Angeline's Louisiana Kitchen: Reviews

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Shrimp Po-boyButtermilk Fried ChickenCreole Pecan Pie
Shrimp Po-boy, Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Creole Pecan Pie


Dianne Gates-Anderson
Name: Dianne
Occupation: Environmental Engineer
Location: Union City
Favorite Restaurant: Angeline’s Louisiana Kitchen
Reviewed Angeline’s Louisiana Kitchen: Saturday February 2, 2008

I am from the south, and as much as I love the Bay Area, one thing that I sometimes miss is food that reminds me of home. That’s why I was thrilled when I discovered Angeline’s Louisiana Kitchen in Berkeley. The food servers may be Berkeley quirky, but the food is good ole down home southern goodness. Their particular style of food is New Orleans Cajun, and many of the standards can be found on their menu.

I recently took out of town guest to Angeline’s for lunch. Our server was pierced, tattooed, and talkative, but also very attentive to our every need. I ordered my usual: Shrimp Po’ Boy ($10.95) and Bananas Foster Bread Pudding with Rum Caramel Sauce ($5.75). I knew from previous visits that this would be all the food I would be able to eat in one sitting. The shrimp po’ boy is loaded with well-seasoned, lightly cornmeal-coated (not smothered in battered) fried shrimp. The shrimp po’ boy comes on a hoagie style bun and is dressed with lettuce, pickles, and a homemade dressing. When you pick it up to eat, shrimp fall out of the back end. My mother, who also ordered a shrimp po’ boy, just ate hers with a fork and knife. I, on the other hand, ate mine as a sandwich and chased down every escapee shrimp and put it in its proper place (my mouth). My husband ordered the penne pasta with chicken ($11.95) and was very pleased with both the portion size and flavorfulness of the dish. On a previous visit to Angeline’s, I ordered their gumbo ($5.95/cup). Unfortunately, it didn’t quite meet up to my southern expectations. You could tell it was made from a nicely browned roux, but it just didn’t have enough seafood in it to suit me.

If you visit Angeline’s Louisiana Kitchen, make sure you leave room for dessert. I always opt for the bananas Foster bread pudding with rum caramel sauce. It takes a while for them to prepare this when you order it, but it is well worth the wait. What you get is a healthy portion of a rich, layered bread pudding that has banana slices between the layers of bread. I know it might sound weird, but the combination of the two southern desserts really works. What makes this dish really scream (a good thing) is the rum caramel sauce. If it weren’t for the fact that I was in a restaurant, I would have licked the plate to get every bit of the sauce. My 10-year-old nephew ordered apples slices with caramel sauce. I was expecting the apples to be sautéed, but the dish is simply a plate of uncooked apple slices with a generous portion of caramel sauce for dipping. My nephew deemed the dish delicious, and just right following his meal of southern fried catfish.

In summary, Angeline’s Louisiana Kitchen is a southern gem located within walking distance of the Downtown Berkeley Bart station. I appreciate being able to experience the Berkeley vibe, while enjoying well-prepared southern/Cajun standards. I have never felt rushed or have had to wait longer than I thought appropriate for my food to arrive. The service is friendly and efficient and the overall ambiance of the restaurant is casual and relaxed. Because the restaurant is small, even when full the noise level remains low enough to allow comfortable conversation during your meal. All ages will feel comfortable here. When you go, just remember to pace yourself and leave room for dessert.
******
I recently returned to Angeline’s with a group of 5 for a Saturday evening meal. Weekend dinnertime can be quite hectic at Angeline’s. Fortunately I had made a reservation the day before, so we did not have to wait long for a table (about10 minutes). But, boy did we have to wait for our food. In fact our wait was so long the manager came over to our table, apologized for the delay and reduced our bill by 50%. We made the best of the long (1 hour +) wait just talking, gawking at my new grandchild, and enjoying the house music, which is a combination of zydeco, blues and jazz. So it wasn’t a painful wait, since I was with good company and everybody in the place seemed happy.

