New York City has no shortage of restaurants to choose from, whether you're looking for a particular type of cuisine, need to accommodate a certain budget, or want to dine with a large group of friends, family, or colleagues. Even so, it can be challenging to find what you're looking for when you need it. Deciding on a whim to go out to dinner with a large group on a Saturday night without reservations might not be the quickest path to a successful evening. The plethora of restaurants that are available in the city includes a bevy of small, intimate establishments that would not be well suited to a boisterous crowd.
Luckily, we've put together a list of restaurants that should help you plan ahead next time you want to break bread with a large group. To create it, we leaned on personal experience, reservation apps like Resy, and overall restaurant reviews to single out which of the already excellent restaurants in the city also lend themselves well to group dining. In other words, we're not just going to send you to a place because it can fit a lot of people. It also has to be good.
Located in the liminal space between Williamsburg and Greenpoint, Kokomo specializes in Caribbean cuisine and delightful cocktails, which are great for breaking the ice and getting the conversation going, even between perfect strangers. So if you're bringing your quiet friend to a birthday dinner for someone he doesn't know, there's no need to worry at Kokomo. Just check that they don't have any food allergies, as parties of more than 10 people are served a prix fixe menu.
But don't think of this as a restriction. Rather, having the kitchen select the dishes for the party will leave guests free to sit back and chat with everyone around them instead of burying their noses in a menu and making themselves inaccessible.
Caribbeanhttps://www.kokomonyc.com/(347) 799-121265 Kent Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11249
Chef Michael Solomonov of Zahav in Philadelphia and Laser Wolf (upstairs from K'Far, in the same building) heads up this Israeli restaurant, which is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, including large groups. In particular, the glass-enclosed patio is the perfect space to book for a bigger party of up to 40 people. The plentiful natural light filtering in, combined with the luscious greenery, will make you feel like you're somewhere far away from Brooklyn, even in the winter.
For smaller groups, you can also book the indoor private dining room, which can accommodate parties of 10 to 25 people. If you happen to stop by for breakfast or brunch, don't skip the shakshuka with charred tomato sauce and Bulgarian feta, while the crispy mushroom hummus is a surprisingly tasty lunch option.
Israelihttps://www.kfarbrooklyn.com/(718) 215-715497 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11249
Pizza is always a great option for feeding a large group with minimal fuss, and nowhere is this truer than at Leo in Williamsburg. The restaurant, which features on this list of best pizza places in Brooklyn, provides parties of between 7 and 15 people a dedicated menu to be enjoyed family style. This includes a selection of appetizers, a Caesar salad, butter beans, several slices of Leo's famous pizza, and dessert, plus anything you might want to add a la carte.
Another perk of dining at Leo is the convenience of booking large groups directly on Resy. Many other restaurants require guests to reach out to a specific email address for groups of 8 or more. At Leo, you can just book a regular, albeit large, table online as you normally would, without having to talk to a scary human being.
Pizzahttps://www.leo-nyc.com/ (718) 384-6531123 Havemeyer St, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Spanish Diner At Mercado Little Spain
Being able to book a table for a large group online can certainly be an asset. It means you can put the idea out to your group chat with your friends, and within minutes, someone will have been able to secure a reservation, without having to go through complicated email chains with some faceless restaurant events person. This is what can happen at the Spanish Diner at Mercado Little Spain, where you can book online for parties of up to 15 people.
This shouldn't come as too much as a surprise, given how large the dining space is. Located on the ground floor of Hudson Yards, this space is as industrial chic as they come, which is a style that favors large, open dining spaces. Not only that, but Spanish Diner can open its windows in the summer and spill out onto the adjacent sidewalks, providing even more space in which large groups can dine, move around, and laugh merrily. A simple starter that everyone will love is the Pan Con Tomate, or bread brushed with tomato –- a staple food in chef José Andres' native northern Spain.
