The 8 Best Restaurants To Have A Group Dinner

Everyone finally agreed on a date for the group dinner. Choosing a spot should be the easy part.
interior of dining room

photo credit: Angie Mosier

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.


photo credit: Mhandy Gerard

Soul Food

Castleberry Hill

$$$$Perfect For:Big GroupsCasual Weeknight DinnerClassic Establishment


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There are two soul food restaurants whose long history wraps around Atlanta like the kudzu you see everywhere, The Busy Bee Cafe and Paschal’s. Back in the day, Paschal’s was like the Avengers headquarters—a gathering spot for hero civil rights activists like Martin Luther King, Jr., John Lewis, and Andrew Young. It’s still a great venue for big groups, but these days, you’ll see locals, corporate types rocking the latest in lanyard fashion, and families hanging out at the large two-level restaurant that also has an event space. Join them in appreciating massive photos of the aforementioned icons on the restaurant’s walls while you dig into your savory greens, cinnamony candied yams, buttery mashed potatoes, and sweet cornbread that could double as dessert.

For upscale group dining, hit The Optimist. Their massive dining hall could easily fit one or two of the fishing boats that catch the fresh seafood featured on their menu. And the large space is routinely packed with business teams and couples, so you'll have to be proactive to secure a reservation in the main dining room. And you'll have to be 10 steps ahead if you want to pin down the semi-private space well before that 18-person engagement dinner does. This buzzy West Midtown spot is a crowd pleaser because of always-reliable hits like their legendary, meaty lobster roll or creamy smoked fish chowder. But for those in your group who’d prefer to stay on dry land, the double stacked cheeseburger is a worthy choice.

Got friends who don’t know how to use their inside voice? Your large group of loud talkers will fit right in at Gunshow amidst all the noise and chaos. Keep the group conversation going without having to flag down a waiter since a bar cart makes its rounds while chefs on the floor present dishes to each table. Just quiet your friends for a few seconds, so you can hear the chefs explain creative dishes like a cold bulgogi topped with miso ice cream and bits of a waffle cone. Their constantly changing menu is more unpredictable than the crew’s flakiest friend, so never get tied to a dish. And for groups of eight or more, this Glenwood Park spot hooks up your table with a 10-course family style meal.

From their large outdoor space with long wooden tables to roving beer carts, Ladybird in Old Fourth Ward is a great place to spend a long afternoon with your gang of friends. The vibes and menu give childhood camp retreat with hotdogs, burgers, and big grilled meat platters. So once everyone arrives, order the Patio Punch and share their Backyard BBQ Board, which comes with good pulled pork, ribs, sausage, and sides. It gets packed on the weekends, so get there early to snag a table. And there are several event spaces and food packages if you're looking to organize a bigger shindig.

Everybody loves a good steakhouse, especially when that steak restaurant is helmed by an Atlanta own celebrity chef. The simple but stylish Midtown restaurant offers a catch-all of favorites to please a large, usually inharmonious crew who can’t even agree on a playlist. With several choice cuts of steak, crab claws drenched in Cajun butter, and lobster mac and cheese—a crowd favorite with big chunks of lobster—you may find refreshing agreement for once. Small groups can feel comfortable walking in. But if you’re rolling up with a whole a*s team of 10 or more (and eight or more on weekends), you should book reservations through the venue’s event planner.

We all have that one friend we lie to and say the dinner reservation is 30 minutes earlier than it actually is in the hopes they’ll be on time. If even that doesn’t ensure punctuality, there’s always Nine Mile Station on the rooftop of O4W’s Ponce City Market. The $25 per person deposit at the time of reservation (which gets credited on the final bill) grants access to Skyline Park’s carnival games and mini golf. So instead of playing the waiting game while listening to your stomach growl, you can at least grab a drink and play a real game. When the last stragglers make it, the dishes at this gastropub, like juicy P.E.I. mussels and perfectly thin beef carpaccio, have powerful flavors that’ll make time irrelevant. Just wait to snap the group picture in front of the epic skyline view when the crew is all there, okay?

Now that the Eastside BeltLine runs across Two Urban Licks’ back patio, the old faithful is an even better choice for planners of big group dinners looking for good wood-fired cuisine and drinks to go with a lively scene. We’ve come to trust that their live music and smoked salmon on crispy housemade kettle chips will always win approval at the table. And with multiple dining rooms fit into the massive brick building, you could easily plan two separate group dinners to dash between if you’re leading a double life. We won’t judge.

There isn’t a more convenient restaurant for a pack of hungry downtown conventioners than White Oak, which sits across the street from the always-jumping Hyatt Regency. The New American eatery has a modern farmhouse aesthetic, lots of natural light, and a couple of private rooms ideal for that one work friend who laughs a little too loud. And then there’s the farm-fresh menu of seasonal vegetables, golden chicken, and hearty halibut, which speaks with a slight Dixie twang yet will still please that New Jersey coworker who usually only eats steak.

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We like the unpredictability of this Glenwood Park spot and the noisy and somewhat chaotic atmosphere in the dining room with chefs on the floor and a bar cart making the rounds.

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New in town? We have some suggestions.

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