First Look: Inside Berkeley Marina’s new boathouse-themed restaurant

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Finally, a new waterfront dining option at the Berkeley Marina. Located inside the DoubleTree by Hilton, the 2,500-square-foot Berkeley Boathouse is part of the hotel’s recent $8 million renovation. The nautically-themed restaurant features California cuisine, craft cocktails, a fireplace and an outdoor patio with a wood-trellised deck and soon-to-open bocce ball court.

We stopped by on the first Saturday night of dinner service to a quiet dining room and attentive, eager servers. Here’s our experience:

THE VIBE: Nautical. Overhead, woven blue ropes are zig-zagged into sweeping arches, giving the illusion of sails. Natural light pours in from the waterfront, and floor-to-ceiling windows provide views of the docked boats. The bar and furnishings are modern, with both communal and high-top tables, mixed metals and nostaglic artifacts, like buoys and oars. It’s all meant to evoke the feeling of being in a boathouse, but, it still feels like a hotel restaurant (especially when a beer costs $10).

THE FOOD: Contemporary. The all-day menu features shared plates ($12-$17), flatbreads and sandwiches ($16-$20), including a Double Wagyu Burger ($17), composed salads ($13-$14) and mains ($23-$38), with a total of eight seafood offerings. Chef de Cuisine Matthew Thomas sources local ingredients from California and Bay Area purveyors, but the menu does not say which ones.

On our visit, a vegan Sweet Corn Soup ($10) was a homerun, served piping hot and brimming with cumin crema, California chile oil and micro cilantro; the Lobster, Crab, Shrimp Roll ($20), was not. Given the price, we thought they’d deliver a split-top roll with whole shrimp or a few lumps of crab or lobster, but instead the three were mixed together into what looked and tasted like tuna salad.

Stick to simple, seared seafood preparations, like the Seared Salmon ($28), an entree with Sardinian pasta, fresh peas and fried basil pesto, or the Seared Scallops ($32), golden and buttery medium-to-large scallops atop celery root puree with romano beans, corn and pancetta. Both were fresh and skillfully prepared.

DON’T MISS: The hotel’s new courtyard and patio, located just outside the restaurant. Grab your cocktail — we suggest the whiskey-based Tamarind & Smoke ($15) — to experience those views and sunset close up, and play a round of bocce ball.

PERFECT FOR: Post kite-flying lunch; dinner when you don’t feel like Hana Japan or Skates by the Bay, or driving down University Avenue; sipping

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle


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