Where To Have A Private Dinner In SF guide image


Where To Have A Private Dinner In SF

Not an exhaustive directory, but your 20 best options.

Maybe your boss is finally retiring, or your friend is turning 40 for the third year in a row. Perhaps you’re planning a big holiday party, and the consensus is that the place must have wooden chairs and a piano. Whatever the occasion, the “dining room” in your apartment only fits four in a pinch, so you’re going to need a private room—and food that doesn't suck.

Here’s a guide to our favorite restaurants with private rooms that can hold anywhere from eight to 450 of your family members, colleagues, or whomever else you need to have a secluded meal with.


photo credit: Erin Ng

Penny Roma review image

Penny Roma


3000 20th St, San Francisco
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Capacity: 32-45 

Penny Roma is the spot for a “cute little Italian dinner.” The sibling restaurant of Flour + Water is dimly lit, full of plants, and leans heavily into the whole pasta-and-crudo thing. There’s a savory agnolotti in sugo d'arrosto, a creamy cacio e pepe, and a deliciously lemony chicken al mattone. For $125 per person, you can host a sit-down dinner with 32 of your closest friends in the second floor private dining room (chef’s choice menu only). Alternatively, you can go the standing-only route—$35 per person includes charcuterie, cheese boards, and crudites for snacking. 

photo credit: Jeremy Chen

Taksim review image




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Capacity: 15-145 

Taksim is an industrial-ish spot in SoMa with friendly service, a wood-fired oven, and an elevated-yet-casual energy that invites you to show up in anything from a crisp button down to a worn-out band tee. The Turkish restaurant serves great mezes, salads, house-made breads, and a fantastic fried branzino with sea beans. There’s a range of private dining options, most with accompanying three- and four-course set menus. Book the main dining room (capacity: 45-80 people) or the cozier, light-filled private room on the second floor. The upstairs bar is ideal for mixers of up to 15.

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Capacity: 14-225

The semi-private Empress Room is as decadent as the rest of this Las Vegas-esque Chinese restaurant. The opulent dining room is filled with carved wooden doors, lattices, and blue accents everywhere, and offers both Chinatown and Coit Tower views. A seasonal tasting menu of excellent dishes like jasmin-smoked short ribs, scallop and caviar rolls, and shrimp dumplings also ensure your path to event hosting success. The room fits 14-22, depending on the set-up. There’s also the larger, just-as-decadent Yan Yan room with a capacity of 48 people, and a full buyout option for up to 225.

Capacity: 50-200 

Joyride Pizza feels like a pizza party. They make one of the top Detroit-style pies in town, and the space is ideal for receptions, life celebrations, and forced moments of corporate team bonding—it’s located in Yerba Buena Gardens, right next to the Moscone Center convention hub. Joyride is huge and versatile, with an indoor space with huge glass windows and a garden-like outdoor terrace. The menu of pizzas, salads, and pastas are entirely customizable and work for every occasion.

Capacity: 15-110 

Since 1985, this Cantonese seafood spot in Chinatown has set the scene for everything from graduation celebrations and bachelorette parties to weddings. Simply put, this place knows a thing or two about hosting. Book a small event in one of their private rooms, or commit to a full-on banquet for up to 110 guests. Menus are customizable, but make sure to have their iconic salt-and-pepper crab on it.

Capacity: 30-50

Our love for this Indian restaurant in the Dogpatch and their inventive, California-inspired Gujarati dishes knows no bounds. Which is one reason they’re on this guide. Private events for 30-50 people include a fully customizable menu and a full bar. Just be sure to plan ahead: reservations need to be locked in at least 30 days in advance. 

Capacity: 6-10 

The people in your life who dream of fatty toro, amberjack, and gizzard shad will appreciate Sato Omakase. It’s located in the same Lower Nob Hill building as its more casual sister restaurant Sushi Sato, and is suited for intimate occasions (6-10 people). The private room has a sleek sushi counter under dramatic spotlights. From here, your private omakase chef will skillfully craft a mix of well-executed appetizers, nigiri, soups, and desserts from an entirely set menu. 

Capacity: 8-20

Nisei’s impressive Japanese tasting menu is matched by an elegant dining room, complete with artistic murals, dark gray walls, white banquettes, and velvet accents. The stately style continues in the private Kimono Room, which can seat 8-20. Booking out the entire restaurant is another way to show your friends you can step it up, as is hosting a cocktail reception in their intimate Bar Iris next door.

Capacity: 50-60 

Lily in the Richmond doesn’t have a private room, but this place is somewhat small, and you can book the whole place with a group of your friends. You’ll work with the chef to create a custom menu with wine pairings. Since it’s the same folks who brought you impeccable whole-fried fish, tangy filet mignon salads, and downright luxurious Vietnamese iced coffee with salted duck egg foam, you know you’re in good hands.

