Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Apr 17, 2007 03:04 PM


We are driving from Los Angeles to Mendocino, but stopping over in Berkeley this Friday night. We don't know when we will arrive, so we really can't make reservations. I know that this doesn't really narrow things down, but we want something good and not too fancy that doesn't require reservations. Any suggestions?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. A Cote
    Cafe Rouge
    Sea Salt

    Pretty much everyplace has a wait at peak dinner hour on a Friday. After 9 the wait gets shorter.

    This thread covers a similar request:

    3 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      To clarify things for the OP, A Cote, Dopo andn Pizzaiolo are all in Oakland. I'd agree that all of the places on this list are great.

      1. re: JasmineG

        True, though closer to some parts of Berkeley than some Berkeley restaurants.

      2. If you're running late, really hungry, and don't want to wait an hour plus, Gregoire is the perfect spot for a quick, delicious, easy meal. Casual, well executed French bistro food like steak, chops, and roast chicken. Seating at Gregoire Berkeley is limited, but Gregoire Piedmont always has plenty of room. No table service.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Morton the Mousse

          Gregoire's an upscale takeout place, not a proper restaurant. The food's good but it comes in a cardboard box with plastic utensils.

        2. Trying to find a specific place might be frustrating if you don't know the area, don't have reservations and have to park. What I would do would be to park at the top of Solano Avenue (or on a side street) and walk down the street reading menus, stretching your legs and looking for a place that isn't too crowded. Indian, Thai, Vietnamese... There are a lot of good restaurants to choose from.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Glencora

            This makes lots of sense. If you can't make reservations, I'd scout out specific neighborhoods. From there, if you know where you're staying you have a start point/orientation. Then I'd just head to an area and look for grub.

            The 5 big food areas in Berkeley are:

            Gourmet Ghetto
            4th St
            Solano Ave
            College Ave (which runs into N.Oakland)

            I'm sure everyone can tell you what's in each area.

          2. Cesar in Berkeley might be good and they are open late if your day runs long, but they have a limited menu.

            Beer places like Jupiter (good salads & OK pizza) or Pyramid Brewery would also be open and no need for reservations.

            I would really recommend Indian restaurants on University : India Chaat & Sweets, Udupi Palace, Chaat cafe.

            1 Reply
            1. re: vnchile

              The Berkeley Cesar tends to be insanely mobbed on Friday nights.

            2. All the recs sound pretty good so far. If you're in the north Berkeley Area around Solano Ave, I'd recommend Vanessa's Bistro (viet-french tapas), near University, try Platano (el salvadorean) and Pizzaiolo & Sea Salt farther south.