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What happened to Vanni's?

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  • Ellie Nov 28, 2006 02:15 AM
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Went by Vanni's Innovative Cuisine on Dwight in Berkeley today and it appears to be closed for good (Paper over the windows, no signs.
Anybody know?

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  1. Do not fear! Vannis' will be back, in a new locale, near Lalime's on Gilman. A waitress there told us so about 2 months ago. We had questioned her about a closing rumor we'd heard.

    The new Vanni's will reopen around April, she told us. (we have been regulars there for some time, and will miss them in the meantime!)

    -Cacao

    1. What kind of food? Prices? I live near Lalime's and would love to have a good new place there.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Glencora

        Americanized Thai.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          That seems an unfair description--Vanni's was not some hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant serving overly sweet pad thai and watered down flavorless curries; it was a welcome addition to West Berkeley before the intersection of Dwight and San Pablo heated up, before the hill-dwelling folk were attracted to the area by Sea Salt and Trieste. Vanni always billed his food as "innovative Thai," a description I think the food lived up to. Was there a specific menu item you think qualified as "Americanized Thai"?

          1. re: Leadbelly

            Personally I much prefer Champa Garden in Oakland or Thai House Express in SF.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              I agree Thai House Express is great, but I don't think its really comparable to Vanni, in that their menus are/were really pretty different, not to mention different price ranges, decor, atmosphere, service, etc.

        2. re: Glencora

          I think Vanni would be a nice addition to that neighborhood--sort of mid-range prices, "innovative Thai" (but not "authentic", I guess, though I am not the best judge of that!), as they billed themselves. Definitely not as pricey as Lalime's, but pricier than Mama Lan's, for example.

          1. re: Glencora

            Vanni was one of my worst meals of 2006. I recall an eggplant dish that was saltier than a salt lick, and an asparagus dish that was so awful I couldn't eat more than one bite (and I LOVE asparagus and eggplant). Perhaps it was an "off night," and Vanni clearly has its fans, but when all of the dishes are dreadful I'm reluctant to give a restaurant a second chance.

            OTOH, I adore Andy and Cindy's Thai Cuisine, the Farmers' Market stall that is an offshoot of Vanni.