For more food and drink visit Food&Drink Recent Openings

The best of the new restaurant, café and bar openings in Glasgow and Edinburgh

Glasgow SOFIA’S 337 Byres Road, West End, 0141 337 2737, £16 (lunch/dinner) A restyling and rebranding of the popular Café Antipasti by owner Lawrence McManus, who also owns La Vallée Blanche opposite and Nick’s Italian Grill in Hyndland. The old decor has been subdued with a lick of dark paint outside, and a more rustic ambience inside with bare floors, brick walls and plenty of wood. Large windows afford an excellent vantage for people watching always an entertaining pastime along Byres Road. The crowd-pleasing Italian fare of Antipasti is largely unchanged, albeit given a more Tuscan theme, with a range of pizzas and pastas on offer plus a grill section featuring sausages, steaks and burgers. AN LOCHAN 340 Crow Road, Broomhill, 0141 338 6606,, £9.95 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

The restaurant is not a new feature of the FOOD & DRINK EVENTS

West End, but new to the premises are the team from Blas (pron. ‘blass’, from the Gaelic for flavour), formerly at Kelvingrove. In essence the relaunched restaurant is a merger of the two operations, with the Blas team bringing aspects of their Scottish menu to this fish restaurant to serve a contemporary and appealing range of dishes. The menu has heaps of wintry and Scottish comforters: Stornoway black pudding and roast potatoes; Cullen skink; slow roast shoulder of lamb; savoy cabbage with Dunsyre Blue risotto; or a Thai-style hake and baby langoustine curry.

OPERETTA Highlander House, 58 Waterloo Street, 0141 204 3444,, £7.25 (set lunch) / £14 (dinner) The Franchetti family’s latest venture in the financial district is a step into the restaurant scene after years running the nearby Opera café. Serving hordes of office workers is a big focus, hence the fridges and catering apparatus dominating the front and side. High tables and booths look out on to busy streets, giving Operetta the feel of a Manhattan diner, while there’s a cosier restaurant area at the rear. The Italian fare is a familiar mix of antipasti, pasta, pizzas and mains, with regularly changing specials and more sophisticated dishes such as sea bass, wood pigeon and duck. Edinburgh BEIRUT 24 Nicolson Square, Southside, 0131 667 9919, £6.50 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

for those who want to grab-and-go or hit-and-sit. Order a mix-and-match selection of starters, noodles, meats, vegetables, sauces and spices, served in cardboard cartons then delivered before you even get settled. With booming music and a solid stream of hungry students and young Asians passing through, eating here isn’t a leisurely affair, but it is filling and affordable. CHANG THAI 1 Craig’s Close, 29 Cockburn Street, Old Town, 0131 225 7007,, £7.95 (set lunch) / £17 (dinner) Having taken over the premises of Ruan Thai in September 2010, this new addition to Edinburgh’s swelling Thai dining landscape had little need to change the décor. New ornaments and lilies on the tables suggest the freshness of a new establishment, however, and when it comes to quality and range of food, the place has hit the ground running. Half a dozen Thai curry options extend beyond the green and red types typical of many fellow establishments, with chef’s specials furthering the impression that this is the Thai equivalent of hearty home cooking.

Independent write-ups on all the restaurants worth knowing about in Glasgow and Edinburgh are available on our online Eating & Drinking Guide at Prices shown are for an average two-course meal for one.

Edinburgh’s only Lebanese restaurant, Beirut comprises a comfortable and modern if slightly blinging new restaurant, along with a takeaway shop called Beirut Express next door and a seated courtyard area for shisha pipes. The food offers its own twist on Middle Eastern styles, with a starter of pine nut-filled Lebanese mekanek sausage standing out, halal grilled meats a speciality among the mains and some reasonable choices for vegetarians. A mixed grill of smoky, marinated lamb and chicken served with a thin tahini and fiery chilli sauce perhaps best represents the array of shish and shawarma dishes on offer. RED BOX NOODLE BAR 51-53 West Nicolson Street, 0131 662 0828,, £7.50 (set lunch/dinner) Situated in what was once Edinburgh institution Susie’s Diner, Red Box offers build-your-own noodle dishes

GLASGOW Partick Retail Outdoor Market FREE Fri 3 Dec & 10 Dec, 10am–3pm. Mansfield Park, Hyndland Street, Queen's Park Farmers' Market FREE Sat 4 Dec, 10am–2pm. Queen's Park, Langside Road, www.citymarkets

Glasgow Restaurateurs Association Awards Sun 5 Dec, 7–10pm. £20. Citizens Theatre, 119 Gorbals Street, 429 0022. Black tie awards ceremony honouring the best of Glasgow's eateries, hosted by Michelle McManus. Includes champagne reception and entry to the after party at Arta.

Mansfield Park Farmers' Market FREE Sat 11 Dec, 10am–2pm. Mansfield Park, Hyndland Street, www.citymarkets EDINBURGH Foodies Christmas Festival Fri 3 Dec–Sun 5 Dec, 10am–6pm. £10 (£6). Assembly Rooms, 54 George Street, 220 4348. A three-day festive food special including gourmet food and drink masterclasses, kids' cookery sessions, chocolate and wine-tasting activities plus Michelin-starred chefs and over 100 stalls.

Portobello Organic Market FREE Sat 4 Dec, 10am–2pm. Brighton Park, Brighton Place, 258 4483.

Edinburgh Farmers' Market FREE Sat 4 Dec & 11 Dec, 9am–2pm. Castle Terrace, 652 5940. The Platinum Whisky Treat Fri 10 Dec–Sun 12 Dec, 5.30–7pm. £25. Scotch Whisky Experience, 354

Glengoyne Distillery

Castlehill The Royal Mile, 220 0441. An enhanced version of the usual tour around the Scotch Whisky Experience, with tastings of exclusive malts and some festive foods. Chateau Musar Wine Dinner Fri 10 Dec, 7.30pm. £50.

Santini Ristorante, 8 Conference Square, 221 7788. A special four-course dinner chosen to complement the wines from Lebanese wine producer Chateau Musar. OUTSIDE THE CITIES Glengoyne Christmas Food & Whisky Festival Sat 4 Dec, 10.30am–4.30pm. £2.50 (under 18s free). Glengoyne Distillery, Dumgoyne, Stirling, 01360 550254. CANCELLED. A family day out at the distillery with entertainment, kids' activities, local produce stalls and tours and tasting sessions alongside barrel races and wandering minstrels. The price includes a generous dram of Glengoyne for the grown-ups. Cancelled at late notice.

2–16 Dec 2010 THE LIST 25