7 Berkeley restaurants get value nod from Michelin

Japanese dining spot Ippuku has been named a Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant for the first time this year. Photo: Ippuku

Seven Berkeley dining spots have been named Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurants. The ‘Bib’ is bestowed to restaurants where the Michelin judges deem one can eat well for $40 or less (plus tax and tip), and Michelin selected 77 such places for its 2012 San Francisco area guide.

Ippuku, the Japanese dining spot on Center Street, received the accolade for the first time. The other six are: Corso, eVe, Five, Gather, Rivoli, and Thai House.

Ippuku serves traditional yakitori and a wide selection of the Japanese spirit shochu, and has found a loyal following since it opened in July 2010. Not long after its launch, Alice Waters told Berkeleyside that it was one of her favorite haunts. “I really don’t want to tell too many people about it because I don’t want the place to get too busy,” she said.

Michael Bauer included Ippuku in the Chronicle’s Top 100 restaurant list for 2011 and praised chef Christian Geideman for his grilling expertise, and his partner Paul Discoe, who designed the restaurant, for his mastery in carpentry.

Many of the Michelin Bib Berkeley restaurants are relatively new. Corso, eVe, Five and Gather all opened in the past couple of years. Corso, whose chef Rodrigo Da Silva recently left the trattoria to be replaced by sous chefs Scott Eastman and Steve Walker as co-chefs, is the second restaurant of Wendy Brucker and Roscoe Skipper who own Rivoli.

Winners of the coveted Michelin stars will be announced on October 25. Chez Panisse was the only Berkeley restaurant in recent history to have a (single) Michelin star, but it lost it in 2010.

[Hat-tip: Inside Scoop SF.]

Five’s Banks White: Berkeley “keeps me on my toes” [06.17.11]
The culinary couple behind Berkeley’s Corso and Rivoli [05.27.11]
Ippuku in Top 100, five Berkeley restaurants make the cut [04.11.11]
Berkeley Bites: Christopher and Veronica Laramie, eVe restaurant [07.16.10]
Berkeley Bites: Ari Derfel and Eric Fenster, Gather restaurant [03.26.10]

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  • Foodie

    Berkeley Thai House? Really? With all the good Thai food around here they picked that place?

  • Charles_Siegel

    In English, “gourmand” means someone who enjoys food (different from a gourmet, who both enjoys and is knowledgeable about food).

    In French, “gourmand” means someone who is greedy or gluttonous. 

    Could Michelin be making fun of American restaurants by giving them a “gourmand” award? 

  • Bibendum

    If you’ve seen Bib’s figure, you’ll know why they chose that word.

  • Bryan Garcia

    I’ll have to check it out.  I find most Thai food is pretty mediocre, due to its ubiquitousness, and I am especially skeptical of any place located on the south side of campus, which isn’t exactly known for great food.

  • DC

    I cook Thai food regularly, and I agree.  All the places in Berkeley are mediocre.  Havn’t been to Thai House, but haven’t found anything here in the bay area that is really good.

  • PJ

    FYI. Gather does not have too many tables that seat more than 4.

  • DC

    I don’t think it’s an ideal place for larger groups, but they can push tables together.  I’ve eaten at Gather with 8 people.

  • Alexei Baboulevitch

    What’s a good Thai place in Berkeley?

  • A favorite in my part of town is — http://anchaleethai.com/

  • Jakste

    An old friend of mine who lived many years in Bangkok (now living in S.F.), and very critical of Thai restaurants; reported that she had excellent food at the Berkeley Thai House. I was surprised, since I had never eaten there, but, of course, she knows how to order Thai food, speaking Thai fluently.  

  • I’m surprised that Ippuku got recognised for value.
    I haven’t been, but everything I’ve heard about the place suggest that it’s a little pricey for what you get.

    Though I suppose the issue is how one defines “affordable” when it comes to eating out.
    In my opinion $40 for a meal (without drinks) is pretty damn expensive even in the bay area.

  • PJ

    How long did you have to wait?

  • Anders

    The Bib Gourmand is simply an award for an extremely good effort. Almost worthy of a star, but not quite there yet.