14 Awesome Restaurants for Group Dining in San Diego
From classic Italian to sushi, seafood restaurants, and more, here are San Diego’s best restaurants for large parties or private dining.
The holiday season is right around the corner, and we can’t wait to start making plans for get togethers with all the people we love. From casual happy hour escapes with coworkers and spirited friendsgiving celebrations to lavish holiday spreads that include the whole family, San Diego’s best restaurants are ready to step up and give you the best our region has to offer.
Navigating the culinary scene for restaurants that can accommodate large parties is a little more complicated in post-pandemic San Diego, so we’ve done the legwork and gathered 14 places with enough space to show your group a good time. But plan ahead—larger tables and private rooms are getting booked up fast, so make those reservations while they’re still available. From La Jolla to Little Italy to Encinitas and Oceanside, here are our favorite picks for entertaining en masse:
Cloak & Petal
When your tribe is craving sushi, it’s tough to find a place that can seat the whole gang together. Cloak & Petal has you covered—it’s designed with group dining in mind. Host visiting family under C&P’s iconic cherry blossom tree in the main dining room or grab your pals and hit happy hour in its new speakeasy concept area, Shibuya Nights, for $10 specialty cocktails and select rolls, including decidedly non-traditional faves like Face It, You’re Basic (panko shrimp, avocado, krab, tempura crunchy flakes, spicy aioli, sweet soy sauce reduction) or Cesar Chavez and Main St. (shrimp tempura, spicy tuna, avocado, black pepper, tuna, charred jalapeño ponzu, cilantro, habanero). It’s open later than most places, closing at 11 pm Sunday-Thursday and 1 am Friday-Saturday (the kitchen shuts down a half-hour before).
How to book: Book tables up to six via OpenTable. For larger groups, call the restaurant directly at 619-501-5505.
When you want your dinner party to be especially memorable, head to the newly renovated Mr. A's, San Diego’s favorite special occasion restaurant. The view is the first thing you’ll notice, and it’s breathtaking both day and night. During the day you can sit outside on the expanded outdoor lounge area and watch the jets descend to the runway at San Diego International Airport. By night, thousands of sparkling city lights dazzle almost as much as the food. Culinary director Stephane Voitzwinkler artfully blends American, French, and Alsatian influences that straddle between the classics—think rosy pink Duck Breast and Colorado Rack of Lamb—and modern takes on Chickpea Panisse and Georges Bay Scallops. Note that there is a dress code.
How to book: Reservations for parties up to six can be made via OpenTable. For larger groups, call the restaurant at 619-239-1377.
Floor-to-ceiling glass windows, an expansive patio, and dazzling city views make Coasterra perfect for welcoming friends from out of town, family celebrations, and fuss-free holiday dinners. Chef Deborah Scott’s upscale takes on traditional Latin dishes make fine use of her proximity to San Diego’s freshest seafood. Nine unique varieties of margaritas, plus tableside pitchers for the extra thirsty, keep the party going strong. Reservations for parties of up to eight can be made online, but tables of up to 25 can be arranged in the dining room. For special events, plenty of private and semi-private space is available, including the Lanai, the Skyline Terrace and Bar, and the spectacular Harbor Float, a covered outdoor patio that hovers over the water and can accommodate up to 200 guests.
How to book: Reservations for groups up to eight can be made via OpenTable. Book larger parties by calling 619-814-1300 or online.
Animae is the ideal destination for an elevated holiday event or celebration. Under the helm of acclaimed chef Tara Monsod, Animae has a lighter, more Southeast Asian-focused menu. The stunning dining room is inspired by the ancient forest of Yakushima Island, with lush moss green velvet banquettes and heavy drapery sheltering dining nooks along the wall, while playful lighting provides flattering illumination. Custom-tailored menus and specially curated wine pairings are also available.
How to book: Tables for groups up to eight can be reserved via OpenTable. Book larger parties online or by calling 619-432-1225.
Herb & Sea
Herb & Sea blends contemporary West Coast panache with timeless East Coast tradition. Clean, simple, seasonal fare that celebrates the bounty of the sea as well as treasured classics provide the perfect menu for holiday dinners or family festivities. The airy, modern dining room, full of cozy elements and art deco touches can accommodate parties of up to 10, and the East Coast Room, the Moonlight Deck, a sunlit outdoor patio, or even the entire venue can be reserved for larger groups. Custom-tailored menus and custom sommelier-selected wines are also available.
How to book: Tables for groups up to 10 can be reserved via OpenTable. Book larger parties online or by calling 760-704-8300.
Fusing glamping chic with industrial elements, Campfire’s light-filled dining room and spectacular open kitchen brings the outdoors inside with cozy touches like polished wood panels and lots of twinkling lights. Fire is the star of the menu as well—most dishes have at least one element that’s been grilled, charred, coal-roasted, seared, or smoked over open flame, including the cocktail menu. Parties of up to six are easily reserved online, and groups of seven to ten can be accommodated. For tables over seven, a special, four-course menu is offered at $75 per person, not including tax and tip and prepaid at the time of reservation. It includes one entree each and plenty of family-style starters, sides, and dessert, but not beverages.
