Welcome to Ask Eater Atlanta, a dining advice column in which the editor and regular contributors answer questions from readers on everything from specifics on the ATL dining scene to where to find a particular dish at restaurants around town.
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“We have a group of friends (total of 10) who love to get together once a quarter to do really nice dinners. We typically do Marcel or Kevin Rathbun Steak, but are looking to expand to fun, new unique spots. Any suggestions of great places that can accommodate groups this size?”
Most full-service restaurants can accommodate groups between six and 12 people with enough advanced warning. That means making a reservation is key, which may require someone from the party actually calling the restaurant and providing pertinent details, including if the group is celebrating something special or a person attending has a serious food allergy the kitchen should be aware of to help staff prepare. Some restaurants may require a deposit up front to hold a group reservation, and most will add at least 20-percent gratuity to the final bill for parties of six or more people. It’s also highly advised (and just good restaurant etiquette) to have one person within the group designated to pay the bill and then work out who pays how much and to whom later or to tell the server upon their arrival at the table how the check will be split at the end of the meal.
Atlanta includes dozens upon dozens of great restaurants, ranging from casual, high end to super fancy with access to a sommelier, that can accommodate large groups seeking a finer dining experience in the evenings. Here are five Atlanta restaurants to consider for a nice dinner out with a group of friends, some with a chef’s table experience or semi-private dining area, too.
Atlas — Buckhead
For a true fine dining experience in Atlanta, few restaurants rival the sophistication (and the food) found at Atlas inside the St. Regis Hotel in Buckhead. Dress to impress here and choose from the tasting menu with wine pairings or select dishes to share with the table from the a la carte menu. Atlas can also accommodate smaller groups of 10 to 12 people in semi-private dining areas throughout the restaurant with prix fixe menus, including in the library and the dining room. Groups seeking extra special attention should reserve the chef’s table near the kitchen. Make sure to pop over to the beautiful Garden Room bar, part of Atlas, for after-dinner drinks. Reservations required. Dress code. Valet parking.
Lazy Betty — Candler Park
Groups looking to experience a fine dining tasting menu in a more laidback and casual setting should consider reserving a table at Lazy Betty. Here, people choose between two highly curated tasting menus of six to eight courses with optional wine pairings. There’s also champagne and caviar service, which comes served with steamed milk buns and scallion pancakes. Seating is currently available in the dining room and on the covered patio. Reservations required. Vegetarian menu available upon request. Dress smart casual.
Kimball House — Decatur
The award-winning restaurant housed in the former Decatur train depot is an ode to elegant dining and drinking all experienced in a dimly lit, laidback dining room. Kimball House also happens to be one of the best restaurants in the Atlanta area for sustainably farmed oysters, champagne, and cocktails. Kick off dinner here with an oyster tower, and maybe some beef tartare and caviar and middlins, too. Then move on to the entrees, which includes everything from whole fish preparations to steak dinners. Make sure to pair dinner with some Hawaiian rolls and order dessert. End the night with a cocktail or after-dinner sherry or madeira. In addition to the dining room, Kimball House features a private dining space called Bonanza accommodating between 10 to 20 people. Reservations required.
Ticonderoga Club — Inman Park
Located inside Krog Street Market, this New England-style, colonial-inspired tavern features a semi-private dining space in its loft perfect for up to 12 people. Reserve the Captain’s Table at this jovial restaurant and bar and order up a Chuckwagon or two for the group. The Chuckwagon dinner comes with a 48-ounce black Angus chuck roast served with horseradish, wort, and parsley-red onion salad and a choice of two sides. The Club also serves some of the best cocktails in town and includes a wine list of mostly biodynamic and natural wines. Reservations required.
The Consulate — Midtown
Sleek, sexy, and stylish are all words used to describe the Consulate in Midtown. Every 90 days take a trip around the world on the menu when the Consulate brings the dishes, wine, and cocktails of a specific country to life under the Visa section. Or, order dishes for the table from countries like Greenland, Ethiopia, Italy, the Philippines, and Cuba found on the a la carte menu. The restaurant has a retro-cool vibe, and includes plush leather and velvet half-moon booths, tables for two, an intimate bar, and areas for more private group dining. Reservations required. Dress smart casual.
Bonus — Gather Picnic Co.
For groups looking for a truly unique, outdoor dining experience, consider an elaborate and themed affair from Gather Picnic Co. Each three-hour, travel-themed picnic spread features set-up and breakdown of decor, table settings, and furniture, flowers, and umbrellas for shade. Food can be catered privately or provided by Graze Atlanta, a company offering beautifully prepared charcuterie and cheese boards with the option to add dessert. Book online.
Disclaimer: Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here. It is highly advised people wear masks indoors or in crowded situations, regardless of vaccination status, to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.