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quiet restaurants in Berkeley or Piedmont for lunch and dinner

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phoenikia Aug 9, 2010 09:47 PM

What restaurants would you suggest?

Interested in "ethnic" (for lack of a better term), contemporary and/or fresh market cuisine, and looking for restaurants where 30-70somethings wouldn't feel out of place.

Have enjoyed O Chame on 4th St, but am not familiar with other quiet options.

Thanks for any recommendations.

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  1. lexdevil RE: phoenikia Aug 10, 2010 03:00 AM

    No "ethnic" worth going out of your way for on Piedmont, unless you consider Italian to be "ethnic." For Cal Med, however, Bay Wolf is a good bet for this type of group.

    In Berkeley, Riva Cucina is great for Italian. Weeknights tend to be quiet.

    Outside of your area, but convenient to both, A Cote in Rockridge works if you ask for the back room. The front is, however, really loud.

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    A Cote
    5478 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

    Riva Cucina
    800 Heinz Ave, Berkeley, CA 94710

    Bay Wolf Restaurant
    3853 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

    22 Replies
    1. re: lexdevil
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      phoenikia RE: lexdevil Aug 10, 2010 06:21 AM

      Thanks lexdevil.

      All 3 of the restaurants you recommended look like good options for us.

      1. re: lexdevil
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        skwid RE: lexdevil Aug 10, 2010 08:13 AM

        Piedmont the City has no restaurants. Piedmont the avenue (which is not at all in the city of Piedmont) has plenty of restaurant. As to no ethnic, is Dopo not a good restaurant?

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        Dopo
        4293 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611

        1. re: skwid
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          phoenikia RE: skwid Aug 10, 2010 09:04 AM

          Thanks for the correction ;-) I should have written Piedmont Avenue, not Piedmont.

          Thanks for mentioning Dopo. What do you like best on their menu?

          I like "ethnic" food- usually not so interested in American/Continental, unless its preparation or quality ingredients give it a wow factor ;-)

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          Dopo
          4293 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611

          1. re: phoenikia
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            skwid RE: phoenikia Aug 10, 2010 09:10 AM

            I like pretty much the entire menu at Dopo. Haven't found anything I don't like. The pastas and Salumi (all house made) are fantastic. If there are two of you get the Pate and Salumi plate for two (or three if there are more than two). The Agnilotti with lamb is good and if they have a pork dish on the menu by all means don't hesitate to get it.

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            Dopo
            4293 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611

            1. re: skwid
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              phoenikia RE: skwid Aug 10, 2010 10:45 AM

              thanks! it's on the top of my list.

            2. re: phoenikia
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              abstractpoet RE: phoenikia Aug 10, 2010 09:33 AM

              I like Dopo the best, by far, of all the places mentioned so far. The menu changes quite often (daily, I believe), but you can't really go wrong with any of the pizzas and pastas. If you're with a group, it's also great to get a platter of all the vegetable sides to share. The menu is definitely Italian-Italian (with a California local ingredients approach), not Americanized red sauce Italian. Keep in mind, however, that it's a small restaurant and they don't take reservations, Depending on the size of your group and the time/day of the week, that may or may not work for you.

              Is there any particular reason you're excluding the rest of Oakland from your search? Most of the best restaurants are NOT on Piedmont Ave. A couple others that you might consider are Marica (in Rockridge), especially if you like seafood, or one of the many excellent Korean restaurants on Telegraph Ave. in Oakland--my favorite all-purpose spot is Sura. It's always been fairly quiet when I've eaten there.

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              Sura
              4869 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

              Marica Seafood Restaurant
              5301 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

              1. re: abstractpoet
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                phoenikia RE: abstractpoet Aug 10, 2010 10:59 AM

                Thanks for your comments abstractpoet.

                I asked about Piedmont Avenue because I'll be in that part of the city several times during my stay, and I won't have time to travel any significant distance for food.

                Yest, I realize that many of the better restaurants in Oakland are not located on Piedmont Ave. I had a nice meal at Garibaldi's on College Ave a couple years ago.

                Thanks for also mentioning Marica and Sura. Have also added them to the list.

