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Venus - Berkeley

4.0
894 reviews
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$30 and under
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Organic
Top Tags:
  • Fit for Foodies
  • Neighborhood Gem
  • Special Occasion

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About

Established in 2000, Venus in Berkeley is named for the morning and evening star. Sourcing directly from the local Californian fields and ranches to provide tasty meals with a wholesome origin is how Venus has made a mark on the local community. No cans, freezers or microwaves are allowed in the kitchen which means every creation that exits the kitchen is made from scratch and full of flavor.

Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, Venus offers guests a selection of small and large plates and salads with options for vegan, gluten-free and paleo dishes. You will not want to miss out on the piri piri chicken with mashed butterballs, griddled zucchini, carrots and lacinato kale or the slow roasted pork sandwich with gruyere and chipotle mayo.

Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Cuisines
Organic, Californian
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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
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Phone number
(510) 540-5950
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Payment options
MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Executive chef
Amy Murray
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Private party contact
Amy Murray: (510) 540-5950
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
Bancroft
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Parking details
Street parking, UC Bancroft & Oxford Lots near by, more parking information at http://www.venusrestaurant.net
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Public transit
3 Blocks South of Downtown Berkeley BART Station, more information at http://www.venusrestaurant.net
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Special events & promotions
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.
Additional
Beer, BYO Wine, Corkage Fee, Farm to Table, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 894 People Are SayingWrite a review
Overall ratings and reviews
4.0based on all time ratings
4.2
food
4.1
service
3.6
ambience
3.7
value
Noise · Moderate
89% of people would recommend it to a friend
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4.0Dined on August 20, 2016

Amazing food! Good wine and service. A bit noisy.

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5.0Dined on August 19, 2016

Food and atmosphere was great. Interesting euro pricing with tip included. Prices were fair and everything we had was great. The chicken had a great tangy sauce. The lamb tag one was perfect for the cool night and the wild salmon was also good. The mushroom appetizer was tasty with tang of sherry. A definite 'will go back' to place for us.

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5.0Dined on August 12, 2016

Excellent food (a nice healthy range of options on the dinner menu) and friendly, professional service: we felt pampered and pleased at every moment! Warm, casual, and cozy atmosphere.

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4.0Dined on July 28, 2016

Not exactly inexpensive but still a good value as their food is very good and the portions large!

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3.0Dined on July 17, 2016

Waiter may have been new. Offered wrong information about the special of the day. The cheese plate came in without a main ingredient AND waiter did not know the cheeses. She was very friendly, almost too friendly.
Always great food. Prices are high, but it's worth the treat. Loud.
Can they store the broom somewhere else than in the bathroom?

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5.0Dined on July 17, 2016

We came here before the theater and the mezze was delicious. The entrees were interesting and tasty. The service was friendly and warm. This is a delightful place for dinner.l

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4.0Dined on July 16, 2016

The food was good but I wouldn't say any of it was spectacular. What was great was the relaxed environment and friendly (if slow) service. It allowed my friend and I to linger and laugh for over two hours without feeling rushed or the need to order more. I would definitely return.

Very small restaurant tho, probably not good a fit (literally) for large

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5.0Dined on June 30, 2016

Nice little restaurant. Good food and service in a collegw town even!

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5.0Dined on June 27, 2016

We had a wonderful time, the food was amazing, I enjoyed the open windows onto the street,
it was a lovely evening, the staff was friendly and on top of things. We will be back.

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1.0Dined on June 17, 2016

My wife was happy with her meal.
I had the cod and chips. The cod was in "gujons", i.e. more batter than fish. The portion of chips was minute. It was all cold. I had a dessert but still left the restaurant hungry.

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2.0Dined on June 9, 2016

There in a weekday, 8:45pm, had reservation, only table in use, TOTALLY rushed by alternative tattooed female server, 2 yummy apps & good entree THROWN into our table by 9, they wanted to close their kitchen...no yummy apps 1st & then entree after here. After we finished our yummy apps, we ate our COLD trout fish dish with cold veggies. They kinda threw the bill on our table as we were eating, no dessert offered...I asked, new alternative female server said, "everything is out away & our kitchen is closed." Omg...what RUDE & ABRUPT Berkeley anarchical manners. The lovely owner was there, but this is what she allows I guess.

