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BERKELEY’s BEST Restaurants

Venus 2327 Shattuck Ave./Durant St.  No reservations.  This very popular, very small restaurant has a cozy brick-walled dining room with a comfy banquette along one wall.  It is particularly busy for weekend brunch, and breakfast is served daily until 2:30pm.  I enjoyed my Venus Benedict consisting of a housemade English muffin topped with sliced tomato, spinach, Hollandaise sauce, and two puffy poached eggs.  Though tasty, and served with home fries dabbed with sour cream, next time I will add flavor in the form of lox or ham.  I also have my eye on the biscuits and gravy, which received a good report from a dining companion.  My husband feasted on the exotic Indian Brunch, which included colorful curried carrot-zucchini-parsnip pancakes, scrambled eggs akoori (with chiles, tomato, and cilantro), mango aioli, handmade chapati, and banana raita.  Lemon ricotta pancakes and stuffed French toast are also very popular.  The made-from-scratch hot chocolate is a delicious alternative if you are caffeined out.  I plan to come back for lunch to try the 14-hour Slow Roasted Cuban Pork Sandwich with gruyere, lettuce, sweet pickles, tomato and chipotle aioli, or maybe the fried egg sandwich with white cheddar and chipotle mayo.  The menu has many vegetarian options. 

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