You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family. And you probably can’t choose your colleagues either. Unless you’re the boss. In which case, be a good boss and take your employees out to dinner every once in a while.
Even if you’re not in charge, you may find yourself in charge of planning a team dinner outing from time to time. And whether you see a team meal as a fun activity, or simply a chance to figure out which person you’ll need to destroy to get ahead, you should pick a solid restaurant for the occasion. These restaurants are fun, suitable for groups, mostly work-appropriate, and serve food you’ll enjoy.
Here’s where to book your next team dinner.
Ah it’s your line manager’s birthday. She’s so great to you. All those late nights without an Uber home, it’s a good thing you love 11pm bus journeys! You know her and her ‘kooky’ character so well: water at fifteen to eighteen degrees only, bland foods that don’t ‘interfere’ with her sensitive palate. So, it’s only right that you organise a meal at Dum Biriyani. It’s a lovely, laidback Indian with brilliant hot and spicy wings and a go-to lamb biriyani. That’s for the work texts on Boxing Day, mate.
The liquid lunch is a surefire way to make your team dinner the last supper for one or two members. If you’re not looking for reasons to cull anyone right this minute though, it can be done well. The Anchor and Hope is one of the best pubs with grub in London. It’s no reservations so somebody will have to bite the bullet and get there early to put you down for a table for eight. A pint and a bar snack whilst you wait for everyone else is a big ask, but someone’s gotta do it.
Brian from accounts is leaving. Is Brian the one with the black hair or is Brian the one who stands too close to you when you’re talking? You’re not sure. When you’re not sure you play it safe, and Pizza East is ideal for that. It’s big and airy so it’s perfect for a big group and there’s pizza, pasta, and a load of vegetarian options. It’s a no brainer and Brian will love it. Or is it Richard who loves pizza?
Your office mum is about to become a real mum for the first time. You need to make sure she gets the sendoff she deserves. After all, she’s always been much nicer about hangovers than your actual mum is. You wish she was your actual mum. Somewhere classy, carefree and comforting will fit the bill, and Flour and Grape is the place for that. The handmade pasta and simple Italian dishes will have everyone happy.
Turns out your team are great, you’re all doing brilliantly, and you’re going out for dinner this Thursday because, why not? Who knew work could work out so well. St John Bread and Wine is the perfect choice, so it’s a good thing you’re booked to go there and…oh and they’ve only gone and ordered the whole suckling pig. Don’t worry - there are amazing vegetarian options as well and you don’t have to get the pig if you don’t want to but, you know, it’s a team thing.
The guy who wears silver Nikes and thinks he’s really cool suggests going to a queue-only restaurant for a birthday lunch. This is why he is the only one who thinks he’s cool. Good thing you know that you can book at Bao Fitzrovia and it’s still got the same delicious buns, beef cheek and fried chicken as their Lexington Street no-reservations spot. You’ll be praised for your knowledge and excellent organisation skills by everyone, which is very cool.
So Flora is vegan, Steve isn’t a fan of ‘namby pamby poncey stuff’, and Johnny doesn’t have an opinion on anything as long as it tastes ‘decent you know’. Homeslice has your back. Order two or three 20” pizzas (they have vegan options), stick them in the middle - we recommend the spiced lamb in particular - and order some prosecco on tap alongside a few beers. Everyone is happy because Homeslice make non namby pamby, very decent pizza, some of which is even vegan. Job done.
Do you work on a team that’s so tight that you finish each other’s pivot tables? Yosma on Baker Street is upbeat, loud, has an excellent cocktail list, and does sharing plates of Turkish food. You’ll have enjoyable night here with your crew, moving around the table like a game of musical chairs, eating off each other’s plates, and generally living out your weird work intimacy in public. It’s also great if you have a big team and need something last minute.
You just found out that not-great boss who has treated your team to one dinner in the last five years (and it was at Chicken Cottage) has been re-located to Redditch. As an added bonus, Rachel (we love Rachel) has been promoted. Time for a proper celebration and a proper team dinner at Shikumen. This large-format Chinese restaurant is a celebration-worthy spot, and one of our favourites for a group. Order the roast duck to share, a whole lot of dim sum, and plenty of drinks. This is what teamwork looks like.
If your team is brimming with worldly, highly cultured, and generally overachieving individuals, consider booking your next team dinner at Moro. This restaurant was inspired by the chef’s travels around Spain and North Africa, and you can think of it as a grown up restaurant for grown up people, but without being stuffy in the slightest. It’s an excellent setting for discussing why every other department is worse than yours.
You and your colleagues have been stuck in all-day meetings for a week straight, and you’re all in need of a stiff drink and a plate of delicious cheesecake. The Rail House Cafe in Victoria is an excellent go-to for everyone to let off a bit of steam - there’s a shiny bar and loads of sofas for your work crew to sprawl with a few cocktails, and the easy brasserie food is exactly the kind of no-fuss stuff you want after a long day.
Maybe your department nailed this quarter’s numbers. Maybe Emma finally took another job and you’ll never have to see her again. Either way, it’s time to celebrate, and Hixter is a good place to do so. Give yourselves a pat on the back via a massive roast chicken served on a pot of chips and a few nice bottles of wine.
If you and your work crew are the type to spend every Thursday night down the local drinking the week away, it might be time to shake up your routine a bit. Head to The Laughing Gravy. The gastropub vibes mean you can trick even the most jobsworth members of your team into the building and get them to even try one or two twists on traditional dishes like a scallop and crayfish Scotch egg, or something from their wildly creative dessert menu. Everyone’s stomachs will well-lined, so your team might actually be productive on a Friday for once. We said might.
The remote team members based up in Mansfield are in town for the week and they think that vegetarians are creatures that featured on an episode of Planet Earth. They’ll enjoy Pitt Cue. This British Style “BBQ” serves all things delicious that come from pigs and cow and also has an in-house brewery, but all within a relatively classy setting. Sneak in an order of something green on the side and see what happens.