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Giovanni Restaurant

3.8
3.8
107 Reviews
$30 and under
Italian

A Berkeley favorite, Giovanni Restaurant specializes in classic Italian fare. With a daily happy hour and separate dinner and bar menus, it places an emphasis on people coming together to share food and enjoy good drinks. Noted for a good house wine and nice range of beer, the food at Giovanni Restaurant is the centerpiece. Traditional Italian flavors appear in the antipasti, salads, delicious fried dishes and pasta. The warm Brussel sprout salad is popular as is the housemade carbonara. Unique spins on some dishes, such as the Jambalaya linguini or the confusion pizza ensure that everyone can have a bit of fun whether eating dinner or an after work snack at Giovanni Restaurant.

Not available on OpenTable

Unfortunately, this restaurant is not on the OpenTable reservation network.

If you like, we'll notify you by email if this restaurant joins.


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  • Dining style

    Casual Dining

  • Cuisines

    Italian

  • Hours of operation


    Dinner: Su-Th 4:00pm-11:00am
    Dinner: F-Sa 4:00pm-12:00am

  • Phone number

    (510) 843-6678

  • Payment options

    AMEX, Discover, Visa

  • Dress code

    Casual Dress

  • Executive chef

    Alex Sanchez / Juan Sanchez

  • Catering

    All items on menu available.

  • Neighborhood

    Berkeley

  • Cross street

    Channing Way

  • Public transit

    Bus and BART are nearby

  • Additional

    Banquet, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Corkage Fee, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Indoor Fireplace, Late Night, Private Room, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Menu

View menu on restaurant's website

What 107 people are saying

Overall ratings and reviews

3.8
3.8 based on all time ratings
  • 3.8Food
  • 3.8Service
  • 3.7Ambience

NoiseModerate

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  1. N

    Nancydy

    San Francisco

    46 reviews

    vip
    3.0

    46 reviews

    Dined on March 22, 2015

    overall3food3service4ambience3

    Food was fine, and service was fine. Did not seem up to date, though. There were six of us from four different places, so we loved that it was quiet so we could have a great visit. Our waiter was very good.

  2. AL

    ALHMartinez

    San Francisco

    24 reviews

    4.0

    24 reviews

    Dined on February 14, 2015

    overall4food4service5ambience4

    Went to Giovanni's for Valentine's Day dinner last Saturday night and had a very nice experience. It was the first time my wife and I went there and we were pleasantly surprised at the quality of food and the service. Good Italian cooking and one of the best alfredo suaces we've had. And great tiramisu desert!

  3. EN

    EatNEnjoy

    San Francisco

    4 reviews

    4.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on January 4, 2015

    overall4food4service2ambience5

    I have been going there for over 30 years. Everything is delicious. My favorite is the Carbonara and any of their pizzas. The crust is perfect with any type of topping. It's the perfect place for any ocassion.

  4. L

    Lovegudfood

    San Francisco

    2 reviews

    4.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on November 28, 2014

    overall4food3service5ambience5

    Our waiter was very helpful throughout the evening

  5. r

    rhino

    San Francisco

    23 reviews

    vip
    2.0

    23 reviews

    Dined on October 31, 2014

    overall2food3service1ambience3

    -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.

  6. H

    Hankey23

    Chicago

    18 reviews

    3.0

    18 reviews

    Dined on October 28, 2014

    overall3food4service3ambience2

    food was good. the place is a little outdated but remember you are in Berkeley.

  7. g

    gotrock49

    San Francisco

    7 reviews

    3.0

    7 reviews

    Dined on October 4, 2014

    overall3food4service2ambience3

    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.

  8. T

    Taxidigirl

    San Francisco

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 26, 2014

    overall5food4service5ambience4

    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!

  9. HT

    HashTagRomance

    San Francisco

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 19, 2014

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    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.

  10. L

    Lynnie

    San Francisco

    8 reviews

    4.0

    8 reviews

    Dined on August 2, 2014

    overall4food4service3ambience2

    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.

  11. c

    chilledcoyote

    San Francisco

    5 reviews

    3.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on July 24, 2014

    overall3food2service3ambience3

    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.

  12. S

    Sandy

    San Francisco

    3 reviews

    3.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on July 20, 2014

    overall3food4service4ambience3

    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.

  13. d

    dinanm5

    San Francisco

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on July 5, 2014

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    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!

  14. s

    sfab

    San Francisco

    4 reviews

    4.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on June 15, 2014

    overall4food3service5ambience4

    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.

  15. T

    Ttttttt

    San Francisco

    4 reviews

    2.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on June 15, 2014

    overall2food3service1ambience3

    Slow service out of most beer selections. Waitress forgot one item we ordered. Food took forever to arrive

  16. j

    jodine

    San Francisco

    5 reviews

    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on June 14, 2014

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    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.

