Chicken mulligatawney at Ajanta. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Chicken mulligatawney at Ajanta. Photo: Emilie Raguso

January offers lots of special menus in Berkeley and Oakland for diners looking to explore the area’s eating options with “Restaurant Week” campaigns planned in both cities.

The event features “signature lunch and dinner menus and value­-added offers,” according to organizers. (See an interactive map of Berkeley and Oakland Restaurant Week locations in the story below.)

Oakland Restaurant Week runs from Jan. 17-26 with prix fixe lunches or dinners costing $20-$40. A similar event is happening in Berkeley from Jan. 17-31. Berkeley Restaurant Week will feature prix fixe lunch menus for $15-$20, and dinners for $20-$30.

In Oakland, at least 52 restaurants are participating, and Berkeley has 25 on the list. Both events are part of California Restaurant Month, which aims to get diners out and about to bolster local business. The statewide event describes itself as an initiative to “celebrate dining and promote post-holiday travel to California during the month of January.”

Pork tenderloin at FIVE. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Pork tenderloin at FIVE. Photo: Emilie Raguso

According to organizers from Visit Berkeley, listing many of the city’s participants, “Berkeley Restaurant Week venues set up a delicious, ‘around-­the-­world in Berkeley’ table-side tour of Italy (Belli Osteria, Giovanni, Riva Cucina), Japan (Joshu-ya Brasserie, Sushi Ko), India (Ajanta), Germany (Gaumenkitzel), France (Bistro Liaison, Le Bateau Ivre, La Note) and Mexico (Comal). For those who want to celebrate Berkeley’s strong ‘Calivore’ traditions, there’s BUILD Pizzeria, Café Rouge, Eureka!, FIVE, Freehouse, Pyramid Alehouse and more.”

It’s the fourth year Oakland is celebrating Restaurant Week, and Visit Oakland organizers say it provides “the perfect opportunity to experience our destination.”

“Food is a universal language that brings people together, and visitors will enjoy getting to know Oakland through our diverse culinary offerings,” said Alison Best, president & CEO of Visit Oakland, in a prepared statement. “People around the country are talking about Oakland’s food scene, yet many within an hour’s distance have yet to experience it.”

Miss Ollies Pickles
Pickles and eggs at Miss Ollie’s. Photo: Emilie Raguso

The event can be a real boon to local businesses, according to organizers. A Visit Oakland survey found that 67 percent of past Oakland Restaurant Week participants saw an increase in attendance in 2013 over previous years. Last year, Oakland Restaurant Week generated more than $300,000 in revenue for Oakland.

As an added bonus, Oakland Restaurant Week organizers promise live updates and special promotions via TwitterInstagram and Facebook. They ask participants to join in “by searching and using #ORW2014 and #oaklandloveit.” Berkeley Restaurant Week has a Facebook page for updates.

There are too many restaurants involved to list them all individually, but see the Berkeley restaurants participating here, and the Oakland options here. Tell us what’s on your short list in the comments section below.

Nosh has also created this handy map, though you’ll have to click the links in the paragraph above for specifics about Restaurant Week plans for each. (View the Oakland and Berkeley Restaurant Week Guide in a larger map.)

Oakland Restaurant reservations can be made here. Berkeley spots can be reserved here

This story is published on Berkeleyside and on Berkeleyside NOSH, our food site covering Oakland and Berkeley. Bookmark Berkeleyside NOSH and follow Berkeleyside NOSH on Twitter, and on Facebook.

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Emilie Raguso (former senior editor, news) joined Berkeleyside in 2012 and covered politics, public safety and development until her departure in 2022. In 2017, Emilie was named Journalist of the Year...