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Top Restaurants in East Bay These Days?

I'm a city girl, needing to treat some friends in the East Bay to a great dinner. They've done Panisse and I'm looking for something a little more mellow than that, any other reccos where two people could have a nice dinner for around 100 bucks? Thanks fellow hounds!

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  1. Depending on what you mean by "mellow," maybe Pizzaiolo.

    Here's a recent topic on great-but-not-Chez-Panisse:

    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

    1. Other than Pizzaiolo (and depending on your definition of mellow), I'd also recommend A Cote, Cesar and Luka's in Oakland, and Sea Salt in Berkeley (if they like seafood).

      1. "more mellow than Chez, nice dinner for 2 for under $100"

        You want to go to Pizzaiolo. It's my favorite restaurant in the East Bay, and I think it's the best of the more casual set. I've probably been between twenty and thirty times and I've never had a meal that wasn't great.

        1. We like Olivia's on Dwight right below Sacramento.

          1. Olivetto, O Chame, Sea Salt, Lalimes, Rivoli Cafe Rouge, I am blanking on the other Italian place on 4th st. None as good as Chez P/ Cesar is great but not exactly dinner/mellow, more loud.

            2 Replies
            1. re: sensi63

              Eccolo, I think. However, my last dinner there was more than $100 for dinner for 2 with only 1 dessert and 2 glasses of wine.

              I'd rec. Pizzaiolo, JoJo's on Piedmont (ex ChezP cooks), Luka's is fun and has great food, but it's quite loud.

              Sea Salt is relaxed, has fantastic food and is quite pretty inside. It may not be fancy enough.

              Oliveto is now, imho, quite expensive. The prices had risen between February and September of this year. It's still wonderful, but is now a real big treat-type place rather than a nice place to have dinner.

              Cafe Rouge is good, but I just don't like their space that much.

              1. re: oakjoan

                Seconding JoJo, which I forgot about. Very romantic atmosphere, which Pizzaiolo (which I love) and Cesar are not.