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Oakland Business Casual Restaurant (meeting) options

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4 replies to this topic

#1 Khadija

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 12:04 PM

I am planning a group business trip to Oakland for my employer for mid-January. Their main meeting venue is in the Grand Lake district (near the theatre) and they will probably be staying in the City Centre area (Marriot). They need restaurant/meeting options in or between those areas.

The group will consist of approx 10 people (mostly or all women) who work in not-for-profit and education fields. We're looking for lunch and dinner places that are mid-range in price, not super trendy. Atmosphere is more important than food. Clean & comfortable without being ostentatious or loud. ("No noisy bars" was the main requirement). I would prefer to recommend places that serve good food, but this is not a group of foodies and the other factors are more important.

Any ideas?

Thanks so much,

#2 djyee100

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 06:27 PM

Last night a friend and I had dinner at Ozumo, a Californian Japanese (fusion) restaurant on Broadway in Oakland. The bar is loud, but the separate dining room is much quieter and classy. We ate squash soup, uni risotto, age dashi tofu (a house specialty), some kind of seafood dumpling in butter sauce, and the Ozumo and Makushita sushi rolls. We both thought the food was very good. The food is a little trendy, but not obnoxiously so.
Ozumo Oakland: http://www.ozumooakland.com/

Up the street from the Grand Lake Theatre is one of my favorite restaurants, Camino. The atmosphere is a little loud, and the family style tables are, uh, rustic in feeling. Those tables might work very well for a group, though. Mostly I go here for the food (California cuisine).
Camino: http://www.caminorestaurant.com/

Not in the area you desire, but if you get desperate for good places: Bellanico, an Italian restaurant in the Montclair area. Very good Italian food, cozy attractive atmosphere. A couple friends and I ate there several months ago, and we all liked it.
Bellanico: http://bellanico.net/
A sample dinner menu for Bellanico: http://bellanico.net/menus/dinner.pdf

I'm not sure what you mean by "mid-range" in price, especially since your area of choice is downtown Oakland. If these restaurants are too expensive, pls give us a better idea of your price requirements.

Good luck with your planning!

#3 Katie Meadow

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 04:47 PM


Take a look at location (not grand lake, but easy from downtown) and menu for Barlata, a Tapas restaurant and bar open lunch and dinner. Atmosphere is nice--often quiet for lunch. Small plates so those without big appetite can be happy. I call it mid-range price, if that's any help. Wine and sangria, great potatas bravas, great mussels, all around friendly place in the Temescal area: Telegraph Ave in North Oakland.

#4 djyee100

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 04:43 PM

Good call on Barlata Tapas. A group of friends and I were there for lunch a couple months ago. The place was quiet at lunchtime, and the tapas were very good.

Khadija, also in the Temescal neighborhood:

- Sura, a Korean restaurant that is very loud at dinner if it's full, but quieter at lunchtime. Some of the best Korean restaurant food I've encountered around here. http://www.oaklandsu...eancuisine.com/

- Bakesale Betty sandwiches, great fried chicken sandwiches & pastries/cookies. Unfortunately, no comfortable outside seating in this winter weather. You could do an order To Go, if you can find a place to eat elsewhere. http://www.yelp.com/...e-betty-oakland

- Sacred Wheel, a cheese shop, has soup & sandwich lunches at reasonable prices that you could order To Go. I'm a fan of their grilled cheese sandwich and daily soup special. Again, you'll have to find a place to eat for 10 people. http://www.yelp.com/...d-wheel-oakland

The Pizzaiolo and Dona Tomas restaurants are also available for dinner in the Temescal neighborhood. Pizzaiolo's food is very good, but expensive for what you get. I haven't tried Dona Tomas, though it's gotten good reviews.

The Rockridge neighborhood (again, going farther afield from downtown Oakland) has those casual restaurants that you are looking for. I would call these prices mid-range (or even less) for this area. The food is consistently good in this neighborhood--it caters to locals who are repeat customers. Barney's Burgers, Crepevine, and Zachary's Pizza come to mind. I've been to all these places myself, either dropping in for a meal when I'm in the area, or meeting a friend there.

Barney's Burgers: http://www.barneyshamburgers.com/

Crepevine: http://www.crepevine.com/index.html

Zachary's Pizza: http://www.zacharys.com/oakland.html

Also, if you aren't aware of this already, the areas that have been mentioned--downtown Oakland, Temescal, and Rockridge--are "parking-challenged" neighborhoods, so carpool.

#5 Katie Meadow

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 09:50 PM

Forget Bakesale Betty's--no seating indoors and the line every day at lunchtime is halfway round the block. Pizzaiolo and Dona Thomas are on the same block as BB's, and that particular block is really hard to park on. Pizzaiolo is super trendy and you can't carry on a conversation without screaming at the person next to you; Dona T is also noisy and both have boisterous bar scenes. Also note that Pizz. and Dona T are not open for lunch. Barlata is considered Temescal neighborhood as well, but it is further south on Telegraph and the parking is not bad.

Another idea might be Le Cheval, in downtown Oakland. Vietnamese, extensive menu w/many options and it's a large space. Lots of business lunches happen there, and they are old hands at accomodating big parties. Not exactly quiet, but not too bad, and the food is good. Great cross-section of Oakland residents. Unlike Dona Thomas, no one will spill a Margarita on you. Also a big advantage: they are open for lunch and dinner and all times in between.