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“Iconic Berkeley restaurant no longer a great destination”

Spenger's Fresh Fish Grotto
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Ranked #192 of 740 Restaurants in Berkeley
Price range: $21 - $30
Cuisines: American, Seafood
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children, Large groups
Dining options: Late Night, Breakfast, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Cross street: University Ave.
Transit: We are located a few blocks from many AC Transit Bus lines. The closest Bart stations is about 1 mile away.
Reviewed November 15, 2012

I think it started when the Chef died years ago.
Quality has dropped tremendously and much better restaurants have opened. Go to Sea Salt for a great seafood restaurant.

Thank oldmanofthemountains
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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232 - 236 of 305 reviews

Reviewed November 15, 2012

We had been to watch coolege football game and went here as a group of 9.The place was busy but the service was really slow.Our food took quite a while to come at one point we were going to leave but the manager tried to assure us the food was coming.They need more staff they knew it would be busy after the game

Thank gerard q
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 10, 2012

I decided to wax nostalgic and pay visit to Spengers seafood restaurant to see if it still had the same old school charm I remembered when I last ate there in the early 80's. Bad idea! While the place was never known as a sophisticated culinary destination in the food centric Bay Area, it has devolved into a skeezy food joint where the tired, convoluted decor competes with bland , tasteless, overpriced food served by inattentive servers.
We had our food almost thrown at us by our "waitress" until a more competent waitress ran interference and at least made a sincere effort to salvage an otherwise unmemorable meal.
The Portland , Oregon steak and seafood chain McCormick and Schmick bought the place back in the late 90's and apparently put 5 mil into the place but it looked worse than I remembered it. Just tacky. Stay away!

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1  Thank bones54
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 5, 2012

This was my first visit to Spenger's and it won't be my last.
The worst part of the experience was enduring I80 traffic to get to the restaurant. Once there, a huge parking lot across the street is free (take your ticket into the hostess counter for validation!) and the wait for a table, even at 6 on a Sunday, was minimal. But don't worry, they take reservations and you can always use the wait time to wander around and look at all the maritime memorabilia. Some of the exhibits are near museum quality, though there is sparse provenance, but it's still an enjoyable walk-through.

I enjoyed a cashew-crusted tilapia and my companion ordered a captain's platter. While my meal was pretty much to my expectation (decently-sized portion, well presented, tasty other than the white rice, ugh), I almost fell over at the size of my friend's meal. She worked on it pretty steadily while I ate my dinner, and I tried a couple of her items as well...and she took a box home that was still at least one meal, add a salad and it would be two!
The wine list isn't the longest or best I've seen, but it had some good selections and we each ordered a different glass (Rieslings, which I'll admit weren't the correct pairing for our dinners) and then shared them for the sake of comparison.
I'm not sure what happened with some of the other reviews, but we were warmly greeted and treated throughout our visit. Our waitress was attentive and friendly enough, and not overly so on either account. We had zero complaints about the staff, atmosphere, food or any aspect of our dining experience at Spenger's.

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Thank Gregamatic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 5, 2012

Food here is very good, but fairly pricey! We took the train into Berkeley, the station is just a block or so away, although there is plenty of parking if you drive. I had the halibut or swordfish (both are good) and my companion had the buffet. It was $30.00 per person, but huge amounts of all kinds of fish, breakfast items, pastries and shellfish imaginable. Anyone who loves shellfish would be in heaven here, Spend a couple of hours and walk it off shopping at the 4th street shops

1  Thank Lm S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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