Giovanni Restaurant
Giovanni Restaurant

Giovanni Restaurant

  • 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 5108436678

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.
Continued
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Giovanni Restaurant reviews from OpenTable diners
15 reviews since July 31, 2014
Overall Rating3.6
  • Food3.6
    Service3.5
  • Ambiance3.3
    Noise LevelModerate
75% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
good for groups (7)kid-friendly (6)neighborhood gem (6)romantic (3)special occasion (2)late-night find (2)fit for foodies (1)great for brunch (1)great for lunch (1)vibrant bar scene (1)Show More
  • A little under-whelmed
    rhino
    Dined on 10/31/2014
    -Even though it was a slow night, the service was slow too. -Our drinks took awhile to be served and they did not taste as good. They were out of a certain liqour to make one of their "signature cocktails" -my spouse enjoyed her pizza, even though the salad order did not arrive.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Giovanni
    Hankey23
    Dined on 10/28/2014
    food was good. the place is a little outdated but remember you are in Berkeley.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • gotrock49
    Dined on 10/4/2014
    Food is always good here, but this time the service was lacking. It seems that our service person lost our order and after waiting for about 15 minutes for our drinks and food, we had to place our order a second time. Our salad came to our table without dressing.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, kid-friendly, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Taxidigirl
    Dined on 9/26/2014
    I've been going to Giovanni's since my college days circa 1981. I hadn't been back in a few years. It was a pleasure having Giovanni seat us! He is still going at age 80+. I love the old school Italian atmosphere, especially in the back with the cozy copper fireplace. The chef accommodated us and added a wonderful pesto sauce to the homemade fettuccine. The focaccia bread is out of this world!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great evening out
    HashTagRomance
    Dined on 9/19/2014
    Took my gf here for a date and it was great. The ambience was romantic. The food didn't take too long to get out and the food was delicious. Waitress was helpful but not nosey or pushy. I did wish they turn the fire down a bit cause it got a little warm next to the fire place. But once it gets colder then the warmth will be really nice.
    Special Features:
    late-night find, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Pre-show neighborhood restaurant
    Lynnie
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    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.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 9 ratings-only reviews submitted since July 31, 2014
    • Overall Rating3.6
    • Food3.3
    • Ambiance3.4
    • Service3.8
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 99 reviews are from the Giovanni Restaurant reviews archive.
  • okay experience
    chilledcoyote
    Dined on 7/24/2014
    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.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Giovanni's a Landmark
    Sandy
    Dined on 7/20/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Delizioso!
    dinanm5
    Dined on 7/5/2014
    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!
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • I'll go back
    sfab
    Dined on 6/15/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Very slow service
    Ttttttt
    Dined on 6/15/2014
    Slow service out of most beer selections. Waitress forgot one item we ordered. Food took forever to arrive
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • jodine
    Dined on 6/14/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, great for lunch, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good food, poor service
    ProfessionalMusician
    Dined on 6/7/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • An 80th Birthday Dinner
    partyof10
    Dined on 5/25/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Birthday dinner
    Clover10
    Dined on 5/24/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, good for groups, romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Manga!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 5/16/2014
    Very good, reasonable wine list, abundant portions and amiable service. We went during Cal Grad weekend and were taken care of without a hiccup.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, good for groups, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Mother's Day Dinner was Delightful
    Sparky
    Dined on 5/11/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Restaurant was CLOSED
    JeanVIP
    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!
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • LocalDiner
    Dined on 4/20/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    Neighborhood Gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Enjoyed the service and food!
    Candy
    Dined on 4/12/2014
    Enjoyed the service and food! Very reasonable although the wine list is small!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • we went back here for our
    newcastlelinda
    Dined on 3/30/2014
    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
    Special Features:
    good for groups, romantic, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great food and great service!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 3/16/2014
    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!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, vibrant bar scene, romantic, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • We had a family get together
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 3/8/2014
    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
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, notable wine list, kid-friendly, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot, great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Ole establishment try to keep
    tegreviewsVIP
    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...
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Varied Success
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 3/1/2014
    Giovanni Salad: A. Gnocchi: B+. Fettuccine Carbonara: C. Margherita Pizza: A. Tiramisu: A+. No Espresso Coffee!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Pervasive kitchen sewage smell
    fizbingirlVIP
    Dined on 2/25/2014
    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.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Worst service I have ever recieved
    doctordijah
    Dined on 2/15/2014
    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!!!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • our reservations through Open
    nydiner
    Dined on 2/9/2014
    our reservations through Open Table were not received by this restaurant!!!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Pleasantly Old Fashioned
    Bob0117VIP
    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.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Very nice dinner. Calamari
    jazzyVIP
    Dined on 1/18/2014
    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......
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Food, Not So Great Service
    CleavorCat
    Dined on 1/10/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, late-night find, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Granted, it was very busy
    dancingbull
    Dined on 12/31/2013
    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.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Disappointed by table
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 12/28/2013
    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!
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Six of us dined and all of
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005
    Dined on 12/23/2013
    Six of us dined and all of our food was delicious.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Traditional Italian in Berkleley
    RogerC
    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!
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Italian restaurant!
    NICKISFNYC
    Dined on 12/22/2013
    This is a great restaurant very attentive staff, tasty food and cozy atmosphere.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Eating at Giovanni's
    Kasey
    Dined on 12/18/2013
    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!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Not what it used to be
    CarmelHighlandsVIP
    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.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Good food but overwhelmed kitchen
    Judy
    Dined on 11/9/2013
    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.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • great find in SF union square
    kitc
    Dined on 11/9/2013
    Just lucky to stumble on this gem on open table (my new favorite app). accommodating, yummy, friendly environment.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.