Discovering… Battlefield Rest a Continental and Italian bistro in Mount Florida

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From 1914 the Battlefield Rest was known as ‘the most exotic tram shelter in Scotland’ but faced demolition in the 1990s. Saved and brought back to its formal glory, since 1994 it’s been a popular Italian and Continental bistro. We met its saviour and owner Marco Giannasi.

Why did you choose the Battlefield Rest?

The Battlefield Rest chose me! In the late 1980s I passed it by many times and each time it was deteriorating more. I contacted Glasgow City Council and found the building was at the end its of life. I purchased it for a nominal sum of £1. Just £1 and it was saved from demolition! In 1994 we opened the Rest and have never looked back.

In days of old tram travellers stopped here but who visits now?

Our customers are from the Southside and surrounding areas, but we also have many visitors and tourists. We can proudly say we have generations of local customers: our emotional connection with them is a unique quality not many restaurants have.

Can you tell us about your most recent awards?

Our Head Chef Marino Donati and Manager Antonio Cacace have been with us since the day we opened – that’s why we’ve offered consistency and quality. We very recently received accolades at the Scotland Business Retails Awards for Best Restaurant and Best Glasgow Business.


What attracts people to live in the Southside?

This area has great potential to grow: you can still buy properties at great prices. There is a fabulous choice of restaurants, bars and a new wave of coffee shops.

We also have excellent amenities in our shops, schools and nurseries, as well as great transport links.

When we’re looking to switch off from work we like to walk. In just a few minutes you can be detached from the city by going to Pollok Country Park, Linn Park or Rouken Glen Park.

In the evenings we go to the nearby Citizens or Tramway theatres.

The Southside is now in a stage of development and improvement. You can see newcomers in the area, and new home, leisure and business plans taking place.

But the most important thing is the people. You really do feel the community spirit.

Which Battlefield Rest dishes are your most popular?

Our most popular dishes are our seafood platter – apart from the presentation it’s full of salmon, mussels and prawns in a chilli and white wine sauce. Or Chicken Montanara stuffed with goat’s cheese, sundried tomato and spinach, wrapped in Parma ham. Or open ravioli with smoked haddock, leeks, spinach, cream and Parmesan.

Finally, do you have any new plans?

For the past three years beehives on our roof have produced Urban Honey. I’d like to renew two sedum canopies to integrate the bees with the flowers.

And since the Rest is the only tram station to survive, my dream is to build a 1920-style tram next to our building. This Tea Tram Theatre would create a tourist attraction and serve as a venue for actors to put on productions showing Glasgow the way it was – integrating comedy, drama and storytelling – while serving classic afternoon teas and light traditional bites.

It would also be linked to a Glasgow charity – I want to give something back to the city 40 years in this great city I call home!

From rooftop honey bees to majestic sandstone buildings and leafy parks . . . if you’d like to experience the Southside of Glasgow, check out the homes available for sale and rent right now at s1homes.

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