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Feb 25, 2008 07:38 PM

Mid-range restaurant for birthday in East Bay

Hi- A friend of mine is taking me out for dinner for my birthday but she has just started working again after months of unemployment and doesn't have a lot of money to spare. We're coming up blank with not-so-expensive places that would still feel special. I can only think of either pricier restaurants or cheap dives. Can anyone suggest a nice, cozy, fun place where we can get good food and wine for less than $20-$25/person (including drinks, tax, tip) in Berkeley/Oakland/Albany? I'd say Pizzaiolo but lucky me just went there the other night. Thanks!

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  1. If you consider Pizzaiolo to be mid-range than I'd recommend Dopo, though I honestly can't get out of either place for less than $40/head because the food and wine is so damn tempting.

    OTOH, I always spend less than $25/person at Ajanta and Cafe Colucci.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Morton the Mousse

      I've done it on the cheap at Pizzaiolo- split a salad, split a cheaper pizza, one glass of wine each and you're at about $20/person. Of course, it's not ideal :)

      Love Ajanta but I go there all the time. But I haven't been to the others- I'll look into them- thanks!

      1. re: rjf

        You can do the same at Dopo -- I went last week (actually, twice last week) and each time split an appetizer (get one of their crudo preparations, they are always stellar), a pasta, and a pizza, and with wine for one person, it was about $60 (before tax and tip), and half the pizza was leftover each time, so it was plenty of food.

        1. re: JasmineG

          To me, the shared three-appetizer platter is usually the highlight of a meal at Dopo.

    2. Second on Dopo. I can't get out of there for $25, but it's a bit cheaper than Pizzaiolo.

      Soi 4
      Cafe Colucci

      1. Vanessa's Bistro on Solano Ave might work out for you.

        7 courses of Beef at Anh Hong on University in Berkeley would be fun and they have a wine list.

        1 Reply
        1. re: nicedragonboy

          I second Vanessa's. We shared 4 small plates, had a glass of wine each, and were pleasantly surprised by the tab. The best crabcakes around, IMO.