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Feb 24, 2012 06:32 PM

Seafood, and great lunch in March

My parents recently relocated to Berkeley (from Southern California, where I grew up), and I'll be flying in from Chicago to see them in March. I'm looking for some recommendations for some restaurants to visit with my family.

I'd love to visit a great seafood restaurant somewhere in Berkeley or Oakland with my family. My dad is a big fan of Spenger's in Berkeley, however my mom and I find the place to be less than underwhelming. Unfortunately, my dad is not much of a hound, but he does love oysters and (especially) mussels. Recommendations for a quality seafood restaurant that won't completely break the bank or take my dad out of his comfort zone would be fantastic. Price should be around $40 a person.

My mom and I like to have nice lunches or early dinners at great restaurants. We've done the cafe at Chez Panisse, and loved it. In Chicago, we really enjoyed lunch at Frontera Grill, and dinner at Spiaggia. Ideally, we'd like to have lunch somewhere nice in San Francisco (hopefully accessible by the BART, although we're happy to walk a mile or so). We love cozy ambiance, as well as delicious but unfussy food, and a great wine list. Price should be $60ish per person.

Your help would be fantastic!

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  1. Nearish Bart in SF and does weekend lunch:

    Nearish Bart in Berkeley/Oakland and does weekend lunch:
    Wood Tavern

    Would make reservations to be safe.

    I think a great itinerary (assuming you have the open schedule to allow it) is get off at the Embarcadero Bart Station. Head to the Ferry Building before 1 p.m. on Sat. for their Farmer's Market and then walk to Cotogna for lunch.

    1. Try Woodhouse Fish or Hayes Street Grill in SF.

      Chez Panisse actually does an exceptional job with fish and seafood. Of course you only usually get one or two choices.

      1. Sea Salt in Berkeley would probably be perfect for your whole family

        I have a friend similar to your dad and she was happy with the food there.

        They have great oysters, if you mean your dad likes the raw type. The clam chowder is great. They have steamed mussels. Very good fish and chips.

        So they do straight up, nothing fancy sea food.

        However they also do intersting stuff such as Grilled Whole Bronzini Seabass fennel confit salad

        Address with website

        1 Reply
        1. re: rworange

          Sea Salt is a great pick for Berkeley...forgot all about it.

        2. in San Francisco, check out lunch in any of the restaurants in Belden Place - a Bart ride and short walk. on a nice weekday, it's a lovely place to sit and people watch. i particularly like B44, Plouf, Cafe Bastille - and as an extra added bonus, take your dad one day (or eve) to Sam's Grill - totally old school seafood place. Also Tadich (not in Belden place but not too far away, and close to Bart as well) - another old school, San Francisco classic.

          If you like Chez Panisse I'd say you'd like Zuni - and lunchtime is very pleasant. You can Bart to the Embarcadero and then hop on one of the many old-timey Muni cars - the F Muni will take you all the way there, straight up Market.

          right around the corner from Chez Panisse for your lunches is Gregoire's - a tiny take out place with a few seats with really well prepared Cal-French food.

          Cafe Rouge on 4th Street is also great at lunchtime. Your dad can get his oyster fix there too.

          and I understand that Sea Salt has happy hour $1 oysters from 3-6 or something like that....

          2 Replies
          1. re: mariacarmen

            Plouf in Belden Alley specializes in mussels and offers them prepared a number of ways.

            1. re: DavidT

              yep, plouf is a very old fave for me. they also make a KILLER fish and chips at lunch.

          2. Good non-Asian seafood in Berkeley/Oakland, Sea Salt and Marica.

            Best mussels in the Bay Area are at À Côté (better than my former favorite Plouf) and Wood Tavern serves a fantastic fish soup, though neither has many seafood dishes on the menu.

            Best oysters might be at Cafe Rouge, half a dozen kinds plus shrimp and (in season) crab. Dollar oysters from 5:30 Tues.-Thurs. and 12:30 Fri.-Sun.

            If you're open to Asian there are a lot of other options, such as Saigon Seafood Harbor (named after a neighborhood in Hong Kong). Too bad Great China won't reopen until April.

            Lunch in San Francisco, maybe Zuni Cafe, the best place for oysters and other cold shellfish.


            2 Replies
              1. re: sydthekyd

                In that area, Saigon and Asian Pearl would probably be better options for seafood