                1. re: phoenikia
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                  abstractpoet RE: phoenikia Aug 10, 2010 12:58 PM

                  If you're going to be on Piedmont Ave. a lot, make sure that at some point you check out Lush Gelato--hands down (in my opinion) the best gelatos and sorbettos in the Bay Area.

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                  Lush Gelato
                  4184 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA

                  Lush Gelato
                  1511 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94709

                  1. re: abstractpoet
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                    phoenikia RE: abstractpoet Aug 12, 2010 11:04 AM

                    thanks for the rec for Lush.

            3. re: skwid
              JasmineG RE: skwid Aug 10, 2010 11:19 AM

              I love Dopo, but it is not quiet. It's not super loud for lunch, but if I was looking for quiet at dinner, I wouldn't go to Dopo (except for maybe sitting at one of the outside tables, but what with the weather that we've been having, that wouldn't be so comfortable).

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              Dopo
              4293 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611

              1. re: JasmineG
                lexdevil RE: JasmineG Aug 10, 2010 02:41 PM

                Agreed, which is why I didn't list it (though I love it). It is at the outside edge of my 70+ year old father's tolerance (in terms of noise). Do-able, but a challenge.

                Interestingly, I had great luck with my father at the usually super loud Adesso. We went quite early, but I think that the real key is that the high 6-tops are very narrow. Folks on one side are quite close to those on the other. Another key may be that we sat in one of the areas with a drop ceiling.

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                Adesso
                4395 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA

                1. re: lexdevil
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                  phoenikia RE: lexdevil Aug 12, 2010 11:05 AM

                  Does it quiet down at Adesso after 9 pm on a Thu, or stay pretty loud until close?

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                  Adesso
                  4395 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA

                  1. re: phoenikia
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                    abstractpoet RE: phoenikia Aug 12, 2010 11:15 AM

                    The thing to note about Adesso is that they have a spread of free food (w/ purchase of a drink) from 5-7 and again from 10:30 until 11:30 or midnight. It's usually a bit of a madhouse during those times--certainly during the 5 to 7--but you might be OK at 9.

                    It's a pretty small restaurant, too, so I don't think I'd go with too big a group.

                    (The free buffet-style spread is an awesome deal, though, if you're going with a smaller, less noise-averse group.)

                    1. re: abstractpoet
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                      phoenikia RE: abstractpoet Aug 12, 2010 11:25 AM

                      Thanks for the heads up, abstractpoet.

                      Sounds like a neat place.

                      1. re: abstractpoet
                        JasmineG RE: abstractpoet Aug 12, 2010 11:39 AM

                        Yeah, the last time I was at Adesso it was super busy during the free food period, and quieted down pretty quickly afterward. We were sitting by a window and definitely could easily have conversation.

                        By the way, the free times are now from 5-6, I think, instead of 5-7.

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                        Adesso
                        4395 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA

                      2. re: phoenikia
                        lexdevil RE: phoenikia Aug 12, 2010 02:10 PM

                        Free food is only 5-6 and again at 10:30 or so now. The noise is directly related to two factors, number of diners and musical selection. After 9:00 on a Thursday can definitely be quieter, but sometimes the late night music is pretty loud. You might want to try Adesso as your first choice, but have a back up plan just in case. Maybe Dopo just a few doors down, as it should be quieter than usual by 9:00 on a weeknight.

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                        Dopo
                        4293 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611

                        Adesso
                        4395 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA

                2. re: lexdevil
                  bbulkow RE: lexdevil Aug 10, 2010 01:05 PM

                  I half-agree....

                  1) Zatis is much overlooked, quiet, and directly on piedmont ave. The food might not be up to O Chame standards, but is pretty good. I think it's med-turkish, although my understanding of all the medeteranian subareas is limited. (Too bad about ol' JoJo in the now-commis spot, that would be perfect)

                  2) Baywolf is quiet and nice, but is neither ethnic nor cheap enough to recommend heartily.

                  3) Oghane is 3 short blocks off of Piedmont ave, has very easy parking, and fun for groups. Recent review pointed out how much fun a group had there, with the panchan and all. The front room is the quiet one there, but I would call the place normal.

                  5) A cote, the back room I would call normal-loud and the front is very-loud. If you're looking for *quiet*, I'd be on the fence about A Cote. Similar to Soi 4 across the street - lunch is pretty quiet, dinner can get bustling.

