We don’t need to tell you how nice the weather is here. You can just walk outside and see for yourself. But it does bear repeating that any chance you have to eat outdoors, you probably should - especially when it comes to big group dinners. For one, there’s always more room. Secondly, once that friend starts talking about how they’re only voting Third Party, you’ll have more oxygen to inhale as you start to hyperventilate. And lastly, eating outside is just always more fun. So next time the crew is rolling deep, move the party outside to any of these 17 fantastic spots.
If you want to feel like you’re a part of a big Southern family, but don’t own a seersucker suit and aren’t comfortable saying “Ma’am” out loud, then book a table at Alta. Because whether you’re there with your friends, family, or your girlfriend’s co-workers, you’ll feel right at home. They serve new (and excellent) takes on traditional Southern staples, like crispy fried chicken, black-eyed pea fritters with cilantro sauce, and oxtails and rice that are truly unlike any we’ve ever had - and also, way better than any we’ve ever had.
A dinner on Dama’s massive patio feels like you hopped on a plane, flew to the Caribbean, and are currently partaking in the beach vacation of your dreams. In reality, you’re in the middle of the Fashion District in Downtown, but Dama’s indoor/outdoor space is designed like a colonial mansion in Havana, making it seem like you’re a thousand miles away. As far as the food goes, expect Latin American-inspired dishes that are both fantastic and perfect for sharing with big groups. Be sure to get the whipped beans, crispy pork shank, and the banana sundae for dessert.
Margot is the kind of all-purpose outdoor restaurant we wish there were more of in LA. It’s on the roof of Platform in Culver City, and has a huge outdoor patio where you can fit tables for parties of 10-plus pretty much any night of the week. They’ve got crowd-friendly food that everyone will be happy with - like crudos, pastas, and salads - and fantastic gin and tonics that everyone will be even happier with. The portions aren’t very big, so prepare to order multiples of everything.
In all honesty, All Time isn’t the best place for a truly gigantic group dinner, but if you’re rolling with a party of six or so, nothing beats a wine-soaked dinner on their side patio. Though this all-day cafe in Los Feliz has only been around a year or so, it’s quickly become one of LA’s seminal restaurants, with an always-changing menu that includes things like burrata-covered focaccia, lamb ragu, and one of our favorite rib eyes in the entire city. Just make sure you leave enough room for some Mama’s Cobbler at the end.
Night + Market Weho is usually pretty busy - which is why it’s so surprising how easy it is to get a table on their back patio. If you’re with a group, call day-of and they’ll almost always have something available. There’s a good chance you’ll be the only ones out there - so it’s OK if you get a little rowdy with a tower (or two) of Singha. They’ll also do set menus for groups, if you’re interested in that kind of thing - just make sure Sharon doesn’t hoard the crispy rice salad.
This beer garden in Koreatown is certainly not where you’d take your HR department for a team dinner, but if you’re looking for a spot that can handle your chaotic and unpredictable group of friends, Ddong Ggo is it. Though it’s known mainly for beer towers, never-ending soju bottles, and chain-smoking college kids, their gigantic food menu is secretly excellent and ideal for sharing with large groups of friends who will probably get up and leave unannounced at some point. Make sure the kimchi pancake, honey butter chicken, and spicy rice cakes all hit the table.
L’Antica is only a few blocks from the manic energy of Hollywood and Highland, but their sprawling back patio - with exposed brick walls, string lights, and a legitimate mini-forest - feels like a completely different universe. And when you’re trying to get a bunch of friends together in the middle of Hollywood, that’s exactly what you want. That and a bunch of fantastic Neapolitan-style pizzas that everybody can share - something L’Antica also has going for it. If you want to add some other plates to the table, go for the calamari or squash blossoms. Otherwise, just do what we do, and order another pizza.
Was this spot specifically created for this guide? Probably not. But also maybe? There is nowhere in the city better suited for outdoor group-dining than Salazar. The restaurant is almost entirely outside, and all the food is made for sharing. Order a bunch of tacos, a few of the large-format plates, beers and margaritas for the table, and you’ll remember why you love this town.
E.R.B is one of those places that gets everything right without seeming like it put in an ounce of effort. The Arts District bar has an unpretentious feel (a difficult task in this part of town), fantastic drinks, and a large back patio you’ll end up spending all night in (and not just because they have a bocce court). The menu may seem a bit all over the place, but trust us - everything from the taquitos to the steamed buns to the chorizo burger is excellent. And your group will agree.
When all else fails, Red Lion Tavern is that place you go for a guaranteed great time. The Silver Lake beer garden is surprisingly large, with one of our favorite patios in the city, and a lively scene to fill it. The menu isn’t exactly long, but if you’re sad about a platter of sausages hitting the table after your third boot of beer, we have nothing in common.
Cassia is the perfect dinner venue for when the party got kind of big, but you still want to keep things a little fancy. Definitely reserve a table ahead of time, and make sure you ask to be outside - the patio is crazy popular. It might be in an otherwise-sad part of Santa Monica, but that’s nothing a few string lights can’t fix. The Southeast Asian-ish menu is even better when you get to share everything on it.
Planning a group dinner is rarely an easy undertaking, so do yourself a favor and head to The Fat Dog. The neighborhood bar/restaurant in Noho is that place you can stroll into with a group of friends at the last second, and rarely have to wait too long for a table. The atmosphere inside is always laid-back, their upscale bar food is solid across the board, and that back patio is the perfect place to unwind on a Friday night.
The thought of the check hitting the table after a big group dinner is a terrifying one - no one likes doing “Who ordered what” math. Your solution? C&O in Venice, for a festive (and yes, slightly cheesy) outdoor Italian dinner where everything is family style. The portions are huge, so just pick a handful of favorites for the table, then sit back and relax - an all-restaurant rendition of “That’s Amore” will be starting soon.
Playa Provisions can be a bit confusing - there’s an ice cream counter, a casual marketplace, a restaurant, and a whiskey bar hidden away somewhere we haven’t quite found yet. Make things simple, head for Dockside (the restaurant portion of the space) and ask for a spot on the patio. There are big picnic tables that your crew will take over at brunch, then stay so long you become the annoying group at dinner. No apologies.
No matter what, there’s always that one person in the group who refuses to pay one cent above what they owe. Avoid that situation at Verdugo Bar, the excellent Glassell Park spot where everyone can sit outside, drink craft beer, and order individually from whatever food truck they want. The lineup rotates nightly, so be sure to check their Facebook or Twitter beforehand, because your friend will no doubt have something to say about that, too.
This 70-year-old Venice staple is one of our favorite Mexican joints in town, and one that remains criminally overlooked. Their outdoor patio in the back is fantastic, and the type of place where you can roll in with 15 friends and drink never-ending pitchers of margaritas without issue. The food is that kind of old-school Cali-Mexican cuisine everyone loves, and that means you and all your friends are walking away happy.