Restaurant for a group of 12 in Berkeley/Oakland?
This is my first post - my husband's birthday is on Thanksgiving weekend and I wanted to get a group together for dinner on Sat. nov. 25 - we would be about 12 people. I'm looking for a reasonably priced restaurant (no more than $15-$17 for an entree), with excellent food being the main objective. The restaurant must also be in Berkeley/Oakland.
At that price range and with that size group, my first recommendations would be Dona Tomas, Pizzaiolo, A Cote and T-Rex. The Dona Tomas entrees can be a little higher than that, but I tend to share a lot when I go there, and they have space for big parties. Pizzaiolo pizzas are slightly below to right within that range (though their entrees are all around $22), and it's easy to share a bunch of pizzas there and appetizers, and they have a big room in the back for a large party. A Cote is all about the sharing, so if your group is into that, it's lots of fun, and they have a big table in the back room. T-Rex prices are in that range to higher, but their portions are pretty large, and I find it hard to go there without sharing. All of these restaurants have websites with sample menus with prices, if you want to check them out.
Le Cheval is a Vietnamese restaurant in Oakland that is great for groups (as long as reservations are made ahead of time). I've always enjoyed the food there--it's accessible to most palates, flavorful, and well-priced. In addition, the interior of the restaurant is quite pretty and sophisticated (dim lighting, feels like candlelight).
I agree with all of Jasmine's suggestions (Dona Tomas, Pizzaiolo, A Cote and T-Rex), but would add that -- at that price range, "excellent food being the main objective" might be a bit difficult to pull off.
One other idea would be Fonda -- like A Cote, it's all about sharing little plates: think tapas from Central and South America, with a very nice wine list and a great bar.
Unicorn can probably accomodate you easily (I have planned events for larger parties). The food is fairly good but I would not call it "excellent".
I concur about Pizzaolo. Good place for groups.
Another suggestion: Six Degrees on Solano. I was there a few months ago with a big group and we shared various small plates and a few entrees. The total bill was about $20pp, not including drinks. Very reasonable prices, food was good, and nice atmosphere too.