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Aug 6, 2010 05:54 PM

East Bay Anniversary Dinner Rec on a Sunday?

My husband and I never get to go out for dinner (he's a musician and we have very young children), so I'd like to really have a lovely early-ish dinner for our anniversary at the end of August. Chez Panisse is out (not open), but I'd love other romantic and YUMMY recs as close to Berkeley as possible.


Chez Panisse
1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709

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  1. Rivoli on Solano...nice room, good food.

    Rivoli Restaurant
    1539 Solano Ave, Berkeley, CA 94707

    1. Locanda da Eva in South Berkeley has opened with a splash. The menu has a number of original preparations, beautifully executed, and the wine list is excellent with many selections by the glass. Renovation of the former Zax Tavern space (they've kept the wood-burning pizza oven) was done with taste and style, It's quiet enough to qualify as "romantic," open on Sundays.

      Locanda da Eva
      2826 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley, CA 94705

      1. maybe eVe? it's nice and cozy, affortable 3-4 course meal oops it's closed on Sunday A Cote?

        1. We're in the same boat with one small child; when we can get away, we like Paragon at the Claremont - great views and good food (esp the mac and cheese), Nizza La Bella in Albany, Trattoria La Siciliana on College or Lake Chalet on Lake Merritt. Honestly tho, for us, its actually been easier and more fun to go to breakfast together after dropping baby at playschool. Cheaper too! Our favorite so far is either Bette's Ocean View Diner (best omelets EVER) or Saul's (deli hash rules!)

          Happy Anniversary!

          Trattoria La Siciliana
          2993 College Ave, Berkeley, CA 94705

          Bette's Oceanview Diner
          1807 4th St, Berkeley, CA 94710

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

          Saul's Deli
          1475 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94709

          Paragon Bar & Cafe
          41 Tunnel Rd, Berkeley, CA

          The Lake Chalet Seafood Bar & Grill
          1520 Lakeside Drive, Oakland, CA 94612

          3 Replies
          1. re: leader080

            I think you're one of the first who has commented on good food at the Claremont. What do you order at those, and how would do they compare to other nearby favorites, like A Cote or Wood Tavern or Oliveto or Rick and Ann's?

            [Of those, only Rick and Ann's is remotely kid friendly, of course, but just to get a sense of the food...]

            I'm not sure if you're saying you like the food at Lake Chalet, which is roundly praised for the solid view and environment and roundly trashed for the food. What do you like there?

            A Cote
            5478 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

            Wood Tavern
            6317 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618

            Oliveto Cafe
            5655 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618

            1. re: bbulkow

              At Paragon, we usually go in the afternoon when the bar menu is available outside and get an order of mac&cheese and an order of the ribs. If we're still hungry, we'll get the fries too or one of the salads. The star is the view.

              At the Lake Chalet, I was thinking mostly of the ambiance, especially if you can sit outside in the afternoon. We're big on apps so we get the sweet potato fries and one or two of the fish apps, such as the crab cakes or tacos. Food is NOT the star, nor is the service but the view and the drinks, esp if you hit happy hour, are SO worth it. I've lived here my whole life and always wished for a nice place on the lake to hang out.

              Never been to Wood Tavern, and A Cote is great tho super small and the menu can be limiting. I LOVE Rick & Ann's for breakfast but I don't know how it would be for dinner; it screams family place to me.

              Forgot to include that we used to go to Britt-Marie's in Albany for nice nights out but haven't been lately so I can't speak to how it is now. People either love it or hate it; we liked it because it reminded us of places we've eaten in Europe. GREAT wine list too!

              1369 Solano Ave, Albany, CA 94706

              1. re: bbulkow

                I would never choose it for an anniversary dinner with all of the other options out there, but I had a surprisingly good dinner at the Claremont (Paragon) a few years ago. Nice place for a drink on the patio, or later in the evening in the bar.

                It isn't completely clear if OP is taking the kids to dinner or not. For the OP, Locanda da Eva and Rivoli both sound like good choices sans kids(though I find the tables to be closer spaced at Rivoli than I would like. I sometime feel it is a bit claustrophobic). I think B in downtown Oakland would be worth considering if bringing the kids along Well-spaced tables, nice atmosphere but I don't think a kid would be disruptive.

                I don't think Rick and Anne's is a good anniversary choice, precisely because it is casual. Even with kids, I wouldn't choose it because I have found it to be cramped, with long waits at times at breakfast (haven't ever been for dinner though).

                Rivoli Restaurant
                1539 Solano Ave, Berkeley, CA 94707

                Locanda da Eva
                2826 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley, CA 94705

            2. Dig's Bistro.
              Edit: I checked with my wife and she agrees with me that when a young couple with children say they want a romantic dinner that means they have found a sitter. Dig's will do it.