South Side

Henry'smap
2600 Durant Ave.809-4132
Inside the Hotel Durant, in a renovated space, is this "gastropub" adjacent to the large and lively bar. A small menu is offered featuring fairly tasty food -- mainly sandwiches and salads, with a few main courses -- generous portions, many beers on tap, and moderate prices. The decor is light and airy, tables nicely spaced and quiet, the service friendly, and if you stick to the simpler menu offerings you will have a decent meal at a good price.

Free Housemap
2700 Bancroft Way at College647-2300
Alas, faculty friendly Adagia is gone, and in it's place is this student friendly, noisy sports bar, complete with 2 TV's and a pool table. The straightforward food is pretty good, reasonably priced, and generously proportioned. There's a vast list of inexpensive beer, and just one choice of inexpensive red or white wine, which comes in a glass. Needless to say, this is popular with students on most nights. Open for lunch, too.

Bateau Ivremap
2629 Telegraph Ave. at Carleton849-1100
An old standby in an area lacking many choices. Located in a charming house, there's an informal lunch and dinner cafe in the front section with simple food, only adequately prepared, and more expensive dinners in the back section. Coffee and pastries are available all day. Tables are nicely spaced, and there's classical music playing softly for atmosphere. I prefer the informal cafe for a quick bite. There's a patio for warm weather too.

Kiralamap
2100 Ward St. on Shattuck549-3486
This is a very popular Japanese restaurant, with a sake bar and robata grill. The decor is modern, the service quick, and the food good, if slightly pricey. It's best to order a selection of wonderful sushi or small plates of grilled food. The more traditional choices are not as tasty or well made. There's a lively crowd, and the noise level gets high when this place is crowded, which is most of the time.

Shen Huamap
2914 College Ave. north of Ashby883-1777
This is a large modern Chinese restaurant in the Elmwood area. It is usually crowded and very noisy, but it offers a varied menu with many unusual dishes, and the cooking level is high. The daily specials are worth a try. The prices are definitely upscale, but the portions are generous. The atmosphere is usually welcoming and service is swift, but everything can falter when the place is mobbed. Open for lunch also, when it is quieter.

La Mediterraneemap
2936 College Ave. north of Ashby540-7773
Middle Eastern food in the Elmwood, moderately priced, good for families. Open for lunch and dinner. There is a street-side patio which is heated and can be very pleasant in the evenings or late mornings. The food is quite tasty, the service quick and friendly. The lamb and chicken dishes are nicely spiced. There are lots of vegetarian choices, too. This place gets very crowded on weekend nights, so there is often a wait.

Rick and Ann'smap
2922 Domingo St. opposite Claremont Hotel649-8538
A very informal American place for terrific breakfasts, good lunches, and decent dinners. Some outdoor tables for sunny days. Prices moderate. This is a good place for families with children, since the choices range from hamburgers to more sophisticated fare. The classic dishes on the main menu are preferable to the specials. The place is crowded on weekend mornings.

Padimap
2965 College Ave. just south of Ashby841-1608
In a small storefront you will find this Indonesian restaurant, one of the few featuring this cuisine in the area. The small menu features home style cooking, which can be spiced to taste with the owner's home made special sambal sauce. The service is very personable, and the owner is happy to recommend and explain the menu to those unfamiliar with the cuisine. Prices are refreshingly low. Open for both lunch and dinner. No alcohol is served

Trattoria La Sicilianamap
2993 College Ave. south of Ashby704-1474
Italian on "restaurant row" in Elmwood, this small two level storefront cafe is hugely popular, very noisy, and generally has a line out the door waiting for tables. What draws the crowds are large portions of hearty garlic infused pastas, along with salads, antipasti, and meat and fish dishes. The prices are moderate, except for the wine, which is quite pricey. Service can be slow, so be prepared. Credit cards not accepted. Open for dinner only.

Downtown

TukTukThaimap
2466 Shattuck Ave. at Haste540-6360
In a high ceilinged simple storefront space, not far from downtown theaters and shopping is this inexpensive informal Thai cafe. The large menu features food that is decent and tasty. The tables are nicely spaced, service is prompt and friendly, and there are lots of vegetarian choices. Wonder of wonders, they are open daily until very late, which makes it one of the few places to get a meal after midnight.

La Notemap
2377 Shattuck Ave. south of Durant843-1525
A charming Provençal cafe, open for breakfast, lunch and weekend brunch, with dinner on the weekend. The food reflects quality ingredients, with lovely French accents -- large portions of salads and sandwiches big enough for two people. Main lunch entrees are somewhat pricey, and dinners are more expensive. A small wine list, fairly priced. Lovely background music, good service. A peaceful sunny patio out back is ideal for lunch or brunch when it's warm.

