Nearby points of interest
Nearby points of interest
About Spenger's Fresh Fish Grotto
A historic landmark since opening our doors in 1890, Spenger's Fresh Fish Grotto features antique stained glass and porthole windows to give you the nautical dining experience. Enjoy your lunch, dinner or happy hour while browsing century old salvaged maritime artifacts that adorn the reconstituted teak walls. Delight in viewing the "Star of Denmark" Canary Diamond and 6 foot Ming Vase in our main dining room.
Conveniently located in the trendy 4th Street shopping district in Berkeley, CA. Spenger's is famous in the San Francisco Bay Area for impeccable cuisine, an inviting atmosphere and superior service.
Planning a Private Event or Corporate Meeting? Spenger's offers unique Event Rooms for 15 to 200 guests. Our Event Manager will work with you to create a unique menu, perfect for your group. Make your next event a one of a kind, stress free experience.
Berkeley, CA 94710
Seafood, Steak, American
Hours of Operation:
BRUNCH: Sunday 11:00am-3:00pm
LUNCH: Monday-Saturday 11:30am-3:00pm
DINNER: Monday-Thursday: 3:00pm-9:30pm | Friday & Saturday: 3:00pm-10:00pm | Sunday 3:00pm-9:00pm
$30 and under
AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
We validate for parking in the lot located across the street from the restaurant. 1 1/2 hours free before 5pm, 3 hours free after 5pm.
We are located a few blocks from many AC Transit Bus lines. The closest Bart stations is about 1 mile away.
Banquet, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, BYO Wine, Corkage Fee, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Private Room, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access
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An historic landmark since opening our doors in 1890, Spenger's Fresh Fish Grotto features antique stained glass and porthole windows. Enjoy your Private Event while browsing century old salvaged maritime artifacts, adorning reconstituted teak walls.
Spenger's Fresh Fish Grotto Ratings and Reviews
Since we had a reservation, we were seated as soon as we arrived. No waiting! Enjoyed the fish and boat decor. Shrimp Scatter was delicious as usual. There weren't as many shrimp as there used to be but they were larger. Meal was pricey but for a special occasion was well worth it.
You can't go home...We celebrated my father's 88th birthday at Spenger's after confirming they still had the shrimp scatter platter. Well, the recipe used by McCormick and Schmicks today is NOT Frank Spengers and was disappointing. One review said it was right up there with Sizzler and I would agree.
They are understaffed but our server met all our demands especially considering we had 5 children under the age of 7 with us. The bar staff was REALLY bad took our order first and served my father last...I understand she serves regulars first but WOW we were the 1st two people in the bar.
Overall, it was a nice drive and a walk down memory lane for my dad but I wouldn't recommend this restaurant - it is not even up to McCormick and Schmick's standards. It is convenient to 4th Street so if you are out shopping and want to grab lunch it would be fine.
Fresh squeezed lemonade was very nice; I have had better sourdough bread. Their sour dough bread crust was tough and the loaf was sliced very thin. The butter was abnormally salty. Fried calamari was good and should be served with cocktail sauce. There was a few bits of crab shell or cartlige in the crab Louie. The hard boiled eggs were like rubber. The Louie dressing must have a milk product in it and every time I have it I get sick within 15 minutes of ingesting it. I Should know better not to try it again.
Waiter was not attentive to our needs.
I did not complain about the shells in the salad.
My husband enjoyed the fish and chips.
Spengers is not as good as it was before the original owner's sold it many years ago.
Waiter told us a new group just purchased the restaurant from McCormack and Scmick; Kelley Group?
We were a party of 8 that contributed to the "moderate" noise level . . . Food and service were so much better than the last time we dined here. My sister had cioppino which was phenomenal in many ways: 1-the presentation was wonderful with crab legs sticking up; 2- cioppino wasn't on the menu for lunch but our wonderful server checked with the kitchen and they were able to accommodate - really above and beyond expectation, plus 3-my sister gobbled every bit, hardly talking while she ate, and that's saying something! Did I say our server was wonderful? I wish I remembered her name (small, Asian woman?); my daughter paid the bill so I can's check the receipt to get her name. She was very attentive and efficient - kudos, Spenger's!! My crab and shrimp Louie was outstanding too! Thanks!
