautiful love in a City Centre spot, where hand-painted murals and corrugated iron give off a raw-yet-cute vibe reflecting the marriage of street food and Far Eastern flavours. For owners Ben Dantzic and James Forrest of Burger Meats Bun (the Glasgow branch of which this replaces), Mexican is the ‘carrier’ for the exotic Korean flavours, coming in street food-style starters such as kimchi fried chicken wings or mains such as pork with burnt onions, honey and mustard – or combine elements yourself in a burrito, rice or salad bowl. The delicious chocolate peanut butter crunch Bo bar is like an untamed fiery Korean Snickers.
How much: £18 (lunch/dinner)
Where: Bó Kantina, West Regent Street, City Centre
Book: 0141 353 6712 |

Paesano Pizza (Italian)
Another Italian operation from Paul Stevenson, owner of nearby Italian Caffè, Paesano Pizza’s red neon sign entices, and the pitch appeals – proper Neapolitan sourdough pizza, blasted for 90 seconds at 500 degrees in ovens imported from Italy, with simple, elegant toppings such as prosciutto and mushrooms, or peppers, spinach and ricotta. It all tastes great – even the base sauce of crushed Strianese tomatoes with mozzarella and fresh basil is a simple, savoury delight – vibrant tastes on a pleasingly chewy and soft super-thin base. It’s an informal affair – bench seating, tumblers for (Venetian) wine, and no bookings – but well worth popping into at any time.
How much: £12 (lunch/dinner)
Where: Paesano Pizza, 94 Miller Street, Merchant City
Book: 0141 258 5565 |

Lebowskis Pop Up (bar-diner)
Samuel Dow’s takeover by Kained Holdings adds another enticing food and drink option in this burgeoning street. Operating as a pop up means the incomers have time to win over existing customers – Sammy Dow’s has been a feature since 1931 and has a loyal if dwindling clientele – before the promised refit. Trademark Lebowski cocktails – variations on the White Russian – are already in evidence, and the food from the existing tiny kitchen is limited but playfully changes to suit festivities, opening with quality pub grub, into bratwurst and goulash for Oktoberfest, while Mexican food will feature for the Day of the Dead (Hallowe’en). One to watch with interest.
How much: £9–14 (lunch/dinner)
Where: Lebowskis Pop Up, 69 Nithsdale Road, Southside
Book: 0141 423 3332 |


Smith & Gertrude (wine bar)
A mix of comfy and communal seating, an elegant white-and-blue colour scheme and sleek stripped wood and metal fixtures give this carefully assembled newcomer the trendy, informal vibe of café-style enotecas springing up across Italy, Australia and the US. With the middle-man cut out, many of the 100 bottles of wine available – including 20 or so by the glass – are more affordable than expected, and wine flights are a blessing for ditherers and discoverers alike. There's plenty of care taken with the food too, in cheese and charcuterie platters featuring a fine Brie de Meaux and an impressively marbled Coppa.
How much: £18 (dinner)
Where: Smith & Gertrude, 26 Hamilton Place, Stockbridge
Book: 0131 629 6280 |

Barnacles & Bones (permanent street food stall)
It’s perhaps more at home in a seaside shack on the Cornwall coast rather than a converted police box by Paolozzi’s Foot on a walkway beside John Lewis, but let’s be happy it isn’t. Two daily choices: one fish (the barnacles), one meat (the bones), are each accompanied by slaw and available on a bun (from nearby favourite The Manna House), with a rocket and quinoa salad or — perhaps the best of the bunch — fries shaken with sea salt and chopped tarragon. Regular options include Fife-caught crab dressed in a light lemon mayo, and a satisfying short rib, slow-cooked in sherry.
Where: Barnacles & Bones, Cathedral Lane, Picardy Place, New Town
Book: 07736 281893 |

El Toro Loco (Mexican)
Part of a mini Grassmarket empire which also includes Gennaro Ristorante next door and Mamma’s American Pizzeria along the road, El Toro Loco is the latest in a line of fashionable Mexican street food places to have sprung up of late, after Los Cardos in Leith, the west coast Pinto chain and the revived Illegal Jack’s. Decorated in warm reds and with lots of bright table seating outside, the food is very agreeable, despite a lack of kick to the fresh hot salsa, with burritos, tacos and quesadillas loaded with meaty, shredded hunks of pork carnitas, baracoa beef or chipotle chicken, beans infused with beer or bacon, and all the regular sides including ‘cactus’ (thin pickled gherkins).
How much: £8 (lunch/dinner)
Where: El Toro Loco, 28–30 Grassmarket, Old Town
Book: 0131 226 3706 |