This is shaping up quite nicely, thanks.
I've been out and about scouring the region for some decent Italians and I've narrowed it down to a shortlist of 3. I've deliberately stayed away from Glasgow and Edinburgh to try and make it a reasonable travelling distance for the majority, since you're all coming from different directions,
. None of the establishments have as yet finished their Christmas menus so it's still a bit of a guessing game as regards pricing etc, but having looked at their current menus I would imagine that no second mortgages are going to be required,
In no particular order they are:
Liberta Restaurant in Bathgate - http://www.liberta-restaurant.co.uk/
Pros: Only been going since March of this year so still 'fresh'. Loads of off-street parking within 1-2 minutes walk. Friends who've been recommend it. Separate 'function room' upstairs to cater for larger groups.
Cons: Only been going since March of this year so still 'finding their feet', resulting in a couple of negative reviews on Tripadvisor. If you're coming by public transport, Bathgate railway station (with direct services to Edinburgh and Glasgow Queen Street) is 10-15 minute walk / bus stops are 10 minutes walk, but with no direct service to Edinburgh or Glasgow as you have to go via Livingston.
Antonio's Restaurant in Falkirk - Antonio's Restaurant Falkirk for top class Italian cuisine and fine wines
Pros : Loads of off-street parking within 2-3 minutes walk. If you're coming by public transport, Falkirk Grahamston railway station (with direct services to Edinburgh and Glasgow Queen Street) is a 3 minute walk. I've been here several times and have been well-pleased each time. An area for larger groups is available in the main restaurant.
Con's : A few negative reviews on Tripadvisor (but not from me) but some recent new staff members (from a rival restaurant) should address the problems highlighted. If you're coming by public transport, the bus station is a 15 minute walk although it does offer direct links to Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Cibo e Vino in Stirling - Cibo E Vino - Home
Pros : Very authentically Italian. Rated highly on Tripadvisor. Load of on-street parking 2-5 minutes walk. If you're coming by public transport, the railway station and the bus station (both with direct links to Glasgow and Edinburgh) are a 4 minute walk.
Cons : The only off-street parking available is in a multi-storey,
, about 5 minutes walk away. Small restaurant which might struggle a bit to serve a large group all at once - we could conceivably occupy more than half the seats. Located within a shopping arcade which means the restaurant has to close at 9pm on a weekday and 10pm on a Saturday. A couple of negative comments on Tripadvisor but they were a while ago now.
The consensus of them all is that the best time would be during week commencing 10th December so I'm provisionally looking at Wednesday 12th around 7.30pm, although it might have to be a bit earlier if we chose the Stirling venue. They will all be emailing me details once they're available, but in the meantime - any comments or observations which could sway the final decision?