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Best low/mid range in Berkeley area?

Looking for something low to mid priced in Berkeley area (I will be treating 5-6 people, so want it to be nice but not take too much of a hit to my wallet). Needs to be a place that takes reservations as well. Open to cuisines, though ideally not Chinese or Indian.

Thoughts?

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  1. Can you give us a price range? How much do you want to spend per person including tax, drinks, and tip?

    1 Reply
    1. Dinner - ideally Sunday but another day works.

      Per person - ~$20-30 all in would be ideal. We probably wouldn't get wine, so that'll save us some money.

      4 Replies
      1. re: gemster

        Venus and La Note are in that price range in Berkeley. Never had dinner at La Note.

        1. re: ML8000

          I think Venus is out of the stated price range at dinnertime. Appetizers are $7.50-$13 and entrees are $17-21. Add dessert, non-alcoholic drinks, tax, and tip and you might be over $40 a head.

          I think dinner prices at La Note are about the same but the online menu doesn't show them. They serve dinner only Thursday through Saturday.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            They do have the pre-show special for $28 bucks. That edges beyond $30 but it's close.

            Might consider Angeline's.

            1. re: ML8000

              Stated price range is $20-30 "all in all." $28 is around $37 with tax and tip (higher with drinks).

      2. Soi 4 (Thai) is the nicest place with great food I can think of in that price range that's not Ajanta.

        Cafe Colucci (Ethiopian) or Angeline's (Louisiana) aren't quite as nice.

        Alborz (Persian) is in between in terms of niceness but I find the food boring compared with Maykadeh in SF.

        -----
        Angeline's Louisiana Kitchen
        2261 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704

        Soi 4 Bangkok Eatery
        5421 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

        Cafe Colucci
        6427 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

        Alborz Restaurant
        2142 Center St, Berkeley, CA 94704

        1 Reply
        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          Soi4 is an excellent choice. It's very chic, very party, the food's excellent. No entrees at $20. If you were taking me, I'd probably order 3 small plates, which would be about $21, round up to $30 with tax and tip.

        2. Ajanta would be my first pick, but you said no Indian.

          Cafe Colucci would work well. I think they'll take reservations for 6 or more. Very easy to stay in that range, and the food is great. It's got a fun, hip atmosphere. Not formal, but sill nice.

          You might also consider Tamarindo, great food, about that range, nice atmosphere, though Old Oakland may be too far for you to travel.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Morton the Mousse

            What are the prices like on the dinner entrees ("especiales") at Tamarindo? They don't list them on the Web site.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              I dunno. I've never actually ordered from that part of the menu. The rest of the menu is available at dinner.

          2. Maybe Adagia? The most expensive thing on the menu is Grilled Flat Iron Steak for $25, so if everyone ordered that, you'd be out of luck, but the other entrees are $13-23.

            1 Reply
            1. re: meemster

              Most of Adagia's appetizers are $9 or more and half the entrees are $20 and up. Not a safe place to host a dinner if you're trying to keep the total tab under $30 a person.

            2. Thanks for the suggestions all. Any good pizza places that take reservations that may fall under that price?

              2 Replies
              1. re: gemster

                Bobby G's would fall in the price range, and possible be less. It's uber casual, but the food and bev is good. You'd have to call and ask if they will take a reservation for 6 or more. I've seen big groups eating there before, so they just might. Ask to talk to Robert when you call - he's always there, and the young folks manning the register wont be able to give you as definitive an answer.

                1. re: Morton the Mousse

                  Bobby G's has a very student-budget cafe atmosphere, with a high percentage of customers taking advantage of the free wi-fi and typing away on laptops. Seems like a depressing place for a party to me.

              2. What about Venezia? I know that there are plenty of people on this board who don't like it, but it could work well for your group. Each pasta or entree comes with a salad, so people wouldn't have to order apps and entrees.

                1. The best Thai in the area, in my opinion, is a whole in the wall called Thai Noodle on Shattuck. Most dishes hover under $10. I love La Note, but mostly for brunch. There's a small inexpensive Tibetan place on University @ Milvia that has great dumplings, and the chef used to work at Chez Panisse. But if you want pizza at a sit-down place, I'd say make a reservation at Jupiter (Shattuck @ Centre St.).

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: loulah

                    Cafe Tibet is kind of nice and the price is definitely right. The chef used to work not at Chez Panisse but for pastry chef Emily Luchetti at Stars.

                    The best dishes are the bean soup (vegetarian, but you'd never guess it), the Cafe Tibet Soup, and the mushroom momos, which are really mushroom ravioli in a mascarpone sauce. The other momos aren't as good.

                    The desserts can be great, especially for the price. The ginger crème brûlé is incredible unless the kitchen has an off day and it's curdled. You don't get perfection in that price range.

                    -----
                    Cafe Tibet
                    2020 University Ave, Berkeley, CA

                  2. Someone mentioned pizza. I like Cucina on Solano. The pizzas are pretty good, wood oven, they have other things on the menu and it is totally within your price range.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: katnat

                      Cucina on Solano? I can't seem to find it...

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            Well, the sign outside says "panini's." Two mistakes in one word. That's got to be a record.

                      1. Venezia might fall in your price range, but the food is kinda ugh. Bobby G's is very budget friendly I think and is good. You may consider the new Vietnamese place across the street from Bobby G's, it's called Anh Hong. Not too many reviews on Chow yet, but I've been a few times and I've had good experiences w/ the food and it should fall w/in your budget. You might find more feedback about it on yelp though.

                        1. I haven't seen Platano mentioned yet. $20-$25/person would go pretty far there if there is no alcohol on the tab.

                          http://www.cafeplatano.com/menu.html

                          -----
                          Cafe Platano
                          2042 University Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: hohokam

                            Good call, that is one of the nicest spaces in town for that low price range.

                          2. Venezia's not great but it's decent and has a lovely atmosphere.

                            There's also Fellini on University & Acton. I've never been but it's always crowded and looks like a festive place from outside.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: yehfromthebay

                              I've always had good experiences at Venezia. Not the best Italian around, but good for the price. I once ordered a pizza to go from Fellini, and it was the worst pizza I have had in a long, long time. Rubber cheese, boring crust. Really bad.