It’s not always easy to find a restaurant where you can comfortably fit in a crowd. But there are some amazing venues in Melbourne where you can feed a hungry crowd without compromising on the food.
Reservations for a group can be a pain, but these venues make light work of large parties. Offering a range of experiences from casual and comfy to luxurious and memorable, they’re perfect for your next post catch up, birthday, work function or Christmas party.
13 Good Restaurants For Group Bookings
Housed inside an early 1900’s textile factory named ‘Panama House’, the huge floor-to-ceiling arch windows of this Fitzroy restaurant provide signature views over the heart of Smith Street.
The menu is described as "journeys across countries in a way that is uniquely Australian", with an eclectic mix of dishes like duck liver parfait, lamb shoulder with pine nut gremolata and pavlova of the day. Large groups can dine on the 'let us feed you' menu dubbed the 'Fitzroy feast' – and at $69 per person, we can assure you no one will go home hungry.
The décor of paper tablecloths, Greek goddess statuettes and whitewashed walls may still be from the 80s, but Jim’s Greek Tavern is embracing the dining trends of the day by implementing set dining times – the first at 6.30 pm and the second at 8 pm. Not that it’s strictly adhered to, mind.
The frenetic service at Jim’s is part of its charm, as is the absence of a menu. Without much pricing guidance, prepare to pay anywhere from $50 to $70 per person for the banquet, with ala carte dishes ranging from $10 for entrees to $30 for meat mains.
A waiter casually strolls up to us and reels off a list of dishes: “Dips, saganaki, calamari, gyros, Greek salad…” to which we nod in affirmation. Experience has taught us that grilled tiger prawns are a must, so we tack that onto the list as well.
Big groups are encouraged to get the banquet, but small groups can pick and choose what they want from the waiters’ suggestions. House wine is available, but it’s best to BYO, especially when corkage is free.
The star of the meal arrives first: a medley of dips – taramasalata, tzatziki and baba ganoush – accompanied by olives, stewed carrots and beans, and diced bits of boiled, tender octopus dressed in olive oil, parsley and lemon juice, with a basket of crusty bread for mopping up anything that remains.
A wedge of lemon-seasoned saganaki that is served alongside is springy yet sturdy. The sizable tiger prawns are plump and chargrilled to a gently smoky effect; we want more, but at $6 a pop, they’re not cheap. And we were powerless to resist ordering a mountainous plate of rotisserie-cooked lamb.
As expected, it’s rich and pleasantly salty, but also way too much food at this point. No matter, waitstaff are ready with takeaway containers for the tables that never reach the finish line.
Surprisingly, vegetarians are well catered for with lightly battered slivers of deep-fried zucchini, thick chunks of beetroot doused in a vinegary dressing, moreish butter beans braised in olive oil and, of course, the quintessential Greek salad with feta, olives and tomatoes.
It may be into its 37th year of operating, but Jim’s hasn’t lost any of its initial appeals. Hordes of people continue to cram themselves into the restaurant to commemorate special occasions; even on the weekend of the apocalyptic Melbourne Storm, Jim’s is packed to the rafters with loud groups of families and friends; some of the Greek, most of them not.
Diners who have reserved tables from 6.30 pm to 8 pm often overstay their welcome, much to the chagrin of the second raft of diners, but the latter cohort is allowed to stay past curfew.
With George Calombaris’s slick and expansive empire now shorthand for Greek food in
Melbourne, Jim’s Greek Tavern is a reminder of what traditional Greek cooking is: comforting, unpretentious and enormous in its servings.
Housed in Prahran’s former Hotel Max, the Schmick, Art Deco L’Hotel Gitan is a similar beast to its older sibling. It’s less formal, befitting any family newcomer, but the similarities are unmistakable. This is pub food done Reymond-style: an ongoing French revolution of an Australian institution.
Like most of the clientele, L’Hotel Gitan’s food is smart casual. The remit is broad enough not to make a mockery of the name (‘gitan’ means gypsy), so France and her North African and Indochinese colonial excursions colour the menu.
