The next time you close a deal, finish a project, or your whole team makes it to the end of the year without imploding, have dinner at one of these places. They’re good for larger groups (say, between 6 and 15 people), and you won’t max out your corporate card. Unless that’s what you’re trying to do, in which case, get creative. Here are some restaurants that are fun and spacious enough for your next team dinner.
The success of team dinners is generally correlated with how much everyone actually enjoys spending time with one another. But at Cote, that won’t matter at all. Even your grumpiest coworker (shoutout to Max from accounting) will have a baseline level of fun at this upscale Korean BBQ spot. Cote does a “Butcher’s Feast” for $52 per person that comes with steakhouse-quality meat, vegetables, sides, stews, and soft serve. As long as everyone eats meat and you call to make a reservation well in advance, you’re going to enjoy your night.
Huertas is a casual place in the East Village that serves excellent tapas and is never too hard to get into. Depending on the size of your group, you have some options - there’s a dining room for 36 that gives you access to a private garden, but you can also do smaller packages with set menus for around $65-$85 per person. Make sure to subtly drop the facts that they have an off-menu hot dog and they make their own vermouth - so everyone on the team will think you’re both fun and in-the-know.
Going to Legacy Records for a team dinner is how you tell the world that your company is cool, and also maybe moving to Hudson Yards soon. There’s a good chance your group won’t be the only team there - kind of like Zogsports, but instead of playing competitive kickball, you’ll be sitting at dueling tables eating things like pasta, duck, and crudos. (If you want to definitively one-up those other teams, just book a private room.) The food has Italian, American, and Mediterranean influences, and it’s really good.
There are bound to be people on the team who put a lot of stock into going to cool places and eating interesting food. You’re reading this, so you’re probably one of them. Her Name Is Han will live up to (or, more likely, surpass) their/your standards. It has some of our favorite Korean food in the city, with highlights including a giant seafood stew and excellent rice cakes. It’s low-key in here, but still feels special enough for a dinner you only have once or twice a year. We’d recommend calling for a reservation, but if you have a group of eight or fewer, you can book online.
The Loyal makes the kind of food you might have found at a team dinner in the ’50s, back when everyone smoked in offices and replying-all to an email was not even something you could have nightmares about. Despite the lavish-sounding old school food (like shrimp cocktail and a giant sundae bar), this restaurant is still somewhat casual. Not casual casual, but West Village casual. Plus, there are big round tables where everyone will be able to hear each other. Just know that you’ll have to contact the restaurant directly for parties larger than four.
Empellon is a two-floor restaurant in Midtown where you can take your unapologetically corporate team and entertain them with things like crab and uni nachos, wagyu fajitas, sculptures, and tequila. There’s a private room that can seat up to the 35 people who don’t usually all hang out together, and we’ll throw in some conversation topics for free: 1) Manny’s engagement, 2) Jenn’s promotion, and 3) how happy you all are that you’re not paying for dinner.
If you’re looking for something slightly (but only slightly) more activity-based, try Brooklyn Cider House in Bushwick. The space is huge, and they have a $49 prix fixe menu where, in between each of the four courses, you get to “catch” cider from a barrel in the back of the restaurant. A meal here is some of the best team bonding you can plan for (and way better than when Aaron made everyone take a horoscope quiz and yelled, “Now bond!”). They take reservations for up to 15 people online.
No one has explicitly asked, but you can tell that at least one or two people on the team will only commit to this dinner if it’s in a convenient place. Ribalta is right by Union Square, and they serve some of the best pizza you can get in the area. They take reservations for up to 10 people online - any more than that and you’ll have to call - and while there’s no private dining space, the restaurant itself is comfortable, with a big wood-burning oven, round tables, and lots of families sharing burrata and margherita pies. Don’t expect things to get wild, but do expect to leave feeling slightly less conflicted about going back to work on Monday.
If you want something trendy and still affordable, Nonono is a great choice (and they take reservations for up to 10 people online). This is a Japanese restaurant in Nomad that specializes in yakitori, but also has a literal binder full of other dishes ranging from sushi with parmesan on top to chicken liver pate with ginger. There aren’t any private dining spaces, but try to sit on the second floor balcony, and plan on ordering a ton of small things, all of which will come out of the kitchen at lightning speed.
