All you need to know about Aberdeen Restaurant Week 2019

Wednesday, 30 January 2019
AD - Post in collaboration with Aberdeen Inspired

I'm delighted to be partnering with Aberdeen Inspired as an official ambassador for Aberdeen Restaurant Week 2019. I think that it's a fantastic initiative for the city and it has been great to see both restaurants and diners taking the opportunity to embrace it wholeheartedly during the two weeks that it ran in 2018. Now it's back for February 2019 and it's even bigger and better. 

See my other ARW blog posts on their website
  • Around the World  Whilst you travel around Aberdeen city enjoying all the food on offer you can also travel around the world as there are a huge range of international cuisines on offer. ARW is the ideal opportunity to step outside your comfort zone and sample new ingredients, flavours and dishes.
  • Sweet Tooth  If you’re someone who heads to the back of the menu first in order to check out the dessert offerings, you’ll need this guide to the best puddings in town during Aberdeen Restaurant Week. Loosen your waistbands and grab your spoon.
  • Where to eat of you like...  There’s such a choice of restaurants and cuisines available throughout Aberdeen Restaurant Week that it can be difficult to know where to go. I’ve taken some of the hard work out of the decision making for you by scouring the menus to find the best dishes on offer whether you want steak, seafood, vegan or gluten free. There’re also suggestions of the best places to share food with friends, enjoy afternoon tea or bring along your 4 legged friend.

What is Aberdeen Restaurant Week? 

The idea of Restaurant Week was born in New York City in 1992 and has since spread throughout the world arriving in Aberdeen in 2018. It's a week long event where restaurants offer unique fixed price menus, so customers can try many different types of food that may normally be out of their price range or comfort zone.

When does it take place? 
Monday 4th - Sunday 10th February 2019 (and it will be back again in September 2019) 

Which restaurants are involved?
There are 38 restaurants in Aberdeen city centre participating, offering everything from street food to fine dining. Cuisines encompass Scottish, Mexican, Indian, International, Italian, Spanish, French, Thai, Malaysian and American. You can quite literally travel around the world as you travel throughout Aberdeen.
See the full list of participating venues at

How does it work? 
Diners to choose from two affordable set menu's. At lunchtime it's two courses for £10 and dinner is three courses for £20. 

What's in it for the restaurants?
ARW helps to increase footfall at traditionally quiet times of the year, thus boosting the economy. Restaurateurs get a chance to attract new customers by showcasing the best of their menu, cuisine and customer service to impress and encourage you to return. They also benefit from the media exposure and general buzz surrounding the event so it's a great marketing platform for them. ARW is the ultimate win win situation for both diners and restaurants. 

How do I see what deals are available at each restaurant? 
On the ARW website, click on the tabs at the top of the page for £10, £20 or Events. Each individual restaurant on the website has red spots next to their name with £10, £20, E. You can then click through, view and download the relevant menu.

Who's behind the initiative? 
ARW is organised by Aberdeen Inspired who is Aberdeen City Centre’s Business Improvement District. Funded by both levy payers and voluntary contributions, Aberdeen Inspired works hard to help improve and effect positive change in Aberdeen city centre to make the city one of the most vibrant, attractive and fun places to work, live and visit. In turn, increasing footfall and creating a rewarding business environment, in this case for our award-winning hospitality industry. Other Aberdeen Inspired projects include Nuart, Aberdeen Comedy Festival, Inspired Nights Market and Alive after Five.