Sliced-to-order charcuterie is a good bet. Go the whole hog (OK, call it an ‘assiette’, if you must): chewy, dense saucisson, soft nutty curls of San Daniele Jamon, lightly smoky bresaola, soft pork rillette and a rough-hewn, liver-happy country terrine. Also, check out the steak tartare: a good reimagining with bold slivers of soft meat cradled in baby cos lettuce cups with celeriac remoulade.
Some things are French only if you use your imagination. And that’s OK. Deboned chicken wings are pan-fried and dolloped with chilli yoghurt. Lurking underneath is a barley tabbouleh that doesn’t add much to basic pub fare.
Pub-luxe tempura marron is a tribute to the art of frying, but its harissa-spiked jam made of eggplant and zucchini seems better suited to a colder season. Ditto the king prawns, slightly overcooked on the plancha, with curried pumpkin. It’s just not the company prawns ought to be keeping right now.
And it’s not like a French kitchen to be afraid of salt, but most things were screaming for sodium. It’s a little head-scratchy but put it down to the chefs – including Jacques Reymond, overseeing the menu, and former JR chef Adam Smith – finding their feet going more casual than ever before.
Reymond progeny Antoine and Edouard (the floor managers) and Nathalie (the business brains) have digested the lessons of their father’s erstwhile fine-dining institution. L’Hotel Gitan is a gorgeous-looking space, all Roaring Twenties design smarts, complete with a proper, grown-up front bar. And when was the last time you saw a beautiful, sound-squelching carpet installed in a dining room?
The radically reinvented hotel has been rejigged around a new central kitchen with a fire engine red rotisserie as the pièce de résistance. It’s a pity the gas wasn’t connected when we visited just before the new year – this is the hardware that had us swooning at Philippe Mouchel’s PM24. Bring on the roast chicken.
Collingwood’s backstreets are home to Rupert on Rupert, an eyeball-wooing bar and restaurant graced with high ceilings, light-drenched interiors and a mini forest’s worth of pot plants and trees. Ric Corinaldi and his wife Mali opened Rupert in 2015 and have since made it synonymous with cool cocktails, kicked-back Sunday sessions and many bespoke weddings.
It makes sense as soon as you enter the big, heavy glass door that separates Rupert from its namesake Collingwood sidestreet. This place is so pretty it deserves a Hollywood screen test. Think big, brown Chesterfield couches paired with finely crafted wooden tables, an atrium-style roof and rooms flooded with greenery.
Out the back, two custom-made fireplaces come in handy when winter rears its very chilly head. There's also a sexy cocktail lounge out the back, perfect for private dinner parties or events.
Now, if you can tear yourself away from the interiors, you'll be able to settle down for a cheeky drink or even a full-blown meal as Rupert is open for lunch and dinner Wednesday through Sunday. Be sure to check the venue's website or Instagram in the lead up to a visit, as they may be closed for private events.
Even on a weekday, this light, bright and pared-back restaurant is buzzing. Head chef Samuel Wilson has put together a menu that’s made for sharing – but there are a couple of bigger dishes you’ll want to hog all to yourself. Charcoaled ricotta gnocchi is saddled with butternut pumpkin and hazelnuts and drizzled with burnt butter, while slices of sumac cured kingfish are paired with preserved lemon sour cream and brick pastry.
The grilled squid and chickpea falafel are standouts, too, as are the house sourdough wood-fired pizzas (try the pear and prosciutto one).
Drinks-wise, there’s currently a native Australian anchor meaning you can get bold and spiced twists on regular cocktails. There’s the Myrtle Vesper, which puts Hippocampus vodka beside Lillet Blanc wine and lemon myrtle, as well as the Old Anzac, which has wattleseed-infused Buffalo Trace bourbon with crème de cacao, golden syrup, coconut and more wattleseed.
The winner is the Japples, a $10 whisky, ginger syrup, lime and freshly pressed apple situation.
Aside from cocktails, the bar also serves up a handpicked selection of beers, wines in every colour (even the so-hot-right-now orange) and a big selection of straight spirits that span from Guatemalan rum to Polish vodka and gin from Byron Bay. Live DJs also perform at Rupert regularly, so you’ll get a bit of atmosphere for your buck as well.
