Berkeley's Cafe Rouge is a classic Californian restaurant, complete with organic vegetables and sustainably raised meats, a wood-fired oven, and smooth and efficient service. Chef-owner Marsha McBride and executive chef Rick DeBeaord create deceptively simple food, but imbue even their hamburgers with juicy, meaty love.
With its savory Vietnamese pork sandwiches and occasional pig roasts, the Chop Bar is a favorite neighborhood eatery in the warehouse district. The owners are adamant about locally sourcing their food, and they also offer drafts from several Bay Area breweries, including the beloved Linden Street.
This nine-table, twelve-tap family-friendly brewpub offers updated takes on American standards, as well as a full slate of beers, both brewed in-house and elsewhere.
The latest outpost of Daniel Patterson’s burgeoning empire fails to match the hype, despite the star power of “it” chef Kim Alter (Ubuntu, Manresa). The Jack London Square post-warehouse design has some cool touches, and much of the menu is plated beautifully. Yet service often falters, many dishes are served with basic errors, and other items are overwrought and fussy. It’s possible that Haven may streamline its service and menu issues, but at price points this high, no one wants to play the guinea pig.
Henry's is an old-school hotel bar that's been remodeled and reinvented. While you can still sit at the bar and enjoy a reasonably stiff drink, you might be better off sitting down for a full meal, as Henry's offers a full-size and well-executed take on classic pub fare.
Furnished with a full bar, restaurant, dining area, pool table, and a lounge with a spacious dance floor and an elevated DJ booth, Luka’s is chic, but not intimidatingly so. The lounge features rotating art exhibits and an all-star DJ lineup every week. Admission is often free, but expect to pay a $5 or $10 on weekends. Enjoy specials like half-priced bottles of wine (Sundays) or dollar oysters (Mondays) and listen to a variety of music, from funk to punk and bhangra to be-bop. Luka’s draws a diverse crowd that’s ready to dance, so arrive early on Wednesdays for reggae dancehall music.
Amy Murray’s bustling downtown Berkeley venue celebrates the Bay Area’s bounty of fresh, organic foodstuffs with flair and a sense of fun.