Ajanta [*, $] (510-526-4373). Located near the top (East End) of Solano Avenue, arguably the best Indian restaurant in Berkeley. It is Arup Chakraborty's favorite. Reservations recommended.
Hong Kong East Ocean [*,$$] (510-655-3388). At a spectacular setting overlooking the Bay in Emeryville, this Chinese restaurant specializes in seafood. Juanpe Garrahan describes the food as "great." Reservations recommended.
Ramen Shop [$] (510-788-6370). A California take on the Japanese classic, run by alumni of Chez Panisse. Hip and crowded, it requires a substantial wait, during which you can sample from an adventurous list of cocktails and whiskeys. In Rockridge on College Ave, open late (by local standards), no reservations accepted.
Renee’s Place [$] (510-525-2330). This quiet restaurant on Solano Avenue, near the Albany/Berkeley line, serves Szechuan and Hunan cuisine. Delicious soups and dumplings, George Oster and Bob May thoroughly enjoy this spot.
Soi 4 Bangkok Eatery [$] (510-655-0889). Perhaps the best Thai restaurant in the East Bay, Soi4 is located on College Avenue in the Rockridge area. It is one of Jennifer Doudna's favorites. Reservations recommended.
Wood Tavern [$$] (510-654-6607). Want a good drink with a fine steak or pork chop, a great crab salad or grilled fish? This bar/restaurant in Rockridge on College Ave is a great choice, provided you are not looking for a quiet place to eat. It is one of Alex Pines' preferred places.
Zachary’s Chicago Pizza [$] (510-655-6385). Consistently rated best pizza in the area, served in a lively atmosphere. Deep dish is the specialty, but thin crust also very good. Moderate wait usually required. In Rockridge on College Ave, open til 10pm. (Solano Ave location is slightly farther from campus and closes slightly earlier.)