You’re graduating – congratulations! This means you’re on your own, it’s time for a job and your parents are about to cut you off.

Translation: You better really enjoy your final goodbye meal on them after commencement, because from now on your on-your-own-diet will probably consist of Top Ramen and fast food pit stops. It’s a tough job market out there, but at least you’ll be able to face it with a full stomach!

Benihana ( You still haven’t outgrown the erupting volcano, fried rice beating, heart-and-shrimp-tail-flipping, and neither have we. At Benihana, you know you just can’t possibly go wrong. From delicious fried rice to steak, chicken and shrimp, you’ll leave very satisfied and delighted from watching the chef at work along the way.

C & O Trattoria (31 Washington Blvd., Marina del Rey; 310-823-9491): If you’re looking for great Italian food and an even better time, choose this restaurant. C & O is known for serving plates and plates of killer garlic rolls, which you can now feast on since you don’t have to sit next to anyone in class, and for their nightly sing-along to “That’s Amore.” Stand up and toast glasses with the ones you love, enjoy enormous portions for reasonable prices and a Venice Beach landmark known for its great food and even friendlier service. Now that’s amore!

(9646 Little Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills; 310-205-8990): For you graduates who feel like a small fish in a giant pond, even if you are feeling a little uneasy about the times to come, I assure you that you will not feel seasick any longer when you experience all this restaurant has to offer. The restaurant’s lovely ambiance includes a serpentine aquarium winding through the cocktail lounge that leads you to the French Colonial-themed main dining room. From Asian tapas to incredible seafood to a menu for the “Crustacean Lite Vegetarian,” this restaurant has got it down!

Engine Co. No. 28
(644 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles; 213-624-6996): Maybe you want to start off your post-grad journey not by setting sail, but by fire truck? Reminiscent of the classic grills of San Francisco and New York, the menu at Engine Co. No. 28 is inspired by the regional cooking of country-wide firehouses – and it is delicious! With a menu ranging from fried chicken (get it, trust me!) to pastas of all kinds and their famous meatloaf, fire up your post-graduation with Engine Co. No. 28.

The Ivy (113 N. Robertson Blvd., Los Angeles; 310-274-8303): Hopefully you will have a white picket fence of your own someday, but in the meantime start your post-grad journey with a restaurant that has one of its own. The Ivy attracts all the celebrities, who choose the Ivy for the comfy, warm atmosphere where pillows adorn ever seat and certainly for the unbelievable food. You name it, the Ivy’s got it. You little graduated starlets deserve to eat like A-listers, so remember to book early!  

Lawry’s The Prime Rib (100 N. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills; 310-652-2827): Since 1938 Lawry’s has been doing something right, and hopefully you’ll have the same success rate in your future endeavors. Lawry’s makes it their goal to make you feel like a privileged guest. Now, go ahead and eat like one. In a warm and luxurious atmosphere, choose from a variety of cuts of Prime Rib, lobster or salmon and lots and lots of Yorkshire pudding. With food cut at tableside, Lawry’s is certainly a “cut above the rest,” and so too are you, you graduate!

Morton’s The Steakhouse ( If you’re looking for your classic upscale steak restaurant, think about choosing Morton’s, known for pleasing its guests with unparalleled steaks. You just can’t go wrong. Plus, when are you going to get another steak like that for a while? Think last-bang-for-your-buck, graduates!

Mystery Dinner (Palmer Room at Cucina Paradiso; 3387 Motor Ave., Los Angeles; 866-496-0535): Sure the future seems like a mystery, and so too can be your graduation dinner and show. While you try and solve the crime, feast on Grilled King Salmon or Beef Tenderloin among other dishes and delectable desert options. A fun experience for the whole family, it’s sure to provide good fun and some definite laughs! A good option for you graduates looking to avoid parental questions surrounding the mystery of your own impending future.

Sir Winston’s (1126 Queen’s Highway, Long Beach; 562-499-1657): Before you set sail after graduation and embark on new journeys, first start by feasting at the Queen Mary’s most elegant restaurant: Sir Winston’s. You can expect award-winning Continental and California cuisine as well as an extensive wine list and panoramic views of the city. Consider finishing off the night with a stay in one of the ship’s 314 rooms, especially if you have really tapped into that extensive wine list.

Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill (189 The Grove Drive, Los Angeles; 323-937-6800): If you’re looking for an All-American menu, and you aren’t afraid to get your hands a little sticky, check out the Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill at the Grove. They might be known for their ribs, but you should know there is also a lot more on the menu if you aren’t feeling the barbecue. Other options include seafood, prime rib or a refreshing salad. It’s upscale without being too proper, so you can enjoy a casual but delicious meal!

Yamashiro (1999 N. Sycamore Ave., Hollywood; 323-466-5125): Tucked away in the Hollywood Hills, Yamashiro has unparalleled “Calasian cuisine” in the setting of a Japanese palace. You are sure to feel like graduated royalty when you look out at the Hollywood and downtown L.A. skyline and feast on sushi, lobster, filet mignon and Kobe beef.

Now choosing from this list is the hard part, but at least you know you have a college degree’s worth of experience to enlist in making your final decision. Wherever you choose to go, spend time with the people you love who are so proud of you and excited for you.

And good luck on the journey ahead. I bet it will be a great one! Now eat, graduates, eat!