Turn over new leaf at newest Downtown Berkeley restaurant Tender Greens

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Alvaro Azcarraga/Staff

In the world of Crossroads and meal points, it’s easy to find yourself in need of truly fresh, hearty food, and Downtown Berkeley’s Tender Greens is here to help. Driven by a farm-to-fork mentality, Tender Greens aims to provide fresh, local food in chef-inspired dishes. Since its recent arrival in early February, Tender Greens has definitively made its mark on Downtown Berkeley.

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Audrey McNamara/Senior Staff

Known for their “Big Plates” and “Big Salads,” Tender Greens offers a seasonal selection of soups, salads and sides composed of locally-sourced ingredients. With a variety of protein options, from fried chicken (hell yes) to backyard-marinated steak, this spot can cater to any mood or oc
casion. From the handmade sodas to the freshly in-house-prepared pastries, Tender Greens provides a casual, yet sophisticated feel that is often difficult to come by. With a minimalist, vibrant interior, and a cozy outdoor patio to match, Tender Greens feels very L.A. And based on its SoCal popularity, it is.

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Audrey McNamara/Senior Staff

However, on to the true test: the food.

Based on a recommendation, we ordered the Salt and Pepper Chicken Plate with butternut squash soup (a current special) and the baby spinach salad. The chicken was juicy, flavorful and well-cooked. The butternut squash soup was hearty and warm, which perfectly suited the cold day. The simple salad tossed with goat cheese and hazelnuts and dressed in a cabernet vinaigrette made for a fresh, light accompaniment.

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Audrey McNamara/Senior Staff

As two southerners with Chick-fil-A withdrawals, the Southern Fried Chicken Salad was also a must-try. After one bite, this perfectly crisp chicken left us both impressed. The simple crust and moist interior reminded me of oven-fried chicken, which made the concept of lettuce and fried chicken less ridiculous. While the chicken was definitely the star of the plate, the butter lettuce and ranch-like dill dressing paired well together and helped to lighten up the dish.

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Audrey McNamara/Senior Staff

Overall, we were pleasantly surprised. Tender Greens truly does deliver on taste, but not only in the realm of salads. Kind of like a bougie Panera Bread, you have soup, salad and sandwiches all at your disposal. You could even make steak and potatoes happen if that’s more your speed. So next time you’re in Downtown Berkeley and in the mood to explore a new spot, Tender Greens is a must-try for fresh and delicious food.

Contact Emma Sayiner at [email protected].

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