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Jul 15, 2007 08:45 PM

Impressing our Spaniard Guests

I am looking for a spot in SF or Oakland/Berkeley to take my sister-in-law's relatives who are visitng from a small town in Spain. They are very picky eaters and, essentially, just like Spanish food although we had a BBQ and learned they also like burgers and junk food! We want to take them out to a relatively nice dinner before they go, something they will really enjoy and remember as their experience of the states. The trick is they don't like spicy food AT ALL (like yellow mustard is too spicy for them) and, I just learned, don't like a lot of standard stuff we do (don't like rice and beans). For those of you who know the Spanish palate, any ideas? My thoughts so far are Dopo (it's just so good, how can we go wrong?!), Pizzaiolo (pizza, polenta, pork), A Cote (plenty of non-spicy options and the plates are small), and House (risky, but we could hit the jackpot). They don't drink that much so we could swing any of the above pricepoints. But you'll see I am not listing the likes of Chez Panisse or Oliveto because we just couldn't swing the bill for 6 people. I think Zuni would be too expensive but that could be good because as picky as they are about food they are pretty hip and I think they'd enjoy the atmosphere. I welcome any ideas. Thanks in advance.

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  1. How about sushi? If so, Sebo is great...

    517 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102

    2 Replies
    1. re: Husky

      My Spanish sister in law absolutely LOVES sushi but I believe it was an acquired taste, esp. due to the role of wasabi. :) And I think she may have already forced her sister to try sushi this week. If not, we'll check out Sebo. Hayes Valley would be a great location for an outing.

      1. re: Husky

        Wow, just read some details on Sebo, looks FANTASTIC! Either way, my husband and I will try it. Thanks again!

      2. What's the budget? Chez Panisse Cafe is relatively reasonable. Not sure exactly but isn't it w/i range of The House? It might be worth checking.

        1. Dopo, Pizzaiolo, and A Cote all sound like good bets.

          Spareribs at T-Rex. Sea Salt.

          T-Rex Barbeque
          1300 10th St, Berkeley, CA 94710

          Sea Salt
          2512 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94702

          1 Reply
          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Sea Salt is a great call. I love that place so I am not sure why I didn't think of it. Also, it has a nice, hip vibe. T-Rex is brilliant. I wouldn't have thought of it (and actually haven't tried it) but they love BBQ apparently so that could be a big winner. Plus, I really am on a budget! I'll look into it. . .

          2. My cousin's wife, who is from Madrid, lives in SF now and frequently entertains family and friends from Spain. It seems like the general consensus is that they like simple, clean flavors, and, like your relatives, do not like spicy food. Vietnamese and Japanese, in particular, are favorites. The love fish and meat, particularly beef and lamb, but do not care for poultry.

            I'm not familiar with East Bay restaurants, but in SF I'd recommend Dragonfly for upscale Vietnamese in Inner Sunset. I like some Tenderloin Vietnamese places as much as this one, but if I were bringing guests I'd want to impress, this would probably be my pick. Reasonable prices, friendly service, nice decor.

            3 Replies
            1. re: pane

              With the link, which will hopefully appear this time:

              Dragonfly Contemporary Vietnamese Cuisine
              420 Judah St, San Francisco, CA 94122

              1. re: pane

                So true, you know the Spanish palate. Even if it doesn't work out for the group, I think my brother would like to take his wife here. He is trying to introduce her to the variety of asian cuisine SF (/the world) has to offer.

              2. re: pane

                So true, you know the Spanish palate. Even if it doesn't work out for the group, I will recommend this for my brother to take his wife (they live in Russian Hill) as he is trying to get her to appreciate the variety of asian fare SF (/the world) has to offer.

              3. Do you think they would like French Basque tapas? If so, try Illuna Basque. I haven't been in quite a while but I remember it being oh-so-good.