Mediocre food served in a gloomy setting. At least they modernized the bathrooms. I remember the old family owned Spenger’s and how great their breakfasts were. It was cheap to eat there and maybe the food wasn’t so good, but it was cheap. Now the food is terrible and it’s expensive. Not going back.
The entire experience was totally poor. Service was basically non existent and then they attempted to overcharge me. We were not offered anything to drink except water and were not offered desert. The waitress was apparently in a hurry to leave because she passed us in her car when we left.
They did not have shrimp or crab and there was only a few other people in there. I was terribly disappointed. Everything was so different and substandard since the old Spengers.
It was quiet because there was no one there.
I HATE giving bad reviews because I understand how hard it is to be in the food industry business. I will say the drinks are good. So if you just want to drink and nothing else it could be ok. The absolute worst part was paying for 4 star dining and we were getting two star with the food in both taste and looks. The food looked like a blue plate special at Golden Corral. It tasted only a bit better. There was a hair in our appetizer. Our order was completely screwed up and by the second mess up we just didn't have the energy to fix it. We aren't the kind of people that make a big stink and demand our dining "rights." We ate here Christmas day. It was the server's first day. He was very sweet, but he wasn't properly trained and Christmas shouldn't be your first day for a busy restaurant. McCormick & Schmuck bought them so they are now a corporation. I HATE THE CORPORATIZATION OF 4th Street. Next year for Christmas we are going to Black Bear Diner. They won't mess up our order; the food will be just as good, and will be half the cost.
The menu states that the seafood on the menu is available in preparations other than those described in each entree. God only knows we wished we’d taken this seriously. The “herb crusted halibut” at $30 was a glorious piece of fish encased in an inedible casket of burned panko. As a dish, simply hideous, but in fairness, if we’d ordered the halibut grilled or pan fried it might have been palatable. The salad, the roasted root veg, cocktails and desserts were very good. I had a memorable swordfish steak (no burned panko, thank you).
Service was terrible, with wrong orders and long waits for, well, service.
So go and order the simplest of preparation. The embiance is glorious, with a floor to ceiling wall of model ships, and seafaring memorabilia at every turn. This is way out of the way, near practically nothing unless you’re shopping on Fourth Street or going to Steamworks .
And bring your gold card. This place is expensive.
I grew up in the Spencer's restaurant. I have great memories from when the family owned it. It's now a corporate run ghost of what was once the 4th busiest restaurant in America. We go on Christmas in memory of my father. Your jacking up the process for a holiday is sad, and now no Captains Plate of Shrimp Scatter? You need to do better
We had an excellent meal at Spenger's. We reserved before our concert at Cal Performances. The server was attentive to our needs. Th cups of chowder were very good. We had a variety of entrees from the crab cakes (one all crab the other crab and shrimp--both delicious!), to pasta with smoked chicken (also delicious), to the seafood cioppini (sp?) (full of delicious bites of crab, shell fish, etc.). We were all very satisfied and too full to partake of dessert. We also were able to finish easily within an hour, so we could travel down University and get to the theatre in ample time. Add to this free parking in the lot across the street and it was a lovely evening.
This was not up to previous visits. I learned long ago not to make reservations during the lunch hours since the main dining room is right next to a noisy bar full of the alcohol for lunch crowd. That was not a problem n this visit as we arrived after that period was over. However, the background noise was loud enough that I had to lean over to talk to my wife and she had to lean so I could hear her. Additionally, the background 'music' was not encouraging to a pleasant dining experience. One piece was a continual single tone on a gong repeated endlessly. Another was the same repetitive type of music played on a wooden sounding instrument being struck at a regular beat of the same tone. Both pieces raised my anxiety levels and detracted from the overall experience. Other music played during the meal was equally unpleasant and too loud. Service was slow, the meal was not as good as the last time I ate the same thing there. We will look for an alternate seafood restaurant.
Spengers! I really really want to love this place.
Super convenient...Great History...the food was actually quite tasty.
