You’ve made it! The endless nights of revision and dissertation panic are finally over, now it’s time to chill and enjoy the summer before you enter the world of full-time work.
However, before you head off on that eight week trip around Europe or start your exciting internship there’s the small matter of the graduation dinner to be taken care of – which is generally either a chance for your whole family to make a fuss of you for making it through four difficult years or a last meal with all your uni chums before you head off in different directions.
We figured you’ve worked hard enough these last few months, so we’ve done all the groundwork for you and picked some of the best restaurants in Glasgow and Edinburgh, no matter what kind of graduation meals you’re planning.
Situated in the heart of Merchant City, Guy’s Restaurant and Bar is the perfect choice for those looking for their graduation meal to come with a side of eclectic flair.
Guy spent 20 years feeding the cream of the film industry’s A-list with his location catering business before deciding to head home to Glasgow to set up this quirky venue that has clearly been influenced by his globetrotting adventures – even the £25 per student graduation menu features culinary clues from all over the world.
Although it has a very impressive menu, Guy’s still maintains a relaxed, welcoming feel with a bohemian décor that has also likely been influenced by the owner’s travels and is a great choice for a final student get together.
If the whole uni gang is planning to get together for a graduation meal, we’d recommend Waxy O’Connor’s. It’s one of the most unique venues in Glasgow because despite its three floors, six bars and nine different areas to explore it still has a cosy, friendly vibe and your uni gang can dine and drink together safe in the knowledge that no-one here will raise an eyebrow at all the hollering coming from your table.
There’s little nooks and crannies to be explored that make a great setting for a dinner with your nearest and dearest or private areas for 15 or more people, perfect if the whole class wants to head along to the party.
It’s also kind on student budgets at just £12.95 per person for the two course graduation meal (plus a glass of bubbly) and because it’s so central it’s a brilliantly convenient spot to get to, no matter where everyone is based.
Located on Byres Road, Bo’Vine at the Hilton Glasgow Grosvenor is one of the finest steakhouses in town, serving richly flavoured and perfectly char grilled 28-35 day, dry aged Scotch Beef.
The restaurant itself is chic and classy, yet with a laid back vibe. Cosy leather booths are perfect for a small gathering or use the private dining room for extra special service. Although it offers first class steaks – we know we keep going on about them, honestly they’re amazing – it also has a great selection of fish and vegetarian options to keep the whole group happy.
Thanks to its great location, it’s the perfect spot to start your graduation celebrations with a gorgeous meal followed by a night out to remember in the West End.
It’s no secret plenty of students reside in Glasgow’s Southside, an area that is definitely becoming more popular, so it would be crazy not to include one of the Southside’s premier restaurants in our list.
Lok’s is a top choice with three quality facilities under one roof – LOKS Bar and Kitchen, the Trophy Bar, and the Newlandsfield Suite – plus a menu that celebrates locally sourced food from some of the Southside’s best suppliers, the most delicious bread baked in-house and a recently relaunched, delicious cocktail menu.
It’s the type of place that would work well for a celebratory dinner full of recent graduates looking for a last hurrah or a family friendly affair and their set graduation menu comes in at a purse friendly £22.50 per person, you can also ask about private dining options for a really special night.
With two different graduation menu options available – the Honours menu at £25 per person and the Masters menu at £35 per person – Hard Rock Cafe has all bases covered and is a fail-safe option for your graduation meals with affordable, delicious options and some of the best service in the city.
The team at Hard Rock Cafe are known for being friendly and welcoming, and will go out of their way to make sure you have a fantastic night. Whilst some of our options are great for those looking for a chilled environment, Hard Rock is the place to be if you’re looking for a party feel and you’re guaranteed to have a good time here – especially when the cocktails are flowing.
It’s also handily located in the heart of the Style Mile, near all the main transport links, making it an easy choice if you’ve got friends or family coming from far and wide.
Some graduates might be looking for a more intimate setting for their graduation dinner, especially if you’ve been lucky in love during your time at uni and are leaving with a degree and a partner, so for any couples looking to toast to their future careers, Nick’s Bar and Grill has a mezzanine level that complements the main restaurant and offers a more secluded section – perfect for a romantic meal.
With that being said, the main restaurant area – which looks like a contemporary Manhattan loft but in the heart of Glasgow’s West End – is comfortable and airy and can accommodate couples, families, groups of graduates or anyone else who fancies sampling their expertly produced fusion of classic Italian and North American cuisine.
Since opening in 2014, the kooky Mad Platter on Great Western Road has cemented its position as one of the most unique dining options in the West End and is a firm favourite amongst students, especially those from Glasgow Uni who are within walking distance so it made sense to add it as the fun option on our list.
The staff at the Mad Platter are beyond friendly and will go out of their way to ensure you all enjoy your graduation meal. Although it might already be beloved by West End based students it’s well worth making the trip out from the City Centre to sample the menu, it’s full of hearty plates which have a home cooking feel and to check out the decor – the intimate space is decked out with an old school post box, a chandelier made with vintage crockery and decanters and a quirky mix of top hats and bowlers.
For the foodies out there looking for not just a great party venue but somewhere that will provide a meal you’ll remember way more than any of your lectures, might we suggest Cail Bruich?
The warm and welcoming restaurant is located in the bohemian district of the West End, just adjacent to the gorgeous Glasgow Botanical Gardens and uses the best of classical and modern cooking techniques, along with the freshest seasonal produce, to create a contemporary style of Scottish cuisine.
Although the food is impressive and quite rightly brings in plenty of awards the restaurant maintains a relaxed, friendly vibe and would make a brilliant choice for an intimate dinner for a graduating group of friends or a congratulatory meal with the family.