Venusmap
2327 Shattuck Ave. north of Durant540-5950
This very informal brick walled cafe has healthy American breakfasts, lunches with a moderately priced small menu, offering soups, salads, and heartier fare. At dinner there is a menu with higher prices for both food and wine. Everything is generally organic, the service personal and friendly. A good selection of vegetarian fare too. However, the quality of the food and service is not what it once was. Can get noisy. Located near downtown theaters.

Toss Noodle Barmap
2272 Shattuck Ave.845-8677
A new unassuming small storefront, easy to miss, located near the downtown theaters, this place offers surprisingly good low priced South East Asian food. You design your own dish at the counter, by choosing a starch base of noodles or rice, then add on a protein and a flavor sauce. This can be served as a soup or stir fry -- either way, the portions are generous and the flavors delicious. A few appetizers and salads round out the menu. Beer and wine also.

Angeline's Louisiana Kitchenmap
2261 Shattuck Ave. north of Bancroft548-6900
In a convenient downtown location, you will find this informal popular restaurant featuring the cuisine of Louisiana. Red brick walls, photos of New Orleans, and jazz music enhance the food experience. The portions are large, it's noisy, and service can be slow. The hush puppies are really good, as is the gumbo, jambalaya, Po-boys, and fried oysters. People rave about the barbecued ribs, too. Prices are moderate. A great place for lunch or dinner. There's even Louisiana beer.

Burgermeistermap
2237 Shattuck Ave. at Kittredge649-1700
This branch of a San Francisco favorite offers big juicy burgers with a variety of toppings, along with salads, soups, sandwiches and hot dogs, all moderately priced. The central downtown location is a plus, and the crowds are there at peak hours. Atmosphere is clean, very plastic, and very informal, complete with TV. There's beer, soft drinks and shakes also. Place your order at the counter.

Gathermap
2200 Oxford St. at Allston Way809-0400
Very popular, with just the right mix of well priced locally sourced good food, it has a somewhat limited menu, but lots of vegan and gluten free options. Some unusual food combinations, most of them quite delicious, but most people order the pizza. Open for weekend brunch and lunch too. Atmosphere is informal, but it can get very noisy when crowded. Nice outdoor patio, also.

Cancúnmap
2134 Allston Way btw. Oxford and Shattuck549-0964
A downtown favorite of many, this extremely informal Mexican cafe offers a wide variety of generously portioned inexpensive food. The fish burritos are especially good here. You order at the counter, and service is quick. A plus is the serve yourself salsa bar, with a large choice of sauces of varying spiciness. This place can get very crowded and noisy at lunch when the hordes of students descend, so go at an off hour or for dinner!

Fivemap
2086 Allston Way below Shattuck225-6055
Inside the refurbished Hotel Shattuck, this is a large space, bright and light, with glitzy rococo decor and a large beautiful bar. Open for lunch and dinner. The tables are widely spaced, the service solicitous. The food is very good, although high priced. A nice addition to downtown, close to the theaters, and recommended for a special meal. However, the lower priced bar menu is a good alternative choice.

Jupiter and Paninimap
2181 Shattuck Ave.843-8277
Jupiter is a multi-tap 2 level brew pub and restaurant, located in a historic Berkeley building. There is a large heated patio out back. The food is variable, but not very expensive. Most people order one of the interesting pizzas. There is live music at various times. Usually crowded, this place is very noisy. In the same courtyard is Panini, a sister cafe, where you order at the counter from an array of sandwiches, soups, and salads -- good and not expensive.

Cumap
2152 Center St. below Oxford704-1814
Join the crowds of students sitting throughout the day at the outdoor tables in front of this small close to campus place, and feast on excellent well priced sushi. There's a permanent 50% off price for the simpler sushi. The creative and delicious fancier rolls are more expensive but worth the price. There are salads, and rice and noodle dishes too, but in my opinion you should stick to the sushi.

Alborzmap
2142 Center St. btw. Oxford and Shattuck848-8877
Conveniently close to campus, this is the only Persian restaurant in Berkeley. It's open for lunch and dinner, offering good, nicely spiced entrees, and delicious appetizers. Prices are high at dinner, but much less expensive at lunch. Nicely decorated with tables well spaced, there are outdoor tables for good weather.

Ippukumap
2130 Center St.665-1969
This is Berkeley's first Izakaya, a Japanese version of a gathering place for relaxing, drinking, and snacking on small plates of food. The decor is unusual and authentic, and the experience unique. The small plates of food are delicious, carefully prepared and presented on exquisite tableware. There is a huge choice of Shochu, Japanese liquor, as well as sakes and beers. The staff is happy to advise you on what to eat and drink for a totally different experience!

