The Chip in Ashton lane gets an undeservedly good name. The food is mediocre at best and it is the most over priced place in the town bar none. The service is casual to the point of nonchalance and the wine increasingly poor value for money. It very much trades on past glories. Looked at the menu last week and they'd put the set meal price up to £37.50, but still wanted an extra £7.00 for scallops! Scallops! I ask you.
Best value in Ashton Lane is Brel. Good prices, nice place, decent food. Get there before 6.30pm and the moules pommes frites are half price.
Up the lane in Cressellwell there is the excellent Cafe Andaluz. Ask to sit at the bar as it's the best way to eat Tapas.
The Ashoka in Ashton lane is v. good, too.
Across Byres road to Ruthven lane and Stravaig-into. Good enough but like it's big sister in Gibson Street (on the site of the Spaggetti factory, ah the 1980s...like another Glasgow) it's over-rated. The Di Maggios here has the best atmosphere of the Chain but the same overcooked pasta.
Byers Road has many eateries, No16 is good, ain't been to the Dining Room yet. The Puppet Theatre was nice but as it's now shut it needn't concern us here.
Two Fat ladies is okay, but doesn't compare favourably with The City Merchant in Candlerigs for either the quality of it's service or the breadth of it's menu. In fact, in it's price band it's hard to find anything in Glasgow that compares well with the City Merchant. The Beer Cafe across the road does a bowl of Goulash for about £4 for the cash starved (or just starved). They used to have a great wee menu at Bargo but I beleive they've slipped. If like me you remember having to queue to get in in the 1980s then you might still consider Gandolfis. Even now if I have visitors up from london I usually huckle them in there to sit at the communal tables and wonder how it's still in business. They tell me there is now a Bar upstairs but I haven't been yet.
Gamba is excellent, The Chardon D'Or too, but both are pricey. If you really want to eat at this level then Rogano is still the mark to beat. The service is impeccable and if the prices are steep they are no steeper than the Chip and the cooking is in a different class as is the setting. You can eat at the bar very reasonably and if you do they will give you preferment for one of the booths. You will have to wait for it but what the hell...who wants to rush a good feed?
I recentlly ate in Etain (the fancy bit of Zinc in Princess Square) but wouldn't rush back...it's as stuffy as an old man's club and not half as classy as it thinks it is...like an old woman from Burnside.
For cocktails I would favour Rogano over Zinc, tho both are nice. If you can get a seat at the bar in Rogano (and can afford the prices, there's no happy hour) then you've got it made. Zinc has table service and a decent range of drinks but can be a bit slow and the place is souless even when relatively busy. Grouchos has a Happy Hour and is still a great place to hang about before grabbing dinner somewhere and they make an excellent Whisky Sour. The Mojitos at Zinc aren't bad but...Rogano wins again with the Towns driest dry martinis. Strapped? There's always Arta, I think they still do half price cocktails all night on a Saturday. Get smashed!
As an after thought (and in case anyone thinks I'm being too harsh)
the Chip was my favourite restaurant and a regular eatery for my Family and I for years. Every birthday, every special occasion. It is only recentlly that I've turned my back on her. And for what it's worth,
upstairs at the Chip is still the best bar in Glasgow, bar none!
Alter Aterius Auxilio Veget