Best Restaurants for Group Dinners in NYC
There’s nothing worse than going out to dinner for a friend’s birthday, and spending too much money for a subpar meal. Sometimes great company isn’t enough, and factors like seating arrangements, underwhelming food, or overpriced cocktails can spoil a great time. After attending many group dinners during my 8 years in NYC, I’m happy to share my faves for every occasion. I mainly chose these based off of great vibes, and good food and drinks at good prices. I’ve been to every one of these and had lots of drinks and a great time! So, when booking your own reservation, I would double check that it’s the right vibe for you.
This is an all-around winner when it comes to group gatherings. The food is good, it’s nothing special, but it’s good. But it’s really about the casual, fun vibes here that I think make this place worth visiting for groups. I’ve been here for a group lunch, dinner, or even just drinks. There are several locations in the city, and each one is that perfect balance of casual and casually hip. I recommend ordering a bunch to share with the table, and getting margaritas.
This place gets wild — whether its for brunch or dinner, you can count on having a party. I prefer the Soho location for meals, and the 7A location for group drinks and small bites. For my 21st birthday, I had a group of about 10 people (including my parents) head out to dinner at Miss Lily’s Soho and it was perfection. I recommend sharing dishes once again, but you can also order your own. Miss Lily’s also has fun Caribbean cocktails served in pitchers, which make for a great time. And finally, the vibe is something you cant get anywhere else with upbeat music, and fun servers who will help you get the party started. I recommend getting the jerk chicken to share, and then taking it from there.
On the upscale, carnivorous side of things, Cote is the cream of the crop when it comes to Korean BBQ in NYC. They serve a variety of high quality meats, that you can cook on a communal “grill” in the center of the table. The wine list is exceptional, the food is exceptional, and no one will leave here unhappy. Just be ready to shell out some extra $$$ for an experience like this.
If you want that Sunday Supper kind of group dinner, Sauce has a family style pri-fixe that will make everyone feel comforted and happy. They have a semi-private and private option on their site, but I would recommend calling to ask about the menu before you book a reservation.
This Mexican restaurant has a beautiful, open atmosphere and shareable Mexican dishes, like queso fundido, tacos, and of course, some good old churros to end the meal. If you need to find a place for a birthday dinner or brunch in a pinch, Rosie’s is the spot. Also great for girl’s nights or bachelorette parties.
I think I’ve been to San Marzano at least 10 times, and every time, it was for a birthday or group dinner. The reason it’s so great is because they have pasta dishes for everyone (celiacs and gluten lovers alike,) and they have great wine deals for groups. Have I had better pasta dishes in my life? Yes. But would I come here again because it’s just the perfect group dinner spot? Absolutely. Oh, and it’s a pretty affordable option with great vibes and outdoor seating.
This hip Harlem joint has phenomenal soul food and a fun supper club downstairs, which you can book for private parties. But, even if you don’t want to book that downstairs venue, the restaurant is great for meeting up with friends, enjoying cocktails, food, and jazz. When I dined here, I was at the Ginny’s Supper Club in the basement, and I’m itching to go back and enjoy the main dining room.
Peking Duck House
If you’re vegan or vegetarian, just scroll to the next one. But, if you’re an adventurous diner who enjoys a restaurant with character, and some great peking duck wraps, then this place is for you. If you don’t plan on ordering the whole peking duck, which is prepared table side, then skip this and go to my next recommendation.
Szechuan Cuisine at its finest, Han Dynasty brings the heat to your group dinner. In the back of the East Village location, they have a large round table that seats 8-12 people. They also have affordable tasting menus for groups. I used to live near the EV location, and it was always packed. I also recommend being able to eat spicy food if you come here! They’ve got some hot dishes.
This is less of that Sunday supper meatballs type of Italian, and more of the elevated pasta dishes and fun cocktails vibe. In terms of pricing, Vic’s hits that sweet spot of not too overpriced, but not cheap. It’s definitely a fun place for a birthday dinner, or just a group date!
Tapas can be a hit or a miss, but they are damn delicious at Boqueria. The vibes here are also casual and hip, and the restaurant is almost always crowded. This one is better for smaller groups (4-6) and they have multiple locations.
This is a fun one. Khe-Yo is a Southeast Asian restaurant in Tribeca with lots of space, and delicious, unique dishes on the menu. I can guarantee you will have a unique dining experience here because the menu is unlike any other I’ve seen in NYC. I’ve been here for a work dinner, and I’ve seen a lot of corporate groups come here to enjoy some unique dishes.
Where my party people at?!?! La Palapa is an East Village Mexican restaurant with shareable dishes and reliable margarita pitchers. I’ve definitely had a few personal pitchers here back in my day. This is a great place to celebrate a birthday.
If you need that *~trendy~* Meatpacking spot to grab dinner before going to the clurb, I recommend Santina. Yes, you can go to Catch, STK or Buddakan, but I think all of those are highly overrated. I went to Santina for a birthday dinner a few years ago, and I had a great time. The atmosphere is beautiful and the southern Italian food is great. I recommend sharing some starters, then ordering your own entrée.
I’ve been to a lot of steakhouses in NYC, and my experience at Quality Meats was by far my favorite. The service was excellent, the wine list was impressive, the vibes were fun, the steaks were out of this world, and the desserts were creative and shareable. On that note, there are lots of shareable plates you can order here. I recommend sharing starters, side dishes, and dessert. Order your own main course. Like all steakhouses, this is on the pricier end, so I think this is a special occasion place.
Beauty & Essex
If you’re hip and trendy and want to get the party started while at dinner, then Beauty & Essex is the spot for you. This place has a secret entrance through a pawn shop in the Lower East Side, and it turns into a lounge/bar later in the evening. The menu is new American comfort food shareable plates. This honestly is not my scene, but I’ve heard great things about birthday dinners here.