Reader Brian T. writes in with a dilemma:
I work for redacted and have been tasked with researching a recommendation list of Downtown's best dinner spots. My groups typically range from 20-45 people and need to stay in the midtown/downtown area. Please help!
Folks, we not only read your emails, but we aim to please. So Brian, this post's for you.
Plenty of downtown restaurants have large, private rooms to accommodate the many business diners and travelers coming through for conventions, meetings, etc. Booking them is usually a breeze if you call far enough in advance. Here are our top suggestions for restaurants that can accommodate groups of 20 up to 50 people.
The classic downtown steakhouse has two floors, although most people only see the first floor's main dining room. Upstairs, Vic & Anthony's has three private rooms to accommodate just about any size group, from the intimate Wine Room to the grand Ballroom. The Board Room is perfect for business functions, as the name would imply, and you can also retire downstairs to the piano bar afterward to relax.
Especially handy if your business guests are staying at the Alden itself, its in-house restaurant has been reconfigured inside to house a private dining room that seats up to 30 people. It has a special menu from Chef Sam Beier just for large parties, and the room itself is equipped with flat-screen TVs and wireless internet as well as teleconferencing and AV systems. It's not all business, though, as the red velvet upholstered chairs will keep you plush and comfortable during dinner.
There are three private rooms available at this downtown destination restaurant, all of which have stunning views of Discovery Green as well as impeccable furnishings. The smallest of the three rooms, The Green Room, holds up to 30 people, while the largest, a second-floor room next to the Treehouse Bar, holds up to 120 for a seated dinner. Its handy proximity to the Hilton Americas doesn't hurt matters, either.
The Li Roso room at this sleekly elegant restaurant in the Four Seasons seats up to 30 people amidst its striking red leather-covered walls, although smaller groups might find the La Cucina room -- and its view into the busy kitchen manned by Chef Maurizio Ferraro -- more intriguing. Vinoteca Quattro, the quiet bar attached to the restaurant, is ideal for unwinding before or after dinner.
If you have visitors in from out of town, Guadalajara is a strong bet for some great Tex-Mex. And the fact that the downtown version of this Houston chain is pricier than its outer loop sisters is made up for by the fact that, let's face it, this is probably going on a corporate credit card. The private VIP lounge at Guadalajara del Centro is available for groups who'd rather enjoy fajitas instead of the same old steakhouse offerings.
For something different yet still very Houstonian, check out Huynh in EaDo. Vietnamese food is quickly becoming our city's fourth basic food group, and you couldn't take out-of-towners to a better example of Vietnamese cuisine than Huynh. While the group dining area at the restaurant isn't a private room, it's sectioned off quite well and can seat up to 40 people.
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This beautifully reclaimed downtown building on Market Square has had most of the ceilings blown out to reveal three stories' worth of light and gorgeous old brick in the W.L. Foley building. Hearsay can accommodate up to 80 people in its upstairs section with great views of the restaurant below, plus it has handy prix-fixe menus for parties of more than 10 that range from $25 to $45 a person.
And that's not all. Here are five more restaurants downtown that offer private rooms and special menus for groups:
Readers, do you have any favorite group dining spots of your own downtown? Chime in below.