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Top Rated Restaurants & Cafes in Berkeley

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Restaurant Chez Panisse

A world renowned name in the culinary industry, Chez Panisse is known for their innovations in tastes and flavors.Started by Alice Walkers in 1971, it was named after the movie character Honore Panisse. Prepared with fresh, local produce, the restaurant is a spectacular specimen of fine dining. The menu changes daily and is curated keeping the seasonality of ingredients. Through the week, delicacies like Striped bass carpaccio with cardoons and Titone olio nuovo and Huckleberry and Meyer lemon ice creams meringata are served, to name a few. The wine list is extensive, featuring dozens of wines from across the world. With contributions like California style pizza to the ever changing culinary world, the Chez Panisse is no less than a legend.

Bette's Ocean View Diner

The name's a bit misleading. Not only is there no ocean view, but this is not your ordinary diner. Though it has streamlined aluminum and black-and-white tile, and the fare is inspired by diner cuisine, the ingredients are the freshest available and the dishes are prepared with care and imagination. At breakfast, the cooks do wonderful things with the humble buttermilk pancake, and the scrambled eggs and tortilla chips are memorable, as well. At lunch, it is sandwiches and plate specials, which often feature a fresh fish filet. The to-go counter next door offers sandwiches and pizza slices.

Top Dog

Sometimes you want a Louisiana link that sends your tongue on a one-way trip to New Orleans, or a decent kosher frank. That is what the owner wanted when he opened up this small stand: a taste of New York's famous ethnic sausages from its German, Italian and Polish neighborhoods. And they ship bulk orders around the world, too! Not surprisingly, this joint is a hit with local students grabbing a quick bite between classes or a satisfying break during a late-night study session. Place your order at the front and hang out while waiting for your link. Lemon Chicken, Kielbasa and the turkey "Bird Dog" are among the several appetizing selections.

Caffe Strada

Welcome to a cafe that is synonymous with Berkeley itself. Located directly across the street from the University, and open late, this is the perfect place to study, relax, rev up or just congregate. There is a large front patio outside, making this the perfect spot for sipping delicious coffee drinks al fresco. There is no telling how many famous novels, poems and quantum mechanic theories have been formulated, hammered out and perfected right here. Find a strong and inexpensive assortment of coffee and espresso drinks. There are pastries, including muffins, scones, croissants and the ubiquitous macaroons.

Freehouse

Rustic and romantic, Freehouse is a haunt for the beer lover in you. The interior of this beer garden is made to look like a cozy living room; it is furnished with intimate seating spaces and the fireplace keeps patrons warm on colder evenings. Yellow lights and timber-clad walls give this place an old-school look. The outdoor seating in the spacious courtyard lets larger groups dine under the bright California sun. At Freehouse, the menu is ever changing but classics like Beer Poached Mussels, the house salad and Chicken Pot Pie never go out of style. Limited but potent cocktails are on offer along with beers sourced from eminent breweries.

Henry's

This place has been serving up traditional pub fare, a few gourmet treats and lots of smiles in this congenial "publick" house atmosphere since 1981. If you are looking for a quick meal, want to catch a game on the television in the corner, or are just looking for a spirited good time, it is here. Sit at one of the tall tables or at the huge wood bar. The high ceilings and tall windows keep this place from falling into the dark, smoky sports bar category. Find dozens of beers on tap and a full bar. The menu features old standards like nachos and cheesy potato skins as well as the huge Henry's Burger.

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