Saul's Restaurant and Delicatessen in Berkeley is a wonderful place to fill your craving for a grilled tuna melt or a Reuben, a pastrami on rye, hot dogs with or without chili, chicken soup with matzo balls, potato latkes served with apple sauce and sour cream, bagels with lox, baklava or chocolate pudding, to name a few.
They serve it all up to you in a cheery, bustling dining room that is brightly colored with a happy feel. The food is delicious but unlike a lot of delis, it is not piled high with pesticides and preservatives. They source most items locally from companies that focus on sustainability.
There is a big glass case in the front filled with delicious looking items. There are beautiful cakes, ice cream, salads, pickles and exciting looking fish. The food lives up to its appearance. The service is what you expect in a deli, fast and competent, with a pinch of voodoo psychic ability thrown in where they show up with something you didn't ask for, but that you want.
Our table was laden down with our order promptly after ordering, a delicious Reuben with Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Russian dressing on Acme Rye, served with a great bowl of pickles. Crispy, golden latkes with sour cream and applesauce that wasn't too sweet. A delicious gentle blintz with creamy, melted cheese inside. Two Berkeley locals in our party hadn't been to Saul's in years and were entranced by the service, the atmosphere and the food; they were excited to rediscover it. The two vegetarian sandwich options on the menu
organic egg salad, tapenade, shaved fennel, arugula on toasted challah and
braised mushrooms, sauteed greens, house made fresh mozzarella and sun dried tomato harissa on sweet deli roll
sounded delicious but fall a little short of keeping up with the seventeen meat sandwich options. The soup and salad menu did a little better with most options being vegetarian.
The baklava (pictured below) for dessert had a nice golden exterior, layers of flaky filo and nice flavor but it was a drier filling than I hoped for, instead of the oozing, rich baklava you sometimes see. The three servings of creamy chocolate pudding that made their way to our table were topped with a dollop of whipped cream and were quickly inhaled, just as you would expect in a great deli like Saul's.