By Maya:A few weeks ago, I and a close friend finally followed through with dinner plans that we had put off for a long time. She bought a Groupon for a restaurant called Nico’s Hideaway more than a month ago and it was going to expire sooner than we thought. We were excited to finally get together for dinner because we’d both been working a lot and stressed about school so we rarely had time to hang out and catch up. It seemed like the perfect day to grab early supper and talk. It was a sunny Sunday with a surprisingly low amount of traffic so we got together and went to Berkeley for our friend date. Little did we know, we weren’t in for anything more than disappointment and a weird stomach ache. Nico’s Hideaway is located in North Berkeley, also known as the Gourmet Ghetto, around the corner from luxurious restaurant Chez Panisse off of Shattuck and Vine. They specialize in East American Italian food and claim to mix the flavors of both traditional and contemporary Italian recipes along with a local Bay Area taste. The restaurant title is pretty accurate- I don’t know who Nico is but- the building is kind of hard to find and you don’t know how big the eatery is until you step inside. My friend and I were pretty excited about our discount so we decided to order as much as possible. Everything on the menu looked pretty promising but, like I said, disappointment was on it’s way. The restaurant was a comfortable size with nice decor; I walked in feeling like I was in for a treat. There were a few booths set up that had curtains for private dining with a date which I thought was really cute and although we didn’t sit there the rest of the seating was well laid out. Our host and server were relatively welcoming and knowledgeable which was good. We decided to order marinated olives, bruschetta, linguine with clams, and sauteed spinach. We tried to order more items but they were either out of or still preparing a lot stuff, which was strange because we got there right when they opened at 5pm and I assume a restaurant should have everything prepared before their set opening time. However, I also assume that people who plan to make money off of their food would want their food to taste good. I obviously guessed wrong on both of those because neither of my assumptions were correct; the food was so tasteless that it was hard for us to finish it. If you’re down for fancy but tasteless food, I’d tell you to check this place out! If not, I’d suggest you should make smart choices about your money and taste buds and go somewhere else.
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