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Jun 16, 2010 11:47 AM

Dinner with grandparents in Berkeley- need recs

So my grandparents are coming to visit Berkeley and are taking my boyfriend and I out to dinner. He asked me to choose a restaurant with these qualifications:
-walking distance of University Inn (Gourmet Ghetto/Downtown Berkeley restaurants)
-no sushi
-has some "Berkeley flavor"

I'd like to go somewhere where we can have a long, hearty meal. As far as price range, I'd say about mid-range ($10-$15 entrees).

I'm overwhelmed by the options in Berkeley! Where do you guys suggest going?

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  1. If that is Inn at University it is a several block walk to Revival where the entrees are double your range and a few blocks more to Gather which has definite Berkeley vibe.

    7 Replies
    1. re: wolfe

      I second Gather.Pleasant walk or short cab ride from the Inn and has a "Berkeley vibe".eVe on University is also unique,but twice the price.Zatar on Shattuck is "Berkeleyish"in an ethnic way with creative all organic Mediterranean/Middle Eastern/African cuisine with a festive ambience.

      1. re: casalbore spirit

        I don't know if eVe is twice the price really, isn't it still $25 for 2 courses?

        Also Jayakarta is in the area too if they are adventurous enough for Indonesian.

        Anh Hong is across the street from there.

        Jayakarta Restaurant
        2026 University Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704

        1. re: nicedragonboy

          I mean eVe ist twice the price of their budget.Certainly not overpriced for the quality ingredients.I'm feeling that the OP and her grandparents might be on a students/fixed income or not familiar with local prices for a sit down dinner.I'm also sensing that not wanting sushi might be a nod to not wanting Asian or anything very exotic.I also like Jayakarta,Cafe Tibet and Your Place Thai Cuisine for their food and prices.I love Corso,but it may be out of the price range and to me more Italian recipes w/CA ingredients than"Berkeley vibe".If $50 more can be added to the budget all of the above can work.Since the OP mentioned hearty...Fellini,or Brennan's(so old school and a Berkeley institution) can work and both are reasonable.

          Your Place Thai Cuisine
          1267 University Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702

      2. re: wolfe

        Gather: Ok. very, very, very berkeley if a bit twee, or is that included in the very berkeley part?

        Being a grandparent of near-college aged grandkids, I'd say: Corso, very berkeley in a more realistic sense IMO although some of my age cohort friends find it too noisy; upstairs at Chez Panise, a bit more than your price point perhaps, but as berkeley as it gets (in the best sense of the phrase); and for quasi-street-food: Top Dog. If my grandkids took me to Top Dog I'd know their parents did it right.

        1. re: Gustavo Glenmorangie

          Bit twee:Overly quaint, dainty, cute or nice. British prejorative.
          Nothing twee about a Prather Ranch Burger with Sierra Nevada Cheddar, aioli, caramelized shallot tomato sauce, garden greens and fries.

        2. re: wolfe

          I know this is an old thread, but I wanted to thank you for recommending Gather. My daughter is attending freshman orientation at Cal this week, and we wanted a good, moderately priced place near campus to take her out before dropping her off. Gather far surpassed our expectations in every way. Having lived in LA for 16 years I had forgotten how wonderful northern California food is. Gather was a real treat. Everything we had was so very good, especially my daughter's vegan charcuterie. Thanks again.

          1. re: ebethsdad

            Went for brunch and the aforementioned burger was very good as were the skinny fries The one problem was my wife's eggs. She said that they were the best fried eggs she had ever had. You say what's the problem? The problem is that I can no longer get away with buying the TJ's 10ยข eggs. Now I need to get farm fresh pastured at 4 or 5 times the price.

        3. $10-15 is on the low end and usually means a casual place (no waiter service). You might check out Venus a small casual place (which also runs/owns the new Revival) but the prices are around $20 for an entre. La Note is around $15+ and serves Californicated American fare. Neither seem quite like grandparents place but the food will be generally good and Berkeley-esque. Gather seems like a very Berkeley place but sorta casual/bar oriented (haven't been, just walked by) but the reports on food are good.

          1. That price point will be hard to hit for most of the sit down places in the area - the places above are great, but entrees are much closer to $20 at all of them. If $10-$15 is essential, consider Cheeseboard Pizza. You can usually snag a table and it's about as Berkeley as it gets. That said, if your grandparents are picky they may not like the "no choice" menu style. If it's a warm evening and you can snag a table, Gregoire is also a good option in that price range, and will generally appeal to pickier people.

            If you're comfortable with the $15-$20 range for entrees, I'd go with Gather.

            1. Gather is a great recommendation, definitely a Berkeley vibe, and good food that may please grandparents.

              1 Reply
              1. re: JasmineG

                Agreed, but outside of the price range given.

              2. At that price range, the only things I can think of are
                -Chickpea, to have good falafel (fast casual)
                -going to Epicurean Garden and everyone can choose their own thing and eat outside, and have delicious gelato for dessert
                -Jupiter or
                - Saul's.

                Hopefully you can extend the price range a bit, and then you have lots of choices.

                2 Replies
                1. re: milklady

                  I was thinking of Chick Pea, too. Berkeley vibe -- plus Buster Keaton movies (last time I was there). Another place that occurred to me is Gecko Gecko Thai-California. At least it has table service.

                  1. re: milklady

                    The EG rec reminds me that Mint Leaf would be a good option. The food is very good - it's my favorite Indian place in town - and the entrees are in the $10-$15 range fore the most part (there are a couple of lamb dishes that are closer to $17._ Not sure if I'd call it a "Berkeley Vibe," though how often do you see organic Indian food with a huge wine list? They offer full table service. Saul's is also a good suggestion.

                    Mint Leaf
                    1513 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 34957