Often overshadowed by its more boisterous cousins Edinburgh and Glasgow, Dundee may be small but it still packs a punch when it comes to eating and drinking.

And, thanks to an ongoing £1 billion regeneration of the city's waterfront which will see it play home to a V&A museum in 2017, odds are on for Dundee to nudge its way up the list of Scottish cities to visit and become a destination point in its own right.

So yes: a place on a journey to achieving great - or greater - things; but what's on in Dundee in the meantime?

Loading article content

We spent a day in the city's company to find out where's good to go both new and established...

Pre 9am

When it comes to restful nights, the newly-opened Malmaison Dundee is hard to beat. Ideally situated on the waterfront just a five minute walk from the train station, its decor is typically in-keeping with the Malmaison identity found elsewhere in its rollcall of hotels around the world. Expect interiors more opulently moody than Naomi Campbell with a hangover, and spacious bathing zones with beautifully packaged toiletries complete with instructions-for-use written in charmingly rhapsodic verse. The Brasserie boasts a Josper grill, which results in steaks you'd consider selling your granny for. And it goes without saying that its breakfast menu, featuring freshly made waffles with banana and Nutella, and eggs cooked multiple ways, is kind of a big deal.


Something of an institution among both the student community and those just looking to soak up a bit of culture, the Jute Cafe at the Dundee Contemporary Arts is a good spot for a morning coffee stop where hot beverages are served with a mini square of crispy cake for dunking. Elsewhere in the building, the DCA houses a great shop with independent design, rare magazines and nice homeware lines from the likes of Donna Wilson and Rob Ryan. Oh, and of course, there's gallery space upstairs as well as artists' studios which hold regular classes for the general public to get involved in.


With your artistic whistle wetted, head to the McManus Galleries on Albert Square (no, not thatone). Behind a Gothic revival-style exterior lies a polarised selection of content ranging from paraphernalia relating to Dundee's history to some really impressively curated contemporary art. Currently showing is Nick Evans' White Whale, part of Generation (a series of exhibitions charting the success of modern art in Scotland over the past 25 years), which features absorbing sculpture and just about the best floor this side of Christendom. A miniature learning centre with fun activities means kids aren't forgotten about, either.


When hunger strikes, another new addition to Dundee's gastro landscape is worth checking out. West House, little sister of upmarket dining establishment The D'Arcy Thompson, gives a nod to Scandi-inspired decor with its raw wood lighting fixtures and whitewashed walls. Simple, unpretentious menus offering Italian options including make-your-own pizza will appeal to families looking to feed hungry little mouths, while interesting flavour combinations will satisfy those with more sophisticated palates. Visit on a Sunday, where it's two for £10 on selected meals.


Feeling thirsty? Take a wander down Perth Road with its pretty aspects out over the River Tay to get to Drouthy's, a beer-lover's paradise. Behind the bar is a seemingly endless array of craft beers from cracking Scottish breweries as well as a fine selection of bottles. Staff are genial and happy to allow patrons the chance to sample brews before buying a pint, which for the commitment-phobic beer lover is the ultimate hall-pass.


One of the best things it's possible to hear when a cursory scan of a cocktail list proves unfruitful is for the bar-person to offer to make something off-menu. And that's exactly the kind of service on offer at The Playwright, situated on Tay Street. As it were, our specially-made espresso Martinis were up there with the best we've sampled and proved the ideal aperitif. When thoughts turn to eating, the restaurant has quite rightly a firmly-cemented reputation as a fine-dining establishment but the ingredients are reassuringly familiar. Milk-poached veal loin with veal bolognaise and mozzarella tempura, in particular, is the business.