The Epicurious Garden, reminiscent of San Francisco’s much larger Ferry Building, are are cluster of classy take-out eateries (seemingly an oxymoron? read on) located in Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto. It’s dining options include freshly made sushi, high end chocolate, and a Chinese restaurant which serves deliciously chewy hand-pulled noodles made-to-order.
The most unique aspect of The Epicurious Garden is that even though most of the individual eating places do not have their own dining area, there is a zen garden behind the building which offers plenty of shade and ambiance to those who wish to eat their food on the premises.
My favorite part of The Epicurious Garden is Lush Gelato, which focuses on transforming organic and locally-based ingredients into uniquely flavored sweet treats (their flavors range from Buttermilk Cucumber to Creme Fraiche and Strawberries). It’s easy to taste the quality of gelato – for example, I usually stay away from mint chocolate chip ice cream because the mint flavor is almost always heavily contrived (sadly, sometimes reminiscent of toothpaste). In contrast, Lush Gelato’s Fresh Mint and Chocolate gelato is refreshingly unique because with each taste you can detect the crisp sweetness of real mint leaves. Lush Gelato even manages to do the more classic flavors of gelato better than most of its counterparts. Their Salted Stracciatella has much larger pieces of dark chocolate than most alternatives, and its saltiness only further accentuates the the rich creaminess of the gelato’s heavy milk base. Moreover,
Lush Gelato is a great place to visit with a group of friends because of its diverse selection. It offers lighter fruit flavored sorbets as well as richer cream-based gelato and has tempting flavors for the adventurous (think Cilantro and Chocolate Chips or Olive Oil Gelato). So next time you’re craving a cold sweet treat, Lush Gelato is sure to please.