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Co-Birthday dinner in Berkeley/Albany/Oakland: Great China, China Village, Somewhere Else?

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My brother & I will be going out with our families next Wednesday night. It looks like Chinese will be the best bet both for our budget ($10-25 inclusive) and the (5-10) folks attending.
I read through a lot of the reviews and would like some current feedback.

I have a 7 yr old, my brother can't tolerate spicy but my husband loves it and we can be slightly adventurous. My brother & I also love wine and the list at Great China is pretty nice.
(I didn't see a list on the China Village website) I've eaten at Great China once and really enjoyed it (the duck was great!) but haven't made it to China Village yet.

Pros? Cons? Suggestions?
Thank you Hounds!

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Great China Restaurant
2115 Kittredge St, Berkeley, CA 94704

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  1. If your brother isn't into spicy, then the Sichuan specialties at China Village are probably not up his alley. There are non-spicy dishes but it would be a shame to not order the hot stuff. Wine-wise, the advantage at China Village is that you can bring your own wine and pay minimal or sometimes zero corkage depending on how much food you order. At CV you can also bring a birthday cake and have them serve it for you.

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    China Village
    1335 Solano Ave, Albany, CA 94706

    4 Replies
    1. re: Melanie Wong

      Thanks Melanie!

      Of the Sichuan dishes CV serves, what a "not to be missed"?

      1. re: BigWoodenSpoon

        I would go CV.

        Ordering one dish of something 'classic' and letting everyone else eat the specalties is a fine thing. they have several larger tables in the extra room that fit 10 easlier and are good for schmoozing.

        Boiled Beef, 1000 chili chicken, sichuan fish fillets are all classics there. Get the sesame flatbread instead of rice. I always get the water dumplings in hot oil. If you get the large jolly waiter, you can say you want the specialties of the house, spicy, (and one classic), and they'll give you a good selection.

        1. re: bbulkow

          Good advice. In addition, you can call the owner, Mr Yao, in advance and set up a banquet menu. He will work with you on it to suit it to your party, and may be able to offer some off-menu items.

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            Just got back from China Village and everything we had was sooo good!
            The Lamb with Cumin was a crowd favorite, the Boiled Beef was the spiciest and the "Classic" dishes were some of the best Chinese food I've had. The Navarro Edelzwicker I brought was the perfect accompaniment and everyone had a great time.
            Thanks for helping make our Birthday Dinner such a wonderful expereince!

    2. I just want to throw in Happy Golden Bowl into the mix as well. It's a little outside of the area specified, but not really all that far from CV.

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      Happy Golden Bowl
      10675 San Pablo Ave, El Cerrito, CA