The chefs at Mint Leaf follow family recipes to fashion Northern Indian dishes with seasonal, organic produce, free-range meats sourced from local farmers, and spices handpicked by family back home in India. Kebabs spear mahi-mahi, chicken, and other meats marinated in a house-made yogurt sauce before baking in a clay tandoor oven. A collection of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options eases the strain of dietary restrictions. Mint Leaf's selection of more than 50 wines and specialty cocktails helps temper the heat when guests get ambitious in selecting their meal's spice level. On select nights, local musicians entertain diners as they eat and inspire guests to break it down on the dance floor after finishing their meal or winning a game of I Spy.
One of the oldest bars in Berkeley, Albatross Pub has provided a friendly setting for quaffing, socializing, and gaming for half a century. Sidle up to the bar to peruse the spirit selection, or browse beer listings, which boast more than 50 bottled brews and 13 tap selections, from the local Anchor Steam on draught to Belgian Delirium Tremens bottled up for the shaking. Challenge friends, family members, or mirror reflections of yourself to a game of Connect Four or Scattergories, or throw down on darts and billiards to integrate sharp objects, big sticks, and menacing plastic triangles into the fun.
Northern Indian cuisine, such as dishes of tandoori lamb chops, lobster-papaya curry, and vegetable masala, dots the various tables stacked inside Khana Peena, an eatery reminiscent of not only an Indian curry house, but also a French bistro and American brasserie. Diners devour tandoori platters at linen-topped tables in the formal dining room or keep an eye on the open kitchen while seated at the curved copper bar. They can also enjoy a meal tucked away with a loved one inside a curtained-off, private room that boasts pillow seating and complete control over the land of Oz.
With an emphasis on local, organic, and sustainable ingredients, FIVE takes a fanciful flight in the afternoon with its signature market business lunch, which gives diners the option of pairing a tea or soda with a two-course meal built from three-course options. Because the chefs at FIVE keep close tabs on seasonally fresh ingredients, the menu changes on a weekly basis. To paint a more palate-pleasing picture, check FIVE's website for the latest menu.
Shattuck's massive 20'x40' dance floor, sublime lighting, and comfortable booths, couches, and tables set the stage for the extermination of boredom and the complete and utter devastation of faces by the forces of rocking. Past performers on Shattuck's stage include Mos Def and Method Man; check the events for upcoming musical acts such as Katchafire and The English Beat, as well as DJs spinning funk, soul, hip-hop, reggae, salsa, and tender flugelhorn ballads. Fuel your brain with the rhythms as you fill your tank with $6 specialty cocktails, such as Shattuck's island delight (Malibu and Absolut with a splash of orange juice and pineapple juice), Jameson and cola, or an amorously inviting Absolut love machine (Absolut ruby red, pomegranate liqueur, and orange juice).
The cooks at Lanesplitter bake up a menu of New York–style pizzas and pocket-like calzones, and bartenders at the three pub locations pour a large selection of microbrews. An army of nearly 30 meaty, veggie, and vegan toppings stands ready to occupy thin neapolitan or thick sicilian crusts in combinations such as the herbivore's spinach, mushrooms, onions, and olives ($23.50 for a 19-inch) or the garbage pie's heaping mélange of spiced meats and crisper-drawer items ($27.50 for a 19-inch). The bar's taps have recently flowed with Racer 5 by Bear Republic, E.J. Phair's doppelbock, and hand-pumped Bombay by Boat IPA from Moonlight Brewing Company. Some locations host art openings, where diners and drinkers may admire photography, paintings, or mosaics made entirely of anchovies.