needing a place to, like, eat
So here's the deal: There are eight of us in the Bay Area from sundry places (NYC, Philly, Seattle) for the weekend, and it occurs to us that while eating is on the agenda, we haven't actually gone so far as to figure out where. We don't need anything fancy or foodie -- just good food in an atmosphere where they won't be put out by a dozen people showing up on a Friday night without reservations. (Or, say, calling Friday afternoon for reservations that night.)
Cuisine doesn't especially matter, though veggie-friendly would be good. Location, likewise, doesn't matter, so long as it's within reach of BART/Muni. Basically, we're easy, and hungry.
Any and all suggestions, or pointers to old threads here, welcome.
So in all the hubbub of traipsing around the Bay Area and jetting back to NYC, I neglected to post here and thank the chowhounds for the recommendations. And, of course, to report back on where we wound up:
We hit two places recommended on this list: Golden Era, which was recommended at , and Fina Estampa, which was recommended, er, by someone else. Golden Era was good, not great -- higher points in freshness than taste, and the lauded pot stickers felt more like tofu pierogis than dumplings somehow, if that distinction makes any sense.
Fina Estampa, in the Mission, was outstanding. Huge portions, great seafood, yummy all around. Especially good were the paella, the seafood-in-sherry-based-sauce dish that I can't remember the name of (something with a "z"), and the seafood dish that, though it didn't say so on the menu, turned out to be a soup with squidlets lurking unexpectedly (but tastily) at the bottom of the bowl.
We didn't make it to the Berkeley Thai festival as planned, and we bypassed Jade Villa in favor of another Oakland dim sum place that our friend swore was better (it wasn't). But all in all, we did okay. Chowhound worked for me!
I honestly cannot think of any place that could accommodate 12 without reservations on a Friday. It is not a matter of being put out. For calling ahead, try restaurant Lulu-- 4 block down 4th street from the Powell Street Bart at Stockton and Market. It seats 180, I think, but does get busy. They do have larger tables along one side. This is a good choice for a group because the food is served on platters family style. Plenty of veg side dishes and main courses, as well as lot of meats. It is sort of Cal/Med/Ital.