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May 23, 2010 02:03 PM

Chinese wedding banquet site near Berkeley?

I am planning on getting married in a year and am looking for a private dining room for ~80 guests, preferably with enough room for some dancing.
I've read some of the past threads, but they seem focused on SF or much bigger groups. I will be getting married in Berkeley and most of my guests will be from out of town, so I *really* don't want to make them drive far or across the bridge. Another issue is that one of the relatives owns a stake in a winery and another a brewery, so we are looking for a place with very low corkage.
I'm not a big fan of tradition wedding reception menus (shark fin soup, etc.) but I want delicious non-Americanized Chinese food. Anyone have experience with restaurants that are accommodating regarding the menu?

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  1. Try checking w/ these.. Asia Pearl (Richmond), Restaurant Peony, Legendary Palace, East Ocean, Hong Kong East Ocean. Peony has 2 rooms in the back w/ karaoke and stereo system set up. Saigon Seafood Harbor might even be reopened by then.

    Saigon Seafood Harbor Restaurant
    3150 Pierce St, Richmond, CA 94804

    Legendary Palace
    708 Franklin St, Oakland, CA 94607

    East Ocean Seafood
    1713 Webster St, Alameda, CA 94501

    Hong Kong East Ocean Seafood
    3199 Powell St, Emeryville, CA 94608

    Restaurant Peony
    388 9th St Ste 288, Oakland, CA 94607

    Asian Pearl
    3288 Pierce St, Richmond, CA 94804

    4 Replies
      1. re: wolfe

        wolfe, the link seems to send me to lala--I got music but no info about Saigon Seafood.

        Saigon Seafood
        740 Story Rd 1, San Jose, CA

        1. re: jillyju

          Sorry jillyju. The song is about a cockeyed optimist. I drive by the site of Saigon Seafood regularly and while there seems to be progress it has been a long time and unless something wonderful happens Rubymeine should not plan on booking that hall for the wedding.

      2. re: kc72

        Of those, HK East Ocean in Emeryville has the best view and probably the easiest parking. You can certainly modify their banquet menu sans shark fin. My niece had her banquet there without shark fin (she still hears about it from relatives.).

      3. In terms of corkage, you can try negotiating a flat fee per table. For our wedding banquet we were able to negotiate a rate of $25/table, which worked out well because we brought in our own wine as well and we were a big drinking group. This was years ago so rates are probably higher but you might want to start by figuring out how much wine you think your group will go through and figure out a rate that way.

        1. regarding shark fin soup- we had a traditional banquet down in palo alto and we substituted that soup with another seafood soup plus a slight upgrade on another veggie dish. so it can be done as long as you work with the restaurant. just make sure you get something equivalent in return.

          we had a very firm opinion about not having this soup despite myself being from Hong Kong. we made an explanation on our wedding web site on why we did that (and link to a nytimes article regarding this matter), and mentioned that we arranged with the restaurant to substitute with something equivalent so people think we were just cheap by forgoing the soup. the soup not being on the menu didn't generate any reaction at the end. although i didn't have any older relatives in that banquet to worry about. but at the end its all about what you believe in.

          1. Try the spot on Lake Merritt owned by the City of Oakland...very nice

            Maybe The Lake House, also on Lake Merritt?

            Upper floor of buildings at Cal can be rented out, one place quite near the Campanile would be great

            The Spice House Building on Fish Ranch Road?

            GAIA Building downtown?

            Faculty Club at Cal? NICE

            2 Replies
            1. re: Munching Mark

              I'm going to one soon at Hong Kong East Ocean - I'll report back.

              1. re: lmnopm

                Reporting back: 2 issues for the OP - the food, and the 80 people

                Food - it was alright. We had about 10 courses. The seabass was really delicious. I really loved that dish. That was the only dish I loved. The rest varied from meh to pretty good. I don't have the list of everything, but we had chicken, duck, a variety starter plate with jellyfish/pork/beef/seaweed, soup, rice, and some others.

                Space - they have a large room that was divided in 2 with a partial divider that didn't go to the ceiling. We had likely 130 + people. The other side's party may have had a similar (or smaller). Their dance music started first. We were close to the divider and it was really distracting. With 80, you will definitely have the likelihood of another party which you can hear clearly, right next to you, unless there's a smaller room for you.

            2. I've always liked East Ocean, I often go there for birthday party banquets (Alameda). Silver Dragon in Oakland is also popular venue.

              Silver Dragon
              835 Webster St, Oakland, CA 94607

              2 Replies
              1. re: myst

                I was at a wedding banquet at Silver Dragon about a year ago. It was an unbearably hot evening, but other than that it was fine. I thought the food was forgettable, but the upstairs room was very comfortable, the staff was gracious, and I know the bride and groom were very happy with how the restaurant worked with them.

                Silver Dragon
                835 Webster St, Oakland, CA 94607

                1. re: jillyju

                  The Silver Dragon is the granddaddy of Chinese restaurants in the East Bay. I still think of the current location as the "new" location because when I was a kid we used to go to the original location, which was much more modest. The only time I ate at the "new" location was for my high school graduation celebration -- in 1977.

                  Silver Dragon
                  835 Webster St, Oakland, CA 94607