  17. PM

    ProfessionalMusician

    San Francisco

    1 review

    2.0

    1 review

    Dined on June 7, 2014

    overall2food5service1ambience3

    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.

  18. j

    juy22sue

    San Francisco

    3 reviews

    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on May 25, 2014

    overall5food5service5ambience3

    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.

  19. C

    Clover10

    San Francisco

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined on May 24, 2014

    overall4food4service5ambience4

    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.

  20. GS

    GarlicandSapphires

    Orange County

    5 reviews

    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on May 16, 2014

    overall5food5service5ambience4

    Very good, reasonable wine list, abundant portions and amiable service. We went during Cal Grad weekend and were taken care of without a hiccup.

  21. S

    Sparky

    San Francisco

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined on May 11, 2014

    overall4food4service4ambience4

    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.

  22. J

    Jean

    San Francisco

    1 review

    vip
    1.0

    1 review

    Dined on May 11, 2014

    overall1food1service1ambience1

    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!

  23. LD

    LocalDiner

    San Francisco

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined on April 20, 2014

    overall4food3service4ambience4

    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.

  24. C

    Candy

    San Francisco

    5 reviews

    4.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on April 12, 2014

    overall4food4service5ambience4

    Enjoyed the service and food! Very reasonable although the wine list is small!

  25. n

    newcastlelinda

    San Francisco

    6 reviews

    5.0

    6 reviews

    Dined on March 30, 2014

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    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

  26. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Francisco

    5 reviews

    4.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on March 16, 2014

    overall4food4service5ambience4

    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!

  27. t

    tegreviews

    San Francisco

    6 reviews

    vip
    1.0

    6 reviews

    Dined on March 8, 2014

    overall1food2service1ambience2

    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...

  28. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Francisco

    1 review

    3.0

    1 review

    Dined on March 1, 2014

    overall3food4service3ambience3

    Giovanni Salad: A. Gnocchi: B+. Fettuccine Carbonara: C. Margherita Pizza: A. Tiramisu: A+. No Espresso Coffee!

  29. f

    fizbingirl

    San Francisco

    14 reviews

    vip
    3.0

    14 reviews

    Dined on February 25, 2014

    overall3food4service4ambience1

    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.

  30. d

    doctordijah

    San Francisco

    1 review

    1.0

    1 review

    Dined on February 15, 2014

    overall1food3service1ambience2

    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!!!

  31. n

    nydiner

    San Francisco

    1 review

    2.0

    1 review

    Dined on February 9, 2014

    overall2food2service3ambience3

    our reservations through Open Table were not received by this restaurant!!!

  32. B

    Bob0117

    San Francisco

    40 reviews

    vip
    3.0

    40 reviews

    Dined on February 9, 2014

    overall3food3service4ambience3

    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.

  33. j

    jazzy

    San Francisco

    75 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    75 reviews

    Dined on January 18, 2014

    overall4food4service5ambience5

    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......

  34. CC

    CleavorCat

    Los Angeles

    4 reviews

    3.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on January 10, 2014

    overall3food5service1ambience4

    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.

  35. d

    dancingbull

    San Francisco

    40 reviews

    3.0

    40 reviews

    Dined on December 31, 2013

    overall3food3service1ambience3

    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.

  36. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Des Moines

    1 review

    2.0

    1 review

    Dined on December 28, 2013

    overall2food3service2ambience2

    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!

  37. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Francisco

    8 reviews

    4.0

    8 reviews

    Dined on December 23, 2013

    overall4food4service3ambience4

    Six of us dined and all of our food was delicious.

  38. R

    Roger

    San Francisco

    3 reviews

    4.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on December 23, 2013

    overall4food4service4ambience3

    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!

  39. NI

    NICKISFNYC

    San Francisco

    15 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    15 reviews

    Dined on December 22, 2013

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    This is a great restaurant very attentive staff, tasty food and cozy atmosphere.

  40. K

    Kasey

    San Francisco

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on December 18, 2013

    overall5food4service4ambience5

    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!

FAQs

Giovanni Restaurant is rated 3.8 stars by 107 OpenTable diners

Not available on OpenTable

Unfortunately, this restaurant is not on the OpenTable reservation network.

If you like, we'll notify you by email if this restaurant joins.


Is this your restaurant?
Claim this listing
  • Cross street

    Channing Way

  • Neighborhood

    Berkeley

  • Hours of operation


    Dinner: Su-Th 4:00pm-11:00am
    Dinner: F-Sa 4:00pm-12:00am

  • Cuisines

    Italian

  • Dining style

    Casual Dining

  • Dress code

    Casual Dress

  • Public transit

    Bus and BART are nearby

  • Payment options

    AMEX, Discover, Visa

  • Executive chef

    Alex Sanchez / Juan Sanchez

  • Additional

    Banquet, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Corkage Fee, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Indoor Fireplace, Late Night, Private Room, Wheelchair Access, Wine

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