Glasgow’s famed Gamba seafood restaurant is up for sale

GAMBA, one of Glasgow city centre’s best-loved restaurants, is up for sale, with its founder and head chef Derek Marshall stating that the recent 25-year anniversary of the establishment marked his moment to move on to fresh challenges.

Derek established the seafood-centric business in October 1998, after a stint as head chef at The Rogano. Sited on a prime spot at the corner of West George St and West Campbell St, Gamba quickly acquired an enviable reputation and a loyal clientele, and is now renowned for being not only the best seafood restaurant in Glasgow, but one of the city’ best restaurants, full stop.

Famous for its fish soup, and an a la carte menu featuring dishes like Isle of Gigha halibut, Scottish Lobster, smoked salmon, hand dived king scallops and oysters, Gamba also offers set menus for lunch, pre theatre and Saturdays, as well as a popular surf & turf menu on a Wednesday.

Its ethos is to use only the highest quality seafood and other ingredients, with a focus on traceability and provenance, sustainability, and seasonality, while working directly with suppliers who land their fish locally and ethically, using low-impact fishing, so that they can use hand-dived, creel, and line- caught produce wherever possible.

This approach has won Gamba many accolades over the years, including Michelin recommendations, 2 AA Rosettes, and appearances in the Good Food Guide. Caterer’s

Now the leasehold on this thriving and prestigious business is on the market, through agents Smith & Clough, for offers over £230,000.

With room for 60 covers plus a separate bar, Gamba’s 2023 turnover was recorded as £883,196 net of vat, with an adjusted net profit circa £120,000.

Jonathan Clough of Smith & Clough commented: “I am delighted to have been trusted yet again with the sale of another high profile Glasgow restaurant, and Gamba is certainly one of the best, and is well renowned as being the best seafood restaurant in Glasgow.

“The business is a true Glasgow institution and has stood the test of time having traded for 25 years which is testament to the skill and hard work of our client Derek Marshall, who is a true stalwart of the Glasgow restaurant scene, having previously been head chef at the Rogano.

“There is no doubt that Derek deserves a well earned break whilst he decides on his next challenge, and whilst it is big boots to follow, the sale represents a tremendous opportunity for a new owner operator to take on this much loved and extremely well performing restaurant which still offers further growth potential.”

The business currently only trades four days a week, closing Sunday, Monday, Tuesday.

Speaking to freelance food journalist, Cate Devine, Marshall  explained his decision to part company with the institution he had created: “I feel I’ve done my time.

“Gamba is a great, consistent and sustainable business with no debts, but it needs new blood. This is a brilliant opportunity for someone to take it on, make it their own and take it forward with their own narrative.

“I’ve been coming to this decision for about a year. I used to do seven days a week but when you get a bit older it’s not as easy as it once was, even on four days.

He added: “However, I’m not giving up; I need a new challenge and I want to keep cooking, but on my own terms.”