Originally the great dining room of the Westminster House, Adagia keeps its tradition of community alive. Sprinkled with loads of sunlight and light ... More
Originally the great dining room of the Westminster House, Adagia keeps its tradition of community alive. Sprinkled with loads of sunlight and light wooden interiors, this banquet style restaurant is a relaxed place to sample Californian cuisine made with fresh local produce...and check out the local crowd too! Outdoor dining allows you to enjoy the famous Californian sunshine. While the food is more wholesome than exciting and the service can be a bit slow, the ambiance is the main draw.
We dined at Adagia Friday night before a performance at Zellerbach, with high hopes because of great reviewswe had read. The food was indeed wonderful. We began with a beet and fennel salad that was flavorful and not overdressed, a green salad with baby greens, and followed with two different fish dishes that were quite well prepared. The service, however, was a great disappointment. We allowed ourselves almost two hours for our meal, and mentioned to our server that we were attending a performance at 8pm. We arrived at 6 and were seated promptly, then ignored for a full 20 minutes. Once our order was taken, the wine came quickly but the salad course took another 25 minutes. The entree was finally served at 7:15, a full hour and 15 minutes after arriving - and our performance was at 8pm. While I appreciate that a kitchen can be slow during a peak time such as they must experience before performances, the waiter did not check back with us once between serving the various courses, and it took us a very long time to get his attention to pay the check. The sign of a competent server, imo, is being able to multi-task - to take an order from one table, serve food at another, and check to make sure all is well at a third. The fact that our server studiously avoided eye contact whenever he was in the vicinity dealing with another table told me that he was either inexperienced, unable to deal with more than a single task at one time, or simply arrogant. Though the food was very good, the Bay area is full of restaurants that serve equally fine or better fare, and who know how to provide top-notch service. We won't be returning.
We found this restaurant on the Cal Performances website. They offer free parking for diners who are attending an event. Perfectly located within an easy walk to the Greek Theatre, we couldn't resist. What a pleasure to find out that the food was as good as the online menu sounded. We started with tuna tartare, crab cakes, and a grilled romaine salad to share, then graduated to the entrees; lamb shank and dayboat scallops. Everything was incredible. Unlike other restaurants, the crab wasn't scarce in the crab cakes. Our server was a delight and the wine list was superb for food pairing. The atmosphere was parochial, but unique. At least you could feel casual while dining on all the delights. I'll be looking for more Cal events just for the excuse to go back to Adagia.
Adagia is the classiest place to eat within walking distance of the Berkeley Campus, and rivals other well established eateries in Berkeley. My wife and I always make this restaurant a destination when we come to events at Zellerbach hall because of the great food and ample free parking. Their team is both friendly and professional, and the old wooden paneled dining room with a roaring fireplace creates a cozy but upscale atmosphere. I highly reccommend their strawberry shortcake (when in season).