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What's good on 4th Street in Berkeley

Me again - One other night on my visit to the Bay Area I am meeting a friend for dinner - I hope on 4th street in Berkeley. I have not been there for a number of years and don't know what's good any more. This time I will be with an adventurous eater but I would like to keep it under $40 per person with a glass of wine if that is possible. Any kind of food except Mexican, although I am not a huge fan of Indian food. Thanks as always for your great help.

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  1. I like Cafe Rouge (rustic Mediterranean-American-charcuterie) and O Chame (Japanese fusion). There's another restaurant, Zut! (also Mediterranean), but I haven't been yet.

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    Cafe Rouge
    1782 Fourth St, Berkeley, CA 94710

    O Chame
    1830 4th St, Berkeley, CA 94710

    Zut
    1820 4th St, Berkeley, CA 94710

    4 Replies
    1. re: AntarcticWidow

      Terrific, thanks, I am glad to learn that O Chame is still there - I liked it a whole lot on past visits.

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      O Chame
      1830 4th St, Berkeley, CA 94710

      1. re: Mariana in Baja

        O Chame hasn't changed. Very nice place to catch up with friends. Cozy, quiet, great food, excellent wine (rare for Japanese places).

        Spenger's is not as bad as it once was but don't go there.

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        O Chame
        1830 4th St, Berkeley, CA 94710

      2. re: AntarcticWidow

        Zut is just ok, would not go back. Love Cafe Rouge.

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        Zut
        1820 4th St, Berkeley, CA 94710

        1. re: mariacarmen

          I thought Zut was good enough to go back, but I haven't yet. I'd like to try the patio for lunch on a nice day.

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          Zut
          1820 4th St, Berkeley, CA 94710

      3. How attached are you to the idea of eating in the 4th St. area? It's a cute neighborhood for strolling, but the food tends to be pretty yuppified. I've never had a desire to eat at any of those restaurants more than once - Cafe Rouge was the best of the handful I've tried, but even there we never felt inclined to go back. I would be hard-pressed to think of a single "adventurous" option in that 'hood.

        You'll have better options if you open it up to, say, Downtown Berkeley and/or West Berkeley and up toward Solano Ave. ... and many (arguably most) of the best options are in Oakland rather than in Berkeley.

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        Cafe Rouge
        1782 Fourth St, Berkeley, CA 94710

        10 Replies
        1. re: abstractpoet

          Specific to 4th St., I've eaten at Zut! twice - it was enjoyable on each occasion. Not really memorable in that I don't remember specifically what I ate, but a good overall food/service/price combo. O Chame? I have enjoyed it when I've been but I haven't been in years. Cafe Rouge? I give it a good-plus. Not a frequent visitor.

          You can always go to Spengers. Or not. (If a tornado hits the area for saying this, sorry!)

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          Cafe Rouge
          1782 Fourth St, Berkeley, CA 94710

          O Chame
          1830 4th St, Berkeley, CA 94710

          Zut
          1820 4th St, Berkeley, CA 94710

          1. re: lmnopm

            Spenger's has a great old school bar. Have some cocktails, the food will taste better. For what it is, Spenger's isn't bad...just not great.

            Almost around the corner is Indus Village Restaurant, Pakistani / Indian cuisine. Very good food, great value and the chef has a light touch. It's a typical mom and pop ethnic joint but nice, clean.

            1. re: ML8000

              I love Indus Village, but if she's not a fan of Indian food...

              But heading in that general direction there's Sea Salt (Cal-Seafood), which I much prefer to any of the places on 4th. Or up San Pablo the other way, and then you can hit Zaki Kabob (Middle Eastern). If you get as far as Solano, there's China Village, Bowl'd, and Little Star Pizza -- all places in my regular rotation. And all well within (and most quite a bit below) her stated price range.

              I'd do any of those before choosing any of the restaurants in the 4th Street neighborhood, which I think is more suited for an after-dinner stroll (maybe sweets at the Chocolatier Blue outpost). The restaurants on 4th are "fine," but not in the top 25 of where I'd go if I had one dinner in the East Bay.

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              China Village
              1335 Solano Ave, Albany, CA 94706

              Sea Salt
              2512 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94702

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

              Bowl'd
              1479 Solano Ave, Albany, CA 94706

              Chocolatier Blue
              1964 University Ave, Berkeley, CA 94701

              Chocolatier Blue Patisserie
              1809 4th St, Berkeley, CA 94710

              Little Star Pizza
              1175 Solano Ave, Albany, CA

              1. re: abstractpoet

                Thanks everyone, I will give it more thought. I am not crazy about Indian food and I sure don't need seafood - I live in southern Baja. (Made an awesome Brazilian seafood stew last night from Epicurious.) I lived in Napa/Sonoma when I was there and am not very familiar with the East Bay - which is why I chose 4th Street - ease of access and parking. I crave Asian food above all else.

