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Berkeley/Oakland, dinner for 14, somewhere not too loud?

sam94618 Mar 15, 2007 01:00 PM

My family is coming to visit and we need a good, relatively inexpensive restaurant where people can hear each other, too. Several of the adults have difficulty hearing so a place that's pretty loud - like Soi Four - is out. Anyone have any suggestions for me? Near BART & organic is a bonus, too! Thanks a lot.

  1. a
    andieeast Mar 15, 2007 01:03 PM

    Pizzialo over on 51st and Telegrpah are now taking reservations. Excellent food though moderately priced and very sustainable. I think they have a back room for a large party, since I was there the other night and it looked like there was a business meeting in back. Also even though it's popular i'ts not very loud for some reason. I could clearly hear every song they played.

    Other places for large parties? Le Cheval in Oakland is a good place though a bit loud, I would also reccomend China Village in Albany on Solano Ave. Their food is excellent, they accept large parties and can probably get you on one table and it is very quiet depending on the night. Le Cheval is near BART, Pizzialo is near no public transport and China Village is a sort of long walk from BART.

    2 Replies
    1. re: andieeast
      susancinsf Mar 15, 2007 01:09 PM

      Sigh: I feel like a broken record, but I will say it again. Le Cheval is NOT quiet, and in fact is more LOUD than 'a bit loud'. But more importantly, the food isn't that great. If you want really good Vietnamese in a relatively quiet and soothing atmosphere, consider Binh Minh Quan on 12th Street, two blocks from BART in downtown Oakland.

      When I've eaten at Pizzaiolo in the back room they'v e had the music cranked up, and we had to ask them to turn it down (which they did). I assume they would do the same for a large party, but fwiw I am not convinced it is the best choice for your group.

      There have been similar requests lately, you might want to search the boards.

      1. re: andieeast
        JasmineG Mar 15, 2007 05:41 PM

        I love Pizzaiolo, but it's loud in there, and the back room is almost as loud as the rest of the restaurant. They definitely turn the music down if you ask, but the high ceilings, the wood floors, and the popularity of the place make it noisy, and there's no getting around that, especially for people who are hard of hearing.

        I'd recommend Dona Tomas, right next door -- they have a private space in the back that could seat your party, and is very very quiet. Make sure you request that, though, because the rest of the restaurant can get noisy.

      2. nicedragonboy Mar 15, 2007 01:36 PM

        I second Binh Minh Quan, though 14 people might be a little tight for their space. I've never seen them get overly crowded the 4 or 5 times I've gone, but just a concern.

        Sahn Maru on Telegraph /42nd is a great Korean spot and can easily accomodate 14 and doesn't get too loud.

        1 Reply
        1. re: nicedragonboy
          Ruth Lafler Mar 15, 2007 03:18 PM

          We had a chowdown at Binh Minh Quan with ... 18, I think it was. It's actually pretty roomy. Definitely quiet enough. I think Pizziaolo is probably too loud for a large party with hearing difficulties. A couple of people facing around a table would be fine, but spread out, not so good.

          If "ethnic" isn't their cup of tea, you might want to call Olivia and see if they can do a large party. Good, reasonably priced Cal-Cuisine in a mellow setting. Not particularly close to BART, though.

        2. j
          Joel Mar 15, 2007 01:45 PM

          Sahn Maru has a private back room. So does China Village. I'm sure other places have them too. Usually these are for parties of 20 or so, but you could ask.
          We had a nice time at CV with 14 around one large table, but I could only hear the three people on either side of me. It wasn't a crowded time in the restaurant.
          One feature of a large table for 14 is that most places will have one long table -- and then you don't get to interact with many people.
          Neither SM or China V is organic. SM is near BART but I wouldn't walk it after dark.

          1. r
            rjf Mar 15, 2007 01:55 PM

            What about Los Cantaros on Grand Avenue in Oakland? I've fit a group of about 10-15 there before. Not organic but really yummy Mexican food. I wouldn't call it quiet but I've never noticed it to be very loud either.

            Breads of India on Sacramento at Dwight also has large tables but they don't take reservations so it could be hard to get 14 people in there. I'm pretty sure they use organic when they can.

            2 Replies
            1. re: rjf
              Ruth Lafler Mar 15, 2007 03:19 PM

              Along those lines, Ajanta might be a good choice.

              1. re: rjf
                Robert Lauriston Mar 15, 2007 03:29 PM

                I don't think a party of 14 would work at Breads of India. Probably take at least an hour to get a table, if they didn't just say no.

              2. nicedragonboy Mar 15, 2007 03:22 PM

                Isn't there a Breads of India in Oldtown Oakland that much bigger and newer? that might be an option. And it's not too far from a Bart station.

                1 Reply
                1. re: nicedragonboy
                  Ruth Lafler Mar 15, 2007 03:29 PM

                  There is. I'm not sure anyone has actually reported on it, though. A lot of those Old Oakland buildings are of an architectural style that lends themselves to being noisy (high ceilings, large windows, hard floors), but I seem to remember some draping in BoI, so it's worth a look.

                2. Morton the Mousse Mar 15, 2007 04:13 PM

                  Many of the places mentioned so far do not use organic ingredients

                  Ajanta would be an excellent choice. Good food, space for a large group, quiet enough for my noise sensitive step-dad, organic/seasonal produce and Niman meats, reasonable prices. One bus ride away from the Downtown Berkeley BART station.

                  I think Pizzaiolo would be a good choice as well. The main dining room can get loud, but with a party of 14 in the back room they're sure to accomodate a request to turn the music down. Incredible food, strong commitment to organic and sustainable ingredients. Pizzaiolo will also require BART + one bus ride.

                  Food wise, I favor Pizzaiolo. However, Ajanta may be the best fit as the price point is lower.

                  1. c
                    Cheesy Oysters Mar 15, 2007 05:21 PM

                    You know I really like La Estrellita Cafe & Bar on E12th and 5th in Oakland for an inexpensive dinner. It isn't never very crowded and the food is quite good and I've always found the staff to be very helpful. I've gone there with a large family group and it worked out well. There is an attached bar and they also have private parties inside the bar.

                    1. z
                      zin1953 Mar 15, 2007 05:22 PM

                      Kirin on Solano Ave. in Berkeley would also work; they have a back room.

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