Chefs’ Secrets: best spots in Melbourne for a big group

It’s time to gather the crew for a big catch up, but where should you go? Finding restaurants that cater to groups can be difficult, so we asked Melbourne’s top chefs where they take their friends for a fun dining experience without having to sacrifice taste or style.

Here are their hot tips:


Scott Pickett – Chef and director of Estelle Bistro and ESP

Garden State Hotel is great because it has so many facets. You can start as a big group and make your way around the different areas. It’s the perfect spot for dinner and drinks – a new Melbourne icon.

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Sunny Gilbert – Head chef at Austin’s at Mount Erica Hotel

What was once an old Fitzroy ballroom is now Village People Hawker Foodhall – a hive of activity serving up South-East Asian treats with, truly, something for everyone.

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Chris Bonello – Chef at MPD Steak Kitchen

The mezzanine level of Mister Jennings is perfect for a big group. The atmosphere of a private dining room makes any occasion feel special. You’re sure to be blown away by Ryan [Flaherty’s] food creation.

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Sascha Randle – Head chef at Massi

The private dining room at Philippe is the perfect space to entertain a big group. It’s a beautiful, stylish room and set away from the main dining area, ensuring lots of privacy.

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Ashly Hicks – Head chef at Garden State Hotel

That’s a really tough one – Melbourne has so many great group dining experiences that it’s hard to choose just one. In Flinders Lane alone you can’t go past Chin Chin, Supernormal or Coda for a great selection of shared dishes.

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Cindy Flores – Head chef at Lady Carolina

I want to feel like there’s a bit of Mexico with me. Keep it simple with tacos and margaritas at Si Senor Art Taqueria.

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Jacques Reymond – Chef and restaurateur

L’Hotel Gitan (owned by Jacques and his family) has a great kitchen theatre with a good vibe, with several private rooms for different sized groups. It’s got a great mix for all ages, including a striking rotisserie with roast of the day as you arrive.

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Florent Gerardin – Head chef and partner at Oter

San Telmo did a fine job at my bucks’ night, with about 15 chefs at the table. We ate a lot of chargrilled Argentinian steak that night.

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Guy Grossi – Head chef and owner of Grossi Restaurants

At Lupino you’ll always get looked after here with genuine, warm hospitality. The food is delicious and authentically Italian. Share everything and have a great time.

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Josh Pelham – Head chef at Hellenic Hotel

The last time I went out with a big group, we found ourselves at The Point in Albert Park. The food is well thought out and focuses on the best produce.

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Jesse McTavish – Chef & co-owner of The Kettle Black

Frank Camorra’s original MoVida is still the benchmark for casual dining because it is underpinned by all the principles of fine dining. Head chef Scott Stevenson is all about incredible produce.

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Maurice Esposito – Head chef at Cecconi’s

Longrain is perfect for big dinners, great cocktails, love the flavours, it’s a well-oiled machine. It also serves my favourite pad thai in town.

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Andrew McConnell – Ricky & Pinky

Dainty Sichuan is such a fun place to dine with a group. It’s a must for lovers of Chinese food and chilli!

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Todd Thorburn – Head chef at MamaDuke

The big table at the back of Bomba is perfect for a big group to get a little rowdy. Book well in advance otherwise you will have to fight for it. The pork jowl braised in Pedro Ximenez, washed down with one of Melbourne’s best Negronis, is always a “happy place” for me.

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Joel Alderson – Executive chef at One Eleven, the Hotel Windsor

Jinda Thai is really good Thai food in a busy but calm atmosphere with big tables, plenty of space and food perfect for sharing.

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Geoff Lindsay – Chef and owner of Dandelion

Whenever I have a larger group, family with kids, maybe to watch the football, we head to The Grosvenor Hotel in East St Kilda. It’s great for everyone, has the best steaks, a great wine list and plenty of beers on tap. It’s not expensive and very relaxed.

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Heading (far) north

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King Valley delights

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The glorious Yarra Valley

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Visit Belgrave

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Game of Thrones visits

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