Thursday, March 25, 2010

Wanted: Good Restaurant That Accepts Large Parties


An enjoyable dining experience with a restaurant that meets the following qualifications:
  • Will take reservations for parties of 8-14 people
  • Will separate checks
  • Will provide reliable service
  • Is located in or around Atlanta, Georgia
  • Is not Cheesecake Factory, Olive Garden, California Pizza Kitchen or the like
  • Provides a decent atmosphere
  • (Does not have to be a four or five-star restaurant but must serve good food)

You see, it seems as though very few metro Atlanta restaurants meet the above qualifications.

I went to Taqueria del Sol (Decatur location) with family a few weeks ago, knowing it would be a challenge to all sit together. We were already a tough-to-sit group of seven, then we complicated things when our party arrived in waves versus all at once. Because management won't allow you to save a table until after everyone orders at the counter (fair enough), we were stuck sitting across the room from each other. And while it has nothing to do with being able to sit together, I can't help but share this: Would you believe that management wouldn't let me give already-bought chips and salsa to the remainder of my family while they stood in line? As I handed a plate to my brother, a manager said, "you can't give them chips while they stand in line!" I asked, "why not?" He responded with, "because then everyone ELSE will ask for chips while they stand in line." I was thinking, "not my problem..."

I thought Tap (1180 Peachtree Street; Atlanta) fit the bill based on previous good experiences; however, when I went with a group of 14 friends last weekend, we had painfully slow service. I will say that I was still grateful for the split checks and decent food and good beer.

You all read about my Antico debacle from earlier this month. If you ever want to reserve the chef's table, keep the 10-person-max rule in mind!

Suggestions? It seems I run into this challenge several times a year when planning birthday dinners and family outings. Help!


Greg Cordell said...

I have heard good things about Ecco, but I haven't tried it myself yet.

The Orkins said...

Ecco is great - and service seems to always be top notch for us.

I typically try to avoid chain restaurants, but we had my Aunt Bea's 90th birthday at Brio in Buckhead 2 weeks ago (not my choice, I was kicking and screaming actually) and was very surprised. We had a lovely private room, the food was great and I think the price was good too.

What about Feast? Rosebud? Wahoo?

By the way, I have a horrid experience with TAP when I did a work funtion there last year and will never go there again. Don't get me started....

Traci said...

I've had large group dinners at quite a few restaurants in the past, but the primary issue is that almost none will do separate checks. Most will usually put it on separate credit cards though, you just have to figure out what people owe yourselves and tell them a specific amount for each card, etc.

I've had pretty good luck with 5 Seasons Brewing several times (original location) with groups up to approx. 16-20 people. Also, if everyone happens to like Indian food (well, Bangladeshi food), Panahar on Buford Highway is very accommodating, however you might need to make reservations at least a week in advance if you want a prime time such as between 7-8p.m.

Kb_Mal said...

Good to know about Ecco. I wonder what their track record is with large groups.

I don't know about Brio. I'll think of them next time I'm planning a family outing. LOVE Feast. Love Wahoo. Had a good larger family brunch there a few months ago.

5 Seasons is a great idea, Traci. Thank you! And I STILL need to make it to Panahar. Maybe the hubs and I will go on an adventure there. IT's been a long time since I've had Indian-ish food. Tell me about your TAP experience! I've had two LARGE group experiences there that were fine and two one-on-one experiences that were fine. This latest time was a real bummer in terms of efficient service.

s said...

How about some local Decatur places? Feast (we had our rehearsal dinner there and it was awesome) and Watershed come to mind. Also did a large party at South City Kitchen, though it depends on who you get on the phone, sometimes they say they'll only do reservations for up to 8 or 10 or something, but just call back!

Kb_Mal said...

Decatur recommendations are perfect, as that's our 'hood! Thank you!

LOVE Feast. Have been there for club meetings but never have made large group reservations there personally. Great idea. Watershed. Mmmm. And I need to check out South City Kitchen - still haven't been.

Thanks for stopping by, S!

Greg Cordell said...

Don't know how it is for groups, but the food at South City Kitchen is great. The Vinings location is always less crowded, but both are terrific.