Sushi

Top 5 places to eat sushi in Glasgow

Sushi by Francesco Gavello

Glasgow is well known for its deep fried cuisine – everything from mars bars, cream eggs and pizza to ice-cream – its haggis, neeps and tatties, and its chips with cheese. Yet, this is a city where a visitor can find food from anywhere in the world, cooked authentically. In a series that will explore Indian, Italian, and Spanish restaurants in Glasgow, I will start with a review of the best sushi places. Here’s our top-five list, in reverse order:

5. Nanakusa is strategically placed among the popular clubs and bars of Sauchiehall Street, and represents a much more interesting and healthy alternative to late night snacking than the take-away places that surround it. Located in an old bank building, its décor is curious, slightly out of place, but works. The food is correct, nothing outstanding but not bad either.

4. On the east side of Ingram Street, visitors can find Sapporo Teppanyaki, a classy Japanese restaurant located in the Merchant City. Their fish sushi is excellent, with a wide variety offering clever pieces such as the Glasgow roll: haddock, cucumber, carrot and asparagus. Yet, I think it lacks the gourmet approach of Wudon (see below). Apart from excellent sushi, sashimi included, customers can order teppanyaki food, that is, iron grilled by an experienced chef in front of you. It is perfect for parties. They also have a grilled Sunday brunch, for a different take on a classic. Their wine, champagne and liqueur selection is impressive but, be warned, what they call cocktails is just a drink with mixer. No cosmopolitans here!

3. Ichiban is a Glasgow institution and its name (here’s a useful quiz fact) means the art of flower arranging. Ichiban has two restaurants, one in the West End’s Byres Road and one in the City Centre (Queen Street). This is a very nice place, quirky in places – it often has Japanese Manga cartoons playing on the television in the corner – offering the fare you expect together with some more adventurous dishes such as eel.

2. Oko Express is next to Ichiban on Queen Street. I find it cuter, more intimate and a little less noisy than its neighbour. Its sushi selection is great but lacks inventiveness. Yet, what they do they do very well and it is good value for money. They also offer other dishes blending Thai, Korean and Japanese foods and their Katsu curry hits the spot on a cold night. Staff are very helpful and the restaurant is very well located for any amenities, from the Cineworld cinema and City Centre theatres, to clubs.

1. Opposite the excellent cheese mongers, Melis on the Botanical Gardens area of Great Western Road, Wudon has everything one could hope for in a Japanese sushi restaurant. Great, attentive, knowledgeable service, a touch of luxury (which you may only get in Sapporo and, perhaps Bar Soba), and adventurous sushi. Try their Chicken Katsu Curry and their tempura sushi and you will not be disappointed. Their grill, wok, noodle and snack menu is splendid. The one think missing for me was, perhaps, a selection of sashimi, but I must remember I am in Glasgow, not Japan.

There is more to sushi in Glasgow, though! Here’s the best of the rest, in no particular order. Bar Soba is a classy place in Mitchell Lane (off Buchanan Street). It is elegant, making it a superb place for an intimate dinner or a celebration. It is not to be confused with the more relaxed and trendy Bar Miso, in West Regent Street, where you can go for a bite, create your own cocktail at an inexpensive price and listen to the latest DJs.

If you are a comfort person and want to get what you know works for you, Glasgow also has franchises of Yo Sushi and Wagamama, which you can find on the ground floor of the department store House of Fraser in Buchanan Street, and in West George Street, respectively.

Before you ask for the bill (the night is young and there is plenty to do in Glasgow, from comedy to burlesque or salsa) don’t forget to round off your nice meal with a bottle of warm sake. Perfect!

Laura Gonzalez

About

Laura Gonzalez is the Editor of Visit Glasgow. She is an artist and writer whose practice encompasses drawing, photography and sculpture, and her work has been exhibited in the UK, Spain and Portugal. When she is not following Freud, Lacan and Marx’s footsteps with her camera, she lectures postgraduate students at the Glasgow School of Art.

15 Responses to “Top 5 places to eat sushi in Glasgow”

  1. Dieuwert Popma says:

    ‘Ichiban’ in fact means ‘number one’. The Japanese word for flower arranging is ‘ikebana’.

    Cheers from Japan,

    Dieuwert

  2. Thank you for the clarification Dieuwert! Number one suits Glasgow’s Ichiban even more!

  3. Dee says:

    Just moved to Glasgow from Toronto, and I love sushi. I tried Yo!Sushi and found it worse than pretty much any sushi I’ve ever eaten. Supermarket sushi in Toronto is better. I’m finding it worrying that eel is considered “adventurous” here, since it’s been part of the mainstream selection of sushi in every other city I’ve lived in. Sorry for sounding snotty – I’ll have to try these places. Thanks for posting this article.

  4. Thanks for your comment, Dee. I know what you mean, as it is pretty much the feedback I get from anyone coming from America. This is why the chain restaurants are not in our top 5! A few years ago, it was not easy to find sushi in Glasgow so I guess all is relative. Do try Wudon if you can. I think you will have a very different experience.