Revival Bar & Kitchenmap
2102 Shattuck Ave. at Addison549-9950
A California-Mediterranean bistro brought to you by the owners of Venus, with a bit more sophistication. It features local and organic food in deceptively simple and surprising ways that can be quite variable in execution. The small plates are tastier and more inventive. This is a large and bustling place, noisy when crowded, with a busy and very popular bar. The prices are high end, including the wine. Close to downtown theaters.

PIQmap
91 Shattuck Sq. at Addison540-7700
Pane Italiano Qualita -- that's what you'll find in this authentic slice of Italy located in a light filled airy 2 story space, with a wonderful outdoor patio. Beautifully crafted savory sandwiches on house baked bread in a variety of shapes and sizes, delicious pizzas, a few well seasoned salads, and great coffee and sweets. The daily changing strudel is a favorite. It can get crowded and frantic at lunchtime, so go early or late. Order at the counter and enjoy!

Mandarin Gardenmap
2025 Shattuck Ave. on the east side848-4849
This restaurant has been around forever, offering a large menu of generously portioned reasonably priced food. There's nothing innovative or especially creative, but the cooking is solid, service is friendly and swift, and it is quiet enough for conversation. Often filled with large groups of Chinese students or families, this is a place to remember when you are looking for comfort and familiarity, and do not want a large bill.

Comalmap
2020 Shattuck Ave., west side of Shattuck Sq.926-6300
This Latin-American restaurant has been hopping since day one. If you can snag a table you will be rewarded with terrific cocktails, a wide choice of tequilas, and moderately priced small plates to savor. The quality varies depending on what you order. The few larger plates, meant to be shared, are pricey, but worth it. However be aware that the bill does add up! Everyone seems to be having a great time. The outdoor patio out back is wonderful. Open only for dinner.

Belli Osteriamap
2016 Shattuck Ave., west side of Shattuck Sq.704-1902
This addition to the downtown scene is well worth checking out. The subtle signage may be very cool and modern, but you can easily walk right by. This would be your loss, because the food is delicious and the noise level low. The small menu features a few appetizers, mains, and a couple of desserts, but the star here is the ethereal ravioli and other pasta, house made, expertly sauced, and perfectly cooked. Open for lunch also.

Taiwanmap
2071 University Ave. below Shattuck845-1456
Chinese, with some unusual country dishes on the large menu. The cooking is not particularly refined and the quality is variable, but it can be tasty and generous. This place has good value for an inexpensive downtown lunch or dinner, and it can handle large groups too. Open late every night -- one of the few places to go when everything else has closed. Weekend Chinese brunch is a specialty. This is good for takeout food, with parking out the back door, in the city lot.

Turkish Kitchenmap
1986 Shattuck Ave. north of University540-9997
Close to campus, this informal storefront place is Berkeley's only Turkish restaurant. The food is delicious and unusual, and very moderately priced. The owners and servers are really friendly and helpful, and willingly explain the menu to neophytes. It is popular and crowded at lunch, but quieter at dinner, if you can ignore the ever present TV. It is one of my favorite downtown places for a quick informal and delicious meal.

Triple Rock Brewerymap
1920 Shattuck Ave. one block north of Univ.843-2739
A busy hangout not far from campus. Beer and ale made on the premises. The Pub food is surprisingly good -- excellent sandwiches and great soups and chili at lunch, more substantial grub at dinner. Nothing too expensive, and very informal. Open every day. In warm weather the "rooftop garden" is popular. One of the first of the brewery cafes in the area, it is one of the most successful -- be prepared for crowds, noise, and sports on the TV.

Liaisonmap
1849 Shattuck Ave. at Hearst849-2155
Very popular, this French bistro is located close to campus and the downtown theaters. The decor is charming, the service professional and warm, food prices moderately high, wine prices high. This place offers very good bistro food, onion soup, oysters, mussels and frites, and more. Tables are closely spaced, so it is generally pretty noisy. Reservations recommended, even for lunch. Outdoor tables for nice weather.

GeckoGeckomap
2101 Milvia St. at Addison665-4811
Across from the Aurora and Berkeley Rep, and down the street from Freight and Salvage, this small Thai California fusion place is a welcome addition to downtown. The food is delicious, the prices moderate, the portions generous, with an abundance of tropical and fairly mildly spiced flavors. If you want spicy, ask for it! Atmosphere is bright, clean, and modern, the service sweet and solicitous, but slow when crowded.

Slowmap
1966 University Ave. west of Milvia647.FOOD
A small storefront space, a few tables, with counter service. It doesn't look like much, but the food is terrific, moderately priced, and there's a gorgeous rose garden out back with many tables. On a sunny day or a warm evening, this is a sublime experience. A Berkeley gem, which explains the long lunchtime lines. Dinners are more accessible.

