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Trying to Decide on an Oakland/Berkeley Restaurant for Christmas Eve

The Dive Dec 2, 2010 09:48 AM

Based on avaibility, I have four places in the running for Christmas Eve:

Bay Wolf
Lalime's
Revival Bar & Kitchen
Five

I will have a group of four diners and one 18-month-old. One diner (not the child) is somewhat picky -- nervous about "odd" ingredients (for example, wouldn't even try the fresh garbanzo beans on a dish at Sea Salt and them replaced with potatoes), nothing spicy and only drinks bud light. None of the places above are too adventurous, but I wanted to pick the most festive, comfortable, tasty place for all involved (including child). Thoughts?

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Sea Salt
2512 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94702

Bay Wolf Restaurant
3853 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

Lalime's
1329 Gilman, Berkeley, CA 94706

Revival Bar & Kitchen
2102 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704

  1. Ruth Lafler Dec 2, 2010 09:54 AM

    We had a good experience at Lalime's with my four-year-old niece earlier this year, although that was during the Morrone regime. I'm guessing Five might be a bit too formal. Have you considered Digs Bistro? They're very child friendly.

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    Digs Bistro
    1453 Dwight Way, Berkeley, CA 94702

    Lalime's
    1329 Gilman, Berkeley, CA 94706

    1 Reply
    1. re: Ruth Lafler
      The Dive Dec 2, 2010 03:53 PM

      Unfortunately Digs is closed on Christmas Eve.

    2. r
      redchair Dec 3, 2010 04:28 PM

      I would choose Bay Wolf. Their service is warmly professional and the atmosphere is worthy of a Christmas Eve meal. They would also roll with the infant. I have a meat-and-potatoes teen who likes Bay Wolf a lot -- there is always something on the menu that suits him.

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      Bay Wolf Restaurant
      3853 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

      3 Replies
      1. re: redchair
        c
        Cricket Dec 4, 2010 07:40 AM

        I wholeheartedly second redchair's recommendation!

        Bay Wolf is lovely -- at once festive and low-key; the staff are gracious and unobtrusively attentive, and the food is superb. Duck is a specialty -- and no other restaurant I know does it so sublimely (perfectly cooked, with no trace of fat, & served with whatever sauce the chef is inspired to create from seasonal fruit) -- but there always are several other hard-to-resist options on the menu, so it takes me quite a while to order.

        Foodies, meat-and-potatoes people, vegetarians -- everyone I've brought there has found something wonderful to eat. On one occasion, even a tantrum-throwing, world-class-fussy-eating 8 year old was calmed & pleased with a simple pasta created specially for her (i.e. it wasn't on the menu) at our server's suggestion.

        Added pluses: Aesthetically beautiful and warm; quiet enough for several people at a table to converse without shouting; quite welcoming and sensitive with kids and to guests who have mobility problems or other special needs. I always feel they're happy to see us...

        Bay Wolf would be my first choice, coming from anywhere in the Bay Area!

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        Bay Wolf Restaurant
        3853 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

        1. re: Cricket
          bbulkow Dec 4, 2010 09:33 AM

          BayWolf would seem a good choice. I always feel let down eating there, because the menu and room and service are so great, and the food is simply quite good. Exactly what room you are in is different too - I like the right front, and the patio (not in winter though). And I haven't been there in a few years, but the place is fairly classic.

          1. re: Cricket
            susancinsf Dec 4, 2010 01:37 PM

            I am *not* a Bay Wolf fan; last time I ate there, which admittedly was a long time ago, I thought the food was mediocre, and the room was cold, not warm (we sat inside, not on the porch). That said, if you do choose it, ask about pre-set menus; I dined there once on a holiday and the pre-set meal was pricey. (and could be limiting for picky sorts).

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            Bay Wolf Restaurant
            3853 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

        2. Glencora Dec 4, 2010 08:12 AM

          I haven't been to Bay Wolf in many years so I won't comment on that.

          Lalime's is pretty cozy. The tables might be too close together to be comfortable with a small child. I haven't been back since the most recent chef change, so I'm not up on the food. The staff have always been great, though.

          Five is very festive and the food pretty good, not too "odd." You might feel sort of on display with the kid, since the tables are widely spaced. Or maybe not.

          I'd probably go to Revival. It's large, yet still cozy and I wouldn't feel self-conscious with the kid. I liked the food, but maybe you could look at the menu and see if your picky diner would accept it.

          They all seem like nice places. I'm sure you'll have fun.

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          Bay Wolf Restaurant
          3853 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

          Lalime's
          1329 Gilman, Berkeley, CA 94706

          1. The Dive Dec 30, 2010 09:48 AM

            We picked Revival and it worked out well. There was a couple other tables with young kiddos (probably due to the holiday) and the menu, although truncated, had some good selections for our group. It was very comfortable and festive, and we would return.

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