A Glaswegian dining institution that has proudly championed the best of Scottish produce since it opened in the Merchant City in 1979.
This review is taken from the current (2016) edition.
The beautiful, heavy oak furniture and eye-catching stained glass that fill Café Gandolfi reflect the timeless familiarity of this Glaswegian diner, which has tirelessly helped put Scottish produce in the minds and bellies of anyone who has passed through its doors that opened in 1979. The menu is laden with Scottish provender, including black pudding from Stornoway and peat-smoked salmon from the Summer Isles. Starters feature a trio of pâtés, choices consisting of a tangy goat’s cheese and pumpkin flavour as well as the ubiquitous chicken liver that comes smooth and rich. For mains, a sizzling, golden chicken Kiev oozes garlic butter that melts lustrously into the wilted spinach accompaniment. Beyond Scotland, there are also excellent pasta dishes to choose from, the Italian sausage pasta with a rich tomato ragù is a hearty plateful and especially nice when paired with wine from the very extensive wine list. With staff who make guests – even those who have never visited before – feel like old friends, Café Gandolfi’s warm Scottish hospitality and attention to detail is the foundation of their longevity and success.
- High point: Commitment to the best Scottish produce
- Low point: Tables quite close together
- Notable dish: Stornoway Black Pudding
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.
- Provides: Gluten-free options, Children's portions, Children's high chairs, Wheelchair access, Free wi-fi
- Music on stereo: nothing
- Capacity: 70
- Largest group: 35
- Open since: 1979
- Number of wines sold by the glass: 30
- House wine: £18.50 per bottle
Reviews & features
Interview: Robin Gray, of Robin’s Herbs18 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 Glasgow29 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…