Athineonmap
1941 University Ave. above MLK705-8500
An extremely informal storefront place with low priced Greek food along with more western burgers and sandwiches. Nothing fancy or high end gourmet, but good solid cooking with nicely spiced flavors. Service is personal, friendly, and low key. Beer and wine also. Not too far from campus, this area is slowly becoming home to a few really fine places to eat.

West Side

Himalayan Flavorsmap
1585 University Ave. above Sacramento704-0174
This place offers not only a standard Indian menu but also features food from Nepal and Bhutan. It's fun to try out something totally unfamiliar, such as momos, noodles, or a Nepalese pancake, along with the standards. The atmosphere is quiet, there's beer, wine, and a large variety of teas to add to your enjoyment. A plus is the parking lot next door.

Genkimap
1610 San Pablo Ave. at Cedar524-1465
Located in an out of the way spot, next to a motel, this Japanese restaurant and sushi bar is worth the trip. Nondescript decor, extremely simple atmosphere, but the food is good, the portions large, the service friendly, and the prices moderate. The menu features a large selection of sushi. The sashimi and tempura are fine, too, and there is usually a big choice of daily specials. Often crowded and noisy, popular with Asian families. Easy parking in the motel lot.

Stella Nonnamap
1407 San Pablo Ave. btw. Cedar and Gilman 524-3400
This is a new architecturally stunning place, set back from the street with subtle signage, but seek it out and you will be rewarded with California-eclectic cuisine, globally influenced, moderately priced, and delicious. There's a small outdoor patio, the interior has well spaced tables, the service is friendly and professional, and it is ideal for conversation. Open for lunch too. One of my new favorites.

Paisanmap
2514 San Pablo Ave.649-1031
A sister restaurant to the Lalime family, this place calls itself a pizzeria, but the pizzas do not always shine. Better to choose from the array of antipasti and main dishes, all of them quite delicious and moderately priced. Cocktails and wine complement the food. Get on the mailing list for special offers.

900 Graysonmap
900 Grayson St. at 7th704-9900
In an industrial part of town and open for breakfast and lunch only, this is a popular and "with it" place offering cool decor and moderately priced delicious California food with an Asian touch. The menu terms are somewhat whimsical, but don't let that deter you from the terrific food. It is hectic and crowded at peak times, so go early or late, or be prepared to wait. There's a great back patio for warm and sunny days, too.

Mintleaf Vietnamesemap
2865 7th St. at Heinz898-1609
In an out of the way location, within the old Scharffen Berger chocolate factory, is this Vietnamese place open for lunch and dinner every day. At lunch it can be crowded, with a low priced menu, generous portions and tasty food. Dinner is quieter, the prices still reasonable, and the food still delicious. Beer and Sake are also offered. Parking in the neighborhood is not too difficult.

Riva Cucinamap
800 Heinz Ave. at 7th841-7482
Out of the way, hidden inside a plaza in West Berkeley, is this delightful quiet place featuring the food of Northern Italy. Everything is really delicious, the prices are moderate for the quality, and it is an undiscovered gem. Open for lunch and dinner, but closed on Sundays. Service is professional and warm. It's definitely worth the trip to dine here.

Viks Chaat Cornermap
2390 4th St. at Channing Way845-1431
What entices everyone here is the menu of terrific, often spicy Indian chaat. This Berkeley institution is now in a location with an expanded modern space. There's a dedicated parking lot across the street to handle the crowds that arrive for lunch and the hordes that arrive on weekends. There are also a few more substantial offerings and the menu is expanded on weekends. Lots of vegetarian choices, none expensive. Order at the counter.

Bucci'smap
6121 Hollis St. in Emeryville547-4725
Emeryville has many wonderful cafes and restaurants. This is one of them -- good Italian pizza, pasta, small dishes, desserts and salads. Nightly specials are usually terrific. Prices are moderately high, and the atmosphere "with it" and sophisticated. Portions are generous. The decor is trendy, the service professional. When there's a crowd, this place gets very noisy, although the back room is somewhat quieter. Parking in the adjacent lot.

Emeryville Marketmap
5800 Shellmound in Emeryville
Across from the Amtrak station is this terrific, crowded complex of a multiplex movie theater, and a huge food hall with a wide variety of interesting inexpensive ethnic cuisines. Go for lunch and join the crowds from the nearby software firms. The location is also not far from IKEA and Trader Joe's, so you can escape from shopping. A good place for families with children, where everyone can choose the food they prefer. Lots of free parking.

Bay Street Emeryvillemap
off Shellmound St. in Emeryville
An upscale complex, featuring a multiplex movie theater, a huge book store, and a large number of specialty shops. There's also a small complex of restaurants on a sunny upper balcony area, with many food choices, all at moderate prices. Rubio's Baja Grill is good for fish tacos, but there are places for sausages, pizza, pasta, burgers, and more. At street level there are some good places too. Located near both IKEA and Trader Joe's. Large pay parking garage.

