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Party Size
For 2
Date
Fri, 4/20
Time
9:30 PM
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Booked 6 times today

Spenger's Fresh Fish Grotto

3.8
1960 reviews
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$30 and under
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Seafood
Top Tags:
  • Casual
  • Good for Groups
  • Authentic
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.
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Private dining
Dining Style
Casual Dining
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Cuisines
Seafood, Steak, American
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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
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Phone number
(510) 845-7771
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Payment options
AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Smart Casual
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Executive chef
Patrick Kehler
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
University Ave.
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Parking details
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.
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Public transit
We are located a few blocks from many AC Transit Bus lines. The closest Bart stations is about 1 mile away.
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Gift Card
Additional
Banquet, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, BYO Wine, Corkage Fee, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Private Room, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access

Private Dining

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.

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What 1960 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
3.8based on recent ratings
3.8
food
3.8
service
3.9
ambience
3.4
value
Noise · Moderate
65% of people would recommend it to a friend
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1.0Dined on April 10, 2018

This experience could not have been more disappointing. I REALLY wish it were otherwise. Back when I was growing up in the Bay Area and it was privately owned, Spenger’s was frequently a destination for multi-generational family special occasions. We looked forward to the energy, the nautical atmosphere, attentive service & honest to goodness EXCEPTIONAL food. I knew that the restaurant was now chain owned but hoped that the corporate chieftains might have recognized what a rare treasure they had acquired and determined to keep it a competitor of, say, Tadich Grill in San Francisco. Alas, it was not to be.
I should have immediately recognized the transformation upon arrival when I observed the chairs stacked on the table in the side bar and was “greeted” by a completely disinterested host who reluctantly showed us to a table in a nearly deserted dining room - virtually empty at 6:30 p.m. As we are from Colorado and rarely encounter quality seafood, we ordered, for $17, the “Dungeness Crab Tower” appetizer. This turned out to be about the size of a Campbell’s soup can with perhaps four small forkfuls of crab. Maybe five but not six. Then the mains arrived. My sand dabs were almost certainly frozen with a crust impossible to cut with a fork. The sauce was a negligible afterthought and the mound of broccoli and carrots too cold to melt butter. My wife’s Dover sole was at least warm but the accompanying orzo side dish was undistinguished if not out of a box; I’m pretty suspicious.

All in, with one appetizer, one pint of Anchor Steam beer, two mains, an $8 side of spinach & mushrooms and 20% tip for the server who tried her best, the evening was a $102 hard lesson learned.

The Spenger family heirs ought to insist that this once proud restaurant be restored to its prior level of quality or demand that their name be removed from the signage & web site. Or, maybe better yet, simply let this formerly classic standard setter slip gracefully into the depths of memories.

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4.0Dined on April 8, 2018

We were celebrating a birthday w/14 guests including children. Food average, not what we remember of Spengers. I had the Halibut I think. Regardless, there was no flavor. Room was adequate for large group (another Birthday party group). Service was polite, attentive. We may try a lunch meal but don't think we would return for dinner.
Very disappointing was the ladies bathroom. Dirty & one stall door was broken. Several lady guests commented.

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5.0Dined on April 2, 2018

Ambiance and historic charm. Service was obviously well coached, was polite, attentive and courteous but lacked experience.

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2.0Dined on April 2, 2018

Easter Dinner fail. This is a restaurant I have been to more times than I can count. This was probably the worst experience I have had there. Our side dish was forgotten and when we asked about it and they brought it our sautéed spinach looked more like freeze dried spinach that had been sitting under the heating lamp for 3 days. Then a second order came that was cooked properly. i was brought a drink that i was assured was a margarita (you could tell by looking that it wasn’t) i tasted it and, lo and behold, it wasn’t a margarita. Dessert was melted. It’s a shame because our last two dinners there were quite pleasant. Not going back anytime soon.

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1.0Dined on April 2, 2018

Took 45 mins to get just appetizers and wine. Then another 45 minutes before food was served. The food was over cooked and portions small. Overall one of the worst experiences we have had and we eat out a lot. Unfortunately we will not go back

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5.0Dined on April 1, 2018

We enjoyed spending Easter here with our family. They were very attentive. My grandchildren liked the coloring books and loved looking at the ships and swordfish on the walls. Parking was easy too. Will go back.

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4.0Dined on March 31, 2018

Great dinner

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3.0Dined on March 18, 2018

The food was good but prices too high for what you got.
We were a group of 3, had 2 cocktails, 3 crab/shrimp salads and the bill came to $120 plus tip...or $55 each. It just was NOT worth it.
The old Iconic Spengers which used to be packed, is not half empty.
We were there for St Pat's Day and must admit the Irish Coffees were good.

