One magical evening of food, cocktails, entertainment, and alluring vibes is all it takes to see that authenticity is alive and well in San Francisco. Berber opened less than a month ago in Russian Hill, and has already gained buzz among San Francisco’s most discerning foodies with its full-sensory dining and entertainment concept and Mediterranean fare.
Founded by Tony Garnicki and partner Borhen Hammami, the inspiration for Berber was born from their recent trips to Tunisia and the desire to create shared experiences to build a community. In an ever-changing restaurant scene where dining concepts come and go, the co-founders have brought an authentic culinary voice to this city.
First thing’s first, the ambiance at Berber is everything. The exotic, dimly-lit 4,000 square foot interior is enhanced by original North African textiles and fixtures, which were commissioned by Berber artisans, to invoke an authentic getaway to the Mediterranean. The front Spice Lounge area is stunning, complete with a backlit bar, lounge seating, communal tables, and cozy booth area seating. But this is just a prelude for what’s in store.
Walk just a few steps behind the curtain, and you’ll find the main dining and entertainment area, with communal and individual party tables for viewing. The entertainment program is directed by Karolina Lux, who is also a resident belly dancer. Cirque performances, belly dancing and aerialists offer spectacular performances that will grab every ounce of your attention.
And most importantly, food brings the entire experience together. The menu by chef Nick Balla incorporates fresh ingredients from local farms, which combines Grandmother’s recipes with a modernized California twist. Paired with Moroccan-inspired cocktails and curated wines by their in-house sommelier, Berber offers a spread for traditionalists and Mediterranean novices alike.
“I want to bring the hospitality and showmanship of the Berber people, and use it like they do: to connect with one another,” Garnicki says. “The way of the Berber people wasn’t just to feed and entertain, but to make each night into a shared experience and use those shared experiences to build a community.”