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Where to get dinner in DC with a group of 15-20?

I'm trying to find a restaurant for dinner in the DC area on a Friday night for a group of 15-20. Every place I've called wants us to give them a credit card a head of time, and requires us to order from a special group menu, which only gives us two choices per course. Are there places out there that will let us order from the regular menu?

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  1. Where have you called? Also what type of place are you looking for? Price-range? Are you looking for a private room?

    I had my boyfriend's birthday party with about 15 people at Cafe Atlantico. We were able to order off of the regular menu without a problem. We had a large table in the top upstairs area. Everything was great.

    Another place to consider is Filomena in Georgetown. They are use to large groups. Classic Italian cuisine in a fun atmosphere. The hand-made pastas are really good---I especially like the gnocchi and the spinach ravioli.

    If you give us more info I'm sure we can come up with more recommendations.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Elyssa

      Thanks for your suggestions. I've actually only called Jaleo and Zaytina (we were originally thinking tapas or mezze) and I got discouraged because I assumed their response was what i was going to get from others. We would love to find a place that's reasonably priced and is near a metro stop. This is an office going away dinner for a co-worker. However, we work for the government, so that means we'll be paying for the dinner out of pocket! Don't need a private room, but one or two huge tables next to each other would be great.

      1. re: mrowan

        there are lots of good places in cleveland park that might work...lavandou, ardeo, dino, indique, yanni, the new tapas place, forget the name...and they are right next to the metro and reasonable. not sure about the room vs 2 tables though. and there are those fun irish pubs nearby for before or after!

        1. re: mrowan

          Yeah a lot of places will want that, Agraria is great with large groups, I had a bithday dinner with $25 people and we were in the main room without a group menu, just split into two huge tables right near each other, and it is very economical, but good for that type of thing.

          Matchbox takes reservations for big groups, and I don't think they require a contract. Cafe Asia, at least the one in Rosslyn does this as they have a huge back room space they put a lot of their big parties in.

          We also have done huge groups at Lauriol Plaza, but I know they can get packed.

          If Cafe Atlantico would do it, that would be great, I would think they would ask for the same as Jaleo or Zaytinya though since they all have the same owner.

          Also I have no personal knowledge on big groups at Zengo, but as their upstairs dining room is huge, they might be a good place to call.

            1. re: ktmoomau

              Sorry on Agraria, I meant to say we had 25 people, the food was kind of normal, but economical and good, which is good for that sort of thing. Fiance loved the roast chicken dish they had at one time there, but they change the menu so often I am not sure if they have it now. I gotta get more caffeine in me in the morning....

              1. re: ktmoomau

                Matchbox is way to cramped and loud... But you could be looking for that.
                Have you tried Sam and Harry's or the Caucus Room yet?

                1. re: CIAinDC

                  I would imagine they both require contracts and special menus... I could be wrong, but I do a lot of this type of thing and there aren't many high end places that don't require that, have you had a large group party there that hasn't required that?

                  1. re: ktmoomau

                    To be honest I'm not too sure, the conceirge at the hotel I work at often recommends them to guests so I figured it might be a good bet...

          1. I just arranged a dinner for 12 at Dino in Cleveland Park that was out of this world! Best group dining experience I've had in a long time. On the night we were there, there was a group in the back room upstairs that was at least as big as your group (a baby shower for 25 or so). They seemed VERY happy.

            I'm not sure what the rules are for a group your size, but it seems there are options at Dino - either ordering off the menu or doing a 'family style' feast arranged by Dean. We did kind of a hybrid, which was perfect! We pre-arranged family style appetizers so that people could drink wine and have apps while they talked and got ready to order entrees - after that, everyone ordered off the menu. For our appetizer selection, we did fried squash blossoms, peaches and prosciutto, burrata, and the house famous meatballs - all were fabulous.

            I think for a party your size, you will have to leave a credit card ahead of time and there will be a fee for a cancellation within a certain amount of time. I think that is only reasonable, since for a lot of restaurants, this means giving up a large portion of their seats for the evenings, and a last minute 20 person cancellation could really leave them at a loss on a weekend night.

            Anyway, hats off to Dino for a fabulous (and incredibly reasonable) group event. Check out the Dino website 'special events' section - it says something like 'tired of boring party rooms with preset menus'.

            BTW, this is my first post on chowhound for about a year - I was an addict for a while, but life threw me a couple curveballs so I didn't have a lot of free time. Anyway, I'm so excited to be back on Chowhound again!

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