As I’m a huge fan of anything pink and sparkly, the interior of Saturn Cafe in Berkeley caught my attention as soon as I walked in. This was no ordinary-looking diner — the walls were hot pink, and the columns around the restaurant were made of silver sparkles. The back corner of the cafe displays its name in graffiti style, which added to the eclectic interior design.
Saturn Cafe’s fare is safe for most diners, even for groups of mixed vegetarians and meat-eaters that tolerate one another. The menu is 100 percent vegetarian, but for the omnivores out there, the veggie patties taste amazingly similar to actual meat. The menu is filled with classics such as the FLT (“fakin’ bacon” instead of real bacon) and burgers as well as unique entrees like “spicy chicken fajita burrito” and “peanut royale,” which is a spicy peanut sauce with vegetables, tofu and chopped peanuts over brown rice.
My barbecue ranch chicken burger is a breaded “chicken” patty with jack cheese and the regular lettuce and onions. The burger comes with fries, and the patty is decorated with beautiful stripes of homemade ranch dressing and barbecue sauce. Neither the burger nor the fries disappointed. The burger was one of those much-needed juicy, filling and satisfying burgers smothered in a hefty amount of barbecue sauce that isn’t overpoweringly salty, sweet and smoky like the usual barbecue sauces. The homemade ranch, with its blend of garlic, herbs and spices, also tastes superior to the common grocery store versions. It is salty, sweet and strong yet refreshing all at once. Most gratifyingly, the breaded “chicken” patty tastes surprisingly like chicken instead of being bready or mushy.
To this meat lover, the vegetarian barbecue ranch chicken burger was a glittery stand-out choice in a glittery atmosphere.
Saturn Cafe is located at 2175 Allston Way, Berkeley, CA 94704.