Sometimes your favourite restaurant isn’t the place you visit most often, it is somewhere that can make any meal special.
I first started visiting Cafe Gandolfi in my student days, occasionally popping in for a simple roll and bacon for breakfast before lectures or feeling like the height of sophistication when taking someone there for lunch.
The room appealed to me with its big windows and sturdy, unusual wood furniture. Lunches were relaxed, dinners were buzzy, the owner would greet regulars theatrically and the menu offered a great introduction to classic Scottish dishes.
When I moved away from Glasgow I tried to return to Gandolfi at least once a year. The Merchant City area where it resides seems to constantly be in a state of flux so it is reassuring to return to a familiar fixed point.
Although, there have been some changes. Gandolfi has expanded to encompass a classic bar space upstairs, with a separate fish restaurant and take away.
In the original cafe you can order Caledonian staples like Cullen skink, haggis, venison and Stornoway black pudding. They are also particularly adept at serving up delicious pasta dishes.
On our last visit for lunch there were some innovative vegetarian options, beyond the token gestures you see on most menus.
Glasgow is enjoying something of a culinary renaissance led by a cadre of young chefs and a taste for quirky, casual dining. While I enjoy the new arrivals, Gandolfi remains one of the city’s greats.
Dinner at Cafe Gandolfi
Starter: Trio of mackerel, aubergine and chicken liver pâté, served with oatcakes (£7.20)
Main: Smoked haddie, served with pea and spring onion crushed potatoes and a poached egg (£14.50)
Dessert: Caramel shortcake (£3)
64 Albion St, Glasgow G1 1NY
T:0141 552 6813