Prolific Chowhound poster Robert Lauriston’s new restaurant, Locanda da Eva, recently opened in Berkeley, and some board fans who were there on the first night gave it a thumbs-up. It’s casual Italian served in a convivial space, they say, beautifully lit and not too noisy. The early word is that the pastas are impressive, especially spaghetti with rock shrimp, grilled squash, chile-garlic soffritto, and bottarga. “The texture of the pasta was fantastic, and everything in that dish was cooked perfectly,” says JasmineG.

Strozzapreti with tripe, tomato, and mint was excellent, says heidipie, while rigatoni with chicken and pork ragu, mustard greens, wild mushrooms, and Grana Padano was another favorite of pane‘s.

As for the pizza, several hounds note that the crust could use more oomph, but toppings like wilted kale and crescenza and Early Girl tomato are good. “The braised pork pizza,” like a carnitas pie, “was a revelation,” says heidipie. “The hot oven crisps the pork and that’s just what one always wants with the liquid cheese.”

Of the vegetable sides, sweet fried Brentwood corn with salsa verde mayo and fried potatoes stand out.

The wine list has good values, and heidipie comments that the cocktails are really well made. “They have those wonderful big ice cubes that make you feel like you’re in the cast of Mad Men when they clink in an Old Fashioned glass.”

“All in all, we thought that it was a really good start!” concludes lexmob.

Locanda da Eva [East Bay]
2826 Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley

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