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Giovanni Restaurant

3.8
110 reviews
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$30 and under
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Italian
Perfect For:
  • Neighborhood Gem
  • Good for Groups
  • Special Occasion

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About

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.

Dining Style
Casual Dining
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Cuisines
Italian
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Hours of operation

Dinner: Su-Th 4:00pm-11:00am
Dinner: F-Sa 4:00pm-12:00am
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Phone number
(510) 843-6678
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Executive chef
Alex Sanchez / Juan Sanchez
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Private party facilities
Our private dining room seats 40.
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Private party contact
Anastasia Schipani: (510) 843-6678
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Catering
All items on menu available.
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
Channing Way
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Public transit
Bus and BART are nearby
Additional
Banquet, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Corkage Fee, Fireplace, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Late Night, Private Room, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 110 People Are SayingWrite a review
Overall ratings and reviews
3.8based on all time ratings
3.8
food
3.8
service
3.7
ambience
Noise · Moderate
82% of people would recommend it to a friend
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3.0Dined on March 22, 2015

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.

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4.0Dined on February 14, 2015

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!

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4.0Dined on January 4, 2015

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.

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4.0Dined on November 28, 2014

Our waiter was very helpful throughout the evening

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2.0Dined on October 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.

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3.0Dined on October 28, 2014

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

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3.0Dined on October 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.

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5.0Dined on September 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!

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5.0Dined on September 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.

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4.0Dined on August 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.

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3.0Dined on July 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.

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3.0Dined on July 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.

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5.0Dined on July 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!

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4.0Dined on June 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.

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2.0Dined on June 15, 2014

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

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5.0Dined on June 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.

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2.0Dined on June 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.

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5.0Dined on May 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.

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4.0Dined on May 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.

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5.0Dined on May 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.

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4.0Dined on May 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.

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1.0Dined on May 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!

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4.0Dined on April 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.

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4.0Dined on April 12, 2014

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

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5.0Dined on March 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

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4.0Dined on March 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!

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4.0Dined on March 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

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1.0Dined on March 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...

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3.0Dined on March 1, 2014

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

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3.0Dined on February 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.

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1.0Dined on February 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!!!

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2.0Dined on February 9, 2014

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

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3.0Dined on February 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.

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4.0Dined on January 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......

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3.0Dined on January 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.

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3.0Dined on December 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.

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2.0Dined on December 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!

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4.0Dined on December 23, 2013

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

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4.0Dined on December 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!

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5.0Dined on December 22, 2013

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

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