Berkeley >Food & Dining > Lalime's
1329 Gilman St, Albany, CA | Directions 9470637.881347 -122.288577
Neighborhoods: Northwest Berkeley
A longtime Berkeley favorite with an elegant setting and superb California cuisine. – The Scene
Blooming flowers and tall windows mark the facade of this popular restaurant, housed in an unassuming Craftsman-style house. Inside, the rooms have an eclectic charm, with warm lemon-colored walls and a cozy bar with a fireplace. The spacious dining room has snug booths and plenty of window tables.
The superbly rendered California cuisine follows in the Berkeley tradition with a frequently changing menu that features both pre-set meals and a la carte selections. Appetizers include forni-Brown baby lettuces in a tart vinaigrette topped with a slice of Humbolt Fog goat cheese and plum slivers. Typical entrees are the smoky pork chop topped with sweet corn and green chilies and the white mako shark over sweet peppers. Desserts are usually generous--from a super-dense, super-rich chocolate-raspberry tart to a light cherry-almond cake with hazelnut gelato.
A special place for a special time – My husband and I recently began dining at Lalime's on a regular basis because the experiences we have had have been so stellar. We began by taking friends and clients there for special occasions but learned that our favorite spot was the bar, where you can get the whole menu plus the friendliness and helpfulness of the two main bartenders, Stacy and John. We love the crab cakes, caesar salad, main duck dish and the soups are always fantastic. The whole staff is very accommodating and makes every meal we have there always special.
Disappointing – Four of us went for the Valentine's Day dinner - which was pre-set. I didn't like any of the starters, a cold cucumber peppery amuse and a roquefort/endive/walnut salad - the first terrible and the second average. Our entrees were all delicious, risotto, duck and a steak of some sort. The service was pretty bad, we actually had to ask the waiter to clear our starter plates and took awhile to take an order. The best thing to say is that I started with a fun "Lime Drop" martini made with Hangar One kafir lime vodka. Maybe the place was oversold to me, nice that it was close to home. The ambiance isn't great. It's an old house converted to a restaurant and it smelled peculiar. Our bill for four was $430. :(
Total Letdown – The ambiance nothing more than a store front cafeteria.
They had run out of 2 of 7 main courses on the menu, surprising since it was only 7:15 and not that busy. The other entrees (4 meat and 1 veg) were unappealing.
The cauliflower soup was confusing and tasted like warm milk. It had truffle oil, which was a nice touch, but it also had vinegar drizzled in it. I couldn't get over the vinegar.
I didn't mind the fact that the crabcakes were the smallest I have seen, but my first 3 bites had shell in it...makes it impossible to enjoy them.
The main courses were lackluster as well.
I'm not sure if this place is just on autopilot or what. I know that I won't be going back to this place.
Really, really nice dining experience – Went for my birthday dinner on Friday night, and was DELIGHTED. Probably the best overall dining experience I've had in several years. And with a lot less hassle, attitude, advance planning and parking headache than at many of my usual places in the City.
Everything we tried was wonderful -- drinks, appetizers and entrees -- and we were very pleased with the selection. Tasty, seasonal and fresh.
The service was prompt, friendly and professional. They were very accommodating when we were quite late for our reservation. The atmosphere is warmly attractive, and cozy without feeling crowded. It's a nice size -- smallish, but comfortable even for our party of 6.
A very special feeling evening. Will certainly go again. And again.
Wanabee – Actually I like this place and find it more enjoyable than Chez Panisse except for one thing. The food is bland. It's always been bland and I can't see why it continues to be so bland. The wine list is far better than Chez Panisse though. ANd the plce is a lot cheaper. Bring tobasco or something.
Very Cute – Little out of the way neighborhood sandwiched between downtown and west/industrial berkeley. great restaurant... food is excellent although not *quite* as consistent as the top notch east bay places like chez. i'm satisfied with 9 out or 10 things that i order. simpler things are generally better here. service is good. we've had it be slow a few times but usually they comp something if so and they are always quite attentive. the dining room is laid out so that the servers can quickly survey all their tables from the top of the stairs to see if anyone needs anything. in sum - great food, good service, nice setting... worth checking out for sure
The exterior of the restaurant looks a little run down, but once you go inside, the ambiance is serene and calm.
We ordered 2 appetizers and 2 entrees (no drinks and no dessert) and our bill came out to $67 before tip after tax. I thought the price was decent.
The food was above average; we tried the appetizer called "The 41 dollar burger" (it didn't cost $41) and it was a KILLER. It was the best entree we had. I would highly recommend it. We also had the mussel which was soso...
For our entree, we had a steak and a cedar plank smoked salmon.. both were ok.
The service was slow, but our server was nice.
In summary, this place is not bad for a local romantic dinner.
lovely – Great food, warm and cozy (some tables a little *too* cozy, but oh well). Our food & wine were delicious, as well as beautiful. Our waiter was very frazzled for somereason, and I must assume he was not normally so clumsy (spilled a drink) or spacey. He was, at least, very nice & apologetic. In all it was a fabulous dinner and I will certainly return.
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