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The student’s guide to a Christmas meal out in Stirling

7 mins read

DAY 4

Christmas dinner has got to be one of the best parts of the festive season. Turkey, stuffing, cranberry, roast potatoes; the whole lot. There is something exclusive about these foods that mean everyone only eats them once a year, the hold that Christmas dinner has over us all year round. 

Now of course most people have a feast of a Christmas dinner at home from uni on the 25th December, but it has also become a trend to have some kind of Christmas dinner with your university flatmates or friends. 

A great idea if you can cook. A fire alarm waiting to happen if you can’t.

That’s where this list comes into it. If you and your friends do not feel capable of cooking a Christmas dinner all by yourselves there are plenty of restaurants in Stirling offering Christmas menus. This is a breakdown of the best ones based on price, choice and Christmas-syness.

Pizza Express: for the vegetarians 

Five courses for £25. Find the menu here.

Pizza Express restaurant in Stirling city centre. Credit: Animal Activist Watch

Kicking off the list with the 5-course tasting experience from Pizza Express, a way to make you feel expensive for £25.

Now, before you get excited by the amount of food, some of the courses are smaller. The first two are appetisers before the starter, but when one of them is dough balls to share who can complain?

The pizza options are not the most festive options. Pizza Express mainly sticks to combinations that are known to work well together and do not branch out into any traditional flavours. Across the whole menu, only one item has turkey on it, but if you’re vegetarian this might be the place for you. There are more veggie than meat options across all five courses.

Despite this, you cannot complain with the superb selection of desserts. I just have a slight problem with the wording of ‘mini desserts’. Desserts – especially at Christmas – should never be mini.

City Walls: the one that ticks all the boxes

Two courses are £15.99. Three courses are £18.99. Find the menu here.

City Walls in Stirling. Credit: Leask Architects

If you want a traditional Christmas dinner, City Walls is delivering this year. Half the items on the menu have the word festive before them, which is always a good sign.

The starters feature classics such as prawn cocktail and vegetable soup, with the mains having one of the best varieties on the list. With a veggie and a vegan wellington alongside the festive burger, pie and turkey with all the trimmings, you are spoilt for choice.

The desserts stay simple but full of Christmas spirit like the crumble, Christmas pudding and cheesecake. If you’re looking for a traditional three-course Christmas feast on a budget City Walls is the place to go.

Monterey Jack’s: for the fussy eaters

Three courses are £25. Find the menu here.

Food at Monterey Jack’s. Credit: Monterey Jack’s.

A distinctly less traditional option but fun nonetheless, with Christmas crackers and cocktails included on arrival.

There are elements of Christmas, like the Christmas Chicken burger on the mains and halloumi fries with cranberry sauce on the starters, but bar that there isn’t much. However, if you have fussy eaters going I would recommend Monterey Jack’s as the mains allow choice from any of their burgers, salads, nachos or pizzas.

It’s easy, simple and flexible with the energy of Christmas just with substantially fewer Turkey options. 

River House: the one to treat yourself with

Three courses are £29.99. Find the menu here.

River House. Credit: TripAdvisor

The most expensive option on the list, but goodness, they are teaming with options.

From the gateau of haggis on the starters; to the wild mushroom, leek and goats cheese strudel on the mains; to the glazed lemon tart on the desserts. You are spoilt for choice.

If you’re vegetarian or vegan, I would avoid it unless you are partial to the few options on offer to you. For everyone else, relish in the nine main and seven starter choices.

What I do appreciate about this menu is the effort to keep traditional and homegrown Scottish food throughout. It shows a good amount of thought being put in the menu to connect with locals. The atmosphere is also beautiful around Christmas time with all of their decorations and will really get you in the spirit. 

I would like to give honorary mentions to both Bob and Bert’s and The Book Nook for their Christmas menus. Obviously, they’re not a three-course extravaganza, but they are the most budget-friendly way to get a bit of festive cheer into your diet.

The best part is that both places are excellent for studying and getting out of the house. Over exam season organising big meals may be tough with clashing deadlines. Getting Bob and Bert’s Pigs in Blanket loaded fries and a white chocolate Kinder Bueno hot chocolate, or The Book Nook’s Christmas bagel with a Nutella hot chocolate or a praline latte, is a simple way to enjoy Christmas with your friends.

Featured image: Canva

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