Café Gandolfi

Café Gandolfi
64 Albion Street, Glasgow, G1 1NY
  • Telephone 0141 552 6813
  • Bar open Mon–Sun 11am–midnight
  • Food served Mon–Sat 8am–11.30pm; Sun 9am–11.30pm
  • Email
  • Website www.cafegandolfi.com
Photo of Café Gandolfi

A Glaswegian dining institution that's championed the best of Scottish produce since opening its doors in the Merchant City in 1979.

Eating & Drinking Guide

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Café Gandolfi is a restaurant with the sort of culinary legacy many would kill for – built in the empty offices of the city's old cheese market, the café claims to have brought Glasgow its first espresso machine. One thing’s for sure – it helped bring a new wave of cooking to the city when it opened way back in 1979. Some of those dishes have stood the ultimate test, such as the utterly delicious Arbroath smokies, served in a fishy, creamy, smoky tomato sauce with sourdough. Seasonal starters hit the mark too, like a dish of smoked halibut with seaweed hollandaise and charred leek. Mains can be traditional, like the mainstay Finnan smoked haddie with crushed tatties and a poached egg, but they can be more adventurous also, such as baked cod mingling perfectly with the sweetness of roasted squash and a mussel, samphire and langoustine bisque. The space itself is striking, thanks to the surrounding Tim Stead woodwork and furniture. The food and excellent matched wine list balances both the past and the future – here’s to four decades more.

The List's rating
8

Menu

Cooking

Service

Ambience

Appeal

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Robbie Armstrong visited Café Gandolfi on 12 March 2018
  • High point: A kitchen that refuses to rest on its laurels
  • Low point: Hard to make a pick from the menus
  • Notable dish: Finnan smoked haddie
  • Average price: £15 (lunch); £24 (dinner)
Glasgow Larder

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A Glasgow institution beloved by city workers and weekend shoppers, Gandolfi very much sticks to the principle of 'if it ain't broke …' when it comes to both its décor and its menu. The heavy carved oak benches, chairs and tables around the cosy bar and the old photos of the city haven't changed for years. And regulars would be disappointed if staples like haggis, neeps and tatties, Gandolfi's macaroni cheese or scallops were dropped for trendier dishes. Light meals and starters include piquant Arbroath smokies, perfectly balancing the strong flavour with light tomato, cream and parmesan sauce, topped with pieces if toast, or a hearty chickpea daal with onions and pitta bread for dipping. There's a good choice of pastas, but a chicken kiev dish disappoints with a glutinous texture and soggy spinach. However, there's not much to fault in the peat smoked salmon from the Summer Isles, simply presented with bread, lemon and salad to let its subtle taste linger. A dessert of fondant cake more resembles a chunky brownie but is accompanied by their high quality ice cream. Overall, a classy experience with a timeless air.

Few can claim to be Glasgow foodies without having sampled the wares of Cafe Gandolfi – for over 30 years this bohemian restaurant has been at the front of Glasgow's culinary revolution. Inside is dark and rustic – deep mahogany-coloured tables and a scattering of exceptionally high backed chairs line the wood-panelled walls, while the moody lighting adds to the arty feel. The Scottish-driven menu has seen little change over the years with staples such as Cullen skink, haggis, neeps and tatties or the infamous Stornoway black pudding – mild yet full of flavour served with buttery mushrooms and a couple of thick, slightly sweet home-made pancakes. Marsala and rosemary braised chicken is a cracker from the handful of specials on offer – a large moist chicken breast, wrapped in quality prosciutto and served with rich, creamy pecorino pea sauce, crisp little roast potatoes punch even more flavour into the dish. Open from 9am every day, they also do a great breakfast till noon covering the usual favourites with a few tantalising surprises. The classic full option features a delicious Macleod and Macleod pork and Stornoway black pudding sausage, while the pudding itself features heavily throughout – in an eggs Benedict or with pancakes and mushrooms. There's also the rare Stornoway white pudding, served with onions, apple and Cumberland sauce, not forgetting eggs almost any way you can dream of, including eggs en cocotte (baked) with ham and cheese.

Text supplied by third party.

  • Provides: Gluten-free options, Children's portions, Children's high chairs, Wheelchair access, Free wi-fi
  • Capacity: 70
  • Largest group: 35
  • Open since: 1979
  • Number of wines sold by the glass: 20
  • House wine: £19 per bottle

Reviews & features

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18 Mar 2015

Meet Robin Gray, former chef in a Michelin-starred restaurant, now chief herb-grower on Arran

Robin Gray doesn’t have a website. He doesn’t need one. In fact, as he explains, checking on it would only take him away from his work. There is no sense of hard sell about him and a quick google confirm this: he’s hard to find. Buyers come to me, he…

The best breakfasts in Glasgow

29 Mar 2012

The best all-rounders in the west, plus a few specific breakfast-item highlights

Café Gandolfi 64 Albion Street, 552 6813, cafegondolfi.com Breakfast served: Mon-Sat 8am-noon; Sun 9am-noon. The long-standing, Scottish cuisine-focused eatery has beefed up its breakfasts in recent years, resulting in a menu with eight different egg…