top of page
  • Writer's pictureThe Bone Guys

Where to Bring Clients, Friends and Family To Dinner When It’s Looking Like a Big Party

Updated: Nov 7, 2019


Guelaguetza in Koreatown

Finding a place for dinner that accommodates large groups—be they visiting clients, old friends or extended family—can be among the most intimidating challenges of dining out.

One needs a place with the space, service and patience to accommodate a big table of people with varying needs. Many places aren’t simply set up for this, whereas quite a few specialize in this style of hospitality.

Here we’ll explore what makes a perfect restaurant for hosting a generous number of guests, while pinpointing the best restaurants in L.A. and O.C. that offer seamless group dining experiences.


Asian restaurants

From Chinese banquet halls and dim sum standouts to Vietnamese cafes and stars of Korean barbecue, Asian-influenced restaurants are generally more accommodating to big groups. The significance of family to many cultures from the Asian continent practically guarantee there will always be a table for someone’s sprawling clan.

Fortunately, the Southland brims with best regional Chinese, Korean, and Southeast Asian cuisine in the country.


Chinese

San Gabriel Valley, just south of Pasadena, has the best regional Chinese food in the U.S. One can relish in the spicy joys of Sichuan cooking and classic Cantonese dumplings, and also experience rarer styles of cooking, including Uyghur and Tibetan cuisines. For big groups, restaurants specializing in dim sum, hot pots, dumplings and large celebratory banquets tend to be the most reliable.

Generally, these restaurants will welcome your large group. As with all restaurants, a call ahead can save a lot of time and tragedy once you arrive, especially anytime there are more than four people in your party.


For clients: We recommend Sea Harbour in Rosemead, a Vancouver-imported specialist in rare delicacies from the sea and artful Cantonese dim sum. Dinner is a pricier affair, but the first place to go when nothing short of a $2,000 abalone will electrify your meeting.


For friends and family: If it’s a dim sum session you’re planning, we prefer Elite in Monterey Park, where the tables sprawl with families and groups, mirroring the long lines in front every weekend. The food is excellent and the service professional, with dim sum both familiar and surprising coming from all directions. The Westfield Santa Anita mall in Arcadia is another perfect destination with a group, containing locations of several stellar Chinese restaurants, including Taiwan’s dumpling megastar Din Tai Fung, a flashy duck-carving experience at Meizou Dongpo, Hai Di Lao for hot-pots and Spicy King-Fu Fish serving grilled Sichuan seafood. There’s something for everyone and plenty of space at each.


Korean

With infinite pubs serving wonderful food and a surplus of restaurants where the cooking is conducted communally around the tabletop, Koreatown is an excellent destination for groups. Most Korean barbecue restaurants expect and want groups, and, with a little notice, can accommodate them easily or provide a private space. Koreatown also has late hours and a dedicated drinking culture, making it a spot-on destination for visiting clients who refuse to go to bed at 11pm.


For clients: The staggering number of Korean barbecue places in L.A. can feel overwhelming. With clients, skip any of those all-you-cat-eat experiences for classics such as Genwa, Chosun Galbee and Soowoon Galbee. The meat and banchan is excellent at all three and the service slightly more refined. But if they want something that’s truly buzzing, seek out the red-hot Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong, which is fun and of superlative quality, but comes with a long wait.


For friends and family: Park’s BBQ is nationally renowned for its high quality of its meats, with offerings like American wagyu, and cuts such as brisket, ribeye and sublime marinated galbi. And they offer private rooms. We also love the seafood tabletop grilling experience at Jae Bu Do and the duck-centric version at Sun Ha Jang.


Crustacean - Banh Mi Dip

Vietnamese

We are yet to meet a person who is not impressed by Orange County’s Little Saigon, a treasure chest of excellent and reasonably priced Vietnamese restaurants running along the streets of Westminster and Garden Grove.


For clients: At Chateau Brodard, the menu will be familiar to anyone familiar with Vietnamese food, but the versions will most likely be better and the room more suitable than wherever they’ve had it before. In L.A., the An Family has upscale and trendy Vietnamese-influenced restaurants including Crustacean and Tiato, where the cooking is superb, as well as an O.C. restaurant called AnQi. LSXO in Huntington Beach also features both high quality and a seductive atmosphere.


For friends and family: It’s hard to go wrong with a casual group in Little Saigon, where the food served anywhere is always good and the price as reliable. Garlic and Chives may be our first pick, though, with an incredibly fresh, gourmet spin that finds salmon belly in the spring rolls and hot pots filled with the likes of lobster and goat meat.


Japanese

Elegant, beautiful kaiseki dinners and high-priced sushi omakase are a surefire way to blow away a client. But these are never the places to simply show up and expect to be served on a whim. In many cases, with a big group, you may be better off renting out the entire sushi bar or heading for the teppanyaki tables.


For clients: There’s no shortage of mind-blowing sushi in our region, from the austere and perfect Edo-style rhythms of Q in Downtown Los Angeles to the possibly life-changing meals prepared by Nikki Nakayama at N/Naka. While that’s a subject that could fill its own library, we find consistently excellent and moving experiences at Abuirya Raku on La Cienega, which offers doting serving and a wide range of beautiful Japanese dishes without any drama. That being said, their own omakase offerings are almost too beautiful to eat.


