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Graduation Dinner- East Bay/SF

dessert_time17 Apr 20, 2013 08:35 PM

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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    hungree RE: dessert_time17 Apr 21, 2013 12:02 AM

    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
      Mission RE: hungree Apr 21, 2013 08:33 AM

      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
        hungree RE: Mission Apr 21, 2013 09:26 AM

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

        1. re: hungree
          Robert Lauriston RE: hungree Apr 21, 2013 09:34 AM

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


      2. re: hungree
        ML8000 RE: hungree Apr 21, 2013 10:46 AM

        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
          Robert Lauriston RE: ML8000 Apr 21, 2013 10:52 AM

          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
            Glencora RE: Robert Lauriston Apr 21, 2013 10:58 AM

            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
              Robert Lauriston RE: Glencora Apr 21, 2013 11:07 AM

              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
                The Dive RE: Robert Lauriston Apr 25, 2013 10:57 AM

                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
                shanghaikid RE: Glencora Apr 21, 2013 11:24 AM

                had a terrible happy hour food experence a year ago.

              3. re: Robert Lauriston
                ML8000 RE: Robert Lauriston Apr 21, 2013 11:15 AM

                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
                jaiko RE: ML8000 Apr 23, 2013 07:18 PM

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

                1. re: jaiko
                  The Dive RE: jaiko Apr 25, 2013 10:58 AM

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

            2. s
              shanghaikid RE: dessert_time17 Apr 21, 2013 07:14 AM

              Hong Kong East Ocean Seafood Restaurant, Emeryville.

              1. Robert Lauriston RE: dessert_time17 Apr 21, 2013 09:18 AM

                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. Robert Lauriston RE: dessert_time17 Apr 21, 2013 02:41 PM

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

                  1. Ruth Lafler RE: dessert_time17 Apr 21, 2013 04:29 PM

                    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
                      jaiko RE: Ruth Lafler Apr 23, 2013 07:30 PM

                      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!

                    2. nicedragonboy RE: dessert_time17 Apr 24, 2013 10:53 AM

                      Of those mentioned, IMO Lungomare would be most interesting in terms of food and quality. Though the water view from that particular space isn't the best.

                      For the view and safe food, Skates on the Bay or Dead Fish, and possibly East Ocean if your grandparents are okay with Chinese food. Skates from what I've heard just had a remodel this past year and new kitchen staff heading it up. Not clear on if it was an actual improvement food-wise.

                      Personally I'd consider the patio at Bocanova, just be careful on what to order if the spice is a concern. Or just let the waiter know.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: nicedragonboy
                        Robert Lauriston RE: nicedragonboy Apr 24, 2013 11:07 AM

                        Skates' menu has a lot in common with those at the other branches of Kincaid's.



                        1. re: Robert Lauriston
                          jaiko RE: Robert Lauriston May 1, 2013 04:28 PM

                          Skates and Kincaid are owned by the same carefully anonymous corporate holding company. They both have the same absolutely disgusting deconstructed Beef Wellington on their menu.

                          Nothing like being asked by a waiter, "Would you like me to pour your Wellington sauce, sir?"

                          1. re: jaiko
                            Robert Lauriston RE: jaiko May 1, 2013 04:31 PM

                            Their restaurants may be boring, but Restaurants Unlimited is hardly anonymous:


                            1. re: jaiko
                              nicedragonboy RE: jaiko May 1, 2013 05:04 PM

                              while I am by no means a big fan of either restaurant or their parent company, I do think that's an unfair statement particularly because there isn't even beef wellington on either of their menus. just saying.

                              1. re: nicedragonboy
                                Robert Lauriston RE: nicedragonboy May 1, 2013 07:39 PM

                                They both had beef Wellington on the menu maybe a year ago.

                                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                  jaiko RE: Robert Lauriston May 3, 2013 01:17 PM

                                  Yes, they BOTH did, when we went:
                                  Kincaid's Aug 2011
                                  Skates Feb 2012

                                  We dine out 3-4x/wkly. We would not go back to either one. All the food at both places was sloppy, salty, and second-rate.

                                  Both restaurants have prices similar to Oliveto's. Neither is anywhere near as good.

                          2. re: nicedragonboy
                            canida RE: nicedragonboy May 1, 2013 08:49 PM

                            Second on the patio or by the windows at Bocanova. It's a nice view, solid food, laid back, and they deal well with groups.

                          3. Mission RE: dessert_time17 May 3, 2013 02:17 PM

                            I would just go to the Claremont hotel.

                            Good views, pretty classy, good food that your grandparents will probably enjoy and convenient with easy parking.

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