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Oct 19, 2011 09:04 PM

Good, reasonably priced Italian in Berkeley/Rockridge

I have visitors from out f state and we will be in Berkeley Saturday night. My guests want to treat for dinner, but one of them just lost their job I don't want anything expensive. I am just looking for a comfortable place with decent Italian food.

Thank you.

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  1. trattoria Corso on Shattuck, just north of University Ave. in berserkley. if you wish to go in the Cal-Ital vein, Pizzaiolo on Telegraph, oaktown/temescal. neither is inexpensive, but reasonable for their high quality, and informal/casual.

    5008 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

    1. Dopo, Corso, Trattoria La Siciliana, Riva Cucina, Paisan

      Trattoria La Siciliana
      2993 College Ave, Berkeley, CA 94705

      4293 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611

      Riva Cucina
      800 Heinz Ave, Berkeley, CA 94710

      1788 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709

      2514 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702

      5 Replies
      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        Trattoria La Siciliana is a nice choice as they offer "family style" platters with very generous portions for the price. The last time I went they were cash only- just so you know.

        Trattoria La Siciliana
        2993 College Ave, Berkeley, CA 94705

        1. re: kellylee

          I see that Siciliana takes reservations now, so that's a big plus.

          1. re: kellylee

            La Siciliana definitely fits the bill for the price point. It's a narrow space so your comfort criterion would depend on the size of the party- I've eaten there with 8 and it was pleasant enough if a tight fit. Family-style service a big plus as kellylee noted.

            1. re: Pius Avocado III

              I second or third or whatever number it's on the recommendation for Trattoria La Siciliana. I think they're great and price is reasonable, depending on how much you order of course.

              1. re: bythebay

                We went to Trattoria La Sicliana last night for dinner (early, no reservations, waited about 20 minutes, and the hostess was very apologetic). We ordered mostly off the November specials menu, and one dish really stood out: the ragu d'Maiale (over pappardelle). There were several different kinds of pork, and it was richly meaty and delicious.

        2. I really like Corso, but you have to tiptoe thru the menu more carefully than at Trattoria La Siciliana to keep the price down. So i vote for the latter.

          fyi Pizzaiola can be really expensive if you're aiming for a chicken dish (instead of pizza/pasta) -- it was $26 a plate when I was there the other day for yummy morning coffee.

          Trattoria La Siciliana
          2993 College Ave, Berkeley, CA 94705

          1. I like Enoteca Molinari. A small, cozy place. Tasty food for reasonable prices:

            5474 College Avenue
            Oakland, CA 94618
            (510) 428-4078


            Enoteca Molinari
            5474 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

            5 Replies
            1. re: salumigirl

              Stopped in at Molinari for a drink. Really nicely chosen all-Italian wine list, I had tastes of half a dozen, all delicious. The chickpea fries were good though I like Plum's better. Liver pâté was excellent. A small appetizer of fat asparagus spears and prosciutto was very good. The tagliatelle with beef and pork ragù looked delicious, I'll have to go back to try some pasta.

              1. re: salumigirl

                I finally got around to trying Molinari's pasta. Orecchiette (I'd call them something else, they were a bit thicker and not ear-shaped) with broccoli rab, gnocchi with asparagus, smoked ham, and fontina, both very, very good. $14 for housemade pasta's a great deal. The chef's from Naples, does a remarkable job given the tiny space. The caponata was also excellent.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  Thanks for reminding us about Molinari. How's it faring with A16 as a new neighbor?

                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    Dunno. From day one they've often had seats when nearby places have a wait, that's how we ended up there last night. When we walked in around 7ish, the tables were all occupied, but nobody was at the bar.

                  2. re: Robert Lauriston

                    That "orechiette" is my favorite there. I can't figure out the traffic though -- I walk by it almost every day. Some days, completely empty (indeed, I have been there for a glass of wine and pastas to go, and have been the only person there for 30 minutes), other nights the tables are filled. Hope they are doing okay.

                2. Thank you for all the recommendations, so far Trattoria La Sicilianais on the top of the list.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: wannab

                    I would read deeply about wait times at TLS. The two times we went, it took much longer for us (no reservations) and for some of the people who had them. We stopped trying, but if we had some time to hang out (even with a res), we would go back. The food is delicious and the space is hopping and comfy. Service warm. Again, it's been a while.

                    Corso is a favorite. An app and the popular butter-cooked chicken dish they have with a shared salad might work. Larger portions at TLS but both are delicious.

                    Also to add that Corso has 3 sizes of wine pours: taste, half, full. We've enjoyed having just a sip of wine to try something new here and there.

                    1. re: dcfb

                      Trattoria la Siciliana didn't used to take reservations at all, so long waits were unavoidable.

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        This reservation business is not new but apparently you needed at least 4.
                        Psst, RL you are on that 6 year old thread.

                        1. re: wolfe

                          Three, but time was they didn't take reservations at all except for large groups.

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            Your taste memory is matched only by your eidetic reservation memory.

                            1. re: wolfe

                              Wolfie! It's "reservations for 3 or more" online or "call for smaller parties," I guess so they can pick and choose if they want to honor reservations at a particular time. That would mean they may or may not save a table for 1 or 2.

                              How do I know? Website!