Please help: romantic restaurant in/near Berkeley
My boyfriend is turning 40. I have little to no experience with Bay Area restaurants.
We are seeing a concert in Berkeley over his Birthday weekend, so we will probably stay in/near Berkeley, and would love to find a restaurant for a romantic dinner the night before the concert.
1) We like all kinds of foods
2) We will need to have a Friday evening reservation/seating for late evening, not before 8:30pm. (WE aren't going until late may, so that's how much "advance reservation" time I have)
3) Must be romantic. We are not "super fancy" people, so I don't care about the atmosphere being "posh" , and I certainly dont' want the waitstaff to be snooty :) But I would love the restaurant to have an intimate feel, where we can sit side-by side, not across from eachother, and not be the center of attention in the restaurant.
4) Price. Would like to spend 100-125 (before tax/tip) for dinner for the 2 of us, this would include main course, 2 drinks each, and a dessert to share.
Any ideas? Thanks so much in Advance!
Well we really had a nice dinner at Downtown. I think you could request at 4 top and ask to be seated side by side for a late reservation. They are hopping on the early end but it isn't as crowded after the Berkeley Rep clears out. I think you fit this in your budget if you can avoid the delicious apps and only have one cocktail--I wasn't able to do that! Here is a link to my post: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/500119
In that price range I think you could go anywhere except downstairs at Chez Panisse.
My first choice would be the enclosed patio at À Côté.
The front room upstairs at Chez Panisse is also very romantic.
Sitting side by side is problematic. I can't think of anyplace good that's set up for that. Some places have corner tables where you could sit at 90 degrees to each other. Later in the evening you might be able to get a four-top but only if the restaurant has started to empty out.
I don't find Downtown very romantic, especially when they've got loud music.
If you are in downtown Berkeley and want a candlelit experiencee and music, try Downtown. They have a full bar, but sometimes the live music is jazzy. Venus can be pretty romantic later in the evening, and you can sit side by side on cushy banquettes--lots of couples and dates go there. Chez Panisse cafe can be pretty romantic, too, but harder to get into-- or Cesar, although it will be louder and livelier and the food is small plates. Also can sit side by side there.
A Cote is over the border in Oakland, but not far from Berkeley. Inside is noisy and crowded, but the patio in back is quite romantic, with tables surrounded by heavy velvet curtains, open to the sky, (but with heatlamps!) Service is good, not snooty. You can order as many or as few small plates as you like, so it doesn't need to be expensive, as long as you're careful about the wine. It feels intimate, but it isn't so quiet that you'll feel self-conscious. Nice deserts.