Where To Have Your Next Team Dinner
photo credit: Café China
The next time you finish a big project, close a deal, or just make it through another year without any arguments about who stole whose yogurt from the fridge, have a celebratory team dinner at one of these places. They’re good for larger groups, and you won’t max out your corporate card—unless that’s what you’re trying to do, in which case, get creative and start asking if the art is for sale. Here are 15 restaurants that are fun (but not too wild) and spacious enough for your next group meal with colleagues.
Wu’s gets more fun the more people you bring. So if you want to have a long, memorable night with a group that already gets along pretty well, come here for Chinese food like a whole roast duck (which costs $36.99) and some deep-fried crab. You’ll be seated at a big round table, and you should definitely take advantage of the BYOB policy—you’ll see people bringing some pretty fancy wines here.
Cosme is a high-end choice, but your team did really well this quarter. On most nights, Cosme’s jet black walls are filled with real estate tycoons and birthday groups wearing tailored blazers and high heels. The food here is upscale Mexican, with some standout dishes like duck carnitas, a mushroom tlayuda, and al pastor lobster with tortillas. Come here for somewhat of a special occasion, when you don’t want the kind of atmosphere that might put someone to sleep during dinner. (If you did really really well this quarter, reserve their private room for 14 people.)
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.
The success of team dinners generally correlates with how much your colleagues actually enjoy spending time with one another. But Cote will be a good pick no matter what (as long as everyone eats meat). Even your grumpiest coworker—shoutout to Max from accounting—will have a baseline level of fun at this upscale Korean BBQ spot with fancy grills and sharply-dressed servers. Do the “Butcher’s Feast” ($68 per person), which comes with steakhouse-quality meat, plus vegetables, sides, stews, and soft serve. Call to make a reservation well in advance, and don’t ignore the excellent cocktails.
So there was some miscommunication about who exactly was planning this dinner, and now you’re scrambling to figure out a place no one will complain about. Shuka is great for something relatively last-minute, because it’s usually not too hard to get a table for a group. It’s a casual (but not too casual) Mediterranean spot in the part of Soho that’s basically Greenwich Village, and you’ll want to split some dips and kebabs while you try to come up with topics you all agree are interesting, like true crime podcast recommendations and viral videos of baby cows.
Café China serves some of the better Szechuan food in Midtown, and we consider it a requirement to come here with at least three other people. Take over one of the many tables or booths in a stylish dining room with checkered-floors and chandeliers, or upstairs on the mezzanine decorated with vintage posters. They also have a private room for parties of 15 or more. Portions are highly shareable, so ordering should be relatively easy. For groups, our go-tos are the platter of thick and tender cumin lamb, shrimp fried rice, and fatty short ribs with sweet soy sauce broth.
Taking your team to New Orleans seems like a NSFW no-no, but you can bring a bit of (supervised) Mardi Gras energy to your team dinner at Alligator Pear. Inspired by The Big Easy, this three-story restaurant serves crowd-pleasing Creole food a couple blocks from Midtown. The two main dining rooms have their own bars, decked out with Jazz Fest posters and hanging ferns. In true NOLA spirit, the cocktails are strong, and you’ll need all the fried food you can get to soak them up. Order highly shareable servings of blue crab beignets, fried alligator bites, and family-style platters of shrimp and andouille jambalaya.
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. This place has the feel of a country club designed by Wes Anderson, without being too quiet or stuffy to count as a celebration. 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.)
If you want to prove to your team that you’re “not a regular boss, you’re a cool boss,” take them to this trendy Korean restaurant. Located a block away from the heart of the bright neon lights of Koreatown, Han is relatively laid back, but everyone here always seems to be having fun. 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 here, but it 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.
Between two vegetarians, someone who’s afraid of fish, and another person who claims she hasn’t touched a piece of fruit since 8th grade, your team has very little in common food-wise. Luckily, The East Pole has something for everyone, from a fancy grain bowl to truffle gnocchi and a cheeseburger with thick cut bacon. It takes up the first two floors of a beautiful brownstone in Midtown, and serves as a social epicenter for the area, so they’re a well-oiled machine when it comes to serving big groups.
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 serves good pizza right by Union Square, and they take reservations for up to six people online, so it should be a fairly easy sell. 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.
Nonono is trendy but still affordable, and also takes reservations for up to 10 people online. The specialty at this Japanese spot in Nomad is yakitori, but there’s also a literal binder-full of other dishes ranging from sushi with parmesan cheese on top, to chicken liver pâte served with ginger and little pieces of baguette. 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 an 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 seared octopus 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.
Roberta’s is an ideal group dinner spot because of their massive space. Although the L-train-adjacent restaurant looks like a shipping crate from the outside, inside it’s got the comforts of a ski lodge or a very large sauna filled with string lights, picnic tables, and a giant pizza oven. Plus, they have nearly twice as much seating on their giant patio as they do in the actual restaurant. You could probably show up here with ten people on a whim and find a table, but to guarantee group seating, groups of 10-35 can book space for a prix fixe “Lunch Pizza Party” for $55 per person, as well as dinner parties with packages starting at $85 per person.
This place is for when your group just finished something big, and you’re all (paradoxically) both exhausted and in the mood for a sceney-ish celebration. From the neon pink sign out front to the magnums of old Bordeaux being paraded around the room, Dirty French is not big on restraint. This 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 atmosphere over good food. But a lot of the food here is really good. So come here with your coworkers, eat some fun, fancy French dishes, and behave like a slightly less stressed-out version of yourself.