The three course graduation dinner comes in at £38pp (two course dinner is £25pp) but with the amount of passion the Cail Bruich team put into their menus, it’s safe to say it’ll be worth every penny.
Where is more fitting to celebrate your Honours degree than at The Honours restaurant in Malmaison Glasgow? It is literally in the name!
Martin Wishart’s latest venture combines seasonal Scottish flavours with British and French influenced dishes in a very stylish setting. Malmaison Glasgow is a former Greek Orthodox church and its quirky bar space has a unique beer-barrel wall with an atrium that produces Malmaison’s famous cocktails.
With some of the best craft beers on tap and a prime city centre location, it is easy enough to head out into town afterwards to continue the party.
The Honours Glasgow was also recently awarded the title of ‘Scottish Restaurant of The Year’ by the Scottish Entertainment Awards, so it’s a safe bet that you’ll enjoy the £25pp graduation menu which includes three courses, a glass of fizz and canapes.
For those looking to celebrate their hard work with a big family meal, the warm and welcoming Piccolo Mondo is sure to be a brilliant choice. Previously voted Scotland’s best Italian, it’s a safe bet that the food here will be the highlight of your graduation, never mind the 2:1!
The friendly staff have run, owned and worked in some of Glasgow’s most notable Italian restaurants and have brought all their knowledge to Piccolo Mondo, making it one of the best spots in the city for a quality Italian meal. The graduation menu from Piccolo Mondo is also one of the most affordable options we’ve featured at £21.50pp but the choice on offer with this option is superb and is guaranteed to please all of the family.
Organising a graduation party for a large group will always be somewhat stressful but with a venue like the Glasgow City Hotel, there’s really no possible cause for complaint.
The venue is in one of the most convenient locations in the city, just two minutes away from Sauchiehall Street (perfect for those who want to keep the party going) and they’ll provide great food, excellent music and fine service for just £35pp – so all you need to worry about is sorting out the good company! On the night all guests will be treated to a red carpet welcome, delicious three course meal prepared by their award winning chef and half a bottle of wine to go with the meal.
One of our most purse friendly options for graduation meals comes from contemporary Italian restaurant, La Rotunda, which is located in the heart of Finnieston. The relaxed setting makes it perfect for a graduation meal with friends or family and the £19.95pp three course menu offers a great selection and includes a glass of prosecco each.
Alternatively, if you’re also looking for the perfect place in Finnieston to celebrate your graduation but aren’t the biggest fan of Italian food, how about one of the most authentic Tapas restaurants in Glasgow?
Rioja has a creative team of Spanish chefs on hand to prepare diverse, made to order dishes and was awarded the 2015 Opentable Diners’ Choice Award. The restaurant also has a list of unique cocktails and wines that will perfectly compliment the food, so there’s sure to be a drink and dish everyone can enjoy.
First established back in 1990, Stac Polly is one of Edinburgh’s original Scottish fine dining restaurants and offers exciting interpretations of traditional and modern Scottish cuisine with a fabulously Scottish interior that features Bute tweed upholstery.
Named after the spectacular, towering mountain Stac Pollaidh, the restaurant, which is located on Dublin Street, has been providing fine dining for over 25 years and has a newly refurbished brasserie, gin and wine bar upstairs that offers a fresh and laid back environment, perfect for a casual graduation meal.
However, for those looking for something more intimate, they also have private rooms available for graduation parties. Although it doesn’t matter if you choose to spend your night in one of those or on the great outdoor spaces at the restaurant, you are guaranteed to enjoy a delicious, homely, freshly prepared dish and a great drink to go along with it – they offer Scottish beers from the Orkney Brewery, premium Scottish botanical gins, fine wines and an eclectic selection of malt whiskies.
If you’re looking to really celebrate in style, Tigerlily is the ideal venue – it’s famous for the gorgeous interior design, extensive cocktail list (seriously, there’s over 100 available) and seasonal menus.
This boutique hotel, bar and restaurant is one of the most stylish spots in Edinburgh, with pink hues, mirrored walls and chandeliers, and takes pride in its menus, using the best produce possible. They also seriously focus on their drinks with a team of award-winning mixologists on hand to produce mouth-watering concoctions every day of the week.
It goes without saying that you’ll have a memorable night at Tigerlily and considering it is just a short walk from Usher Hall and only £30pp, including a glass
of Chandon sparkling on arrival, we can’t think of a better option for the stylish at heart.
Gusto features a classic and contemporary menu using fresh, carefully selected simple ingredients and a comprehensive worldwide wine list. With a choice of over 50 stylish cocktails including Martini, Bellini and Margarita’s to suit a variety of tastes.
Gusto is the ideal setting to celebrate your graduation with friends and family. Whether it’s a casual catch-up or celebratory graduation meal, sit back and relax in beautiful surroundings with aspirational touches that feels like home, a place where you can feel welcome and special.
For more information call Gusto Edinburgh on 0131 225 2555 or Gusto Glasgow on 0141 227 6270 visit www.gustorestaurants.uk.com
Located just at the top of Leith Walk in the Omni Leisure development centre, the Slug and Lettuce is a newly refurbished, cool, contemporary restaurant and bar that’d make a great spot for a relaxed graduation meal with your closest uni pals.
Groups of friends can toast to their hard work at uni being over and make plans for the summer ahead over their great cocktails and for graduates still living on a student budget, the Slug and Lettuce also offer 50% off all dishes on Mondays. With their student friendly prices and an extensive drinks list, it’ll be a great and affordable night for all those celebrating graduation here.