Spanishhttps://www.littlespain.com/restaurant/spanish-diner/ (646) 495-1242435 W 30th St, New York, NY 10001
For those nights when you just happen to be out drinking with friends and someone gets hungry right around dinner time, as you do, there really ought to be more restaurants in New York City that can fit large groups without the need for reservations. Unfortunately, if we're talking about Manhattan or Brooklyn, we will have to keep wishing for the impossible. But if you happen to be out in Queens, and specifically Rockaway Beach, you can try squeezing into Uma's, a delicious family-owned Uzbek restaurant that has a decent amount of space and tables that can be pushed together to fit your friends.
Just make sure everyone gets at least one scallion pancake with a dollop of yogurt sauce. This might be one of the restaurant's best dishes, and it just so happens to be an easy dish to share -– and inexpensive to boot.
Uzbekhttps://umasrockaway.com/ 92-07 Rockaway Beach Blvd, Far Rockaway, NY 11693(718) 318-9100
The thing about large groups of people is that everyone has different preferences and tastes, so it's best to take them to a restaurant that can act as an all-around people-pleaser. Somewhere that just seems to appeal to the masses, without being of the masses — that is, a good, solid restaurant that has something for everyone and makes it well. It would also help if it were centrally located. That place is Le Rock, which is smack in the middle of all middles: Midtown Manhattan.
That is not to say that the food is bland. The more adventurous members of your party can opt for the sweetbreads shrimp etouffee, while the more cautious sort will be perfectly comfortable with a good coq au vin. And if you were hoping for Frenchette, one of Tasting Table's picks for the best French restaurant in NYC, at Le Rock, you won't be far off. It's from the same team of chefs but with a bigger dining room and longer menu — perfect for bigger groups.
Frenchhttps://www.lerocknyc.com/ (332) 258-873445 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10111
Spend a leisurely lunch or dinner with a big group of friends at Maison Pickle. The online reservation system allows you to book a table online for up to 10 people, and the large and spacious dining room can easily accommodate some boisterous activity if you're planning on having a good time.
But don't forget that dining at Maison Pickle comes with great responsibility: you must try the French dip sandwich, a principle more than a food, on which the restaurant was based. This beef sandwich on house made French bread comes in several iterations, including the Reuben, with Gruyere and sauerkraut. But jokes aside, if you're not into sandwiches, there are plenty of other great options on the menu.
Americanhttps://www.maisonpickle.com/(212) 496-91002315 Broadway, New York, NY 10024
When you're dealing with a large group of people in New York City, chances are that at least one of them is going to be a vegetarian or vegan, maybe more. Opting for a steakhouse, in these cases, might not seem like the best option.
abcV, by celebrated New York chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, can save the day in these situations. The menu is mostly vegan, always plant-based, and favors ingredients yielded by sustainable farming. This alone makes it a good place to accommodate a group of people who might have vegan requirements and health-conscious tendencies. But what's also great about abcV, besides that the food is good, is that it can fit groups of up to 14 people in the main dining room, so enjoying dinner here doesn't always have to be a private affair.
Vegetarianhttps://www.abcv.nyc/ 38 E 19th St, New York, NY 10003(212) 475-5829
If you're looking for a restaurant in New York City that serves good, solid American cuisine that will never disappoint, you can't go wrong with The Smith, a small chain with locations in Nomad, Lincoln Square, Midtown, and the East Village. If you're lucky and don't mind a little wait, you can get in without reservations, even in a large group, as long as you don't arrive at peak time. The service is quick and the turnover fast, so this is not unthinkable. Otherwise, know that their private dining rooms can host up to 25 guests with reservations.
But if you stay in the main dining room, the lively atmosphere will allow your garrulous group to blend in with the rest of the noise, so don't worry about having to keep your tones hushed. Meanwhile, the menu has plenty of options for vegetarians, gluten-free diets, and consummate meat-eaters.
Americanhttps://thesmithrestaurant.com/ (212) 496-57001900 Broadway, New York, NY 10023
Family Meal At Blue Hill
The famous Blue Hill at Stone Barns, one of the top restaurants in the world, is all the way over in Pocantico Hills, upstate. Luckily, we have an outpost right here in Greenwich Village called Blue Hill, and even better, it serves family meals that make it a great spot for larger groups.
