With a relaxed atmosphere and friendly staff, the new Tender Greens in Downtown Berkeley is garnering a lot of attention. Specializing in “Big Plates” and “Big Salads,” Tender Greens prides itself in providing chef-inspired meals based on local, sustainably sourced ingredients and healthy options that anyone can enjoy.

Carolyn Hsieh

Tender Greens offers a variety of protein options, from grilled steak to fried chicken, paired with fresh veggies and plant-based sides for a total of $12.50 per plate. At the end of the counter, you can also choose from a selection of house-made drinks, as well as wine and beer for the adult crowd.

meat, chicken
Carolyn Hsieh

Featuring brick walls, soft lighting, and communal dining tables, the restaurant offers a warm, cozy vibe while maintaining the feel of a fine dining restaurant. 

coffee, wine, beer
Carolyn Hsieh

And did we mention the beautiful outdoor patio? Perfect for sitting under the string lights at nighttime and listening to some live tunes. 

lobster, beer
Carolyn Hsieh

Everything seems pretty impressive so far, and major props to the interior designer - but how does the food hold up? We at Spoon dined in for lunch to see for ourselves.

Chipotle BBQ Chicken Plate

Katherine Luo

Craving some sweet barbecue goodness, we ordered a Chipotle BBQ Chicken plate with an arugula side salad tomato soup on the side. Those who prefer lighter BBQ sauce will enjoy this chicken. The arugula salad with its lemon vinaigrette dressing and freshly grated parmesan flakes was light and refreshing, while the mashed potatoes were rich, fluffy, and buttery. The roasted tomato soup was the star of this meal because it was smooth yet rich, and light yet hearty – perfectly balanced. 

Happy Vegan Salad

toast, parsley, meat, bread, vegetable
Clara Park

While all of the Big Salads have the same price tag ($12.50), the Happy Vegan definitely brings a little extra variety. Basically four salads in one, this dish is perfect for those of us who have trouble deciding what to get. It comes with farro wheat, quinoa, tabbouleh, and baby greens, so it definitely fills you up. Our favorite part was the green hummus included on the side – the color was unusual, but the flavor was amazing!

Tuna Nicoise Salad

vegetable, meat, lettuce, salad
Carolyn Hsieh

If you’re feeling adventurous, we recommend trying the Tuna Nicoise salad – the name alone is enough to make you feel fancy. Bound to please fish lovers, this salad features tender slices of seared, rare albacore atop a bed of baby greens tossed in a light sherry vinaigrette. Loaded with fresh ingredients such as quail egg, green beans, and potato, this surprisingly hearty salad will leave you feeling healthy and satisfied.

Backyard Marinated Steak Plate

bread, butter
Danielle Chen

Avid meat lovers may be skeptical about being filled with a salad dish, but Tender Greens may just prove you wrong. Steak costs 50 cents extra, but it's well worth a couple more quarters. The plate consisted of medium rare steak, a side of creamy mashed potatoes, and a baby spinach salad with goat cheese, hazelnuts, and cabernet vinaigrette. The hazelnuts added a nice crunchy texture, while the vinaigrette helped cut the creaminess of the cheese. Our favorite part was the steak that was so tender, you didn't even need to use a knife!

Dessert and Drinks 

butter, sweet, cookie, peanut butter, chocolate, bread
Carolyn Hsieh

For drinks, we opted for the Hibiscus Tea and Mint Lemonade, both of which were light and refreshing.

#Spoontip: Can’t decide between the two? Ask for half of each and prepare your taste buds for a tart, fruity delight. Of course, be sure to finish off your meal with some freshly baked cookies, especially our personal favorite, the white chocolate salted caramel. 

The Verdict

No matter what you decide to try from the menu, we're sure it’ll be worth it. Bring your family and friends when they come to visit, or take your significant other on a romantic date. Healthy and delicious, Tender Greens offers many great options for students who want to try something new. Pay them a visit during their grand opening on Wednesday, February 15th!