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Berkeley/Oakland restaurant, walk-in, no res for Friday

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We'll be with a group of people who are bad with time management, etc. so we are unable to make an actual reservation. There will be 5 of us, including a relative from Seattle that loves Italian food. Can you suggest places for dinner that are not impossible to get into without a reservation? We understand that being a Friday night there will be a wait. What are our best bets? If I don't come up with a viable alternative we"ll end up going to my brother in law's pick, Jupiter. Budget-wise I'm sure they're looking for "cheap" but I'm willing to put in the difference so we have more choices. The East Bay Hounds have never let me down... so please jump in with your suggestions. Thanks a lot.

-Carminia

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  1. For Italian, you might try Riva Cucina (Italian) or B (Cal-Italian-ish). I don't think they have the hour-plus waits a lot of places do on Fridays. There's also Dopo, they take no reservations so maybe the line moves faster.

    Non-Italian, you might consider Anh Hong, Bocanova, China Village, T-Rex.

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    Dopo
    4293 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611

    Riva Cucina
    800 Heinz Ave, Berkeley, CA 94710

    B Restaurant & Bar
    499 9th St, Oakland, CA 94607

    5 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Thanks Robert! I definitely want to try Dopo, so I hope that works out. I really appreciate the suggestions.

      -Carminia

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      Dopo
      4293 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611

      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        Like Dopo, Boot and Shoe Service (the newish Pizzaiolo spinoff) doesn't take reservations and would be another good pick. For both of those, I'd try to get there as early as possible (or, alternatively, later in the evening). Right at 5:30, there won't be a wait at all. If you get to either place at 6:00 with a party of that size, it may very well be an hour-long wait since you'll have to wait for the first seating to clear out.

        I wonder if Nizza La Bella has much of a wait on a Friday night. Haven't tried it for dinner, but the menu is French bistro-ish plus pizzas and pastas.

        For non-Italian -- Chai Thai, Taco Grill, Chop Bar, in addition to the ones Robert mentioned.

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        Pizzaiolo
        5008 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

        Dopo
        4293 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611

        Nizza La Bella
        827 San Pablo Ave, Albany, CA 94706

        Taco Grill
        3340 E 12th St, Oakland, CA 94601

        Chai Thai Noodles
        545 B International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94606

        Chop Bar
        247 4th St, #111, Oakland, CA 94607

        Boot and Shoe Service
        3308 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA 94610

        1. re: abstractpoet

          Thanks for the suggestions! That's an important point - knowing this group's inability to deal with time, I'm guessing dinner will probably be on the later side... definitely after 7:00pm and in reality probably 8:00pm or later.

          1. re: SanJoseHound

            While Dopo is not impossible it will be likely be a wait. Other East Bay possibilities are Mezze on Lakeshore (more Cal/Med), Bellanico on Park, Marzano on College (Marzano are Park tends to fill up more than the College location).

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            Mezze Restaurant & Bar
            3407 Lakeshore Avenue, Oakland, CA 94610

            Bellanico
            4238 Park Blvd, Oakland, CA 94602

            Marzano on College
            5356 College Avenue, Oakland, CA 94618

            1. re: Scott M

              I was going to suggest Marzano on College too! I always have a good time there and they don't seem as packed in the later hours (close to 9 p.m.) because most diners at Rockridge I notice like to eat around 6 p.m. (and then head back to Walnut Creek?) ;-)

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              Marzano on College
              5356 College Avenue, Oakland, CA 94618

      2. Boot and Shoe has LONG waits, since it's pretty small so that might not be the best option. Going to Pizzaiolo might be better, as would Dopo; and if you go to Dopo and there's a wait, you can always go over to Adesso to have wine to wait. For non Italian, I almost never have to wait at T Rex, even on a busy night.

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        Pizzaiolo
        5008 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

        Dopo
        4293 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611

        Adesso
        4395 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA

        1. Diverging a bit from Italian, I've actually had very good luck doing exactly that at Barlata on a Friday night. They also don't take reservations, but the staff is very friendly and accommodating. There's also limited standing (and limited sitting) room at the bar if a couple of you get there before everyone else. The nice thing about the tapas, of course, would be that it is very easy to order in multiple stages so that if one person does end up very late, you all can go ahead and order things to start, and then it's relatively quick for them to catch up once they arrive.

          Conversely I have had bad luck trying to score a last-minute table (for 6) at Pizzaiolo, though they are a much bigger establishment than others mentioned (Dopo, Nizza la Bella, Boot and Shoe). But, with either, you can go to Marc 49 across the street and have a glass of wine while you wait (or Pizzaiolo has a nice waiting-area nook in the front on the bar side that they will allow you to treat as an extended bar area, good for awaiting a table and a straggling member of your party).

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          Barlata
          4901 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

          1. You may also want to check out some of the Korean restaurants in Oakland, i.e. Ohgane or Sahn Maru. Shouldn't be hard to get in, and they aren't too expensive (not really "cheap" though). Ohgane has charcoal grills at the tables which could be fun.

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            Ohgane
            3915 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94611