A customary end to the whole graduation event is a meal to celebrate with friends or family the culmination of your career as an undergraduate. There is absolute freedom in choosing where you can go for these meals. Somewhere dead fancy? Golden. Somewhere a bit more casual where you’ll get no funny looks for letting your hair down? Perfect. We’ve went ahead and compiled a wee list of places for both the east and west coast, a mix between formal joints and more chilled out locales, places you can go with your family and places that’d suit your pals.
We’ve laid out a wide range of venues; bars with great food menus, small eateries, big fancy restaurants, vegetarian and vegan friendly places so everyone can have some great food that isn’t mushroom risotto!
Rabble and Tigerlilly
Without doubt, two of Edinburgh’s most stylish set ups, either of these sister venues will see you right. Three courses for just £25PP at Lunch or £30PP for Dinner with loads of options to suit just about every taste. There’s too much choice to cover everything on their extended menus but highlights include 15 hour cooked half rack of pork ribs in Copper Dog & hickory BBQ sauce with apple root slaw & fries for the omnivores or Black lentil dahl, spinach & paneer nuggets, cumin flat bread and puffed rice for the veggies amongst you. Head over to rabbleedinburgh.co.uk or tigerlillyedinburgh.co.uk for more details.
Bonus points for Tigerlilly being just a short walk from the Usher Hall.
Bonus points to both for including a glass of Chandon and not your usual fizz.
Good for: Family celebrations, lunch with friends, veggie friendly
Cost: £ – ££
Tigerlilly – 125 George Street, EH2 4JN – 0131 225 5005
Rabble – 55A Fredrick Street, EH2 1LH – 0131 622 7800
This chilled out Mexican eatery is the chain’s only Scottish location. It’s known for changing up its menu regularly and always having fresh specials ready to go for those feeling adventurous.
The Edinburgh location has plenty of seats split over two floors so it’s ideal for big group get togethers. There are plenty of small plates flying around to let everyone try a little bit of of every fantastic dish. The look of the restaurant reflects the food really well. It’s an ultra bright, well lit and colourful space, filled with music and funky eye catchers. The word that reflects the food best would one hundred percent be “zesty”, it’s tasty fresh food that packs a lot of flavour into small plates.
While you can get the food in the form of big plate main meal situations, it is suggested that diners get a couple of small plates, each set to rock the taste buds. One easy recommendation are the massive hibiscus glazed chicken wings from the street eats portion of the menu. They are the tiniest bit spicy and brilliantly sweet as well, a real treat. There’s also the Pork Pibil which form the cornerstone of pork tacos; lovely bits of slow roasted pork shoulder, spiced with peppers and citrus flavours, served as always with pink pickled onions. If it’s a bigger bite you’re looking for you could do worse than the cod served with olive and herb salsa, from the bigger bites portion of the menu.
Good for: Family celebrations, lunch with friends, veggie and vegan friendly
Cost: £ – ££
Address: 16 South St. Andrews Street, Edinburgh
If you’re in search of rekindling memories from a bygone age and if they happened in a now utterly cliched tiki bar then the time hop that is Paradise palms is for you. Serving exclusively meatless and often times vegan food courtesy of permanent residents Lucky Pig, this dimly lit romanticised idea of a Polynesian pub feels like you’ve taken a holiday but the whole journey and getting there has been wiped from your mind, it is utterly other worldly.
The bar has quite a lot of space, the kitchen being downstairs frees the entirety of the main floor for dining and drinking as well as an outdoor seating area (should the weather hold). While it does work for family get togethers to an extent, it’s perfect for small intimate get togethers with only a few people.
As for the food, it’s completely vegetarian and a good portion is vegan friendly. They’ve gone for a soul food feel with a lot of hearty chilli’s, macaroni and cheese’s and hearty feel good food. Some standouts include the Lucky Dawg; a vegan hotdog topped with relish, mustard, and crispy onions, plus a host of other toppings to choose from, including cheese and chilli. Another exemplary dish would be the Chipotle Mac n Cheese which has four different types of cheese and is blended with chipotle seasoning for an extra wee kick, creating an unctuous creamy dish – definitely not vegan friendly!
Good for: Family celebrations, lunch with friends, intimate dinners
Address: 41 Lothian Street, Edinburgh
Ting Thai Caravan
Ting Thai grabbed Edinburgh by the tongue during the 2012 festival from a pop up just around the corner from where they now have their permanent home. The restaurant rocks a low key canteen style and is a gastronomic heavy hitter, delivering great thai dish one after another.
The look of the restaurant also carries a very substantial vibe with long wooden tables enforcing a communal dining experience; the whole space seems to be geared toward togetherness with a largely open plan and a really chilled out friendly atmosphere.
The restaurant is perfect for pared down family gatherings as well as getting together with your pals. With a sun up and a slightly restricted sun down menu, the eatery is perfect for dining at any time. While scanning the menu you will find yourself fighting the urge to ask for one of everything as everything is so enticing. There are however some dishes that should on no account be missed, the Saikroke-san from their small plates menu is a case in point. It consists of cured pork, rice and other zesty fresh flavours, something perfect to start your meal off with. Theres also the Ped Nam Pueng, a delicious, crispy duck dish accompanied by a fresh salad with pak choi, tomatoes plus other greens and veggies – something slightly more filling and perfect for the hungry customer.
Good for: Family celebrations, celebrating with friends
Address: 8-9 Teviot Place, Edinburgh
As far as well to do family brunch spots go you could do a lot worse than Urban Angel. It’s a snazzy, fine dining lunch spot, aiming to use only the freshest of ingredients to create new and interesting recipes. It’s the perfect spot for an early in the day celebration on account of their glorious Bloody Marys and Mimosas.
The interior of the restaurant looks exactly like what you’d expect a farmhouse kitchen to look like, complete with a log burning stove and white plastered wall. It serves simple wholesome food which hits hard with flavour while being quite small size wise. This reinforces the strong balanced flavours and keeps the dishes simple.
The restaurant is ideal for small scale family celebrations, the space is small and very cosy. Inspired by the simple toned down food of New Zealand the menu is completely heart felt. One stand out is the french toast with bacon and maple syrup, which while utterly ubiquitous in the brunch scene is done perfectly here, balancing the savoury and sweet flavours very well. There is also the more and more commonly popular avocado toast which in this situation is topped with roasted tomatoes, feta cheese, chilli flakes and mint. It lifts the dish from a quick lunch time snack to something that works well as a proper brunch option.
Good for: Family celebrations, brunch
Address: 121 Hanover Street, Edinburgh
Edinburgh’s premier slice shop is taking over the east coast pizza scene by reflecting something more commonly seen in New York. There’s always five top pies on offer by the slice, with a couple of daily pizzas to choose from. It’s the ideal place for people to come together, talk, laugh and share good food.
When you enter the pie shop, the interior is maybe not what you might expect – from the outside it looks like store front was lifted straight from somewhere from New York, but on the inside it looks like you asked someone on acid to colour in a pizza shop.
Good for: Buzzy night with friends
Address: 49 Forrest Rd, Edinburgh