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Sunday night dinner for 2 vegetarians and 2 carnivores in Oakland or Berkeley

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My best friend from high school and her husband (the vegetarians) will be visiting from NY and my husband and I (the carnivores) will be meeting them for dinner. They are staying in Berkeley and we live in SF, so I'm not so familiar with options in the East Bay. I've done some searching and Cha-Ya is not an option, as we don't want to deal with the wait. I'd be interested good Ethiopian food. Also, I was wondering how casual Breads of India is. We would like to go somewhere mid-range in price and setting. Thank for any suggestions.

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  1. Breads of Indian is ultra-casual, but don't go there.

    Ajanta has much better food, is exceptionally nice for its price range, and is open seven days a week.

    A Cote might work.

    http://www.acoterestaurant.com
    http://www.ajantarestaurant.com

    1. Ethiopia Restaurant on Ashby and Telegraph has some of the best Ethiopian food in the Bay Area. This has been confirmed by native Ethiopians [including yes, some cab drivers].

      The food there is reasonable and the portions are quite generous. Granted, it doesn't look as nice as Ajanta or A Cote, but it is a great place to take vegetarians.

      Udupi Palace on University is a great vegetarian Indian place, but its atmosphere is a bit of a deal-killer.

      1 Reply
      1. re: grishnackh

        Native Ethiopians will typically direct you to their relatives' places! Can you compare Ethiopia with Cafe Colucci? Do they use teff in the injera?

        Here's a detailed report (with pictures) on a chowdown at Ethiopia:

        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/358839

        http://www.ethiopiarestaurant.com/Men...

      2. I had a very good dinner at Cafe Gratitude on Shattuck with visiting friends. It's a lovely space, and the food's every bit as good as at the original. Also quite unique. Carnivores can lay off the carne now and then.

        1. Ajanta is a good choice. I've been there several times with a party of meat eaters and vegetarians, and everyone is always happy. It also meets your price range and setting requirements.

          Are your friends true vegetarians, or do they eat fish? If they eat fish, O Chame would be a good option.

          I used to eat at Cafe Colucci all the time, and they have great meat and veggie options, but after an awful experience with the service, I haven't returned. Perhaps it was a fluke, and I'm not one to normally complain about service, but it was one of the worst experiences I've had at a restaurant.

          I think that if you went to a purely vegan restaurant (Cha Ya, Cafe Gratitude) you and your husband may leave the meal feeling unsatisfied. Whenever I eat a vegan dinner I'm hungry two hours later.

          7 Replies
          1. re: Morton the Mousse

            The friends are true vegetarians and he is vegan. We are true carnivores and will eat anything, and I do mean anything. So on that note, Cafe Gratitude was never in the running. Cafe Colucci sounds good, but yours is not the first report that I have read about bad service, so we may end up at Ethiopia Restaurant. Thanks for all the suggestions

            1. re: srr

              Ajanta can substiture oil for ghee to make several of their dishes vegan.

              1. re: srr

                Perhaps this has changed recently, but I've always had dreadful service at Ethiopia Restaurant. I mean, like 45-60 minutes before food comes out. For this reason, I haven't been in at least a year, so my experience isn't current.

                1. re: Hunicsz

                  I've occasionally had terrible service at every Ethiopian / Eritrean restaurant I've gone to more than a few times.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    I agree; this has been my experience too. The difference is that this is the only Ethiopian/Eritrean place where I've waited over an hour almost every time.

                2. re: srr

                  You eat anything but won't consider a raw/vegan restaurant? I'm very far from a vegan, so that seems like an odd statement.

                  1. re: Windy

                    Gosh, I hate to insult the vegans, but I think you know what I mean.

              2. Any interest in Cameroonian Food ... ultra casual, though
                http://www.chowhound.com/digest/1887