  5. Dee says:

    Thanks, Laura.
    Please note that Toronto is in Canada, not the US. Being American, I’m not at all offended, but the Canadians HATE being mistaken for us. It’s like calling a Scot “English.”

  6. Oh, I am sorry, Dee, I meant American as the continent America, rather than any country, because I got that feedback from people from the US, Canada, and ever Argentina! Being Spanish, we use this to refer to everywhere on the other side of the Atlantic. Of course Canadians should not be mistaken for people in the US! Quite different!

  7. Alastair says:

    Wudon is absolutely terrible. It’s often empty and for good reason. I believe one review in a newspaper labelled it “Bland of the Rising Sun” which was more than apt.

  8. Amanda says:

    I have tried almost all of the places listed above in Glasgow and find the comments a pretty accurate reflection of the standard of sushi. I am surprised however, that there has been no mention of Glasgow’s only Korean restaurant “Shilla”
    (1138 Argyle Street, west end). It is by far the best place to go for sushi as well as a whole host of other amazing dishes. Well worth a try!

  9. Alexei says:

    The truth is – food in Glasgow IS terrible!
    Not only sushi. Even “chinese food” is awful. Probably because not many chinese people live in Glasgow.
    Glasgow is “kebab-city”.

  10. Food-eater says:

    “not many chinese people live in Glasgow?”
    Obviously never been to Cowcaddens/Garnethill? Glasgow has a large Chinese population, both Cantonese and Mandarin speakers and hence a large selection of Chinese restaurants (some of excellent quality) and supermarkets. SeeWoo with seating for 500 is the largest restaurant in Scotland. It is also the largest Asian supermarket in Scotland and one of the biggest in Britain, it’s been there for years because there is a big enough local Chinese population to support it.

    Go for a night out in Amsterdam, Berlin or Marseille and you’ll find that they are also “kebab cities”

    As for the sushi, I love Oko for novelty (strawberry sushi!) and price (25% off through 5pm). I had my first ever sushi in the city centre Ichiban so it must have been good as I’ve been eating it ever since but that was a long time ago! I tried the West-end Ichiban recently but was disappointed (didn’t have sushi though), I was disappointed with Bar Soba’s sushi too but some of their other dishes are amazing (Thai green curry especially). Sapporo is good for sushi but expensive from what I remember. Nanankusa is great for the selection of food they provide. Been to Shilla but only for Korean dishes but not been to Wudon yet…

    Yo Sushi is IMO a sushi restaurant for teenagers but I highly doubt that their “fresh” sushi is worse than stuff sitting in a Toronto supermarket chiller all day unless of course Dee is referring to somewhere like Wholefoods where there may even be Japanese staff to cut your sushi and you pay pretty much the same price as you would in a restaurant. I’ve not been to Canada so can’t comment on the quality of restaurant sushi there but the best sushi I ever had from a supermarket was Carrefour in Poland. The best in Britain probably Whole Foods in Giffnock, best add them to the list! Another one to add would be Mama San (Saint Judes). Eel isn’t something that is commonly eaten in Scotland but I’m pretty sure it’s on the menu of the 5 places listed above.

    Also Bar Miso shut down years ago.

  11. cuchillero says:

    Canadian West coast is paradise for sushi and all sorts of japanese food, no surprise as large ex-pats in the area. Vancouver is an excellent example. Difficult to compare then. Anyway, fish eating culture is quite different in UK as strictest freshness is not an essential must here, hence the issue with sushi and sashimi. Ichiban is Okay if you are looking for a noodle cafe with sushi available and is rather cheap. Sadly, if you are interested in the right stuff, need to go across the M8.I’m sorry to hear than the best sushi was in a Carrefour in Poland…

  12. Fiona Rutherford says:

    I am from Glasgow and studied in Canada for a year, and I have to agree with Dee… it has the best sushi I have ever had in my life (and I love the stuff).

    Glasgow doesn’t have anything like the sushi over there and I cannot understand why. I have tried all of the places listed above, however not had sushi at Wudon so I am venturing there tonight to test it out!

    Glasgow is on the right track though, I remember the days when you struggled to find anywhere that even served sushi here!

  13. Bronsoir says:

    In defence of Glasgow’s Chinese food I recommend Asian Gourmet on West Princes St. Always full of Chinese people, huge portions, good prices and a menu bursting with delicious and intriguing options – salad of shredded pigs ear is much better than it sounds! Most interesting menu of any Chinese restaurant I’ve been to in the UK.

    Wudon gets a big thumbs up from me – the Tom Yum was the best I’ve found in Glasgow so far.

  14. Claire says:

    There’s a new sushi place – Cailin’s sushi – on Argyle St in Finnieston – much better than anywhere else i’ve tried in the city (have tried all of the above!) http://food.list.co.uk/place/46621-cailins-sushi/

  15. Alex says:

    Ichiban means ‘number 1′ or ‘the best’ idiot

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