Westside Cafemap
2570 Ninth St. at Parker845-4852
This pleasant cafe in an out of the way location is known for its breakfasts and lunches featuring a wide variety of soups, salads, and delicious sandwiches. However, it is also open for dinner, as well as a 5-7 p.m. Happy Hour Wednesday through Friday, when the atmosphere is quiet, and the food really tasty. The prices are quite moderate and the service friendly. If you are looking for something in the area, this is definitely worth a try.

Spenger's Fresh Fish Grottomap
1919 4th St. just north of University845-7771
This Berkeley favorite has a huge menu and a daily "fresh list" of fish. The ancient old Spenger's waiters are gone, and service is decent. The chef may be working towards more fresh and modern cooking, but the food is only so-so. Prices are high end. It is usually crowded, reservations are generally necessary, and it remains popular all over the East Bay, although not with me. Large pay parking lot across the street.

Zut!map
1820 4th St.644-0444
Located in the very popular Fourth Street shopping complex, this place is located in a beautiful airy space that has seen many other restaurants come and go. The food is California eclectic. The first courses are generally terrific, with generous portions and moderate prices. Main courses are higher priced, and inconsistent, depending on what you order. The bar area is gorgeous, popular, and noisy, but the main restaurant is more peaceful. Worth at least a try!

Bette's Ocean View Dinermap
1807A 4th St.644-3230
Great '40s atmosphere complete with noisy juke box and plastic counters. Good fresh food, terrific American breakfasts and lunches. Very popular, there's often a wait to be seated. Not open for dinner. Located near a hugely popular array of interesting shops and discount stores to explore before or after a meal. Nearby is Betty's "To Go" where you can pick up all kinds of wonderful food when you are on the run.

Café Rougemap
1782 4th St., but enter on the side street525-1440
Part of the Fourth Street Scene, this lively and noisy restaurant features an oyster bar and California eclectic cuisine, with excellent meat. The dinner menu is small and the prices are expensive, except for the popular house hamburger. Lunch prices are more moderate, The daily $1.25 oyster specials are a deal. This is definitely an "in" place in Berkeley. Nice patio, also.

Skates on the Baymap
100 Seawall Drive at Berkeley Marina549-1900
Lively bar, beautiful view. A huge restaurant with a varied menu -- something for everyone, but expensive. Although some people think the food is good, I do not agree. The clam chowder is pretty good, as is the terrific Happy Hour where the food and drinks are low priced, and you can watch the sunset. This is popular for families and young dating couples. Wide variety of beers. Serves late at night when other places are closed, but check first before going.

North Side

North Sidemap
Euclid and Hearst
In a quiet, unhurried area at the north edge of campus can be found a number of cafes and small ethnic restaurants, all of them informal, unassuming, and inexpensive. Some are clustered around a sunny deck, nice for an informal lunch. You can find pizzas, burritos, crepes, falafel, hot dogs, Mexican, Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, and Korean cooking, as well as soup and sandwiches, and a decent espresso cafe.

Corsomap
1788 Shattuck Ave. north of Delaware704-8004
In a storefront with high ceilings and modern decor is this wonderful place brought to us by the owners of Rivoli. It features a small menu of excellent Rustic Italian food. Close to campus and popular, everything is delicious and well priced for the high quality. This should not be missed, so join the crowds. Recent soundproofing made a fantastic reduction in the noise level, and it is now one of my favorites. Reservations are advised.

Cha-Yamap
1686 Shattuck Ave. north of Virginia981-1213
This is a very popular Japanese vegetarian and vegan restaurant which has expanded into the space next door, resulting in less of a wait for a table at dinner. It offers a large variety of noodle dishes, sushi of all sorts, salads and soups, all creatively delicious and moderately priced. You can eat well here, and feel virtuous and healthy too. Definitely worth a try.

Barney's Hamburgersmap
1600 Shattuck Ave. on Cedar849-2827
A branch of a popular chain (others are on Solano Ave., Piedmont Ave., and College Ave. just north of Rockridge BART). Good for large hamburgers with all kinds of toppings, soups, large salads, milk shakes, wine and beer. The French fries are terrific, and a half-order is plenty! There's an outdoor deck for sunny days.

Grégoiremap
2109 Cedar St. above Shattuck883-1893
A small shack with picnic tables outside, offering upscale take-out lunch and dinner. It is enormously popular. The menu offerings change with the seasons. The prices are quite high end for take out, in my opinion, although the quality is fairly good if not great. Call ahead and bring your choices home in an esthetically pleasing box, or sit outside and join the happy people munching away. There's also a branch on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland.

Cha Ammap
1543 Shattuck Ave. near Cedar848-9664
Small charming restaurant featuring Thai food, nicely done. The daily specials are usually very good. Popular and often crowded. This is also a good place for take out. There is a separate room for large parties. Open both for lunch and dinner.