If you’re thinking of hosting an event in this greenhouse bar (and make the best use of that famed plant-filled indoor laneway), Rupert is always on hand to collaborate. In the past, the venue has hosted anything from intimate gatherings to full-venue takeovers. Take one look at Rupert’s Instagram, and you’ll have all the #eventinspo you’ll need.
It’s been some years since gents were expected to keep their jackets on at all times, but it’s good to see Grossi Florentino is a restaurant that continues to sweat the small stuff. The grand Mural Room is one of Melbourne’s last bastions of lavish European dining charm where the lighting is set to dim, and the mood set upon arrival by the proffering of a handbag stool.
Order a bottle of wine from the novel-sized list and, regardless of whether you order a Premier Cru or a $70 Vermentino, you’ll witness the balletic ritual known as the seasoning of the glasses. And let’s not forget the excellent snackage that arrives to mollify the price of entry of $150 for three courses or $180 for the “grand tour” of six.
No, this isn’t luxe for less. Still, you’ll be feeling no pain with Guy Grossi’s crowd-warming act of fried croquetas of veal and pork with olives worked through the meat for a clever take on Ascoli, all rugged and rustic; or the strip of dehydrated capsicum, like a kids’ fruit strap, wearing squiggles of whipped bottarga cream; or the dainty pastry cornetti holding a smoosh of ingredients playing on the inevitable charms of the eggplant parmigiana, with parmesan mousse piped on the top in a final flourish.
Flying first class with the Grossi's also includes excellent sourdough accompanied by a triumvirate of cultured butter, first press organic olive oil, and ricotta and balsamic. And the world’s thinnest, crispest grissini sticks. And suave Italian-speaking waiters, led by family scion Carlo Grossi, are kind enough not to laugh at mispronunciations of the molto Italian menu.
It’s an effective curtain-raiser to an official program that might begin with swatches of jewel-like tuna, radish and horseradish cream and a nectar-sweet curveball from the blood orange. There’s a more rugged plate of octopus, cooked with deftness to combine a bold outside char and insides of just-set gelatinous ness, joined by a smoked potato mash smartly doing a double act of providing carbs as well as a condiment.
There will be pasta. Maltagliati – ragged flags of pasta made with breadcrumbs – are luscious with bug meat and a rich, buttery sauce owing a subtle debt to collateral, the richly savoury fermented fish sauce invented by the Ancient Romans. It’s safe to say you won’t find this kind of thing at Spaghetti Tree across the road.
It’s the level of care that elevates the Florentino kitchen. Consider the polenta: Grossi and co mill their corn, and the extra effort shines through in the flavour of the gorgeously soft pillow grounding a slow-braised capretto in a puddle of red wine braising juices.
Desserts spin the Italian oeuvre through a modern prism. A conga line is inspired by the Italian mimosa cake shape-shifts through honey panna cotta, bee pollen and frozen Grand Marnier mousse. It’s classic-modern – a bit like the Grossi clan. Through three generations of hard graft and some damned fine cooking, they’ve cemented their place in the city’s dining history. Florentino has gone through some wobbles in the past, as any 18-year-old restaurant could reasonably be expected to do. But right now, the song. Magnifico.
Recent Revive Award winner Teta Mona is a boho-chic all-day restaurant serving simple, delicious Lebanese with plenty of wins for vegans and very little fuss. It's BYO with furniture that looks like a cross between the shared house of an anthropology enthusiast and a stall at the Dandenong markets. Book for up to 12 in the dining room or 22 in the courtyard.
Brunswick Street may be ground zero for cocktails in Fitzroy, but lurking in the back streets is one of Melbourne’s finest establishments for getting in your cups on sunny days, freezing nights and boring Mondays. This comfy, unpretentious pub serves great food and takes bookings of up to 20.
Gilson is a seasonal neighbourhood eatery about sharing good food and good times. Private Gilson's private dining suite seat groups of up to 30 people. Guests can choose from a set menu of $79, $99 or $125 per person, featuring pizzas, antipasti, pasta and more – with a focus on locally grown ingredients.
