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Seabass is served Cantonese style, with ginger and spring onion at Singburi in Leytonstone
Cantonese-style seabass at Singburi in Leytonstone.
Michaël Protin

20 Crowd-Pleasing Restaurants for Group Dinners in London

The art of compromise needn’t mean doing it on the quality of the food

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Cantonese-style seabass at Singburi in Leytonstone.
| Michaël Protin

Making the best of group dining in London means mastering the art of the crowd-pleaser: finding the restaurants that can accommodate large groups of diners, sometimes with no reservations, and can appeal to a broad range of tastes.

But that’s only half the story: there are also many restaurants intrinsically suited to groups, whether through private dining rooms; banquet-style dishes; or menus that simply perform best when the eater orders everything.

Here’s where to get the best of both, and therefore, the best restaurants for groups in London.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Santa Maria Pizzeria

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Still one of London’s best pizza restaurants by a distance, the original Santa Maria’s tiny terrace and even tinier dining room has been replaced by a much larger dining room a few minutes away. The blistered crusts, impeccable tomato sauce and melting cheese remain — and now groups can get in, too.

Beit el Zaytoun

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An idyllic canalside setting adds to the easy charm of this superb Lebanese restaurant on the fringe of Park Royal, with abundant mezze and scalable set menus making it perfect for a group dinner.

Normah's

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Normah Abd Hamid’s tiny Queensway Market unit — tucked in an unlikely location between a sign advertising Russian films and an Uzbeki cafe — now rivals Roti King for the title of “London’s best Malaysian caff.” The roti canai here is on a par with Roti King’s, with the fluffy interior not compromised by the caramelisation she achieves on the crust, but diners come mainly for the assam pedas, a scarlet bloodbath of whole fish, tangy with tamarind as sour as wine gums, and lifted by a prickling chilli heat.

Mandarin Kitchen

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Follow in the footsteps of dozens of regulars since 1978 (and Sandra Oh, Michelle Yeoh, Sonoya Mizuno, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, and Awkwafina) and book a big white table for platters of lobster noodles.

Namak Mandi

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Namak Mandi offers floor seating in its upstairs section that is divided into multiple booths, an important expression of food culture and hospitality in the Peshawar region from where it takes its name and cuisine. There are two modes in this restaurant which is entirely geared towards communal eating — chapli, charsi karahi, and breads are one. The other requires more planning but is without compare: sajji, a whole lamb marinated in salt and roasted over coals, ready for 12 - 15 people (or fewer nerds) to get involved.

Ramo Ramen

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Ramen’s mixture of styles and customisation make it a good crowd-pleaser; Ramo Ramen’s being halal renders it even more inclusive; and the Kentish Town restaurant is well set for more spontaneous group dinners and bigger parties longer in the planning.

Maison François

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There is little more soigné and ideal for a range of eaters than a brasserie done well, and Maison François is one of the city’s best new expressions of the form. Simple, approachable, and thoughtfully executed French classics in a very beautiful dining room: it’s hard to go wrong.

Blacklock Soho

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Platters of chops of all shapes and sizes, some traditional British sides, and an at-times raucous atmosphere — it’s easy to see why this Soho chophouse remains a reliable choice.

Food House

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One of the comparatively recent new wave of Sichuan and Xi’an restaurants in Chinatown, Food House (風味食堂) is run by a younger generation of chefs and restaurateurs. Indeed, it might be the hippest restaurant in central London. Hordes of immaculately dressed shoppers and students gather for hot pots, whole fish in chilli oil, numbing Chongqing noodles, cumin-studded grilled skewers, and Chinese hamburgers while competing with the staff for the coolest look. This extremely trendy restaurant is a scene all of its own, but not unwelcoming; it’s perfect for a group booking.

Arcade Food Hall

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The new new Arcade Food Hall is less of a collection of kitchens and more of a panoptic restaurant in its own right. A new ordering system, with table service and no queueing, makes dining feel effortless, while the range of food on offer makes it as suited to a dinner occasion as to a soaker-upper after a night out in the West End. Hits include Nashville hot chicken and smashburgers at Manna (from Bake Street’s Feroz Gajia); butter chicken everything at Hero; and surprising substance in a tempura prawn nori sando from Sushi Kamon.

Ciao Bella

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Ciao Bella is an exemplar: the long menu of Anglicised Italian classics; the comically large pepper mills; and the fact that everything can (and should) be ordered with chips, all belong entirely to the canon of the British Italian restaurant. Its busy pavement terrace is a scene of joy, and the generosity on show makes it ideal for a large, ideally celebratory meal.

