Any recent experiences at Ristorante Raphael (Berkeley)?
I'm curious to know what people are thinking about Ristorante Raphael these days. I went there right when it opened, several years ago, and remember thinking it was good but not outstanding and that there were other places I'd rather go for that price.
Now I'd like to take some kosher-observant, new-in-town friends there. Anything on the menu that really sings?
Gosh, I never thought the prices classified it as destination, but as neighborhood. And for that it is serviceable-plus. Add the kosher for those who care, and it would make it desination friendly.
Within the past six weeks I sampled the food. (Long story, but I had bites of several other dishes but didn't order my own). All was quite pleasant. The easiest dishes were best, and the rest were well executed but the concept was a bit off. So pizza was good. Pasta had good tomato flavor, but too much of some veg, not enough of others. Lasagne (ok also a pasta) similar. Fish cooked well, but also with an odd combination of 'salsa'. Service good. Time between courses on a Saturday night -- molasses. (the reason I actually got to try everything).
But the atmosphere was nice -- not too noisy. If you want to chat and have decent food, it fit the bill. I may be wrong about the pricing, but I had the impression of low-ish.
I'm friends with one of the bartenders, so I've been several times. I would say that it's solidly decent, but nothing to write home about. My favorite dish is the stuffed artichoke-- well cooked, good balance of flavors, delicious stuffing. They also make a good caeser. I haven't been too impressed with the pizzas I've tried. At least with the ones I've ordered, the ingredients haven't integrated well.
We just took my picky vegetarian sister for her birthday last week and I was pleasantly surprised, as was my husband who normally refuses to go anywhere that doesn't serve red meat. My sister really liked the pizza. It had a nice thin crust and good flavors (can't remember which one she got). My husband and I each had a few seafood based dishes and all were very good, though the ahi skewers appetizer had a delicious sauce but the ahi was over-cooked. We got a few nice desserts, particularly enjoying the tiramisu. The service was friendly if a bit slow. Great bartender and a solid wine and drink list. I'd definitely go back for a pre-theatre meal or to enjoy the sidewalk seating on a warm day.