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Dec 12, 2006 12:11 AM

Dinner for 12 in downtown SF?

I live in Berkeley and don't know city resturants particularly well. I have colleagues in town for the American Geophysical Union conference (at the Moscone Ctr), and we've got a group of 12 for dinner this friday night. Can anyone recommend a unique and moderately priced (entrees$8-15) resturant that is either reasonably close to Moscone or in a neighborhood that is easy to reach by public transit that can accomodate a group of this size? We also have one vegan in the group, and while we're not going to restrict ourselves to veg/vegan places, it would be great if there were something on the menu for him. A tall order, but any suggestions out there?


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  1. Cha Am could probably handle 12 with no problem. Big place, sometimes busy at lunch but usually quiet at night. Vegan-friendly.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      I'd second this recommendation in that price range. I've been with a smaller group, but they could handle your group at night with a reservation no problem. (make a reservation). Right across from Moscone. In terms of what to order, I think their grilled seafood dishes are a strength....

      They have a full bar, which is usually a plus for a group.

    2. Ristorante Umbria is close (2nd and Howard) and pretty good - I'm partial to their pizzas which are thin, neopolitan style and run around 12 bucks:

      Cha-Am is also an excellent choice as mentioned above.

      I've recently (with trepedation) visited Thirsty Bear on Howard between 2nd and 3rd again and was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the food and the fact that the service has gotten much better (no more surly waitresses ignoring you). I had boycotted the place for several years. Careful though - Thirsty Bear often closes the entire restaurant for private parties so call ahead.

      Believe it or not, 21st Amendment on 2nd (about a 10-15 minute walk from Moscone - toward the ballpark) has very decent food. And the beer aint so bad either:

      1 Reply
      1. re: kellypw

        Agree that Thirsty Bear has improved in recent months. Their tapas and paella have become a lot tastier and more authentic. It's good for groups - they've got lots of big tables. They make their own beers, which are actually pretty tasty (though I'm more of a wine snob than a beer snob).

      2. Pazzia, an Italian restaurant on Third Street near Folsom, is quite good, and they have a nice grilled vegetable antipasti platter (presumably vegan). They have tasty pizzas and pastas and could probably accommodate your party's size.

        Unfortunately I can't agree with the previous poster who recommended 21st Amendment -- I think the food there is terrible.

        5 Replies
        1. re: stonefruit

          I enjoy the food at 21st Amendment, just to throw another "pro" vote their way.

          1. re: Atomica

            Have you been to 21st Amendment recently? I heard the food went downhill after a chef change, but haven't been back to check.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Nope, didn't know about the chef change. It seems odd to let that type and level of food slip downhill. I hope someone will post a recent report.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                The menu changed and just isn't as good. Preparations seemed sloppy, not as a well-matched with the beer. Really miss the spaetzel.

          2. No, I haven't been to 21st Amendment in the last year - too bad if the food has gone downhill with the chef change.

            1. Either Annabells (on 4th across from the Marriott) or Lulu's (on Folsom between 4th/5th) should work for you. Lulu's food is served family style. I was there about 3 weeks ago for lunch w/a group from work (about 10 of us) and the service and food were all excellent.

              1 Reply
              1. re: rednails

                LuLu is way out of the stated price range, entrees are mostly around $25. Annabelle's isn't that expensive but entrees are $15-20 rather than the requested $8-15 (which for the area is well below average).