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Jan 7, 2009 11:33 AM

Inexpensive business dinner options in East Bay (Walnut Creek to San Ramon)?

So I have to set up a celebratory business dinner for eight people and have been given a tight budget ($60/pp, which has to include tax and tip). I've learned from past dinners that when left to their own devices, people will order a soup, salad, appetizer, entree, and dessert - which makes a menu with $30 entrees that seems reasonable turn into a $80 dinner before drinks. So I'm trying to find a place that either has a prix fixe menu, or entrees in the $15-25 range so I'll still fall in budget after all the extras are ordered. Restaurant ambiance should be nice enough that it doesn't scream "BUDGET!" when people walk in, as this is supposed to congratulate people for their hard work over the past year.

I'm open to suggestions up and down inland East Bay - Walnut Creek to San Ramon/Pleasanton area. My current ideas are as follows....perhaps those of you out there can recommend/deny one of these or have another suggestion?

Piatti's in Danville
Stacey's in Dublin
Simply Fondue in Livermore - afraid I'll make the men miserable with this choice
Bighorn Grill in San Ramon
Salvatore's in Walnut Creek

Thanks so much!!

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  1. How about Esin Restaurant in Danville or Postino in Lafayette. Both are very good and the entrees tend to fall into your desired price window. You can check their menus online and see if you think it will work. Another option is to see if the restaurant will do a special menu for your group limiting them to a choice of certain entrees plus salad and desert.

    Of your list, the only one I would actively discourage is Bighorn Grill. Piatti's is a chain, but can do a pretty good job. In that same vain, there is also Il Fornaio in Walnut Creek.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Ian F

      cafe esin is great but crowded tables, we like piatti great pasta and wine and and now we have chow but service is too casual .we had nice lamb at forbes mill but service is spotty every time we have been there..i think u can get many courses within ur range at piattis or esin..maybe ur group can get the back area for privacy.
      oh also patrick david and bridges also would be in ur budget..i like bridges atmosphere and people . staceys in dublin is so noisy u cant hear anyone food was ok but i like stacys in pleasanton main st better.

    2. How about The Peasant and the Pear in Danville. Dinners mostly in the low twenties. They have a web site and menu.

      1. Thanks for the suggestions. Been to Peasant and the Pear for lunch and I am afraid the dining area is a little too cozy for how I want this dinner to be (hate to be giving speeches with five other tables listening). I checked out Postino and unfortunately they would still be too expensive for my budget. But while I was there, I found this new restaurant Knoxx across the street - seems like an upscale Italian place. Apparently they are a month new and the owners are willing to throw in a lot for the price to bring in my business. I'm willing to give it a shot, my other options haven't been much better. Couldn't find any reviews here, but a couple of Yelpers seem to enjoy the place.

        Has anyone here gone to Knoxx? If not, I may post a follow up review after the dinner, cross fingers it turns out ok!

        1 Reply
        1. You might consider Izzy's in San Ramon. I think it would fit in with your budget and they have a private room that would work should you be interested. The menu is heavily weighted toward steaks but they do have a few seafood, chicken and pasta selections. I would probably skip Bighorn Grill as they sem to have gone downhill the last few times we were there.

          Another consideration might be Faz in Danville. We recently had a terrific meal there after not having been in years. The prices were very reasonable especially for the quality of the food. They do have an area at the back of the restaurant that would work for your group and any speeches that needed to be given would not bother the other patrons. There was a party of about 10/12 there the night that we were there and no one else paid attention to the various speeches that their group gave.