The Best Small Private Dining Rooms in New York
If you’re on the hunt for a haunt to host a small dinner in New York City, look no further: Here’s our list of trusted spots to cozy up with up to twenty of your nearest and dearest for an excellent meal.
Al Coro is one of three concepts Chef Melissa Rodriguez opened with partner Jeff Katz in the converted Nabisco factory which previously housed Del Posto, where she notably became the first woman at the helm of a restaurant awarded four stars by The New York Times. Situated in a soaring space on the corner of 16th Street and Tenth Avenue, Al Coro is an inherently celebratory space, with live music every evening. Rodriguez serves a tight regional Italian menu with signature creative license, for which she earned two Michelin stars. The mezzanine level features a private room, which can seat up to 14 guests.
This Italian cafe from chef Ignacio Mattos offers a seasonal menu of ingredient-driven antipasti and excellent housemade pastas, alongside a small but frequently changing selection of meat and fish secondi. While the food and aesthetic both draw from Estela’s signature understated elegance, the space itself is considerably larger, with high ceilings and windows peering out onto Sixth Avenue. Altro Paradiso offers two spaces for private dining: the outdoor casita, which seats up to twenty guests, and the lower dining room, which accommodates 40.
Offering white tablecloth quality service in a comfortably hip setting, Charlie Bird describes itself as “Italian influenced, American executed, and entirely New York.” The Soho staple from Delicious Hospitality is undoubtedly a product of its environment, evoking downtown culture new and old: an expertly curated playlist rooted in ‘90s hip hop is complemented by expansive wine list with something for every palate (and price point). The private room, tucked behind the bar offers a long dining table, which can accommodate up to 14 guests.
Mexico City chef Enrique Olvera’s first foray into New York offers his take on contemporary Mexican cuisine, in a minimalist space characterized by a comfortably utilitarian aesthetic. While Cosme is clearly rooted in Mexico, both the menu and the design choices occasionally gesture to Japan - concrete floors and light blonde woods are complemented by weighty stoneware and ceramics, alongside black and white wall art and thoughtfully pared back florals. A private dining room situated toward the back of the restaurant seats up to fourteen guests.
Situated on the ground floor a landmarked Art Deco building in the Financial District, James Kent’s self-proclaimed “neighborhood restaurant” has held a Michelin Star since 2020. His seasonally-driven menu brings elevated fine dining technique to a globetrotting array of flavors inspired by the diversity of cuisine in New York City, with high caliber service to match. Crown Shy boats two private dining rooms, each with a wall full of windows and a dedicated entrance through an arched gallery. Cedar seats sixteen guests, while Pearl seats 25; if booked together, the spaces can comfortably accommodate up to 50 seated guests.
Homestyle Japanese cooking is front and center at this established West Village brasserie, an airy space with lofty ceilings, large windows framed by dark wood paneling, and an open kitchen. Audiophiles will delight in their recently opened music bar, pairing vintage turntables and Westminster Royal High Fidelity speakers with a tasteful collection of rare records from around the world. EN’s private spaces – all modeled after Meiji era dining rooms, offering both tatami and western style seating – double down on the domestic charm of the restaurant, lending a sense of intimacy to just about any party.
Since 1930, El Quijote has charmed New Yorkers with robust Spanish fare and festive cocktails. Situated on the ground floor of the iconic Hotel Chelsea, the dining room - a nostalgic caramel and mahogany vision dominated by a mural depicting the windmill scene from the eponymous Cervantes text - has entertained generations of downtown darlings, chief among them Patti Smith. Sunday Hospitality oversaw a thoughtful restoration of the space in 2021, stripping away linoleum flooring to reveal ceramic tiling and forgoing the white tablecloths in favor of a more casual look; despite the trend toward nostalgia, culinary director Jaime Young and chef de cuisine Byron Hogan have masterfully refreshed the menu’s relationship with contemporary Spanish cooking. Groups of up to ten can enjoy a family style dinner in the Cervantes Room, a candlelit wine cellar bedecked in burgundy.
