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The Ultimate Date Restaurants and Bars in Berkeley

The best date spots in the neighborhood

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Nailing the perfect venue is an absolutely essential component to the success of a date. But here's the thing: What makes a great first date spot is definitely not the same as what makes a place the best to celebrate a special occasion or even a second date — so deciding where to take a plus-one doesn't always get the same answer. Every situation has different needs — neighborhood, vibes, price point — and it can be tricky to find the right bar or restaurant if you've never been there. So next time you're trying to pick a fitting location, just consult this guide. We've got you covered if it's Berkeley you're cornering.

In need of the best date spots in other neighborhoods? Check out this ultimate guide to dating in San Francisco.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

First date, drinks: East Bay Spice Company

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Indian-inspired cocktails redolent with rose water and spices will get the conversation flowing at this dimly-lit spot in the heart of Berkeley. If things are going well, grab some snacks from the menu, which ranges from papadum to prawn tandoori.

First date, coffee: Bartavelle

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Great coffee and the avocado toast of your dreams exist at this cute and tiny Berkeley gem. Formerly Alice Waters' Cafe Fanny for 28 years, Bartavelle picks up where Alice left off with a very Berkeley vibe and adorable patio. If coffee goes long, there's a selection of Kermit Lynch wines for sipping al fresco.

Second date, moderate: La Marcha

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A bustling Spanish restaurant in Berkeley's International Marketplace district, La Marcha has an extensive menu of tapas, paellas, and charcuterie. Grab a pitcher of sangria and a host of plates to share amongst yourselves — it's the ultimate compatibility test.

Second date, expensive: Comal

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Though not a white tablecloth kind of place, lively Comal has an upscale menu of Oaxacan delicacies, like hen-of-the-woods mushroom quesadillas and wood-grilled platos fuertes for two. Grab a couple carefully crafted margaritas and head to the dreamy garden patio.

Where to lock it down: Chez Panisse

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Not only is Chez Panisse a Berkeley classic, it's also the birthplace of California cuisine. Alice Waters' prix-fixe restaurant in the Gourmet Ghetto is still serving up pristine Bay Area produce, amazing wines, and impeccable ambiance. Make sure to take a peek into the gorgeous kitchen before the night is over.

LTR, moderate: Ippuku

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Darkened corners, bamboo mats, and Japanese whiskies make Ippuku a mini-adventure in downtown Berkeley. Spin through the yakitori menu of grilled chicken knees, or order the secret chicken tartare for an extra intrepid evening with the ol' ball and chain.

LTR, expensive: Gather

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Across from Cal's verdant campus, Gather is a welcoming oasis of locally-sourced comfort food. Dine under strung lights on the heated patio, or pack into the busy dining room where jars of pickled vegetables line the walls. After, walk down the street for drinks in downtown Berkeley amongst the students, to feel young and unattached again.

Breakup spot: Missouri Lounge

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This ancient dive bar is as faded as your relationship, and the perfect place to nip it in the bud. Drown your mutual sorrows at opposite ends of the bar with "the special," a shot and a beer for $5. When the deed is done, listen to any number of ballads on the jukebox that are perfect for soothing an addled heart.

First date, drinks: East Bay Spice Company

Indian-inspired cocktails redolent with rose water and spices will get the conversation flowing at this dimly-lit spot in the heart of Berkeley. If things are going well, grab some snacks from the menu, which ranges from papadum to prawn tandoori.

First date, coffee: Bartavelle

Great coffee and the avocado toast of your dreams exist at this cute and tiny Berkeley gem. Formerly Alice Waters' Cafe Fanny for 28 years, Bartavelle picks up where Alice left off with a very Berkeley vibe and adorable patio. If coffee goes long, there's a selection of Kermit Lynch wines for sipping al fresco.

Second date, moderate: La Marcha

A bustling Spanish restaurant in Berkeley's International Marketplace district, La Marcha has an extensive menu of tapas, paellas, and charcuterie. Grab a pitcher of sangria and a host of plates to share amongst yourselves — it's the ultimate compatibility test.

Second date, expensive: Comal

Though not a white tablecloth kind of place, lively Comal has an upscale menu of Oaxacan delicacies, like hen-of-the-woods mushroom quesadillas and wood-grilled platos fuertes for two. Grab a couple carefully crafted margaritas and head to the dreamy garden patio.

Where to lock it down: Chez Panisse

Not only is Chez Panisse a Berkeley classic, it's also the birthplace of California cuisine. Alice Waters' prix-fixe restaurant in the Gourmet Ghetto is still serving up pristine Bay Area produce, amazing wines, and impeccable ambiance. Make sure to take a peek into the gorgeous kitchen before the night is over.

LTR, moderate: Ippuku

Darkened corners, bamboo mats, and Japanese whiskies make Ippuku a mini-adventure in downtown Berkeley. Spin through the yakitori menu of grilled chicken knees, or order the secret chicken tartare for an extra intrepid evening with the ol' ball and chain.

LTR, expensive: Gather

Across from Cal's verdant campus, Gather is a welcoming oasis of locally-sourced comfort food. Dine under strung lights on the heated patio, or pack into the busy dining room where jars of pickled vegetables line the walls. After, walk down the street for drinks in downtown Berkeley amongst the students, to feel young and unattached again.

Breakup spot: Missouri Lounge

This ancient dive bar is as faded as your relationship, and the perfect place to nip it in the bud. Drown your mutual sorrows at opposite ends of the bar with "the special," a shot and a beer for $5. When the deed is done, listen to any number of ballads on the jukebox that are perfect for soothing an addled heart.

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