How to book: Reserve parties of six or fewer via OpenTable. View the special menu and reserve larger groups here.
The city of Oceanside is having something of a moment, with a number of drive-worthy restaurants, cocktail bars, breweries, and cultural centers opening over the past few years, Dija Mara among them. Chef Ryan Costanza, whose last two gigs were under the tutelage of not one, but two Michelin-starred chefs, brings Balinese fusion to California cuisine. Flavors like lemongrass, makrut lime, coconut, warm spices, and sambal are infused into locally sourced ingredients, fresh-caught seafood, and seasonal vegetables. Sunday brunch includes a wide array of dishes that aren’t available any other day. There’s a nice selection of lower-ABV cocktail choices and an all-natural wine list. The restaurant can handle groups of up to eight, with a $10 deposit per person required for a group of eight diners.
How to book: Reservations can be made via Tock.
A lovingly restored spot, once Tobacco Rhoda’s in North Park, now houses Black Radish, an upscale bistro with a seasonal menu that fuses the best of Southern California cuisine with modern French execution. The menu is conveniently divided into courses that you can mix and match, or choose a four-course prix-fixe option. A half-dozen cocktails, plus beer and wine by the glass round out the menu, and a short bar menu provides munchies like mini lamb burgers, fries and caviar, and kumamoto oysters. Parties of up to 14 can be accommodated.
How to book: Tables for groups up to fourteen can be made via Tock.
Jasmine Seafood Restaurant
Nothing’s more fun than hitting Jasmine Seafood Restaurant for Hong Kong-style dim sum, sharing dumplings from tiny stainless steel steamers, bamboo baskets of snowy-white barbecue pork buns, covered bowls holding various noodles and stews, and square packets of stuffed rice wrapped in lotus leaf. It’s been a regular stop for families, especially on weekends, since 1993, so they’re adept at handling larger parties, and a good number of tables can seat up to ten comfortably. Normally seating is on a first-come basis, but reservations can be made for parties of more than five diners.
How to book: Call 858-268-0888 for groups of more than five.
Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens
Once a U.S. Navy mess hall, Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens in trendy Liberty Station is now a dazzling combination of indoor and outdoor spaces, including a lavish garden area with waterfalls, fountains, and a small stream with sleek koi lazing about. There’s also a bocce ball court, an outdoor movie space, and large and small indoor rooms that can be set up for private parties. With forty taps at the bar, featuring Stone year-round and special releases, beers from other small breweries, and an impressive list of bottled craft and specialty beers from around the world, even the pickiest beer snobs will be satisfied. The menu combines elevated bar bites, a nice selection of tacos, and a couple of family-style meals that serve up to four. Leashed pets are welcome in any of the outdoor areas.
How to book: Reservations for up to 14 can be made via OpenTable. For larger groups, call 619-269-2100.
This chic gastropub in Sorrento Mesa is light, bright, and airy by day, and cozy and welcoming at night. The culinary concept is simple—make delicious food and brew good beer to go along with it. A dozen or so brews are available at any given time, and a new beer list is rolled out every Monday. Long picnic tables and padded benches make toasting happy occasions with friends a breeze, and reservations for parties up to eight can be made online. For private events, a mezzanine level lounge with its own bar and game tables holds from 18 to 36 of your besties in style.
How to book: Reservations for up to eight can be made via OpenTable. For larger parties, call 858-283-8206.
Chowing down on tacos and margaritas with a big group of friends is a rite of passage in San Diego, and Puesto delivers on both counts. There’s nearly a dozen varieties of margs, and an equal number of taco options, a quartet of Mexican-style beers brewed at their Mission Valley cervecería, plus mezcal and tequila flights. The restaurant includes three semi-private indoor dining rooms and two patios, which can be combined to accommodate from 12 to 200 seated diners.
How to book: Reservations for up to ten can be made via OpenTable. For larger groups, call 619-233-8880 or fill out their online form.
One Door North
Gather your group under the tents at One Door North, the outdoorsy-themed eatery designed as an homage to chef Fred Piehl’s love of nature and adventure. Classic cocktails like negronis and dark and stormys, plus inspired craft cocktails share the menu with seasonal fare that highlight fresh, local ingredients. Reservations can be made online for parties up to 10, or reserve one of their tents for a camping dinner adventure that’s all fun with none of the hassles of, you know, actual camping.
How to book: Reservations for groups up to ten via Yelp. For larger groups or to reserve a tent, call 619-618-1285 or email James_Anderson@piehlgroup.com.
Madison on Park
Madison took to the streets, literally, during the COVID-19 pandemic, adding a sprawling parklet where guests can still enjoy high-quality cocktails and a small, but well-curated menu of continental and Mediterranean-inspired bites under the iconic University Heights sign. Inside, the modern interior is the ideal backdrop for Instagram portraiture, fusing elements of Norwegian and Japanese simplicity under a dramatic, arching ceiling of warm cedar cladding.
How to book: Reservations for groups of up to eight can be made via OpenTable or by calling 619-269-6566.