All you need to know about Aberdeen Restaurant Week July 2019

Wednesday 10 July 2019

Post in collabor
ation with Aberdeen Inspired

I'm delighted to again be partnering with Aberdeen Inspired as an official ambassador for the July 2019 Aberdeen Restaurant Week. 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, it's week in February 2019 and now in its fourth appearance from Monday 15th - Sunday 21st July.

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 15th - Sunday 21st July 2019 

Which restaurants are involved?
There are currently 37 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. 

Kirk View Cafe - £10 lunch and £20 dinner

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.

Topolabamba - £10 lunch and £20 dinner

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. 

SNEAP Slow Food Pop Up at SO. 5 nights, 5 menus, 3 courses. £20 plus Organic & Orange Wine Dinner £55 
Carmelite Hotel - Drinks Flights (whisky, gin, rum, wine, beer, shot) & Pickerings and Esker Gin Tastings
Revolucion de Cuba - Tasting Menu for two £40

Selera Malaysian Bistro - Afternoon Tea, £10 lunch and £20 dinner

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, milkshake at Sears, smoothie at AVO, beer flight at Hop & Anchor 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. 

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 offering. 
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. 

The Braided Fig
The Braided Fig - £10 lunch and £20 dinner

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. 

From my own perusal of the menus, 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 lunch menu) 
Vegan - Carmelite, Da Vinci, Ferryhill House, Foodstory, Hop & Anchor, Howies, Molly's Bistro 
Gluten Free - Bistro Verde, Cafe Andaluz, Ferryhill House, Foodstory, Howies, Kirk View, Native 
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 previous Aberdeen Restaurant Weeks which cover many of the venues participating this time around. For the July #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.

To kick off the week the blogger team headed out on a Safari Supper social visiting four of the participating resturants - Kirk View Cafe, The Braided Fig, Topolabamba and The Spiritualist. A tough job but someone's got to do it! Alas I was driving but if you're looking for some epic coktails to toast ARW with then The Spiritualist is most definately the place to go. As for the food my own particular highlights were the Salt & pepper Calamari at Kirk View, Haggis Spring Rolls and Fish Finger Bao Buns at Braided Fig and pretty much everything at Topolabamba - which is my recomended destination for food to share with friends. Their small plates/tapas style dishes are perfect for a group.

Afternoon Tea at Selera Malaysian Bistro - £5.99
For something completely different I headed to Selera Malaysian Bistro to try out their Afternoon Tea. Exclusive to Aberdeen Resturant Week it's available Tuesday 16th - Sunday 21st from 3pm-5pm. For £5.99 per person you get a platter of Malaysian savoury and sweet fritters and cakes plus a cup of tea/coffee. (We upgraded to Malaysian Teh Tarik or pulled tea). The types of fritters & cakes of offer will depend on availability and the Chef's creativity on that day but you'll get two sweet and two savoury. We tried the vegetable, onion, sweetcorn and coconut savoury fritters. Our sweet treats were chocolate and pandan brownie, sweet potato cake, kuih lopes and a sweet porridge with kidney beans. We thoroughly enjoyed all of them and it was unlike any other afternoon tea I've ever had.

They are also offering a £10 lunch and £20 dinner menu for Resturant Week. Read my friend Christy at Dinner Stories review of Selera Malaysian Bistro from a previous ARW to learn more. Heading to somewhere like Selera is exactly what Aberdeen Resturant Week really is all about. Trying somewhere new with a different type of food that may normally be outwith your comfort zone. The staff at Selera are all so friendly and helpful and are more than happy to explain menu items, they also have a seperate vegan menu on offer. Although they've been open for almost 3 years they are still a bit of a 'hidden gem' in the city. Find them just of Union Streen on the corner at 19 Correction Wynd beside St Nicholas kirkyard (premisis that where previously Merchant Bisto and prior to that La Bonne Baguette).

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

Christy from Dinner Stories @xchristybx 
Kirsty @kirstyjarvie
Colin @cfrasisms
Sarah & Euan - The YoungWilsons @sarah_rwilson @euanwilson11
Darren and Morven from @wafflingonaboutfood

Disclosure: 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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