Passyunk Avenue (Waterloo)

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Beers and chasers, Philly cheesesteaks, and a whole lot of noise: that’s the vibe at this cavernous shrine to all things Philadelphia in Waterloo, where the bludgeoning Americana is just charming enough to make it ideal for a group seeking first a decent time and second decent food.

The Anchor & Hope

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A staple and a stable of the London gastropub, the Anchor and Hope’s location (close to Vics Old and Young) and easygoing, elegantly executed menu makes it a real winner for a group of theatregoers.

Zeret Kitchen

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The skill on show at Tafe Belayneh’s Ethiopian kitchen in Camberwell is close to peerless in a city blessed with a great many excellent Ethiopian and Eritrean restaurants. Vegetarian dishes including the misir wat — lentils spiced with berbere — or the defn misir wat have the uncanny meaty depth of a slow-cooked ragu, and the completely vegan smorgasbord of 5-6 stews surrounded by injera — intrinsically suited to sharing — has to rank as one of the best bargains in London

Nandine - Vestry Road

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Nandine takes dedicated bookings for large groups but can also take 6s - 8s via its website, whether for daytime Kurdish spreads or dinner, when the Vestry Road branch opens Friday and Saturday nights.

Umut 2000 Dalston

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The ocakbasi is the perfect venue for a group dinner — platters of adana, kofte, ribs, and grill-kissed vegetables spread over large tables. There are plenty of options across London, mostly concentrated in Dalston, Green Lanes, and Enfield, but such is the singularity of Umut’s ribs that it gets the spot.

Xi'an Biang Biang Noodles

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A large canteen in Spitalfields, Xi’an Biang Biang’s range of noodles — in both type and topping — makes it well suited for groups who have different priorities in texture and spicing.

Taste of Afghan

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Experienced in catering weddings, parties, and other large events, Taste of Afghan is equally adept at hosting large groups, either for Afghan classics like pulao and chapli, or, as at Namak Mandi, a sajji ordered in advance. Karahis come by the kilo here: this is a place of scale.

Singburi

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Most group dining picks and guides relish restaurants that can serve a wide range of tastes, and plenty of the restaurants on here do. But the other side of group dining is the restaurants which excel at scale and splurge, with menus that just demand being ordered in their entirety and shared among friends. This is the way of the Singburi blackboard: order (close to) all of it, and revel.

Lahori Nihaari London

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Whitechapel’s Punjabi grills have long been group dining staples — now perhaps the move in the area is Lahore One for chicken methi as green as envy, or Al Kahf’s Somali excellence. Further east in Upton Park, Lahori Nihaari is the place to go for Pakistani staples of nihaari (duh) and haleem, but lesser-seen dishes like bhindi gosht and aloo qeema are strong orders.

Santa Maria Pizzeria

Still one of London’s best pizza restaurants by a distance, the original Santa Maria’s tiny terrace and even tinier dining room has been replaced by a much larger dining room a few minutes away. The blistered crusts, impeccable tomato sauce and melting cheese remain — and now groups can get in, too.

Beit el Zaytoun

An idyllic canalside setting adds to the easy charm of this superb Lebanese restaurant on the fringe of Park Royal, with abundant mezze and scalable set menus making it perfect for a group dinner.

Normah's

Normah Abd Hamid’s tiny Queensway Market unit — tucked in an unlikely location between a sign advertising Russian films and an Uzbeki cafe — now rivals Roti King for the title of “London’s best Malaysian caff.” The roti canai here is on a par with Roti King’s, with the fluffy interior not compromised by the caramelisation she achieves on the crust, but diners come mainly for the assam pedas, a scarlet bloodbath of whole fish, tangy with tamarind as sour as wine gums, and lifted by a prickling chilli heat.

Mandarin Kitchen

Follow in the footsteps of dozens of regulars since 1978 (and Sandra Oh, Michelle Yeoh, Sonoya Mizuno, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, and Awkwafina) and book a big white table for platters of lobster noodles.

Namak Mandi

Namak Mandi offers floor seating in its upstairs section that is divided into multiple booths, an important expression of food culture and hospitality in the Peshawar region from where it takes its name and cuisine. There are two modes in this restaurant which is entirely geared towards communal eating — chapli, charsi karahi, and breads are one. The other requires more planning but is without compare: sajji, a whole lamb marinated in salt and roasted over coals, ready for 12 - 15 people (or fewer nerds) to get involved.

Ramo Ramen

Ramen’s mixture of styles and customisation make it a good crowd-pleaser; Ramo Ramen’s being halal renders it even more inclusive; and the Kentish Town restaurant is well set for more spontaneous group dinners and bigger parties longer in the planning.

