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21st Birthday in Berkeley

Hi all - would like to purchase a gift certificate for a resto in Berkeley to send for as a 21st birthday gift. Help, please. This will be paired with concert tickets - something hip and fun, with vegetarian options for pre or post concert dining. Any thoughts on Vik's or Cesar for this type of celebration?

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  1. How much do you want to spend? Vik's isn't nice enough for what I would give as a 21st birthday present. Cesar would be fun, and they have great cocktails there, but I've had some problems in the past going there with a vegetarian (once there were only three things on the menu that didn't have meat in it, including the fried potatoes, but the menu changes). Another option is Gather, a new restaurant in Berkeley that has great vegetarian and non vegetarian options, and a full bar.

    2 Replies
    1. re: JasmineG

      Is it reasonable to expect four 21 year old ladies to be able to eat and drink for $200, exclusive of tip? So, a $250 cert?

      1. re: nancyhudson

        Yes, completely. I mean, it's possible to go over that if they get a lot of cocktails, but I've gotten out of Cesar for significantly less than $50 a person, so I think that would be just fine, and a nice splurge.

    2. Gather is near most Berkeley concert venues, has a full bar, and is quite vegetarian-friendly.

      Vik's closes early and isn't near any concert venue.

      1. I agree that Cesar and Gather could work. Depending on your budget, Five in downtown Berkeley could be great too. If you're going for something more casual, you might look at Jupiter - it's not particularly gourmet, but it's a fun place.

        8 Replies
        1. re: milklady

          For a 21st birthday party, definitely Jupiter. The food is delicious, great artisan beer, and just a lot of fun (and outdoor seating).

          Originally I was going to suggest Triple Rock (which actually owns Jupiter), but the food there isn't as great, and the vegetarian menu is very limited, whereas Jupiter has tons of great vegetarian pizzas.

          1. re: vulber

            Jupiter is fine if the recipient loves beer, but it doesn't have a full bar. And honestly, if she's a student at Cal, I'm sure that she's been there a lot before, and definitely isn't a special 21st birthday party kind of place. Also, $200 would go a really long way there, I can't imagine spending that much money at Jupiter unless it's a lot of people who drink a lot of beer.

            1. re: JasmineG

              who says she's a student at cal?

              need for a full bar was never mentioned either; if anything, i tend to order wine at birthday/celebratory dinners, which jupiter does have (although i would still get beer)

              1. re: vulber

                There's no need for a full bar, but I'd say that any 21 year old has had beer before, but few have been able to get a good cocktail. Jupiter has fine food, and I like it, but beer and pizza is not celebratory for most 21 year old girls, and while they have good beer, their wine selection is boring. I said "if" she's a student at Cal.

                1. re: JasmineG

                  4 top, $200, $50/pp, one cocktail one glass of wine, I think I'm pointing at either Cesar or Fonda. Wood Tavern or A Cote if berkeley means "greater berkeley". Would add Eve but I don't know the price range. All (except eve?) have the benefit of the sharing small plates party attitude, which I find is especially popular among women (not knowing these, but the "an entree is too huge" meme is stronger among the female set IMHO).

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                  A Cote
                  5478 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

                  Wood Tavern
                  6317 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618

              2. re: JasmineG

                Diners will also have to like pizza because that's basically the menu. They have a few small plates but nothing you'd call a meal...so it's basically pizza and beer.

                1. re: JasmineG

                  keep in mind that even if shes' been there before, as this is her 21st birthday, she's never been able to order a beer there before, which is one of Jupiter's strong suits

              1. I thought Cesar was a great idea. They have good food and GREAT cocktails. It is true that the vegetarian options are not super extensive, but they are adequate in my experience. It's good for a party because you just order a bunch of things family style.

                Gather is also a nice place which is great for vegetarians. This would be a good call if the ladies prefer a more traditional app-entree-dessert approach to dinner rather than lots of shared small things.

                Jupiter if and only if the birthday girl is a beer aficionado. It's a fun place but outside of a very good beer selection nothing special food-wise. The pizza is fine but ordinary, wine list pretty boring, no full bar, etc.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Truffle Dog

                  Gather's good for sharing small plates as well. In my observation, that seemed to be what most tables were doing.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    I don't have a first-hand report on Gather but my sister said "good not great". Any specific reports?