20 Restaurants Great For A Group Dinner In London
Organising a group dinner for friends or colleagues is a tricky balancing act. Here’s a selection of the best restaurants to have that get-together.
Organising a group dinner is an absolute mare. You’ve got a lot of people with a lot of different criteria prepared to do a lot of moaning, and not much else. Finding a restaurant that has a BYOB policy, its own mixologist, three types of wagyu beef, one heritage carrot risotto, a jazz fusion band, and toilets filled with that exfoliating Aesop soap is, frankly, impossible. You need to accept that not everybody is going to be happy and if they all say they are, they’re all probably lying.
Instead, focus on pleasing the majority and take a look at our list of excellent restaurants with different foods, vibes, and price points. Different everything really. So whether your group is made up of friends, family, or colleagues, you’ll be able to keep almost everybody happy.
‘It’s not just a restaurant, it’s a cult!’ is not the most casual tagline for a restaurant, but we’ll forgive Acme Fire Cult in Dalston because it has one of the best barbecue experiences in town. This place specialises in cooking hefty slabs of meat and creative vegetarian dishes—CC: the nutty fermented squash hummus—on the big outdoor grill. The heated and covered terrace has long picnic tables that will fit your whole friendship group, and that random acquaintance who is making a special appearance having heard you’re going somewhere that serves a cheesy Marmite flatbread. Weather looking dodgy? There are group tables inside too.
Ave Mario is big. Big space, big booths, big old stracciatella gelato cake that gets wheeled around the Dolce & Gabbana meets Italian church ground floor. Ave Mario is a restaurant that understands big party energy. On Henrietta Street in Covent Garden, it’s just as likely to induce smiles, as it is a glorious limoncello-sponsored hangover. Whether your mates are after 24-hour leavened pizza or truffle-packed pasta, the menu has got you covered. Get a slice of that giant stracciatella gelato cake and ask for extra caramel, obviously.
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photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch
A ramen specialist on Great Russell Street, this whole restaurant is anime-themed, with a huge colourful mural painted on the wall, references to Naruto on the menu, and a gift shop at the front with figurines from popular shows. Plus the ramen is pretty great too. Huge bowls of piping hot, beefy gyuniku broth with egg ramen (or udon noodles), topped with your choice of anything from enoki mushrooms and menmma bamboo, to chashu pork and wagyu beef slices. The spacious dining room has plenty of benches for groups, and you can make bookings for up to eight people pretty easily. The prices can stack up quickly, but the bowl is big enough to keep you very full for the foreseeable future.
The Plimsoll is home to a VIB. In case you’re not down with our deeply obnoxious food acronyms, that’s a Very Important Burger. Four Legs is behind this burger. No, we’re not making a cow joke, that’s the name of the chef duo who created this outstanding piece of beefy, buttery craftsmanship, alongside gutsy small plates. They’re running the food at this restored Finsbury Park pub and it’s the kind of boozer that’s just the right side of dingy chic to allow for a comforting group meal that revolves around pints and of course, that burger.
Bloomsbury’s Ciao Bella is, we think, the best group meal restaurant in London. Not because the food is fantastic (it’s satisfying, old-school Italian stuff), but because the atmosphere is so unique. Piano-playing, glasses clinking, everyone cackling. If your meal at Ciao Bella doesn’t end with someone dancing on the table and several cigarettes on the ‘terrace’ then, frankly, you need new friends.
My Neighbours The Dumplings
The space at this dumpling specialist in Victoria Park is much bigger than the original MNTD’s location in Clapton, so great for a group. If organisation isn’t your friends’ forte, it’s usually a stress-free process to walk in, put your name down, and hit one of the numerous pubs a few feet away. By the time all of you have whet your appetite, you’ll be ready to get portion after portion of juicy prawn har gau or moist miso chicken. It’s a pretty small menu here—dumplings, small plates—so you may as well just order it all.
If you’re a sucker for a little Matisse motif and banquette seating, then we’d like to introduce you to Bellefields. A five-minute walk from the hustle and bustle of Brixton station, this Mediterranean spot is a proper little charmer. From the cobblestone courtyard hidden out back, to the grilled octopus that’s a one-way ticket to Holiday Feels, it will satisfy vegetarians, carnivores, and anyone who just really needs a glass of malbec. Although some of the larger dishes can be pricey, the pasta dishes start around the £8 mark, so it’s a great shout if you’re rolling with a group who have different budgets.
It’s hard not to include Brigadiers in lots of our guides. Like, if we had a Where To Go After A Wake guide, this would be number one. But it’s genuinely superb for group meals as well. The City restaurant is designed to keep everyone present merry, from the variety of rooms to the huge amount of drinks and delicious Indian barbecue on the menu. We’re not going to say this is the best group restaurant in London, but it almost definitely is.
photo credit: Giulia Verdinelli
There are a whole lot of reasons why Chang’s Noodle is a great group dinner restaurant. One is that this cash-only spot in Bloomsbury has a long menu and you should absolutely get involved with as many of the noodle dishes as possible, so back-up eaters are encouraged. Another is that it’s a big spot with several big tables. Oh and everything here is pretty affordable, the service is really good, and the fried squid with dry chilli is the kind of edible mountain that will keep everyone happy. If those aren’t enough reasons, it’s also open for lunch.
