We couldn't exactly put together a tour of Glasgow's greatest burger joints without a trip to the original - right? Well, having opened back in 1976 I think it's safe to say that Ad Lib is one of the founding fathers of the Glasgow burger movement. With two restaurants in Glasgow, one in the city centre on Hope Street and one in the Merchant City on Ingram Street, you can get your fair share of "gourmet" burgers in their American style setting. We decided to pay a visit to the Merchant City restaurant for the seventh instalment of the Glasgow Burgerthon to see how the original compares to its newborn counterparts.
We hadn't expected the Merchant City branch of Ad Lib to be quite so... fancy. Whilst it's by no means a Michelin star top of the market restaurant, it's not quite what you'd expect based on Glasgow's other burger joints. It's a pretty classy place, with a welcoming vibe which would be perfect for couples, families and friends alike.
The staff are attentive, but not overbearing, and were always happy to help us out if we needed anything. We didn't have any need for much assistance throughout our visit, so I can only speak for the bare bones of the experience but it was definitely a pleasant one!
Unlike many of the other places we chose to visit for the Burgerthon, Ad Lib doesn't solely focus on burgers. Also on the menu, you'll find a selection of American style bites such as ribs, crab, sandwiches, salads, brisket and more. You can read the full menu here if you fancy, but be warned it'll probably make you pretty hungry.
Ad Lib do have a selection of cocktails on offer, but when we visited on a rainy Monday afternoon I wasn't in the mood for a cocktail (shock horror!) and instead opted for a pint of cranberry juice because that's just how I roll. I was happy to see cocktails on offer, though, and Paddy easily found a beer he liked!
We were pretty hungry when we visited so I found myself desperate for a portion of nachos to start. After deciding on chicken chilli nachos, Paddy followed suit and ordered some southern fried popcorn chicken with a smokey BBQ mayo. I mention the mayo because I loved it and could quite happily dip everything I ever eat in it. So. Good. My nachos were gorgeous, with the perfect amount of flavour and a bit of a kick. Paddy's chicken was incredibly tender which worked perfectly with the crisp coating - a good start, I'd say!
For the main event, we opted for our typical choices - a classic cheeseburger, and a cheeseburger with bacon. The burgers were some of the juiciest we've tried so far, as well as being packed full of flavour and seasoned to perfection. They were pretty pink in the middle, which I don't mind, but I think this probably should be mentioned as I know it's not to everyone's taste. This was pretty offputting for Paddy in the end, and he struggled to finish it when he got to the very pink middle!
Overall, we were pretty impressed with Ad Lib. It's clear to see why they're still doing so well despite the recent influx of competing burger joints in the city. We ended up being able to take advantage of their lunchtime menu, meaning our burgers came in at £6.95 each. Not bad, eh?
She thought: Quality of burger 3.5, Variety available 3, Atmosphere & service 4, Value for money 3
He thought: Quality of burger 3, Variety available 4, Atmosphere & service 4, Value for money 4
Overall Ad Lib scored 28.5 out of a possible 40
Check out the rest of the Glasgow Burgerthon to see how it compares