Chez Panissemap
1517 Shattuck Ave. north of Cedar548-5525
California-French, emphasizing fresh local organic food, this can be superb or merely uniquely special, depending on the set menu for the night. Good wine list. Very very expensive. Reservations imperative, far in advance, although the menu is known only one week ahead. This has become world famous, and the prices reflect the fame. There is a somewhat lower-priced set dinner on Monday nights, which can be quite wonderful.

Chez Panisse Upstairs Cafémap
1517 Shattuck Ave. north of Cedar548-5049
Light, bright, lively, more casual dining than downstairs. Great for pizzas, soups, salads, and more sophisticated substantial fare. Everything is quite delicious. Open for lunch, dinner and later. Upscale prices, excellent professional service. Reservations are generally required. All Berkeley seems to convene here at one time or another.

Césarmap
1515 Shattuck Ave. next to Chez Panisse883-0222
North Berkeley's place to see and be seen, this tapas bar is very popular. The menu has delicious Spanish influenced small plates, and upscale prices. If they're on the menu, do not pass up the fried potatoes! There's a huge list of cocktails, beers, sherries, and non alcoholic drinks, as well as pricey wines. The space is beautiful. It's a lively, noisy, and eclectic crowd, with friendly seating at the bar. Open daily for lunch and dinner late into the night.

Chez Lucillemap
Berkeley near Tilden Parkunlisted
Wonderful food available at all hours of the day and night, emphasizing freshness, creativity, and the warmth of the chef. The cooking is California French with some vegetarian choices, but caters to all tastes. The inexpensive wine list is select and well chosen. The portions are generous and diners always take home leftovers. Everyone, including children, love this place. Unfortunately dining is only by personal invitation of the chef.

Epicurious Gardenmap
1511 Shattuck Ave. south of Vine
North Berkeley's gourmet food hall, with an assortment of stalls offering a choice of expensive food ranging from soup and sushi to gelato, chocolate, and tea and noodles. Not much seating is available, since this is mostly geared for takeout, but there is a lovely back terrace if you can snag a seat. Next door is Mint Leaf, a pretty good Indian restaurant with a very nice front patio.

Cheese Board Pizzamap
1512 Shattuck Ave. south of Vine549-3055
Follow the crowds lined up at lunchtime in front of this Berkeley institution. What they're after is a slice or two of crisp crusted pizza fresh from the oven topped creatively and always delicious. You can order a whole pie to go, but you'd miss the unique ambiance, the piano player, the people picnicking on the grassy strip in the middle of the street. Next door is a great cheese and bread store, where you can buy the pizzas half baked.

Saul's Delicatessenmap
1475 Shattuck Ave. north of Vine848-3354
This is Berkeley's attempt at an East Coast Deli, and it is semi successful. There is a large take out counter featuring all kinds of upscale treats, as well as a sit down area. The pickles are not very good, but the pastrami and corned beef are better. They are making the food more local and organic, and adding Middle Eastern dishes. Prices are moderate to high, service quick. This can get crowded at peak mealtimes

Fat Apple'smap
1346 Martin Luther King Way at Rose526-2260
A popular place for breakfast or a hamburger and apple pie. Once, some people felt that they had the best brunches and burgers in town, but there's lots of competition now. Open until 9 p.m. on weeknights and Sundays, and until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. In an adjoining space is a bakery with pies and pastries for sale, where you can also order anything on the menu "to go".

Solano Avenue

Khana Peenamap
1889 Solano Ave. near The Alameda528-2519
This storefront Indian restaurant features a varied and tasty menu. The tables are close together, but the service is quick and the cooking decent, if not creative or sophisticated. Prices are reasonable, and the lunchtime fixed-price buffet is actually quite good. If you know what to expect, this should be an enjoyable experience.

Ajantamap
1888 Solano Ave. near The Alameda526-4373
This is one of the best Indian restaurants in the area. The atmosphere is quiet, refined and elegant, and the spicing can be to your taste. The nan is especially good here. Each month unusual dishes from different regions are featured, and they are usually delicious. The service is personal and warm. The location is the increasingly lively upper Solano Avenue, and it's fun to stroll and shop before or after a meal. Prices moderately high for this cuisine.

Zachary's Chicago Pizzamap
1853 Solano Ave.525-5950
Jam-packed and informal. The specialty is stuffed thick pizza but they also have regular pizza. Good for take out if you can get them to answer the phone -- if not, go in person and wait your turn. During the day you can buy a very inexpensive "single slice" which makes a terrific snack, or even lunch. Kids love this place. The branch on College Avenue is a neighborhood hangout -- the weekend crowds there are phenomenal!

