Edinburgh & Glasgow's best new food & drink venues

Your favourite new cafes, bars and shops in Edinburgh and Glasgow are a motley crew – we take a closer look at your top five

Feature by Peter Simpson | 05 Jan 2016

We all have our favourite places to eat and drink – in fact, that’s sort of the whole premise of this survey – and the temptation is to head for those safe harbours whenever we’re out and about. But eventually we all need to find some new 'old favourites', and seek out places where not everybody knows our name, but they'll probably make the effort to learn it if we're nice.

When you're trying to make new friends a tasty beer tends to help matters along, and Edinburgh’s Growler Beers had you covered in that department. Growler's model is a simple one – rent a reusable bottle, fill it with draught beer or cider from some of the best craft breweries in Scotland and beyond, take it home, and repeat. A great range of beers, a useful end product and the opportunity to have a nice pint without having to jostle for a chair; that's how you win people over. 

You also took a shine to Finnieston new boys Porter & Rye, who threw their doors open in the final week of 2014 and then spent the year wowing all and sundry with amazing steaks and equally fine drinks. P&R’s commitment to their cause is impressive; it’s one thing to age all your steaks in-house for at least seven weeks, it’s quite another to serve up a pig’s head on your 'small plates' menu. Porter & Rye do meat properly, they seem to say, so that’s what you should eat – make sure you leave room for one of their Instagram-bait desserts though.

In an impressive display of balance, you also picked out The Hug and Pint on Great Western Road as one of your favourite newbies of 2015. While its importance to Glasgow’s live music ecology isn’t to be overlooked, its role as a veggie-friendly spot in the midst of red meat armageddon is what we’re interested in. An ever-changing set of vegan dishes are on the menu, with pan-Asian influences to the fore and a host of exotic ingredients and treatments thrown in for good measure. Throw in a great selection of beers, and those gigs we mentioned earlier, and you’re on to a winner. Evidently.

You also took a shine to two new cafes – Twelve Triangles in Edinburgh and Glasgow's Bakery 47. Twelve Triangles is the second outpost in the burgeoning Lovecrumbs empire, with a focus on fresh breads, croissants, and doughnuts. Oh, those doughnuts – they're like sugary hand grenades filled with delicious homemade jams and custards. Go early, have a doughnut, run around Leith Walk for hours afterwards.

Bakery47 have been baking on Glasgow's southside for a few years now, with their bakes and breads turning up in various venues across the city, and threw open the doors of their Victoria Road bakery in February. They've built up an impressive local rep, and an equally impressive list of collaborators.

Their first year's seen coffee pop-ups from some of Glasgow's finest, poetry nights, a team-up with CCA on their Cooking Pot project, collaborative sourdough chocolate bars (note to self: find sourdough chocolate bar) and lots more besides. Like everyone on this list, they're doing new, exciting things with food and drink, so we better all make some room on that 'favourites' list.