A Few Good Restaurants For Health-Conscious Diners

By Rio Bauce
Friday August 18, 2006

Are you trying to eat better? Do you describe yourself as a vegetarian, a vegan, or a raw-foodist? Have you had trouble finding good healthy food for a reasonable price? Here are a few local restaurants to get you started. 


Manzanita Restaurant and Bakery 

4001 Linden St. at 40th Street, Oakland. 985-8386. 

Located in the old Macrobiotic Center in Oakland, Manzanita is an all organic, vegan, and macrobiotic restaurant. Macrobiotic cuisine is a plant-based diet centered on whole grains, beans and vegetables. A typical dinner is creamy onion shitake soup, brown rice, black-eyed peas with kombu, sweet potato and kabocha squash casserole with walnuts, steamed greens with sesame-arame topping, and a salad with mustard-tahini dressing. This place is a must-eat for anyone trying to eat healthier food. 

Open everyday, 11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.-9:00 p.m. Weekend brunch 11:30 am-2:30 p.m.  

Daily menu posted at: www.manzanitarestaurant.com. 


Razan’s Organic Kitchen 

2119 Kittredge St., Berkeley. 486-0449. 

Razan’s Organic Kitchen has stood at 2119 Kittredge St. for the past eight years as one of the only 100 percent percent organic restaurants in the area. Owner Shihadeh Kitami named this all-organic restaurant after his daughter Razan. They use only the freshest organic vegetables, wild fish, and free-range meats. Items such as the Mediterranean plate and super nachos are favorites. This place is usually pretty clean, but can get quite loud at certain times. The prices range from as little as $3.95 for corn chips and guacamole to as much as $16 for a red snapper plate. 

Open 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. 



1686 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley. 981-1213. 

When you are walking down Shattuck Avenue in North Berkeley, you might notice a line down the street, leading to a restaurant. Chances are that this is Cha-Ya. Cha-Ya is the hippest vegan Japanese restaurant in town. Known for its appeal to even non-vegans, Cha-Ya serves soups, salads, rice bowls, noodle bowls, sushi, and many specials. It is one of the few restaurants in Berkeley that also offers brown rice. Many rave about the tempura sushi (it’s just like it sounds) and the senroppen salad (with carrots, daikon, pine nuts, tofu, etc.). 

Open for lunch noon-2 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday; open for dinner 5 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 5 p.m. to 10p.m. Friday and Saturday. 


Café Gratitude 

1730 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley. (415) 824-4652.  

The new raw food revolution has hit big in the Bay Area and there is no place better to take part than than Café Gratitude. Located in North Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto on Shattuck Avenue north of University, this restaurant’s atmosphere beats all others. The menu is full of raw food items, along with a few cooked items. They have a huge list of drinks and deserts. Additionally, there are raw food products and ecological items in the front of the restaurant, such as Nutiva’s raw extra-virgin coconut oil and a Café Gratitude t-shirt. Big hits are things such as the “I Am Bountiful,” a bruschetta topped with fresh tomatoes, basil, garlic, stone ground olive oil and brazil nut parmesan, and also the “I Am Flourishing,” a Mediterranean plate of walnut-almond falafels served with sprouted almond-sesame seed hummus, spicy olive tapenade, seasoned almond toast and cucumber tzatziki salad. Café Gratitude is the haven for raw-foodists, or people who just want to give it a try. 

Menu available at www.withthecurrent.com/menu.html. 

Open 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 10 a.m.-3 p.m. for Sunday brunch. 


Thai Delight 

1700 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley. 549-0611. 

This family-owned Thai restaurant has graced Berkeley for many years. It is the one of the few Thai places that offers a selection of organic food, with free-range meats and organic, fresh vegetables in a comfortable atmosphere. There is a large selection of vegetarian and vegan options, and the restaurant proprietors and workers try their best to please their customers. Conveniently enough for Berkeley customers, if your order is over $25, they deliver the food right to your door.  

Menu available at www.shopinberkeley.com/t/thaidelightcuisine/index.php. 

Open 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. every day.