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About Venus - Berkeley
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.
Berkeley, CA 94704
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
$30 and under
Street parking, UC Bancroft & Oxford Lots near by, more parking information at http://www.venusrestaurant.net
3 Blocks South of Downtown Berkeley BART Station, more information at http://www.venusrestaurant.net
Private Party Contact:
Amy Murray: (510) 540-5950
Beer, BYO Wine, Corkage Fee, Farm to Table, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
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.
Venus - Berkeley Ratings and Reviews
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.
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?
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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