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Aug 18, 2009 11:50 AM

Business Dinner in Berkeley?

Staying in the Claremont Resort and Spa in late September, and will be taking 20-25 clients out to dinner for two different nights. Recommendations needed--close to resort, good food and wine are pretty much our requirements.

Happy to help if any of you are coming to my 'hood (DC and VA suburbs) and need assistance!


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  1. The Claremont's surrounded by residential neighborhoods, there's nothing right there except Rick & Ann's.

    Rockridge is the nearest neighborhood with suitable restaurants. The private room at Oliveto and the back patio at A Cote can handle parties that size. Both have great wine lists.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Liaison has a private room that may be able to accomodate that many. In addition, a menu for food and wine can be designed in advance and for a range of budgets. It is not within walking distance but does have good, hearty food, an interesting selection of wines and a genial and helpful owner / chef, Todd Kneiss. 510.849.2155. Corner of Shattuck and Hearst. Parking is street only and sometimes difficult, depending on what may be going on at the campus.

      1. re: tomatoaday

        Liaison's private room holds a maximum of 22.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          Something that never seems to get any buzz here, and I am curious about, is Jordan's at the Claremont. I don't know if it is off our collective radar because it isn't that good, or because we just don't think of it.

          1. re: lmnopm

            My company just held a meeting there this past weekend, so we rented out Jordan's Private Dining Room ($200 rental for the room, could fit 20-25) because it was the most convenient. The food was good but not great. I ordered from their weekly "Market Fresh" menu and had a corn and leek soup, duck breast with caramelized apples and celery root puree, and peach french toast for dessert. The portions were a bit small, especially considering the price. The people who went with the more traditional chicken/steak/fish options seemed reasonably content with their food. I think the big negative for me about Jordan's is that the atmosphere is just very dated and stuffy. Paragon looked much more lively, and I think they have a private room too.

            1. re: betterbeheaven


              Meritage at the Claremont
              41 Tunnel Road, Berkeley, CA 94705

              1. re: rworange

                wood tavern. one of the latest hot spots. on college avenue.
                great bar !!!!

                But 20-25 ? Hmmmm, call them and se if they have space for that many.

                1. re: mendogurl

                  Wood Tavern would definitely not have space for that many, you would have to rent out the whole restaurant.

                  I agree with the recommendation for A Cote. A little farther away (but only a few minutes) is Pizzaiolo on Telegraph, and they may have room for that many in their back room, you should call them to check. It's easier to get that room on a weeknight.

    2. These are great suggestions (and I especially appreciate the ones that tell me where not to bother trying). Keep em coming, if there are more!!

      1. Garibaldi's on College Ave could also handle a party of that size. Same neighborhood as A Cote, though I would definitely call in ahead of time to make sure they can handle a party that size on your night. It's probably a little pricier than some of the other options people have suggested.

        5356 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618

        4 Replies
        1. re: nicedragonboy

          That's a nice suggestion, and though I like the food at A Cote better, Garibaldi's might be more appropriate for a large business dinner, because most A Cote dishes are small plates.

          1. re: JasmineG

            For 25 people the only sensible option is to pre-order an entire menu and tell them to keep it coming.

          2. re: nicedragonboy

            The whole place is torn down to the studs right now. Don't know if they will be back together by September. The back room with a shorter version of the regular menu is a great option for a nice group dinner.

            1. re: oaktowngirl

              Garibaldi's is being split in two, with half becoming another Marzano, so it might no longer be good for large groups after it reopens.

          3. What's your budget? If you can spend a lot, I'd book Commis on Piedmont Ave. You'll pretty much fill the entire place, but if they let you do it I think folks will be impressed by the cutting edge of the local dining scene.

            The private room at Oliveto will work. They'll give it to you for the entire night. It is, however, a spendy proposition. There is a room charge beyond the food charge.

            If you need a budget option, some of the Korean spots on Telegraph or Broadway are good for large groups. I would try Ohgane or Sura. Sura has a private room. They're not fancy, but they're not dives. You might pair something like this with Oliveto or Commis to balance out the prices.

            Another bargain option is Great China in Berkeley. Good food and a surprisingly great wine list. Excellent Peking duck. Parking is tough, but there is a new garage around the corner. Always crowded and chaotic, but many don't know about the small room on the third floor that is good for groups.

            You might also try Five in downtown Berkeley. It is getting good notices, though it is very new. Being in a hotel, I imagine that it might be able to handle large groups.

            3915 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94611

            4869 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

            Great China Restaurant
            2115 Kittredge St, Berkeley, CA 94704

            Oliveto Cafe
            5655 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618

            FIVE American Bistro & Bar
            2086 Allston Way, Berkeley, CA 94704

            3859 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

            4 Replies
            1. re: lexdevil

              Great China does have a great wine list, one of the best in the East Bay (rare for a Chinese restaurant): http://www.greatchinaberkeley.com/GCW...

              Ohgane and Sura don't.

                  1. re: wally

                    There are some very good values. I think it's the usual 2X undiscounted retail, but they don't always mark the older bottles up to current market price. That list is about six months out of date, some of the stuff has sold out.

                    Here's a post about a dinner with wine pairings we had there last month:


              1. What about Trattoria Siciliana? Is it big enough? I've seen mentions of an upstairs area -- would that work?

                1 Reply
                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  There's probably room for that many, but it can be hot upstairs, the wine's not so great, and they might be standing on the sidewalk for a while waiting for the restaurant to get the tables organized.