Squeeze into bi-level Crabshakk, architect John Macleod’s 55-seat space outfitted with reclaimed wood, burnished steel, and glass tiles. Order from a menu of seafood culled daily from Scotland’s waters: seared scallops ($12–$22), fried whitebait ($11), and a whole brown crab ($22) that tends to sell out. If the place is packed, wait across the street at the Ben Nevis, where over 180 bottles of whisky are served and fiddlers entertain punters.
Book at least two weeks in advance to sample modern Scottish cuisine at Michelin-recommended Cail Bruich (Gaelic for “eat well”). Run by Paul Charalambous and his brother Chris, recently of Copenhagen’s famed Noma, the restaurant’s ingredient-driven menu showcases seasonal dishes made with foraged produce, such as braised beef tongue and cheek ($22.50) served with wild garlic from Glasgow Botanic Gardens (located across the road) and beach herbs from the coast.
Find a table in the upstairs café-bar at Stravaigin to see why it received an industry-group award for U.K.’s best-designed pub in 2011: The floors come from an old cotton mill, the bar incorporates Victorian tenement doors, and the ceiling was sourced from a burnt-out ice-cream parlor. The menu reflects a variety of global influences, but if you’re open to eating the national dish of haggis ($15), try it here—made with a base of mutton and lamb offal, it’s meatier than what you’ll find at the average pub and spiced with Jamaican pimentos for extra flavor.