COMAL is a gathering place located in Berkeley’s bustling Arts District, just north of the Downtown Berkeley BART Station. The restaurant is housed in a single story building (circa 1927) and features a lush, secluded rear patio with a full bar, covered dining area and al fresco beer garden with fire pit.
Executive Chef Matt Gandin was in a doctorate program for Mexican studies before embarking on a cooking career. He creates earthy, modern interpretations of dishes from throughout Mexico, with emphasis on Oaxaca and neighboring coastal regions. Comal offers an “all-Mexican” list of craft cocktails, house-made sangritas paired with our curated collection of agave spirits, and a diverse selection of local beer and wine on tap.
Owner John Paluska was the manager of popular rock band Phish for 17 years. Conde Nast Traveler describes the atmosphere he created: "An authentic Mexican restaurant that doesn’t feel like one, Berkeley’s 140-seat Comal trades serape prints for raw-concrete walls. There’s a party vibe, but it’s not noisy thanks to innovative acoustics by audio lab Meyer Sound."
San Francisco Chronicle food critic Mathew Bauer describes the sauces in his glowing review, "...they may look similar, but the flavors explode in different directions. Gandin could pour any one of them on strips of cardboard, and I'd be a fan."
He sums up his thoughts: "I've always said that if I were crazy enough to open a restaurant, it would be Mexican because the cuisine is so misunderstood and underrepresented in this area. Comal is exactly the type of place I'd have liked to open."