Crabshakk, 1114 Argyle Street, Glasgow
Dining Room, 104 Bath Street, Glasgow

Twenty-four hours in Glasgow. My mission: to find the best venues in town for lunch, dinner and – God willing – breakfast. My guide: Muriel Gray, who has been forcing her opinions down my throat for the best part of 25 years, just occasionally pausing in her ranting long enough to force a small amount of food down her own.

Our Glasgow gastro-tour began at lunchtime, in seafood specialist Crabshakk, which has become the hottest restaurant in town, despite its location on an unlovely stretch of arterial road a couple of miles west of the city centre. Walking in, we hit a wall of people waiting to be seated; either at the counter or at one of the tiny tables, some no bigger than tea trays, which have been crammed into the tiny space.

You've heard of a galley kitchen? This is a galley restaurant. So much has been packed so elegantly into the cramped shopfront space, it could have been designed by a yacht builder. Or an architect. Co-owner John MacLeod (no relation) designed some of Glasgow's most stylish restaurants, before opening his own place a year ago. Crabshakk is a clever, multi-tasking hybrid of traditional and modern, its sharp chrome and glass edges softened by wood-plank wainscoting, exposed brickwork and malformed tables of reclaimed timber.

"I don't think this place is going to work," joked Muriel as we shouldered our way through the mob, up the industrial steel staircase to a minuscule mezzanine area holding a handful of tables. The terse menu showcases Scottish fish and shellfish, simply prepared and unfussily presented, from whitebait, smoked mackerel and fish and chips through to whole grilled Scottish lobster at £38, and fruits de mer platter, to share, at £48. It's an all-day operation, so you could refuel on shellfish chowder or mussels and chips, or go for the full three courses, as we did.

Crab cakes, generously stuffed with white crabmeat spiked with chilli and parsley, benefited from the simple treatment, as did seared scallops, served sizzling on the skillet with a herb-scented butter. The scallops, our waiter informed us, were cultivated rather than dredged, cutting short a rant-ette from Muriel about the horrific environmental damage caused by scallop-dredging.

From the daily specials, meltingly fresh plaice, breaded and fried, came with a truffle and tarragon mayonnaise, in which the truffle oil was rather too dominant. Muriel's "wee supper" – that's a small helping of fish and chips – offered a generous piece of beer-battered cod for £5.95, though the jumbo chips, like fried segments of baked potato, didn't seem to belong on the same plate. And I could have done without the bagged salad gussied up with raw red onion; who wants to wake up still tasting yesterday's lunch?

We ended with a bracing affogato – vanilla ice cream drenched in espresso – and a fruit salad that played fast and loose with any claims to be seasonal. As did the fresh flowers on the table, identified by Muriel as peonies, and therefore not due to bloom until April. She went on, in a display of polymathy worthy of QI, to recognise the motif on the plaster cornicing as acanthus leaf with egg and dart, before returning to her rant about how the US was conspiring to block aid to Haiti.

A pleasingly mixed clientele spanning business folk and arty oldies, crisp but friendly service, and decent prices, make Crabshakk a winning operation. For a more formal dinner, we met up again later at Muriel's favourite city-centre restaurant, Dining Room. A gorgeously luxe basement room, with more than a touch of Deco swagger, it exudes the kind of grown-up glamour that would give Gordon Ramsay's joints a run for their money. This is a restaurant designed to be filled with beautiful people. Unfortunately, on the night we visited, it was empty apart from us, and our lovely, heavily pregnant waitress.

Chef/proprietor Jim Kerr (not that one) is a key figure in Glasgow's food scene, with a CV that includes many of the city's landmark restaurants, from Rogano and Nairns, to the original Dining Room, Kerr's first solo venture, a tiny place which was the Crabshakk of its day.

Unlike the predecessor which lends his latest project its name, this reincarnation of Dining Room doesn't appear to have found its market, at least on week nights. Kerr wasn't cooking on the night we visited, and the food didn't quite fulfil the promise of a menu which reads beautifully. Impeccable sashimi and a truffled Jerusalem artichoke soup shone, as did a main of roast rump of lamb, served garlicky and pink, with roasted root veg. But a tart bringing together cold pickled onions and raw figs didn't work at all; nor did the dessicated confit duck in a starter salad.

Desserts, including a peanut butter tart whose nutty pastry held a velvety filling of dark chocolate, showed the heights the kitchen is capable of reaching. And though prices are relatively high, this is clearly a special occasion restaurant, offering some competitively priced fixed menus.

Emptiness, and occasional glitches on the food front notwithstanding, I found plenty to like about Dining Room. And I'm not just saying that because Muriel told me – repeatedly – that I had to.

Crabshakk, 1114 Argyle Street, Glasgow (0141 334 6127)

Food 3 stars
Ambience 4 stars
Service 4 stars

£25 a head for three courses before wine and service

Dining Room, 104 Bath Street, Glasgow (0141 332 6678)

Food 2 stars
Ambience 3 stars
Service 4 stars

£35 a head for three courses before wine and service. Set lunch menu £13.50 for two courses

Life & Style
Sampling wine in Turin
food + drink...and abstaining may be worse than drinking too much, says scientist
Arts & Entertainment
Game of Thrones writer George R.R. Martin has been working on the novels since the mid-Nineties
books
Sport
Jose Mourinho, Chelsea players celebrate Demba Ba's goal and Gus Poyet
sportLive coverage of today's final game between Chelsea and Sunderland
News
Brand said he
people
VIDEO
Sport
Roger Federer celebrates his victory over Novak Djokovic in the Monte Carlo Masters
sport
Arts & Entertainment
Kingdom Tower
architecture
Voices
Actor Zac Efron
voicesTopless men? It's as bad as Page 3, says Howard Jacobson
Arts & Entertainment
The monster rears its head as it roars into the sky
film
Voices
For the Love of God (2007) The diamond-encrusted skull that divided the art world failed to sell for
its $100m asking price. It was eventually bought by a consortium
which included the artist himself.
voicesYou can shove it, Mr Webb – I'll be having fun until the day I die, says Janet Street-Porter
Sport
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain drives in the rain during the qualifying session of the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix in Shanghai
sport
Extras
indybestFake it with 10 best self-tanners
Arts & Entertainment
Madonna in her music video for 'Like A Virgin'
music... and other misheard song lyrics
News
Much of the colleges’ land is off-limits to locals in Cambridge, with tight security
educationAnd has the Cambridge I knew turned its back on me?
Sport
Steven Gerrard had to be talked into adopting a deeper role by his manager, Brendan Rodgers
sportThe city’s fight for justice after Hillsborough is embodied in Steven Gerrard, who's poised to lead his club to a remarkable triumph
News
peopleOrlando Bloom the pin-up hero is making a fresh start
News
Who makes you happy?
happy listSend your nominations now for the Independent on Sunday Happy List
Life & Style
The North Korean TV advert for Taedonggang beer, that became a YouTube hit
food + drinkAnd what did it take to set up a taste test back in Wiltshire?
Arts & Entertainment
filmLife for Leslie Mann's can be challenging sometimes
Voices
For music lovers: John Cusack with his vinyl collection in 'High Fidelity'
voices...but don't forget rest of the year
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    NGO and Community Development in Cambodia

    Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: There are many small development projects in ...

    Sports coaching volunteer jobs

    Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: Kaya Responsible Travel offer a variety of sp...

    Turtle Nesting and Coral Reef Conservation in Borneo

    Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: Volunteer with Kaya in Borneo and work on a p...

    Elephant research project in Namibia

    Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: If you have a passion for elephants and want ...

    Day In a Page

    How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

    How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

    Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
    Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

    British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

    The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
    Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

    Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

    Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
    A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

    A History of the First World War in 100 moments

    A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
    Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

    Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

    The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
    Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

    Cannes Film Festival

    Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
    The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

    The concept album makes surprise top ten return

    Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
    Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

    Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

    Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
    10 best baking books

    10 best baking books

    Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
    Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

    Jury still out on Pellegrini

    Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
    Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

    Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

    The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
    Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

    Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

    The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
    Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

    Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

    As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
    Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

    Mad Men returns for a final fling

    The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
    Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

    Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

    Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit