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2420 Shattuck Ave
Berkeley, CA 94704
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$30 and under
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Giovanni Restaurant Details
Hours of Operation:
Dinner: Su-Th 4:00pm-11:00am
Dinner: F-Sa 4:00pm-12:00am
AMEX, Discover, Visa
Alex Sanchez / Juan Sanchez
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
All items on menu available.
Private Party Facilities:
Our private dining room seats 40.
Private Party Contact:
Anastasia Schipani (510) 843-6678
Bus and BART are nearby
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.
See all photos >
Giovanni Salad: A. Gnocchi: B+.
Fettuccine Carbonara: C. Margherita Pizza: A. Tiramisu: A+. No Espresso Coffee!"
Dined on 3/1/2014
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
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
Six of us dined and all of our
food was delicious."
Dined on 12/23/2013
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
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
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
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 10/28/2013
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 10/13/2013
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 10/15/2013
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 10/6/2013
This was very disappointing. Food
was below average. We would never pay full price for their meals. The service was also slow and not attentive. We had to track someone else down to order. Took quite awhile. We were there longer than we should have been for dinner. We won't return since both food and service was not up to par."
Dined on 10/2/2013
Nice, old world feel. Excellent
service. Enjoyed all the dishes. Really appreciated the half off wine on Monday evening!"
Dined on 10/1/2013
Ananstacia made our dinner
special. The food and wine was very good... happy hour was HAPPY!"
Dined on 9/25/2013
Good for kids as the food is very
traditional Italian. Where else do you find veal marsala or spaghetti and meatballs on the menu? Portions are huge. Food prices are very reasonable but the cocktails were pricey. Service was a tad slow (we were in the front) but pleasant. I always remember Giovanni's being super crowded but we went on a Saturday night and it was only half full."
Dined on 9/15/2013
My husband got a group on for
Giovanni's and went in on a Wednesday night so it was pretty mellow. We made a reservation and were seated right away. I always worry about going to a restaurant with a group (there were 7 of us) because I have experienced really bad service multiple times with groups. But our server, Robert, was fantastic. He was attentive and nice but not overly so. We have a young son and they brought his pizza oit first. it was great! in fact, my son ate the whole pizza. I had the special, a farfalle dish with sausage and red peppers - flavor was amazing. The rest of my group had spaghetti, seafood pizza, and veal Marsala all of which were delicious. For dessert we had the tiramisu and while it was good it wasn't great."
Dined on 8/15/2013
Every time I come here the food is
wonderful, the service is friendly, and the entire experience is top notch. Thank you!"
Dined on 8/6/2013
The foccacia at the start of the
meal was good, but you get butter packets instead of oil & vinegar which is not as tasty or classy. The food was decent, but nothing spectacular. Tomatoes especially were fairly bland in my dish. If you want a special occasion acknowledged, don't go here. There are better places that will bring you out something for events for free. You'd go here for the ambiance, definitely. Request a seat by the fire place. The waitress we had was not great. Our water sat unfilled for the entire time until we asked a different waitress to fill it. Also, she was wearing leggings which seems really out of place for a place that charges that much for food."
Dined on 7/21/2013
Linguini with clams was not
available when I'd ordered it, so waiter tried suggesting other pasta dishes--no I don't like pesto, no I don't like red sauce. FInally he suggested a white sauce dish. When it came, it had BACON all over it. I didn't eat more than 1/4 of it. The others in my party said their entrees were OK. Waiter was spread thin, waiting on tables at front AND very back of restaurant--but he maintained his pleasantness throughout. The back room where we were seated is very dark and lit with odd lighting that is actually straining on the eyes as I could see the bright daylight coming through the restaurant's front window too. A/C was barely functional--place felt damp and musty. Sorry, won't return."
Dined on 6/30/2013
I love this place. The food is
consistently great. The staff is warm, friendly and professional. There but not there if you know what I mean. Its a quiet place for a nice date or and large enough in the back for a noisier group gathering. I just had an impromptu birthday party there. The modest group of seven (reservation) grew to nine then fourteen. They accommodated the change without a mutter or ripple in the set time. The food was fantastic and courses were timed perfectly. They had a wine special that was a really good deal. I expected a much larger bill than I got in the end. Note - Its near Freight and Salvage and Berkeley Rep as well as three movie theaters - great place before or after the local entertainment destinations."
Dined on 6/10/2013
I really like the ambience of this
family-owned restaurant. The beet/arugula salad was wonderful, as were the scampi and piccata diishes. We will definitely come back to this little gem."
Dined on 6/17/2013
We went for a friends birthday and
had a wonderful evening. The servers were friendly and efficient. Everyone enjoyed their meals. The brussel sprout salad was so good."
Dined on 6/10/2013
This place needs to be
remodeled/menu revamped ASAP, I wanted to like it so much given that it has been here for so long, but the dishes, the decor, everything needs a modernization and more flavor added to it, even though I live so close to it I doubt I'll be back unless they undergo renovations."
Dined on 5/28/2013
i had the eggy sidecar cocktail
for $12 and thought it was kind of bland. my husband had the balsamic manhattan which was weird, but tasty. the complimentary focaccia was warm and fresh and really a delight. the warm brussels sprout starter was way overcooked, but so salty and buttery, that it was still pretty delicious. fettuccine alfredo was very light on the cheesiness and heavy on the butter. the house made noodles were quite tasty. the restaurant is cute and service was very good, but probably will not return."
Dined on 5/12/2013
Sitting in the back of restaurant
isn't as good as sitting in the front!"
Dined on 4/28/2013
Service extremely slow seemed a
bit disorganized, food was. Decent nothing special for the price,"
Dined on 4/24/2013
The service was friendly, but
somewhat slow. The food and atmosphere were both very enjoyable. I'll undoubtedly be back."
Dined on 4/10/2013
We made our first visit to
Giovanni's in Berkeley on Sunday, and it was a great experience. Two of us had Spaghetti and Meatballs, and another had excellent vegetarian options. We will be back."
Dined on 4/6/2013
They are really winning on the
specials. The menu is great, but always as the specials. I love this place. I must go once a week!"
Dined on 4/2/2013
This is an old-style Cal-Italian
place. There is skill, but cost cutting and cooking for people who can't tell an Alfredo from a Carbonara has taken its toll. Nonetheless, the pesto dip was bright and lively, the basil properly blanched first. Gnocchi had an oversalted Bolognese altho tasty with chopped fennel sausage. Scallopini was good, nothing remarkable. The dish that was head-and-shoulders outstanding: the Jambalaya Linguini. If you love spicy seafood pasta with a good andouille, this is one of the East Bay's best. Unexpected to find it here, but proves that if Giovanni would only cook with some passion again, they could rival De La Torres and Casa Orinda. Service was cheerful and very good."
Dined on 3/27/2013
Nothing spectacular. A good place
if you have a large group and craving Italian."
Dined on 3/29/2013
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