Housed in the iconic Seagram building, this American chophouse from Major Food Group is an ode to midcentury New York fine dining at its most glamorous. Extensive tableside service and a staff dressed to the nines breathe new life into a menu of old school favorites. The Grill offers two private dining rooms: The Salon seats up to fifteen guests at a round table, while The Gallery accommodates up to 22 guests at a rectangular table.
Hutong, an elegant Chinese restaurant with locations in Hong Kong and London, made its stateside debut in the cavernous Bloomberg Building space once occupied by Le Cirque. The room has been completely reimagined, inspired by visions of deco glamour and the swinging culture of 1920’s New York and Shanghai. Hutong describes itself as a Northern Chinese restaurant, though there is a fair amount of Sichuan cuisine on offer, alongside dishes from Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangdong province, as well as extensive dim sum service. Four private dining rooms can be rented individually or combined as needed to accommodate parties of different sizes - Jinyu and Jiuwan each seat ten guests, while Mao’er and Liulichang each seat eighteen.
For more than 25 years, Donna Lenard and Alberto Avalle’s flagship eatery has lured diners to Bond Street for an eclectic Mediterranean menu of Italian and Spanish farmhouse cuisine, served in a romantic space decked out with rustic antiques. Parties of up to fifteen can take advantage of the chef’s table, a private room with direct views overlooking the Il Buco Kitchen, while groups of up to 26 can dine in the wine cellar, a charming subterranean space with small brick caves holding the restaurant’s carefully selected bottle collection.
An alum of Aquavit, Bouley, and several Michelin-approved kitchens across Europe, Chef Jung Sik Yim is no stranger to the haute cuisine game. He’s earned two Michelin stars at the New York outpost of his Seoul restaurant Jungsik, situated in the former Chanterelle space, where he offers what he calls a “new Korean” tasting menu in a series of three slick, if somewhat sterile dining rooms. The private dining room, which seats twenty guests, is an elegant wood-paneled space, allowing your party to experience the beauty of Yim’s food with a bit more festivity than the hushed main space.
Chef owners Riad Nasr and Lee Hanson - the ex Balthazar duo behind Tribeca hot spot Frenchette - earned four stars from New York Times critic Pete Wells at Le Rock, bringing their elevated takes on brasserie fare and some much needed downtown energy to a historically snoozy part of town. The bustling main dining room draws on the Art Deco architecture of Rockefeller Plaza, while the private dining room, clad in dark wood with mirrored walls, offers a more intimate experience for up to sixteen guests.
The sister restaurant to Bushwick’s Ops serves excellent naturally fermented, Neapolitan by way of New York pies, alongside a formidable natural wine list, plus a rotating flavor of seasonal soft serve - think kabocha squash and salted caramel for fall, and fig leaf and melon for summer. The main dining room is spacious if a little lacking in character, but for private dining, up to 20 guests can enjoy a seated dinner in the adjacent slice shop.
Ignacio Mattos’ Rockefeller Center restaurant is inspired by Italian all-day cafes, reliable outposts equally outfitted for a quick morning espresso and pastry or a leisurely afternoon lunch. Later in the day, it’s all about aperitivo, whether you fancy a spritz or one of the finest martinis the city has to offer. Antipasti are the star of the show, but there are a few secondi should you crave something a bit more substantial. Eight can dine at the baker’s table, while the terrace and upstairs spaces are available for groups of up to thirty.
Both the menu and the interior design at Mel’s celebrate the hearth as the beating heart of the restaurant - shareable dishes from their wood-fired grill oven complement a color palette of warm reds and yellows radiating from their tile-clad pizza oven out into the dining room. A dining counter runs the length of the open kitchen at the center, with two semi-private spaces occupying the front half of the restaurant - the nook can seat fourteen, while the semi-private front room accommodates up to 30 guests.