For friends and family: If Benihana won’t cut it and your closest izakaya is too snug, we recommend kushiyaki, the style of eating that involves skewers loaded with wisps of charcoal-grilled meats. Nanbankan in West LA and Culver City’s Sakura House are favorites, while closer to O.C., we like Torrance’s Izakaya Hachi for its big selection (including sushi and hot pots) and semi-private booths. And of course, the Shin Sen Gumi chain, with locations from Irvine to Downtown L.A. is reliably on the nose. An upscale version is great at Roku Sunset in West Hollywood.


Baltaire

Steakhouses

If client dinners didn’t exist, perhaps we’d have no steakhouses. These carnivorous landmarks are built for celebratory meals, the kind where prized wines are finally opened and expense accounts are tested. With attentive service, hulking plates, well-appointed private rooms and a general attitude of indulgence, you can depend on these places for a group dinner done right.


For clients: Handsome, old world but with a modern approach to cooking, Baltaire in Brentwood is consistently one of our favorite L.A. steakhouses. The cocktails, nooks of wood and leather, generous raw bar and meaty menus consistently hit the perfect note . A wide variety of steaks, including tomahawk ribeyes for two, are all USDA Prime (the highest grade of U.S. beef obtainable), except, of course, when it’s an A5 wagyu Miyazaki strip loin. If someone prefers Dover sole, grilled branzino or a Greek salad prepared tableside, they will not be left out either.


For friends and family: Chi Spacca, the Italian steakhouse attached to Mozza on Melrose, where the feast is grand but you won’t necessarily want a prospective business partner to watch you destroy the 50-oz. porterhouse.


H & H

Brazilian Steakhouses

Brazil’s answer to the steakhouse, known as churrascaria, is an all-you-can-eat bonanza of roasted meats served tableside from giant skewers. They’re great for groups because everyone gets charged the same basic price, regardless of what they eat.


For clients: H & H Brazilian Steakhouse in Downtown Los Angeles has an elegant, sexy atmosphere, walls of wine and incredible meats to match. Agora Churrascaria in Irvine is a winner for its tasteful atmosphere, attractive staff, charcoal-roasted meats and varied buffet. The Light Private Room, with room for 26 and an adjustable wall of vintage lights, is a mind-blower, as well.


For friends and family: M Grill in Koreatown is the unspoken champion of local churrascaria. Hidden on the 2nd floor of a discrete Wilshire address, it offers nearly 20 cuts of all-you-can-eat meat, including filet mignon, rack of lamb, smoked sausage and ribeye. It also loves large groups, offering packages for parties of 20 or more.



Modern U.S. Restaurants

Fashionable Modern American restaurants of today can be a challenge for a group dinner. As much as you know a table at Bavel or Majordomo will impress your clients, these kinds of restaurants typically have scant space to satisfy large parties, and too much demand to make room for everyone. Not to mention the noise that prohibits any real business form getting done.

Nonetheless, experienced operators with years of experience catering The Oscars and The Golden Globes will hardly stress out over your table of ten. Either way, advance notice can go a long way towards getting major elbow room, even at the trendiest of places.


For clients: Wolfgang Puck’s restaurants, including the recently updated Spago and his newer restaurant at Hotel Bel-Air provide impeccable service and quality, with never a batted eyelash at the appearance of a large group. Similar operators including the Lucques Group, Nobu and Patina, know how to consistently deliver great quality to a table, no matter its proportions. As a golden rule, if a restaurant has its own catering division, it can definitely handle your needs.


For friends and family: Saddle Peak Lodge in the hills of Calabasas. It’s an enchanting, historic cottage filled with hunting trophies and wild west legends. The compelling, beautiful tasting menus allow you to try signature offerings like elk tenderloin and bison short ribs.


Mexican

Family-style Mexican restaurants. It’s right there in the name. Given the space, most Mexican restaurants welcome huge parties with huge plates, giant drinks and a side of live music. The more, the merrier. You probably have your own favorite place for this. But for the best cooking and the right atmosphere, we recommend the following.


For clients: If you can reserve a big table at Ray Garcia’s Broken Spanish, you will be in for a delightful evening of alta cocina, the kind of creative, stirring fine-dining dishes that the greatest Mexican and Mexican-American chefs of today are creating and pushing forward. Taco Maria in Costa Mesa is similarly moving, though not great for groups.


For friends and families: Guelaguetza in Koreatown is the premier destination for Oaxacan cooking and culture in Los Angeles, where you’ll find the rarest bottles of mezcal, the most memorable moles, a full force (read: LOUD) show of live music and perfect service for parties.

Hopefully this helps you on your next mission to feed and entertain a large party. At the least, you’ll have some solid recommendations to pass on to clients, customers, partners and friends in the same situation.

As always, we believe it’s not necessarily what or where you eat that’s critical so much as who you eat with.

And in cases where your group is looking oversized, it’s great to know you can satisfy all three demands at once.

Happy eating!

26 views0 comments

コメント


bottom of page