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The Dining Room at the Berkeley Hotel 

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There are times when the high-decibel energy of hot dining spots is not what we want. It can be wonderfully soothing to sit in plush comfort, to enjoy a quiet conversation and to hear the muffled tones of contentment from other diners. This is a part of the experience at the , which for more than a dozen years has had a strong commitment to fine dining.

Ambience can't carry the day, but when joined with knowledgeable and professional service and a superb kitchen the experience has a good chance of being memorable. Brad Haley, who served as sous-chef during the long tenure of Jay Frank in the Berkeley kitchen, and who succeeded Frank as executive chef, has recently returned to the restaurant in that capacity. Haley stays in fairly safe territory with his menu, but he is imaginative and creative within conservative limits, perfectly appropriate for a hotel that caters to a diverse clientele.

The Dining Room at the Berkeley is a good choice for those special occasions when refinement of food, service and setting is in order and stuffiness is not.

12th and Cary streets 780-1300 $$$

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