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Giovanni Restaurant
Giovanni Restaurant

Giovanni Restaurant Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://originalgiovanni.com/
  • Phone: (510) 843-6678
  • Hours of Operation:
    Dinner: Su-Th 4:00pm-11:00am
    Dinner: F-Sa 4:00pm-12:00am
  • Payment Options: AMEX, Discover, Visa
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Executive Chef: Alex Sanchez / Juan Sanchez
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Fireplace, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Late Night, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Wheelchair Access, Wine, Wine Bar
  • Catering: All items on menu available.
  • Private Party Facilities: Our private dining room seats 40.
  • Private Party Contact: Anastasia Schipani (510) 843-6678

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Channing Way
  • Public Transit: Bus and BART are nearby
  • Parking: Street Parking
A word from Giovanni Restaurant
Giovanni Old World Restaurant *est 1961* a Berkeley institution. Orginal owner and his family happily came back after a twenty year absence to carry on this third generation tradition.
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerNeighborhood Gem
Diner Reviews
  • "We had dinner at Giovanni before a Berkeley Rep show. This is an old Italian, tired restaurant, with delicious, traditional Italian food. Go in with no expectations, and you will not be disappointed. Our table of 4 had easy-to-hear conversation, fairly quick service (our server was new, and very nice) and the food was really good. You will also love the maitre d'! We would eat here again."
    Dined on 8/2/2014
  • "Service was very slow and pretty inattentive, this may have been because they had a large party in the back. Food was pretty basic, good, but really nothing to write home about. I chose this place for a casual business meeting because it was the quietest looking place within walking distance of the Bart station, but I don't think I'll come back."
    Dined on 7/24/2014
  • "Giovanni's has never disappointed, although the restaurant hasn't changed in over 30 years and could use a bit of a make-over, the food has always been good. I used to take my clients there for lunch many years ago when I worked in the neighborhood. This particular night was my sister's wedding anniversary dinner, a slow, quiet Sunday evening. We were low key, but hungry, so it was perfect. I had linguini with a pesto sauce topped with Italian baked chicken, and my partner had a pizza made to order, both dishes were good. My sister's veal was a little cold, as was her hubby's lasagna. I'm not sure they were impressed. I think you need to be ok with sending a dish back to the oven for a minute or two. All in all, we would return."
    Dined on 7/20/2014
  • "My wife and I always look forward to a dinner at Giovanni when we visit Berkeley. The atmosphere is delightful, and the food is always delicious. We can't wait to come back!"
    Dined on 7/5/2014
  • "Good food, nice menu, outstanding service. The food we got was good. Sitting next to a fireplace was lovely. Our waitress was incredible, although it was a busy night she was very attentive always smiling and friendly."
    Dined on 6/15/2014
  • "Slow service out of most beer selections. Waitress forgot one item we ordered. Food took forever to arrive"
    Dined on 6/15/2014
  • "Wonderful food, wonderful service! People were celebrating graduations and they all seemed satisfied with everything. The parking is hard but we were able to get a parking right in front."
    Dined on 6/14/2014
  • "We chose this restaurant because it is close to First Congregational Church in Berkeley, the venue for an 8 PM concert on Sat., June 7 – our party of five (including a musician who had to be at First Congo at 7:30) arrived at 6 and were immediately seated. Around 6:10, we were visited by our waitstaff and we informed her of our need to be done by 7:15, 65 minutes hence. She acknowledged our request, took our drink AND our food orders. Busboy/water-guy brought water and bread, and visited us twice more to refill two large water jugs on the table – there is a drought going! Drinks came after a long wait, salads arrived 6:50 PM, entrees at 7:10, despite two inquiries. One entree sent back – it was cold. Poorly managed, good food."
    Dined on 6/7/2014
  • "We were a party of 10 celebrating Mom's 80th birthday. Our reservations were for more than that and they very quickly reconfigured the seating to accommodate a smaller party. Orders were taken and the food arrived promptly. Delicious Italian from pizza for the little one to pasta dishes etc. These were reasonably priced. We did wish they had more "family style" meals, while accommodating us on our request for a family style salad the price was charge as though they were individual salads. We found that to be fairly overpriced. Our experience was a very good one overall and I would recommend this restaurant to others. "
    Dined on 5/25/2014
  • "We came here with a group of 9 for a birthday dinner. Very good for a big group and the service was excellent. We all loved the bread!!! The pizzas and calzones are also great."
    Dined on 5/24/2014
  • "Very good, reasonable wine list, abundant portions and amiable service. We went during Cal Grad weekend and were taken care of without a hiccup."
    Dined on 5/16/2014
  • "I enjoyed my Mother's Day dinner. We were greeted by the owner's wife and his daughter. We laughed and shared anecdotes with the ladies until it was time to be seated for dinner. We were given a table next to the open fire pit, it was nice. The food was very good. The hot bread was scrumptious. A very nice experience. I love this neighborhood gem. "
    Dined on 5/11/2014
  • "We had a Mother's Day reservation, but when we arrived the restaurant was CLOSED! Other people with reservations were already standing outside waiting. We waited around for a while, but could not see any activity inside so we left. What a fiasco! "
    Dined on 5/11/2014
  • "The pizza was good; salad was good. Warm bread is always a treat but butter patties in foil are unpleasant. Two weeks ago I brought my daughter to Giovanni's for an early dinner, 5:00 pm, and we both had veal dishes. The food was not hot when it arrived at the table; otherwise the taste was fine just not the temp."
    Dined on 4/20/2014
  • "Enjoyed the service and food! Very reasonable although the wine list is small!"
    Dined on 4/12/2014
  • "we went back here for our 22nd anniversary; hadn't been there in 20 years. Still the gem we remembered and the food was still 5 star"
    Dined on 3/30/2014
  • "My friends and I threw a surprise party for a friend here at Giovanni's on a Sunday evening. Our waiter and hostess were very nice and accommodating - we had brought our own dessert, and our guest of honor was late. The food was incredible and the ambiance was very pleasant. I'd definitely go back again!"
    Dined on 3/16/2014
  • "We had a family get together with the six of us and we had a great time. Great pizza, pretty good scampi they were big and the vegetables were cooked perfectly,and great wine. Sorry to say something was in the gelato, plastic or little string or hair?. The bathroom had a mold smell. The Atmosphere is great fun, floors clean, lovely fire pit, beautiful iron work chandeliers, except a light bulb was out. I still love Giovanni's been going there since the 1970's"
    Dined on 3/8/2014
  • "Ole establishment try to keep it's head above water...only one waitress for the evening, waited forever for the cocktail with less than 15 people in the whole restaurant. Then the food and salad comes out together! Order wine and it never showed up as the restaurant got full of college students and their parents...Been going to this restaurant for 40 years...Will think twice before going back..."
    Dined on 3/8/2014
  • "Giovanni Salad: A. Gnocchi: B+. Fettuccine Carbonara: C. Margherita Pizza: A. Tiramisu: A+. No Espresso Coffee!"
    Dined on 3/1/2014
  • "On the night we were there in February, there was a strong and pervasive kitchen sewage smell that hit us the minute we entered. We should have turned away but it was my husband's birthday and we were looking forward to coming back to a place he used to go to long ago. The food and service were very good but the waitress explained and apologized that they have had a problem with the drains but they were working on it. I hope they've been able to clear up that problem by now. It should be their highest priority. Otherwise, the ambience with the cozy fireplace and music at night are charming and I would have given them 5 stars for ambience."
    Dined on 2/25/2014
  • "This was the worst service I ever had. We were a party of 7 celebrating my late mother's birthday. It took well over an hour for us to receive all of our food.The hostess served our appetizers and left. We didn't have place settings for everyone at the table and it took 10 minutes to get someone to drop off a hand full of forks, knives, and napkins (didn't set the table). The waiter served our drinks, and returned 45 minutes later. When we asked the waiter to pick up the place settings from the table, he got angry and walked off. To make matters worse, there was a table of about 10 that got there after us, was served all of their food, ate and left before we got our food. Service was HORRIBLE!!!"
    Dined on 2/15/2014
  • "our reservations through Open Table were not received by this restaurant!!!"
    Dined on 2/9/2014
  • "Very old school Italian restaurant. Nice big fireplace in the middle! Good service and quite spacious. I liked being able to see right into the kitchen too."
    Dined on 2/9/2014
  • "Very nice dinner. Calamari was excellent as was the veal scallopini. We also enjoyed the clam chowder soup and a few other appetizers along with a glass of wine. We look forward to dining with Giovanni again. It was also nice to see Giovanni greeting people as they came in and taking them to their table. What a nice touch......"
    Dined on 1/18/2014
  • "The food was excellent! Very tasty. We did not have a regular waiter. The hostess was our waiter and she was way to busy being a hostess to be a waiter. We waited awhile to get our order in and she only came back only once one time early in our meal to see if we wanted refills or more wine. We actually wanted more wine and drinks, but could not get the service and all of had to finish our meals with no water or drinks of any kind."
    Dined on 1/10/2014
  • "Granted, it was very busy but service was very slow. Our server was not very good at multi-tasking. Had to wait 10 minutes for her to take our order. Our dishes were not ready at the same time. Even when we asked for cartons to take our leftovers, she didn't take that as a cue to bring our check. Waited another 10 minutes for that. Witnessed other tables getting orders mixed up several times. Good food, but better to go on a night when it is not so busy."