                1. re: Mariana in Baja

                  Well, for what it's worth, I would recommend China Village and Bowl'd if you're craving Asian food - they're tops in their category (Szechuan/Chinese and Korean/rice bowls, respectively) in that general vicinity.

                  Lots of threads on this board that have recommendations on what to order at those particular restaurants. Parking is not really a problem on/off of Solano Ave.

                  I'm sure you'll have a nice time whatever you decide.

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                  Bowl'd
                  1479 Solano Ave, Albany, CA 94706

                  1. re: Mariana in Baja

                    For what it's worth, I use to not be crazy about Indian food but Indus changed my mind. For a cuisine that can easily get bogged down and have a heavy steam table vibe, Indus does a great job. The chef has very light touch and things are very fresh. It leans towards the Afghani side as much as the Indian side.

                    If you want Asian food, perhaps a few exits up I-80 to the Pacific East Shopping Mall and Daimo, etc.

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                    Pacific East
                    3288 Pierce St # M126, Richmond, CA

                    1. re: ML8000

                      I thought Indus was Pakistani/Indian.

                      1. re: wolfe

                        It is Pakistani/Indian but my thinking is Indus' Pakistani food leans as much toward Afghani cuisine given they are bordering neighbors. That's just my take, delusional or false.

                        1. re: ML8000

                          Indus Village is Pakistani aka northern Indian. That cuisine has some things in common with Afghan cusine (e.g. naan, tandoor ovens), but I've never noticed any identifiable Afghan influence in any of the dishes I've had there.

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

                    2. re: Mariana in Baja

                      China Village. Just as easy to get to, easy parking, even lower prices. Your only problem is what to do with your leftovers.

                      Ease of access really depends on where and when you are coming from. The section of freeway (80/580) gets very very crowded some parts of the day. If you're coming from SF or the airport it's better to be in downtown Oakland.

                      Downtown oakland, if you're really craving asian, maybe I would say Vo's. There's lower end places with great food, there's more expensive places like Plum, there's Mua which is a little bit generically californian but is good for catching up only on the early side when it isn't crowded.

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                      Mua
                      2442A Webster Street, Oakland, CA 94612

            2. I live on 9th St and the only place I patronize on 4th is Cafe Rouge. They have the best meat at their butcher shop and restaurant. I had very good ribs at the BHS jazz festival last weekend and love their brined pork chops. The hot dogs with housemade catsup are great too.

              You could do worse than going to Brennan's for classic hofbrau food. If none of this appeals to you, you might try Temescal (Pizzaiola, Dona Tomas, etc).

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              Dona Tomas
              5004 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, CA 94609

              Cafe Rouge
              1782 Fourth St, Berkeley, CA 94710

              8 Replies
              1. re: chocolatetartguy

                We recently had a great dinner at O Chame:
                See:
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/779038

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                O Chame
                1830 4th St, Berkeley, CA 94710

                1. re: Ridge

                  Wow, so many options. I think I will put it out to my friend who I am meeting.. I actually do like some Indian food and there is a place here that does a monthly Indian dinner - it's just not my favorite and what I crave when traveling - which is, as I said, Asian food. I may be able to get to China Village or Bowl'd on another day for lunch. I'm not big on meat so Cafe Rouge doesn't sound much like my kind of p;lace - nor classic hofbrau food. I'm after noodles noodles noodles - in every form.

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                  Cafe Rouge
                  1782 Fourth St, Berkeley, CA 94710

                  Bowl'd
                  1479 Solano Ave, Albany, CA 94706

                  1. re: Mariana in Baja

                    One more 4th St. option if your dinner is early and your friend chooses, Vik's Chaat House.
                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/780805
                    HOURS:
                    Tues-Fri: 11am-6pm, Sat-Sun: 11am-8pm,

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                    Vik's Chaat House
                    2390 Fourth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710

                    1. re: Mariana in Baja

                      If you're looking for classic hoffbrau, the answer is Brennan's, which hasn't been mentioned. They do a corned beef dinner some night of the week. Spenger's is closer to classic hoffbrau. Neither are considered particularly "chowish" or much beloved by this crowd, but it's there.

                      1. re: bbulkow

                        Chocolatetartguy mentioned it last night upthread but neither of you linked to Brennan's Restaurant.
                        http://brennansberkeley.com/

                        1. re: wolfe

                          I liked the old Brennan's but the new one is nicer, a more pleasant place and is in the old Berkeley train station. It's been nicely remodeled. The food has also improved just a bit.

                        2. re: bbulkow

                          What's hofbrau-ish about Spenger's? It's your standard American fish house, basically a branch of the McCormick & Schmick chain.

                          1. re: bbulkow

                            She said "nor" hoffbrau. As in...she doesn't want it.

                            Cafe Rouge doesn't sound like what the OP wants either, though for the record they have some very good non-meat dishes.