Freemans is a two-story restaurant at the back of alley, and it looks like a big, old apartment that Ralph Lauren got locked inside and decided to decorate. This place is both intimate and spacious, so take the whole team here to eat some fancy bar food like lamb shepherd’s pie and artichoke dip. And if you decide you’d like your own space, they have options that can accommodate anywhere from 10 to 200 people.
If the twin priorities for this dinner are fun and making your team dynamic less awkward, Bombay Bread Bar is a good choice. This Indian restaurant in Soho has murals of tigers and Bollywood stars on the walls, and is usually full of loud groups. They have a private dining area that can be separated into two spaces (for 14 and 16 people each) or combined - but you can also make reservations for up to eight people online. Regardless of what you choose, order a bunch and share everything (we like their small plates better than the mains).
The menu at Mission Chinese is large, unpredictable, and, in some instances, a mix of traditional and definitely-not Chinese - you’ll find everything from chicken wings with crispy tripe to a margherita pizza. If you’re having a smaller team dinner, consider it an opportunity to try their large-format “family dishes,” like the massive hickory-smoked prime rib. If you’re with a group of eight or more, you’ll have to do a set menu, and groups larger than 17 have to do a full private room.
If you’re looking for a last-minute option, check out Meadowsweet in Williamsburg, which has a five-course tasting menu for $85 per person in addition to a la carte options. They don’t take reservations online for big groups, so you should call or email. Bring your team here for things like roasted chicken and smoked trout, then drink at The Woods or Donna afterwards. Or commit to transitioning from work friends to real friends and go dance at Home Sweet Home after dinner.
If you think some people in your party won’t want to stay out late after dinner, get a table (or two) at Blue Ribbon and make them stay out late - during dinner. Blue Ribbon is open until 4am, and you can essentially spend as much money as you want to here. It’s the sort of New York establishment where you can sit with a friend and eat a burger while you eavesdrop on the table next to you as they drop serious cash on raw bar and French wine. Everyone is welcome, and there are some large booths to accommodate bigger parties.
Roberta’s won’t take a reservation unless you’re a party of 10-16, but if that’s the size of your team, consider yourself lucky. They do a prix-fixe lunch called a Lunch Pizza Party for $40-$55 a person, as well as dinner parties with packages starting at $75 per person. The catch is that the latest reservation time they’ll accept (weekdays only) is 6:30pm. But that’s fine. You should be allowed to leave work early for this anyway, and you’ll be out in time to hit some Bushwick bars.
Covina does Mediterranean food, which in this case means mostly Italian. It’s large and the prices are just a little more than you’d want to spend on your average weeknight dinner. Which is perfect because you’re looking for a place to celebrate your professional accomplishments (finishing a big project, not getting fired, etc.). There’s room for a big group, and it should be easier to get a table here than it would be at nearby (and sort of similar) Upland. Get some pizza and pasta for the table.
You want to ball out a little bit and don’t mind some noise. This place is for when your group just finished something big, and you’re all so exhausted that when someone suggests Dirty French (half-joking), you all realize that you sort of actually want to go there. Technically, it isn’t the most expensive restaurant, but it also isn’t cheap, and it’s sure to be packed with the sort of people who prioritize a good scene over good food. Thing is, a lot of the food here is good. So come here with your coworkers, eat some fun/fancy French food, and behave like a slightly less stressed-out version of yourself.
This place is old-school. Like, open-since-1885 old-school. They also cook some of the best pieces of meat in the city and have an enormous pipe collection. So those are three things your group can talk about just to get the conversation rolling. Expect white tablecloths, pipes hanging everywhere (as mentioned), and maybe a suit of armor in the corner. If, for whatever reason, you don’t want steak, get the mutton chop. They call it “legendary” for a reason. Also, it’s safe to say no one on your team will feel in better physical health when they leave here. But that’s how all good celebrations end. Get a big, round table and eat more cow than a doctor would recommend for a wolf.