Rumi is a Middle Eastern restaurant with a menu specifically designed for sharing. Still, the banquets on offer are especially great for large groups hoping to try a little bit of everything. The Classic champions Rumi’s mainstay dishes ($50 for 12), while the Seasonal centres on seasonal produce ($60 for 14).
With so many great spaces at this Brunswick institution run by chef Matt Wilkinson, you’re sure to find one that fits your group. The north-facing courtyard is perfect for casual gatherings with friends, while the more secluded garden room holds up to 18 guests, making it the ideal space for a special occasion.
77-79 Nicholson St, Brunswick East
The Village People Hawker Food Hall is a group that wants the energy and spice of Southeast Asian markets with the matching sophistication of Japanese brews and cocktails. It’s a big and bustling venue with views over Melbourne city.
127 Brunswick St, Brunswick,
On a sunny day, there are few places as enticing as Si Senor Art Taqueria, with its beach proximity and a colourful brick-walled open-air courtyard. The best part about dining with a crowd is that you get to work your way through the whole menu – don’t miss the slow-roasted pork marinated in chillies and pineapple.
193 Carlisle Street, Balaclava
At the base of the towering Eureka, the tower is the Belgian Beer Café – a sprawling restaurant serving classic Belgian beer and Australian craft brews.
There is outdoor, indoor and upstairs space for every sized group – from cocktail parties to birthday gatherings to sit down corporate lunches. Happily, the food is great – don’t go past the rump steak with German black walnut jus.
5 Riverside Quay, Southbank
If your group is after a racy nibble and a tipple, drop into Naked for Satan. Choose your pintxos (tapas-style bites) and settle into the cavernous downstairs, or wander up to the rooftop to order from the main menu and enjoy spectacular views over the city.
285 Brunswick St, Fitzroy
FAQs About Melbourne Restaurants
Table Reservations Procedure For Restaurants
- Answering the telephone:
- Acknowledging a reservation request.
- Taking the table reservation details:
- Standard questions.
- When you check the reservations book.
- Returning to the caller.
- Confirming the details.
- Saying goodbye.
Follow these six tips to turn your front-of-house staff into reservation rock stars.
- Create efficient processes for large reservations.
- Educate staff to educate customers.
- Stay organised.
- Assign designated reservation managers.
- Remind your guests of their reservations.
- Don't leave out the human element.
A restaurant reservation system lets customers reserve a table while restaurateurs oversee bookings, cancellations, and no-shows. Reservation software may also offer waitlist tools, visual table management features or allow you to handle digital pre-payments.
Most restaurant reservation systems work on web browsers and offer mobile applications for guests or management. However, you can also add a widget to your website to simplify online reservations or allow people to book a table via Meta or your Google business page.
Although people used to reserve tables for dinner or special events, today, consumers may need to book a table to meet pandemic-related occupancy limits. Restaurant owners may also use restaurant reservation software to handle a virtual event or on-site event ticketing, sell to-go food bundles, or book a table at the last minute.
Most restaurant reservation software solutions are subscription-based plans where you pay a flat fee per month. But, some providers charge extra fees for POS integrations or reservations booked through your website or third-party providers.
Monthly plans range from free to $899 per month. Higher-priced plans often include more occupancy control, waitlist functions, and an online ordering platform. If your reservation software includes prepayment options, you may pay additional fees to your payment gateway or an extra service fee to your reservation software provider, such as OpenTable’s 2% service charge.
If you're looking for a great place to eat with a large group, Melbourne has some great options. Whether you're looking for something formal or casual, there's sure to be a restaurant that fits the bill. In this post, we'll take a look at some of the best places to book for a large group in Melbourne. So whether you're planning a special event or want somewhere to go out with your friends, read on for some great ideas!
Melbourne is a city renowned for its delicious food, and when it comes to group bookings, some restaurants fit the bill. Whether you're looking for somewhere spacious with plenty of room to spread out or somewhere intimate with a more personal feel, Melbourne has something to offer everyone. So if you're planning on bringing your friends or family together for a meal out, read on for our top picks of the best restaurants for group bookings in Melbourne.