As the city gradually becomes more cosmopolitan, the restaurants in Glasgow follow suit. The home city of celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, Glasgow seems to be growing into a reputable gastronomic destination. Plenty of good options can be found when looking for places to eat in Glasgow, a city where young chefs are redefining Scottish cuisine and travellers can find a comprehensive offering of enticing international eateries.
Interestingly, Glasgow has been named the 'Curry Capital of Britain', and you'll find a number of good Indian restaurants catering for all budgets, as well as the ubiquitous fish and chips takeaways. Glasgow is home to large immigrant populations, so there are tasty restaurants that serve Greek, Korean, Lebanese, Spanish, Japanese, and Turkish cuisine in addition to the usual Chinese, Italian and Thai options. This variety is one of the main delights of eating out in Glasgow, but there are also plenty of restaurants serving traditional Scottish grub.
The West End is packed with pubs, bars and restaurants, and The Merchant City district is also a great place to find trendy restaurants.
Many Glasgow restaurants close for either Sunday or Monday. Diners are expected to tip wait staff around 10 percent, or 15 to 20 percent for very good service. Smoking is prohibited in all restaurants and bars in Scotland and hefty fines await those breaking the law.
Shopping in Glasgow is one of the best-kept secrets in Europe. The city is second only to London for the most retail space in the UK, and attracts dedicated shoppers from all over the country.
The heart of the Glasgow shopping districts is the 'Golden Z', which zigzags through the city centre along the pedestrian malls of Argyle, Buchanan and Sauchiehall streets. Here you'll find all the major European brand names, with Buchanan Street and its mall the Buchanan Galleries attracting the most upmarket shops. The Argyle Arcade has a large concentration of jewellery shops, and Princes Square is a stylish centre set in a renovated Victorian building.
If chain stores aren't your fancy, nearby Bath Street and Hope Street are home to a number of independent shops and boutiques where you can find a unique Glasgow souvenir or gift. De Courcy's Arcade has a fun variety of book and music stores, and a few quirky independent gift shops. Popular Glasgow souvenirs include wool knits like cashmere sweaters, mittens and scarves; swirling paperweights of Caithness glass; and local food like smoked salmon and shortbread cookies.
There are also city centre markets that are well worth a visit, including the Barras in the East End, which boasts hundreds of market stalls selling all manner of items. Be wary of counterfeit goods however, as the market is rife with knock-offs and pirated goods.
There are a few popular shopping malls in Glasgow, mostly on the periphery of the city. The biggest and busiest can be found in Braehead, Silverburn and Glasgow Fort.
Shops in Glasgow are generally open from 9am to 6pm Monday to Saturday, closing later (8pm) on Thursday evenings. The shops in the outer parts of the city may be open slightly later, and more and more stores are opening on Sunday afternoons.