Berkeley theatergoers often ask for restaurant recommendations in the area, but somehow, Gather—just a five-minute walk from Berkeley Repertory Theatre—hasn’t always sprung to mind. No more. After checking out new executive chef Tu David Phu’s menu, we count Gather as one of our favorite spots. It’s not just the imaginative and subtle complexity of Phu’s Northern California dishes, it’s Gather’s warm lighting and rounded, well-windowed dining room—a space both personal and communal. These are plates to linger over. Playful spices and tantalizing textures encircle fork-tender pork belly; a plate of roasted wild mushrooms explodes with flavor; and Phu deftly mingles capers, olives, and chile oil onto a thin-crust tomato pizza. And our server’s discreet attentiveness and flawless craft lent a seamless flow to the evening. Lunch Mon.–Fri., dinner daily, brunch Sat.–Sun.