10 best places for group dinners in Melbourne

Christmas party season has begun.   Around this time of year the most common thing I get asked is where is a good venue for a Christmas party or even just Christmas catch up.  So I’ve done the leg work and investigated the best private rooms and restaurants with banquet menus who are nice to groups.  Don’t think of this just as a Christmas party list many are excellent for hens parties, birthday parties, any kind of party really.

It’s simple, champagne = party


Best for a private room
1. The Commoner
One of my favourite restaurants in Melbourne has a range of different rooms you can hire from the cosy upstairs long room that seats 14 to the covered outdoor area which you can book privately for up to 20 seated.  There’s a great set menu here called the “Feed Me” menu with lots of food that is good for sharing like plates of charcuterie and baby chickens roasted in the wood fire oven.  One of my friends has booked out the courtyard for a function this week and I can’t wait.
Essentials:  The Commoner, 122 Johnston Street  Melbourne 3065 (Ph: 03 9415 6876) Open Wed – Thurs 6pm – late, Fri – Sun 12 -3pm, 6pm – late.  Group dining menu of $65.  Various private rooms which seat 10, 14 or 20 or you can have standing functions for larger groups.

Charcuterie at The Commoner

2. Casa Ciuccio
As if the downstairs restaurant at Casa Ciuccio is not fabulous enough then the upstairs private room even manages to outshine it.  Light filled and beautifully decorated there’s enough room for a sit down dinner for 24.  There’s a great set menu featuring Casa Ciuccio’s coal pit roasted meat and I spent a brilliant long lunch there celebrating my friend Jo’s hens day.
Essentials: Casa Ciuccio, 15 Gertrude Street  Fitzroy 3065 (Ph 03 8488 8150).  Closed Mondays.  Private room seats 24 with group dining menus from $65.

Casa Ciuccio’s beautiful private dining room reflected in the mirror of a vintage side board

3. Union Dining
For a big group like a work party think about hiring out the huge upstairs room at Union Dining.  Chef Nicky Reimer is seriously talented and her new spring menu with dishes like cuttlefish salad will leave everyone satisfied.  If it’s a summery night the upstairs room opens out onto Union Dining’s beautiful rooftop terrace.
Essentials: Union Dining, 270 Swan St, Richmond (Ph 03 9428 2988). Dinner from 6pm, Tuesday to Sunday. Lunch from 12pm, Friday to Sunday.  Seats 64 in the upstairs room or 90 standing.  There is also the option of having 24 seated on one large table.  Group menu from $65.

4. The North Fitzroy Star
This cosy little pub has a great room out the back which opens onto a small courtyard.  The pub has a relaxed feel but the menu for groups is lovely featuring big plates of chicken studded with pomegranates and tiny shot glasses of different desserts.  If you want to kick on after your party just roll into the front bar.
Essentials: North Fitzroy Star, 32/36 St Georges Road South  Fitzroy North 3068 (Ph 03 9482 6484).  Open Monday to Thursday from 4pm. Friday to Sunday from 11am.  Seats around 20 to 30 in the private room.North Fitzroy Star on Urbanspoon

Chicken studded with pomegranate at the North Fitzroy Star

5. Back Street Eating 
There is the most fabulous underground room at Back Street Eating in Fitzroy which has a glass wall along one side displaying all different charcuterie cured in house by the chefs.  Expect to see the same charcuterie feature heavily on the menu.  Not a great choice for vegetarians.
Essentials: Back Street Eating, 152 Kerr Street  Fitzroy 3065 (Ph 03 9417 1212).  Seats up to 12 people.  Group dining menus start from $65.  Minimum spend of $800 for the room. Backstreet Eating on Urbanspoon

Best for a group dinner in the restaurant
6. The Aylesbury
If you want drinks with friends in the city it’s hard to go past The Aylesbury’s roof top bar.  If you’ve got a small group together think about booking The Aylesbury’s big table tucked away at the back of the restaurant.  It’s almost like a private room but not quite and
Essentials: The Aylesbury, 103 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne 3000 (Ph: +61 (3) 9077 0451). Open for lunch Mon- Fri 12-3pm and dinner Mon – Sat 6pm – late.  The rooftop bar is open Mon – Sat 3pm – late and on Fridays from 1pm. Seats about 16 people.  Group dining menus start from $75.

Pig and fig at The Aylesbury

7.  Gerald’s Bar
There’s a big table you can book for a group tucked right in the front window of Gerald’s Bar.  This place may be a bar but the food is top notch as well and I had a great Christmas catch up there with friends.
Essentials: Gerald’s Bar, 386 Rathdowne Street  Carlton North, Vic 3054, Australia (Ph 03 9349 4748) Open: Mon – Sat 5pm – 11pm, Sun closed.  Seats about 12.  Group dining menu from $50 per person.

