Graduation marks a milestone capping off years of study and hard work. Whether it’s from high school, college, grad school, or another type of program, with a new grad in the family, you’ll want to commemorate this special occasion and celebrate together. There are many different graduation party ideas in Atlanta, but one of our favorite ways to honor a grad is with a nice dinner out on the town.
Some people choose to host a graduation party at home or commemorate the occasion in other ways, like with a trip or other fun activities. The possibilities are nearly endless, but eating out at a nice restaurant remains one of the most traditional ways to celebrate a graduation. Hosting a graduation dinner at an Atlanta restaurant feels more special than celebrating at home — plus there’s no cooking or catering, prep work, or clean up! And for families who live out of town, a graduation party at a restaurant is even more convenient and straightforward.
A graduation dinner is a great reason to get dressed up, invite all the friends and family, and order your favorite foods. Be sure to take lots of photos to make the memories of this special night last forever. It’s a good idea to call ahead of time to the restaurant you choose to see if they recommend or require reservations — especially for larger groups. Most restaurants can easily accommodate larger parties with some advance notice.
Best Restaurants for a Graduation Dinner in Atlanta
There are so many great spots to celebrate graduation in the Atlanta area, with restaurants of all types of styles and cuisines. For anyone wondering where to have a graduation dinner in Atlanta, this list can help you decide. Get ready to toast your grad at any of these exciting restaurants. Here are our favorites.
- Saint Cecilia
- White Oak Kitchen & Cocktails
- 5Church Atlanta
- Under the Cork Tree
- 26 Thai Kitchen & Bar
- Wrecking Bar Brewpub
- Alma Cocina
- Catch 12
Located in the Pinnacle Building, in the popular Buckhead neighborhood, Saint Cecilia is a can’t-miss spot for upscale dining. Expect fresh ingredients and Old-World style here, with an enticing menu of European coastal cuisine from Atlanta chef and restaurant owner Ford Fry. Seafood, pasta dishes, and shareable small plates take inspiration from the coastal areas of France, Italy, and Spain. It’s a unique combination that works well and blends seamlessly, providing delicious options for your night out.
For grads that are of age to celebrate with libations, Saint Cecilia offers a wide selection of wines, beers, and specialty cocktails. After dinner, don’t miss the delicious dessert menu, especially the chocolate tiramisu tart. Come early to enjoy a coastal European tradition — Apero hour — featuring cocktail specials and a new menu of fresh ingredients and small plates. The dining room at Saint Cecilia is a perfect place for an intimate dinner celebration or choose from several private event spaces for a large group.
White Oak Kitchen & Cocktails
For modern twists on traditional Southern fare, try this downtown Atlanta hotspot — right on the corner of Baker and Peachtree streets. White Oak Kitchen & Cocktails has a gorgeously appointed interior, featuring, yes, white oak, as well as reclaimed wood throughout. The custom 360-degree Barrel Bar gets its aesthetic inspiration from whiskey barrels, and it’s clear whiskeys and bourbons are the stars of the cocktail menu here. The Barrel Bar has earned the distinction of Best Whiskey Bar in Georgia from Thrillist magazine, as well as many other awards and accolades.
The kitchen at White Oak boasts a menu that blends traditional with contemporary, rural with metropolitan, serving up familiar favorites in beautifully plated gourmet presentations. You’ll find friendly Southern hospitality served up alongside the classic dishes and creative cocktails. The huge dining room seats up to 300 people, and private spaces are available for larger groups. The not-to-be-missed dessert menu at White Oak is perfect for celebrations such as graduation dinners. Try the sweet potato beignets for a tasty twist on a Southern treat.
This hip Midtown restaurant has a sophisticated atmosphere perfect for dining and celebrating. You’ll love hanging out in their self-described cutting-edge interior design, full of modern touches and pops of bright color. The rooftop patio at 5Church Atlanta is a fun destination for celebrating al fresco, with its funky patio furniture and yummy social hour menu.
At 5Church Atlanta, you’ll find traditional American fare alongside Southern-inspired favorites, and an extensive beer and wine menu. You’ll feel tempted to try each of the unique specialty cocktails, like the Holy Water or the Art of War. When you visit 5Church Atlanta, be sure to take in the original artwork all over the walls and ceilings, created exclusively for the restaurant. Ask the host for a tour of the custom works to see it all.
Ecco, which serves traditional and seasonal European and Mediterranean fare, has locations in both Midtown and the Buckhead neighborhood. Both locations feature a stylish atmosphere, great food, and award-winning wine lists. Dine and celebrate in their comfortable dining rooms or patios, or reserve a private room at either location for a larger party.
The chefs at Ecco have carefully curated their menus. Each location has an experienced executive chef and a unique menu. At both Ecco spots, you can expect to find fresh, local ingredients and diverse, bold European flavors. Try any of the amazing pasta dishes, flatbreads, or any of the other inventive main courses at Ecco. Celebrate your graduation at this nationally recognized Atlanta neighborhood spot.
Under the Cork Tree
Featuring a delicious array of tapas, as well as other traditional Mediterranean fares like wood-fired pizzas, pasta, and paellas, Under the Cork Tree is a relative newcomer to the Sandy Springs neighborhood of Atlanta. Small plates of tapas are perfect for sharing and fun for a celebratory atmosphere. The open kitchen at Under the Cork Tree serves up the freshest possible ingredients and bold, exotic Mediterranean flavors. Enjoy your dinner and cocktails in the comfortable dining room, outdoor patio, or the lounge and bar. Larger spaces are available to reserve as well.