Troymap
1843 Solano Ave. above Colusa559-8769
This is a sleek new cafe with a bar offering traditional Mediterranean food, moderately priced, with prompt and friendly service. The portions are generous, and there's a well priced beer and wine list. The spicing tends to be fairly mild, so ask for hot sauce, salt and pepper. Unfortunately there's a large flat screen TV behind the bar, which is a distraction from the food and ambiance. Good for takeout too.

Vanessa'smap
1715 Solano Ave. at Tulare525-8300
A terrific Vietnamese restaurant named after the chef. She cooks the food she loves, and we are lucky that she does. The place is small, and has a lovely long bar where you can have a quick informal bite if you wish, and a few outdoor tables for warm nights. The menu features beautifully seasoned small plates, generally well priced. The whole family pitches in to serve, and everyone is friendly. Recommended! Open only for dinner.

King Tsinmap
1699 Solano Ave. below Colusa525-9890
A favorite of loyal clientele, this family run restaurant has been updated with a clean, bright, and modern atmosphere. There's an extensive menu of moderately priced Chinese food. They are now offering Dim Sum, which is OK but not great, and happy hour specials from 4-7 p.m. The service is friendly and fast. If you have a special favorite that's not on the menu, ask for it and they will prepare it to order. Portions are generous. This is also a good place for takeout.

Sushi 29map
1647 Solano Ave. at Ventura559-8229
This is a Japanese place that has really good sushi in some unusual combinations, as well as noodle dishes and more. The decor is totally nontraditional, colorful and very modern, the service sweet and solicitous, and the prices moderate. It's worth a try for something different.

Everest Cafemap
1645 Solano Ave.526-4915
Inside a blissfully quiet and soothing setting is this lovely small Indian-Nepali restaurant, with a smiling chef/owner and friendly waitperson. The food is really tasty, delicately spiced, and modestly priced. The goat curry is really delicious and the momo are delicate and tasty. There are a large number of vegetarian options too. Indian beer is available but opt for the wonderful mango lassi or Nepali chai for a truer experience.

Cuginimap
1556 Solano Ave.558-9000
This small family run Italian restaurant is worth a try. While the menu offers an interesting choice of pastas, calamari, salads, and desserts, the thing to order here is a delicious and generously portioned Caesar salad and a pizza or calzone. Atmosphere is convivial and noisy, service friendly. It's open for lunch too, with panini, salads, and pizzas.

Rivolimap
1539 Solano Ave.526-2542
This is one of the best restaurants in town for California cuisine. The space is light and airy, the food is divine, innovative, and the prices high. The waitpersons are knowledgeable, the wines well chosen, and dining here is altogether a fine experience. Reservations imperative, since it is deservedly very popular. Although the tables are close together, and it can get noisy, it is still one of my personal favorites.

Fondamap
1501-A Solano Ave. at Curtis559-9006
Quite popular, there's a focus on small plates of South of the Border cuisine, along with special cocktails, wine and beer. The atmosphere is warm, service professional and solicitous. The prices are rather high for the portion size, but the food is well prepared, nicely spiced, and very delicious. Happy Hour is great with lots of lower priced choices. When crowded this can get very noisy. Open late, it's definitely worth a try.

Bowl'dmap
1479 Solano Ave. at Santa Fe526-6223
The place is modern and sleek and offers Korean food for non Koreans. There are many options of meat, rice, noodles, and vegetables as well as soups which you can mix and match to your liking. The staff is happy to explain the menu to you, as well as to describe all the panchan, or small dishes that accompany each meal. However, the food has been adapted to Western tastes, and lacks much of the fire of traditional Korean food.

Britt-Marie's Wine Barmap
1369 Solano Ave. at Ramona527-1314
A very informal cafe, open late, featuring hearty European cuisine. The half duck is an especially good deal. The prices on the regular menu items are moderate, but the specials are higher. The wine selections are interesting, with many available by the glass. The portions are large and worth the money. Also, you can make a good light meal out of a choice of appetizers. The place has a loyal following. No reservations. Open for lunch on most days during the week.

Suzette Crepe Cafemap
1226 Solano Ave. east of Talbot 220-4956
A small storefront, with a signature red umbrella out front, this place is easily overlooked as you stroll Solano Avenue. But pay attention and you will be rewarded with delicious and generously portioned French crepes, either sweet or savory, with a variety of fillings. Prices are very moderate, there's no beer or wine, but there's hot cider or cocoa to accompany your choice. A fine place for lunch or a light dinner.

China Villagemap
1335 Solano Ave. at Ramona525-2285
Closed for 15 months because of a fire but it has now reopened, freshly painted with a bit more space. The owners are the same and there's a larger menu -- but it's just as good as ever. The usual standards are still here, but don't miss the West-style 1000 chili pepper fish filet, as well as some of the exciting and spicy Szechwan chef's specialties that are unique. Portions are generous. Prices are not that high for the quality.

