Saramago Café Bar
- Telephone 0141 352 4920
- Seasonal times Closes 24th December until January 3rd, opening for Hogmanay
- Bar open Mon–Thu 10am–midnight; Fri/Sat 10am–1am; Sun noon–midnight.
- Food served Mon–Wed 10am–10pm; Thu–Sat 10am–11.30pm; Sun noon–10pm
- Pre-theatre times Sun–Thu 5–7pm
- Average price £7.75 (set lunch); £14 (evening meal)
- Pre-theatre price £11.50
- Website www.cca-glasgow.com/cafe
Once the domain of mass caterers Cordia, the impressive atrium space of the CCA's café bar now has new owners, a new name (as in novelist José) and a wholly different attitude, that immediately feels more in tune with the independent creativity inhabiting the dizzying floors overhead. The imaginative animal-free menu celebrates the fresh flavours of global dishes – only vegan by default if you really must have a label is Saramago's outlook. Tapas dishes feature baba ghanoush, spring rolls, dolmades, and tempura, where succulent chunks of vegetables are a little overwhelmed by an overweight batter. Yet the Thai noodle salad is a real pleasure – a deft balance of soft noodles and crunchy vegetables with the vibrant flavours of chilli, lime, rocket and ginger. There are also sandwiches, tarts, haggis fritters, pastas, a daily risotto and pizzas whose dough is made daily in-house – as is the bread. An eclectic, arty crowd coupled with a frequent lively buzz and interestingly offbeat music makes it an attractive option for a drink, either in the main atrium or the smaller bar upstairs.
This review is taken from the current (2016) edition.
If there’s such a thing as underground veganism, Saramago surely takes the Glasgow crown. Housed in the creative hub of the CCA, the menu is full of meatless, dairy-free delights that raise the ambition of vegetarian cuisine without needing to laud the concept. A beetroot bourguignon is a perfect example of this, with a rich red sauce full of earthy tones and all the dramatic presentation such ingredients allow, while other dishes on offer include haggis fritters and Thai noodles. On tap are numerous craft beers including a specially brewed custom lager from Third Eye. With a constant influx of art-lovers, students and professionals, there’s a compelling buzz about the venue which draws diners in for a relaxed working day or even a romantic date. The separate bar upstairs offers a rare beer garden in the city centre, beneath the imposing GSA.
- High point: Variety and quality of menu
- Low point: The open space can get chilly
- Notable dish: Beetroot bourguignon
- Private dining: Up to 50 covers
- Provides: Vegetarian options (at least ¼ main courses), Children's portions, Children's high chairs, Wheelchair access, Pre-theatre menu, Outdoor tables, Free wi-fi
- Music on stereo: Eclectic mix
- Live entertainment: Gigs in parts of CCA (club nights when restaurant shut) and DJs at the weekend.
- Capacity: 60 (30 outdoors)
- Largest group: 50
- Open since: 2011
- Number of wines sold by the glass: 18
- House wine: £16.95 per bottle