Capacity: Up to 12 (Wine Room), 24-40 (Suda Room)

Nari is a lush, sexy greenhouse in restaurant form, and our favorite (and highest-rated) Thai place in the city. So this Japantown spot is the move for events revolving around spice-heavy curries, laab, and beautiful fried fish. They offer two rooms: the semi-private Wine Room with a view of the kitchen, and a more private Suda Room with big windows that overlook the gardens of the Hotel Kabuki, where Nari is located.   

Capacity: 40-70

This is a f*ck it, full-on restaurant buyout situation. A special evening at this highly rated Hayes Valley mainstay will involve a one-hour canapé session followed by a seasonal four-course meal spotlighting some of the best dishes you’ll likely eat all month (hello, porcini donuts and sardine chips). The clean, barn-like space can comfortably seat 40, or accommodate 70 people standing.

Capacity: 12-14

Ernest is home to excellent seafood and seasonally changing Asian-inflected dishes. It’s also an exciting dinner spot, and one well-suited for small parties. Their private room is perfect for a gathering of your most trusted friends—you’ll eat family-style. The menu at this Mission place changes depending on the day and season, but expect things like ikura-topped beef tartare, bone marrow dumplings, and uni butter-drenched lo mein. Email info@ernestsf.com for more details.

Capacity: Varies

Piccino is light-filled and airy, has the charm of a Scandinavian store, and feels like a friend’s home, especially since it’s located inside a Victorian in the Dogpatch. For private events, this Californian-inspired Italian spot is serving bright, seasonal pizzas and pastas. The highlight of their many options is the Guest House (24-38 people), located above the main dining room and featuring an adjoining secluded rooftop patio.  

Capacity: 6-14

Need a fancy meal in SoMa with coworkers, clients, or a bunch of family members who really, really love steak? Try the private dining room at Niku Steakhouse. This spot specializes in Japanese A5 wagyu, ribeyes, and short rib grilled over binchotan. They’re serving them with things like wagyu fat and wagyu meatballs (sense a theme?). The private room is distinguished and swanky, with an impressive glass wall stacked with wine.

Capacity: 10-60

Flour + Water is one of the best Cal-Ital pasta experiences in the city. So hosting a private event at this Mission spot will certainly create some buzz. Their intimate Dough Room in a kitchen-like setting offers a chef's tasting menu served family-style. You can also go with a full restaurant buyout, or consider a private event at their younger, lusher sister spot Penny Roma. Consider booking one of their pasta-making classes while you’re at it.

Capacity: 14-150

Skylights, chandeliers, hanging dried flowers, and wooden ceiling beams that make you feel like you're in a Napa barn certainly make dinner at Che Fico memorable. Adding to the celebratory energy of this Italian spot in NoPa is the Celentano Room. It seats 14, and offers seasonal set menus and a range of supplements to choose from. A full restaurant buyout is also an option. 

Capacity: 6-12

Yes, another Italian spot, and this one with a warmer feel thanks to brick walls, a wood-fired oven, and comforting pasta. There are both indoor and outdoor areas where up to 12 guests can share ricotta-filled raviolos, crudos, grilled Tuscan sausage, and other seasonal Italian plates. They offer catering, too. Complete an inquiry form here.

Capacity: 15-450 

We turn to this Peruvian restaurant on the Embarcadero to relax on the covered waterfront patio over ceviche, empanadas, and pisco. It’s currently available for up to 100 seated guests (150 standing), but for private parties of up to 450, consider a full restaurant buyout. La Mar has several other private rooms with a lush, colorful setting (but no waterfront views), like the Cebiche Lounge (15-60 people), and the Lobby Bar (20-80). 

Capacity: 12-70 

The third (and newest) outpost of Fiorella in the Sunset is for pasta and wood-fired pies. It’s always slammed with people eating inside of the snug dining room, and on the cozy upper deck. For $45 per person, your group of 12-18 can sit underneath a retractable roof and eat a family-style prix fixe dinner. It’s a good, buzzy time. Also, inquire about larger parties for up to 70 guests. 

Capacity: 9-220 

Kaiyo is a chic rooftop located on the 12th floor of the Hyatt Place Hotel in SoMa, which means your equally chic birthday or cocktail party has a city-view backdrop. There are a couple of semi-private, intimate lounges, serving solid Nikkei cuisine (Peruvian-Japanese). Wherever you choose to eat, an event at Kaiyo will get you dishes like empanadas, chicken karaage with rocoto aioli, and ceviche in a citrusy leche de tigre.

Capacity: 12-350

Foreign Cinema needs no introduction—the Californian restaurant in the Mission is a San Francisco classic. This place has been at it since 1999, and the central courtyard with string lights, a soft glow, and movies projected on the big walls have a lot to do with it. Various rooms are available for private events, including an art-filled gallery, and a mezzanine overlooking the main dining room. Or just book the entire place, which includes use of the projector to play your movie of choice.

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