                  4) If you're used to O Chame, what about Cafe Rouge? It's moderately quiet, doesn't bustle at lunch, and the food's not bad at all. French isn't ethnic, but it would be an easy choice.

                  Now, regarding all of berkeley ---

                  Indus Village is quiet, ethnic, and good, but I think you want something fancier - more birthday grade. The chairs there are very uncomfortable.

                  Is Corso quiet enough?

                  What about Locanda de Eva?

                  China Village is very good at birthdays, because you can take an entire table in the "extra part" of the restaurant. If no one else is there, which is common, it'll be like a private party. Of course, they're not in berkeley.

                  Ajanta is quiet, almost subdued, ethnic, and birthday-grade. I personally am not a great fan because their spice use is muted (aka subtle), but the concept of having 3 dishes you've never, ever had before is pretty fly. You can drag me there but I won't drag others there.

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                  A Cote
                  5478 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

                  Cafe Rouge
                  1782 Fourth St, Berkeley, CA 94710

                  O Chame
                  1830 4th St, Berkeley, CA 94710

                  Indus Village Restaurant
                  1920 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702

                  Zatis
                  4029 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611

                  1. re: bbulkow
                    lexdevil RE: bbulkow Aug 10, 2010 02:46 PM

                    I'm under no illusion that Bay Wolf is "ethnic." I do think it fit's the OP's description of "contemporary and/or fresh market cuisine." I read this as another option on the list, rather than a request for food that was both "ethnic" and "contemporary and/or fresh market cuisine."

                    Great call on Ajanta! I take my father there frequently. Quiet, good service, and great food.

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                    Ajanta Restaurant
                    1888 Solano Ave, Berkeley, CA 94707

                    Bay Wolf Restaurant
                    3853 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

                    1. re: lexdevil
                      bbulkow RE: lexdevil Aug 10, 2010 03:34 PM

                      Good point. The patio at baywolf is very pleasant in the afternoon. Duck fat fries!

                      1. re: lexdevil
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                        phoenikia RE: lexdevil Aug 12, 2010 11:01 AM

                        Hi lexdevil, yes, that is what I meant to write. Contemporary or fresh market or ethnic cuisine.

                      2. re: bbulkow
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                        abstractpoet RE: bbulkow Aug 10, 2010 02:56 PM

                        The uncomfortable chairs at Indus Village have been replaced: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/718149

                        I can confirm that the new chairs are much more comfortable, if less attractive, and the food is consistently very good. Definitely not fancy though.

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                        Indus Village Restaurant
                        1920 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702

                        1. re: bbulkow
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                          phoenikia RE: bbulkow Aug 12, 2010 11:06 AM

                          Not sure if Corso or Locanda de Eva would be quiet enough ;-) Have not been to either. Not from these parts.

                      3. Robert Lauriston RE: phoenikia Aug 10, 2010 11:52 AM

                        The front room at Ohgane (Korean) is usually quiet. If they try to seat you in the back, insist on the front.

                        Uzen (sushi), Ajanta (Indian).

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                        Ohgane
                        3915 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94611

                        Uzen Japanese Cuisine
                        5415 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

                        Ajanta
                        1237 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10027

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Robert Lauriston
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                          kc72 RE: Robert Lauriston Aug 10, 2010 02:59 PM

                          Front room on weekdays is the lunch buffet crowd, so can be a little loud w/ people moving around.

                          1. re: kc72
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                            sydthekyd RE: kc72 Aug 10, 2010 06:28 PM

                            Lunch Buffet at Indus?

                            1. re: sydthekyd
                              wolfe RE: sydthekyd Aug 10, 2010 07:06 PM

                              "The front room at Ohgane" see RL one upthread.

                              -----
                              Ohgane
                              3915 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94611

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                          phoenikia RE: phoenikia Aug 12, 2010 10:59 AM

                          Thanks for all your comments. This really helps us out.

                          We'll be having several dinners and lunches, sometimes with more people (10-15), sometimes with less (3-5).

                          Out of the restaurants mentioned that are located on College Ave or Piedmont Ave, which would you think is best for a group of 8-10? There will be 2 conservative eaters among us, so fresh market, Italian, Mediterranean or contemporary might work best for this dinner. So far, I've got Adesso, Zatis, Dopo and Marica on the shortlist. Bay Wolf is probably a little pricey for this group, but might also consider that.

