PHLGuide

Where To Have A Group Dinner In Philly

Everyone finally agreed on a date for the group dinner. Choosing a restaurant should be the easy part.

Where To Have A Group Dinner In Philly guide image

Whether you’re looking to celebrate a birthday, want somewhere to dissect the latest Marvel movie after-credits scene with your friends, or the rain erases your Rittenhouse Square Park picnic, there are lots of reasons why you should have a few group dinner spots in your back pocket. From beer halls with more brews on draft than the 2000s had bedazzled bandanas, to spots where you can enjoy some plates of fresh pasta, here are 24 places that are worth splitting Ubers for.

THE SPOTS

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Suraya

During the day, Suraya is a casual cafe. But at night, it turns into a fun dinner spot that has lots of big, round tables that can fit you and at least seven other humans. The huge space makes it perfect for a group dinner when you’re looking for something a bit more upscale, and the mezze plates like their baba ganoush with perfectly charred eggplant are great for sharing—especially if you and your friends don’t want to commit to a full entree before going out to El Bar nearby.


With bright neon pod seating in the corner for private dinners, a long sushi bar, and lots of tables, you can fit a group of any size into this University City restaurant. But outside of the colorful dining space, they also have some shareable plates like a crispy seafood pancake with shrimp, crab, and scallops, Korean fried chicken coated with a chili glaze, and a selection of hand rolls that you should get for the table. And since they a few murals on the walls and movable mini lamps on the table, you already have a cool backdrop and good lighting if your group wants to take a few pictures to remember the night.


Harp & Crown is the ideal place to have a sort-of-pricey birthday dinner for yourself and 25 of your closest friends. They have everything from mushroom and truffle pizza and small plates like lamb meatballs to a $50-per-person tasting menu that comes with a dessert if someone forgets to grab you a celebratory cupcake. There’s also a large private room and two bowling lanes that you can rent out downstairs, so if you said you were going to “keep it small” this year, but then remembered how much you love being the center of attention, this is a good option.


Will you be the only group of friends splitting bottles of rosé at this Midtown Village Italian spot? Absolutely not. That’s because this place gets quite busy and serves up delicious small plates like tuna crudo and crunchy octopus, rock shrimp fettucini, and wood-fired pizzas. They have large bistro tables lining the entire stretch of the sidewalk out front, but make a reservation in advance—especially during Happy Hour, or you’ll have to wait at least 30 mins before any wine toasting can start. 


This Filipino BYOB has the option for you to forego their a la carte menu for a kamayan feast. Tablecloths are traded for banana leaves, and rather than using utensils, you eat with your hands. Your meal, which should easily feed four people, is layered on the table with a base of garlic jasmine rice followed by a few different proteins and vegetables, like pork belly, fried whole fish, and bok choy. Sort through the homemade sauces on the table to customize each bite, and don’t be surprised if you need a to-go bag for your leftovers.


Heritage has a lot of elements that make it one of the best group spots in Northern Liberties. There’s the big patio outside, nightly live music (primarily jazz and funk), and plenty of food that’s easy to share, like meat and cheese boards and mussels swimming in a smoky garlic tomato sauce. If you prefer breakfast food and aren’t super into jazz, they also do a bluegrass brunch on Sundays.


Looking for something rowdy in Fishtown? LMNO has a massive outdoor patio with lots of bright yellow umbrellas, and in the summertime, there’s pretty much always a party there (especially when the DJ is spinning). If your group is eating inside, you’ll find a long glowing bar, big tables and bright purple booths, and plenty of entertainment that includes a music listening room. You’ll probably be seated next to an energetic birthday party passing around beef birria asada fries or a couple of friends arguing over the loud music about whether to go with a spiced mango margarita or frozen red sangria. 


Spring Garden’s Osteria has a big lounge area (full of weather couches and marble tables) near the bar where you and your group should have a few cocktails before spending the night with some pasta, wood-fired pizzas, and a crispy pork milanese. There’s also a greenhouse section of the Italian spot where you can take in the night sky surrounded by plants. All of this may read like a place that’s more about the atmosphere than the food, but everything, from the tender braised lamb mafaldine to the mortadella pizza, is delicious and works great for sharing. 


