Spenger's Fresh Fish extensive guide to Berkeley and San Francisco area, plus inspiring articles about trips around the world

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Spenger’s Fresh Fish Grotto  1919 Fourth St./University Ave.  Begun in 1890 as a country store, Spenger’s evolved into a fish market and then morphed again after Prohibition into a bar and restaurant.  Now part of the McCormick & Schmick seafood restaurant chain, it serves the very freshest fish flown in from everywhere.  The menu changes daily and includes favorite classics as well as more unusual items.  The restaurant remains one of Berkeley’s most popular.  Seating includes spacious wood booths in a warren of rooms decorated with everything sea-related--it’s a veritable maritime museum.  Don’t miss viewing the extensive collection of model ships or the massive 34-carat Star of Denmark canary diamond once owned by Hawaii’s Queen Kapiolani and now displayed in the Diamond Bar.  It is interesting to know that famous diners through the years include Clark Gable, Carole Lombard, Ernest Hemingway, and Robin Williams.  A well-stocked fish market adjoins. 

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travel writer Carole Terwilliger Meyers