Where To Have A Group Dinner In PhillyEveryone finally agreed on a date for the group dinner. Choosing a restaurant should be the easy part. Here are the 15 best spots for the job.
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 cancels your Rittenhouse Square picnic, there are lots of reasons why you need a few group dinner spots in your back pocket. From beer halls and BBQ to plant-based or pasta, here are 15 places that are worth splitting Ubers for.
Although it’s one of the hottest tickets in town, having one of the largest dining rooms in the neighborhood allows Kalaya to fit a small college reunion inside. So when you have a large group of friends who crave fantastic Thai food, they’ve got you covered. From the chewy sakoo moo dumplings to sweet and spicy khiaw waan kalaya, there are no misses on the menu at the Fishtown spot. Sit back at a table with friends, pass around a few curries and towers of shaved ice, and argue over who gets to take the leftovers home.
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.
Here are some things you’ll find at Mish Mish in East Passyunk: white tablecloths, a dimly-lit dining room, and chatter that rivals what you'd hear in Reading Terminal. The Mediterranean spot has a small interior, so we don’t recommend bringing a super big group. But if you come with four or five friends, share the grilled baby octopus, smoked winter squash, and pomegranate-glazed grilled chicken that’s always tender and has just the right amount of crunch.
Fat Salmon is one of the best restaurants in Old City, and a place where you can go for sushi that’s topped with things like pineapple cilantro, pico de gallo, and broccoli pesto. The presentation doesn’t take away from the fact that they serve excellent rolls, full of high-quality raw fish, all wrapped in warm, vinegary rice. The pink and blue mood lighting in the dining room sort of makes you feel like you’re at a club in Miami, but it never gets as rowdy. Since the kitchen stays open until 11pm, your group can get a few rolls in before heading to Strangelove’s for a nightcap.
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.
This Filipino BYOB only offers one dining option, and it's a great one: the 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.
Come to this casual 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.
Oyster House, one of the city’s best raw bars, is perfect for nearly any occasion. Come for post-work lobster rolls and oysters with a colleague or client. Walk in with a friend or two when you want to chow down on shellfish, split a bottle of wine, and people-watch near the picture windows. Or come with a big group and get the New England-style clambake–buckets of clams, shrimp, lobsters, and corn dripping in garlic chive butter is dumped onto the table for everyone to share, family style.
This cozy Fishtown BYOB serves dishes like carnitas medianoche made out of jackfruit, kimchi pancakes with chia seed caviar and kimchi sashimi, comforting bowls of masa ball soup, and even Philly-style sandwiches like a roast pork made of yuba. The most expensive item on the menu is $20, so you can bring a large group and spread out at their long wooden tables, share a bunch of plates, and wash everything down with rosé.
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.
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.
Located in Olney, Kim’s Restaurant serves dumplings, noodle dishes, and hot pots that are the best in the neighborhood. But it's their deeply marinated Korean barbecue that’s the main attraction here—cooking and eating it feels like you’re playing a tongs-and-teriyaki version of Operation (but without the fake electrocution). The large dining room gets loud thanks to the families, groups of friends, and sizzling sounds coming from the charcoal grills at each table. All of the high-quality meats are tender, from the spicy pork and short ribs to peppery chicken. Throw in some crunchy noodles or stir fries to round out the meal and find out which friend has some culinary skills.
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.
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.
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.