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Group dinner in Albany/El Cerrito/Berkeley

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Aman M. Nov 16, 2010 03:26 PM

Hi,

I'm taking my restaurant crew out for a Holiday party. We are looking for a fun dinner/drinks kind of place between North Berkeley and Albany bowl. It will likely be a Saturday night in December. Most of the staff are college students and a few 30-something cooks. A full bar would be nice, but we could get by on a nice beer selection. Food budget not including drinks is about $20/person. Any cuisine, but no sushi. A family style, small plates kind of atmosphere seems fun. I was thinking little star on Solano Ave. Any other suggestions?

Thanks,
Aman

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    Aman M. RE: Aman M. Nov 16, 2010 03:27 PM

    There will be about 15 of us.

    1. daveena RE: Aman M. Nov 16, 2010 05:36 PM

      You could do Nizza la Bella at that price - their servings are large and lend themselves well to sharing. Full bar. A lot of their seats are booths, but I think they have enough free standing tables that they could accommodate your party.

      1 Reply
      1. re: daveena
        mariacarmen RE: daveena Nov 17, 2010 08:45 PM

        +1 on Nizza. make sure you reserve pretty quick, they're always busy.

      2. Ruth Lafler RE: Aman M. Nov 16, 2010 06:13 PM

        China Village.

        1. Morton the Mousse RE: Aman M. Nov 16, 2010 09:03 PM

          T-Rex BBQ would work. Most entrees are under $20 and portions are big. Food is consisetetyl good. The bbq and sides are pretty conducive to family style sharing. Great bar selection. Not particularly vegetarian friendly.

          1. kellylee RE: Aman M. Nov 17, 2010 05:41 AM

            We had a party of 30 plus at T-Rex last year. They created a long table upstairs. I'm not a fan of the food but the drink menu is extensive.
            You might consider Six Degrees on Solano Ave. We've had groups of 15 or so. They have a nice happy hour drinks/eats menu and parking isn't too crazy. The price is definitely right--HH drinks are $5 with lots of small plates for $3-$6.
            Nizza is my favorite but the biggest group I've done there is 10.

            1. a
              Aman M. RE: Aman M. Nov 19, 2010 04:48 PM

              I agree on T-Rex, food is so-so but it would be convenient for a big group and the cocktails are nice.

              Never been to Nizza but the the menu looks good.

              How is Fonda? Maybe on the pricey side?

              7 Replies
              1. re: Aman M.
                mariacarmen RE: Aman M. Nov 19, 2010 11:17 PM

                I actually think, personally, that Nizza has gone downhill a bit, but others still love it, and it's a very warm welcoming space, and I'm sure some of their items are still very good (granmere comes to mind - a very rich mac-n-cheese) and yummy coctails. pizza was very so-so.

                Fonda is good, but to me a bit cold. and yes, i think it's pricey for the food.

                I've only been to T-Rex once. Liked it, but don't know it well enough.

                1. re: mariacarmen
                  kellylee RE: mariacarmen Nov 20, 2010 07:07 AM

                  Fonda is tough with a group of even 8 people. Noisy, hard to hear the convos. I find it expensive, too. That said, it can be a nice date night if you sit upstairs really close to each other and share bites. The staff is great at Fonda.

                  1. re: mariacarmen
                    c
                    chilihead2006 RE: mariacarmen Nov 20, 2010 01:12 PM

                    NLB's pizza is some of the best anywhere...and I mean anywhere, including Italy. Perhaps there was some kind of kitchen malfunction on the night you went. We haven't been there in a few weeks but have been regulars for the past 3 years.

                    We love their atmosphere. The booths help create a very cozy European bistro ambiance. Their "Nissarde" cuisine is better than most of what we recently found in Nice.

                    1. re: chilihead2006
                      mariacarmen RE: chilihead2006 Nov 20, 2010 02:01 PM

                      I've had NLB's pizza 2 or 3 times, and I've never liked it - i used to LOVE that restaurant. And I am still recommending it, for certain things. and as i suggested above, the atmosphere is wondeful - warm and cozy. but tried it right after they switched their menu, when they got their pizza oven, and then again a year later, and then, actually, twice in the last year. The last time, no one at our table liked our pizza. I like Pizzaiolo's, as a standard. I'm sorry to disagree further with you, but I didn't find pizza in Italy very good either (lived there for 5 months) - except one place, one time in Torino. Never made it to Napoli. I know, heresy.....

                      -----
                      Pizzaiolo
                      5008 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

                      1. re: mariacarmen
                        Robert Lauriston RE: mariacarmen Nov 20, 2010 03:10 PM

                        The oven has been there from day one and they always had a pizza or two on the menu. When the owner appeared as an expert on a History Channel show about pizza, they revised the menu to add a wider selection of pizzas, but the style of pizza never changed.

                        Pizzaiolo's more in the tender Neapolitan tradition and Nizza's in the crisper New York tradition.

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston
                          mariacarmen RE: Robert Lauriston Nov 21, 2010 08:51 AM

                          ok. i'd never ordered pizza from them before they expanded the menu.

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston
                            l
                            lmnopm RE: Robert Lauriston Nov 21, 2010 10:02 AM

                            My only recent "negative" comment is that on a recent visit, things that came out of that oven weren't done as usual (esp. the pizza crust), making me think they were either taken out prematurely, or the oven wasn't hot enough. Otherwise, I haven't experienced any slippage.

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