What's new for 2019? 
Events! These are offerings that don't fit in the standard £10 2-course lunch or £20 3-course dinner. 
  • Afternoon tea at Native - £19 for 2, including a glass of fizz (must be booked 48 hours in advance) 
  • 5 course tasting menu with paired wines at No.10 on Monday 4th February from 7pm. £65 per person – full pre-payment required to secure place 
  • Sunday dining with chilled out jazz from Sidewinder at Cafe Boheme - Sunday 9th February. Food served from 12:30 - 20:00 and live music from 13:00 - 15:00. Three courses & welcome cocktail £30 
  • Live music dinner at Kirkview Cafe on Friday 8th from 7pm, £20 3-course dinner. 
  • Afternoon Tea at Jack's Grill - £10.50 tea-total, £15 with fizz, £25 Tipsy (must be booked in advance)
  • The Carmelite Hotel has a selection of live music acts performing over both lunch and dinner during ARW. They are also hosting a gin tasting on the 7th.

Is everything included? 
Yes and no. 
The set £10/£20 menu's don't generally include drinks unless explicitly stated (check out coffee/pot of tea at Di Maggio's, 3 courses and a drink at Siberia or Angus & Ale, coffee at Cafe Contour, milkshake at Melt and hot drinks at Mackies 19.2) 
So you'll have your drinks bill on top of your £10 or £20 food charge. Some restaurants give you the option to add sides and/or upgrade dishes with a supplement charge (eg for a steak or mussels at Cafe Boheme, bread/olives/dips at Howies, cheese board at The Braided Fig, larger base at Pizza Express, sides at Cafe 52) 

What time's do the deals operate? 
In general the £10 menu will operate at lunch and the £20 at dinner. However some venues have an all day £10 offering (eg Di Maggio's, Mackies 19.2, Melt, The Pigs Wings) 
Any restrictions on the dates/times that the ARW2019 offers are valid should be noted on the menus. 

Do I need to book? 
Ideally you should book ahead as soon as possible to guarantee a table at your top restaurant choices for your preferred date and time. In previous ARW's a number of venues have been fully booked well in advance, so to avoid disappointment get the diary out and make those reservations. 
However if you are more flexible with where and when you eat, or want to dine at the larger, more casual or street food venues you can certainly fly by the seat of your pants and walk in on the day/night. 
When booking make sure to state that you want to take advantage of the Aberdeen Restaurant Week offer. Likewise for walk-ins be sure to quote Aberdeen Restaurant Week to receive the correct menu and offer. 

Are there any take away options? 
Yes! If you don't have time to sit in you can order take away from Melt, Cafe Contour and The Pigs Wings. 

What about dietary requirements? 
Somewhat frustratingly not all of the restaurants have included indications of what diets the dishes on their menus are suitable for. Please do check when you book and with your waitstaff with regards to any allergies, intolerance's or lifestyle choices. They will be able to help you with your decision and advise if adaptations are able to be made.

The best options for those looking for V, VG, GF and DF are as follows 
  • Vegetarian - there are vegetarian options on all of the menus (excluding Atlantis, and Jack's Grill)
  • Vegan - Howies, Pizza Express, The Spiritualist, The Braided Fig, Selera Malaysian Bistro, Da Vinci
  • Gluten Free - Cafe Andaluz, Howies, Mollys Bistro, Pizza Express, Afternoon Tea at Jack's Grill
  • Dairy Free - Howies (plus the vegan options above) 

There's so much choice - how do I decide? 
To help you with your decision take a look back at the reviews by the blogger squad from #ARW2018 which cover many of the venues participating this year. For #ARW2019 the blogger ambassador team and Evening Express Society magazine will be featuring previews, reviews and behind the scenes peeks at all the restaurants before and during the week.

Can I share my ARW experiences on social media?

Yes please do! The official hashtags for the week are #ARW2019 and #comedinewithus

On Instagram you can follow Aberdeen Inspired at @abdninspired Society Magazine at @societyabdn and the #AWR2019 blogger ambassador team at

Disclosure: AD - This is a commissioned post for Aberdeen Inspired. As always, all views expressed are my own.
Thank you for supporting the brands who make it possible for me as a passionate Scottish Food Blogger to continue to share my Edible Food and Travel Adventures with you. I’m super choosy who I work with and promise to bring you only the cream of the crop.

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