The ultimate guide to solo eating around Glasgow
Warning: Adorable cat cafe may be too cute to handle
Wanting a new take on dining solo? Eager to broaden your cultural food horizons? Or just trying to save the pennies while enjoying your own company?
Then why not try out Glasgow’s endless array of culinary delights: quirky getaways and adventurous escapades await you as you explore the vibes and delicious aromas of the steep city centre streets.
From brunches to late-night after party dinners, here are our on top picks for solo eating spots in the city.
1. Brave Bakers, Saltmarket
Refurbished from a run-down and unloved former business, Brave Bakers takes its name from the Romanian owner who made it his mission to create a truly continental bakery experience.
Walking by the bakery is an otherworldly experience: Floating baked goods can be viewed hanging midway across the windows, as can an array of unique tasty delights.
Combining the bakery traditions of various European countries, Brave Bakers is certainly a mashup of ideas that has to be enjoyed first-hand.
So get yourself a hot drink (vegan options available) and a baked good – a favourite among customers being the rather addictive smoked sausage roll – and you have yourself the perfect post-study indulgence!
2. The Italian Caffe Entoca, Albion Street
Italian restaurants have gained a reputation in Scotland for being comfort spots for get togethers – and this location epitomises that idyllic setting.
Luxurious bar stools provide the opportunity for a close-up look at the Italian chefs in action, while the comfy booths are perfect for a more intimate outing.
As soon as you enter the restaurant, you are greeted by the jovial owner who greets everyone with a determinedly Italian warmth and humour.
Staff members are also an interesting bunch – with students and recent graduates being great temporary company when you’re eating out solo.
The chefs were happy to prepare a range of classic fan-favourite pizza and pasta dishes just for us – and the rustic yet sophisticated culinary vibe is clear to see (and smell) at this unforgettable restaurant.
3. Purple Cat Cafe, Trongate
Cat lovers rejoice – the ingenious combination of delicious bites and adorable cats can be found at Purple Cat Cafe. Opening its doors in 2017, the business proudly proclaims its status as Glasgow’s first cat cafe.
Operating primarily on a booking only basis, guests enter the chic cafe through a shimmering entrance, before being told of how the establishment is the home of over 30 rescue cats.
It’s clear from the homely atmosphere of the cafe that the main mission is to give the furry felines the loving attention they deserve.
Guests are encouraged to stroke and pet the cats – situated at every nook and cranny – while enjoying the tasty treats and beverages on offer here.
Creamy coffees and autumn-ready pumpkin spice lattes can be enjoyed alongside delicious options such as a comforting mac and cheese and delightful carrot cake. And don’t worry – the cats won’t judge your food choices.
4. Arta, Albion Street
Certainly the most impressive transformation of all the establishments on this list, Arta was originally a cheese market before a renovation turned it into a place of artistic and cultural beauty.
Entering Arta is akin to Alice’s initial wonderland encounter, whereby vibrant lighting and a variety of plants and vines surround you on the path to the indoor courtyard and Hacienda-inspired restaurant.
Regal red curtains, eye-catching statues and a variety of candelabras invite you into an authentic cultural haven.
Arta is ideal both for the solo diner who’s wanting to enjoy the Spanish tradition of communal eating, as well as the overworked student who needs to let off some steam at the establishment’s late-night club.
Must try meals at Arta are the lemon and rosemary salmon fillet, chicken and chorizo, and of course – the irresistible range of tapas options.
5. Soulsa Bar, Glassford Street
If chill, low-key hangouts are more your vibe, try out Soulsa Bar while you’re in town.
For the more introverted yet food-loving students, Soulsa is a great place to visit if you’re feeling homesick and need that familial dining experience.
Despite the comfy aura of Soulsa, there’s also a distinct charm to the premises – vintage posters and illustrations are scattered lovingly along the walls, while there’s a contemporary twist to the imperfect hardwood tables.
Pub classics like fish and chips, house chilli con carne and the timeless cheeseburger are accompanied on Soulsa’s menu by soulful greats – including a spicy chicken quesadilla, toasted burrito, and cajun chicken & avocado salad.
There’s evidently endless variety to be found at Soulsa – and it can all be enjoyed beneath a huge 70s-style disco ball.
6. iCafe Merchant City, Ingram Street
For Strathclyde Uni and GCU students, the delectable offerings at iCafe Merchant City are only a short walk away. iCafes are a multi-award winning chain of internet cafes, and Merchant City’s branch is telling as to why they are so respected as a coffee house.
iCafe endeavours to accommodate all manner of guests. Their food options are all halal, while sustainability is wholly important to iCafe through their vast range of in-house vegan blends.
The warming chai latte is essential for surviving the wintry study months, while the Nutella cappuccino is one of iCafe’s most popular sellers due to its mountain of cream, chocolate shavings and hazelnut spread.
A long day of studying can be rewarded via the cafe’s scrumptious all-day vegan breakfast, while sweet-toothed diners can enjoy the options of a vanilla, chocolate or hazelnut snack wafer after a heavy day at the campus.
7. Table Twenty-Eight, Merchant Square
The most recently established restaurant in this guide, Table Twenty-Eight opened its doors in July as a vivacious mix of Scottish dishes and enchanting cocktails.
Housed within the contemporary Merchant Square, Table Twenty-Eight is surrounded by a range of stylish restaurants and bars. Breathtaking lights stretch across the ceiling, allowing for the most scenic dining experience.
The restaurant has a seamless quality, particularly the fusion of contemporary designs within the bar. This clearly well thought out layout showcases how classy and inviting the establishment is.
Guest satisfaction is key to Table Twenty-Eight – so expect your tomahawk pork chop, miso-marinated cod and passionfruit panna cotta to have a Michelin-star quality to the presentation and taste.
8. Oaka Supercity, George Street
Directly below the main Strathclyde Uni campus, Oaka Supercity is an eatery and supermarket combo like no other in the city centre.
Emulating the interactive supermarkets of Japan, Oaka’s store has produce from numerous Asian countries.
From the Philippines and South Korea to Malaysia and Singapore; students needing some authentic Asian culinary essentials just have to pop into Oaka.
Glasgow is a distinctly cosmopolitan and diverse city, Oaka reflects this.
What’s unique about the supermarket is the other half of the store, in which Asian street food, sushi and comforting miso soup can be enjoyed alongside your shopping trip.
A particularly appealing aspect of Oaka is the popular practice of buying an authentic Japanese instant ramen pot, and then having the employees make it for you at the cafe.