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Oct 7, 2009 01:00 PM

Sat. dinner close to Ashby & Shattuck/Adeline, Berkeley?

...and no, grazing at The Berkeley Bowl is not a favored option!

Close, interesting, fun places?

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  1. Try Kirala for great Japanese food/sushi on Shattuck just North of Ashby If you are willing to go farther North on Shattuck there are lots of other choices.

    7 Replies
    1. re: slipson

      Thanks, had not heard of that joint!

      Oh yeah, many places a bit north but seeing play at Ashby Stage and wanted to stay real close to that corner.

      1. re: Munching Mark

        Expect to wait for a table at Kirala unless you get there early

      2. re: slipson

        Kirala is great, but make sure you get there early if you don't want to wait, as I don't believe they take reservations. People typically start lining up a solid 20 minutes before their 5:30 opening time for dinner.

        Lots of great grilled items on the menu, and their seaweed salad is probably the best version I've had.

        1. re: abstractpoet

          Kirala is mauling the competition!

          Does it really block out the sun when it comes to options near there?

          Heading there to line up now for Saturday dinner...j/k

          1. re: Munching Mark

            There are not too many choices easy walking distance from that corner. You could go to Rocky's which is right on that corner. Great burgers, cheese steaks and fries. Very casual. Ive only been there for lunch but I believe it is open for dinner but would need to confirm that. Also see posts today on Emelia's pizza which sounds quite promising.

            1. re: slipson

              Rocky's is on Shattuck near Ashby. Same little row with Emilia's and La Familia.

            2. re: Munching Mark

              Kirala is pretty much the only option around there. Emilia's has had great reports, but it only has one (?) table, so wouldn't be great for a sit down dinner. How close to Shattuck/Ashby do you need to be?

        2. There's nothing in the immediate area of Ashby Stage.

          Taste of Africa, I wouldn't trust them on a schedule.

          Emilia's has only pizza and has only two tables.

          Taqueria la Familia has decent fish tacos.

          Rocky's Hamburgers and Cheesesteaks, I haven't tried yet.

          Kirala has a long line, not good for pre-theater.

          Cafe Valparaiso, Chilean, I haven't been there.

          Average (at best) pub grub at Starry Plough.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Rocky's is OK--nothing I'd go out of my way for, but in a pinch it'll do. Decent burger. Haven't tried the cheese steak. If your main goal is something quick, then it's a good option. Not "interesting" or "fun", though, as stipulated by the O.P.

            Depending on your show time, I might just go to Kirala early, take my time with dinner (have some fried ice cream for dessert), then meander on over to the theater.

          2. I think there would be parking available at the BART lot on a Saturday evening. So you could drive to the theater after dinner. Someone might verify this -- the parking lot has been cut down in size due to construction.
            There are lots of places on College near Ashby and further down on College near Alcatraz.
            Many Korean and Ethiopian places on Telegraph.
            You can dine outdoors at Ethiopia or at Cafe Colucci.

            Cafe Colucci
            6427 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

            Ethiopia Restaurant
            2955 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley, CA

            14 Replies
            1. re: Joel

              Much obliged, all!

              I did some reconn work down that way last night and saw many of the places mentioned, and I think we'll get in line at Kirala early for first wave of seating and hopefully be done by 7 pm, when you can grab your seat at the Ashby Stage for the 8 pm performance...thank you sincerely for the suggestions and help!

              Yes, I will post thoughts on the munch!

              1. re: Munching Mark

                I often see a long line of people waiting for Kirala's doors to open at 5:30. You might want to have a backup plan in case they're full.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  You are right, if getting to Kirala at a bit after 5 for the opening does not get us in the first wave, it may be up to Elmwood or Alcratraz/College for us.

                  1. re: Munching Mark

                    If you give up on the immediate area, rather than heading west all the way to College, you might consider stopping at Telegraph and eating in the Temescal. You have lots of options there, including Pizzaiolo, Dona Tomas, Lanesplitter, Sahn Maru, Sura, Barlata...So many options if your first or second choice is full.

                    1. re: lexdevil

                      This is exactly what I'd do. It's really too bad about the Ashby BART area not having a decent restaurant - at least they're not gentrified!

                      The temescal area is very hopping, and the drive up shattuck is always quick. Temescal is right off the freeway, so it's not like you're driving all over creation. Don't forget in temescal: Pyung Yang and Burma Superstar. Mmm, bss.

                      But the Kerala thing is spot-on - you simply have to be sure to be there at the right time. It's a plenty good place - do get the non-sushi items, kakitori and stinky tofu and such. I think they're an all-or-nothing on the party size, so you can't have half your party show up and grab the table.

                      1. re: bbulkow

                        Pyung Chang is great and fun.

                        Pyung Chang Tofu House
                        4701 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

                        1. re: bbulkow

                          Stinky tofu at Kirala?? That's the first I've heard of it--do tell.

                          1. re: abstractpoet


                            Kirala Restaurant
                            2100 Ward St, Berkeley, CA 94705

                            1. re: abstractpoet

                              What's to say? Natto. At. Kirala.
                              1) Natto is japanese stinky tofu. Natto is considered by many one of most disgusting foods in the world due to it's stench, taste, and consistency - although every country has it's "famed gross food" - and varieties of stinky tofu are found throughout asia. I will spare you a description of the stuff - but the "stench" of fermentation is akin to the most powerful of french cheeses. Reading up, some claim it's not supposed to be "too" stinky, but should also be nutty.
                              2) Kirala has it! Under the rather tame description "fermented soybeans". It's on their lunch/appetizer menu online, I had it there at dinnertime at the bar. I think it's just served up in a bowl - not deep fried. If you order it (and you're not japanese) you will get a moment of "do you have any idea what you're ordering?" from the staff, and head-swivels from surrounding tables when it arrives - as the stench hits them. I've only had natto a handful of times, so can't seriously comment on the fine distinctions and the quality of Kirala's. Theirs is seriously stinky.

                              If you're really interested in Natto, maybe start a new thread --- with all the good japanese around, there's probably a lot more places that serve it. A quick search of 'natto' claims there's a few places in the bay area that do housemade natto, you can even buy the cultures and make your own.

                              1. re: bbulkow

                                Ah, I later thought that the natto might have been what you were referring to.

                                Anyway, not to get too far off topic, but I did try the natto at Kirala once (it's the only place I've had it) and wasn't a fan. Not so much because of the stinkiness (I am a big fan of stinky tofu--the Taiwanese/Shanghainese version), but rather because of the texture. I WANTED to like it, but found the stickiness/sliminess quite off-putting.

                                1. re: abstractpoet

                                  The texture is "something else". It's possible Natto is not categorized by many as Stinky Tofu, because Wikipedia doesn't list it as so. I thought it was plenty stinky and my japanese friends translate it as such.

                                2. re: bbulkow

                                  The natto I've had was bland and didn't have much of a smell, especially compared with stinky tofu, the aroma of which I once literally took for a stinky diaper at Spices!3 (though when I've ordered it, it wasn't that strong).

                                  I love stinky tofu, don' t need to eat natto again.

                        2. re: Robert Lauriston

                          I've gotten there at 5:15 or so on several occasions on Fridays and Saturdays, and have never had a problem getting in on the first seating. Even when the line winds all the way around the building. At worst, you may end up sitting at the counter instead of a table, but that to me is more fun anyway.

                          But if you get there at 5:30 or later, then you'll probably be out of luck.

                          1. re: abstractpoet

                            Ditto. We've regularly gone around 5:15 and had no problem getting into the first seating.