8. Shark Fin Inn
The most obvious option for group dining is to head to China Town.  Where else do you get round tables that are good for actually talking to everyone and of course a Lazy Susan to share food more easily.  As far as I’m concerned these should be included in every restaurant.  I love Shark Fin Inn for yum cha or a dining feast as well.
Essentials: Shark Fin Inn, 50-52 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne 3000 (Ph: 03 9662 2681).  Best for groups of around 10.  Banquets start from $36 a head.

The famous Mamasita corn

Top tip: Some of Melbourne’s no bookings restaurants which are famously difficult to get into actually allow you to book for their one, large table.  At 9. Mamasita there’s a table you can book if you have 8-10 people for the “Feed Me” $66 menu, and at 10. Golden Fields you can book for 8-14 for a banquet menu from $80.  Just remember to get in early as these tables book out quickly.

Posted by: on November 25th, 2012     15 Comments »

Category: Group Dinner, Melbourne Tips
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15 Comments on “10 best places for group dinners in Melbourne”

  1. Not Quite Nigella said at 11:10 pm on November 26th, 2012:

    Really useful post especially around this time of the year Cara!

  2. Clare said at 6:18 am on November 27th, 2012:

    Great list Cara will definitely be referring to this in future. Especially keen to try upstairs at casa ciuccio and back street eating.

  3. tori said at 4:59 pm on November 27th, 2012:

    Such an invaluable resource. Tried to organise by proxy and long distance a dinner for 12 in Melbourne last year- wish I’d had this at my fingertips!

  4. cara waters said at 9:12 am on November 29th, 2012:

    Not Quite Nigella – Yes lots of catch ups at the moment!

    Clare – Wonder if I will be able to add Builder’s Arms to my list?

    Tori – I have certainly been there before, it’s tough to do.

  5. Lyn said at 11:01 am on November 14th, 2013:

    Will enjoy updates. Looking for a restaurant (pref. private room) for 14 to 16 guests. BYO wine and approx. $55 per head. Booking for Thursday 19 Dec.

  6. Cara said at 3:58 pm on November 25th, 2013:

    I’d go for Hutong Dumpling house in the city – BYO, casual and while it doesn’t have a private room for that size you can all sit at one table.

  7. Roberta Collins said at 10:43 pm on April 15th, 2014:

    That food looked good. I wish my other half could make thing like that!

  8. Kate said at 9:45 pm on August 11th, 2014:

    Hi Cara,
    Where would you recommend for @20 people to celebrate a 40TH. Sit down menu with preferred private dining or same table? I’m based in Moorabbin, can you suggest any on this side of town? Thanks Kate

  9. Cara said at 7:34 pm on August 12th, 2014:

    Hi Kate – We celebrated a family members 40th at the Yabby Creek vineyard which had a private area for about that many. Beautiful food, wine and views and your side of town if you are up for a little drive. Otherwise I have been to the private dining room at Ladro in Prahran which is very good (and serves a lot more than pizza) or Morris Jones could also be great. Hope it goes well!

  10. Bas said at 12:06 pm on October 21st, 2014:

    Looking for a special private room or dining table for a group of about 16 for a special birthday dinner for this Thursday, 23 October 2014 – its a group of locals and internationals who are young, funky and all who think they are fabulous – so somewhere different and with a bit of a funky fashionable vibe would be great. Most are from south yarra, prahran, windsor and kew so anywhere around those areas or the city would be great :)

    Thanks for the post btw – very helpful

  11. Cara said at 9:17 pm on October 22nd, 2014:

    Hi Bas – Spring Street Cellars in the City has a private dining room downstairs that I think could be really fun for this. Cheers Cara

  12. Rhiannon said at 3:10 pm on November 5th, 2014:

    Hi Cara, love the list, so helpful! Are you able to make a suggestion for a hens night dinner in the city for 25-30 people. I’d love a private dining room and a banquet option of I can find one :) thanks in advance!

  13. Cara said at 9:22 pm on November 6th, 2014:

    Hi Rhiannon – I organised my sister’s hens night this year and went for Union Dining which was great for a similar number of people (although in Richmond). In the CBD Spring Street Cellars has an underground cheese room which you can use as a private dining room which I think would be just perfect for this. Enjoy.

  14. Cathy said at 5:47 pm on November 17th, 2014:

    Looking for a place for up to 20 people for a work lunch on a Saturday in December.looking at Eastern side of Melbourne as workplace is in Bayswater. Any suggestions?

  15. Cara said at 8:11 pm on November 18th, 2014:

    Hi Cathy – Would Hellenic republic in Kew be too far for you? Or Firechief pizza also in that area? Bayswater itself is a bit of a restaurant desert unfortunately!


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