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A child at Plum?

I am responsible for reserving for a dinner that will include someone in his 70s and a 5-year-old. I've dined at Plum in the past but only post-8pm. These people want to dine early-bird and in the East Bay (Oakland or Berkeley specifically). I live in the city and don't have kids so I'm at a loss.

Will Plum be okay with a child at around 5:30 or 6? If not, what would be an appropriate alternative? Price isn't really a consideration, but with a kid I'm assuming we won't want anything too formal/quiet. And with an older person I think we can't go too casual. In fact the other thing about Plum that gives me pause is the service.

Suggestions welcome.

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  1. Bucci's in Emeryville has a nice concrete area outside, so the kid can (safely) go out and mess about. It's quiet in general and on the early side.

    I wouldn't do plum, partially because of the seats. But it depends so much on the 5 year old. I know some that will *ONLY* eat mac and cheese and will throw a fit if they don't get it.

    What about China Village? It's been a go-to of mine for mixed crowds. Some can stick with the "classics" some can order adventurous.

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    Bucci's
    6121 Hollis St, Emeryville, CA 94608

    1. I love Plum, but it probably isn't the best choice for that kind of group, especially if you don't know a lot about the particular 5-year-old and the particular 70-year-old.

      If you're driving in, I think Dopo would be an excellent option. I planned a group meal with somewhat similar logistics/dynamics to what you're describing (no 70-year-old, but two 60-year-olds and a couple of infants/toddlers). Dopo worked out great for us:
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/740278

      Note that they only take reservations if you have a party of 5 or more. Added bonus is that Lush Gelato (hands-down the best gelato I've had in the Bay Area) is right around the corner for a sweet treat after dinner.

      China Village is a nice suggestion if your group is OK with Chinese.

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      China Village
      1335 Solano Ave, Albany, CA 94706

      Dopo
      4293 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611

      Lush Gelato
      4184 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA

      1. Agreed with the above, Plum is great but would be difficult with that kind of group, partly because the food might be too weird for the youngest and oldest members of the group, depending on their preferences, and partly because the seating would be uncomfortable for them too.

        Alternate suggestions: Pizzaiolo (great with kids), Dopo, Wood Tavern (depending on the size of the group your group, but if it's small enough go with them, they have wonderful service).

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        Pizzaiolo
        5008 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

        Dopo
        4293 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611

        Wood Tavern
        6317 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618

        1 Reply
        1. re: JasmineG

          I've had good luck taking my kids to Pizzaiolo. The bocci ball court out back is a life saver for keeping young and restless picky eaters happy.

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          Pizzaiolo
          5008 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

        2. You've gotten good feedback. I would not do Plum for the same reasons already noted. Dopo is a good alternative, our 5 year old loves the pasta. The only drawback is that you need a party of 6 in order to make a reservation. Or show before 5:30. (Aside to abstractpoet: Lush gelato is great, but Dopo's own homemade gelato is even better.) Another suggestion is to go to Pican: we went with a multigenerational family group earlier this year, and everyone loved it. The 70+-year-olds liked the meaty entrees, and the kids in the group liked the mac'n'cheese. I appreciated the celebratory vibe. Service was great.

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          Dopo
          4293 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611

          Pican Restaurant
          2295 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612

          1. Thanks all for confirming what I was thinking--Plum won't work for us this time. No one's a picky eater in our group, and the child is fairly well restaurantized, but those benches will not be comfortable. I don't even find them particularly comfortable.

            I'm trying to reserve for a Sunday evening, so will look further into the suggestions. The family eats at Dopo somewhat regularly. I think it might be a little too casual. i tend to think the same thing about Bucci's, though I haven't been there in years and years.

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            Dopo
            4293 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611

            Bucci's
            6121 Hollis St, Emeryville, CA 94608

            7 Replies
            1. re: Leely2

              Well-restaurantized? Great term! I hope you won't mind if I steal it.

              1. re: Leely2

                Oliveto seems like the right call, then, if they eat at Dopo and like it and want something more formal. And it's open on Sunday nights, starting at 5.

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                Dopo
                4293 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611

                Oliveto Cafe
                5655 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618

                1. re: JasmineG

                  Is the food still good at Oliveto? I think that might be an appropriate choice but I haven't been there in at least ten years.

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                  Oliveto Cafe
                  5655 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618

                  1. re: Leely2

                    I had a nice meal there early in the new chef's tenure. Will be there tomorrow night for the tomato dinner. Will report back.

                    1. re: lexdevil

                      Jonah Rhodehamel, the new chef, is really hitting his stride. Tonight's tomato dinner was wonderful. The Crudo of Green Zebra tomato and watermelon with Green Zebra tomato gelatina was lovely, and the Black Prince tomato tart with ricotta and Parmesan cheeses really could have been served for dessert. Both of our pastas, the Pappardelle rosse with San Marzano tomato-braised beef shoulder, hot pepper,
                      and oregano and the Tortelli of roasted pork with Early Girl tomato-vodka brodo, were wonderful, though I'd give a slight edge to the Tortelli, whose texture was just perfect. The Tomato-braised beef short ribs with Red Flint corn polenta, Roma tomato jam, and beef sugo were everything you would expect - rich and and deeply flavored. I've always heard people say that the beef was like butter, but this really was. When I started cutting it, I was so started by how the knife slid through it that I made my husband do the same. He described the experience by saying that he wasn't even sure when the knife entered the meat. It was a rather uncanny sensation. Much to our surprise, we enjoyed the Spezzatino of 36-month Angus beef with roasted Yellow Finn potatoes, Black Prince tomatoes, and summer squash; green tomato salsa verde even more than the short ribs. The flavor of the beef was intense, yet the tomatoes and potatoes stood up to it admirably.

                      So...it's clear that I think the food at Oliveto is worth your time. Oliveto is not cheap, but if you are serious about price not really being a consideration, it should make you very happy. I should also note that the service, which was a (minor) concern several years back, keeps improving. It was very good tonight. I am excited about returning for the September (late) tomato dinner.

                      1. re: lexdevil

                        Thanks so much. Oliveto was my go-to "nice" restaurant when I was a student. I've reserved for our upcoming family dinner. Looking forward to it!

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                        Oliveto Cafe
                        5655 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618

                2. re: Leely2

                  Riva Cucina might also be a good choice. I've definitely seen kids there having a fine time, and it's a nice dining room -- not exactly "formal," but less cramped and more comfortable than Dopo.

                  Edit: Scratch that -- they're not open on Sundays.

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                  Dopo
                  4293 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611

                  Riva Cucina
                  800 Heinz Ave, Berkeley, CA 94710