By the time our food arrived we were starving. Once again, I ordered the shrimp po-boy ($10.95). Others in my party ordered the buttermilk-fried chicken with mashed sweet potatoes, green beans, and tasso cream gravy ($12.50); shrimp Creole with rice ($14.50); and the fried catfish with potato salad and hush puppies ($12.50). All of the food arrived piping hot and carefully arranged on plain white dishes. Everyone loved their entrees. I tasted all of the entrees and, although I wouldn’t trade my shrimp po-boy for any of them, they were all quite tasty, especially the fried chicken.

We concluded our meal with a trio of desserts, which we all shared. We had beignets ($4.50), Creole pecan pie ($5.50), and the bananas Foster bread pudding with rum caramel sauce ($5.75). All of the desserts are out-of-this-world good. The pecan pie is clearly homemade, and I think they stole my recipe (just kidding). You can taste the butter, eggs, and toasted pecans in this pie. It is not overly sweet or gluey like most prepared pecan pies. The beignets were also a big hit, that is, once you dug them out of the mountain of powdered sugar they were buried in. They were hot, light, fluffy, and not the least bit greasy. But be warned, if you plan on ordering the beignet, do not wear all black because you will be wearing powdered sugar after eating these. My favorite dessert is still the bananas Foster bread pudding with rum caramel sauce (see above).

In conclusion, I love this place. I enjoy the food and I enjoy the atmosphere. Just remember this is not a nine-button glove, tiara wearing, fancy food place. This is laid back, southern, homestyle dining at it’s best. Enjoy!


Sylvia Lee
Name: Sylvia
Occupation: Director of Marketing
Location: San Francisco
Favorite Restaurant: Playground
Reviewed Angeline’s Louisiana Kitchen: Thursday February 7, 2008

My cravings for N’awlins have been met after having dinner at Angeline’s Louisiana Kitchen. The service was outstanding, and the food was solid. My city-dwelling friend, whose family is from New Orleans, and I ventured over the Bay Bridge and found rock star parking on busy Shattuck Ave. We immediately sat down at our reserved table and had just about the nicest server I’ve ever met. We instantly liked the vibe of the casual décor and the blues/jazz tunes. We decided to splurge and order a glass of Champagne to start. We then moved onto Louisiana beer, and so far, so good; very much a NoLa place with great music and booze.

Onto the food, we shared an order of the hush puppies, as our server assured us we would love their sweeter version of the Southern side dish. And she was right, they were perfectly fried — clean, not greasy — with a soft, fluffy slightly sweet center offset with a sprinkling with salt on the crusty outside. I didn’t even need the honey butter for the hush puppies.

Knowing that Creole/Cajun food is pretty heavy, we opted to order a couple of sides and shared a main dish. The gumbo is available as a cup or bowl, main dish size, and the cup was tasty and smoky, but a bit too “meaty” for my taste. The cup of gumbo was full of sausage and had just one lonely shrimp, and seemed a bit too thin. The house salad sounded promising, a mixed green plate with fig vinaigrette, candied pecans, and raisins (blue cheese optional). I should have had the blue cheese as the salad was overpowered by sugar, but the dressing was lively, and greens very fresh.

The Voo Doo BBQ Shrimp (bbq shrimp in Louisiana means seasoned and grilled), arrived in a gorgeous brown roux-based sauce with white rice. The shrimp were tender, and the sauce was very rich and flavorful, just as you would expect it would be. I’m glad we decided to share the dish because, although I’m not afraid of butter and cream, we did over order and I was full from eating too many hush puppies. (I couldn’t help myself!) After my one bite of the Voo Doo Shrimp, I concentrated on the Brussels sprouts, one of my favorite vegetables. But who knew that if they were sautéed in lots of butter and fresh sage they would take on a whole new meaning of delicious?

Since I was driving, I switched to good old Southern brewed iced tea (unsweetened for me), which was crisp and refreshing even at 9pm.

