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open late in downtown berkeley -Saturn Cafe

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It may not be a "chowhound" eatery in particular, but last nite I noticed that the new Saturn Cafe is open until midnite.

it's a great addition to the neighb for a place to go for conversation after a movie. but that's not a comment on the food - I haven't eaten there yet. However, I noticed a lot of families with kids in there last nite.

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  1. What time do they stay open until? Where are they located?

    I'm still surprised there's not that much open late night in Berkeley beside
    Au Coquelet, Top Dog and a few other places like Nations.

    p.s. now that Berkeley has Jupiter, Venus and now Saturn...my guess is Neptune is next.

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    Au Coquelet Cafe Restaurant
    2000 University Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704

    2 Replies
    1. re: ML8000

      Au Coquelet is a bit of a hike from the movie theaters on/near Shattuck.

      Saturn Cafe is a block or 2 away.
      Open till midnite.

      I think it might be related to the one in Santa Cruz. Not sure. but it has a similar "health food" vibe. Might be a good place for soup 'n salad. I haven't gone inside but it looked like a good place to hang out and have a conversation.

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      Au Coquelet Cafe Restaurant
      2000 University Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704

      1. re: escargot3

        It is definitely related to the Saturn Cafe in Santa Cruz. Same owners, same (or nearly same) menu.

        I ate there recently with my kids. It is exactly as described - vegetarian diner food. It was great fun for my kids to be able to choose anything at all on the kids menu. The atmosphere is retro diner meets space ship (painted robots on the bathroom doors!), which I liked and the kids loved.

        We tried:
        Soup of the day, vegan pozole. I would NOT order this again, especially after having eaten the complex pozole from Gracias Madre. It was oily and one-dimensional, but pleasantly spicy and had nice hominy in it.
        Kids meal - grilled cheese sandwich with fries - straightforward and good. Comes with a drink.
        Kids meal - steamed veggies. Comes with a drink. The veggies were fresh and plentiful, but is literally just veggies - no rice, no tofu, nothing. We used it as a side to get some veggies into all the kids (it would be very nice if they offered this as a side).
        Some kind of fake bacon / veggie burger/ onion ring melt - I don't remember the name, and I didn't try it. My husband really liked it.
        "Chicken" burger - a straightforward fake chicken patty, on a nice bun, served with lettuce, tomato, etc. The steak fries served with it really good. This was very well received by my son, who wished it was available as a kids meal.

        We didn't have room for dessert, but it looks like there is great ice cream and the like.

        There were lots of happy groups there. There was one unhappy group who didn't realize until after the food came that everything was vegetarian. Service was a bit slow, but we will definitely return.

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        Gracias Madre
        2211 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

    2. The newish Beta Lounge a few blocks away is also open late. It feels more like a bar than a restaurant, though it has only beer, wine, and soju cocktails, no hard liquor.

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      Beta Lounge
      2129 Durant Ave, Berkeley, CA

      Saturn Cafe
      2175 Allston Way, Berkeley, CA 94704

      1. If the menu appeals to you, definitely go there. I would call it a good-excellent version of what it purports to be--a vegetarian diner. I'm not a vegetarian, but I thoroughly enjoyed their version of a buffalo chicken salad. I was quite skeptical because I can enjoy vegetarian cooking, but usually in an environment where it is more natural and doesn't rely on fake meats. And I occasionally enjoy diner food, but this usually when I have a craving for fries and a patty melt. But here the marriage works and I even enjoyed their fake buffalo chicken. This reminds me that I should also report on Souley Vegan, which I also like for fake buffalo chickenish things. If anyone knows of any East Bay organic/sustainable buffalo chicken (meat) type dishes please let met know.

        1. The only thing I find appealing in the menu is the ice cream. It is notable to have a local place serving McConnell's, to which I was first introduced at the Saturn Cafe in Santa Cruz when I was at UCSC in the '80s (Chocolate Madness was an iconic dessert locally). It is a shame that they are now using plain chocolate ice cream instead of the chocolate burnt almond they offered in the past, as that is an excellent flavor.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

            uh oh...they've got McConnell's ice cream!! bad news for my plan to avoid sugar till the holidays.
            i agree, the choco burnt almond is fab.

          2. I've been there once and had the Thai peanut salad. It was very good, especially for diner food.

            1. Tried this place because we were nearby, in the mood for vegetarian food, and it's open late (midnight daily). I didn't realize it was the kind place where they serve "chicken" and "fakin' bacon," but unlike the old Michael's American Diner they have lots of normal vegetarian food as well.

              I had a jalapeño burger ($9.50) with a house-made bean and veg patty, tasty though so messy I ate it with knife and fork. Came with an OK Indian / Thai-ish coconut soup. My companion's Peanut Royale ($10) was a classic hippie tofu stir-fry with brown rice, pretty good.

              Place was clean and quiet, friendly service.