The Best Restaurants For Group Dinners In Austin

Not every restaurant in Austin can (or will) fit your group of eight. Here are 11 that can.
The Best Restaurants For Group Dinners In Austin image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

It used to be easier. You finished one hell of a tee ball game and all the parents took you out for some pizza to celebrate. There was always a restaurant nearby, with a table big enough for the team, and somehow food magically appeared. There were also fountain soda concoctions and unlimited quarters for gumballs. It was the original group dinner.

Those days are gone, and the quarters no longer grow on trees. So when it’s time for you and your friends to meet up for dinner, you need to be strategic. Or, you just need to head to one of the spots on this list. You might still need reservations for some of them, and others will definitely have a wait, but we can all but guarantee they’ll all have plenty of space for you and your crew. 


photo credit: Roger Ho


South Lamar

$$$$Perfect For:Big GroupsCasual Weeknight DinnerDate NightDrinks & A Light BiteLiterally EveryoneLunch
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There’s a little something for everyone at Loro, including barbecue for the carnivores in the group, excellent salads for the vegetarians, and chicken nuggets (OK it’s karaage, and it’s great) for the friend who still eats like a child. And despite being a collaboration between two Austin powerhouses—Franklin Barbecue and Uchi—you won’t need to spend hours in line, or grab a reservation a month in advance to eat at Loro. And with long rows of tables that feel more like a camp dining hall than a large restaurant on South Lamar, it’s usually not too hard to grab a table for you and your seven closest friends.



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Don’t let the lederhosen fool you, this beer garden has a solid lineup of sausages to soak up your beer. And with picnic tables aplenty, Banger’s makes group dining easy. Try the bratwurst or drunk chicken for the classic stuff, or the duck, bacon, and fig if you’re ready for less traditional encased meats. Also, the poutine works well for sharing and having a focused conversation about how underrated cheese curds are. Weekends can get crowded, so come during the off-hours to secure a spot for everybody and their dog. Speaking of, there’s a dog playpen that keeps them contained to a dedicated area, so dog moms and dads can get a break from all that aggressive squirrel chasing.

Nothing says group dinner quite like a lazy susan. Actually, it’s pretty sad to think of just one person eating off a lazy susan. Susan would not approve. Anyway, group dinners at Wu Chow involve lazy susans filled with farm-to-table Chinese food classics. The Shanghai soup dumplings are the best way to kick off the meal, along with a strong drink in a tiki glass.

This is one of the most convenient patios Downtown. The location is prime, and your crew can grow and shrink while the jugs of wine continue to flow and the snacky food keeps people from getting too drunk.

When you pull up to Justine’s, you can almost feel the good vibes from the car. This is one of the greatest patio situations in town, and it’s ideal if you’re looking to kick off a night out, or want to feel like you’re getting both dinner and a scene in the same spot. But Justine’s is more than just a pretty face—the French food holds its own and the kitchen is open late. Steak frites, moules frites, anything with frites—order it.

The second iteration of Fresa’s is made for big groups. It feels like you’re hanging in the backyard of a friend who just happens to make incredible rotisserie chicken, wood-grilled vegetables, and skirt steak. (We need this kind of friend.) There is a giant playscape full of kids in the backyard, so the crowd sometimes leans toward parents who prefer margaritas to hanging out with their kids. No judgment here.

Lucy’s serves the ideal menu item for group dining: a bucket of fried chicken. The mac and cheese and wedge salads don’t come in bucket form, but are still worth ordering as well. There’s also a solid selection of oysters, if you want to give your Southern self a little East coast saltiness (while drinking Pearl beers, which—trivia fact—have been around Texas since the 1800’s). This place is casual, but is just classy enough to feel like a proper dinner out with your people.

You’re planning a group dinner with your friend who likes to yell when he tells stories for dramatic effect and another friend who snorts when she laughs. Skip the quiet tucked-away joint and head for Ranch 616, which expects you to enjoy yourself at full volume. The Texas-style menu is heavy on fried things, like crispy oysters, calamari and fish tacos, and there’s no shortage of red meat. For a nightcap (or a night starter), get the fire in the hole shot, which is served inside a fresh jalapeño.

This place isn’t for a group of picky people who order the grilled chicken no matter where they’re eating, or the kind of people who fear duck fat fries, pork butt, obscure charcuterie, or the kinds of vegetables that haunted their childhoods (turnips). Bring people willing to get away from the basics, get a big table outside, and don’t miss the slow-cooked beef shoulder. And if anyone in your group is trying to conserve dollars, know that Salty Sow does one of the best Happy Hour food situations in town.

For more than 50 years, Matt’s has been the spot everyone in Austin turns to for a big group Tex-Mex dinner. There’s seating for 500, so it’s safe to say there’s room for you and your friends (you can still expect a wait most nights). Whether it’s Nana’s birthday, yoga training graduation, or Blazer tag pre-game—this place is a group dinner machine, churning out fresh tortillas and Mexican martinis as fast as you can consume them. All the usual suspects are on the menu—enchiladas, fajitas, and chile rellenos—and the Bob Armstrong queso dip basically invented a category of food, so pay your respects.

When you’re planning a big dinner for some friends from out of town, your first move is to take them for good Mexican food. And because they might not be ready for the real-deal mole kind of situation, La Condesa is a good entry point (attractive space, shareable dishes, and strong mezcal cocktails). The prices can add up quickly, so order a few heavier things like the carne asada and elotes so no one leaves hungry (or too drunk). And if you want an excuse to use the word “spelunking,” ask about eating in their secret cave meant for a large group.

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