We didn’t have any room for dessert, even though I was eyeing someone’s mile high plate of beignets underneath a pile of powdered sugar (yum!), and we left in a food coma. If I, a) ever recover from my hush puppy overdose, and b) venture across the bridge, I’ll definitely plan on going back to Angeline’s for the super service and reasonably priced taste of Louisiana.


Jules Older
Name: Jules
Occupation: Writer
Location: San Francisco
Favorite Restaurant: Capannina
Reviewed Angeline’s Louisiana Kitchen: Saturday January 26, 2008

Expectations and reality sometimes diverge.
Expectation: Restaurant with Creole name in the middle of Berkeley = party!
Reality: Despite its name, location, and largely student clientele, on my Saturday afternoon there, Angeline’s was a pretty quiet, almost sedate place. For the first hour, except the faint sound of the kitchen radio, there was no music. Conversations were grad-student serious, not spring break in the French Quarter. Only the waitress broke the sober atmosphere.

The Waitress. I liked her. She’s young and smart and quirky and from Dallas. She knows the menu, and she doesn’t mind sharing her opinions. She also has between four and five, depending on how you count doubles, visible silver studs on and around her face.

I kinda like studs. What I like about them is, unlike tattoos, when you outgrow them, you take ‘em out, and whoosh, you’re ready for the next stage of life. Tattoos: pretty much forever. But I have something of an aversion to studs and plugs and ear stretchers and nose rings and eyebrow pins on food handlers. And though I make something of an exception for young, smart, quirky, opinionated waitresses, it’s not a trend I want to encourage. We’re very close to a yuck factor here — close enough that I changed butchers when mine turned up one day with too much facial steel. End of skin-jewelry-and-food-handling sermon. Next one’s on catfish.

So Angeline’s was a bit quieter than expected. But for me, a place lives or dies not on the color of the feature wall (in this case, exposed brick) or what’s on it (a Currier & Ives view of old New Orleans and a pink gator made of bottle caps) or the party level (and at two, zydeco music started playing, warming the spirit), but on what it does to the inside of my mouth. And here Angeline’s gets high, high grades. Let’s start, as I did, with the Oysters Bordelaise. For $10.95, out came a plate-full of succulent, just barely cooked bivalves, roughly coated with a light, crispy Southern batter. Couldn’t have been better. Though I resolved not to eat the whole thing, I ate the whole thing. And half my wife’s sweet ‘n’ tangy Creole-style BBQ shrimp. Both dishes were so good, I made a major ordering mistake. Which brings us to our second sermon, The Catfish.

Outside of the Deep South, I never, ever order catfish. It’s an ugly, bottom-feeding scavenger, and don’t go telling me now that it’s being farm-raised, how chefs are doing such wonderful things with it. They aren’t. Oh, somewhere south of Atlanta, they’ve got some Dixie mojo going that makes it palatable, but that aside, this is a fish to avoid, a fish put on Earth to clean fish tanks and river bottoms. Even the talented chef at Angeline’s couldn’t make it better than bad. To me. If you’re a catfish lover, god rest your soul, I’m sure it’s fine. My fault — I broke Older’s Law #147: Don’t Eat Bottom Feeders.

But the desserts made me forget the fish. Angeline’s beignets were classic N’awlins, and they came in such abundance, half went home with us. The pecan pie, well, that was even better. By the final bite, I was ready to dance. With or without the zydeco.

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  • Tony H

    The only downside to this restaurant is that it is now so popular after its exposure on Check Please! that there is a long line out the door from 11:30am until 9:30pm! Despite the restaurant’s newly found fame, the non-chef owner remains calm, friendly, and welcoming. As a result, the wait seems shorter than the 30 minutes we encountered.

    We loved our oyster and shrimp po’ boys. I preferred the pecan pie, but my wife favored the beignets. Even the simple hush puppies, with their interesting, unsubtle seasoning, were on the mark.