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1.0Dined on June 4, 2016

Our waitress had a very hard time remembering to bring us things. First, she forgot our bottle of wine we ordered for almost 15 minutes. They brought our food out but gave it to the people next to us, then awkwardly grabbed it off of their table, and the people next to us were visibly annoyed at this happening- we had to apologize because our server did not. Thirdly, I ordered soup and it took almost five full minutes to flag down our server to get a spoon- so the soup dramatically cooled by then. Lastly, when we asked for our check, we were still finishing our wine and that was the only time the server actually paid attention to us- trying to hustle us out. I used to go to Venus regularly and rave about it to others but now I am not sure I will give it another chance.

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5.0Dined on June 2, 2016

They have locally sourced very healthy food that is presented in a pleasing manner.

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4.0Dined on June 2, 2016

We love that the meat is from Marin Sun Farms. The menu is wonderful and the owners and wait staff are most welcoming. It was a delightful evening for us.

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4.0Dined on May 29, 2016

Ambiance was great. Food amazing.

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4.0Dined on May 28, 2016

We chose Venus for our goodbye, California meal. Fresh, delicious preparation. Loved the mushrooms, the lamb tagine, the chicken, the bimbimbap. Inventive without being precious.

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4.0Dined on May 13, 2016

The food was very tasty but they were out of my husbands first choice. The service was good and the ppl were friendly. It's not a big place so good for small groups.

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5.0Dined on May 8, 2016

We went to Venus for a Mother's Day dinner, figuring it would be easier than having brunch anywhere - and it was. There were plenty of tables at Venus at 5:30 on a Sunday.

The food was fantastic. The roasted chicken with mashed potatoes had a fabulous gravy with roasted goodies like onion and prunes, and the portion of mashed potatoes was huge. We also ordered twice-baked sweet potato, yum, and a super fresh endive salad. Can't remember the other dishes but they were also just delicious.

Service was good - kept our water glasses filled repeatedly, served the food quickly.

Only complaint is how cramped the tables are, right on top of each other.

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5.0Dined on May 5, 2016

We've been three times this year. This is one of those places where I could order literally anything on the menu and like it. You can tell that the staff all somehow have skin in the game. You'd think it was a family outfit, except what a weird family that would be.

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4.0Dined on April 30, 2016

Nice neighborhood-type spot

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5.0Dined on April 24, 2016

This was not our first time here (and it won't be our last).

We like Venus because it serves excellent food and has exceptional service. Thank you!

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5.0Dined on April 24, 2016

We were there with a crowd of other pre-theater diners and my companion was late, but the staff was very accommodating. The food is always fantastic!

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4.0Dined on April 22, 2016

Been to Venus for breakfast and tried it for dinner for the first time while in town visiting our daughter at CAL. We had a delicious meal and there were lots of choices for fish and vegetarian eaters. All our meals tasted fresh. Would return again.

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4.0Dined on April 16, 2016

We were disappointed because the tables were so close together that I could have easily eaten the food off of the tables on either side of us. We could have bumped elbows without leaning over. Way too crowded and impossible to have conversation, like being on a group date. Unfortunate as the food was exceptional.

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3.0Dined on April 3, 2016

The location is close to campus. The food is unique and varied. The wine list is very small. The space and seating is cramped. Overall I'd say the food was "good" - we sampled the specials and a main course item. The soup was not hot enough and was too sweet. The gnocchi was very heavy. The moroccan lamb dish was generally tasty but also not hot enough.

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5.0Dined on March 26, 2016

In addition to the friendly and efficient service, the food is fresh and very tasty. We really think the mushroom and beet small plates are delicious. The trout was perfectly cooked and a good-sized portion.

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4.0Dined on March 25, 2016

The food was terrific. The waitress was very attentive and sweet. She did bring me the wrong salad, but the one I got was delicious and I didn't complain. She shared recipes with us and we loved that. I ate the endive-beet salad and roasted brussel sprouts. Both were really good.

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4.0Dined on March 19, 2016

I returned to Venus knowing it to be excellent and reliable. My sweetie was intrigued by the diverse choices on the menu, and we shared the special crustini with broiled asparagus and broccolini, it was delightful.

And my rainbow trout was perfect as was my date's chicken. The downside was we were served well after the tables that were seated well after us, and very little attention from the staff, just one long overdue word from our server.

And then we waited for someone to clear our plates and offer coffee and dessert. But when that finally came, we were ready to be on our way.

