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Good place for a group in the East Bay

So I've got a birthday coming up, and we're looking for a nice place to celebrate. We've got a small group, 8 of us, and I'm looking for something really specific. Any ideas would be appreciated!

- Round table for 8
- Casual enough that us laughing really loudly won't get dirty looks
- Quiet enough that we can hear each other from across the table
- $$ or $$$
- Food that makes you say yum
- Something more family-style than entree focused. We'd order for the table and try lots of stuff
- Not fluorescent lighting
- We'd prefer East Bay (Oakland, Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito, Alameda) but might take a trip over the bridge for the right place

Any ideas?

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  1. Well, Pizzaiolo will get you everything except for the round table and the quiet. I can't think of many places that have a round table other than Chinese places (of which there are good ones in the East Bay that may fit the bill, especially China Village, but read the threads here for what to order first). I've also had good group meals at T-Rex, and that's a good place to share. A Cote would also be great (again, no round table) especially if you sit in the back patio, which is quieter than the inside of the restaurant.

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    Pizzaiolo
    5008 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

    A Cote
    5478 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

    2 Replies
    1. re: JasmineG

      An especial thumbs up for China Village in this regard. Reading up on the menu doesn't hurt, but don't be scared off. I took a group of 10 relatives, about 1/3 ordered "classic" dishes (including Actual Lemon Chicken) and all were happy. Much sharing around family style. The large tables are separated off, so I've seen speeches given and all kinds of things. Mini banquet.

      1. re: bbulkow

        The special banquet menus at China Village are excellent. Go the day before and talk to the owner about the selections--he'll modify the menu to your tastes.

    2. Speisekammer in Alameda, and Pican in Oakland are both great at accomodating groups that size - good food, easy reservations, lively but not deafening.

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      Speisekammer
      2424 Lincoln Ave, Alameda, CA 94501

      Pican Restaurant
      2295 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612

      1. East Ocean has good chinese banquet menus that are very affordable in Alameda.

        Korean food is fun for group - tables are not round but you can even burn your fingers and laugh about it. Sahn maru Korean BBQ or Dan Sung Sa are popular, I don't know the name of the place I go to on Telegraph near West Grand..... guess I'm too focused on eating.

        Most of the other family style places I know of are chains (Maggiano's and Bucca de Beppo type. Manggiano's is also all you can eat (but not a buffet). I only know this because I often eat out with a basket ball team.....

        Maggiano's is all the way down in Santana Row....

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        East Ocean Seafood
        1713 Webster St, Alameda, CA 94501

        Dan Sung Sa
        2775 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

        maggiano's little Italy
        3055 Olin Ave #1000, San Jose, CA 95128

        1. Le Cheval in Oakland fits most of your criteria, including nice big round tables with lazy susans for family-style dining.

          However, I find the food there to be just all right, and that you pay extra for the ambience; when I used to work in downtown Oakland, I preferred the nearby bare-bones Saigon Restaurant, as it cost far less and the food was better (but wouldn't fit most of your criteria).

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          Le Cheval
          1007 Clay St, Oakland, CA

          1. Cesar Latino has a private room with a round table.

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            Bar C├ęsar
            4039 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611

            1. I second the Pizzailo and A Cote recommendations. Pizzaiolo has a room towards the back of the restaurant where they put large groups. You don't have that space all to yourself as there are two other small tables back there but close enough. Food is unbelievable, not too expensive, and you can share several things. It can get a little noisy in there but maybe you can ask them to turn the music down a little in that room?

              A Cote would work too, but in my opinion the food is better at Pizzaiolo.

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              Pizzaiolo
              5008 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

              A Cote
              5478 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

              1 Reply
              1. re: Max Skills

                Neither Pizzaiolo nor A Cote has a round table. Otherwise both meet the stated requirements. Pizzaiolo's not as noisy as it used to be, or at least wasn't on my last visit.

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                Pizzaiolo
                5008 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

                A Cote
                5478 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

              2. Thanks everyone for the ideas! I actually had China Village in mind but wanted to try something different. We haven't been to Pican but they're closed Memorial Day. It's a sign I should fall back on an old favorite.

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                Pican Restaurant
                2295 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612