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Jul 28, 2014 05:49 PM

Special occasion vegetarian friendly restaurant in the East Bay?

I'm trying (and failing) to find a nice restaurant for dinner on my birthday. I've spent hours going through Yelp reviews, and now I turn to you, Chowhounds.
Here is the problem: I am a pescetarian, and my husband is a vegetarian. Most of the places I've looked at have very small menus, with maybe one vegetarian option and one fish option. l'd like to have more than one thing to choose from. My go-to restaurant is A Cote, but I've been there quite a few times and would like to try something new. Does anyone have a suggestion for us, given these parameters?

- atmosphere: upscale enough for a nice dress but not stuffy and formal
- location: Oakland, Berkeley, Emeryville or near a BART station in SF
- price: up to $200 (or so) for both of us
- features: must have a full bar
- cuisine: prefer New American, or Latin/Spanish, but open to others.

Birthday is NEXT WEEKEND! Help!

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    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      I have found Bocanova too variable to recommend for an "occasion" but it doesn't stop me from returning. My last dinner there was great, and my last brunch there was meh (both early summer). My prior brunch there was great. My evening food has been variable, but it can be quite good.

      I know the "full bar" and no choice is a killer for this suggestion, but for the first time, a few days ago I had the veggie main course at Chez Panisse downstairs as I didn't eat the regular item, and it was outstanding.

    2. I don't know if Venus would be upscale enough for you and the menu's not huge but my two friends, a pescaterian and vegan, quite liked it. I'll try to think of others.

      Bocanova was really festive.

      5 Replies
      1. re: heavysnaxx

        Bocanova did look good to me, but it got such mixed reviews on Yelp that I wasn't sure. Definitely will consider it now though! Thanks, both of you. We have tried Gather before, but don't want to make a return visit. A16 is also on my radar but I'm hoping we won't have to go the pizza route (we love pizza, but something else would be a nice change.)

        1. re: Faville

          You might want to take a look at A16's menu. Yes, it is a pizza specialist, but it offers considerably more.

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            You're right. I think somehow I overlooked their other offerings. I will reconsider, thank you.

          2. re: Faville

            You don't have to order pizza at A16. I usually don't.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Thanks, I took another look at their menu. Could work!

        2. You might want to check into Shakewell, a new restaurant on Lakeshore. Here's a link to the menu:

          I've been there twice already, and find the service and food to be very good.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Rapini

            Wow, Shakewell looks great and I have never heard of it! Thank you so much. That might be the one.

          2. Penrose on Lakeshore had enough fish and veggie options to make a very nice meal.

            Scratch that, just looked at the menu again and if you are vegetarian you only have salad and flat bread options.

            I really enjoyed the trout for 2 which must be why I have fond memories of that dinner.

            1 Reply
            1. re: IPAforBreakfast

              I liked Penrose but the atmosphere doesn't seem very special-occasion to me.

            2. I love Encuentro -- haven't been to the new space but had a fantastic meal in the old one -- -- it's all vegetarian, I believe -- but I'm more often a meat eater and I was 100% satisfied. Menu here:

              8 Replies
                1. re: emraguso

                  I had the impression that Encuentro was kind of a casual, wine & snacks kind of place?

                  1. re: Faville

                    They have a full menu. Atmosphere is casual, kind of similar to Gather, Bocanova, or A16.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      No cocktails. Though I suppose we could have drinks first elsewhere.

                      1. re: Faville

                        Sorry, I misremembered that they added a full bar when they moved.

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                          They added a full bar?! That is awesome!

                    2. re: Faville

                      I found it casual but special. :)