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east bay dinner to please adults and kids?

  • j

Where in the east bay can 4 adults enjoy a decent Friday night dinner while 5 kids (ages 6-13) will like the same menu too and will be able to step safely away from the table to do something fun? Chez Panisse with minigolf would be the dream spot. What about reality?

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  1. I like to go to La Estrallita in Oakland (12th and 5th ave) for great Mexican food and margs. They do have a kids menu too. They don't rush you and I never feel like the kids are being too loud--most of the time anyway! They are great with families and there is room for the kids to get up and walk around.

    There is also Shen Hua or Tachibana on College for sushi. I'm sure there are plenty others but those are our favorites with a bunch of kids along.

    1. Pizzaiolo in North Oakland would be perfect. Sophisticated, Cal-Italian food and wine for the adults. The head chef is ex-Chez and everything on the menu is excellent. Simple pizza, pasta and pie a la mode will please picky kids. The restaurant is very family friendly, and the owner/chef loves children. They're good about getting the kids' food out early, they'll happily give them stuff to color with, and there's a patio with bocce court out back to take the kids if they get antsy.

      You can make a res by calling them at 510-652-4888 between 3:15 and 4:15 Tues-Sat.

      It's not that far from Chez Panisse with mini golf...


      2 Replies
      1. re: Morton the Mousse

        Bingo! MM beat me to the punch. Pizzaiolo is an excellent choice. Casual, family friendly, but above all, wonderful food that will tickle the adults tastebuds and broaden the kids' notion of what pizza is really all about :)

        1. re: Morton the Mousse

          Following this up, I ate with a group including a very picky six year old at Pizzaiolo on Friday night, and he loved the noodles that they made him. I've honestly never seen the kid eat like that, I need to figure out what they did to those noodles.

        2. "away from the table" will be the tough part of your request.

          That said, we've had good luck at Barclay's and Spettro. The food isn't Chez Panisse, but better than average choices of salads, pastas, and entrees. Great beer selection at Barclay's (College just south of Claremont) and no corkage at Spettro (on Lakeshore). Both have crayons (my kid is 2!), Barclay's has sports on TV as well as outside seating.

          1. If Chez panise is the dream than Oliveto in college (oakland) is your solution :)
            This High end resturant is extreemly children friendly!
            and if you come for the early dinner there is plenty of space around as well.


            1 Reply
            1. re: nirpaz

              Kids running around at Oliveto? It must be really different early in the evening.

            2. Luka's taproom in Oakland has pool and pinball. The food's good, too. I don't know about taking kids to Oliveto, much as I like the place.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Glencora

                I didn't realize you could take kids to Luka's; I always thought of it as a bar that happens to serve really good food. I wonder how they're zoned?

                I had the same reaction to Oliveto.

                1. re: Morton the Mousse

                  You definitely can, I've seen families with kids there a lot. I think of it more as a restaurant that happens to have a great bar attached.

              2. If the kids are at all baseball fans, I would suggest McCoveys in Walnut Creek. I've never been disappointed with the food (OK, its not Chez Panisse)or service, and the kids can check out the memorabilia and there are an array of sports televised around the cavernous room.

                1. Embry Bay has lots of places to eat, movies, shopping, view of the Bay. You have PF Chang, ASquew, Buckhorn Grill, CA Pizza, Fuddrucker. Yes all chains, but most are pretty good. And you have the movies and free to low cost parking.

                  1. Given the food requirements, the usual answer of Kennsington Circus was out. Not that the food is bad, but it is pub grub.

                    However, I forgot that Kennsington Bistro across the street has an area for children. They also have sidewalk tables and it is a quiet sleepy area so the kids could play outside. I have only had breakfast there but really want to try dinner there, especially the blue cheese potato chips.

                    Kennsington Bisto is up off Solano.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: rworange

                      Kensington Circus's play area makes it great for little kids, but it might be painfully boring for a 13-year-old.

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        Yes, but I wasn't recommending Kennsington Circus, but Kennsington Bistro.

                        I just stated why I didn't recommend it based more on food than kid-friendly. Had it been appropriate, I would have elaborated more about it and age-appropriateness.

                        I have no clue about what the children's area is like at Kennsington Bisto. I only saw a mention in the Chronicle. I would guess it is geared to younger children. However, the food is actually tasty (at least at breakfast) and they have nice wine and drinks. Sometimes the important part is keeping the younger kids occupied. You ain't going to get Chez Panisse with mini-golf, ya know.

                        1. re: rworange

                          I wasn't commenting on your post, just adding some more info about Kensington Circus that might be useful to the original poster or future search-results reader.

                          There aren't many restaurants with play areas.

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            Yeah. I gotta go back and check out Pri-Pri Cafe and see what's up. Yeah, I know your thoughts on it, but if they added wine the adults could sit in the front while the kids played in back. Still it is only has casual tapas.

                            Bubble Tea on Telegraph just has sandwiches and coffee. Darn, there was some place I was recently where I noticed board games, but it is not leaping to mind. Probably in Marin anyway since I've been over that way lately.

                            Due to kid's bedtimes, most of these joints are casual, smaller-kid oriented and close early.

                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                On Friday and Saturday it has a special dinner at night, but there's no real kitchen so it depends on sausages/cheese type things. Still an early closing time though, maybe 8 ... but with kids ...

                                1. re: rworange

                                  They ought to put that on the Web site!

                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                    Yeah, but like most places, the most accurate info comes from actually stopping in. Even menus and newspaper reports aren't always correct. It would be nice if more places were current on websites. It would have been a help with Ici and I wish the still-closed Brick Pig House would update info on pending, if ever, opening.

                    2. Thank you. Threads like this remind me of places we pass but seem to forget. Shen Hua was the solution to this puzzle. The restaurant itself is very noisy, but the cocktails are strong. Potstickers and shrimp dumplings had no taste. Other dishes were delicious, but curiously, they didn't taste what they were supposed to taste like. Salt n pepper squid, for example, was nice fried calamari with green onions, but didn't taste like the salt n pepper technique found in most other chinese places. Kung pao beef was also tasty, but it had nothing to do with kung pao beef. On a dare I popped three chilis into my mouth and amazingly, nothing happened. How'd they get dried chilis without a sting? Reasonable prices. Lots of food.
                      The Elmwood neighborhood makes this the hot spot for kids: Ici icecream, the robot hobby shop, and at night the hamsters and guinea pigs in the petstore window are active. All just a few doors away from Shen Hua.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: jbgd

                        Shen Hua and its more-or-less sibling restaurants Kirin (Solano) and Ching Hua (Alameda) seem to me like an updated, upscale take on Chinese-American. The food's good for what it is, but relatively expensive and boring compared with Chinese-Chinese food--not that there's any of that in the Elmwood.