Given the lack of Creole and Cajun options in the East Bay, it’s surprising that Easy Creole isn’t more well-known. Like a perfect mash-up of New Orleans and Berkeley, it’s got a laid-back hippie vibe, but with the sort of warmth you expect with Southern hospitality. Much of the food boasts that dizzyingly complex soul of New Orleans fare, but some dishes veer far into experimental territory. In keeping with Berkeley tradition, vegan and gluten-free diners eat very well here. The menu changes daily: five meaty stews, five vegan stews. Everything is served over white or brown rice, with optional free add-ons of cheese, onions, and sour cream. A warm, buttered baguette slathered in spices crowns the dish. Best of all, you can sample before ordering.

— Janelle Bitker


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