                          9 Replies
                          1. re: phoenikia
                            JasmineG RE: phoenikia Aug 12, 2010 11:46 AM

                            I'm not sure if any of those places will work for a group of 8-10, maybe Zatis. Adesso isn't big enough (they could maybe push tables together, but it would take waiting and planning), Dopo might work but it's pretty small (and not all that quiet), and Marica is also pretty small, though they may have enough seating, I'm not sure.

                            -----
                            Dopo
                            4293 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611

                            Zatis
                            4029 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611

                            Adesso
                            4395 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA

                            1. re: JasmineG
                              Glencora RE: JasmineG Aug 12, 2010 11:51 AM

                              Zatis is a great idea. They have a quiet backroom. I've been to family dinners there. Worked really well.

                              -----
                              Zatis
                              4029 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611

                            2. re: phoenikia
                              Ruth Lafler RE: phoenikia Aug 12, 2010 01:08 PM

                              One restaurant on Piedmont Ave. that hasn't been mentioned is Xyclo. Although it feels sort of upscale/Westernized, I've found the food there to be fresh and delicious, and my 70-something parents like it.

                              -----
                              Xyclo Restaurant
                              4218 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611

                              1. re: phoenikia
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                                abstractpoet RE: phoenikia Aug 12, 2010 01:14 PM

                                I wouldn't do Adesso or Dopo with that big a group, especially since they don't take reservations. I do like Marica a lot, and they take reservations--I bet they'd be willing to push together a couple of tables to accommodate you. That would be my first choice on your short list. They have great happy hour specials (available all night) and prix-fixe deals, and 10% off if you pay cash. I would just call up the restaurant and see what they say.

                                I haven't been to Zatis.

                                -----
                                Dopo
                                4293 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611

                                Zatis
                                4029 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611

                                Adesso
                                4395 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA

                                1. re: abstractpoet
                                  JasmineG RE: abstractpoet Aug 12, 2010 02:12 PM

                                  Dopo does take reservations for big groups, and I've seen groups of 6-8 there. It wouldn't be my ideal spot, though, especially since it's still a pretty little restaurant.

                                  -----
                                  Dopo
                                  4293 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611

                                  1. re: JasmineG
                                    lexdevil RE: JasmineG Aug 12, 2010 02:18 PM

                                    I can can confirm that Dopo takes reservations for groups of 6 or more. At prime time it can be a bit loud. If you're considering it for a late weeknight (like the 9:00 PM mentioned elsewhere), it would be an excellent choice.

                                    -----
                                    Dopo
                                    4293 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611

                                    1. re: lexdevil
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                                      phoenikia RE: lexdevil Aug 12, 2010 11:57 PM

                                      Dopo was loud for our group, but the food was great, and the service was attentive. I had made a reservation in the afternoon.

                                      So there kitchen wasn't overwhelmed, we did a family style order, with antipasti and veggie platters, and various pizzas and pastas as they were ready. I thought the prices were incredibly reasonable, esp. considering how tasty the food was. Really liked the chittara w sand dabs, antipasti platter, pizzas.

                                      Thanks to everyone who recommended it.

                                      1. re: phoenikia
                                        lexdevil RE: phoenikia Aug 13, 2010 01:07 AM

                                        What time did you go? Just interested to know if it was late evening, or if this was the usual dinner hour noise level. During the usual dinner hour I find it on the very edge of my father's noise tolerance. We go anyway because the food is so good. Glad you're group enjoyed the food.

                                        1. re: lexdevil
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                                          phoenikia RE: lexdevil Aug 13, 2010 08:11 PM

                                          We got there at 9 pm, and left around 10:45 pm. It was energetic when we got there, and quieted down a little by 9:30, but it was still on the loud side.

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                                phoenikia RE: phoenikia Aug 13, 2010 08:14 PM

                                Had a nice, quiet lunch on Adagia's patio in Berkeley yesterday.

                                Liked the rockfish banh mi (nothing like at traditional banh mi), and the sweet potato fries. Had low expectations due to the various posts over the last few years, but I thought the lunch was pretty good.

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