Parties of up to 8 people can reserve a table in the main dining room, while groups of up to 14 or 40 can book a private dining experience. Either way, meals will be served family style, no menu, as if you'd gone to somebody's house and they'd cooked up whatever they wanted for you and your group. You will be served at the pleasure of the chef and no doubt at yours as well.
https://www.bluehillfarm.com/family-meal(212) 539-177675 Washington Pl, New York, NY 10011
Dining in large groups doesn't always have to be a casual affair. While fancy tasting menus might be off the table, as many such restaurants tend to only make this style available to smaller parties, grandiose dinners are not. Indeed, Quality Bistro might be the perfect place to take a large group that's in the mood for something grand.
Owned by Michael Stillman, the CEO of other Quality Branded restaurants like Quality Eats and Quality Meats, this bistro has plenty of space to accommodate large groups in the main dining room, as well as a number of private spaces for larger parties. No matter your situation, you can expect fine-quality dining, pun intended.
Frenchhttps://www.qualitybistro.com/(212) 433-3330120 W 55th St, New York, NY 10019
Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao
Some of the best soup dumplings in New York City can be found in small, hole-in-the-wall establishments dotted throughout Chinatown, Koreatown, and, of course, Brooklyn. But when you have a large group, these tiny spaces just aren't going to work.
But don't despair; that doesn't mean a large group of people can't enjoy soup dumplings together. In fact, they can do so at Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao in Queens. Okay, so Flushing is a bit of a trek, but that plays in your group's favor, as it provides ample space and lower prices. Opt for the crab and pork soup dumplings, or experience the rainbow with the lucky six dumplings, which include one each of pork, crab and pork, chicken soup, scallop and pork, black truffle and pork, and shrimp and pork dumplings. Basically, you have to like pork to order these.
Chinesehttps://nanxiangxiaolongbao.com/(718) 321-383839-16 Prince St #104, Queens, NY 11354
Round tables do a lot to facilitate conversation in large groups. Everyone is more or less facing each other, as opposed to long, rectangular tables, where one side of the table may as well be a completely separate entity from the other. Luckily, Gramercy Tavern has plenty of round tables, even larger ones, along with some of the best food in the city.
Private dining rooms can fit up to 22, 40, or 50 guests, depending on the room, but you can also reserve a table for up to 8 guests in the main dining room, where you'll find those ideal round tables, while the tavern only allows for parties of 6 or fewer. Nothing on the menu is even remotely bad, but if you can only choose one main, go for the duck.
New Americanhttps://www.gramercytavern.com/ (212) 477-077742 E 20th St, New York, NY 10003
Lilia takes care of large groups as if they were family, which would be especially on the mark if you were planning on taking your family there. After all, this is to be expected. Lilia is an Italian restaurant run by chef Missy Robbins, who is known for serving fine food and creating a sense of warm hospitality in her restaurants. Indeed, the semi-private dining room can host up to 20 guests, all of whom are welcome to a set menu designed to be shared by all, like family.
Asking for a private dinner might be the best way to sample the cuisine at this hugely popular restaurant. Reservations in the main dining room are hard to come by, so booking your own separate event might be your best bet.
Italianhttps://www.lilianewyork.com/(718) 576-3095567 Union Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Empellón is already ranked 19th on the New York Times' list of best restaurants in the city, so we know the food is going to be good. But what about the atmosphere for large groups? Also good. The private boardroom can seat 12 people, while a handy system of movable partitions means the private dining spaces can be made larger or smaller depending on how many people they must accommodate.
As for the food and drinks, expect American cuisine with Mexican influences, as exemplified, for instance, by the taco selection, which is mostly comprised of ingredients that have nothing to do with Mexican cuisine except for the shell itself. Even so, the combination works and will leave you wanting to try the dishes everyone else ordered, too.
Mexicanhttps://www.empellon.com/events/empellon-midtown/(212) 380-1215510 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10022
Estela, which boasts one Michelin star and a frequent spot on the list of 50 Best Restaurants in the World, may not be the most spacious location for large groups, but it's willing to work with guests who are interested in full or partial restaurant buy-outs.
