Restaurants in Berkeley/east bay


Apr 20th, 2011, 05:15 PM
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Restaurants in Berkeley/east bay

Celebrating our son"s college graduation in Mid may, looking for some recommendations in the Berkeley/ east bay area. Trying to avoid going into SF unless deemed very worth it!
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Apr 20th, 2011, 06:50 PM
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Chez Panisse naturally comes to mind. Others would be Bay Wolf, Gather, Oliveto, A Cote, Wood Tavern, or Bocanova.
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Apr 20th, 2011, 11:18 PM
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Hi, and congratulations! I know it's been a long and sometimes arduous journey for your son. Hope he's had as good a time as our son seems to be having -- assuming Cal?

SAB's pinpointed some good places. Don't know what your son likes and what you like, or how upscale, downscale, midscale you want to be.

For upscale pizza, try the fabulous Pizzaiola on Telegraph in Oakland -- kind of their equivalent of Wolfgang Puck when he first began. So, yes, it's a more celebratory upscale pizza kind of place, with some interesting designer style Pizza.

In Berkeley, on Shattuck and close to campus is our favorite French bistro, Bistro Liaison. Get reservations early -- graduation time can get really busy. They can accommodate slightly larger parties from the basic 4. French Trad.

If I could pull this off -- and I just might try if my son ever manages to graduate -- I'd probably try to get Cheeseboard to open for a special party -- especially if my son decided to move back to L.A., since he wouldn't be able to eat there as often. And get a case of Trumer Pilsner to wash it down, since Trumer is brewed right in Berkeley. In fact, it would be kind of fun to start the festivities with a tour of the brewery . . . (open for tours Monday through Friday at 3:15, but you do have to make reservations).
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Apr 22nd, 2011, 06:14 PM
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Trader Vics is a lot of fun and has a great view of the Bay. It was my favorite restaurant (when I could afford it) when I went to Cal. It went through a down time but has come back strong with its recent make-over. Here's a review from the SF Chronicle's restaurant critic:
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Apr 22nd, 2011, 06:35 PM
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Spengers is good. We are also fond of Caffe Venezia on University Avenue.
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Apr 24th, 2011, 01:31 PM
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You might try Plum or for more upscale/food-centric, Commis. I really like À Côté and Pizzaiolo too. All these are in Oakland. Rivoli in north Berkeley (or is it Albany) is also quite delicious. I haven't made it to Commis yet but my East Bay friends love it. I've been to all the others. À Côté and Pizzaiolo are more casual/relaxed/loud--perhaps what you want depending on the grad's personality.

I had my college grad dinner at Chez Panisse. Those were the days.

Congratulations to your son!
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Apr 24th, 2011, 01:44 PM
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Whereever you go call NOW. Chez Panisse would be by far my first choice--try to get a table on the porch, consider a 2 or 3 o'clock lunch or a very early dinner. Second would be Meritage at the Claremont (very expensive) then Olivetos. I'd pass on Gathering. Lalimes is good.
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Apr 25th, 2011, 10:10 AM
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A reservation for Chez Panisse might be difficult during graduation days. It's a number one choice, either downstairs formal or upstairs casual. Oliveto (the upstairs, more formal restaurant, might be a really nice, quieter atmosphere for a family gathering. (Italian, excellent). Haven't been to LaLimes in ages, but it has always been very good. It really depends on what atmosphere you want and how formal or casual. In the casual but very good department, I'd recommend iSquared, Dona Tomas, Burma Superstar. Dona Tomas has a bar, too, that can be a lot of fun - great drinks. Wood Tavern gets rave reviews,and there are a few excellent places on Piedmont Ave. in Oakland whose names escape me right now. Check for ideas and reviews.

Most likely your son has thoughts about where he'd like to go, since he's been living in Berkeley/Oakland for awhile.
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Apr 26th, 2011, 06:47 AM
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I have reservations for an early lunch on graduation day itself at the cafe at Chez Panisse- is the cafe a worthwhile experience? For dinner restaurants looking for more casual than very formal with perhaps an excellent asian choice in the area? Thanks to all all for the help!
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Apr 26th, 2011, 11:27 AM
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***I have reservations for an early lunch on graduation day itself at the cafe at Chez Panisse- is the cafe a worthwhile experience?***

My experience was it's very touristy. I enjoyed the loud funky ambiance more than the food. It was very interesting to watch others- it reminded me of a cult being brain washed that this is the finest food you will ever eat and so it was! Lots of folks taking pictures of their food( I guess for Facebook evidence they were there!)

The $135.00 lunch for two was worth it. It's like jumping out of a plane- I don't need to do it again.

Leave the hype and expectations at home and you'll have a better experience.

Have you tried chowhound for recommendations?
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Apr 26th, 2011, 02:12 PM
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We had a great family graduation lunch at Adagia.

Food was great, service was excellent.
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