Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Apr 1, 2012 07:13 PM

Good spot for "fancy" weekend lunch for eight?

We're looking for a good spot for a golden anniversary celebration for eight for a Saturday or Sunday lunch---ideally with a private area or room, but that's not essential. We'd like to stay within an hour and a half of central Oakland but beyond that, we're wide open. The goal is to find something new and a little fancier than our usual special occasion East Bay spots like A Cote, Wood Tavern, Commis, Plum, etc. Lunch is preferable to brunch, but we're open to either.

So far I have Cyrus, Ad Hoc, Auberge du Soleil, Chez Panisse Cafe...any others, especially closer to Oakland? (I don't think there are many stones unturned in Oakland/Berkeley but if anyone has a favorites there that might be under the radar, feel free to suggest!) I didn't see many spots in SF that were open mid-day, but may have missed some. Would love any suggestions you have for restaurants that might be appropriate--thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Bumping in case anyone has any ideas or experience with lunch/brunch at any of these spots--thanks!

    2 Replies
    1. re: artemis78

      Chez Panisse Cafe is great for lunch. In SF, Zuni. Or, totally different direction, the brunch buffet at the Garden Court.

      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        A number of years a 75+ year old friend celebrated her birthday at the Garden Court and loved reliving memories of The Palace Hotel with her family. They all loved this old historic setting and being able to use BART to assemble from all over the Bay Area. Too many years ago to recall any comments about food.

        Here's their website:

    2. We took my parents out to Waterbar for their anniversary last year, and we had 8 people as well (including my siblings+SO's). It definitely has the "fancy" atmosphere (one of the best views in the city) and their weekend brunch prices are a lot more affordable than dinner. You can get a bottle of prosecco+orange juice to make your own mimosas for $20! Plus they have $1 oysters during the day before 6pm, I think we wound up getting about 4 dozen. Desserts are fabulous! I thought they did a good job handling our large party, event though they didn't have a private dining room.

      Officially it's brunch but they have mostly lunch-type food (salads, etc.):

      1. Chez Panisse cafe is a terrific place, but it's not fancier that the other E. Bay spots you mentioned.
        Not really worthy of a golden anniversary in my book.
        Other than its distance from Oakland, your Auberge du Soleil idea sounds more like what you're looking for.
        It is fancy and really is, and feels like, a place to celebrate a special occasion.
        Bonus: The view from the terrace is absolutely beautiful.
        The food is also very very good.

        1. Thanks all--I wasn't familiar with the Palace Hotel at all so that's a great option to throw into the mix! And for melvin, yes, that was my concern about Chez Panisse Cafe---if downstairs were open for lunch I could see that working, but I wasn't sure the cafe was enough different from other nice spots we've taken these family members to lunch/brunch (Wood Tavern, Commis, etc.) to really make it a special event experience. I've not been to the cafe, though, so I wasn't sure on that.

          We are definitely open to heading up to Sonoma/Napa, since a big plus is that we virtually never go out to eat up there (main limiting factor is a seven-month-old---but that's also a vote for somewhere like Auberge du Soleil or Cyrus, which seem to have private rooms for small groups so we wouldn't be in the main dining room). I'm pulling together a short list of these ideas to send on to the family, so it's great to have the feedback on different spots. Thanks again!

          3 Replies
            1. re: grayelf

              Doh, no, sorry! That should say Camino. :) Was thinking Commis from the list earlier in the brunch or lunch there, sad to say!

              1. re: artemis78

                Since you revived this thread, where did you end up?

          1. I believe Bottega in Napa has private rooms too. Loved their food on a recent trip.