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Berkeley on Sunday evenings with no reservation

We find ourselves passing through Berkeley on Sunday evenings occasionally while returning home from the weekend. Are there any recommended places to eat where you could get a table without a prior reservation or a long wait (15-20 minutes max) ? We typically pass through Berkeley between 5pm and 8pm.

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  1. What part of Berkeley are you passing through? It's not hard to get into Sea Salt and Cesar on Sunday evenings, I rarely ever have to wait at T Rex. If you want to head up Solano, China Village is a good option.

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    Sea Salt
    2512 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94702

    4 Replies
    1. re: JasmineG

      We always come down along 580/80, so we pass the Gilman, University and Ashby exits. T-Rex is just a few blocks away, and it looks like Lalime's and Sea Salt are both an easy 1.5 miles off the highway.

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      Sea Salt
      2512 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94702

      Lalime's
      1329 Gilman, Berkeley, CA 94706

      1. re: dump123456789

        Sea Salt is more like half a mile off the highway, right between University and Ashby. Maybe a mile, but it just takes a couple minutes.

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        Sea Salt
        2512 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94702

        1. re: milklady

          I meant 1.5 miles from the highway off ramp. But it's good to know that it won't be a long drive timewise. I wouldn't want to go any place that took a long time to get through lights, stop signs, one way streets, traffic and limited parking.

      2. re: JasmineG

        China Village was my first thought as well.

      3. We just had a very good Sunday dinner at Revival. It was busy, but no wait that I can remenber. In any event, any dinner rush is over by 7:00 pm, when Berkeley Rep's Sunday performances begin.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Rapini

          You could probably get into Lalime's at the earlier or later end of your range.

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          Lalime's
          1329 Gilman, Berkeley, CA 94706

        2. Off of University Ave besides Sea Salt there's also Indus Village and Lanesplitter Pizza. Casual, not even moderate dining but both are very good for what they serve, rarely a wait. Also there's Jimmy Bean's on Gilman, also part of the TRex, Sea Salt group.

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          Sea Salt
          2512 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94702

          Indus Village Restaurant
          1920 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702

          Jimmy Bean's
          1290 6th St, Berkeley, CA 94710

          2 Replies
          1. re: ML8000

            The Berkeley Lanesplitter often has a wait at dinnertime. The new one in Emeryville might not.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              You can usually get in under 15 mins as the OP wanted.

          2. You could try Nizza La Bella near the corner of Solano and San Pablo. If you take the Albany exit and turn left onto San Pablo, Nizza is just a couple blocks ahead on the left. Usually easy street parking and no waiting in my experience.

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            Nizza La Bella
            827 San Pablo Ave, Albany, CA 94706

            11 Replies
            1. re: kellylee

              Oh yeah, good call. I haven't had to wait there since the dot-com crash. A wide variety of delicious food: pizza, steak-frites, bouillabaisse, mac and cheese, great salads ...

              Little Star Pizza's just a few blocks up Solano.

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              Little Star Pizza
              846 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Little Star is really good, too. If you're willing to cruise up to the top of Solano Avenue, Ajanta's Indian Restaurant is wonderful.

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                Ajanta Restaurant
                1888 Solano Ave, Berkeley, CA 94707

                1. re: kellylee

                  Little Star would definitely not qualify for the "short wait" criteria!

                  1. re: betterbeheaven

                    Has Little Star caught on that fast? Nice to hear if so.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      As you know the wait is for the deep dish unless you preorder from the freeway.

                      1. re: wolfe

                        Well, yes, if you order a deep-dish pizza, it takes 25 minutes to bake, but the request was for no more than a 20-minute wait for a table.

                      2. re: Robert Lauriston

                        When I went on a recent Sunday night I was quoted 45 minutes but ended up waiting closer to about 30. Might've been that there was a party of 10 before me. We were able to order the pizza when we arrived.

                        1. re: betterbeheaven

                          Yow. Nice to hear they're doing well. I wonder if the Zachary's up the street has lost business to them?

                2. re: kellylee

                  I often walk in to Nizza la bella and get a table for 2 -- not one of the coveted booths, however. It's a fave place before or after a film at the theater around the corner on Solano.

                  1. re: escargot3

                    Nizza la Bella is a great suggestion.

                  2. re: kellylee

                    I third this after Robert and Kellylee!

                  3. The closer to 8 the better the chance the kids will be home in bed, Picante, easy off, easy on Gilman.

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                    Picante
                    1328 6th St, Berkeley, CA 94710