    Dined on 12/31/2013
  • "We had a reservation and they sat us at a table next to a freezing window, by the bar with a TV blaring. I know they have much better tables & booths than this toward the back and the place did not seem full. I thought making a reservation meant you got a nice table. Very disappointed!"
    Dined on 12/28/2013
  • "Six of us dined and all of our food was delicious."
    Dined on 12/23/2013
  • "Giovanni's has been around a long time and is an old favorite or our family. Lots of large tables for big groups and a nice fireplace inn the middle. Giovanni himself was there to welcome us, at age 86 still going strong!"
    Dined on 12/23/2013
  • "This is a great restaurant very attentive staff, tasty food and cozy atmosphere."
    Dined on 12/22/2013
  • "Our experience of dining at Giovanni's was really very pleasant. We loved, who we thought was, Giovanni taking us to our table - he was really wonderful, even though he doesn't smile. It's just so refreshing to see an elder bringing people to their tables, and he was dressed as if he had just left his house to go for a walk. I guess that would qualify under "only in Berkeley" kind of scene, but it was really, really refreshing. The only suggestion I can make is to see about getting some tables that are a little smaller. Even at a four person table the people sitting across from you seem so far away you have to talk much louder. The food was great - we especially liked the warm brussel-sprout salad - yummy!"
    Dined on 12/18/2013
  • "Having eaten here when the current owner first owned Giovanni Restaurant, we chose to return for a pre theatre dinner in Berkeley. The large Giovanni Salad for two was chopped lettuce mixed with very few of the garbanzo beans, salami, cheese or roasted red peppers listed on the menu. The Veal Parmesan had the texture of ground veal though it was tasty and served hot. The Chicken Marsala was so tough that it could barely be cut and arrived cold as did the side vegetables and pasta on both plates. We had an early reservation when only a couple tables were taken making the temperature of the meals hard to understand, However, the restaurant was very busy by the time we left, so perhaps we made the wrong menu selections."
    Dined on 12/18/2013
  • "We four all agreed that we would return to Giovanni's, in spite of the very high noise level and very, very slow service. The kitchen was clearly overwhelmed by the sudden arrival of several large parties, a few of whom proceeded to literally yell to each other across their tables. The food was quite good though. We had the salmon, lasagna, veal Parmesan, and pasta primavera with pesto sauce. Their bread is excellent, the server was professional and kept us apprised of the problems in the kitchen, and it was lovely to see the owners, quite elderly couple, personally taking interest in their patrons. A return on a mid-week is in the cards, perhaps on a Tuesday when there is music playing later in the evening."
    Dined on 11/9/2013
  • "Just lucky to stumble on this gem on open table (my new favorite app). accommodating, yummy, friendly environment."
    Dined on 11/9/2013
  • "The first time we went it was great but it was not very busy that night. Last time it was a Saturday night and I had a very large group of 12 adults and one 7 yearold little girl... the restaurant was really full and the kitchen was so slow they would bring out the food in twos or threes and the whole table was finally served except for the last 2 people who waited a long time for their food. We had one very good little girl with us but by the time dinner was over we decided not to order dessert because we were afaid it would take too long and she was too tired. Will we go back ? probably the food is very good."
    Dined on 11/9/2013
  • "My family and I have monthly dinners out. Giovanni's is a favorite from my childhood and I wanted my children to experience it. They LOVED the pizza (better than fast food pizza). My husband had the rib eye and I had the veal marsala. Both were cooked to perfection. Robert our waiter was perfect. The best part of the evening is that we were seated by Giovanni himself. Though in his 80's, the man still runs a great restaurant."
    Dined on 10/27/2013
  • "The food was very good but the service took a very long time. We waited at least 15 minutes before our waiter asked us for our order. He passed us several times but did not help us...they did not seem that busy. We would return here and hope the service improves."
    Dined on 10/14/2013
  • "An older place, now again managed by the original family. Food was excellent, and very authentic. The fireplace is a nice feature. We'll certainly go back."
    Dined on 10/12/2013
  • "We decided to try Giovanni for a relaxing meal before heading to a movie on a Saturday evening. While th restaurant is somewhat spacious, the table for 2 quickly became crowded with the water glasses and bread basket. All of these items had to be removed when the food arrived. They intially brought me the wrong dish (I ordered chicken marsala and they brought me chicken piccata). Once I got the correct dish, it was bland and the sauce was watery. I am not sure if they rushed making the dish because they got the order wrong in the first place, but I was unimpressed with the food. The waiter was rarely seen and it took a long time to get the water glasses refilled and I there was quite a long wait to get the check. Avoid this place!!"
    Dined on 10/5/2013