veggie fancy in Berkeley?
hi, I'm a NY hound coming to Berkeley to visit my brother right after my birthday in about a month.. I'd like to go out for a nice vegetarian dinner, Greens/Chez Panisse-style but on the Berkeley side of the Bay (brother will have small baby by then, so we don't want to go too far). The restaurant need not be all vegetarian. Any suggestions? He is new to the area so totally obvious suggestions are fine!
You're coming to the right place (and not just because this is where your brother lives)!
You can safely eat as a vegetarian at a grand majority of places in the SF Bay Area. There are a few exceptions (seafood places, most chains...uh, BBQ places). And in most places you will not just be "accomodated" as a vegetarian; you will have lots to choose from. Most nicer places will have at least one veggie entree and several veggie starters.
That being said, I would pick Chez Panisse, but I'd choose the cafe upstairs instead of the downstairs restaurant. It's a set menu and, when calling, you can, apparently (I admit I've never been downstairs), tell them you'll have a vegetarian in the party and I'm sure you'll be served something fabulous. Upstairs, you'll have more choices.
Here's their web site so you can get examples of what's on the cafe and the restaurant's menus:
I think O Chame might also please you. The setting is quiet and the food is sublime. Think Japanese-Tibetan with fresh seasonal ingredients. And across the street is some of thebrightest, best ice cream/sorbet: Sketch. I love the Strauss yogurt sorbet and the cocoa nib ice cream.
Also for a nice lunch you may want to check out Vik's Chaat House. Indian snacks, very flavourful. I'm sorry I don't know the names but I always get #3 and #9, both vegetarian.
Both of these establishments are on 4th street in Berkeley, close to University avenue.
if you want some good solid organic, vegan, macrobiotic chow while you're here, check out manzanita on linden and 40th in oakland. it has no ambience, but the food is well prepared and really tasty. you can check their website to see what they're serving each day...www.manzanitarestaurant.com.
I like Manzinita, but it is no where in the class ambiance or food-wise as Greens/Chez Panisse. It is fine for what it is. It is no Greens. It is in a rather unattractive area. There is the luck of the draw for who is cooking that night.
I agree with everyone else that the Cafe at Chez Panisse is the place to go.
That whole area of Shattuck where Chez Panisse is located is a vegetarian wonderland with most places totally vegetarian like Cafe Gratitude, or carrying a big vegetarian menu. None is as nice as Chez Panisse or in the same league. They are especially considerate of children which has been reported quite a few times on this board.