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2.0Dined on March 13, 2016

If you read other reviews of Venus, you will see why I say "meh..." and I would say it's mainly the service - they are pretty disorganized. I made a reservation through Open Table and when I arrived and told one of the waitstaff that I had a reservation but i was a bit early, he said "better early than late" but did nothing about noting that I was there one their computer. Consequently, when I got home there was a message on my answer machine from Stacy (our waitress), asking where I was as I had a reservation! Stacy did not tell us what the specials were, we had to ask. I asked about the desserts that were reviewed by a diner several reviews down from this one and they still have the same desserts (there are no daily specials on the dessert menu) and the so-called chocolate mousse is still a cake - in fact by 6:30 (the restaurant opens at 5 p.m. on Sundays), it was still in the oven! One reviewer commented on how long it took to get their meals - the kitchen is the size of a postage stamp which explains why everything takes so long. Both my dinner companion and I ordered the fish and chips which were excellent but I think it's a bad sign when the item on the menu that sounds best is fish and chips!

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4.0Dined on March 12, 2016

The restaurant is quaint but very small so we were seated very close to other tables and the wait staff had difficulty moving around. We were also seated 30 minutes after our reserved time and I felt rushed during our dinner. The staff tried to be attentive but they appeared to be stretched. The food, however, was very fresh and tasty and I would go back on a week night.

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4.0Dined on March 12, 2016

Tables very close together. Very noisy. On weekends service slow

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4.0Dined on March 5, 2016

Lamb tagine and fish special very good. Only complaint is that the lamb was supposed to be served with brown basmati rice. Instead it was served, without comment, by a less-tasty short-grained rice, probably arbola. Brussel sprouts were very good but sweetened, which is not my taste. Service was very prompt.

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3.0Dined on March 4, 2016

We had an early reservation and were immediately shown to a table next to the wall, and the host moved a couple of tables to give us this smaller, private space which we enjoyed. Service was prompt, very attentive and joyful; we chose the risotto appetizer with trout and asparagus, and Meyer lemon sauce. Beautiful and very tasty! The Chilean red wine was also great. But our meals (Roasted chicken for me, Polenta with Zucchini paparadelle for my boyfriend), were bland, and nothing special. I wished for more pizzazz. We had been to Venus for brunch and it was amazing, but not so great for dinner. I think we'll stick to brunch.

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1.0Dined on March 3, 2016

My wife and I have eaten here before - both breakfast and dinner and therefore felt confident taking a friend here before a play at the Berkeley Rep. It was a disaster and I communicated my concerns to the manager when she came on duty the next day.

We had a reservation for 6 p.m. and arrived about 10 minutes early. There were only one or two tables occupied. We all had the fish and chips. Fish and breading had no taste, all of us needed condiments (tartar sauce, ketchup, vinegar) to make it palatable. The service of slaw was minuscule. Most problematic was after nearly a 30 minute wait I went to find the waitress to ask where our food was and she said it "was coming". It arrived shortly thereafter, but 30 minutes for fish and chips in an almost empty restaurant is unreasonable. There were three offerings for dessert. The first, labeled "Chocolate soufflé" was a dense chocolate cake, not a soufflé, which our friend rejected. When I spoke to the manager, she acknowledge that it was really mislabeled. The second was a caramel toffee cake type item with a caramel sauce. Based on the waitresses description of "caramel, caramel, caramel" I ordered it. Had some flavor but caramel was not it. The third which my wife got was a coconut pudding type item. Again, no flavor. I hope this was an aberation since prior meals were fine. But had this been our first experience I would not be going back.

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5.0Dined on February 14, 2016

Outstanding !!! Excellent food and service on Valentine's Day . Will definitely go back. Should be rated 6 stars

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3.0Dined on February 6, 2016

Food was okay, nothing outstanding. Service was good. Don't think I would come back soon. It was very noisy which made it very hard to have a conversation.

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3.0Dined on January 25, 2016

Service was very slow, even though we were the first in for dinner. We sat at the back of the restaurant, which is pretty noisy from the kitchen. Soup not as tasty as last time. But we will not give up, as we have had better luck in the past!

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4.0Dined on January 22, 2016

Second time to Venus for dinner, was not disappointed. Wonderful service, the chef came out and spoke with us briefly (!) and the crew know how to make vegetables sing!

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5.0Dined on January 17, 2016

Excellent service, attention to each plate, and a surprisingly tasty Cote du Rhone. Very happy overall and will return.

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5.0Dined on January 11, 2016

Venus was a friendly and relaxing way to end a long day - offering great appetizers and mains. The size of the restaurant and the style made it seem more like visiting family than most other places, in the best sense of the term. Food was well executed, and service was perfect and friendly.

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