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Favorite Places for Group dinners in LA

Favorite Places for Group dinners in LA

Hi everyone! 

A couple weeks ago I celebrated my birthday and just like last year, finding a restaurant that would be welcoming, enjoyable, fun and trendy yet group-friendly was such a hassle. It took me forever to find a place I'd want to celebrate my birthday with my friends, so I decided making a list would probably be the best idea! 

I am SUCH a foodie. Everyone knows how much I love food and you can be sure I'll be one of those obnoxious people to at least snap one or two pictures of our delicious meal. Very important point for me is also dessert. I have a sweet spot when it comes to that last dish of the night (see what I did there?). 

Here is a top 5 of the places I enjoy often which also happen to have a perfect environment for group settings: 

1. Barrel & Ashes 

11801 VENTURA BLVD, STUDIO CITY, CALIFORNIA 91604
(818)623-8883

Why here?

My absolute favorite barbecue place in Los Angeles, NO DOUBT. I've been coming here since its opening and it has only gotten better. Some of the menu items rotate every other season, so make sure to pop in regularly to not miss any of the yumminess! 
Another important aspect here is their amazing bar. I have not tried one cocktail there I didn't like and even my favorite, classic, go-to cocktail is seriously at its best there. 
Works perfectly for groups with their larger tables inside and outside. We celebrated my birthday here this year and we had such a great time. Service is always great and ambiance always fun.
Tip: You can book on OpenTable for groups up to 12 people, yay! 

What to order? 

- FRITO PIE! If you don't know what this is, it is time to get on it! They serve this in a bag of Frito chips and will pour over their amazing campfire chili. They top it off with sour cream, cheddar, pickled Fresnos and green onions. SO GOOD.
- Hoecake, 100%. It's their take on cornbread served in a skillet, bathed in maple butter and topped with green onion. Yup, you heard well! Heaven. 
- All their meats, especially the brisket, that's my fav. You can't go wrong. 
- "THE BEST DAMN CHIK'N SANDWICH Y'EVER HAD" is their fried chicken sandwich and with a name like that, no explanation needed. 

Sweet Tooth? 

- Their banana pudding, hands down! So good, simple, it will hit the spot just right! 
- Look out for their specials, they usually always have a dessert that will make you want to skip the savory and go straight to dessert. 

2. Lala's Grill

7229 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood, CA
(323) 934.6838

Why There? 

I celebrated my birthday last year over there and it was a success! We were a group of about 20 people and organizing this was so easy. It's more on the casual side, so if you're looking for a more low-key dinner, this is the place. 
Lala's is an Argentinian restaurant. They have two locations, one is on Melrose, in West Hollywood, the second is in Studio City, on Ventura Blvd. We went to the Melrose one because it was so conviniently located and easy to hit the clubs/bars after dinner. 
I called to make the reservation and it was super easy. We all like that simple, no-fuss birthday dinner.  

What to order? 

- Sangria!! Start to finish. No joke! I looooove the sangria here, it's delicious, always a party pleaser but its also a trickster. Be careful, you will get tipsy very fast if you keep sipping on it like fruit punch.
- Empanadas - they are so good, very simple and the sauce is divine. This is a no-brainer. 
- Mollejas.Sure but what are those? My answer? Don't overthink it. Ask for them well done, they will be heavenly crispy. I rarely order those but if I'm at Lala's, my dad and I always share them, they are just too good. If you know what these are, please try, you'll thank me later.
- Lala's Special Suprema Napolitana (make sure you're wearing spanks for this one). It's a boneless chicken breast breaded & lightly fried, topped with basil tomato sauce & melted cheese. I always get it with half mashed potatoes and half salad. Trust me on this one! 
Tip: The bread and sauce? A go-to! 

Sweet Tooth? 

- You're not gonna want to miss this one. Panqueque de banana con dulce de leche. It's an Argentinian crepe, stuffed with dulce de leche and bananas. Don't like bananas? No worries! Ask for it without! It's caramelized on the outside, which gives it the perfect balance between crisp and gooey. LOVE. 

3. Gracias Madre

8905 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood, CA 90069
(323)978-2170

 

Why There? 

I personally love Gracias Madre. It's a Vegan Mexican restaurant located in the heart of West Hollywood and has an amazing outdoor patio, perfect for group settings. Just make sure you call ahead, they do get really busy. 
The cocktails here are awesome and fun, the music always great and the service impeccable. What else do we need?

