After decades satisfying diners in the East End, Celino’s has headed west and opened a second deli-restaurant.
There’s more than a glimmer of the up-and-coming food scene in Partick and Thornwood right now. Organic food joints, craft beer bars, and coffee shops with gluten-free and vegan delicacies have been sprouting up among the betting shops, old-school boozers and discount stores. Newcomer Celino’s has taken Dumbarton Road up another notch, heralded by a window display of lobsters on ice flanked by bottles of prosecco.
Inside, deli and restaurant combine into a flabbergasting scene of food and drink, everywhere you look – counters full of deli produce, stacks of cakes and bakes, fridges with ready-made offerings, Glasgow’s only tasting machine, ice-cream, drinks, desserts, dried pasta, the whole works. This is the big, ambitious, sophisticated sister to the Dennistoun original, which had humble beginnings in 1982 as a sandwich shop and deli before expanding into an award-winning restaurant.
One of the reasons owner Claudio Celino sidestepped the trendier, more obvious parts of the city when location hunting was Partick’s strong sense of community, which he found similar to Dennistoun. The scores of people waiting for a table in the 139-seat restaurant on a Friday night will surely attest to his shrewd decision. They’re here for the classic, comforting Italian food on offer – which is delivered in monumental portions.
If all those deli delights excite, there are sharing plates of antipasti to start, along with a range of bruschetta and crostini, with toppings such as mushrooms in a rich, creamy sauce. The pizza dough comes plaited together with the precision of a sailor’s knot, sliced open to reveal a generous filling of chicken, steak and herby Italian sausage, held together with sweet San Marzano tomatoes and gooey mozzarella. It’s a serious feast for any carnivorous beast. Seafood pasta – an understandable favourite in the Dennistoun restaurant – comes packed with huge scallops, mussels, clams, king prawns and chunky, super-fresh squid rings, all swimming happily in a delicious white , garlic and chilli sauce.
As far as straplines go, Celino’s ‘Tutto per Tutti’ – everything for everyone – is entirely credible. As well as the near-exhaustive food and drink that both branches offer – everything from a takeaway coffee to a three-course meal – by basing his food-centric outlets in two of Glasgow’s humbler areas, Claudio Celino is making top-quality Italian dining accessible to everyone.