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5.0Dined on March 9, 2018

Very good scallops, very good salmon. Vegetables extremely tasty. Wine, serviceable, and very fine waitress. A bit noisier than I recalled from the past.

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4.0Dined on March 5, 2018

I very much enjoyed the lobster and steak medallions! Delicious as usual. Always a fun place to go with family and friends!

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4.0Dined on March 1, 2018

I request booth - the host didn’t seems to know our request from Opentable. When I asked we want the booth he actual made a displease gesture. The waitress that served our table was very nice and attentive. Food is good.

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5.0Dined on February 26, 2018

Excellent meal and service. It's been years since I have dined at Spenger's and the waiter told me that they are on owner number three. The quality is still excellent. The halibut was wonderful - tasty and cooked to perfection. Our server was also very friendly and professional.

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1.0Dined on February 22, 2018

No longer a Landry's restaurant and therefore none of the perks are available. Food was very disappointing and a very poor value. We will never go there again. That is too bad since we have been dining at Spenger's for decades. Our waitress and the ambience were up to the old Spenger's standards.

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4.0Dined on January 26, 2018

The lobster and steak medallions were delicious as was everything else. Want to try the fish and chips next time!!

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4.0Dined on January 23, 2018

The food was good but they didn’t count my open table reservation at first. There were very few people there yet the waiter seemed to be really busy.

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4.0Dined on January 23, 2018

Classic local landmark. Good food. Great service. Booths available for quiet conversation.

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2.0Dined on January 21, 2018

My parents used to bring me here and it was such a great place. Sad to see that Spengers has descended into pricey mediocrity. Our waiter couldn’t tell me if the English sole was petrale or dover, then compared it to tilapia. Wow. I was surprised there were no specials. Very small portions. I had the sea scallops which were tasteless and uninspired. Also, there were only 4 scallops on the plate. FOUR !? For $33 !! Really ??

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3.0Dined on January 20, 2018

The restaurant under the McCormick and Schmidt management has lost its flair. They just kept the Spenger’s name but everything else has changed. The food is just average and the cost is to high. A very limited menu selection for dinner. The menu doesn’t list what actually comes with the entree. I ended up ordering extra sides that just inflated the bill. I have been going to Spengers for about 45 years and expected more during this visit.

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5.0Dined on January 20, 2018

We had a very nice drink in the bar first and then a beautiful dinner after! We were really looking forward to our evening and you did not disappoint! We have gone to the McCormick and Schmidt in Irvine several times while my daughter was in school there and every visit was better than the next! Hoping that will be the same here!

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2.0Dined on January 20, 2018

Very, very disappointing. Menu never changes.Will not be back.

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4.0Dined on January 19, 2018

We had a great dinner and this was our first time. It would be fun to bring a bunch of friends! So many choices so we had a hard time deciding. Our waiter was very helpful and came back to check on us which is always important for good service.

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4.0Dined on January 13, 2018

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.

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3.0Dined on January 13, 2018

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.

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1.0Dined on January 11, 2018

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?

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5.0Dined on January 9, 2018

I have come to spengers whenever I visit Oakland for over 40 years. It seems to get better each time. Great atmosphere and the seafood is great!!!

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4.0Dined on January 6, 2018

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!

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3.0Dined on January 5, 2018

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.

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1.0Dined on December 31, 2017

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.

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5.0Dined on December 30, 2017

Spengers has been a favorite for more than 25 years - good food and good service - great seafood!

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3.0Dined on December 25, 2017

Mwaw was ok

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5.0Dined on December 25, 2017

Excellent food and service!

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1.0Dined on December 25, 2017

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.

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3.0Dined on December 25, 2017

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.

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5.0Dined on December 25, 2017

Very welcoming place. Relaxed, not hurried.Although the place was full, there was no pressure to hurry up. Server was very experienced, competent and calm.

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3.0Dined on December 25, 2017

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

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5.0Dined on December 24, 2017

This place has old school, Berkeley charm. Love that it retains its sea food ambiance. Our family has made it a tradition to eat here after attending the Christmas Eve church service. We enjoy having dinner here before the madness of Christmas.

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5.0Dined on December 21, 2017

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.

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3.0Dined on December 19, 2017

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.

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1.0Dined on December 17, 2017

Spenger’s Has gone downhill. Seems to cater to tourists. Halibut was overwhelmed by ‘herb crust’ (Parmesan). I asked for plain steamed vegetables (twice) and got salty, oily veggies with a lot of thyme.

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2.0Dined on December 17, 2017

Service was horrible and the food is mediocre. It’s gone downhill over the last few years.

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