Fine dining in Berkeley
March 22, 2013 11:22 AM   Subscribe

Seeking nice restaurant recommendations for an anniversary dinner in Berkeley or nearby.

My wedding anniversary is approaching. My wife and I rarely get nights out from the kid, so we decided to splurge and make reservations at Chez Panisse. The next day it caught on fire.

Can you please suggest some nice restaurants in Berkeley or the surrounding East Bay area? We're omnivorous, and we've already eaten at Gather and FIVE.
posted by gnutron to Food & Drink (19 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Commis or A Cote in Oakland or Rivoli in Berkeley.
posted by brainmouse at 11:30 AM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Not quite fine dining, but Zagat rates Trattoria La Siciliana one of the US's best Italian Restaurants for a reason.

It's a very small, intimate, place. You'll be crowded up next to other people. It doesn't get noisy, but it's not quite due to the close quarters. Reservations are pretty essential, it fills up quick, but reservations also aren't hard to get.
posted by bswinburn at 11:33 AM on March 22, 2013

It's a step down from Chez Panisse, but Dopo on Piedmont Ave. in Oakland is really nice.
posted by Betelgeuse at 12:19 PM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Kirala. Pizzaiolo. Lalime's. Top Dog (OK, maybe not the last one).
posted by zippy at 12:22 PM on March 22, 2013

2nding Rivoli. It's my favorite nice restaurant in the area, after Chez Panisse. It's also got a great atmosphere for an anniversary dinner. The back wall is all glass looking out onto a garden. Reservations recommended.
posted by gimletbiggles at 12:26 PM on March 22, 2013

I like Dopo and Oliveto. I'm a big fan of Gather, but it's more a brunch/lunch place in my mind. Commis is known for high prices and tiny portions, although they have reportedly upped thir game a bit lately.
posted by w0mbat at 1:01 PM on March 22, 2013

Seconding A Cote (my favorite), maybe Boca Nova in Jack London Square, or Wood Tavern.
posted by extramundane at 1:01 PM on March 22, 2013

I'd maybe check out Bay Wolf, on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland.
posted by madcaptenor at 1:20 PM on March 22, 2013

Lalime's is lovely!
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 1:34 PM on March 22, 2013

I'll third Rivoli. Or Caffe Venezia.
posted by hoyland at 2:23 PM on March 22, 2013

Since it's been mentioned twice here already, I'll out myself as the host on Fridays and Saturdays at Dopo. In fact, I was the sous chef there for 5 or 6 years before transitioning to the front of the house. Come in either Friday or Saturday and I'll do my best to make your evening special and give you some fellow MeFi lovin'. If you want, private message me and I'll make a reservation for you and get you all set up.
posted by hangingbyathread at 2:35 PM on March 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


for me, it's not even a contest. It's the only place where freaking vegans and meat eaters can nod at each other at the end of a meal and say, "this was worth it".
posted by bobdow at 4:12 PM on March 22, 2013

I went to Commis in December and thought it was fantastic. I also really like Revival in Berkeley, but it may not be anniversary level fancy.
posted by grapesaresour at 5:04 PM on March 22, 2013

What about Flora in Oakland?
posted by bradbane at 5:42 PM on March 22, 2013

Thirding A Cote. I love that place!
posted by ruhroh at 6:53 PM on March 22, 2013

Lalime's was pretty good last time I went (which, mind you, was probably around a decade ago).
posted by juv3nal at 8:25 PM on March 22, 2013

Great recommendations, all! Thanks. We have a big list of new places to try.
posted by gnutron at 10:18 PM on March 22, 2013

I'm a big fan of Trattoria Corso.
posted by ktkt at 4:10 PM on March 23, 2013

Lots of fantastic suggestions so far, but I wanted to emphatically second Wood Tavern. Every time I go I'm amazed that it's not on the top of all the local dining lists. You definitely want reservations, though, and be aware that it can be noisy when it's crowded. But the food is well worth it.

Commis is Michelin-starred, and you won't get much fancier than that. (I haven't yet been.)

Pican is where I'm going for my next special occasion. Delicious high-end Southern food and a very thick bourbon binder.

I'm going to risk my Bay Area Foodie card by saying that I think Rivoli is a bit overrated. The atmosphere is very nice and the service is stellar, but the food is kinda uninspired and inconsistent. The same folks also own Trattoria Corso, though, and I've had fantastic food and drink there every time I've gone (which is a fair amount because they're just a few blocks away from my apartment).

They don't have a fine dining atmosphere, but Ippuku has amazing food (delicious grilled things on sticks!) and offers a wonderful experience. I've never been to an actual Japanese izakaya, but my friends who have say it's pretty authentic.
posted by rhiannonstone at 10:47 PM on March 23, 2013

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