Ozone Coffee Roasters
Suggest going to Ozone for a group meal and some smart arse could say “Isn’t that just a coffee shop though?”. No, no it isn’t. Ozone is an all-round restaurant that’s perfect for pleasing lots of different types of people. This Leonard Street spot is made for extremely frazzled people attempting to find a place to have a 15-person dinner that serves everything from buttermilk fried chicken to roasted cauliflower with pomegranate. It literally has something for everyone and if you’re with someone who says it doesn’t, then you need new friends/colleagues/family.
photo credit: Giulia Verdinelli
The Camberwell Arms
When someone says ‘group’, we hear ‘pub’. The ultimate group setting, there are few pubs better for a big mate reunion—or a round of scotch bonnet pork fat on toast, for that matter—than The Camberwell Arms in Camberwell. Frankly, one person simply doesn’t have enough stomach space to take full advantage of the excellent British dishes here. So rally the troops in your WhatsApp group in the name of sharing bone marrow pie, a whole lemon sole, tender pork rib-eye, and one of the classic comforting desserts (crumble, we’re looking at you). Round it all off with pints at the bar and you’re golden.
photo credit: Karolina Wiercigroch
Homeslice Pizza Covent Garden
Pizza is a big-group no-brainer and Homeslice makes some of the best around. The massive pizzas come with a load of toppings—from aubergine, to butternut squash, to a classic salami—to keep the pizza purists smiling. The cocktail selection is also pretty serious for a pizza place. If you’re looking for somewhere cheap, cheerful, and in central, Homeslice just makes sense.
You want somewhere epic to have dinner with your very almost-classy friends—you know, the ones who have media jobs but still nick pint glasses from the pub. Brasserie Zédel in Piccadilly is the answer to your prayers. It’ll provide a grand art deco backdrop for your group dinner, while also allowing you and your mates to dine on a fancy French feast for prices that are totally affordable. The food’s very good and easy to love (so long as you like butter), and your friends will appreciate that it’s a casual 30-second walk away from the in-house drinking den, Bar Américain.
Everyone loves large-format Chinese dinners. You know, the ones where you share a roast duck and order way too much, and spend the tube journey home with the top button of your trousers undone. Shikumen is one of the absolute best places to have one of those. The restaurant’s dark and moody in an upmarket kind of way, and it elevates every element of your dinner into something occasion-worthy. There are big tables if you’re with a large group, and while the duck’s fantastic, almost everything else on the menu at Shikumen is worth travelling to Shepherd’s Bush for. Just as well, as you’ll definitely be travelling home with your top button undone.
Tayyabs is where you go to make new friends and get loose with old ones. This legendary Punjabi restaurant in Whitechapel is famous for sizzling lamb chops and the immense scrum of people at the entrance every night. You can book, but there’s always a queue because it gets rushed every night without fail—it’s ridiculously popular, with good reason. If there are enough of you, feel free to muscle through the crowd and to your table, where you’ll get horribly plastered (it’s BYOB) and eat excellent curries, grills, and biryani. A classic.
Bistrotheque is one of the East End’s OG trendy restaurants, and one of the first to nail that whole minimal, industrial look. It’s a neighbourhood bistro set in an old warehouse near Bethnal Green, with art projected on the walls and a cool, bohemian ambiance. The prix fixe menu is perfect if your group requires a set budget, or you also know that you’re going to be ‘investing’ in a lot of wine. Expect dishes like twice-baked soufflé, roast chicken with aioli, and the bistro poster child, steak tartare.
Dishoom King's Cross
Showing up to Dishoom with a group is a bad idea because it’s no bookings, right? Well, yeah, for the most part, but you can actually book if there are more than six of you. So you’ll get all of the excellent Indian street food dishes, cocktails, and laid-back feel, with none of the hassle. It’s worth gathering up a motley band of mates—or go rogue and invite the HR team to that work dinner—because everyone will become fast friends over bhel puri and the chicken ruby curry. The King’s Cross Dishoom has the most space if you’ve a big group in mind, but the Soho and Shoreditch locations are also good.
In essence, you come to Berners Tavern to celebrate and drop a wad of cash on dinner, in a dining room that looks like the Sistine Chapel had its way with a posh restaurant. The food’s upmarket while still being satisfying, and the booths are excellent if you’re with a small group. It’s a great spot for people-watching and while your mates might dress up for dinner, the power move is to show up in Adidas. Because, you know, you come here all the time. (Don’t actually do this.)
You and your friends want some Mexican food but you’ll be damned if you’re ending up in Wahaca seated next to some mortal 19-year-olds from Surrey again. Mestizo in Euston is solid, so head here for excellent chicken mole and tacos. There’s comfy leather seating and a proper tequila list, but it’s definitely relaxed enough that you can order nachos and enchiladas.
photo credit: Karolina Wiercigroch
Olle is a Korean BBQ spot on Shaftesbury Avenue where you’ll get to cook things like wagyu beef on a grill in the middle of your table. You’ll also find a pretty extensive menu of other Korean food, from seafood pancakes to tofu stews. There’s plenty of drama here but it’s a relaxed atmosphere that’ll suit a quick lunch or a fun dinner for a large group.