HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >


Jojo, Baywolf, or Rivoli?

For an anniversary dinner in the east bay, would you recommend Jojo, Baywolf, or Rivoli? We've been to Rivoli many times and love it, but have never been to Jojo or Baywolf and are interested in trying either. My husband is not as into eating as I am, and neither of us drink, so I'm hoping to find something we both will enjoy. Much thanks in advance!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I think if you enjoy Rivoli you would enjoy Jojo which is a lot more intimate and romantic that Rivoli. The menu is still showing summer dishes, but it will give you and idea if there are dishes there that your husband will enjoy.

    1. I havn't been to Rivoli or Bay Wolf in years, but have enjoyed both of them in the past. Jojo I really like, but one thing about it is the menu is fairly small, so choice is limited. The food is quite good, and the service has always been good too, but it isn't exactly "romantic". But it is cozy and it is not noisy.

      You might also consider Citron or A Cote. The latter is one of those "small plates" places which I usually find annoying, but my wife and I had a "date night" there recently and enjoyed sampling several different things in a slow, relaxed pace.

      1. I love A Cote but it doesn't seem like so much of a special-occasion place to me.

        1. JoJo's seems the most romantic out of the bunch to me. We have celebrated a number of special events there.

          1. I have to give a warning about Bay Wolf. I went there many years ago and loved its charm and cooking. But then I went again this year and they expanded the front area for more seating, which is great, but loses the original charm. And the front staff is so busy that they don't seem to mind if you stand around waiting. And then when it came to the food, it was just OK. It lacked the original spark of flavor that captured me the first time. This time it was hit and miss, depending on what you ordered.

            Why not try Olivetto?(upstairs, not the cafe)But I do think Rivoli is still quite nice.

            3 Replies
            1. re: singleguychef

              I also was disappointed in the food on my last visit to Bay Wolf, to the point where I decided I wouldn't be back. I really like both Rivoli and JoJo but don't personally consider either one of them romantic, because both have close together tables (and JoJo, as noted, is small, and with a limited menu). Of the two, I'd probably prefer Rivoli, but for an anniverary, not sure I would choose either. I'd rather go to Chez Panisse Cafe and ask for one of the tables in the small front room...

              1. re: singleguychef

                I, on the other hand, was disappointed in my last visit to Rivoli. I've raved about it for years to my hubby, so we went last month and nothing was particularly good except those portobello fritters. The exact same thing happened at our last visit to Bay Wolf, which I've been going to for over 20 yrs now. My hubby's going to think I've lost my tastebuds. Sigh...

                1. re: Claudette

                  I should note that it has been a while since I've to Rivoli (or Bay Wolf; my last visit to JoJo was much more recent), so not sure if it would have changed at all...

              2. I haven't been to Rivoli, but can comment on some of the others.

                I don't find JoJo or Bay Wolf remotely romantic. They are both light, pleasing spaces, but for me more suited to visits from out-of-town parents than dates or anniversaries. The food at both places has been fine, but not memorable, for me.

                Oliveto is slightly better ambiance-wise. Again, the food didn't do it for me, but enough people disagree with me that I think it's just a matter of my tastes.

                I think A Cote is quite romantic -- dim lighting, rich colored walls, shared food -- but might not have the level of fanfare you desire for an anniversary. To me, it's a perfect date place, but doesn't necessarily rise above the level of an average Saturday night out.

                Unfortunately, I haven't found a place I really like for romantic special occasions in the East Bay...report back on your experience, wherever you go, please.

                1. Jojo, definitely. I find it very romantic, actually -- I think the small space and dark lighting is perfect for a romantic dinner, and the service is always great there, and service can definitely make or break a romantic dinner. BayWolf is fine, but I don't love the food, and I don't find the space very cozy.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: JasmineG

                    I remember JoJo as being very brightly lit (in the back room, in the evening) last time I was there.

                  2. I adore Jojo and see how it could be considered romantic. I'm also surprised how infrequently it gets mentioned, because I thought everything about the place was stellar -- food, wine, service, atmosphere. The trio of salads (changes with whatever is in season) was one of the finest things I've ever been served in a restaurant.

                    1. Thanks for the feedback! I've been to Oliveto--thought the food was great, but I was still hungry afterwards. Chez Panisse Cafe is good too, but last time we went it was a disappointing menu. I should mention that we're looking for somewhere that has great food--the romantic setting would be nice, but not as much a priority. I've made reservations for Jojo, but still have a week to change my mind.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: monkey619

                        I think Oliveto's portions are bigger than they used to be. I'm often too full for dessert.