5 Berkeley restaurants make it into Chronicle’s Top 100

Corso Trattoria: one of just five Berkeley restaurants to make it into the Chronicle’s Top 100 list

The Chronicle’s food writer Michael Bauer chose the same five Berkeley restaurants that made it into last year’s Top 100 for his 2012 selection.

The “Top 100 Restaurants” list, which was published yesterday, embraces Chez PanisseIppukuO ChaméRivoli and Corso Trattoria.

Ippuku, known to be favorite haunt of Chez Panisse owner Alice Waters, was a newcomer last year. Rivoli and Corso share the same owners: Wendy Brucker and Roscoe Skipper.

In all, the list, which is in its 17th year, has 15 new restaurants and has dropped the same number, and Bauer notes that a trend this year has been for chefs to embrace the concept of Californian cuisine. Chez Panisse calls itself Northern California/Mediterranean, even though its roots are decidedly French and its branding, with its old Marcel Pagnol movie clips, retains a Gallic flavor. Bauer reports that other Bay Area restaurants — including Solbar, Bar Agricole, Canteen, Gary Danko and Manresa — have switched their allegiance from American to Californian.

The lion’s share — 76 — of the restaurants that made the cut are in San Francisco, with the north bay accounting for 18. While Berkeley may smart at its paltry total of five — last year readers wondered why GatherLalime’s and Ajanta (another Waters favorite) didn’t make the list and some might argue that Five should have been a contender — at least it can take comfort in having beaten the south bay in terms of top-scoring eateries. Bauer picks just one Peninsula restaurant — Baume in Palo Alto — as deserving of a ranking.

For the full Top 100 list, visit the Chronicle’s website.

Ippuku in Top 100, five Berkeley restaurants make cut [04.04.11]

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  • Bryan Garcia

    I’m really surprised to see Gather be shunned yet again, yet the tired, old Chez Panisse still makes it. If I recall correctly, Bauer gave Gather a good review, and it has certainly gotten lots of other good national press.

  • West Berkeley

    I completely agree.  Gather is amazing – easily the best restaurant in town, if not the entire East Bay.

    Also, I’ve eaten at Rivoli as well and I thought it was mediocre.  I really love Five though and I’m surprised that was overlooked as well.

  • Heather_W_62

    What does it matter if Alice Waters likes a restaurant. This article was about what restaurants Michael Bauer like. It seems a bit pretentious to keep mentioning which restaurant’s Alice likes.

  • World Freedom

    I have never heard of these places. Of course, I’m a Berkeley student. This must be where all the rich white people go.

  • Popedm

    Go back to Mama and Pappa, baby !

  • susanrw

    We live near Rivoli
    and it used to be one of our favorite celebration restaurants.  A few weeks ago we went with another couple for dinner and was very disappointed. The mushroom fritters, which previously was a favorite,
    were slightly cold and tasteless.  The Mahi was dry and
    the chopped vegetables overwhelmed the flavor.  The sauce around the
    rice was the highpoint of the dish. The crab ravioli
    and it was mushy, overcooked and bland (but better than the mahi). Our
    guests from Japan were too polite to criticize but were not
    complimentary. I’m hoping it was an off-night because the restaurant was a favorite and is near our home.

  • David D.

    Too bad most of these restaurants are not particularly vegetarian friendly. I like to dine with friends, and we are a mixed group. We tried Gather last year and were unimpressed; I’m not surprised it didn’t make the list.

  • Mary

    If you can afford to be a Berkeley student, you are richer than many of the long-term reisidents.

  • Charles_Siegel

     He might be getting lots of scholarship money, which would mean that the “rich white people” are paying extra taxes to support his education, so he can have the opportunity to criticize them because of their race.

  • Sue Tomasello

    Pretentious?  Why?  She is someone I would definitely take advice regarding food, restaurants.  I don’t see why mentioning her is a bad thing.  She is a Berkeley institution and B-Side can mention her anytime they see fit.

  • Heather_W_62

    Why pretentious? Because the article, which is an article about Michael Bauer’s top picks (Bauer himself be a rather renowned restaurant reviewer) mentions Alice’s affinity for two of the five restaurants when the article is about Bauer’s picks, not A.W.’s picks.  Sure, she’s eaten at and has favorite restaurants in Berkeley, and like most of us has an opinion. To tell you the truth, I’d take Bauer’s suggestions over Waters’ anyday — he has more experience at actually reviewing them.  
    So… on the part of your post that I’m supposed to get all butt-hurt about; Of course Berkeleyside can “mention her anytime they see fit” and they do.  I’m certainly not going to stop them.

  • Berkeley Resident

    Agreed.  Gather belongs on the list.

  • Berkeley Resident

    I like Five a lot for lunch and snacks but the dinners are a little boring.  Delicious, but not interesting.

  • Sue Tomasello

    Yes, I know what the article is about, I read it just like you did.  I just saw it differently than you apparently.  I still don’t see it as pretentious.  So sorry, not my intent to “get you all butt-hurt”. 

  • Heather_W_62

    We don’t have to agree, and I guess it’s just a different viewpoint. Peace, okay? 

  • Sue Tomasello

    Don’t you wish Green’s would move to Berkeley?  I guess Nature’s Express on Solano Ave will never make the top 100, but their banner says it all “Kick-Ass Vegan food”!

  • Gather’s food is ok, but it is a complete rip off in terms of pricing and the service is always slow and amateurish. I’d rather go to the Mexican place (Sabor Mexicano) around the corner any day.  Rivoli and it’s sister Corso are AMAZING.  My wife says Ippuku has good food and ambience.  I never liked O’Chame’s food.  Chez Panisse is inconsistent (I get their menu changes all the time based on ingredients, but that’s still no excuse).

  • I’m a Vietnamese boat person and my wife is black.  Yes, we’re rich now, but don’t hate.  We went to Berkeley as well.  You do know that college in general is just Yuppie prep school right?

  • Gather is amazing – easily the best restaurant in town, if not the entire East Bay.”

    Really?  In terms of fine-r dining, you think it’s better than Wood Tavern?  Rivoli?

  • Notsomuch

    Ah, no. Gather is far from the best restaurant in Berkeley, let alone the East Bay. Their ‘cheese-less pizza’ is one of the worst things I’ve ever eaten.