Organic Greek restaurant Pathos opens in Berkeley

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Pathos, which opened Tuesday this week, serves Greek staples using organic ingredients in a smart setting. Photo: Tracey Taylor

After more than a year and a half of planning and building, chef Nicholas Eftimiou last night unveiled his new organic Greek restaurant, Pathos at 2430 Shattuck Ave. in downtown Berkeley.

The restaurant serves tasty Greek favorites such as Gemista (stuffed red peppers), Moussaka, and Keftedes (lamb meatballs) — as well as fresh seasonal fish and zesty salads — in an upscale rustic-meets wine country decor. At least on opening night, the atmosphere was buzzy but not over-loud (you can hear yourself think, as well as talk), and the wine list offered some interesting, reasonably priced Greek bottles that complement the food well.

The restaurant is very much a family affair. Eftimiou’s father, John, worked as the contractor on the restaurant build-out and his mother oversaw much of its design, as well as helping fine-tune the recipes, many of which originated in the kitchen of Eftimiou’s yaya (grandmother).

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Wood Oven Lavraki (whole Mediterranean wild white sea bass with lemon saffron butter, capers and pilaf rice), $31.00. Photo: Tracey Taylor

Berkeleyside particularly enjoyed the Htapodi (grilled octopus with shaved red onions and capers), the Spanakopita (melt in your mouth filo pastry triangles filled with spinach, feta, mint, dill, fennel and leeks), the Triada (a trio of melitzanosalata, tzatziki, and tirokafteri served with light-as-air housemade pita), and the Wood Oven Lavraki (whole Mediterranean wild white sea bass with lemon saffron butter, capers and pilaf rice).

A wood-burning oven is where many of the dishes on the menu are cooked. It takes pride of place in Pathos’ huge open kitchen that takes up two-thirds of the restaurant’s space. “I wanted an intimate dining room and a large kitchen,” said Eftimiou, who has cooked at Hellenic restaurant Dio Deka in Los Gatos.

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The design blends rustic and contemporary, including exposed steel beams and amphoras displayed in cubbies. Photo: Tracey Taylor

Pathos manager Fred Burrell said the menu will expand to include vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options once the restaurant is bedded down, despite Greek cuisine’s usual focus on meat.  He said they are sensitive to the tastes of the local community, in particular Berkeley, and are looking forward to establishing a clientele looking for organic, freshly prepared Greek food in a smart but relaxed setting.

There are touches of Berkeley in the restaurant’s design too, which features exposed steel beams, an impressively solid wooden front door and lots of muted shades of chocolate. Two large mirrors are framed in wood salvaged from UC Berkeley’s Memorial Stadium and all the tables in the dining room were bought at Wooden Duck. A colorful panel of stained glass forms a canopy over the bar.

The restaurant is just far enough from the heart of downtown to make parking relatively easy (it’s next door to veteran eatery Giovanni’s), and makes a welcome addition to the burgeoning downtown dining scene.

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Triada (a trio of melitzanosalata, tzatziki, and tirokafteri served with housemade pita bread). Photo: Tracey Taylor

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All appetizers are $9.00. Here: Spanakopita (filo pastry triangles filled with spinach, feta, mint, dill, fennel and leeks). Photo: Tracey Taylor

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Many of the dishes at Pathos are cooked in the capacious open-plan kitchen’s wood-burning oven. Photo: Tracey Taylor

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There’s jus one dessert at Pathos: Baklava (hand-layered filo with Greek honey, walnuts and cinnamon. Photo: Tracey Taylor

Berkeleyside were guests of Pathos which is at 2430 Shattuck Ave., between Channing and Haste, in downtown Berkeley. Open for dinner 5:30pm-10pm; plans to open for lunch soon. Check directly with restaurant.  Tel:510-981 8339. 

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  • ILoveBerkeley

    Thanks, Berkeleyside. When you review restaurants, could you please provide the cross streets? I’ve often thought it would be useful to have the location readily apparent right in your article. Happy Thanksgiving.

  • Karen Anderson

    Pathos looks like it will be a very fine restaurant. Greek food is so delicious! I won’t be able to afford to go there, but I’m sure other Eastbay folks will be happy to add Pathos to their dining list!

  • http://berkeleyside.com Tracey Taylor

    Done!

  • Chris J

    How do you know you can’t afford it? I couldn’t find any pricing or menus anywhere in the article. Oh, well. Eating out is expensive, but I can cook decent Greek cuisine and if I knew you, you could come over.

  • Vladislav_Davidzon

    I for one am thrilled to see another organic restaurant!!

  • http://workitberk.blogspot.com/ Brittany

    The spanakopita and baklava look good. I guess the best food is triangular…?

  • BerkeleyPariah

    Troy on Solano has wonderful Greek food

  • Sandy_Green

    It states in the article that all appetizers are $9.00.

  • Sandy_Green

    Hooray, it’s organic.
    Boo, it’s very expensive.

  • Chris J

    I am vexed by the cost of organic foods, whether served in restaurants or just at the local grocers. I understand why it’s expensive, just as I get why artisanal or small craft food makers are also expensive.

    I wish I could afford to eat organic or purchase artisanal products regularly, also, but it’s also getting to the point where I’m getting concerned about the quality of the fish and meat I buy of commercial origin. Vexing.

  • Vladislav_Davidzon

    The one and only reason for the high cost of organic foods is that they’re seen as a commodity and there is fairly little competition in the market. The day that Walmart decides to go 100% organic for their produce (and they inevitably will) we will see organics priced competitively to the toxic “conventional” food.

    Besides, being organic should not be optional. It should be simply how food is grown, 100% of the time, everywhere. Think that’s a radical idea? Consider that it’s how food was grown for many tens of thousands of years until we discovered petroleum (and thus pesticides).

  • George_James

    We pre-pay for chemical, unsustainable agriculture with our taxes. Billions of dollars in tax subsidies go to agribusinesses that systemically poison our food, land and waterways.
    Organic agriculture is not subsidized, thereby appearing to be more costly.
    Seems backwards to me.

  • Adrian Reynolds

    I have fond memories of Giovanni’s…

  • Guest

    The prices at Pathos are in line with similar restaurants in the area.

    If the ‘organic’ designation impacts their costs significantly they’ve likely decided to absorb much of that by cutting their margins.

    My family ate at Pathos on opening night. As one might expect there were a few *very* minor service glitches. They were mostly timing related and have probably already been worked out.

    What did surprise was the food. On an opening night it was nearly flawless, soup-to-nuts.