Most New York City apartments are too small for big dinner parties, so when a celebration is called for—a holiday get-together, a birthday, a reunion—New Yorkers go out on the town. If you’re visiting with lots of family or friends, we suggest you do the same. Below, we’ve rounded up the 10 best restaurants that welcome large groups and won’t cause a panic when the bill comes.
Courtesy, Birds of a Feather
A long communal table can fit 26 guests at this airy, minimalist Sichuan spot in Williamsburg. Smaller groups are also easily accommodated, and the service is so hospitable you won’t feel rushed through your meal. Those who like it hot should get poached wontons in chili oil, mapo tofu and sliced lamb with cumin and ginger. Non-fiery specialties include crispy scallion pancakes, steamed soup buns and tea-smoked duck. Owners Xian Zhang and Yiming Wang run two Manhattan restaurants—China Blue and the Michelin-starred Cafe China—which are also great for a crowd.
Cote. Photo: Gary He
Going to Cote is a blast, a Korean barbecue party happening pretty much everywhere you look. Tables are outfitted with gas grills and littered with banchan and sides like scallion salad, egg soufflé and kimchi stew. Your server, or you and your friends, performs grilling duties using meats that are aged in-house. Get the butcher’s feast; it includes four cuts of meat with all the trimmings, plus soft-serve ice cream for dessert. The stylish Flatiron District space also features good cocktails, wines and a basement bar, , to stretch out the night.
Courtesy, Dim Sum Go Go
Chinatown is generally geared to group dining, but Dim Sum Go Go is especially adept at handling large parties. Go hog wild ordering steamer baskets of dumplings, and be sure to include shumai (pork and shrimp). Bigger dishes include shiitake mushrooms with sugar snap peas, seafood fried rice and beef with orange peel. Nine people can gather at a round table downstairs; you can reserve the upstairs space for up to 80. Most people opt for Tsingtao beer—but if you’ve got wine snobs among you, bring your own bottles for a minimal corkage fee.
This heartwarming trattoria in Nolita offers three different pre-set menus for large parties (10 or more), and serves everything family-style. There is a convivial bar up front and a rustic 70-seat dining room in back, sporting skylights and a wood-fired oven turning out light, thin-crusted pizza. You can’t go wrong with lemony risotto arancini, bucatini cacio e pepe, half chicken under a brick and dessert calzone stuffed with Nutella and ricotta. Menus can also be customized for special desires and diets.
It’s worth going out of your way for this Tuscan gem in Alphabet City. It’s super-casual and the real deal, owned and run by a group of fun-loving Italians. They can handle parties of up to 50 and whip together an affordable, family-style experience. Fresh pasta is your best bet; pappardelle with slow-cooked beef ragu and cheesy spinach and ricotta gnocchi are two standouts. The restaurant demystifies the wine-ordering process by presenting bottles in a crate, price tags attached.
Hometown Bar-B-Que. Photo: Ken Goodman
Barbecue mavens rate Hometown at the top—not just in the City but in the entire United States—so you’re in for a treat when it comes to brisket, lamb belly, ribs, turkey, house-made sausage and wood-fired chicken. The Red Hook restaurant also serves great Vietnamese-style hot wings, pulled pork tacos and smoked pit beans with brisket burnt ends. The weathered space is awash in large tables, but doesn’t accept reservations—so you might want to try Tuesday through Thursday evening or a weekday lunch if you’re dining with a lot of company.
Courtesy, Miss Ada
This Middle Eastern bistro’s warm pita—cradling whipped ricotta with brown butter, honey and sage—carries a dreamy wallop. Miss Ada also has amazing, smoky baba ghanoush with ginger aioli. It’s not only the restaurant’s creamy spreads that are built for sharing; there is also charred octopus, za’atar-crusted salmon and skewers of halloumi cheese with green tahini. The intimate space is perfumed with spices from Tomer Blechman’s open kitchen. A prix-fixe menu is in effect for parties of seven or more; a farmhouse table seats 12.
Courtesy, Telly's Taverna
Large tables abound at this traditional, Athenian-style taverna, where the seafood tastes fresh from the Mediterranean. Dip warm pita in tangy tzatziki and skordalia spreads. Fork into pan-fried Greek cheese and an abundant green salad piled with tomatoes, cucumber and slabs of feta. Savor grilled shrimp, swordfish steak and red snapper, impeccably cooked and served by an expert waitstaff. Finish off your meal with honey-drenched doughnuts. You can also call ahead to arrange prix-fixe meals (including wine and coffee) if you have a sizeable group.
Group text your friends and suggest meeting at Vapiano, where dividing the check is never an issue. Each patron is given a “chip” card (like a credit card) to use at the bar and various stations featuring salads, pasta (Bolognese, creamy mushroom, carbonara) and thin-crust pizza. Diners pluck fresh basil leaves from plants placed throughout the modern, bi-level space. Since everything is cooked before your eyes, it’s easy to customize dishes to make them vegan or gluten-free. Plus, the Union Square site couldn’t be more conveniently located.
Vic’s is a lovely, brick-walled Mediterranean restaurant in Noho with stellar service and a loyal following. Groups larger than 10 have a choice of three prix-fixe menus ranging from $55 to $75. Borsa is a must: little pasta “purses” filled with ricotta and bathed in buttery lemon sauce and crumbled hazelnuts. The seasonal vegetable compositions at Vic’s are always wonderful, as are mainstays like sweet fried onions showered with Parmigiano-Reggiano, the sesame garlic bread with goat butter and the whipped pecorino with pizza bianca. Try for a table in the rear by the open kitchen.