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Eating out in Glasgow

Five Top Cheap Eats in Glasgow

It may be Scotland's second city, but Glasgow has enough historic architecture, esteemed art galleries and excellent shopping to rival Edinburgh.

Edgier and less polished than Scotland's capital, Glasgow has left its seedy reputation behind to become a chic cosmopolitan city, with a thriving student population keeping things hip.

A Budget-Friendly City

Glasgow may now be home to swanky bars and upscale boutiques, but the studenty vibe means you'll avoid London prices. From your cab fare to the bar tab, your money goes further in a Scottish city, making Glasgow the perfect choice for a budget traveler or backpacker.

For low-cost accommodation, there are several hostels in Glasgow in the bustling West-End, close to the historic university buildings, the home of Art Deco visionary Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Glasgow's vibrant shopping district.

Another reason Glasgow is a purse-friendly option; it's easy to eat well in the city without compromising on quality. There's more to Scottish cuisine than haggis (although there's also plenty available for the adventurous eater), with an extensive range of well-priced restaurants serving up local and global cuisine.

So whether you're looking for a quick bite at lunch, or a sit-down dinner that won't break the bank, here are five top Glasgow eateries.

Stravaigin, 28-30 Gibson Street

Tucked away down the back of a winding alleyway, Stravaigin is a city staple that feels like a hidden gem, with the low ceilings and burgundy walls adding to the ambiance. 'Stravaigin' means 'to wander', and the motto is 'think global, eat local', with a seasonal menu fusing British produce with Asian and Mediterranean flavors.

Great for conscientious diners, turn to the back of your menu and you can read where each ingredient comes from. If this all sounds too adventurous, then scan the dedicated burger menu scrawled on the wall for burgers that think outside the bun, or tuck into the award-winning haggis with 'neeps' and 'tatties', voted 'the best in Scotland'.

The Ubiquitous Chip, 12 Ashton Lane

For seasonal Scottish fare, make your way to the bizarrely named Ubiquitous Chip. You'll find far more than french-fries at this inventive restaurant, with its unique al-fresco atmosphere, complete with cobbled court-yard, fish pond and plant life tumbling overhead.

Don't let your surroundings (designed to mimic a Victorian Glass-House) distract from the main show - the excellent food, which ranges from the classics; Aberdeen Angus Steak with 'stovies' (potatoes), the more-appetizing-than-it-sounds Cullen Skink, to Perthshire Pigeon roasted in Bacon. The Brasserie upstairs is a great budget option if you can't quite fork out for the 'Chip.

The Willow Tea Rooms, 217 Sauchiehall Street

It draws hoards of tourists, but no art-lover can leave the city without a visit to these famous tea rooms. Art-deco maestro Mackintosh designed the tea-rooms, and his distinctive style bears influence over everything, right down to the tea-spoons. Not much has changed since the tea-rooms opened in 1904, so relive the splendor of a bygone era and tuck in to Afternoon Tea in a spectacular setting.

At around £12 for a pot of tea, light sandwiches, fluffy scones, buttered shortbread and a mountainous cake from the cake trolley, The Willow is far cheaper than the Ritz, and you'd be hard pressed to find a quainter setting. The main rooms are intimate and often get crowded, so if you can't squeeze in there's another outlet (and copy of the original building) located on Buchanan Street.

Grass Roots Café, 93-97 St Georges Road

If you happen to be a vegetarian visiting Scotland, the meaty fare and dishes of tripe and haggis can make eating out a chore. Luckily, the Grass Roots Café has a small but perfectly-formed menu of vegetarian delights that will tempt even the heartiest carnivore away from their steak.

Forget virtuous vegetarian cafés that stick to tofu, the food here is a far cry from soggy salad leaves. Tuck in to deep-fried vegetable Tempura with a yoghurt dip, Goats cheese Crostini with walnuts, honey and slabs of cheese, or an oozing chocolate cake. The potted-plants, candles and purple curtains draped around booths are more hippy than shabby-chic, with regular theme nights thrown into the mix.

The Wee Curry Shop, 7 Buccleuch Street

Glasgow has been named the 'Curry Capital of Britain' in the past, and there are plenty of curry and kebab shops dotted over the city. But for the freshest ingredients, excellent service and a friendly atmosphere, locals swear by the ever-reliable 'Mother India' franchise.

The Wee Curry Shops may be the smaller 'bairns' of the award-winning chain, with only 40 tables in some outposts, but the dishes are big on flavor and go beyond your typical Tikka Masala. Signature dishes include the Massala fish - haddock marinated in yoghurt, tandoori spices and mustard seeds, and the mushroom and prawn Poori, wrapped in a pancake with a sweet chilli sauce.

Lauren Smith