Some dishes are just too much of a hassle to make, and when attempted, often yield less than satisfactory results. Here are four Berkeley restaurant recommendations to help you feel great about not trying or giving up.

1. Injera

Barcote Ethiopian Restaurant

6430 Telegraph Ave. Berkeley, CA 94705

(Order the Vegetarian Combo, it comes with extra injera/ $14.95 before tax) 

Injera-making, without taking any shortcuts, is a days-long process with too many opportunities to mess up beyond repair. Somewhere (or at multiple points) along the way while I was letting my batter ferment, pouring out the layer of water, cooking down a portion of the batter, mixing it back in, and cooking on a flat surface, my amateur technique turned out to be a means to a scraggly end— far from the even, chewy consistency of injera prepared by a skilled hand. Unless you’ve been graced by the mentorship of an Ethiopian grandmother, I’d recommend you save yourself the mess and the money you’d spend on teff flour.

2. Tempura

Kirala Restaurant

2100 Ward St. Berkeley, CA 94705

(Order the Tempura Udon, packaged separately from the broth/ $11.50 before tax)

The English words “crunchy” or “crisp” do not fully encapsulate the mouthfeel of tempura. There are at least seven Japanese onomatopoeias that effectively distinguish the variations in crunchy texture, “saku saku” (さくさく) being the most appropriate for the delicate shattering of tempura coating. Achieving the perfect texture and lightness with fried food is no easy feat. In fact, it should only be respected for what it is: an art form. This should not be tried at home with a box of Panko and a pot of oil or air fryer. Trust me

3. Mole Poblano

Casa Latina

1805 San Pablo Ave. Berkeley, CA 94702

(Order the Specialty Pork Mole Burrito/ $15.40 before tax)

The layers of spice from a mix of fresh and dried chiles. The balanced flavor profile of dark sweetness and rich savoriness. Mole is another intricate grandmother dish not to be tampered with by a rookie with a pantry short on the essential Mexican spices, such as clove, whole peppercorns, coriander, anise seeds, and Mexican cinnamon sticks. Aside from the array of ingredients, the preparation is a meticulous science. Toasting peppers, rehydrating dried chiles in broth, and toasting and grinding the seeds are all steps that cannot be overlooked. Mole is best served with arroz rojo and fresh tortillas, so why bother when you can get it made for you the right way?

4. Burgers

A+ Burger

6228 Telegraph Ave Oakland, CA 94609

(Order the Teriyaki Burger/ $7.99 before tax)

Hear me out– I'm fully aware that making burgers at home can be a delightful customizing process. You get to choose your own meat to fat ratios, your favorite kinds of cheese, and you'll never get the tomatoes that you specifically asked to be left out. However, it's just not the same without the hot griddle, still oily and juicy from the order before you. A good burger spot takes the liberties of creating the perfect sauce, a balanced slaw and puts a deep fryer to work in ways that you could never.

Quarantine time at home might have given you an opportunity to diversify your kitchen techniques and flavor profiles, but just admit it—we can't do it all. Thankfully, there are countless small, local businesses to support when we can't seem to get the technique right (or don't even want to attempt it), where you can go to sit back, relax, and indulge in the perfected recipes of local Berkeley restaurants.