    Since visiting last weekend, we’ve recommended this place to a number of folks. Half had already been, based on the favorable reviews featured on Check Please!.

  • Adrian

    My friend and I came here after seeing it on Check Please! Bay Area, and unfortunately neither of us can concur with the rave reviews of this “Louisiana” Kitchen. The meal started off fine, as my friend and I enjoyed our sweet tea and looked over the menu, with high expectations for many of the familiar dishes listed. We began to get peeved when it took 30 minutes just for our starters to arrive, however we figured that if the food was good we would overlook this quirk. Not so. While the hushpuppies were well prepared and tasty with a crispy brown exterior and warm sweet interior, the andouille sausage appetizer and the potato salad disappointed us. The appetizer consisted of one lone andouille sausage served alongside mustard and arugula. Tasted ok, however it completely lacked any sort of spice or kick to it usually associated with andouille. The mustard and arugula had no place on the plate, becoming an afterthought next to the sausage. For $6.95 I expected alot more in terms of flavor and quantity.

    What happened next completely killed the evening for us. Not only did we wait 35-40 minutes for our food, but the couple next to us who came in after we had been seated managed to get their appetizers and main courses before us. The straw that broke the camel’s back came when our server seeing no plates on our table asked us if we wanted dessert. Um, yeah, I want dessert, but I was kind of hoping I could get my entree first. At that point we knew we would never come back no matter how good our entrees were. Too bad they weren’t. My jambalaya tasted like overly sweetened tomato sauce with rice and my friend’s fried chicken dish was bland, something to be expected considering they used breast strips. We considered ordering dessert but figured we didn’t want to be stuck there for another hour or three, so we decided to ask for the check, the only thing our server did in a timely manner. No, he didn’t know how get our food out on time or check up on us like a competent server, but he knew to quickly get our money so we could leave. Of course, noticing this made both of us feel GREAT!

    Never have I been treated with such incompetency or disrespect at a dining establishment. Both of us tried hard to like this place, yet after going here, we don’t understand how anyone could.

  • Andie Shepherd

    STAY AWAY – STAY AWAY – STAY AWAY – STAY AWAY – STAY AWAY

    I went to Angelina’s with my wife and two friends two weeks ago, it was absolutely mediocre. We spent $150 for the four of us and tried a broad sample of their menu. By the way, the menu is phenominal, it reads like everyhting you always wanted to try from New Orleans ( We’ve been four times).

    Our server was sweet but bored and it took FOREVER to get menus and each course.

    Of everything we tried only the oyster hors douvre and hush puppies were outstanding. The fried chicken was good – but why would anyone want fried chicken in a New Orleans style restaurant. You can do this one at home blindfolded. I don’t go to specialty resstaurants for meatloaf or fried chicken.

    We ordered iced tea (Angeline’s style). It was so loaded with suger it was undrinkable. We were offered a partial refill in the first glass with unsweetened tea. There was less sugar but it was still way too sweet and had so little tea flavor we swapped for lemonade, MIdway through the meal our server asked if I wanted a refill, which I got. Then she charged me for a second glass of lemonade. For us, this is not a refill it’s another drink. Minor but arrogant and annoying.

    We ordered Jambalaya, Fried Chicken, Mixed Grill and Shrimp Platter.

    The Jambalaya was just a bowl of undercooked rice in sauce (not very interesting sauce at that) with a sliced Andouille sausage dropped on top. My wife wasn’t interested in eating it and I took it home. I didn’t eat it either. Can’t give it to the dog, just gotta dump it in the round file.

    I had the mixed grill and EVERYTHING on my plate was OVERCOOKED and TOUGH> Did I say TOUGH? The shrimp were past rubbery, the ribs may have been around since Saturday (we went on Sunday at 6 pm). My Andouille sausage was so tough it was (no exageration folks) a real challenge to cut – nevermind chew.

    My good friend had a shrimp plate and his shrimp were also rubbery. The sauce was pretty good.

