The Best Restaurants For Group Dinners In Houston

Because we all need somewhere to take a group of 11 of our closest friends.
The Best Restaurants For Group Dinners In Houston image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Coordinating a dinner for a large group can be tricky. Maybe it’s your beloved friend’s birthday and you need a restaurant to seat a small parade. Or, maybe you ran into a group of pals at the bar and need a post-bar-crawl meal to absorb your drinks. Whatever the reason, here’s our list of restaurants that will happily seat you and your crew. You might still need reservations for some of these spots, and others will definitely have a wait, but we can all but guarantee they’ll all have plenty of space.


photo credit: Kirsten Gilliam


Second Ward

$$$$Perfect For:Casual Weeknight DinnerClassic EstablishmentBig Groups


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Open since 1973, The Original Ninfa’s On Navigation in the Second Ward feels like a lively party any night you go. Mama Ninfa is credited as the “inventor of the fajita,” and taking down large plates like that all but requires a group for reinforcements. Grab a tray, split some queso flameado, and work your way through a pitcher of the house made Ninfaritas and blow off some steam.

An AYCE paradise, Bon Korean BBQ in Chinatown has the resources to fill you and your crew with as much kimchi, marinated galbi, and pork belly as y’all are capable of devouring. So plan on bringing your pals, some bottomless stomachs, and hit that buffet with gusto. And with plenty of space and tables long enough to fit even the largest of parties, you can spend the two hour time limit taking turns grilling mountains of meat and catching up with your buddies on the latest gossip.

Lucille’s is built for a sit-down Sunday dinner feeling, no matter the day of the week, which is why most folks dining here are with a group of some sort. The Museum District restaurant serves Southern comfort food, and between the dishes and the long tables, it’s easy to settle in as if you’re hosting in your own dining room. There are enough shareable dishes to go around like chili biscuits and crispy fried green tomatoes, but even larger plates like the braised oxtails are big enough to share. Just make sure to reserve a table in the upstairs dining room where all the big crews hang for a meal.

Like any good clubstaurant, the Cajun-Creole spot Bar 5015 is built to handle even the rowdiest of groups. The patio makes up 90% of this Third Ward spot, so plan to take your frozen daiquiris outdoors and turn up to whatever the DJ is mixing. On weekdays, there’s usually enough walk-in space for a casual kickback over some crispy hot wings, but if you want a guaranteed seat at the outdoor tables on the weekend, make a reservation ahead of time.

The staff likely won’t bat an eye when you and your giant crew stroll into Gao’s Kabob in Chinatown. They’ll just direct you to the other center tables where you can load up on skewers of grilled lamb, beef, fish, and garlic chives. Gao’s stays open pretty late, which means it can be the destination for a power up before a bar crawl, or become the only stop of the evening. Just keep the beer towers flowing and before long, someone in your group might feel emboldened enough to do a little karaoke.

It would appear the entire purpose of Chinatown restaurant Hai Cang, other than serving seafood platters so massive it would make a merperson blush, is catering to groups. Equipped with massive lazy-susan-topped round tables that seat at least 10, Hai Cang can pack in a group of nearly any size and any appetite. Load up on pounds of dry-fried lobster, giant Dungeness crab smothered in sticky sauce, and fried rice glistening with crab roe with a giant group of friends who like to eat.

Not much else says, “yeah, we can feed, like, a whole lot of people,” than a menu item described as the size of a saddle blanket. At Hickory Hollow, a southern barbecue restaurant in North Houston, such an item exists. While you can order this king-size-mattress masquerading as a chicken fried steak for yourself, splitting it along with a couple barbecue plates of smoky ribs and macaroni and cheese also works. Unless you’re trying to get a world record in chicken-fried-steak consumption (something you could probably do here). For extra large groups, call ahead to reserve Hickory Hollow’s wood-paneled upstairs party room.

East End Tex-Mex and Mexican staple Taqueria Del Sol gets so many large groups, an entire banquet hall was built to accommodate them. So if the group is more of a giant quinceanera extravaganza, Taqueria Del Sol will bust out the catering pans. But even if your crew isn’t banquet-hall-big, Del Soul will squeeze everyone in for bowls of gooey queso, plates of street tacos, cheesy enchiladas, fajitas, and massive burritos in its colorful dining room.

Walking up to Vietnamese restaurant Hẻm in Chinatown feels like rolling up on a lively street scene, especially when people are passing around giant plates of pork belly and pineapple fried rice on the squat-height table outside. The whimsy continues inside where giant booths are built into mock brick tunnels, as if the restaurant was designed by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. No matter the night, big groups of people pack out nearly every table splitting tangy beef carpaccio, razor clams, baked oysters, and scallops with little fried quail eggs. Go here with a legion of seafood-friendly folks for a casual night out, or a birthday pre-game.

Tex-Mex restaurants must share some kind of bylaws about being built to feed an entire army battalion were it to show up for a table. Tia Maria’s in Spring Branch obviously takes these-unconfirmed-if-they-actually-exist bylaws very seriously, because you could stack up a party of 30 in the side dining room and still have most of the tables left. Want to roll in with a big group without a reservation? No problem. Need a place to gulp margs and queso for a bachelorette or birthday party? Yes, of course. Tia Maria’s will uphold its duty.

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