What to order?

Snow cones!! These cocktails are literally snow cones, infused with alcohol. My favorite? La Quinceañera, but make sure you ask for it with CBD because it's totally worth it! How cool? 
- Coliflór Frito - my all time favorite. It's fried cauliflower topped with cashew nacho cheese and a squeeze of lemon juice. My mouth is literally watering as I am typing this. 
- The Bowls, any of them. I will usually order one of these and just rotate as they are all delicious. 
- Gorditas are potato-masa cakes with avocado, warm salsa verde, and cashew cream. Delightful. 
- And of course, the guacamole and the nachos! They're legit. Try it, don't doubt it. 

Sweet Tooth? 

- The vegan ice cream here is amazing! I always go for the Mexican cookie because it comes with a scoop of ice cream and I ask for vanilla. Perfect for little cravings. 
- Want more? The strawberry shortcake is your vegan dreams come true. 

4. Bottega Louie

700 SOUTH GRAND AVENUE, LOS ANGELES, CA 90017
(213)802-1470

 

Why here? 

This huge restaurant is located in the middle of Downtown LA and the food is to die for. Big group? Usually, no problem, but make sure you get there ahead of time because they do not take reservations. On the flip side, there is so many seating that the wait is usually never long and its always a crowd pleaser. We went there for one of my closest friend's birthday and had no problem getting seated on a Friday night. Told you, they rock. 
Bottega Louie is an Italian Restaurant with a touch of French and I absolutely love it. Best part? They have a bakery inside with an amazing selection of macarons. SO worth it.

What to order? 

- Pizza, OBVIOUSLY. My favorite here is the Tartufo, I have a sweet spot when it comes to truffles and yolk. Yes, that's right. They will give you yolk porn for days with this pizza as they break it in front of you before serving the pizza. Tooooo good. If you're lucky and have an amazing waiter like I did last time, he will even give you the spoon to lick. Lucky lucky me.
- Portobello Fries, without the ounce of a doubt. Those things are killer and I can't wait to get those in my belly again. Not soggy, perfectly cooked and heavenly crispy on the outside. 
- Truffle Mashed potatoes. Potatoes and Truffles. Look no more. 
- Trenne pasta - Pan sautéed Trenne pasta, braised beef rib, Tuscan black kale, caramelized onions & shaved Parmigiano Reggiano. Don't be surprised, the pasta will come al dente and crispy. It's truly amazing and a must try. 

Sweet tooth? 

- Chocolate Soufflé. Hi and Bye. DO NOT forget to order this dessert at the start of your dinner, otherwise, you will miss out. It's insanely good and I can't recommend this enough. 
- Not into chocolate? The Napoleon Framboise was excellent but their macarons are phenomenal. Just saying...you've got options. 

5. Malibu Cafe at Calamigos Ranch

327 Latigo Canyon Road, Malibu, CA 90265
(818) 540-2400

Why here? 

This restaurant is absolutely beautiful. It's nooked in the middle of this cute canyon and in the middle of a forest, giving you those fairy tale vibes mixed with your childhood dreams of the best summer camp ever. Fun fact, this actually used to be a summer camp! 
It's great for groups because they have this really cool amusement area and it's outdoor. At night, the twinkle lights surround us and just create this enchanting environment. The food is also amazing, and service always impeccable. Oh! And they now have a mechanical bull...just saying. 

What to order?

- The beer can chicken! So good and so fun! It's a whole roasted chicken stuffed and cooked with that beer can. Make sure you get the sides right! The Mac N' Cheese here is pretty freaking good. 
- The board. It's a charcuterie and cheese board and everyone always enjoys it! And just like a lot of things here, super photogenic. 
- The brussel sprouts! Love, love, love a good roasted brussel sprouts and it comes in a cute skillet. 
- The bruschetta! Never comes soggy and that's a big one for me as I use to live in the South of France and only about an hour from Spain. I would have these very often and everytime I try ordering them here, not so good. These have so much flavor and it's great to share. 

Sweet Tooth?

- The SMORE'S! Why are you still reading? They bring you everything you need to roast your own smore's and there's nothing else that makes me happier. Actually, yes. Just bring more marshmallows because I can never get enough of them! 

 

 

That's it for this one! I hope you guys have as much fun as I do going to these places. 

xx

Esther 

 

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