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Apr 20, 2013 08:35 PM

Graduation Dinner- East Bay/SF

Hi! I will be graduating from UC Berkeley in May, and am looking for a good (on the nicer side) restaurant to go with my family to celebrate. There will be no kids, but my traditional grandparents will be there. We will be a group of about 7, and the preference so far has been "seafood with a view." Any suggestions in the East Bay or SF would be greatly appreciated!


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  1. Lungomare in Oakland on the water, Hs Lordships in Berkeley on the Water, The Dead Fish a bit further north but is probably the best of the three. All would be great with traditional grandparents :).

    12 Replies
    1. re: hungree

      Hs Lordships in Berkeley?

      last time i was there it was kinda dumpy.
      Worn, beat up furniture,dirty carpets ect.

      c- minus grade food.

      whats it like now?

      1. re: Mission

        you are correct. this is exactly why traditional grandparents still like it.

        1. re: hungree

          I think it's possible to please old people without eating at a chain restaurant.

      2. re: hungree

        The water views are very limited at Lungomare, but you're right it's probably the best of choices.

        Across the way is Scott's. I wouldn't recommend it but it has better water views. It will likely make grandma and grandpa happy however.

        Also in Jack London Square is Bocanova. No water views but it has a nice patio probably 30 yards from sailboat docks.

        1. re: ML8000

          If you get a table in the back, Lungomare's view is about the same as Scott's.

          Of the chain / chain-ish places, I think Kincaid's probably has the best food. Skates in Berkeley is basically a branch of Kincaid's.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            I think the food at Skates is pretty horrible, though I haven't been there in more than a year.

            Another chain-ish place is the Lake Chalet. Nice view, especially at sunset, good for all ages. I've had a bad lunch and a rather good special occasion dinner there -- both about 2 years ago. I'd be curious to hear if anyone's been there lately.

            1. re: Glencora

              Lake Chalet has a reputation for inconsistent service and food. I think the dearth of recent reports reflects people giving up on the place.


              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                I stopped by Lake Chalet a few nights ago when the weather was so nice. It is such a shame that it is such a nice location, but the food and service are just terrible. We had calamari, chicken wings and a cheese plate and nearly everything was substandard. the calamari had some fried lemon slices and one pepper in it that could have added some interest, but was all served at a tepid temperature. the cheese was cold and still had some wrapper on it. The wings tasted like ketchup. I would say to just go for the a glass of wine and avoid the food, but even the wine is not great and is over-priced. I have to remind myself of this the next time someone talks me into going there.

              2. re: Glencora

                had a terrible happy hour food experence a year ago.

              3. re: Robert Lauriston

                Not really. I've sat in both places. Scott's has seating at a long window over a 10' wide boardwalk and then looking right at the channel. There's like 20 tables against that window, all will see water. It's been set-up that way for obvious reasons.

                The seating at Lungomare's (formerly Miss Pearl's) is much farther from the water because the boardwalk is wider and some of the windows are angled. There's maby 5-6 tables near windows but you won't see any water.

              4. re: ML8000

                Bocanova's food tends to be spicy. My 85-yr old MIL hated it.

                1. re: jaiko

                  We have had good luck at Boconova with a mixed age group.

            2. Hong Kong East Ocean Seafood Restaurant, Emeryville.

              1. Lungomare's the only such place in the Berkeley area I've heard anything good about. The others are all chains or chain-like.

                Waterbar in SF.

                1. Kincaid's has the least obstructed water views at Jack London Square.

                  1. With graduations going on, lots of people are going to be looking for similar places, so lock something down soon.

                    Since this is more about the occasion than the food, I'd go to the Claremont -- they have two restaurants of varying degrees of fanciness and some of the most spectacular views in the Bay Area. It's iconic, your grandparents will love it and the food will be fine.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                      I'd agree with Ruth, although we haven't been back to Meritage (rates better than Paragon) since the new chef took over.

                      A couple of things to note:
                      - Both restaurants are on the lobby floor. Parking is to your left as you enter, which puts you downhill from the back door entrance.

                      - Unless they've changed the parking, KEEP BOTH YOUR ORIGINAL PARKING TICKET and THE RESTAURANT'S VALIDATION TICKET. The attendant requires both when you leave. We also end up paying an additional $7 above the restaurant's validated time, btw. Meritage's dinners are leisurely and the validation doesn't cover all the time it takes.

                      - The menu offers half-size portions of 90% of the dishes, from starters through entrees. This is their solution to the small plates craze. It's a lovely way to try a number of dishes, and the half-portion dishes were just right for my elderly MIL's flagging appetite.

                      - The waiters often forget to tell you if you want the hot souffle dessert, order it AHEAD OF TIME. I've had it come out in 10 minutes but it has taken as long as 17 min. on occasion. The fruit desserts are excellent; their pastry chef is one of the better ones around.

                      - Once the sun goes down the view is VERY limited. And the decor of the Meritage is not as sophisticated as the food, aging British Empire Tropical, actually. But the chairs are surprisingly comfortable.

                      - When they are busy, we have had service and food suffer. But when they are on top of things, it is by far the best Bay Area restaurant with a view we've encountered in the last three years. When the weather conditions are just right, they offer a simply stunning vista!

                      And yes, lock that date and time down right now. Immediately. ASAP. Good luck and have a great time!