Where to Dine as a Group

Photo: Garden State Hotel

It's not always easy to find restaurants that can accommodate a large number.

To take the stress out of your next special occasion, here's a round up of some of our favourite places that are perfect for a big night out with friends and family.

Supernormal, Flinders Lane
Ideal group size: 15+ ppl (private karaoke room)
Banquet menu: $65 pp

On any given day McConnell’s energetic pan-Asian eatery is jammed with happy tables of people sharing punchy plates of jazzed-up fish, chargrilled spicy ribs, and those lobster rolls. It’s normally a walk-in-and-try-your-luck type place except if you’re with a group of six or more. Better yet, if you have a group of 15+ then you can book the private room downstairs and karaoke it out to your hearts content.
Our pro tip: Don't forget to sneak in a quick game of Street Fighter while you're there.

Mamasita, Collins Street
Ideal group size: up to 10 ppl
Banquet menu $65pp or $115pp matched mezcal

This is where you go for a fun and raucous night with good mates. Contemporary and fun Mexican fare at its best, with certified mezcaliers (instead of sommeliers) wandering the floor ready to give you advice on their 150-strong list. They’re there to ensure you have a good time, not a long time, pouring over their unorthodox drinks menu.
Our pro tip: Not many people know that Mamasita now take bookings for groups sized 2-10 so no need to queue anymore.

HuTong Dumpling Bar, Market Lane or Prahran
Ideal group size: 10 ppl (seated at a round table)

Melbourne has its laneways and China has its HuTong. This is the place that made xiao long bao world-famous in Melbourne. Nothing says group dinner like a big round table of old friends casually playing spin the lazy susan. Beyond dumplings there is a very extensive menu of meat, seafood, claypot and vegetarian dishes. So be sure to graze widely. The Prahran location also has a private room with two tables – perfect for 20 guests.
Our pro tip: Read this article on correct soup dumpling etiquette so you can enjoy those juicy little parcels with confidence.

Old Kingdom, Fitzroy
Ideal group size: 3-4 ppl (per duck)
$58pp three-course whole duck

Over the years this simple two-storey place has made a real name for itself as one of the best places for Peking Duck in town. For those of you who love a spectacle, go the whole bird and marvel at the flair as the staff peel and carve it up at your table. The special three-course menu makes the most of every morsel beginning with DIY pancakes, moving on to bean shoot and pickled veg stirfry, and finally an aromatic broth to finish off the remains on the carcass.
Our pro tip: Old Kingdom requires a little preparation. The ducks have to be pre-ordered and this place is BYO and cash only. 

Garden State Hotel, Flinders Lane
Ideal group size: 6 - 12 ppl (semi private dining in Garden Grill)
Garden Grill banquet menu $75 pp

Stepping inside Garden State Hotel from Flinders Lane is like entering into another six-storey dimension. It takes a moment to adjust and take in the vast space that is somehow hidden on Melbourne’s most revered dining strip. From the team behind The Terminus and Prahran Hotel, you’d be forgiven for thinking this venue is backed by a massive restaurant group rather than a tight-knit group of old friends who are all about creating feel-good community spaces. There are plenty of nooks and crannies to accommodate walk-ins, however the Garden Grill the place if you want to book your group in advance. You'll be well looked after by ex-Circa Executive Chef Ash Hicks and his produce-driven and fragrant menu.

Longrain, CBD
Ideal group size: 6-14 ppl (seated at round table) 
Banquet menu: $68 pp

One of the pioneers of the no-booking policy in Melbourne does in fact let you book if you’re a group of five or more. South East Asian influences reliably interpreted through the best Victorian produce, Longrain never disappoints. Dishes are made just for sharing so this place is the perfect communal set up.
Our pro tip: There is one dish that you cannot miss: Boetz’s Filled eggnet – pork, prawns, peanuts, caramelised coconut and cucumber relish. Described in certain circles as a potential national dish in Australia. It is so popular that on busy evenings a chef is assigned to cook just that. 

Grosvenor Hotel, St Kilda
Ideal group size: 20+ ppl (private dining)
Banquet menu: start at $41pp for two courses
Voted People’s Choice Pub by Timeout in 2016, this pub has reigned supreme since it opening its doors in the 1800s. Today, it’s a slick multi-purpose venue that can cater for working lunches through to private functions.
Our pro tip: You can't beat a whole Western Plains suckling pig being carved up at your table. (up to 10 guests for $660)

Jim’s Greek Tavern, Collingwood
Ideal group size: 15 ppl
Approx. $50 pp

No menu, big families, jovial conversations in Greek tongues, and old-school waiters with memories as impressive as their ability to keep order in the chaos. The long-standing Collingwood taverna stays true its roots serving up classic dishes and loads of charm. House-made dips, pan-fried Saganaki, and a plethora of citrus-coated meats and seafood star. Go large or go home. Did we mention it’s BYO?
Our pro tip: As tempting as it is, do not fill up on the bread and dips. Jim’s portions are generous and you will regret not leaving room for their stunner of a custard galaktoboureko.

Dutchess
Ideal group size 8 - 10 ppl (seated in the booths)
Banquet menu: $79 pp

A sleek and sexy dining room hidden above one of Melbourne’s oldest pubs. This place is all about the meat with an extensive steak list. There were more than nine top cuts on offer last time we checked. Dry aged, grass fed and cooked to perfection
Our Pro tip: Have some fun with their retro desserts: high-class choc tops or their own spin on the Bounty bar – a cocounut, condensed milk, parfait, coconut & kaffir lime sorbet.