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italian restaurants in berkely/oakland area

need a good family style italian/meditteranean restaurant for a party of about 20 people that is affordable. any suggestions?

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  1. Zza's Trattoria
    552 Grand Ave, Oakland- I use to live over there so I have not been to this place for awhile. The food was always pretty good, price is right, enough space for a party of 20, parking is better than most areas

    or you might try Pizzaiolo- I have not been but it is getting great reviews

    LoCoco's Restaurant- in Piedmont another place I have not been for a while- American Italian style standards, good family place. Small place but you could probably take over most of the place.. Parking is bad.

    Rivoli might be too pricey.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Lori SF

      There is a LoCoco's in N.Berkeley also (Shattuck) that I believe is slightly larger than the Piedmont location. The parking is probably about the same or maybe a little better. The food is decent and the prices are good, but the last time I was there the service was a little off (our waiter was a little 'snotty').

      1. re: Lori SF

        Parking is a touch sketchy at Zza's at night. Entire Lake Merritt is a touch sketchy at night. Make sure people go to car in group if you pick it.

        1. re: lintygmom

          that part of the lake is not bad at all I lived there for 5 years.

          1. re: Lori SF

            I hate to quibble and these posts might be removed, but in the interest of protecting diners, I just checked the <a href="http://gismaps.oaklandnet.com/crimewa... city crimewatch website</a>

            In the past 30 days, three vehicular thefts, one robbery (that means armed apparently), one simple assault, two thefts within a 1/4 mile radius. And it's been cold. I've gone to the restaurants there and also to Gold's Gym for years. Unless I park right in front of Gold's and walk in, I don't feel so safe. I work on Pill Hill and feel unsafe there at night and they require security escort to parking at night and there were no robberies in a 1/4 mi of my office in the past 30 days.

      2. I think Bucci's in Emeryville is a good choice for a group with those parameters, especially the quieter back room.


        Pizzaiolo has better food, but 20 might be stretching it there.

        I was under the impression that the Piedmont Ave LoCoco's was no longer there (not that I was ever a fan, and again, I think 20 would be too big of a group for it), and sure enough, if you click on their website it only mentions the Berkeley address:


        2 Replies
        1. re: susancinsf

          Nope, it's definitely still there.

          1. re: JasmineG

            Only the pizza is good. And they really aren't set up for parties of 20.

        2. I believe the back room at Pizzaiolo will seat 20. The food is excellent, the prices are fair.


          1 Reply
          1. re: Morton the Mousse

            A sample menu's online, it's not what everyone would consider affordable:


          2. pizzaiolo can definetly do a private party in the back room for you for up to 30 people. great food, good service and great atmosphere

            1. I'm not sure what your monetary limit is, but you could check out Ristorante Venizia on University in Berkeley. Plenty of Parking. Not a bad neighborhood at night. Has a room in the back that I think could fit 20. Very family friendly for kids who are okay dining out, and won't go swimming in the fountain. Has a kids menu. Has great drinks.

              2 Replies
              1. re: kabocha

                My family went to Venezia in August '06 and were very disappointed. We had not been in 10+ years but it was not good for what we paid. We won't go back. Riding on its own coattails?

                For cheap I would go with Zza's, for good - Bucci's is a good bet but the menu is limited and significantly more expensive than Zza's. Pizzaiola has great pizza but will everybody want pizza?

                1. re: abtal

                  I really like the food at Pizzaiolo, and I am not at all fond of pizza; almost never order it. There are plenty of other options, if they can handle the group size.

                  Here is Bucci's menu for tonight; I don't think it is that limited:


                  And here is Zza's menu, click on through their website. prices look fairly comparable to me.. Salads and mains are in the same range at both restaurants, as are contorni; pizzas are only slightly more at Bucci's. (and since Bucci's menu is for tonight and is updated daily, we know those prices are updated as well. Zza's may or may not be outdated. In any event, I don't think it is true that Bucci's is significantly more expensive, based on these menus.


                  I've only eaten at Zza's once or twice, but nothing was that memorable in terms of the food.

              2. The upstairs loft at Trattoria La Siciliana in Berkeley should fit 20. It's not a large restaurant and is quite popular with the grads/profs crowd so be sure to call well in advance.

                I've only had great meals there though at times the food and service can be a bit sluggish. Be adventurous and try their gnocchi, squid ink pasta, and seafood dishes - you'll be well rewarded. Portions are large and quite suitable for sharing.


                Thumbs down on Venezia from me as well. The food is mediocre at best and survives only on its proximity to campus and location on University Ave.

                1 Reply
                1. re: junesix

                  There are seats for 20 or more upstairs at La Siciliana, but they don't take reservations and there's often an hour wait even for a party of two or four.

                2. That's not true about the reservations. I make them all the time there. It doesn't guarantee you will get seated on time, but it sure does cut the wait time down considerably.

                  1. It is definitely a good idea to avoid Venezia.

                    Good luck getting a party of 20 into Trattoria La Siciliana though. While the food is always excellent, the restaurant is dramatically oversubscribed.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: grishnackh

                      Yeah, they have so much trouble seating a party of two or four, I can't imagine what kind of chaos a party of 20 would cause.

                      If they did rent out the whole balcony for a large party I'd think they'd charge a premium, since they'd lose 10 or 20 covers.

                    2. Try Caffe Verbena in dowtown Oakland. Only problem is they're not open on weekends.

                      1. has no one mentioned Dopo???

                        absolutely worth the wait.

                        it's my absolute favorite. they keep the menu short and to the point. excellent pizzas and antipasti platters. and while you wait, you can have a nice prosecco.

                        4293 Piedmont Ave
                        Oakland, CA 94620
                        (510) 652-3676

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: itsolivia

                          for a group of 20? I haven't been there since they expanded, but that still sounds like too big a group for Dopo. And of course, the prosecco isn't going to do any good for the kids if this is truly a 'family' group, as OP's original post implies.

                          1. re: susancinsf

                            Agreed -- I love Dopo, but there's no way a group of 20 would work there, even post expansion.