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Where should I take my parents?

My parents have visited me in San Francisco before...

Feb 2009: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/597445

Oct 2007: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/453544

Feb 2007: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/372556

And they're coming again in a few weeks. I'm trying to choose a "nicer" meal to have with them, and am looking for ideas. On previous visits, they LOVED Aziza, and thought Incanto was good (but not as good as Aziza).

Things that should be the focus: Good service, emphasis on local produce/products, ability to easily share dishes (small plates might be great), price range in the same vein as Incanto, Aziza, etc.

Things that should not be the focus: Seafood (so, even though I love La Ciccia, we probably won't go there), Wine (we probably won't drink much, if any), East Asian (we will probably be eating a lot of Chinese/Vietnamese/Burmese food during our other meals

)

I would be equally happy to eat in Oakland or San Francisco....Berkeley or Sausalito could potentially work too!

Some ideas that sounded intriguing, so thoughts would be appreciated:

Nopa - SF - I've been here before, but parents have not. I think they'd like it, but I'm not sure they'd be wowed.

Barlata - Oakland - The menu sounds good, but not sure how it compares in terms of ambiance and food quality to somewhere like Aziza?

Bocanova - Oakland - I know very little about this....

Barbacco - SF - Not sure if this would be the right scene for us (will probably be dining on a Saturday night)

SPQR - SF - A bit pricier than some other options? But maybe good?

Comal - Berkeley - ??? Does this place even belong on this list?

Anywhere else that comes to mind, particularly if it's Cal-Mediterranean, Cal-Italian, Cal-Spanish, etc., would be great.....La Ciccia would actually be perfect if there wasn't so much emphasis on wine and seafood.

Thanks in advance!
Dave MP

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  1. I would say not Barbacco, the atmosphere is like a very high end, bright cafeteria (to be clear this is not true of the food just the atmosphere). Loud and fun and casual.

    1. Gather in Berkeley.
      http://www.gatherrestaurant.com/image...
      I don't think Barlata has anything like the ambiance of Aziza.

      1 Reply
      1. State Bird Provisions sounds like the hot new place that might fit your bill:
        http://statebirdsf.com/

        1. I love Barbacco, but it's squished enough, especially with the iPads on the table, that you should consider whether that would be an issue at all.

          If they're cool with the noisiness, Nopa sounds like a good idea, especially since there's no pork chop on the current menu to distract from smaller plates.

          Barlata serves very good tapas, but, at least what I've eaten there, isn't different from a higher quality tapas place you'd find in any other city. It certainly doesn't have that experimental feel you'd get from Aziza.

          If you can score a reservation, Statebird Provisions would fit the bill.

          If you're in the East Bay, Adesso might make a nice prelude to something else

          1. AQ?

            I thought Bocanova was very good -- and it's excellent for sharing, since the portions are designed to be big enough to share. I'm not sure it's quite the atmosphere you're looking for, nor is the food cutting edge (you might try nearby Haven, though).

            Maybe A Cote?

            1 Reply
            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              Last month, I had meals at both Bocanova and A Cote within the same week. A Cote definitely has the edge on atmosphere, food at both is very good, both are good for sharing, and both fit into the Cal-____ mold, but I don't think they probably satisfy the wow factor Dave MP is looking for. If wine or cocktails were an important part of the equation, A Cote would be a great rec, since its lists are so interesting.