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Gourmet ghetto: then. Cuisine corridor: now.
Sarah Henry | October 21, 2011
The stretch of San Pablo Avenue between University Avenue and Addison Street—long a Berkeley hot spot for international grocers but little else—has recently developed an aspiring ethnic restaurant scene. Now possible: planning your global menu while dining at one of the spots listed below—then strolling out and shopping for it.
Chaat and Curries
Not to be confused with the chain of similar name, this family-run restaurant serves traditional Indian and Nepalese dishes (fusion exception: the pesto-garlic naan). At least one local chef is a fan of the lamb karahi. It also delivers. 2026 San Pablo Ave., 510-548-0285, chaatncurries.com
This groovy café has a vaguely Euro vibe and a bike-friendly killer back patio. Owners Frieda Hoffman and Katy Wafle turn out honest, simple organic fare, including savory scones, salads with spiced nuts, and seasonal sandwiches. There’s also a strong sense of community here: Think pop-up dinners, cooking classes, and movie nights, plus local artists’ work gracing the walls. 2049 San Pablo Ave., 510-647-5270, local123cafe.com
Little Pablo Taqueria
A touch of the barrio in Berkeley: This authentic mom-and-pop shop serves up standards such as beef-tongue burritos, chicken enchiladas, and chiles rellenos. Around the hood, it also gets props for its friendly service. 2056 San Pablo Ave., 510-548-2223
Luca Cucina Italiana
Chef Luca Rocci gets the thumbs-up for his pork-and-beef-meatball subs (Niman Ranch, natch). Also worth tasting at this no-frills joint are gorgonzola gnocchi and pasta puttanesca. Diners can even customize their plates, mixing 11 different sauces with seven different pasta shapes. 2057 San Pablo Ave., 510-649-9718, lucacucinaitaliana.com
Priya Indian Cuisine
That’s right, another taste of India on the same block. Here, the kitchen serves up multicourse meals, called thalis, as well as à la carte sambars, samosas, masalas, dosas, tandooris, biryanis, and baingan bartha, or oven-roasted eggplant. 2072 San Pablo Ave., 510-644-3977
At this German café and bakery, a bright space lined with communal tables, Hamburg expats Anja Voth and Kai Flache serve up hearty dishes like sausage, spaetzle, and schnitzel, as well as a popular weekend brunch. Voth makes pretty much everything from scratch, including the tortes, cookies, and kuchen that line the pastry shelves. 2121 San Pablo Ave., 510-647-5016, gaumenkitzel.net