My apologies for the three-week (!) gap in posts. Le Continental was enjoying a vacation at the Hukilau in Fort Lauderdale, which of course included several visits to the Mai-Kai, as well as dining at old favorites Joe’s Stone Crab and Puerto Sagua in Miami Beach (posts on those coming soon). But today I would like to profile a beautiful restaurant I visited in Glasgow in 2012 in anticipation of my upcoming return to Glasgow this fall.
Rogano opened way back in 1874 as the Bodega Spanish wine cellar, but it was renamed Rogano later, after the manager James Henry Roger took over ownership with an anonymous silent partner. The name came from ROG in Roger plus ANO from “another” = Rogano. It was a men-only bar until Don Grant took over in 1935 and remodeled it into the restaurant it remains today. He was inspired to model the interior after the lavish Art Deco interiors (designed by the Bromsgrove Guild) of the RMS Queen Mary, which was built in Clydebank, Scotland, in 1930-34 for the Cunard Line as its flagship transatlantic ocean liner (now dry-docked in Long Beach, CA, as a hotel that is highly recommended by Le Continental). When Don Grant passed away in 1957 his daughter Valerie and her brother Donald took over the restaurant until the 1980s, when it was sold to Ken McCulloch, who restored it. Since then it has gone through a few corporate owners, so it is a small miracle that it has survived practically intact for almost 80 years. Over the years the restaurant has hosted many celebrities, including Frank Sinatra and Elizabeth Taylor.
The restaurant consists of three areas: the oyster bar, the main restaurant, and the downstairs café.
The Oyster Bar is a casual walk-in bar with some tables and counters that serves a fairly low-cost menu (under £10) of oysters, seafood plates, and sandwiches, from 11:00 am until 12:00 midnight daily. This is where I slurped down some superb oysters and chased them with Champagne on my visit in 2012. It is a beautiful space in mostly original restored woods with bas-relief murals, decorative vents, and etched mirrors on the walls.
The main restaurant has more of the same gorgeous Art Deco decor as in the Oyster Bar, with starched linen covered tables and upholstered banquettes for seating. The restaurant is more formal with lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner service (reservations highly suggested).
The restaurant menu is more extensive (and pricier), mainly local seafood with a few steaks and other meat dishes also offered. Specialties of the house include a fish soup, Scottish or Irish oysters, filet of sole, grilled langoustines (small lobster or scampi) with butter, lobster Thermidor, and a grand Scottish Fruits de Mer platter of mussels, langoustines, oysters, prawns, pickled herring, smoked salmon, smoked mackerel, and crab. There is a 3-course prix fixe menu special from 6:00pm-7:00pm daily except Saturday, a tasting menu with optional wine pairing, and a separate vegetarian menu.
Downstairs is a casual café with a smaller menu and lower prices. But the decor isn’t original 1930s Art Deco like on the main floor. Instead the room is new Art Deco with walls of dark wood covered with framed black and white photos of famous people from the past. Le Continental would prefer to dine in the main restaurant or oyster bar with such details as the following pictures show.
Which Champagne bottle size do your prefer?
11 Exchange Pl, Glasgow, Lanarkshire G1 3AN, United Kingdom
phone +44 141 248 4055
Open daily – lunch 12:00pm-2:30pm; afternoon tea 3:00pm-5:00pm; dinner 6:00pm-10:30pm
Oyster Bar open daily 11:00am (noon on Sunday) until 12:00 midnight (bar menu until 11:00pm)
Cafe open daily 12:00pm-11:00pm