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Picture-Perfect Spots To Celebrate Graduation

By Cayley Nel
People celebrating with wine glasses at restaurant

After countless mental breakdowns, all-nighters, and instant noodles, you’ve finally made it to graduation! Hooray! What better way to celebrate your success than a lovely post-ceremony dinner? Having endured enough stress during your studies, we’ve decided to make things easier by narrowing down some perfect dining options below. 

Amano

Italian
66 - 68, Tyler Street, Britomart
Amano's rustic interior

With its rustic marble interior and hanging dried flowers, Amano makes for a laid-back yet sophisticated dinner spot. On their unique Italian-inspired menu, you’ll find a range of exquisite seafood, meat, vegetables, and pasta. Amongst many flavourful options, the spaghetti and chitarra are popular choices. Although these dishes are constantly changing, you’ll always leave feeling ultra-satisfied. And, of course, it wouldn’t be a proper celebration without trying out Amano’s sorbet, meringue, or trifle! 

The Grove

European
Saint Patricks Square Wyndham Street, Auckland CBD

Since 2004, The Grove has earned its name as being one of the top restaurants in Auckland. Located next to the historic Saint Patrick’s Cathedral and decked out with white table-cloths and intimate candles, it certainly holds an iconic quaint charm. If you’re dining with less than eight people, you have a choice of a Petit Degustation (4 courses) or a Full Degustation (7 courses)-Both of which involve a set menu of smaller, delicately plated dishes. For those in larger groups, you can alternatively opt for the À la carte menu, which allows you to pick your choice of entree, main, and dessert–Such as mushroom brioche, scotch fillet, and fig leaf mousse. 

The Sugar Club

Modern New Zealand
72 Victoria Street West Level 53, Sky Tower
Sunsets at The Sugar Club

Located on level 53 of the Sky Tower, The Sugar Club will undoubtedly provide an epic celebratory backdrop. With renowned chef Peter Gordon in the kitchen, the view isn’t the only thing that will make your jaw drop. From Ora King Salmon to Cambridge Duck Breast, each bite is going it be packed with flavour. If you want to end on a sweet note, the mousse, ganache, or sorbet is calling your name!

Soul Bar & Bistro

European
Corner Lower Hobson Street & Customs Street West, Auckland CBD

If the thought of venturing up more than 50 levels terrifies you, that doesn't mean you can't score a killer view. Instead, we suggest switching the bird's eye cityscape for a striking waterfront sunset at Soul Bar & Bistro. As you wander into the heart of the Viaduct, it's not hard to spot their iconic white lettering, white umbrellas, and green hedging. This lush greenery continues inside, with hanging plants and potted flowers dotted throughout. On par with the stunning interior, is Soul's incredible menu. Ranging from grilled snapper to Hawke's bay lamb rack, there's plenty of options to choose from. For a little bit of extra fun, their cocktail list will not disappoint. And with names such as 'Jamaican me crazy' and 'Birds and the Bees', you'll be giggling before you've had your first sip.

Ebisu

Japanese
116-118 Quay Street, Auckland CBD
Sushi rolls from Ebisu

With its spacious, trendy setting, and tapas-style food, Ebisu is the ultimate Japanese spot for a memorable yet relaxed meal out. Their extensive menu means that bickering should be at a minimum with each family member guaranteed to find something they love. From sashimi to dumplings to rolled sushi, it’s quite a challenge to leave room for dessert. If you manage to save some space, the Ebisu Egg is a must-try. Created by Chef Fred, this special edition dish combines coconut jelly, dark chocolate soil, chilli orange lava, and sugar floss into one marvellous edible creation. 

Cassia

Indian
5 Fort Lane, Auckland CBD

Tucked away on Fort Street, Cassia serves up some insane contemporary Indian cuisine. Fitted with cosy hanging ceiling lights and exposed brick walls, it’s an ideal location for an intimate graduation dinner. Incorporating both traditional flavours and contemporary Kiwi ingredients, owners Sid and Chand Sahrawat have established an innovative modern menu that’s sure to impress. Split into five categories; the variety of dishes aims to ensure that there’s a selection of nibbles, starters, mains, sides, and desserts on offer. If you’re dining with ten or more people, you also have the option of choosing the Cassia three-course set menu. 

Harbourside Ocean Bar Grill

Steak, Seafood
Ferry Building Level 1/99 Quay Street, Auckland CBD
Harbourside Ocean Bar Grill

First opened in 1994, Harbourside is an oldie but a goodie. Since its refurbishment in 2013 by the Good Group Hospitality, this waterfront restaurant oozes sophisticated simplicity. While their dinner menu does focus primarily on high-quality seafood, you can also find duck, lamb, venison, and salad options. To accompany your meal of choice, we suggest checking out the signature cocktail list or their impressive wine menu. Plus, since it’s a night of celebration, the evening is best concluded with Harbourside’s mouth-watering dark chocolate fondant! 

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