“From my very first time, it was Glasgow, my favorite city in Scotland, one of my favorite cities on Earth,” says Anthony Bourdain while the shot follows him walking through the historic streets of the oft-overlooked and underestimated Scottish city of Glasgow.
Long known as the darker, grittier, and more violent sibling of Scottish cities, Glasgow isn’t on most traveler’s radars for a first-time trip – but within the city, there are some incredible meals to have and places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Glasgow. From traditional Scottish fare to fried foods, Glasgow has something for everyone, which is perhaps why Tony felt so comfortable there.
Anthony Bourdain visited Glasgow twice, first while filming season 1 of A Cook’s Tour in 2001, and again over a decade later filming season 5 of Parts Unknown in 2012. There were the only times he visited Glasgow on-screen, though his love for the city suggests he might have visited other times just for fun.
If you’re planning a trip to Scotland and considering heading off the standard tourist track that takes you to Edinburgh and maybe the Highlands, Glasgow is a must-do. Here are the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Glasgow, and what he enjoyed at each one.
Want to watch the episodes where Anthony Bourdain visits Glasgow?
The A Cook’s Tour episode, called “Highland Grub,” is available on Amazon, and the Scotland episode of Parts Unknown is available on Apple TV.
Where Anthony Bourdain Ate in Glasgow
Before jumping into the list of places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Glasgow, it’s always helpful to start with a map. As you can see, Glasgow is a pretty big city, geographically speaking, and you will need a car – or to use public transit – to get to all of the spots he visited.
Nevertheless, you could string a visit to each of these places into one long self-guided food tour if you were so inclined; they offer a nice mix of options that could easily fill a whole day with delicious experiences.
Jinty McGuinty’s Pub
What better way to kick off a visit to Glasgow than with a pint of the best stuff? Bourdain makes his first on-screen stop in Jinty McGuinty’s Pub, for a pint of Guinness, before setting out to explore the rest of the city.
This pub is still alive and kickin’ today, over 30 years after it opened, and plays host to live music most nights of the week.
On his second visit to Glasgow, Tony has one of his best meals at a surprisingly non-Scottish spot: Mother India. As he rightly points out, there’s a strong presence of Indian culture and food throughout the U.K., and this sparks a conversation with his dining companion, a Glaswegians detective who’s seen the city through many chapters. Over lamb curry with spicy tomato sauce and naan, the two talk about the city’s dark past, Bourdain’s love for it, and their hopes for the future of Glasgow.
Old College Bar (CLOSED)
Never one to pass up a good pint, Tony’s second trip also includes a drinking stop like his first one. This time, he visits Old College Bar, which I’m sad to report first had a fire and then closed and was demolished in 2021. This is especially sad as the bartender said the pub dated back to the 16th century, a fact that impressed even Bourdain (though it turns out this “fact” was made up. Boo!).
While you can’t drink at Old College Bar anymore, you can seek out a pint and a dram of Scotch at many other Glasgow bars; properly – and verified –old pubs include The Saracen Head (est. 1755ish) and The Scotia Bar (built in 1792).
If you’re looking for another great dinner option that was visited by Anthony Bourdain in Glasgow, Rogano should be on your list. Tony is joined by Glaswegian comedian Janey Godley for a nice meal talking about the city’s unique sense of humor and history.
Their conversation occurs over several courses, including oysters on the half shell, goat cheese croquettes with fig, pan-fried brill, and lobster thermidor with Scottish cheese.
Note that as of writing, I can’t tell whether Rogano has re-opened post-pandemic, based on their website. If you can verify this for me, please let me know in the comments!
In his many travels, there are only a few places Anthony Bourdain visited more than once – and one of those places is in Glasgow. University Cafe isn’t fancy or even particularly good food, but it’s delicious and distinctly Glaswegian.
In particular, University Cafe is one of the best places for deep-fried food, which Tony says they do better here than anywhere else in the U.K. And ooooh, does he eat that deep-fried food.
On his first visit, Bourdain tries haddock and chips, deep-fried pizza, deep-fried Mars bar, and deep-fried pickled eggs. Upon his return, he mixes it up, trying deep-fried haggis and curry sauce, cheese and curry chips, and another round of haddock and chips. While it might upset your cholesterol score, it’s worth it according to our favorite food and travel expert!
Glasgow Food Tours to Try
If you’re looking for some other ways to sample the Glasgow food scene, there are a few good food tours you might want to try. These aren’t Bourdain’s normal travel style, but I think he would admit that anything that gets you out to explore one of his favorite cities and try new foods is a good thing.
Have any other questions about these places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Glasgow? Let me know in the comments!