Maison François

There is little more soigné and ideal for a range of eaters than a brasserie done well, and Maison François is one of the city’s best new expressions of the form. Simple, approachable, and thoughtfully executed French classics in a very beautiful dining room: it’s hard to go wrong.

Blacklock Soho

Platters of chops of all shapes and sizes, some traditional British sides, and an at-times raucous atmosphere — it’s easy to see why this Soho chophouse remains a reliable choice.

Food House

One of the comparatively recent new wave of Sichuan and Xi’an restaurants in Chinatown, Food House (風味食堂) is run by a younger generation of chefs and restaurateurs. Indeed, it might be the hippest restaurant in central London. Hordes of immaculately dressed shoppers and students gather for hot pots, whole fish in chilli oil, numbing Chongqing noodles, cumin-studded grilled skewers, and Chinese hamburgers while competing with the staff for the coolest look. This extremely trendy restaurant is a scene all of its own, but not unwelcoming; it’s perfect for a group booking.

Arcade Food Hall

The new new Arcade Food Hall is less of a collection of kitchens and more of a panoptic restaurant in its own right. A new ordering system, with table service and no queueing, makes dining feel effortless, while the range of food on offer makes it as suited to a dinner occasion as to a soaker-upper after a night out in the West End. Hits include Nashville hot chicken and smashburgers at Manna (from Bake Street’s Feroz Gajia); butter chicken everything at Hero; and surprising substance in a tempura prawn nori sando from Sushi Kamon.

Ciao Bella

Ciao Bella is an exemplar: the long menu of Anglicised Italian classics; the comically large pepper mills; and the fact that everything can (and should) be ordered with chips, all belong entirely to the canon of the British Italian restaurant. Its busy pavement terrace is a scene of joy, and the generosity on show makes it ideal for a large, ideally celebratory meal.

Passyunk Avenue (Waterloo)

Beers and chasers, Philly cheesesteaks, and a whole lot of noise: that’s the vibe at this cavernous shrine to all things Philadelphia in Waterloo, where the bludgeoning Americana is just charming enough to make it ideal for a group seeking first a decent time and second decent food.

The Anchor & Hope

A staple and a stable of the London gastropub, the Anchor and Hope’s location (close to Vics Old and Young) and easygoing, elegantly executed menu makes it a real winner for a group of theatregoers.

Zeret Kitchen

The skill on show at Tafe Belayneh’s Ethiopian kitchen in Camberwell is close to peerless in a city blessed with a great many excellent Ethiopian and Eritrean restaurants. Vegetarian dishes including the misir wat — lentils spiced with berbere — or the defn misir wat have the uncanny meaty depth of a slow-cooked ragu, and the completely vegan smorgasbord of 5-6 stews surrounded by injera — intrinsically suited to sharing — has to rank as one of the best bargains in London

Nandine - Vestry Road

Nandine takes dedicated bookings for large groups but can also take 6s - 8s via its website, whether for daytime Kurdish spreads or dinner, when the Vestry Road branch opens Friday and Saturday nights.

Related Maps

Umut 2000 Dalston

The ocakbasi is the perfect venue for a group dinner — platters of adana, kofte, ribs, and grill-kissed vegetables spread over large tables. There are plenty of options across London, mostly concentrated in Dalston, Green Lanes, and Enfield, but such is the singularity of Umut’s ribs that it gets the spot.

Xi'an Biang Biang Noodles

A large canteen in Spitalfields, Xi’an Biang Biang’s range of noodles — in both type and topping — makes it well suited for groups who have different priorities in texture and spicing.

Taste of Afghan

Experienced in catering weddings, parties, and other large events, Taste of Afghan is equally adept at hosting large groups, either for Afghan classics like pulao and chapli, or, as at Namak Mandi, a sajji ordered in advance. Karahis come by the kilo here: this is a place of scale.

Singburi

Most group dining picks and guides relish restaurants that can serve a wide range of tastes, and plenty of the restaurants on here do. But the other side of group dining is the restaurants which excel at scale and splurge, with menus that just demand being ordered in their entirety and shared among friends. This is the way of the Singburi blackboard: order (close to) all of it, and revel.

Lahori Nihaari London

Whitechapel’s Punjabi grills have long been group dining staples — now perhaps the move in the area is Lahore One for chicken methi as green as envy, or Al Kahf’s Somali excellence. Further east in Upton Park, Lahori Nihaari is the place to go for Pakistani staples of nihaari (duh) and haleem, but lesser-seen dishes like bhindi gosht and aloo qeema are strong orders.

Related Maps