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BERKELEY’s BEST Restaurants

Cafe Panini  2115 Allston Way/Shattuck Ave., in Trumpetvine Court, downtown.  Popular with university students and staff, this tiny spot produces simple yet divine open-face sandwiches.  Diners order at the counter, then select a seat either in the brick-walled interior or out in a sheltered courtyard--the top choice on a sunny day.  Panini are made with magnificent Semifreddi Bakery sweet baguettes and topped with enticing combinations, including a mushroom-pesto-sun dried tomato finished with melted mozzarella.  As at Chez Panisse--where this cafe’s owner was once a waitress and then a wine buyer--all ingredients are fresh.  Tuna is not from a can.  Meats are cooked in-house.  Mayonnaise is made from scratch.  Herbs are fresh.  A soup, a pasta salad, and some delicious housemade desserts are also available.

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