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Dinner for 12 in downtown SF?

wpalen Dec 12, 2006 12:11 AM

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. Robert Lauriston RE: wpalen Dec 12, 2006 01:06 AM

    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
      susancinsf RE: Robert Lauriston Dec 12, 2006 01:15 AM

      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. k
      kellypw RE: wpalen Dec 12, 2006 05:34 AM

      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: http://ristoranteumbria.com/

      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. http://www.thirstybear.com/

      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: http://www.21st-amendment.com/

      1 Reply
      1. re: kellypw
        megamalone RE: kellypw Dec 13, 2006 09:55 PM

        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. s
        stonefruit RE: wpalen Dec 12, 2006 01:32 PM

        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
          Atomica RE: stonefruit Dec 12, 2006 04:29 PM

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

          1. re: Atomica
            Robert Lauriston RE: Atomica Dec 12, 2006 05:17 PM

            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
              Atomica RE: Robert Lauriston Dec 12, 2006 07:58 PM

              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: Atomica
                Robert Lauriston RE: Atomica Dec 12, 2006 08:11 PM

                The old chef is now at Alembic and Magnolia Pub (same owners).


              2. re: Robert Lauriston
                The Dive RE: Robert Lauriston Dec 13, 2006 08:28 PM

                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. k
            kellypw RE: wpalen Dec 13, 2006 05:30 PM

            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. r
              rednails RE: wpalen Dec 13, 2006 08:22 PM

              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
                Robert Lauriston RE: rednails Dec 13, 2006 08:26 PM

                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).

              2. Mari RE: wpalen Dec 13, 2006 09:09 PM

                What about Sultan for Indian? I almost went this past Saturday after reading positive reviews on the board - our group decided to eat in Berkley instead.


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