Eating at The Polo Bar is, unsurprisingly, like stepping into a Ralph Lauren ad: A handsome take on Americana with warm woods, hunter green accents, and buttery leather seating complemented by a veritable collection of equestrian art and curios. At first glance, it’s a place to see and be seen, but it would be a mistake to overlook the food at this stylish midtown haunt. The kitchen offers an all day menu of refined takes on casual American classics, most of which are executed with the same level of taste as the space itself. The matter of factly named Equestrian Room affords groups of up to eighteen diners the full Polo Bar experience with added privacy.
This sprawling restaurant from Sunday Hospitality offers creative takes on izakaya fare, from a seasonal selection of binchotan skewers, to a three course Buddhist duck feast, alongside a thoughtful beverage program with inventive cocktails and an extensive menu of sake, wine, and shochu. Rule of Thirds offers a variety of private spaces for parties of all sizes - three indoor private dining rooms seat ten, twelve, and twenty guests (and two can be combined for parties of up to thirty). For the warmer months, a semi-private courtyard offers space for up to fifteen seated guests. Additionally, four private bungalows seating eight to ten guests each are available for year round booking.
Much as the name suggests, Sunday in Brooklyn is perfect for brunch on Sunday in Brooklyn, with a commendable variety of well-executed sweet and savory options and a solid cocktail program. The same easygoing and welcoming ethos that characterizes the daytime service spills over into the evenings, with an approachable menu of New American comfort fare. Sunday in Brooklyn boasts three private spaces: The private dining room on the third floor seats up to sixteen, while that on the second floor seats 26. For a larger party, the sun room comfortably accommodates up to fifty seated guests.
Named after the Bronx native chef’s sister, Kwame Onwuachi’s latest restaurant in David Geffen Hall is a deeply personal project. An ode to essential parts and populations of New York not often celebrated fine dining spaces (let alone at Lincoln Center), Tatiana serves an ambitious menu inspired by the chef’s own Afro-Caribbean heritage and experience growing up in the city, complemented by a lively playlist of hip hop and R&B. The private dining room features a long rectangular table which comfortably seats 14 guests.
Tucked away beneath Air’s Champagne Parlor, this underground izakaya meets listening room is an homage to the hidden jewel boxes of vinyl in Japan. Tokyo Record Bar is an immersive dining experience that begins with guests selecting songs from their extensive record collection - from these picks, the house DJ curates an all vinyl playlist, to pair with your family-style, seven course tasting menu, plus a slice of pizza to go. Groups of up to twelve can book the space as a private dining room.
72 Hudson Avenue
A quick skim of the menu might suggest this is simply another run of the mill, seasonal, New American joint, but Vinegar Hill House, situated on a charming cobblestone street a stone’s throw from the waterfront, punches above its weight. The relaxed main dining room with its copper bar and salvaged accent pieces offers the comforts of a neighborhood spot while dishing up destination-worthy food. Groups of nine to 32 guests can book the private dining room with a working fireplace, the historic carriage house, or the back garden.
For better or for worse, The Waverly Inn of today is no longer the buzzy semi-private dining club frequented by owner and former Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter and his cronies. The menu of middling bistro fare is decent if not especially memorable, despite claims from one loud mouthed former president that it serves “the worst food in the city.” Even without the rotating door of celebrity patrons, the space maintains an air of glamor and downtown charm, due in part to a room-length mural of local West Village personalities. The covered garden is available for private dining, and seats groups of up to fourteen.
Major Food Group’s most intimate venue, located a few doors down from the ever bustling Carbone, presently serves an abbreviated menu of cold and raw bar items, but for buyouts, the space can serve as a private dining room for up to fourteen guests, complete with its own entrance and restroom. Diners will enjoy an abundant family-style menu primarily from Carbone’s kitchen, with a few ZZ’s favorites thrown in as well.