FIVE Restaurant Is a Modern Bistro With Southern Style
FIVE Restaurant is that bistro and bar where you could easily become a regular. The reason for its popularity is clearly the food, a blend of California’s fresh ingredients with Southern-inspired recipes. Located in the Hotel Shattuck Plaza, it is the quintessential contemporary restaurant located in a beautiful historic building.
The Bar at FIVE has one of the longest happy hours, from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. They offer $5 drink and food specials, as well as artisan cocktails, a wine list with lots of choices by the glass or bottle, and Northern California brews. Take advantage of their Burger and Beer in the Bar special, which includes the famous FIVE Burger with chili, pimento cheese, and french fries and a High FIVE Pale Ale for $13. Or try the Golden Bear Cocktail made with pineapple, lemon and rum.
Whether you are indulging in the prix fixe menu before the theater or concert, entertaining a client, or enjoying a quick bite before heading home, this is a place that satisfies. Executive Chef Banks White artfully creates his menus each week from fresh ingredients and his Southern roots. The cornbread is his grandmother’s recipe – it is delicious, leaving you wanting more. And that is just the beginning. He provides a modern take on some favorite dishes, like the orzo mac and cheese. The orzo provides a different texture while maintaining the rich velvety taste you expect from macaroni and cheese.
The crab fritters, reminiscent of hush puppies, maintain a delicate balance of flavors while allowing the Dungeness crab to shine. My favorite appetizer was the grilled flatbread with house-made duck sausage, caramelized shallots, roasted garlic, and wild arugula. The main course menu offers a wide variety of fish, poultry, meat, and vegetarian options.
We enjoyed the monkfish wrapped in prosciutto with Spanish lentils, yukon golds and uni butter; Hawaiian butterfish with corn pudding, charred sun gold tomatoes, cilantro and watercress salad, and the spinach gnudi (pasta) with ricotta, fresh chickpeas, spinach, and mushrooms drizzled with sage brown butter. Each of the dishes was artfully plated and a delight to the taste-buds. The complex layers of flavors are appreciated even after the last morsel is consumed.
After indulging in the rich flavors, there was little room left for dessert. We gave it our best and ordered the butterscotch pudding with peanut brittle and whipped cream, served by the chef himself. The creamy pudding was remarkably light, leaving me satisfied and happy. Share plates if you must to leave room for dessert. Decadent selections include a dark chocolate torte with milk chocolate ganache and mint chip ice cream; caramelized semolina cake with roasted peaches, raspberries and praline ice cream; ginger panna cotta with black mission figs and almond granola; or the daily selection of ice cream and sorbet.
Savoring the flavors and textures of the beautifully prepared food transformed dining into an art form. The wait staff is friendly, helpful and well-trained. The dining experience at FIVE is not to be missed. I will definitely go back to taste the new creations and to sample more dessert.
Getting there: FIVE is located in the Hotel Shattuck Plaza at 2086 Allston Way, Berkeley, California. It is conveniently located a few short blocks from the Downtown Berkeley BART station, or you can take advantage of the hotel’s valet parking.