Little Star Pizzamap
1175 Solano Ave.526-7827
The menu of this pizzeria features just a few salads, garlic bread, spicy chicken wings and lots and lots of pizza, both thin crust and deep dish. The pizza is terrific, and the thin crust is one of the best in the area. It's fairly pricey, but worth it. It's very informal, crowded at peak dining times, and enormously popular with families, so be advised. The only down side is that they do not offer individual slices for lunch.

Rendez-Vousmap
1111 Solano Ave. above San Pablo527-4111
This friendly French Bistro is a welcome addition to lower Solano Avenue. Open for lunch and dinner, as well as brunch, the food is influenced by the flavors of France, and it is usually pretty decent and moderately priced. The mussels are an especially good choice. The vegetarian offerings are generally tasty. Lunch is variable in quality. The atmosphere is informal and there are some outdoor tables for warm days.

Sugatamap
1105 Solano Ave. at San Pablo526-3516
Small, wonderful Japanese food -- some of the best around, in my opinion. Terrific sushi bar, authentic atmosphere. This is my favorite Japanese restaurants. The portions are larger than at other places. You can reserve the tatami room, take off your shoes, bend your knees, and have a true Japanese experience with your meal. The prices are high. This place can get crowded at peak times. Not open on Sunday.

Aanganmap
856 San Pablo Ave. just north of Solano524-2220
The owner comes from Viks Chaat Corner, and the food at this Indo-Nepalese place is every bit as good, with a bonus of table service as well as alcohol. The appetizers are terrific. The prices are moderate, the cooking high quality, and the owner and his family all work to please you. Lots of vegetarian options as well. Lovely back patio. This is a great place for a snack, lunch, or dinner. One of my favorites. Easy parking too!

Lalime's Cafemap
1329 Gilman St. in Albany527-9838
A gem, one my favorite restaurants nearby. The cooking is Mediterranean-French -- everything is terrific, prices high but worth it for the quality. Airy space, friendly service, I always have a wonderful time here. Each month, there is a changing choice of enticing appetizers, main courses, desserts, and good wines, with some reasonably priced bottles. Get on the e-mail list for the great deals being offered each week or so.

T-Rex BBQmap
1300 10th St. at Gilman527-0099
An upscale barbecue restaurant, this two-level architecturally gorgeous place is esthetically pleasing. Noisy downstairs, it's quieter on the second level. Open throughout the day until late at night (yeah!). The food is rather expensive, but generously portioned and tasty. The bar is very popular. This is good for families, too. The 3-6 p.m. daily Happy Hour is a bargain. Open for brunch also.

Pyramid Brewerymap
901 Gilman St. below San Pablo528-9880
This huge place features a variety of wonderful beers and ales, and a large and varied menu of mostly decent, well priced food. Industrial chic decor, with a two level warehouse sized dining area, a lively bar, and a small outdoor patio, this is the place for families, large boisterous groups of students or sports enthusiasts, and just folks looking for a lively time. Noisy, but fun if you know what to expect. Easy parking.

Jimmy Bean'smap
1290 6th St. at Gilman528-3435
A very informal cafe by the owners of Lalime's. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In the daytime you order at the counter, but there's table service from 5 p.m. on. The menu has flavorful soups, salads, sandwiches, and quesadillas, as well as omelets, fruits and drinks. Prices are moderate, but dinner specials are slightly more expensive, as is the wine. A few outdoor tables, too. A $15 three course dinner is available nightly. This place is good for takeout too.

Picante Taqueriamap
1328 6th St. south of Gilman525-3121
Out of the way, but still very popular, with a wide choice of burritos, tacos, quesadillas, tostadas, and other platos. There's beer as well as wine margaritas. The cooking is fairly westernized, and the spicing pretty mild. Prices are moderate, and there is a fun informal atmosphere. Order at the counter, sit and enjoy. There's a lovely patio for sunny lunches. Also good for take out. Dress down for this place!

Kensington Circusmap
Colusa Circle in Kensington524-8814
A British restaurant with a very informal atmosphere, a varied menu, good salads, hamburgers, shepherd's pie, and fish and chips. There's a nice pub type bar on the premises too. This is especially child friendly, complete with toys. Prices are moderate. A very likable, comfortable place, in an out of the way spot, but fairly noisy.

Pacific East Mallmap
3288 Pierce St. on the Bay side of Albany Hill527-3000
Forget the airline ticket and get yourself to this huge Asian Mall to experience culture shock cheaply. At the center is an immense supermarket with completely unfamiliar items, a busy take out counter as well as a fish market where you can choose a whole fish and have it fried to order! There are restaurants with food from all over Asia. In the same parking lot is Daimo, a wonderful Chinese place with a huge traditional menu. Don't miss this experience!