9 Communal Dining Spots in Atlanta

Stay a while, grab a bite and make some new friends.
  • Go to Gunshow for great community setting and a variety of dishes.
    Go to Gunshow for great community setting and a variety of dishes.
  • Barcelona is perfect for wine lovers.
    Barcelona is perfect for wine lovers.
  • The large picnic tables at Ladybird are perfect for brunch, lunch or dinner.
    The large picnic tables at Ladybird are perfect for brunch, lunch or dinner.
  • Don't miss out on craft cocktails at Seven Lamps.
    Don't miss out on craft cocktails at Seven Lamps.

The holidays are just around the corner. Over the next two months many of us will have family and close friends visiting. With extended families and soaring travel costs, we may not always get to celebrate with our loved ones on the exact holiday, and we may choose to dine out. So, if you must plan an outing, here are nine Atlanta restaurants that offer communal dining with excellent food.

  1. Antico Pizza Napoletana – Pizza doesn’t usually lend itself to communal dining tables but Antico seemed to start the trend in Atlanta, and it is a trend that has been picked up by other pizza joints like Ammazza and Varuni Napoli. This is the perfect option for keeping it casual.

  2. Barcelona Wine Bar – This tapas restaurant in the Virginia-Highland neighborhood not only has a lovely patio for warm evenings, but the communal dining is perfect for group celebrations. Make sure to take advantage of the well-thought-out wine list, too.

  3. Crawfish Shack  Though this spot is more rustic and casual that doesn’t mean there aren't plenty of customers in line for the perfectly fried shrimp basket or other Cajun dishes. This is a great choice if you are looking for an inexpensive and casual atmosphere for a big group. Note that they don't take reservations, so you may have to wait for seats to open up.

  4. Gunshow – There’s no other restaurant in Atlanta quite like Kevin Gillespie’s Gunshow. The communal seating is good for groups that want to try a variety of dishes. Gunshow even has a drink cart where cocktails are made table side. But what’s so interesting about Gunshow is the fact that the chefs (there are about seven of them working in the open kitchen each night) present their dishes for dinners to either accept or reject.

  5. Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall – Located on the Atlanta BeltLine, Ladybird is an especially wonderful start on your weekend.  A large dining table is perfect for sharing the many brunch options.

  6. The Optimist – Though not technically communal dining, the tables are spaced so close together, it may as well be. Chef Ford Fry has a winner with this seafood/beachy-themed restaurant. Nothing disappoints, but don’t expect to have an intimate dinner as diners in close proximity will definitely hear your conversation.

  7. Seven Lamps – If you are looking for a group dining experience that features craft cocktails and unique food, visit Seven Lamps. The cocktails excite and the menu is a fit for foodies and non-foodies alike. It's a good spot to take out of towners you are hoping to impress.

  8. Sotto Sotto – One of the first to start the communal dining trend, Sotto Sotto was communal before communal was cool. We suspect the popular Italian eatery did it to squeeze in the many hungry patrons. The restaurant is still going strong after all these years, so it must be doing something right.

  9. Spice to Table – When Asha Gomez shuttered her restaurant in Berkeley Heights, lots of diners were wondering what she would do next. Now open for lunch, this casual yet refined eatery in the Old Fourth Ward delights with dishes like Kerala fried chicken. Large tables are perfect for group dining.

Malika Bowling is the author of Food Lovers' Guide to Atlanta, Food Blogging 101 and founder of Atlanta Restaurant Blog and the Food Blog Blueprint. She has been a contributing writer to USA Today and has been featured on HGTV, Huffington Post and About.com. Malika also has served as a judge at various culinary competitions and food festivals, including Taste of Atlanta. She is the president of the Association of Food Bloggers and her podcast, Just a Byte, can be downloaded from iTunes. You can follow her on Twitter @AtlEatsNtweets and on Instagram @malika_bowling

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