A few blocks from Franklin Square is Kisso Sushi Bar, a Japanese BYOB where you’ll need a reservation to grab one of the three group tables they have in their cozy dining room. But when you secure it for your fantasy football draft or a night out to celebrate your new job with a few friends, try their sushi and sashimi platters that can range from 10-23 pieces. For around $30 and under, you can get spicy salmon and eel maki, tuna and scallion rolls, and a few other options that will make you feel more satisfied than that job offer letter.


Come to this Turkish spot in Northern Liberties to share things like citrusy and perfectly charred shrimp, lamb kebaps, silky baba ganoush and hummus, and fluffy pita. But their juicy and citrusy grilled dorado, that’s simply cooked, will be a fish that everyone at the table will remember for days. The corner restaurant is also BYOB, with a wine and liquor store up the street, so you can take over any of their large tables with a few of your friends and a couple of bottles.  


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Estia

RESERVE A TABLE

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$$$$2157357700
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This Greek spot has multiple rooms, including a private one that fits up to 12 people, and the whole place has enough square footage to be the size of a small neighborhood park. So it’s perfect for a last-minute group dinner when you all realize that nobody in your friend group made a reservation. Order some of their classic dishes like fried calamari with marinara, a couple of mezze (like potato skordalia and salmon tartare), lamb shank drenched in a peppery red wine sauce, and plenty of wine.


If you’re in need of a more upscale spot that still feels casual enough to show up at after going to the gym, check out Barcelona Wine Bar. The food is good, the wine list is better, and the outdoor patio sets it apart from most other restaurants on East Passyunk. They serve mostly tapas, which makes it a perfect spot to go with a bigger group of people, and they’ll even split the big paella dishes by however many people you’re with.


Where To Have Your Birthday Dinner In Philly guide image

PHL Guide

Where To Have Your Birthday Dinner In Philly


When the weather’s nice, Frankford Hall can get more crowded than a Trader Joe’s on a Saturday. And it’s pretty easy to see why: They've got German beers by the liter, pretzels and sausages the size of your face, and enough games and activities to occupy you for hours of day drinking. You can order dinner at the window and drinks at their multiple bars, or you can try to flag down one of the always-busy servers. As a bonus, the Fishtown spot also has heat lamps, so you can still head here during the hoodie season months.


With a dim sum menu longer than our DVR list after a three-week vacation, it may be hard for your friends to decide between truffle edamame lobster sticky rice or eggplant in garlic sauce when ordering at this University City spot. But if your group comes here hungry, you should go for all those dishes, plus a few noodle plates and a round of their crunchy salt and pepper wings. With massively long tables throughout the dining space, you could probably fit your extended family and their extended family in here, if everyone’s down for some soup dumplings and scallion pancakes.


A typical weekend in Old City might include running into a few pedal pubs, lots of cheap beer, and cocktails sipped through NSFW straws while at a bachelorette party. But when you and your friends want to get away from all of that, escape to Han Dynasty. This place handles big groups like they’re two-tops, and even if you’ve got a table of ten, you’ll be impressed by how efficient this place is. The family-style dishes to focus on are the cumin-crusted lamb and dan dan noodles, and while most of the menu can be customized spice-wise, make sure everyone understands the difference between a three and an eight before you order.


It’s the end of your office Happy Hour, and somehow you ended up with the check. Twenties are thrust at you, that guy from accounting has opened the calculator app on his phone, and Jason’s denying he ate anything but salad even though you see BBQ sauce on his shirt. Next time, avoid this by going to Fette Sau in Fishtown. Everyone can order whatever barbecue and sides they want from the front, and then you can all find space at one of the picnic tables outside. When you’re at the counter, go for their brisket sandwich that has perfect slabs of beef that are both juicy and tender and a side of creamy mac and cheese. They’ve got one of the best Happy Hours in town with $5 beers, $4 chicken legs and spicy slaw, and $3 smoked deviled eggs that are reason enough to bring your whole team (minus Jason).