    The Fried Chicken got a thumbs up from both my wife and her friend. The portions were more like squab than a healthy chicken.

    The sides for everyone were just plain uninteresting and average. Disappointing.

    We ordered 3 deserts: Two Bananas Foster Bread Pudding and Berry pie. The pie crust was not worth eating (it was also tough and hard) and the pudding was a cubed lump of banana like bread filling, cooked once again to a rubbery finish.

    Voila! Touchdown!

    Our server never asked about our food and was so far out of sight I never saw her until she brought another course. She poped in and out like a soccer player – whoosh.

    Just before we left the owner or manager, a tall guy with glasses and dark hair, came over after I motioned to him. I described the state of the shrimp for two of our diners. His comment was “You should have told me sooner when I could have done something about it”. He was right in my face and accusitory.

    My mouth must have been wide open. I am seldom at a loss for words but I just sat there and watched him walk away. No laughs at our table. Everyone was angry, insulted and couldn’t wait to get the heck out of the place.

    If only – HE WAS NOWHERE IN SIGHT for the hour and a half we were there until just as we paid the check. There was a line at the door to get in for our entire meal. Maybe the owner oughta drop by when it’s that busy.

    The dining room needed supervision as obviously so did the kitchen.

    We all found the experience at Angelina’s Kitchen a complete disappointment. Unlike the diners on Check Please (which we absolutely love) I once again echo my opening comment….

    STAY AWAY – STAY AWAY – STAY AWAY – STAY AWAY – STAY AWAY.

    Note: I am a retired restauranteur. I have owned upscale restaurants in Denver, Aspen and three in San Francisco. I have always made EVERY EFFORT to give each and every customer more that he/she expected. I believe in being on the dining room floor as much as humanly possible and chatting with each table.

    The owner/manager at Angeline’s is succeeding in spite of himself and he has cemented our resolve to never cross through their door again.

    Oh yes, If I didn’t say so earlier……….. STAY AWAY.

  • greghousesgf

    This is totally different from the experience I had, the gumbo and po boys were very good and nobody was rude at all.

  • AP

    Andie’s review is shocking. As a southerner who grew up next to Cajun country I’ll say that Angeline’s, despite being right near campus in Berkeley, is spot on with their execution of creole and cajun food.

    The shrimp in my shrimp po’boy had a light but flavorful breading and were perfectly cooked. I have never had a po’boy with shrimp that well done before.

    As for the comment regarding fried chicken having no place in creole cooking and New Orleans, that’s just asinine and completely ignorant. Visiting NOLA 4 times doesn’t make one knowledgeable on Creole or Cajun food, just where to drink hurricanes and grenades.

    Sure, the gumbo is non-traditional, containing both shrimp and andouille ( gumbo contains seasonal ingredients, so shellfish in season in winter thickened with file, when okra is not in season). It’s also thicker than I prefer, but the flavors are great and spot-on.

    If you’ve been to NOLA 4 times and are unaware of the differences in sweet tea and iced tea in the south, you deserved what you received. When I’m at angeline’s the wait staff always makes sure to confirm that I want unsweetened iced tea and not southern sweet tea.

    Ordering the mixed grill platter anywhere is a mistake in and of itself, it’s the international tourist dish.

    As a transplant southerner, I’m accustomed to being severely disappointed when dining at cajun or creole restaurants, or when going out for bbq. Angeline’s, however, is fantastic. Everything I’ve had there has been well executed, many dishes with a slightly modern interpretation, but still close enough to the traditional offering to where the dish is enhanced and not ruined.

    The only thing better than the creole food at Angeline’s is the available Abita beer, a Lousiana staple, served with a chilled mason jar.

  • Bradniece

    We just ate at angeline’s tonight and thought it was great. Very busy,a little loud, but everyone was very friendly.The BBQ shrimp was outstanding.we skill go back soon.

  • Tammy

    I felt the exact same way. I will never go back to this place. The service was the worst I’ve seen in a very long time!