This restaurant has chosen to display their extensive wine list via interactive iPads, ensuring an updated, informative menu of wines for customers. The name for the restaurant draws from a classic kids’ story from Spain, Ferdinand the Bull. In the story, gentle Ferdinand wants to sit under the cork tree, smelling the flowers instead of fighting in the bullfighting ring. The owners of Under the Cork Tree love the philosophy of this classic book and like to apply it to life and to their restaurant’s atmosphere. Come sit under the cork tree here and enjoy the small things in life!
Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse started back in 1985, in Boston, when young restaurateur Steve DeFillippo purchased a restaurant by the same name and gave it a complete overhaul. The redone restaurant earned rave reviews and eventually expanded to other locations around the country, including Atlanta. The extensive chef-driven menu at Davio’s features simple regional Italian dishes — favorites that should please any palate. The attentive staff and variety of dishes make this a great place to celebrate with a big group — perfect for graduations.
All of the classic, authentic pasta dishes at Davio’s, especially the gnocchi, are good bets, as well as anything from the grill. As a starter, try their unique versions of spring rolls — get one in each flavor and share it with the group! Davio’s is well-experienced in accommodating groups of any size and offering the best in service and classic Italian cuisine. Watch the legendary cooking in the open kitchen and experience the delicious handmade pastas, prepared and served with expert care.
26 Thai Kitchen & Bar
This authentic Thai spot is the brainchild of owner and restaurateur Niki Pattharakositkul, who fulfilled a lifelong dream and opened this hip Atlanta eatery at only 26 years old. 26 Thai Kitchen & Bar brings the highest quality tastes of Thailand to the heart of Atlanta, sourcing local ingredients prepared by experienced Thai chefs. The gorgeous loft-like interior is open and inviting, decorated with modern Thai flair and unique touches.
The menu at 26 Thai Kitchen & Bar features many of the craveable classics from Thailand, like pad Thai, fried rice, and curries, as well as exciting new combinations. Try the pineapple boat, which features a stir-fry beautifully served in a real pineapple shell. The bar menu has enticing signature cocktails and nightly drink specials. With the gorgeous décor, great service, and delicious Thai food, this location provides the right combination for a celebratory dinner out.
Wrecking Bar Brewpub
This unique Atlanta spot, housed in a gorgeous, historically significant late-Victorian building that was once a stately home, has something for everyone. Having given way to several other businesses over the years, it’s now the Wrecking Bar Brewpub, and is a perfect location for any lover of unique local architecture and eclectic details. Several different spaces, including private event rooms and a charming outdoor patio, give a homey, laid-back vibe and a cozy atmosphere.
The Wrecking Bar Brewpub is more than just architecture and charm, though. Fans of craft beers and gastropub fare will love this unique spot. They brew several award-winning beers on-site in a seven-barrel system, resulting in a multitude of beers to try in both classic and more experimental styles. The menu also has an extensive array of wines and cocktails to choose from, as well as a food menu rooted in pub classics taken up a notch. Ingredients are sourced locally when possible, and menu items change seasonally. The combination of great food and drinks, paired with a unique atmosphere, make this stop an excellent choice for a memorable celebration dinner.
For a lively, casual-hip atmosphere and delicious authentic Mexican fare, plan your graduation celebration dinner at Alma Cocina. Alma Cocina, which loosely translates from Spanish as “soul kitchen,” provides plenty of Latin soul and contemporary Mexican and Latin American flavor to downtown Atlanta. The décor features a playful Western motif, contributing to the fun vibe and inviting atmosphere here.
The drinks menu at Alma Cocina proudly features the most diverse tequila selection in the city and a selection of curated margaritas and other cocktails to match the delicious Mexican and Latin foods, including classic tacos, ceviches, and small plates. A wide variety of salsas and guacamoles make tasty shareable starters for the table at a celebratory dinner. With an experienced executive chef at the helm and an attentive staff, Alma Cocina is sure to please your entire graduation party.
One of the best places to have a graduation dinner in Atlanta, Catch 12, is on the ground floor of the sophisticated Twelve Hotel Autograph Collection. This exciting restaurant takes upscale American dining to the next level, providing a chic yet swanky atmosphere, perfect for a special night out celebrating a graduate. Plan a night out at Catch 12, starting with cocktails at the elegant bar or outdoor terrace, then dinner in the main dining room — or reserve one of several private rooms for a larger party out on the town.
The cocktail menu at Catch 12 features inventive cocktails alongside classic favorites, and an extensive array of beer and wine too. Enjoy small plates at the bar before dinner to whet your appetite. At dinnertime, enjoy the view of the open kitchen, or the popular sushi bar in the sophisticated dining room. The food menu here features upscale American and traditional steakhouse fare, as well as enticing, fresh sushi choices. Catch 12 can provide the trendy, modern atmosphere for a night of toasting and celebrating, and the delicious, craveable food to wow your whole group. You’re sure to have a memorable night with your special night at Catch 12.
Book Your Graduation Dinner Today
Atlanta has no shortage of innovative, exciting options for a celebratory graduation dinner out on the town. Whether you plan on a small, intimate dinner with a few family members or a larger group of family and friends, you’re sure to find exactly what you’re looking for with these fun and interesting locations to celebrate this momentous occasion together. Whatever type of atmosphere or cuisine your group — and especially your guest of honor — enjoys, Atlanta is sure to deliver.
If graduation for someone in your family is coming up soon in Atlanta, choose a dinner location and call ahead now for reservations. Contact us today to reserve your space at Catch 12 for the ultimate special dinner for your Atlanta grad. Your whole group will have a fun and exciting dinner to look forward to, celebrating the accomplishments of your graduate.