The Finnieston

Hitlisted Member of the Scotch Beef Club
The Finnieston
1125 Argyle Street, Glasgow, G3 8ND
  • Telephone 0141 222 2884
  • Bar open Mon–Sun 11am–midnight.
  • Food served Mon–Sat noon-9.45pm; Sun noon–8.45pm.
  • Average price £19 (lunch); £19 (evening meal)
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The Finnieston

Upon dropping anchor at The Finnieston, you could almost have been transported to some place on The Shore in Leith or a village in the East Neuk of Fife between its low-ceiling, snug wooden booths, weathered feel and seafood-centric cuisine. Situated in the premises previously occupied by Café Bayan, the Argyle Street bar and restaurant’s air of cosy waterfront charm is manufactured, but that doesn’t prevent it from representing a breath of fresh sea air in an area not exactly lacking strong competition.

It’s the owners of nearby Lebowksis that are behind The Finnieston, opened in September, and they bring the same dedication to fresh, locally sourced and 'traceable' seasonal produce (the menu changes every couple of days), albeit here in pursuit of a finer dining and drinking experience, with fairly precipitous prices to match. The food’s good, but the cocktails are even better, and they perhaps point to where The Finnieston’s success will more so lie: it’s not difficult to conceive of this place becoming a popular haunt among your fussier West End drinkers à la The Ubiquitous Chip and Stravaigin.

A Rangoon Daisy aperitif (gin, maraschino, orgeat syrup, bitters and lime) is typical of the kind of novel, grown-up concoctions they mix at The Finnieston. Sharp, citrusy and refreshing enough to be the perfect hair-of-the-dog drink (did it not cost £7.50 a hit), it makes for a good palate-cleanser before a starter of a terrine of moist haggis and ham hough with a heart of black-pudding at the centre, served with a tuft of crisp green leaves and drop of apple purée.

The mains aren’t the most inspired – salmon in white wine sauce, steamed mussels, fish and chips. The 'luxury' fish pie practically requires a small submersible to dive to the assorted fish cuts lying at the bottom of the pot, though the special of skate wings served on a bed of mash is more elegant and out of the ordinary. A sprinkle of popping candy adds a zingy flourish to a raspberry and vanilla panacotta dessert, before the eye again wanders towards the selection of fancy digestifs (the Admiral’s Coffee, spiked with cognac and rum, maintains the seafaring feel), gins (over 32 variants) and martinis, which will keep many diners at their table long after their meal.

Eating & Drinking Guide

The 2015/16 edition of The List's Eating & Drinking Guide is out now – only £5.95 (+p&p).

This review is taken from the current (2015) edition.

So comfortable is this contemporary fish restaurant and bar of its niche on the Finnieston strip, its owners have opened a sister spot a few doors along in Porter & Rye. While they both favour stylish mixed drinks and stripped stone walls, it’s only here, in this low-ceilinged building, its exterior a distinctive shade of North Sea grey-blue, that you’ll dine on Scottish catch among quirky nautical-themed trappings from old boat rigging to chunky wooden tables. Squeeze yourself into a booth by the open fire – and we do mean squeeze, they’re tighter than a cockle shell – for a meal you won’t want to rush. Small plate starters include braised Scottish squid, somewhat overpowered by its chorizo and spiced almond accompaniments but a fine appetiser. Mains are all about fresh fish, be it salmon or sea bream, cooked how you like with your choice of sides and sauce, or an upscale fish supper of battered or breadcrumbed cod, haddock or coley, served with delicious homemade tartare sauce and chunky triple-cooked chips of the highest order. Cut straight to liquid dessert after that and a gin classic, highball, martini or a few of each.

  • High point: Loads of wines served by the glass
  • Low point: Get used to banging your knees in the booths
  • Notable dish: Coley in breadcrumb with triple-cooked hand-cut chips, homemade tartar sauce, pea compote and jar of pickles
Glasgow Larder

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  • Provides: Children's portions, Children's high chairs, Wheelchair access, Outdoor tables, Free wi-fi
  • Music on stereo: Soul
  • Capacity: 68
  • Largest group: 12
  • Open since: Sep 2011
  • Number of wines sold by the glass: 26
  • House wine: £18 per bottle

Comments & ratings

4. Massieb27 Oct 2012, 5:07pm3 stars The Finnieston Report

Fantastic food, good atmosphere but the staff were odd. Our food was delicious so the poor service was disappointing. When I booked I was told they needed the table back after an hour and a half which was fine. After an hour they came and said they needed the table back in 15 minutes. Safe to say I wouldn't have booked if thought could only have the table for 75 minutes. We got the bill and left as the next customers were standing near the table waiting to jump in our seats. They then banged into us as we left, making us feel we were in a fast food chain. I won't be back which is a shame as the food was great, my rating would be 5 stars for food, 0 stars for service

3. The Real Blythman27 Mar 2012, 1:32am5 stars The Finnieston Report

FOOD: 5/5
PRICE: 5/5

I visited the Finnieston in Oct 2011 and wasn't too impressed as it seemed to be trying to be more than it needed to.
I've heard from a number of my friends, who are real foodies in the westend, that it had changed its chef and was doing much more affordable and exceptional quality food.
I visited the finnieston for the second time last Friday (23rd March '12) and had a polar opposite experience this time.
As my scoring suggests at the start of this post, i was blown away. Not since '78 st vincent' was around have i had such a superbly delightful dining experience.
I must disagree with the initial intro that the list has given the place as i certainly did not find the menu to be uninspired for example:

Pan seared loin of Lochinver coley with toasted almonds and a roast red pepper emulsion £ 13.00
Whole grilled orange-spotted plaice with browned butter, capers and pickled cauliflower £ 12.50
Roast Isle of Gigha halibut, truffled celeriac, seasonal greens and crispy oysters mushrooms £ 20.95
- to copy and paste just a few, this is not the menu of the uninspired.

All in all, I really enjoyed my night in the finnieston and will be back.

2. Maurine Duffy27 Mar 2012, 12:35am5 stars The Finnieston Report

Stunning! What a little gem of a place. I was met by the friendliest waiter i've ever come across. His name was Marc and he could not have done more for us to make our evening in the finnieston more enjoyable.
we started with the scallops and oysters - very very tasty.
followed by, i know this sounds plain, fish and chips. I almost wanted to take a picture of the presentation but the taste was just as superb.
My boyfriend had smoked haddock with a poached duck egg - he said it was extremely tasty.
The atmosphere and decor is cosy and interesting.
I eat out a lot and have rarely found somewhere where the food is as accommodating and as friendly as the staff. And the price is spot on too.
I'm not a gin fan but apparently the are doing great things with gin in there.
I will be back!

1. G_Man24 Mar 2012, 1:00am1 star The Finnieston Report

Nice place. Nice food. The bar staff are extremely aloof and rude - and undeservedly so. A very poor imitation compared to sister pub lebowskis

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Average rating 3.5/5 from 4 reviews of The Finnieston.

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