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Best Bets for Group Get-Togethers
The restaurants that know how to accommodate a crowd.
Dining out doesn’t always involve a petite party of two. Whether you’re in town with a tour group, celebrating with a large group of pals, or scheduling a team meeting over a meal, these restaurants are pros at accommodating a crowd.s
If you’re downtown:
For solid American fare in a central downtown setting that can seat both groups both large and small, head to tried-and-true restaurants such as Clyde’s, The Hamilton, and Old Ebbitt Grill. The latter, a Washington institution that’s been in business since 1956 and was a favorite of three presidents, boasts a can’t-be-beat location across from the White House and blocks from the National Mall. Multiple rooms, including a large atrium, mean the place is well-versed in serving groups, and even hosts weddings on the regular. If your group prefers a more exotic menu of flavors, check out the Greek-influenced Zaytinya, the Creole-inspired Acadiana or French bistro Brasserie Beck.
If you’re in Georgetown:
Lots of beloved restaurants in Georgetown have the space and skill to cater to large groups, including Founding Farmers, Farmers Fishers Bakers, and Sequoia, which serve modern American and farm-to-table fare. For upscale Italian, check out Cafe Milano (particularly popular with celebrities and politicos) and Filomena.
If you’re in Logan Circle:
There’s lots of love for the explosion of restaurants on 14th Street, but most of the hot spots won’t accept reservations, and getting in with a larger group can be next to impossible. Not so for these options: Parisian-inspired Le Diplomate from restaurateur Stephen Starr accepts reservations for up to 10; The Matchbox restaurant offers three stories worth of space and a few larger tables reserved for groups; Up the street, Busboys and Poets has a casual menu, tons of space and an eclectic vibe.
If you’re touring museums:
If you’re looking for a lunch break between museums, you’d do well to head for Mitsitam Cafe at the National Museum of the American Indian. Set up cafeteria style, multiple stations specialize in regional cuisines. The food is tasty, and individualized payment plus long banquets of open seating make it an easy choice for a casual meal with a big group.
If you’re looking to impress:
These places may not accommodate huge groups, but for mid-sized parties in search of one-of-a-kind experiences, they’re on point. Head to Compass Rose with a group of eight or less to dine in the North African Bedouin Tent, which serves up a fixed menu of globally inspired eats. At award-winning Rose’s Luxury in Capitol Hill, groups of eight to 10 can reserve the charming rooftop patio for al fresco dining. At Rasika West End, a glass-enclosed chef’s table with seating for 10 to 12 diners sits in a private downstairs spot next to the kitchen, where guests can watch the action while dining on a four-course feast of the restaurant’s acclaimed nouveau Indian. At the urban-garden patio of Poste, a coveted granite banquet table seats up to 10 for the Poste Roast, a whole-animal roast in the form of a chef’s table experience that’s charmingly set in the restaurant’s herb garden.