Help! Another Berkeley/Oakland Graduation Dinner Query
Hi everyone! I am graduating from Cal on May 12th, and I am going to have a family dinner afterwards (ideally around 6:30). There will be about 10 people ranging in age from 10-85. All of us appreciate good food, but some are not too adventurous. I really want a place with great food that is not too fancy and definitely not stuffy. We tend to be pretty loud so I would like a place that isn’t too intimate and quiet, with a fun, laid-back atmosphere. We won’t be in a hurry, so slow-ish service isn’t too big an issue.
I originally thought to do the Chez Panisse Café but I am a little worried about parking (walking is not an option for my 85 year-old grandparents) and also I’ve been there 3 or 4 times and I feel like I might like to do something different. Also, I am afraid the atmosphere might be a little too intimate (i.e. low lights, lots of couples). However, my parents (who are paying!) still think CP Cafe is the best choice, so if I do go somewhere else I would like the food to be comparable at least.
My top choice at this point is Dopo, but I am also looking at Pizzaiolo (I figure Italian is a pretty safe choice with just about everyone), however I haven’t eaten at either of them and I’ve chosen them mostly from research I’ve done on CH (and cause I’ve wanted to try Dopo for a couple years now!) .
Can anyone give me advice about whether the atmosphere at these places sounds like it would work well for what I’ve described (I have heard that Dopo is small, but is it lively enough that we would feel comfortable as a loud-ish group?)? Also, any other suggestions for places that might be good choices that I’ve overlooked (some other ideas I’ve had are: Café Rouge, Zuni (rejected because I don’t want to go to the city/parking), CP downstairs (too expensive, too intimate), Oliveto (liked it when I’ve been, didn’t LOVE it), Eccolo (I know nothing about this place))? Also, how do Dopo and Pizzaiolo compare to CP Cafe and Oliveto (i.e. two places I've been) in terms of food deliciousness (and quality) and also the price?
Thanks for the help!