Big group dinners are fun in theory, until one friend says they stopped eating meat after watching a documentary (that you really should see), another won’t leave their neighborhood, and unless you made a reservation a year ago, most places will laugh at your request for a table for nine. But instead of deciding that maybe you should just have fewer friends, check out our guide to the best restaurants for group dinners.
We recommend The Optimist for most things, like a date, dinner with your parents, or just a solo lobster roll after a long day. Unsurprisingly, it also works well for groups. You can reserve your own private dining room and create a custom menu of their greatest hits, and they have a few options that work for groups of different sizes. If you go with the Oyster Bar private room, you also get access to the putt-putt course outside, which someone in your crew will be very psyched about.
A ticket to India isn’t really in your budget right now, so while you save up airline miles, eat at Chai Pani in the meantime. This Decatur spot is somewhere you’ll want to try as many dishes as you can, so bring a group and share everything. Get a mix of the chaats (small plates), the okra fries, and a sloppy Jai, which is accurately described as “the most awesome Sloppy Joe ever.” They also have plenty of vegan and vegetarian dishes, so it’s a great place to bring a group with different eating habits.
The next time your boss asks you to book a big client dinner, or your extended family is in town, bring them to Donetto in West Midtown. It’s a big space with a long bar and an open kitchen, but the dim lighting makes it feel kind of special. Their Italian-inspired menu is pricey, but the pastas are shareable and the steak for two is really enough for three. They also have a long wine list with some very reasonable options and their outdoor area will look great in the inevitable group photo you ask the waiter to take.
This Glenwood Park spot has a continually changing menu - with everything from Indian curried corn dogs to ham hock rillettes likely to make an appearance - and is one of the most unique dining experiences in the city. The portions are small, so order a bunch of dishes, and multiples of the favorites so everyone gets more than a bite. You probably won’t save room for dessert, but you should definitely still order it, because their banana pudding will be some of the best you’ll ever have.
From the large outdoor space with long wooden tables to the roving beer carts, Ladybird is a great place to spend a long afternoon. It gets packed on the weekends, so get there early to snag a table. Once everyone arrives, order the Patio Punch to share and their Backyard BBQ Board, which comes with pulled pork, ribs, sausage, and sides.
Maybe you accidentally made a reservation on the wrong night or five extra people decided to join an hour before dinner. Either way, when you need somewhere that you and your friends can walk into last minute, go to Midway Pub. They have bocce ball and corn hole, surprisingly great bar food, and lots of big picnic tables on their dog-friendly patio. The next time you have to pull an audible, this East Atlanta Village spot is here for you.
Barcelona Wine Bar makes planning a dinner for 10 almost simple. In addition to having some of our favorite sangria in the city, they offer a set-price menu for bigger parties that includes all of the tapas on the menu, starting at $35 per person. This place removes the stress of ordering for the table and will make sure there’s enough food for the whole group. Now all you have to worry about is how many carafes you’re going to order, and scoring a spot on their patio.
This upscale beer garden - with plenty of cocktail and wine options - takes up almost half of the Ponce City Market rooftop. So after your drink shows up, but before the plate of crispy pork belly does, make sure to join the masses in taking some shameless sunset pictures. The menu has plenty of small plates and entrees for you and your friends to share, either before or after the inevitable group photo during golden hour.
Aside from the fact that tacos are an easy option for a group, the big patio and margaritas at Red Pepper Taqueria make it a great choice for your next night out with half of your office. It’s the kind of place where having “just one drink” after dinner can quickly turn into a late night and it’s one of the more low key options around Buckhead.
If you and a few beach-starved friends want somewhere that will make the city feel a little less landlocked, Watchman’s in Krog Street Market is the place. The entrees on their seafood-heavy menu can get pricey, so stick with the small plates like grouper tartare and a shrimp roll, and definitely get the hush puppies. Bring a group to test out their impressive oyster selection, and make sure to get a spritz or daiquiri, too.
BoccaLupo is the neighborhood Italian spot that everyone wishes was around the corner from where they live. The food is a little nontraditional, like the bruschetta banh mi and tagliatelle with mushrooms and kimchi, but it’s all consistently good and constantly changing. They take reservations for groups of six or more, which is good because this place gets packed. Or, if you come early enough, you and your friends can take over the entire bar.
If you brought a group of people here for the wine alone, they would leave happy. Two Urban Licks has a 26-foot-tall tower of wine barrels, all of which they tap and serve directly to you. But when you’re all looking for some food after a glass or two, this Old Fourth Ward spot has plenty of snacks and entrees to split. The salmon chips and Wagyu tartare are a good place to start, or go big and get the lamb porterhouse.
When your big group includes a few dogs, Publico Kitchen’s big patio is super pet - and human - friendly. They even have a small menu for your dog, and a much longer one for everyone else. It’s a bit all over the place, with everything from tacos and ramen to a bahn mi sandwich, but everyone in your party will be able to find something. We also really like their brunch menu, so post up here on the weekends and even if you didn’t bring your own dog, we’re sure someone will share theirs with you anyway.
The next time you’re too distracted by being a year older to plan your birthday party, go to Gypsy Kitchen. It’s on the top of the Shops at Buckhead, it’s one of our favorite rooftops in the city, and anytime we’ve been it’s felt like a party - even if we’re not celebrating anything. The bulk of the menu is tapas and, since everything is under $15, you should get a lot. They have classics like patatas bravas, along with swordfish and duck al pastor tacos that everyone should have at least one of. Start with a few pitchers of sangria and see where the night takes you.
With its spacious dining room, patio, and skyline views, Tuk Tuk clearly deserves a spot on this list. It’s from the team behind Chai Yo, so you know that the Thai food they serve is going to be great, but thankfully it’s a lot less expensive. The larb kai should be on your table, along with a few noodle and curry dishes. They also have Thai-inspired desserts like a lychee cheesecake and the Bangkok snow cone with rose syrup and condensed milk, either of which is a great way to end dinner.
Grindhouse isn’t new and there’s a strong chance you’ve gone to one of their locations after a lame dinner or for a weeknight burger. But their new spot on Memorial Drive has the added bonus of being a good place to hang out after you’re done eating. There’s shuffleboard, ping pong, and an outdoor space, along with all of the burgers that brought you here in the first place.