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Is Luka's my best bet?

Purchasing gift certificates for our four amazingly wonderful Little League coaches. Must purchase them this afternoon. Want to purchase the same thing for each, as we don't know them well enough to justify more targeted gifts (don't want them to be jealous of each other because I misread their preferences).

The coaches' age range spans around thirty years. The youngest just graduated from college. One has a new (first) baby. Another has a kid in grade school. So...I'm looking for a place in Oakland/Berkeley that has good food, but would still be fun for a guy in his early 20s. A place that would be fun for a guy in his early 20s, but that you could take your kid to. A place you could take your kid to, but that would still be nice for a grown up dinner. I know the coach with the new baby likes Oliveto, but I don't think it's the right pick for the youngest coach.

Luka's seems like the best fit for me, but I'm eager for other suggestions, especially if they're in Berkeley.

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  1. In Berkeley, maybe T-Rex? That seems like the kind of place that appeals to a wide range of people.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      T-Rex is a nice choice, good food but works for a 20-something or young Dads.

      Also might consider Pyramid...on the lower end, not very grown up food but very kid friendly and sort of in the spirit of the sports theme. Bigger bang for the buck.

      1. re: ML8000

        Some of the food at Pyramid is pretty eh and the beer's not even that good. Fewer bucks but not much bang.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          Would you choose T-Rex or Luka's? I'm a Luka's fan, and I've never been to T-Rex. My hubby was underwhelmed when he tried T-Rex, but he may have ordered poorly.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            I think I mentioned that...kid friendly and sports theme seems like the reason to go.

            FWIW, I've never seen kids in Luka's. Seems a bit more swank (for lack of a better word).

            1. re: ML8000

              Luka's Taproom is slightly upscale compared with, say, Lanesplitter, but it's just as casual and the customers dress about the same.

              Flora verges on swank. I wonder if the common owners do Dona Tomas / Tacubaya / Flora gift certificates? That would be a great fit.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                If they don't, they should, that's a great idea.

              2. re: ML8000

                I see kids at Luka's all the time, but I usually have gone there earlier in the evening. When I'm eating at 7 or 7:30, the tables with kids are just leaving.

        2. T-Rex sounds better to me, too. If they do gift certificates, they might work for any of the same owners' restaurants (Lalime's, Fonda, Sea Salt).

          Some people probably take their kids to Luka's, but I haven't seen any.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            It's my son's favorite restaurant (fries and pinball are hard to beat). And I've been there several times w/ folks w/ babies. Noisy enough that no one cares if there are kids around.

            Think I'm leaning T-Rex now, partly for the TVs. I'll ask if they do GCs that can be used at their other restaurants--that would be perfect!

            1. re: lexdevil

              My son likes the fries at Luka's, too. And the ice cream sundae.

              I just wanted to add that the Solano Avenue Association sells gift certificates good at a bunch of restaurants, both casual and more upscale.

          2. How about Picante in West Berkeley?

            3 Replies
            1. re: sydthekyd

              I think they'd have a hard time spending $100 there.

              1. re: sydthekyd

                If the only concern were kid-friendliness, Picante would be OK. It seems to be the standard place Berkeley parents take soccer teams. You can eat really badly there if you order the wrong items (which unfortunately change from time to time).

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  The goal is to get them something nice, but that they could take a child to if they so chose. The goal is not to choose a place crawling w/ rugrats. And it needs to be fun for the fresh out of college coach as well. Someplace he could take a date and/or drink lots of beer.

              2. Dona Tomas or Pizzialoa..

                1. Earlier in the evening, people take kids to À Côté.

                  1. Another good option: Pizzaiolo. They get lots of families with kids early in the evening, more grownup scene later, great food, full bar. On some Sundays there's family-oriented live music at 5pm with special prices for kids.

                    1. Ended up going w/ the T-Rex option. Thought the combination of PBR and TV would appeal to the youngest coach. Thanks for all of the suggestions.

                      1. I think Pizzaiolo is great. Good atmosphere, wine, drinks, and food are all top notch. very kid friendly.