Nosh on the Town: Julia’s at Berkeley City Club

Julia's at Berkeley City Club. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Julia’s at Berkeley City Club. Photo: Emilie Raguso

It’s not every day when you get to eat dinner in what feels like a castle.

But that’s the sensation you get when dining at Julia’s at Berkeley City Club. The restaurant, which opened in 2012, is hidden away on the second floor of the Julia Morgan-designed building. The dining room is a throwback to the days before wooden stools, communal tables and Edison lightbulbs became de rigueur — tables are large and covered with white tablecloths, chairs are cushioned, carpets muffle noise.

The menu, however, has modern touches. Executive chef Alaun Grimaud, who helped open the restaurant but left in 2015, is back in the kitchen, crafting modern California cuisine with strong French and Spanish influence. Of-the-moment dishes like burrata cheese with seasonal toppings and chicken liver terrine with pickled fruits appear alongside safer classics like New York strip steaks and fettuccini pasta. 

Grimaud changes small details of the menu frequently based on the ingredients coming into the kitchen. He told Nosh that he is working on bringing back more local producers, as he did when he helped open the restaurant.


Drinks are on the simpler side — the cocktail menu doesn’t hold many surprises and the beer list reads like a “best of” list of craft brewers. However, the long wine list does point out local producers and, refreshingly, all of the women-run wineries on the list. (This women-centric philosophy is not new; the Berkeley City Club opened as the Berkeley Women’s City Club in 1930 and only started allowing men in 1965.)

Juila’s invited Nosh to a complimentary dinner in February. Take a look at the menu in photos, below:

Julia's at Berkeley City Club. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Chef Alaun Grimaud has returned to Julia’s at Berkeley City Club. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Julia's at Berkeley City Club. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Julia’s at Berkeley City Club. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Julia's at Berkeley City Club. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Burrata cheese with fennel relish, winter citrus, olive oil and grilled focaccia at Julia’s at Berkeley City Club. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Julia's at Berkeley City Club. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Chicken liver terrine with pickled quince, Villa Manadori balsamic, olive oil and crostini at Julia’s at Berkeley City Club. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Julia's at Berkeley City Club. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Roasted beets with hazelnut picada, local feta cheese, pomegranate vinaigrette and watercress at Julia’s at Berkeley City Club. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Julia's at Berkeley City Club. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Julia’s at Berkeley City Club. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Julia's at Berkeley City Club. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Potato gnocchi with white wine braised beef, piquillo peppers, cilantro and Calabrian chiles at Julia’s at Berkeley City Club. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Julia's at Berkeley City Club. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Poached wild steelhead with braised fennel and celery, potato mousseline, and black olive vinaigrette at Julia’s at Berkeley City Club. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Julia's at Berkeley City Club. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Fettuccini pasta with porcini mushrooms, crème fraiche, lemon, arugula and Parmesan cheese at Julia’s at Berkeley City Club. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Julia's at Berkeley City Club. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Roasted duck breast with charred broccoli di ciccio, braised farro, pickled kumquats and duck jus at Julia’s at Berkeley City Club. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Julia's at Berkeley City Club. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Julia’s at Berkeley City Club. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Julia's at Berkeley City Club. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Spiced walnut cake with white wine poached pear and brown butter ice cream at Julia’s at Berkeley City Club. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Julia's at Berkeley City Club. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Chocolate ganache bar with warm chocolate cake, spiced almonds and lavender chantilly at Julia’s at Berkeley City Club. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Julia's at Berkeley City Club. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Kumquat marmalade cake with orange-cardamom ice cream and pickled kumquats at Julia’s at Berkeley City Club. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Julia's at Berkeley City Club. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Downstairs at Berkeley City Club. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Julia's at Berkeley City Club. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Downstairs at Julia’s at Berkeley City Club. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Julia's at Berkeley City Club. Photo: Emilie Raguso
The entrance to Berkeley City Club. Julia’s is upstairs. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Check out our other Nosh on the Town stories.

Julia’s at Berkeley City Club is at 2315 Durant Ave. (between Ellsworth and Dana streets), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on FacebookTwitter and the restaurant’s blog.

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