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Jan 26, 2010 05:28 PM

Infant friendly coworker goodbye dinner in Berkeley area?

I'm looking for restaurant ideas for a coworker's good-bye dinner - and he'll be bringing his newborn baby, which eliminates a lot of the usual choices. We'd want something casual and relatively cheap, for about 8-12 people, where no one will be annoyed at a crying baby, but it won't be too deafening for the little guy. And all this hopefully within a few miles of the UC-Berkeley campus. Places like Jupiter, Meridian, or Vik's come to mind, but any ideas are appreciated!

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    1. How old is the baby? If less than 5 months, they can probably go to most places. Chez Panisse Cafe is really nice to babies! That said, your ideas are great, and I agree with T-Rex and Picante. Pretty much any Asian place, Zachary's and Pizzaiolo will work too.

      4 Replies
      1. re: milklady

        Great, thanks much for the ideas! We had ruled out Picante because we didn't want to wait forever for a large table on the weekend - anyone know about the waits at T-Rex on a Friday evening? And the baby is maybe 2 months old - hopefully that means something as far as planning to someone else, because I have no idea!

        1. re: yangguizi

          Kids that small are much easier to deal with because they don't run around. They'll pretty much sleep nearby. Depends on the parent's attitude of course.

          1. re: yangguizi

            Two months is the best! The baby will probably hang out in a carseat or sling the whole time. I have no idea about the wait at T-Rex on a Friday evening. You might be better off with a reservation (do they take them at T-Rex?).

            1. re: milklady

              Yep, they take reservations at T-Rex, and they have some nice big tables, great for a group.

        2. I would not worry about the noise level for the baby's sake. In fact, I would seek out relatively boisterous places. Babies are comforted by crowds, and in the case of my kids will be much more likely to sleep on mom or dad if there is a white noise background. Quiet places, on the other hand, are where my kids always acted out and where it was least appreciated.

          Near UC I'd consider La Note or maybe La Mediterranee (though I've only been to the Filmore location and I hear some negatives about the Berkeley location). If you can get the group to Emeryville, Townhouse does well with groups.

          3 Replies
          1. re: BernalKC

            Townhouse is not inexpensive at all.
            T Rex is a great suggestion. I don't know about the wait, but I see kids there all the time. They have a good Happy Hour from 3 - 6? p.m.

            1. re: oaktowngirl

              You're right, Townhouse is more expensive, but not that different from T-Rex. Maybe $14-$25 entrees versus $12-$20. Neither one is really cheap.

              Which raises an interesting, slightly off-topic question.

              For group dining, especially where the feted party rides for free, the OP will need to weigh the options for paying the tab. Both places offer a wide spread of prices which can complicate the task. If the tab is split evenly -- the only sane way to go, IMO -- what, if anything, do they want to do about people who order either on the high of low side? (Making people pay for alcohol on separate tabs is messy, but often effective.) Or do they plan as if everyone will order the most expensive items and reject places where that would break some friends' bank? For this, both these places would be problematic.

              1. re: BernalKC

                Not specific to T-Rex, but with group dining where the price range is wider, I've never had a problem with passing around the receipt and having everyone just figure out what they owe for what they ordered, and then adding in tax/tip/covering the person being treated. It's easiest if everyone just brings cash. Sometimes a few people have to throw in an extra buck or two to make sure there's enough to cover the tip, but it usually all works out.

          2. Venus Restaurant should be able to handle that number if you can get there early or make a res. In the same vein as La Note, casual, close to campus. Quality ingredients (organics, house made sausages for breakfast). I've had breakfast there a few times and am always happy. Also took my Dad there for a b-day. Decent range in menu. They also had a theater special for like $20 and three courses, counting on Berkeley Rep business.

            Venus Restaurant
            2327 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94704

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