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Dinner before the Berkeley Rep

smgradman Dec 9, 2013 10:06 AM

LA Hound coming up for a long Bay Area weekend at the end of December. Very familiar with SF restaurants, but on Friday night we're attending a play at the Berkeley Rep. Prefer someplace close to the BART station, so I can leave my car across the bay. What are my best choices (price not really an issue)?

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  1. Robert Lauriston RE: smgradman Dec 9, 2013 10:31 AM

    Best food in the immediate area, for eating before, Revival, Belli Osteria, or Ippuku.

    1. s
      sundeck sue RE: smgradman Dec 9, 2013 11:13 AM

      I second Ippuku. That and Comal are our favorites before Berkeley Rep (and among our favorite Berkeley restaurants, period).

      But while Ippuku takes reservations, Comal only takes them right when they open (5:30 pm--which works for us on Sundays, w/ a 7 pm Berkeley Rep curtain). There's likely to be a significant wait for walk-in's at 6 or 6:30 (aiming for an 8 pm Friday curtain). You might grab a 5:30 pm reservation, be done by 7 and then browse in the bookstore and have a coffee and sweet in the lobby/courtyard @ the theatre. Not ideal, but ....

      6 Replies
      1. re: sundeck sue
        Robert Lauriston RE: sundeck sue Dec 9, 2013 11:18 AM

        Getting to Comal by 5:30 would put you right at the peak of rush hour sardine-packing on BART. Good choice if you want to eat after the show.

        1. re: sundeck sue
          rubadubgdub RE: sundeck sue Dec 9, 2013 11:25 AM

          Not sure if it's changed, but I thought Ippuku only takes res for 6 or more people?

          1. re: rubadubgdub
            sundeck sue RE: rubadubgdub Dec 9, 2013 12:05 PM

            We did one for 4.

            1. re: rubadubgdub
              Robert Lauriston RE: rubadubgdub Dec 9, 2013 12:38 PM

              I've made reservations for two, though not recently.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                rubadubgdub RE: Robert Lauriston Dec 9, 2013 03:29 PM

                Good to know! I've avoided it pretheater for this very reason.

              2. re: rubadubgdub
                hyperbowler RE: rubadubgdub Dec 9, 2013 05:31 PM

                We got reservations for four last Tuesday at Ippuku, and with only a few hours of notice. Note that they don't sell all items throughout the week--- the chicken tartare, for one, isn't on the menu on Mon and Tuesday, but is available on Wednesday and some other days.

            2. m
              ML8000 RE: smgradman Dec 9, 2013 04:36 PM

              Since you're looking for options, I'd look at Venus and Gather. Both are good to very good and close by but not super special. I'd check the menus and reviews.

              Otherwise, if you have time, there is Chez Panisse Cafe. Dinner starts at 5, so you should have time but you can get a cab back to avoid the walk. It's like a 10 block walk.

              3 Replies
              1. re: ML8000
                sundeck sue RE: ML8000 Dec 9, 2013 05:18 PM

                CP is something to consider, if you want to eat after theatre. They're open late (that said, if you're BART-ing, that could make it tight). But we've gone there many a time, post-Berkeley-Rep. Obviously an easier res. @ that hour. And if you're wanting something lighter for a late night repast, a shared nettles pizza and salad and glass of Red and Green Zin, with a piece of beautiful fresh fruit for dessert can feel pretty perfect.

                Rather than Venus or Gather (neither, as ML8000 says, anything to write home about), we sometimes grab some sushi before theatre. There are a few B-B+ sushi places around the Rep--two on Shattuck, one on MLK between Addison and University (my preference, the latter, Sushi California, I think it's called, a space that's cozy & a bit funky, with decent sushi).

                And if you did want to do something bigger after the performance, a pre-theatre beer and a few pieces of sushi at Sushi California or a margarita and chips/homemade salsas/guac at the Comal bar could tide you over.

                1. re: sundeck sue
                  ML8000 RE: sundeck sue Dec 9, 2013 05:58 PM

                  A lot depends on when the show starts. If it starts at 8, I think that's plenty of time before the show since CP Cafe opens at 5 p.m., but not the nicer downstairs (opens at 6). 1.5 - 2 hour meal, should give you plenty of time to get to the Rep. If it's bad weather or don't want to walk, they'll call you a cab.

                  1. re: ML8000
                    Robert Lauriston RE: ML8000 Dec 9, 2013 06:05 PM

                    Fridays this month, showtime is 8pm.

              2. Cynsa RE: smgradman Dec 9, 2013 04:43 PM

                Berkeley Rep is an easy walk from FIVE. The mussels were lovely. http://www.five-berkeley.com/

                3 Replies
                1. re: Cynsa
                  Robert Lauriston RE: Cynsa Dec 9, 2013 04:49 PM

                  Have you eaten there since the chef change?

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston
                    Cynsa RE: Robert Lauriston Dec 10, 2013 11:33 AM

                    Probably not, it's been a year since we were at Berkeley Rep to see Mary Zimmerman's The White Snake... but we enjoyed our convenient pre-theatre dinner and excellent service at FIVE.
                    Did Stephane Tonnelier start in July?

                    1. re: Cynsa
                      Robert Lauriston RE: Cynsa Dec 10, 2013 01:28 PM

                      Banks White left in May and Tonnelier started in August.

                2. s
                  smgradman RE: smgradman Dec 28, 2013 12:26 AM

                  Thanks to everyone for the suggestions. My wife ended up surprising me and saying that it was OK to snack before the play and then again afterwards, so we grabbed some banh mi sandwiches at Saigon Sandwich after the Asian Art Museum closed, and then went to Comal after Tristan ended at 10:15p. No problems being seated right away then, and the food was very good. This wine drinker very much enjoyed his "Juarez Sour" cocktail. The mushroom quesadilla was particularly good as well.

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