There are plenty of old school red sauce places in South Philly, but L’Angolo handles groups better than almost all of them. They take reservations, which is a huge advantage, and with a few separate rooms in the back, they don’t mind when the volume goes up. Plus, their menu is full of fresh pasta and seafood dishes that are easily big enough to share. For a little bit of both, get the spaghetti scoglio.


This University City spot is a staple for students and locals who love patio seating alike, so don’t be surprised when everyone inside is toting a backpack. It’s also across the street from the movies so it’s a great place to grab a drink before a show instead of dropping $50 on one beer and some popcorn inside the theater. We’re not sure if it’s the extensive draft list, live music, or the highly-coveted fire pits that bring the crowds, but we think the shareable options, like crab hushpuppies and the Abe Froman pizza, have something to do with it. Each slice gets topped with fennel sausage, peppers, and onions, on a layer of mozzarella and provolone.


When all of your finance friends want to grab dinner in Rittenhouse, you might start Googling where you can donate plasma to afford an appetizer. Or you can just suggest Butcher Bar which hits that sweet spot of “nice for a weeknight” and cost-effective (they have $20 pastas and $40 steaks). Their menu is full of twists on bar snacks, like confit duck wings, sloppy joe poutine, and house-made beef jerky. But if you come with enough people, order The Trough. This giant wooden slab is topped with rotisserie chicken, house-made sausages, fries, and five or six other things that’ll give you a good sense of how medieval knights ate.


Tequilas is the kind of place that makes you wish you invested in Bitcoin in 2010 so you can afford an apartment nearby the restaurant in Rittenhouse Square. For now, take a few people who can explain blockchain technology to this Center City Mexican spot for some citrusy shrimp ceviche, beef enchiladas, and a sabana invierno that coats a deep-fried chicken breast with melted chihuahua cheese. They also have a few shareable dishes like empanadas and queso fundido, but when you’re here, go for the chicken molcajetes. You’ll get a cauldron full of shreds of tender chicken and a garlicky peppery mole sauce that will make you forget whatever amount is in your checking account.


Tacconelli’s in Port Richmond is cash-only and BYOB, and reservations are a must as they don’t make more dough than is reserved in advance. The crust is thin and crispy, so don’t bother ordering more than two toppings per pizza (all the more reason to order multiple pies). Also, take the timing of your reservation as a “suggestion” and pack a cooler full of cheap wine and beer—this one-man show moves at its own pace.


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PHL Guide

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Il Ghiottone is a great spot to take a few friends out of town who want to know what kind of old-school Italian places Philly has to offer. The Old City spot serves great red-sauce Italian dishes, it’s pretty inexpensive (all of the pastas and mains are under $20), and the staff is so friendly it will make your out-of-town friends rethink everything they saw on It’s Always Sunny. It’s also BYOB, so make sure you pick up a bottle of wine or three on your way there.


If you’re looking to host a fun night out at a place with more beers than the Parkway has flags, head to Yards Brewing Company in Spring Garden. The casual brewery is full of cafeteria-style tables, all of which have great views of the TV screens. But with things like savory beef chili, nachos stacked with Oaxaca cheese and pickled jalapeños, and pale ale half chicken on the menu, you’ll probably be focusing more on the food than the Phillies game. You can also take your beer flights and habanero wings to the community table which seats groups of 12-48 people.


Pizza is a no-brainer when you need a shareable meal with friends. Society Hill’s Pizzeria Stella not only has some tasty pies, but a few other things you should go for as well, like their spaghetti pomodoro mixed with chunks of plum tomato and crispy chickpeas. When it comes to pizza, the San Daniele with prosciutto, gooey smoked mozzarella, pecorino, and arugula spread across every inch of the pie is the way to go. But on nights when your people can’t settle on a topping, their lineup of pastas, salads, and small plates are always a good substitute.

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