Dining out with a big group can be tricky. There’s the whole ‘we’re a group of 16’ thing to deal with, the discrepancies that fall between how much some will eat (and others won’t) and the possibility that one member of your party will have temporary ‘beef’ with another member owing to the sleeping with a potential/past love interest/stealing of aa business deal.
And that’s all before mentioning the varied dietary requirements of your eating compatriots. Some might be pure omnivores, while others currently in the phase of being a fish-eating vegan. Yep, organizing a venue for a big dinner can sometimes be lumped in the too hard basket.
Ergo, we’ve done the groundwork for you. And admittedly while we can’t put out the potential fires in your group, we can give you our picks for big group dining in Brisbane. Enjoy.
Options, options, options—that’s what you’ll find awaiting your group at this stunning city restaurant, with a variety of spaces available, not to mention menus. Motorwagen is split into multiple spaces—there’s the lounge dining area, which is semi private and features a long table lined with red leather lounge seating, the front dining area right by the glamorous bar (handy) or an outdoor garden terrace. Want full privacy? You can also book out the private dining room, which seats 8 to 32. As for what you’ll be feasting on, groups of up to 12 will dine off the a la carte menu, while those of 13 to 100+ have their own menus, with classic, premium and baller three-course options. All are innovative and make the most of seasonal local produce—think spring asparagus with brown miso tahini, spanner crab risotto with crustacean pangrattato and mocha tart with orange gelato and popcorn.
Chu The Phat
A huge two level venue that dishes up a drool-worthy menu of Asian street food, Chu The Phat is the younger sister to Madame Wu, and comes with all the cool, edgy vibes of West End. With cosy separate dining areas all over the restaurant, you won’t feel like your posse is just part of the crowd. Plus, their $45 banquet menu is a seriously good deal, although odd numbered groups may find themselves fighting to the death over the last sweet corn and coriander dumpling.
Ensconced in one of Hellenika’s poolside cabanas with your crew, sipping an Aperol spritz and nibbling on zucchini chips, you’ll feel like you’re on a tropical holiday—let’s hope you’re there with people you like, not Aunt Josephine and her split personality. Even if it is the estranged fam, at least you’ll get a good feed—Hellenika’s eggplant moussaka is legendary.
Howard Smith Wharves
We’re of the opinion that Stanley’s outdoor deck with it’s views of the Story Bridge and the CBD is one of the best places to dine in all of Brisbane—and that’s before you even take a look at the menu. This Cantonese menu will happily cater to big groups with a long table, with multiple banquet menus depending on your budget. Whichever you opt for, you can expect plenty of delish Cantonese-inspired fare, from steamed dim sum to garlic, chives and sesame sticky chicken.
Bianca’s long tables are often filled with large groups, there to tackle a spread of some of the best Italian fare in town—and make a dent in the wine list of course. They’ve even got a private dining space upstairs if you’ve got a crew that numbers well into the double figures, but you will miss out on the view into the bustling kitchen. Groups of over seven will get to dine on the set menu, which takes all the stress out of ordering—start by nibbling on the likes of whipped ricotta, calamari fritti and prosciutto di parma before stuffing yourselves with pork and fennel lasagne, prawn spaghetti and crispy porchetta.
Looking for somewhere your group can get a good feed AND party the night away? Mr Mista is for you. Their giant velvet green booths are just the spot to cosy up and over a banquet, and with a spread of cuck spring rolls, sticky pork pancakes, baos and massaman beef curry just $45pp, you’ll still have plenty of dosh left to splurge on bottle service later. Yep, after 10pm this place turns into a hopping night spot, complete with a live DJ and a dance floor. That’s your entire night, sorted.
If the stunning decor and the giant plush pink booths aren’t enough to impress you, Donna Chang also offers up an epic modern Chinese menu designed to share, full of fresh locally sourced seafood, handcrafted dumplings and wood-fired meats. It’s the kind of place where you’ll drink three bottles of wine and wonder how it happened—and for extra large groups there’s private dining rooms upstairs.
This rooftop restaurant has long been popular for group lunches—Maya’s massive, curtained off booths overlooking the Valley are the perfect spot to squeeze in a big group (and still all be within talking distance of each other). As well as plenty of salt-rimmed watermelon margaritas, you and your crew can down a Mexican-style feast of tequila-stuffed crumbed jalapenos, battered snapper tacos and chargrilled calamari from the set menu available to groups of over eight.
COPPA’s long, picnic-style tables have plenty of room for a big group, especially local office crews looking for a post-work feed with their entire floor in tow. The only problem will be trying to decide what to order—we say just embrace the Italian nonna inside of you and order one of everything. Bonus points if you can get everyone to make a glorious mess slurping up tiger prawn and Fraser Island spanner crab linguini—and capture the shirt stains for tomorrow’s mass email.
With massive round tables and the biggest lazy susans you’ll ever lay eyes on, both in the main dining room and the private rooms, sharing yum cha eats like crab xiao long bao, prawn and garlic chive dumplings and steamed BBQ pork is easy at Brisbane Phoenix. Just make sure the steamed BBQ pork buns wind up in front of you.
Itadakimasu! This is the deal. You meet at Sake’s bar, have a drink, wait until everyone has arrived and then flow on through to your table. Depending on your number you’ll either be in the main section of the restaurant, at the communal banquet table or perhaps in one of their private rooms. Plus, everything on the menu is super easy to share and the fish eating vegan will be delighted with their sushi and sashimi options.
Not only is their menu expansive, and their cocktail list impressive, but Madame Wu caters really well to rather large groups, with banquet menus full of modern Asian eats like Bay bug dumplings and miso braised lamb shank. And if your group is nearing 20 in number you can opt for private dining, which makes the whole event much more seamless.
Chop Chop Chang’s
Dining with what amounts to a small herd is no trouble at Chop Chop Chang’s—just take over one of their long share tables, ask for the Hawker Banquet or Market Feed and the chefs will arrange a selection of their favourite dishes for you from $38 per person. It’s no wonder this is one of West End’s most popular spots for group hangs.
Aperol spritz and mussels by the river—what could be better? Dishing up river views and plenty of space out on the deck for big groups, Bar Alto also boasts an impressive sharing menu including pots of fresh mussels doused in chili, garlic, white wine and tomato and served with grilled ciabatta. Add in a few baskets of zucchini fritters and many bottles of wine and you’re good to go.
With both indoor and outdoor courtyard seating, there’s a space for you at Libertine no matter how rowdy you plan to get. Opt for a banquet feed if you can’t possibly choose from the menu of shared French Vietnamese dishes like the cracklin’ twice-cooked free-range pork belly but make sure you peruse the cocktail menu for yourself—you don’t want to miss out on sips like the strawberry and mint mojito.
Prefer your dinners intimitate? Here’s where to find Brisbane's most romantic restaurants.
Image credit: Motorwagen, Donna Chang, Stanley, Daniel Maddox (Chop Chop Changs)