Two East Bay restaurant closures: Berkeley’s Bistro Liaison and Albany’s Da Nang

Bouillabaisse at Bistro Liaison. Photo: Jay Cross/Flickr

More sad news for East Bay diners: downtown Berkeley’s Bistro Liasion, a staple of the Shattuck Avenue dining scene for 16 years, will close in the coming months. The restaurant has been sold to Alana O’Neal and Mikha Diaz (of Two Sisters Bar & Books in San Francisco), who will open Les Arceaux, a French café and wine bar, in the space.

The sale follows hot on the heels of the Feb. 5 closure of Le Petit Cochon, the casual sister restaurant to the Bistro. Le Petit Cochon will become another location of Brazil Café.

Writing in an email sent to customers, owners Todd and Natalie Kniess said: “While we continue to be very successful, we have decided that it was time to let the next young, energetic entrepreneurs make their mark here in Berkeley.”

The Kniesses have “begun the process of transferring the liquor license” to the new owners and the restaurant will remain open until the transfer is complete, likely 45 to 60 days. During this time, Bistro Liaison will host several special dinners and plus “one very big party to celebrate the past 16 years,” the Kniesses write.


Once the bistro closes, the Kniesses will relocate to Sonoma County , where Todd Kniess plans to start a new company, “Bon Vivant Food & Wine Adventure Tours,” an extension of his popular French culinary tours. Natalie Kniess plans to start a publishing business. (She comes from a family of publishers in both Marin county and Chicago.)

The Kniesses seem bittersweet. About Berkeley, they wrote: “We feel fortunate to have been part of an amazing community. You have given us your support, admiration, inspiration, strength and a sense of belonging over the past 16 years. You have all become part of our extensive restaurant family. Whether you are a weekly regular, a twice a year Cal game customer, part of our ‘Culinary Adventure Tours’ travel group, or a member of our wine club, it has been a sincere pleasure serving you. Berkeley is a unique place to operate a restaurant. I have often bragged to other restaurant owners how Berkeley’s people are the most traveled, the most cultured and the most educated customers in the entire Bay Area. We will certainly miss all of you. Thank you!”

Kao Kha Moo at Da Nang. Photo: Emmeline Chuu

Meanwhile, in Albany, Da Nang Krung-Thep, has been closed since last week. Da Nang has been one of our go-to restaurants for Thai and Vietnamese food, especially its kao kha moo, a slightly sweet and anise-y braised pork dish with a subtly aromatic broth perfect for drizzling over a bed of steamed rice.

A reader tipped us to the closure, but we were unable to confirm the news. However, the East Bay Express was able to get chef-owner Charlie Khamruang on the phone. Khamruang said he has been evicted from the building following a rent dispute with the building’s owner.

Khamruang added that he is in discussions with a lawyer. We will keep you posted if we learn more.

Editor’s note: This story was updated after publication to add the name of the new restaurant moving into the Bistro Liaison space.