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Jul 23, 2008 10:47 AM

Berkeley dinner after lunch at Chez Panisse?

We are going to be spending the day in Berkeley, and plan on having lunch at Chez Panisse Cafe. Can anyone recommend a good dinner place for that evening? Ideally casual, and not too expensive. (Ideally no more than $100/couple). Thanks!

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  1. For a light meal, À Côté (a short ways into Oakland) or O Chame.

    Some other options:

    1 Reply
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      A Cote is a good suggestion, and it would be nice to walk around Rockridge for a while. Was there last week, and fries, mussels, flatbreads, good drink list, all pretty tasty.

      For Japanese that's comparable in quality with a shorter wait, there's Tachibana (also in Rockridge). They don't have robata, but have yakitori on the menu (not sure what the difference is - maybe just the setting?). I haven't been recently, so maybe someone can update.

    2. Depending on what you like to eat, I would actually recommend having dinner at Chez Panisse and lunch at Gregoire's (gourmet take out!) or La Note (Traditional breakfast and lunch bistro fare with rustic Provençal dinner entrées <-- taken from their website). But if you were only able to secure a reservation for lunch at Chez Panisse, then I'd recommend the following, depending on your mood:

      Kirala is a favorite of mine for Japanese food. Great extensive Robata grill menu, as well as fresh sushi and sashimi. Not too expensive--definitely not 100/couple--but the waits can be excruciatingly long. I think there's another restaurant opened by the same guys in Solano? but I haven't been there, so I can't make that recommendation or tell you how to get there. Maybe someone else can help out there :)

      Next door to Chez Panisse is Cesar, a pretty decent tapas place, although I'm not sure what you plan to do in between lunch and dinner, so it might be silly to have dinner there...

      If you want to branch out to other areas, I would suggest hitting up the College/Rockridge area. I've heard Oliveto (Italian) is fantastic, although my experience there was sour (but then again, it could just have been an isolated incident). People either love or hate La Mediterranee, but I love it, especially their pomegranate chicken! Or, if you feel like (maybe overly) flavorful, semi-Americanized, PF Chang-style Chinese food (not to be confused as being Fusion), there's Shen Hua on College. I've had tapas at A Cote, which didn't fail me.

      Whatever you do, make sure you have time (and room!) for dessert at Ici. They close at 10 on weekends and 9:30 weekdays!

      Ici Ice Cream
      2948 College Ave, Berkeley, CA 94705

      La Mediterranee
      2936 College Ave, Berkeley, CA 94705

      Shen Hua
      2914 College Ave, Berkeley, CA 94705

      A Cote
      5478 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

      La Note Restaurant Provencal
      2377 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704

      Bar César
      1515 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94709

      2109 Cedar St, Berkeley, CA 94709

      Kirala Restaurant
      2100 Ward St, Berkeley, CA 94705

      Oliveto Cafe
      5655 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618

      1 Reply
      1. re: meloncollie

        The Shattuck branch of Cesar tends to be unpleasantly packed and noisy at dinnertime.

        I haven't heard of a Kirala spinoff, or for that matter of another robata bar in the Berkeley / Albany / Oakland area.

        Kirin on Solano is a spinoff of Shen Hua, as is Ching Hua in Alameda.

      2. Sea Salt is a fun and casual place in Berkeley (though I would describe just about everywhere in Berkeley, including CP, as casual by non Bay Area standards). A Cote is a fun idea too.

        2 Replies
        1. re: JasmineG

          Certainly casual is Picante. 2 couples could have dinner with margueritas for $100. Family oriented and in the Chez Panisse family. Good "Mexican" food is in short supply in Toronto, eh?

          1328 6th St, Berkeley, CA 94710

          1. re: wolfe

            Picante has good margaritas, but if you guess wrong about what to order you can have a pretty bad meal.


        2. My favorite restaurant in Berkeley/Albany is Rivoli on Solano Ave... but make sure Wendy is in the kitchen the night you go (Wendy Bruckner, owner/chef). They recently opened a second place and she's been spending time there (Corso)

          China village in Albany on solano has great chinese food.

          China Village
          1335 Solano Ave, Albany, CA 94706

          Rivoli Restaurant
          1539 Solano Ave, Berkeley, CA 94707

          1 Reply
          1. re: greatfulred

            Second the Rivoli suggestion. Picante-- "not so much."