Shanghai's best restaurants for group dining

From birthday brunches to leaving dinners, here's your guide to group eating in Shanghai

With a cuisine built around sharing and private rooms a given in most restaurants, China is the perfect place group dining – but what about when you're after Western fare or not to be tucked away in a separate space? For groups big or small, we've got you covered for all fancies – from dirt-cheap dumplings to fancy Bund-side dining. Whether you're celebrating a birthday, commemorating at a leaving party or you just want to enjoy a kickass meal with all your friends, here are great restaurants in Shanghai perfect for group get-togethers.

Recommended: Full guide to Shanghai's best restaurants.

Liquid Laundry

With its casual atmosphere, spacious interior, large dining tables and top-notch pizzas and sharing platters, Liquid Laundry is great for an impromptu after-work get-together or pre-planned party. Over weekends, Liquid Laundry gets loud and lively enough to drown out rowdy groups, so you don't need to worry about keeping quiet. When you're finished with all the food, move things over to the bar for even more drinks and party atmosphere.

Good for… Pizzas, platters and booze.

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1028 Huaihai Zhong Lu
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Hai Di Lao, Beijing Xi Lu

This ever-packed Sichuan-style hotpot chain is rightly legendary for its service, which involves everything from free shoe shines and manicures while you wait (and you will wait) to noodles that come with a kung fu performance. Service aside, the food is fresh and tasty and the salad and sauces bar plentiful. This is a safe bet for groups of all sizes. 

Good for… Over-the-top service and a high fun factor.

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1068 Beijing Xi Lu

The Chop Chop Club

It's the more, the merrier at Michelin star-collector Paul Pairet's playful carvery concept at Three on the Bund, where bringing a group is the best way to explore the vast menu's full potential. Pick and choose from a ticker board of carvery offerings – like chargrilled Cote de Boeuf, oven-charred oxtail teriyaki and plump fillets of grilled sea bass – that flash up in 15-minute intervals (some of which flicker from ‘order now’ to ‘sold out’ in a matter of minutes). Between all the meats, order a few of the sharing-sized 'Bocktails' (bottled cocktails).

Good for Exceptional meats in exceptional surrounds.

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3 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu

D.O.C.

Critics' pick

Decked out like a hip, modern trattoria, this popular restaurant's menu is an all-pleaser with a varied selection of antipasti, pasta, salads and pizza toppings for all tastes. For indecisive parties over eight people, there are set menus that offer ‘the complete D.O.C experience’.

While the main dining area can seat parties of up to 15 to 20 people, there's the
Mattonelle room for private dinners for between 12 and 20 guests, plus through the warmer months there's an upstairs atrium that can seat up to 35.

Good for... A pizza party. 

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390 Dagu Lu
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Lotus Eatery, Dingxi Lu

This sprawling Shanghai institution is the go-to place for groups of three or more looking to get head-to-toe stuffed. The relatively cheap Yunnan restaurant's dishes are plentiful and perfect for sharing, with crowd-pleasers like Grandma's mashed potato, fragrant chicken, pan-fried rubing (goat cheese), rice noodles and pineapple sticky rice, along with more of the region's speciality flora and fauna. Even washing it all down with multiples rounds of Tsingtao, you'd be hard-pressed to spend over 100RMB a person here.

Good for... Sharing in abundance.

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1112 Dingxi LuOnline booking

Tomatito

This Spanish restaurant tucked away in  Zhong Plaza on Taixing Lu is all about having fun over dishes meant for sharing, with long sofas that make it ideal for group dining. Part of the el Willy group, this 'sexy' tapas lounge is the place to get your fill of croquettas, gambas, patatas bravas and more – to be chased down with jugs of sangria.

For a real steal, smaller groups go for the four-course weekend brunch at 98RMB, plus free-flow cava and wine for 50RMB – for larger groups, there are set menus with free-flow cava, wine, sangria and beer start from 250RMB.

Good for... A Spanish-style fiesta.

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99 Taixing LuOnline booking

Dongbei Four Seasons Dumpling King

Critics' pick

The name says it all: if you're looking to stuff yourself like a Qing Emperor and human dumpling, then the Dongbei Four Seasons Dumpling King will sing to your heart's desires. Popular with locals and laowai in equal measure, this no-frills chain has locations all over the city slinging super cheap and tasty northern fare. Order an abundance of shuijiao dumplings with fillings from cabbage to pork to beef and heaving plates of hearty Dongbei-style sweet and sour pork (guobaorou), stir-fried potato and aubergine (di san xian), deep-fried candied banana (basi xiangjiao) and more. 

Good for... All the dumplings you can eat.

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379 Xikang Lu

The Cannery

A space that shines from dishes to decor (quite literally, with spotlights pointed at a mock copper tiled ceiling overhead), this restaurant and lounge is a laidback and stylish setting for casual dishes and excellent drinks. Although the industrial shores of the Huangpu are no Mediterranean coast, you can still (kinda) feel like you're dining by a sparkling blue sea here, with octopus, tuna, oysters, mussels, clams, lobster and more starring on the menu. 

The Cannery's informal lounge-setting works especially well for groups divided into eaters and non-eaters. There's no pressure here, just pull up a pew for a few cocktails, grab a light bite or tuck into a full-on feast fresh from the ocean.

Good for... Casual dining and excellent drinks, without having to commit to a sit-down dinner.

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1107 Yuyuan Lu
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Mr Pots

One of Shanghai's most popular Cantonese establishments, Mr Pots is the real deal with the seal of approval from Hongkongers in Shanghai. Its large tables and excellent renditions of all the usual suspects from the world of dim sum and other goodies from down south make it a great spot for groups of all sizes.  

Good for... Dim sum that's the real deal.

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802 Yanan Zhong Lu

Di Shui Dong, Maoming Lu

A loud and lively restaurant for a casual gathering, Di Shui Dong is known and loved for its large portions of classic sour and spicy Hunan dishes at reasonable prices. 

Good for... A no-frills feast.

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56 Maoming Nan Lu
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Kagen Teppanyaki

Book yourself a tatami room (seating up to 15 people) and go for the all-you-can-eat menu at this upscale Japanese teppanyaki serving quality cuts of meat and seafood fresh off the grill, alongside a selection of melt-in-your-mouth sushi and sashimi. The buffet is 358RMB per person, with free-flow sake and beer as part of the deal. For vegetarians in the party, Kagen offers a vegetarian set menu with free-flow booze (268RMB).

Good for... Fancy cuts of meat and free-flow sake.

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291 Fumin LuOnline booking

Pirata (Dongping Lu)

For an intimate gathering, this snug tapas restaurant will do you right. Its menu is centred around modest sharing plates of simple, fine-tuned Spanish fare and a brilliant selection of cured, smoked, pickled and preserved things – from sobrassada, Iberico ham and Spanish cheeses, to sardines and anchovies, olives, balsamic onions and stuffed cherry peppers in pools of olive oil.

Good for... A finely tuned selection of Spanish cuisine's greatest hits.

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9 Dongping LuOnline booking

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