But, for the scene- ( a bit worn out and tired) and not great service (although our waiter was very helpful and friendly and accommodating) it is just way too pricey.
I can spend that money and get a fab meal at Chez Panisse or other places.
Bring the prices down a bit. tighten up the service and the dining room will fill up!
Hope it can improve!
We were four for dinner, on a weeknight and with a reservation. We waited a long time for our drinks, which were forgotten by the server until we reminded her, after the appetizers had arrived. Then we were told that one of the beers we had ordered was unavailable. A different beer was ordered, and 5 minutes later we were told it was unavailable also. Apparently they were out of beer altogether so the beer drinkers ended up having wine or water instead. Not in itself a problem but should have been clarified right away, not half an hour after we sat down. After dinner (which wasn't bad but was totally unremarkable), I went to the Ladies' room and found that one of the two toilets was nearly overflowing and the stench was literally unbearable. The whole place had an "in decline" vibe. I will not be returning to this restaurant anytime soon!
If you want a $10 cut of meat that costs you $40 this is the place to go. Who doesn't love a chewey ribeye that reminds you of when you were a kid shoving too many pieces of bubble gum in your mouth? How about some flavorless fish atop risotto paste? You betcha. At least you'll be serenaded by all of the middle aged people requesting the Happy Birthday song.
We had a group of 20 that shrunk to 16 due to a few last minute issues.
I dropped in to chat with the manager before the group showed up and he made sure it all came together right, including getting timing down so we could attend a Cal hoops game on time.
While we were not quite big enough for a private room, our 2 tables worked well.
Service was very good. Food was done right with only one "timing" glitch on a busy night.
Our Cal group has 45+ years of prior experience with Spenger's and, despite changes over the years and some "complaints" from other people in their online reviews, we were treated right, the food was top notch and we had a great experience, with the staff helping to make that happen.
THE crab Louie was $28 and had little crab sitting o small bed of lettuce a few cucumber slices, 5 olives and 2 hard boiled eggs sliced and then some tomato wedges. My guest's sand dab entree was cold and had to be sent back. The mussels were good. We ordered a bottle of wine which the waitress poured the first glass but never returned to pour again.
I would recommend this place if it was the only place left for the bread and water. And thats if it came within a reasonable time from when you sat down. We had no utensils no napkins no appetizer plates but food was sitting getting cold. I asked for a pint glass for my beer from three separate people and ended up drinking it out of the bottle.Next time I'll bring my own paper bag. If you want fried fish go to McDonald's. Filet O Fish is half the price and half the wait. The scatter was told to be the captain's platter but instead was worse than all you can eat Red Lobster shrimp and fries from Wendy's. My Jim Beam and Coke looked like cheap whiskey and water and didn't taste much better. I will pay the price for good food but growing up going to this restaurant to seeing what it's become is sad. All other reviewers who know what this place used to be say the same. I would put more money into your service and quality of food instead of changing the look of what was once a great restaurasameBy the way the lingering smell of Pine-Sol throughout the entire restaurant makes it smell like a one star rest home. Stop trying to be what you are not or step your game up. Otherwise tear it dowdown. Perfect location for an In and Out.But f... it. Im sure the other watered down restaurants numbers that also belong to this chain even out Spengers losses. Take note from Dead Fish and Stinkin Rose.
I thought the food was a little bit overpriced. I paid $3.75 for a glass of ice tea which was never refilled and sugar was not offered. The shrimp scampi was seven dollars and I got three shrimp which had no garlic on it and they were cold, but it was meant to be a hot dish. The shrimp or cold but the sauce around it was hot. Not good value.
We had to wait 25 minutes for a table we had reserved in advance. The hostess told us she'd bring us a cocktail menu as she seated us but she never did. The featured wine of the day was not available and we were there at 7:00pm. The french bread they served was stale. Even though we ordered a bottle of wine we had to remind the waitperson to bring it to our table after he delivered our salads. The roasted potatoes were so hard you could barely chew them. One of the wait staff (bus person) left the men's room without washing his hands. A bartender was seen blowing his nose and not washing his hands as he continued to prepare a cocktail.
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