Last weekend, Chris and I headed to Berkeley for my girlfriend’s wedding. Neither of us had spent much time in Berkeley before (even though it’s only an hour and a half away and right next to San Francisco), so instead of leaving for Berkeley on Saturday when the wedding was, we decided to make a weekend of it by heading up on Friday and staying until Sunday so we could explore the small city when there weren’t any wedding festivities going on.
As soon as we got into town on Friday night, we headed straight to Kirala Japanese Restaurant for dinner. Chris and I love sushi, so we were really excited to try this place, especially since it has so many good reviews on Yelp. Unfortunately, we didn’t love Kirala as much as most of its Yelpers. For one, we didn’t get very good service. I’m not sure if it’s because we sat at the sushi bar, but our server wasn’t very attentive; I had to ask her for the drink menu three times! Another reason we didn’t love this place is because we realized we are used to American sushi, like the kind you find at Mikuni’s. Kirala’s sushi is much more authentic, and while their fish tasted really clean and fresh, the sushi overall tasted kind of bland. I’m glad we tried Kirala, though. It made me realize we need to start eating at more authentic sushi places and expand our sushi palattes!
After dinner, we headed over to Comal for a wedding welcome party. The bride and groom set this up for all the wedding guests who were in town early to grab drinks together and meet other guests who would be at the wedding. A couple drinks and some socializing later, Chris and I called it a night and headed to our hotel to check in. We stayed at the Bancroft Hotel: a cute, quaint, cozy, and very green hotel located right next to UC Berkeley. This is also where the wedding and reception would be.
Saturday morning/afternoon is when we got a lot of our exploring in. We decided to brave the rain and walk along the campus which led us to Shattuck Avenue where lots of shops and restaurants are located. We window-shopped, stopped for coffee along the way, and eventually ended up at Venus for brunch. I really liked this restaurant because it’s your typical farm-to-fork restaurant: New American menu with an emphasis on local, seasonal ingredients and strong attention-to-detail. I would love to go back for dinner next time I’m in Berkeley.
As for the wedding, it was awesome! The ceremony was beautiful (I cried on and off throughout the whole thing), the food was delicious, and the reception was so much fun. The father-of-the-bride, maid-of-honor, and best man gave funny, endearing speeches about the bride and groom. And as for the music, the DJ (my friend Eddie) kept me and Chris on the dance floor for most of the night. I had a blast with Chris and my friends, but the absolute best part was watching one of my best friend’s get married to the guy who is perfect for her.
After we checked out of our hotel Sunday morning, Chris and I did a little more exploring. Our first stop was La Note for brunch, which I loved! This place is a French-inspired restaurant with delicious food and great service. Our server even had a French accent! We walked off our breakfast by exploring the gorgeous UC Berkeley campus, then headed over to Tilden Park for a post-wedding picnic.
Chris and I really enjoyed our weekend getaway in Berkeley. It had been six months since we had traveled anywhere, so it was really nice for us to get out of Sac and explore a new city. Berkeley is a college town, full of diversity, good restaurants, used bookstores, and avid recyclers. While it’s not my first destination choice when visiting the Bay Area (San Francisco, duh), I feel like I know Berkeley a little better now, and would definitely go back.
Have you ever been to Berkeley or the Bay Area? Where’s your next travel adventure going to be?