If you have a chance to dine here under such circumstances, don't miss your chance. The menu available for large groups may differ from the a la carte options in the main dining room, but it certainly won't disappoint. Chef Ignacio Mattos, who also heads up Altro Paradiso and Lodi, two of New York's finest dining establishments, knows how to deliver intriguing, surprising, and always delicious flavors.
New Americanhttps://estelanyc.com/#reservations(212) 219-769347 E Houston St 1st floor, New York, NY 10012
Rubirosa, a pizza joint in Little Italy, excels at pizza and group dining, making it a top contender on this list of top contenders. Groups of 8 to 22 diners can make a special booking where the restaurant will provide a family-style menu, including your choice of appetizers, pasta, and pizzas.
Be sure to include classic pizza options as well as those topped with vodka sauce. These are some of the restaurant's best creations, regardless of which toppings you add. The rest of the menu is not too shabby either, consisting mainly of Italian staples like lasagna and ravioli, executed flawlessly every time.
Italianhttps://www.rubirosanyc.com/group-dining/ (212) 965-0500235 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012
Casual evenings with friends, BBQ, and beer are some of the pleasures that make life worth living, all the more so if they happen at Hometown Bar-B-Que in Red Hook. The oak wood pit-smoked meats help create an authentic Southern barbecue flavor in the dishes, which are inspired by cuisines from around the world, as evidenced by the Korean sticky ribs and Oaxacan chicken. Not for nothing, this restaurant features on our list of best BBQ restaurants in the US.
As for groups, you'd be hard-pressed to find a party of less than six people at this establishment on a Saturday night. There are plenty of larger tables to accommodate bigger parties, while the typical barbecue culture -– where guests go up and order their food at the counter -– is alive and well here, removing the need for that awkward bill-splitting dance we all sometimes do.
Barbecuehttps://hometownbbq.com/(347) 294-4644454 Van Brunt St, Brooklyn, NY 11231
This restaurant bears the name of a typical Chinese dish of rice that boiled down into porridge. In fact, Congee Village specializes in this creation, offering it up with all sorts of variations, from blue crab to pork stomach and even snail and frog. It also excels at roast chicken, which, according to the New York Times, is prepared with a recipe that has been years in the making.
The careful attention given to the menu is reflected in the hospitality, which is one reason why the restaurant is such a popular location for birthday parties and other large gatherings. A number of private dining options are available, including round tables that facilitate the sharing of all those delicious porridges you're going to order.
Chinesehttps://congeenyc.com/(212) 941-1818100 Allen St, New York, NY 10002
Although mostly Italian in nature, the menu at Torrisi, which gained three stars from the venerable New York Times food critic Pete Wells, reaches far beyond the borders of Little Italy. Indeed, as Wells notes in his review, "crunchy, tender octopus, cloaked in soy sauce and spicy with fresh chilis, is recognizably and deliciously Vietnamese."
To enjoy this and other creations, book a round booth table where you and your large group can easily chat as you take bites out of each other's meals. In fact, don't worry too much about keeping the noise level down. The dining room at Torrisi is upbeat and energetic, so you and your gaggle of pals will fit right in.
Italianhttps://www.torrisinyc.com/about/(212) 254-3000275 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012
Ras Plant Based
A 2022 James Beard Award semifinalist, Ras Plant Based, in Crown Heights, provides groups of diners big and small with exquisite vegan Ethiopian food. A work of beauty to the eye as well as the tongue, each dish is based in tradition — with injera, traditional Ethiopian fermented bread, featuring prominently — while also remaining open to change.
The same can be said of the restaurant's system for booking large parties, which offers a range of options -– regarding menu and space –- depending on your party size and budget. And if you get the chance, order a serving of Mama's Tofu, inspired by the chef's mother and her secret spice blend.
Ethiopianhttps://www.rasplantbased.com/private-events/(718) 701-8801739 Franklin Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238
Read the original article on Tasting Table.