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East Bay Help Needed!

I'm visiting on business from NYC and staying in Emeryville. Have 1 night free and would like to try a great place near my hotel - Oakland, Emeryville or Berkeley. I am with a colleague so I can't get too funky, but am looking for an upper end (expense account) place with subtle offerings. I know that is pretty broad, but with only one night what can you do. I have already checked Chez Panisse and no dice.

Thanks for your help.

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  1. Oliveto

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    Oliveto Cafe
    5655 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618

    7 Replies
    1. re: kc72

      Check my reports on TAIWAN located on University. This is for authentic Taiwanese specialties not for Americanized chinese food. TAIWAN is simply asesome for those who love authentic Taiwanese food.

      Some of my faves: oyster omelette, south style noodle soup (clear), 5 spice beef, tofu skin pork rolls. These are stellar dishes executed close to perfection. Come during their weekend lunch specials for inexpensive authentic Taiwanese dishes.

      1. re: Han

        I don't think Taiwan Restaurant fits the 'upper end/expense acct' type place the OP was searching for

        1. re: kc72

          Nor does it fit the "not too funky" criterion.

        2. re: Han

          are you sure about that?
          is this a branch of Taiwan Restaurant in the richmond?
          i made the mistake of going to Taiwan Restaurant on clement street in the richmond and it was beyond horrible. i can tell by the accent that some of the staff members were indeed taiwanese, but there was nothing authentic about their food whatsoever.

          1. re: inmandarin

            For whatever reason, the one in the Richmond is below average. It's been years since i've been to the Berkeley one myself, but it has a much better rep.

            1. re: inmandarin

              A long, long time ago I went to Taiwan on University with my Dad. We ordered a few dishes including a fish. We went through what kind of fish, how many pounds, if it was fresh, etc. Well the fish came out and it was obviously previously frozen...and it was bad.

              There was a conversation about the fish, mildly terse words said and then we left. I've never walked out of a restaurant and my Dad is from the era of "you better eat everything in front of you even if it literally makes you sick because there will be no waste." I think the final insult wasn't so much the frozen fish per se, but how much they wanted to charge for the frozen fish. For a fresh fish it would have been pricey, for an obviously frozen fish, it was nuts.

              Any way, never been to the Berkeley or Clement outlet since. Don't ever think I'll return either.

              1. re: ML8000

                thanks for the insight ML8000 and Melanie Wong. yeah, having not such a good feeling about the one on clement street, it was sort of my immediate reaction to brush off the other in berkeley.

        3. Either Eccolo or Rivoli would work as well.

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          Eccolo
          1820 Fourth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710

          Rivoli Restaurant
          1539 Solano Ave, Berkeley, CA 94707

          1. Oliveto is in a class by itself.
            I wish I could afford it.
            Be sure you get the upstairs -- the downstairs is just a cafe.

            1. Oliveto as mentioned below is top notch--even the downstairs with the great pizzas are to die for. Trader Vic's is always a good expense account place-- Check out Kirala for good sushi in Berkeley (sit at the bar if you can) where you can run up a serious tab. In a pinch Cesar on Piedmont Avenue is awesome( hip, cool)- also Baywolf which is 2 blocks away(older crowd, EXCELLENT food-- just was there last week

              1. A few other places to consider

                - Sea Salt
                - Diggs Bistro
                - Fonda
                - Dona Tomas

                I haven't tried it yet but Pizzaolio

                You can find out more info by checking Places at the top of this page. Hope you will report back on what you tried.

                2 Replies
                1. re: rworange

                  I thnk Pizzaolio is way, way better than Dona Tomas [they are next door to one
                  another]. I wouldnt blow an expense account dinner at DT.

                  It can be a little hard to get an RSVP at Pizzaolio, but it otherwise excellent.

                  Convenient to Emeryville.

                  1. re: psb

                    While I like Pizzaiolo, it might fall in the funky category with the loud music and tattooed waitstaff.