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Group Dinner Albany, North Berkeley, El Cerrito?

c
cburnsi Aug 11, 2009 03:23 PM

Hi, I'm coming in from Seattle to attend a funeral :( which will be Saturday afternoon. About 15 of us are interested in a casual dinner afterward but none of us is local. I'm treating so I'd like to keep the price fairly reasonable. Do any specific places stand out that may work for us; maybe in the Solano Ave area?

I've been searching but it is difficult to know about group service..

Thx!

  1. c
    cburnsi Aug 16, 2009 02:08 PM

    Thank you all for your suggestions. We ended up at China Village and it was just right. We were early enough that we had attentive service and a fairly quiet back room. The food was surprisingly good (I had read some mixed reveiws) and previous posts helped me get my menu selected in advance. I'm a fairly practiced at ordering Chinese food for groups but every bite was gone (although some did complain of eating too much :) ). I do have to mention (although I forgot in my original post) that the full bar was an added incentive.

    Since we were there for several days getting 'affairs in order' we had a chance to try Taki and Happy Golden. We'll likely go back to both. We had a lunch at Picante - I have to say it is not as good as it used to be. A late dinner at Fat Apple's in El Cerrtio (the food was sad). And of course several trips to the Cheeseboard.

    We considered going to Daimo as it is an old favorite, but on our last trip we didn't have the best experience. The food was actually quite good but the service was horrible the dining room was less than clean and the bathrooms - yuk, what an unsanitary mess.

    Thx again.

    1. Melanie Wong Aug 11, 2009 06:11 PM

      Here's a post-funeral dinner report for Jayakarta on University Ave in Berkeley for a group of 8.
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6308...

      I like Happy Golden Bowl, but it is a bit on the small side. It does have two round tables that seat 8 each, so your party could be accommodated. I would make a reservation. Also, no liquor license if you feel like some libations with your meal.

      1. s
        sydthekyd Aug 11, 2009 04:44 PM

        Picante Cocina Mexicana at Sixth and Gilman in West Berkeley.

        1 Reply
        1. re: sydthekyd
          Robert Lauriston Aug 11, 2009 04:53 PM

          If you don't mind possibly sharing a cafeteria-like dining room with a couple of elementary-school soccer teams.

          Service isn't an issue because there isn't any.

        2. nicedragonboy Aug 11, 2009 03:41 PM

          China Village is also on Solano and has plenty of room for groups.

          I've been hearing a few good reports about a new restaurant on San Pablo in El Cerrito. It's called Happy Golden Bowl Chinese.

          For non-Chinese food, Solano Bar & Grill might serve well. Don't let the name fool you, it's actually a white cloth table top place.

          -----
          China Village
          1335 Solano Ave, Albany, CA 94706

          Solano Grill
          1133 Solano Ave, Albany, CA 94706

          Happy Golden Bowl
          10675 San Pablo Ave, El Cerrito, CA

          4 Replies
          1. re: nicedragonboy
            rworange Aug 11, 2009 06:58 PM

            Solano Grill closes at 3pm and doesn't re-open until 5pm so it depends on when the funeral ends.

            China Village might be best. The prices are good as is the food and they handle groups without a problem. I would call though to reserve so they can ramp up staff. Saturday afternoon can be quiet anywhere and staff is usuall at a minimum.

            I'm guessing from the El Cerrito, North Berkeley mention that this might be at that funeral home at the end of Fairmont near Fat Apples.If that is the case, then following Fairmont across San Pablo to Central will take you toward Daimo which is next to the freeway. There's lots of parking though it is louder than China Village.

            Here's a brilliant idea (IMO). Zaki Kabob house on San Pablo. They make an amazing rotiserrie chicken and have a parking lot. They are open in the afternoon and the prices are good. Again, I'd call to make sure they ramp up staff and have enugh chickens ready since most of the business comes after 5pm.

            1. re: rworange
              Robert Lauriston Aug 12, 2009 10:08 AM

              Zaki's great and cheap but I can't imagine what kind of chaos might ensue in an attempt to serve a party of 15. Even four is sometimes a challenge for them.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                rworange Aug 12, 2009 10:15 AM

                That's why I suggested calling ahead. You would need to be very clear with them about the circumstances and the need to handle a group well. They do have family members to press into service.

              2. re: rworange
                dlglidden Aug 12, 2009 10:41 AM

                I second the Daimo suggestion. Large dining room and they cater to large parties (think multi-generation Chinese families coming in for a meal). They have a huge menu but almost all the dishes are well executed. If your party enjoys Chinese food, Daimo is an obvious choice and easy to get to. (It's in a shopping center but is in its own separate building.)

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                Daimo Chinese Restaurant
                3288 Pierce St, Richmond, CA 94804

            2. Robert Lauriston Aug 11, 2009 03:37 PM

              China Village can handle groups without a problem and prices are reasonable. Lots of tips in the archive on what to order.

              http://www.sporq.com/albany/chinavill...

              -----
              China Village
              1335 Solano Ave, Albany, CA 94706

              1. Scott M Aug 11, 2009 03:29 PM

                Without more specifics as to what you are looking for regarding cuisine. I would suggest Ruen Pair. It's Thai food and should appeal to a wide variety (ie. vegetarian and non-vegetarian).

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                Ruen Pair
                1045 San Pablo Ave, Albany, CA 94706

                1 Reply
                1. re: Scott M
                  c
                  cburnsi Aug 11, 2009 03:43 PM

                  So sorry, you are correct of course. Anything goes food wise, these are young adventurous eaters with nary a food allergy - although I think a few aren't big on shellfish (but that wouldn't be a problem for the rest of us).

                  Thx for the suggestions.

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