Venus - Berkeley
Venus - Berkeley

Venus - Berkeley

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.venusrestaurant.net/
  • Phone: (510) 540-5950
  • Hours of Operation:
    Breakfast: Monday - Friday: 8:00am - 2:30pm; Saturday - Sunday: 8:00am - 2:15pm; Lunch: Monday - Friday: 11:30am - 2:30pm, Saturday - Sunday: 11:30am - 2:15pm; Dinner: Thursday - Saturday: 5:30pm - 9:30pm, Sundays & Mondays: 5:00pm - 9:00pm
  • Payment Options: MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Organic, Californian
  • Executive Chef: Amy Murray
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Beer, Farm to Table, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine, Wine Bar
  • Private Party Contact: Amy Murray 5105405950x
  • Special Events: Every year Venus hosts a series of unique feasts to celebrate food, wine & the abundant local harvest of the Bay area. Our events include annual Valentine's Day & New Year's Eve parties, as well as seasonal wine tastings & Slow Food inspired dinners.

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Bancroft
  • Public Transit: 3 Blocks South of Downtown Berkeley BART Station, more information at http://www.venusrestaurant.net
  • Parking: Street Parking
  • Parking Details: Street parking, UC Bancroft & Oxford Lots near by, more parking information at http://www.venusrestaurant.net
A word from Venus - Berkeley
Venus features the best of our local foodshed, from local farms, waters and ranches, served in warm and lovely style in the heart of Downtown Berkeley. A favorite dinner spot for theater goers, Venus devotes itself to local and organic purveyors, creating delicious Northern California style dishes. The wine list focuses on bio-dynamic, and sustainably farmed grapes, and a "New World" style of wine-making, where the fruit expresses itself. An open kitchen and banquette seating create a cozy vibe. Chef Amy Murray is a 15 year veteran of the organic, farm-to-table movement.

Menus are created each month to highlight the best of the season and evoke good appetites.

Venus also serves a unique brunch and lunch, and offers uncommonly good beer, wine and light cocktails.

We are happy to do small parties and buy outs, and tasty lunch catering.
Continued
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Venus - Berkeley reviews from OpenTable diners
74 reviews since July 23, 2014
Overall Rating3.8
  • Food4.1
    Service3.8
  • Ambiance3.6
    Noise LevelModerate
85% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
neighborhood gem (45)fit for foodies (40)great for lunch (16)great for brunch (13)special occasion (12)romantic (10)hot spot (7)kid-friendly (7)good for groups (6)notable wine list (3)late-night find (2)Show More
  • Used to be a fan of Venus...
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 11/15/2014
    ...but after a strange experience last weekend, not so much. Food was good - and I do appreciate their attention to local sourcing - but not wonderful. Examples: what was listed as an heirloom tomato salad was actually just a green salad, with one sliced tomato. Butternut squash napoleon was pretty and cooked lightly enough that the texture of the vegetables came through nicely - but the flavor was bland. Lamb tagine was tasty, but a meager portion. It was the service that was truly off-putting. It was a busy early dinnertime, and felt crowded and noisy. Staff seemed overwhelmed, and yet the owner/host mostly stood around watching rather than helping out. When we ordered appetizers and main, the waiter said that she recommended that we get everything at once "because we are so busy", rather than apps first. Considering the tiny size of the table, we said we didn't think that would work, and that we really would rather have two courses. She said something like "well....I can try to ask for that....but.....", so we gave up on separate apps and cut back to just the salad to share (which still left plates hanging over the edge of the table when all was delivered at the same time). We also ordered a bottle of wine from the very limited wine list. She came back to tell us they were out of that wine, and suggested another. We asked to see the list again...after a long wait for the list, chose another bottle...which was definitely corked. She seemed baffled that we would want to send it back but eventually took it away...leaving the tasting glass sitting on the table until we had asked (twice!) for a replacement glass. Chose ANOTHER bottle - which she mentioned was the last one they had of that wine - at least that one was OK. So the sorry impression we left with, of a place that used to be a favorite: food quality and service have both slipped. The only reason I can think of for the odd "all at once" service is that they just want to turn tables.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Surprisingly bad service
    FrequentDiner
    Dined on 11/8/2014
    I've always loved venus and have been back for dinner several times since moving to Berkeley. However, on Saturday night for dinner while the food was wonderful as usual, the service was seriously lacking. I had made a reservation for 7:30 and, despite there being an open table for two that was not filled during my entire meal there, my guest and I were not seated until 7:45. It then took 10 minutes for us to even get water and another 10 for someone to take our order. Furthermore, even though I ordered a drink, it wasn't until I reminded my waiter after 15 minutes that I had still not been given a drink that he remembered my order. Finally, despite my guest and I ordering our food first, we were served way after the people around us.
    Special Features:
    hot spot, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Not on a Friday Night
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 11/7/2014
    After many good experiences at Venus, I learned that coming on a Friday night was not a great idea. The place is small, tightly seated, and LOUD when full. An evening of shouting over my neighbors seated literally at my elbow was exhausting in itself. The waitstaff too seemed overwhelmed, harassed, indifferent-to-rude when concerns were brought to their attention: bland soup, a missing order. The dishes were uneven and mostly unmemorable. Another time, perhaps, but not on a Friday.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for brunch, great for lunch, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Neighborhood Place
    AnnabellaVIP
    Dined on 11/1/2014
    We had a great dinner at Venus. The chicken was amazing......the salad was lovely and the bread was super fresh. I would highly recommend it.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great experience
    EricVIP
    Dined on 11/1/2014
    This was our first time at Venus; there were four of us. We had a great experience; service was wonderful, as was the food. Will definitely recommend and go back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, late-night find, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Venus is the new Pluto
    tabemonoVIP
    Dined on 10/25/2014
    Having dined before at Venus but a long time ago, I still considered Venus to be a good choice for dinner. I was proven wrong. After being seated, our party of 4 did not receive our meals until over an hour later; however, a couple who were seated 10 to 15 minutes after we were received, consumed their meal and paid before we received our food. They were aghast that we had yet to be served even though they had ordered dishes which were what we had ordered. When we asked our waitperson about the inordinate delay, we were not given any satisfactory answer other than sorry we're busy. No act of mitigating kindness was offered to compensate for their ineptitude. Luckily, the performance we went to after dinner was really good. All thumbs down.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Fabulous food, very noisy
    1234t
    Dined on 10/11/2014
    Fabulous food!! very noisy, when reserved asked for as quiet a space as possible but we were right in the middle by the door, though there were tables around the wall, very noisy... if you want relaxed dining, not the place to go... highly energetic dining, yes...
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • don't get it
    Independent
    Dined on 10/6/2014
    Bland, noisy, very slow service. Two stars giving benefit of doubt that they might have had an off night
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • What a mess!
    jennydoneit
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    I am still finding our dinning experience at Venus hard to believe - it was that awful. Firstly it was very loud making conversation difficult the waitress apparently couldn't even hear us as she screwed up our order. I never even got one of the dishes ordered. We ordered 2 salads and got one so we had to wait an additional 20 minutes for the second one. It wasn't just us - I noticed mayhem at several other tables around us. It was also really dirty, and the food wasn't even good - passable at best - I would NOT recommend this restaurant - stay away from it if you don't want your evening ruined as our was - what a bummer. I can say they copt to the screw ups and didn't charge for one salad or the dish I never got - wow!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Perfect for pre-show dining
    EC2travelers
    Dined on 9/26/2014
    But watch out for the garlic! The chef has a love affair with garlic. I like garlic, too, but I also like to taste the flavor of the foods. We chose the soup of the day, fig salad, pork, and sides of spinach and potatoes. The fig salad was outstanding! And, everything else was garlic-enhanced, too much for us. The service was fabulous, pleasant atmosphere, nice wine options. If we return, I'll make sure to order dishes that don't have garlic, or request dishes without garlic (we replaced the spinach and the garlic free version was delicious).
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Both meals wer perfection.
    FoodFan
    Dined on 9/25/2014
    This was a birthday dinner for a friend who is very health conscious. I knew it was a perfect find for her when she wanted their business card upon leaving. We shared the heirloom tomato salad which was a very generous and delicious. I'd been there once before and was craving the lamb tagine which was as fabulous as I remembered. My friend had the catch of the day and we both were in love with the forbidden rice. Everything was fresh and cooked to order. The atmosphere is casual and comfortable. For those who are gluten intolerant or vegan and struggle with ordering, this menu is clearly marked and the selection is extensive.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • GREAT PLACE
    ChunsVIP
    Dined on 9/21/2014
    always the same: delicious, creative, seasonal, comforting. it's a no frills restaurant with a wonderful staff.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Venus is awesome!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 9/18/2014
    It's usually very hard for me to find a place to eat as I'm very conscientious about Food I eat and have some incencativities. Venus uses great ingredients prepared in a traditional way. I can order almost everything off their menu
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 9/14/2014
    A very friendly staff. The small plates were really very small.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Excellent dinner
    MaryVIP
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    My son and I ate dinner at Venus before attending a play. We had the fish of the day and the piri piri chicken. Both came with significant sides and were delicious. I thought it was a good value and just right for us that day. My only objection is that it was super busy and occasionally we waited for a server to come by (although they were quite good and really working the room). Nice atmosphere. I will definitely go back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Excellent
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 9/5/2014
    Excellent in every way. Great food. Great service.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Outstanding!
    bkuest
    Dined on 8/25/2014
    We found this place by accident and it's become our favorite go-to spot for dinner and brunch. Definitely make reservations as it can get quite busy after 6:30. The staff are nice, knowledgeable and prompt. One of my all-time favorite places to go.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Disappointed Could Have Been Good
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007VIP
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    My experience at Venus left me sour and disappointed. I was looking forward to it and since I've enjoyed the sister restaurant, Revival. Arrived at 5:45 proceeded to order cocktails and appetizers along with our entrees. Then, 30 minutes go by without our server or anyone else checking on us. We just sat as everyone else around us got their food. I finally bring it to their attention, I still ended up waiting another 20 minutes. The explanation I finally got: " You ordered appetizers. Nobody else ordered appetizers." That is the lamest excuse ever! Because I planned to spend more money at your place I get penalized? I think the kitchen lost the ticket, just be honest! If you only want to order 1 item off the menu this is your place.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Excellent experience!
    Piper
    Dined on 8/14/2014
    The food was fantastic overall and the service was great. I enjoyed the experience
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Venus Is Out of This Galaxy
    Thinmatr
    Dined on 8/11/2014
    Venus is more than the sum of its ethically sourced, meticulously prepared and stunningly delicious parts. It has what so many aspiring eco-philosophical restaurants fail to bring: Soul. During one of my first encounters, Dave Corman, the owner, beckoned us in. His eyes sparkled and the spring in his step sang of someone who cares profoundly about his work. It animates him. After seating us and warmly welcoming as if into his home, he strode past a couple servers and smiled, then picked up a broom. How many restaurant owners remember how to sweep the floor? Are you getting it? You'll find delicious food many places. At Venus, you will be fed only the best by a team of professionals whose greatest joy it is to make you feel right at home.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • DaveVIP
    Dined on 8/7/2014
    Enjoyable dining experience with very friendly servers.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A great little spot
    Micrazy2
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    We were in Berkeley and looked up local restaurants searching for a variety of menu options that wasn't just seafood and Venus fit the bill perfectly. We ordered 4 small plate dishes that we shared. The mini cheese souffle with the heirloom tomato salad was outstanding and the apricot salad with the candied nuts was delicious. The meatballs were great too. We had the fruit crumble for dessert and it was a perfect finish. Looking forward to going back.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent, creative dinner
    BCubed
    Dined on 7/26/2014
    Such a pleasure to enjoy a dinner where every dish is delicious and the busy waitstaff is so attentive. The four of us enthusiastically passed around our starters, mains and desserts, with each of us saying, "wow, that is so good". Restaurants often do a few dishes very well and other items are less interesting. Venus nailed everything from start to finish. If you have to choose one thing, get the Lamb Tagine - other worldly! Super busy night, but waitstaff was on top of it and friendly.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Fabulous experience
    Organicdiner
    Dined on 7/26/2014
    One of the best dining experiences we have had in the Bay Area! Not only were we thrilled to find a place that served organic, locally sourced, and grass fed selections, but the food was amazing and the service was impeccable. Definitely on our short list of must- haves.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 50 ratings-only reviews submitted since July 23, 2014
    • Overall Rating3.8
    • Food4.2
    • Ambiance3.5
    • Service3.9
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 723 reviews are from the Venus - Berkeley reviews archive.
  • Venus
    Tourist
    Dined on 6/29/2014
    All our meals were good, though not great. Service was leisurely. We were surprised the calamari small plate consisted of a salad with a few pieces of calamari tossed in. We should have asked for a description before we ordered it. The sticky bread dessert was tasty and sweet.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Delicious and friendly, as always
    rosisa1967
    Dined on 6/28/2014
    We had a birthday dinner at Venus this past Saturday night. As always, the food was fresh and clean and delicious. And the waitstaff super kind and friendly. We spend many of our birthdays at Venus.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • excellent food
    charlesbaudelaire
    Dined on 6/27/2014
    the veggies were delectable, and my salmon was awesome. pleased picky teen and foodie NYC parents...wonderful!!!!!
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great Food!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 6/22/2014
    Really enjoyed our brunch at Venus. The food was delicious and service was friendly and fast. Great coffee too!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Wonderful, vibrant flavors!
    MargaretJuly
    Dined on 6/14/2014
    We had a wonderful dinner. LOVED the peach & mozzarella salad
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • great place - one of our favorites
    veganberkeley
    Dined on 6/13/2014
    great food, and ambiance and friendly service. very willing to accommodate special requests and minor substitutions
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Really good
    QuietVIP
    Dined on 6/8/2014
    Venus has excellent food and terrific service. I would give it 5 starts but the space they're in is compact and a bit noisy.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • WillTravel4Food
    Dined on 6/7/2014
    So-so food, distracted waitress. We were left waiting for our entrees with no follow-up despite having told her beforehand that had tickets to a show so we were on a tight timeframe.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • reality czech
    realityczech
    Dined on 6/7/2014
    The restaurant has a delightfully cozy, quaint atmosphere, the waitress was pleasant and attentive, and the food was superb. I had the seared ahi tuna and was surprised at the large cut of ahi, but managed to finish the entire steak by myself - I love fish! Overall, it was a great date night with good company and excellet food.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Venus for Dinner
    Bufoman
    Dined on 6/5/2014
    This is a great place for dinner before the play at Berkeley Rep. Food and service are great---no pressure even though it is a small place
    Special Features:
    scenic view, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Excellent All Around
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 6/1/2014
    Great food & Great Service!!! Love their agua frescas and unique menu items
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Lovely Dinner
    foodfab
    Dined on 5/31/2014
    Had a great dinner at this small but wonderful restaurant. I was encouraged by the good reviews and interesting menu. Everything we ordered was delicious!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Disappointed
    bluebird
    Dined on 5/31/2014
    We were hoping for a delicious meal but came away disappointed. The carrot soup with cumin was good but the remainder of the meal lacking in flavor and preparation. The butternut gnocchi had almost no butternut taste and was dense and overcooked. The veg curry was also lacking in flavor and overcooked. Hoped for a better meal, but.......
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Venus
    lovegoodfood
    Dined on 5/30/2014
    I had a great feeling when I walked into Venus, all the food looked and smelled wonderful and the place was packed. I had a reservation and waited for 15 minutes to get seated, which is fine. But then when my food came, one item had been forgotten, it took over an hour to get my food, while people around us were being served quickly and efficiently. I assume it was just one of those, "fall through the cracks moments". My friends gnocchi were dry and burnt, so she sent them back. Overall, I would try again but my first experience was disappointing.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Expected better
    opinionated4VIP
    Dined on 5/30/2014
    Fish, ordered as medium rare main course, was very dry. Attentive waiter gave us another, but it was dry, too. We were surprised because the previous time the meal was excellent. Waiter was kind enough to reduce the bill, but still.....
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Mixed, an Ok spot...
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008VIP
    Dined on 5/17/2014
    First off, not everything on the menu was available. My first choice in wine, an entree, a desert, and finally, a madera were all missing. It was sort of comical at the end. It was a nice place, vibrant crowd. I had a steak, it was a bit thiner than I'd have expected from the menu. If I were to guess, it's almost as if they've had a sudden loss of capitol. Let's hope they figure the problem out, as it really looks like a place that should be a hit, could be a hit, and was a hit in the recent past. It's my hope that my experience was an anomaly.
    Special Features:
    romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate