Tag Archives: Berkeley dining
ÑORA SPANISH CUISINE TO BERKELEY A popular pop-up and catering operation featuring Spanish food looks like it’s aiming to open a new shop in Berkeley at San Pablo and University avenues. The folks behind Ñora Spanish Cuisine, which has previously popped up at La Peña Cultural Center for special events, are seeking an on-sale beer and wine license in the former Tomo’s Japanese location at 2026 San Pablo under the name of La Marcha. (Tomo’s closed earlier this year.) Sergio Monleon and Emily Sarlatte are listed as La Marcha’s officers, as per the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, or ABC. Berkeleyside will find out more and report back. La Marcha is set to open at 2026 San Pablo Ave., in Berkeley. Connect with Ñora on Facebook and on its website. … Continue reading »
LONGBRANCH SALOON San Pablo Avenue’s Longbranch is now open, according to tipster Amanda Fox. The restaurant, which took over the old Sea Salt location, describes itself as a “New American Restaurant/Gastro Pub.” It serves a range of comfort-food-style dishes and has an extensive list of beers, whiskeys and cocktails. Some dishes have a distinctly British-sounding spin, including potted pork trotter, the goat cheese and leek tart, and bangers and mash. Also on the menu: toasted farro and roasted cauliflower salad, pan-seared black cod and bone-in ribeye with béarnaise sauce. Longbranch is located at 2512 San Pablo Ave. (at Dwight Way) in Berkeley. Connect with the business on Facebook. … Continue reading »
At the height of service, it’s not always easy to get into a conversation with a bartender, even when you are a person who calls herself Ms Barstool. So we set up a pre-cocktail meeting with bar manager Justin Sutton and bartender Matt Bruns prior to hopping on a barstool at Trattoria Corso in Berkeley.
We wanted to hear about some changes the trattoria has undergone, including a new bar program, and what happened when they took the TVs away.
Sutton, a former Marine, had jobs in several local dining establishments, including Absinthe in San Francisco and Revival in Berkeley, before finding his way to Corso. Bruns went to culinary school, worked in several restaurants in Atlanta, then moved here and started a new business in town.
Both Sutton and Bruns were delighted to have the chance to talk about what they do, and to share some of their behind-the-bar techniques. A dedicated bartender will tell you that what one orders off the cocktail menu is often the result of several tries at getting the drink just right. Bruns said he likes to put a “modern-day twist” on the cocktails he creates. (Bruns also creates at Shrub & Co based at Berkeley Kitchens, producing a variety of shrubs: a blend of fruit, sugar, and vinegar—originally intended as a way to preserve fruit in Colonial times, now enjoying a second career as tasty additions to cocktails.) … Continue reading »
If you’ve noticed the new wave of ramen places opening lately, you’re not alone. But like everything else, not all ramen restaurants are created equal. Ramen lovers are a discerning bunch, and not every bowl of noodles in fatty broth passes muster. We did the work for you so you can just go slurp and enjoy. Below are six that are worth checking out, though, as always, we’d love to hear about your favorites if they’re not mentioned.
1. Ramen Shop
“Mind Blown.” “Mouthgasm.” Such words don’t come easily from Ramen lovers on Yelp, but since Ramen Shop (pictured top) opened in late 2012, the Rockridge spot has become the gold standard for ramen in the East Bay. Whether it’s the Chez Panisse pedigree, the Japanese noodle machine or the expertly paired cocktails, these guys are doing something right, as evident by the long lines to eat there. In August, it was reported that they’re taking over the former luggage shop next door, and expanding both the dining and bar space. Appetizers include salads, a much-raved about squid and pork fried rice and house-made pickles; ramen usually comes in three types, with one being vegetarian, often a meyer lemon that is so savory and rich that you may not miss the meat. Yelpers give high praise for its chashu (braised pork belly) and shoyu-marinated eggs, not to mention its black sesame ice cream sandwich for dessert. Ramen Shop is at 5812 College Ave., Oakland. Hours: Mon., Weds., & Thurs. 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., Fri., 5 p.m. to 12 a.m., Sat. 4 p.m. to 12 a.m., Sun., 4 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Closed Tuesdays. Connect with Ramen Shop on Facebook. … Continue reading »
CAT TOWN CAFE A new café where cats reign has opened in Oakland in in the heart of the city’s historic Auto Row. Co-founded by Ann Dunn and Adam Myatt, Cat Town Café gives cat lovers the chance to grab a coffee and a bite in the company of feline friends, and also acts as a cat adoption center. “The café part is going to be completely self-contained within the larger property. You’ll walk in, get your goodies, then go in to the Cat Zone,” said Dunn, also the founder of Cat Town, a non-profit that has been rescuing at-risk shelter cats in partnership with Oakland Animal Services since 2011. The menu includes bagels from the Authentic Bagel Co., sandwiches from S+M Vegan, and coffee from Bicycle Coffee Company, as well as catnip tea, for people and cats. There’s also Cat Macaroons from Shades of Sugar and other treats from Oakland’s Kitchener Collective. Once in the Cat Zone, patrons can purchase dehydrated treats from RAWR, an Oakland-based raw cat food purveyor. Guests are welcome to walk-in to the Cat Zone for a free visit limited to 60 minutes, or, for a small donation, be able to guarantee entry via an online reservation system. It’s believed Cat Town Café is America’s first permanent cat café. The Cat Town Café is at 2869 Broadway, at 29th St. Opening hours are 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Wednesday to Sunday; the Cat Zone is open from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday. More information can be found at Cat Town Café’s website. … Continue reading »
The row of cafés and storefronts on the 1900 block of Berkeley’s University Avenue has seen a few abrupt closures this year, including the much-loved Slow restaurant and Bittersweet Café. But these have also opened up room for a new vision from Christopher Blue and his wife Jess Steeve, owners of the Chocolatier Blue shop in that same block, and its sister stores. Their new pie and coffee shop, A Dora Pie, had its soft opening on Sunday, Oct. 26, in the space that, until last month, housed Slow, run by chef Kyle Anderson.
Chris Blue was an investor in Anderson’s restaurant and a friend. Both chefs, who met at Charlie Trotter’s and are fellow Nebraskans, share a vision of serving accessible, honest gourmet food. When Anderson and his family decided to head back to their home state after four successful years with Slow, Blue didn’t want to replicate someone else’s inspiration. It was Anderson’s kitchen, and Slow wouldn’t be the same without him. … Continue reading »
Think the East Bay has its fair share of burger restaurants? Think again.
Starting early next month, West Berkeley will welcome the fifth location of Farm Burger, a grass-fed burger franchise from Atlanta, Georgia. Farm Burger will join Philz Coffee, Doughnut Dolly, and Whole Foods in the brand-new Gilman District development at 10th and Gilman.
Farm Burger started with a stroke of luck. Founders George Frangos and Jason Mann originally met when Frangos ran a reference check for one of Mann’s old employees. At the time, Mann was at the helm of the Athens, GA farm-to-table restaurant, Farm 255, and Frangos was managing restaurants in Atlanta, GA and Portsmouth, NH. After meeting, Mann hired Frangos to consult on his restaurant.
“He and I were just sitting around one day looking at the business model for his restaurant and we realized that what really sold were a lot of burgers,” said Frangos. “At one point I thought, ‘We should just open up a grass-fed burger place, raise all the cattle, and call it a day.’ The idea stuck with me.” … Continue reading »
On Thursday evenings, a black clapboard sign sits outside Terry Betts’ West Berkeley home. A steady trickle of people stops by to fill their own containers with Greek-style chicken cooked with honey, cinnamon, tomatoes and garbanzo beans, rice pilaf and a cucumber salad on the side.
While there, they can choose from a few add-ons, like home-made granola, fresh juices and a plum cake for dessert. Some sit around the living room and chat for awhile before leaving.
Betts is a talented home cook who is making additional income each week through Josephine, a new start-up offering home-cooked meals for sale. On another night, she offered Vietnamese tamarind chicken with rice noodles, and on another, it was Polish stuffed cabbage. … Continue reading »
TIA’S A new café called Tia’s is set to open imminently at the spot once occupied by the short-lived Levant Organic Café on the corner of Kittredge and Oxford streets in downtown Berkeley. The owner, Dana Zumot, has previously worked as a restaurant manager and her love of cooking led her to open her own place at 2177 Kittredge St. Tia’s will be a casual café serving salads and panini sandwiches, as well as coffee and tea. With its location close to the Cal campus, and its light-filled atmosphere, Zumot is hoping Tia’s becomes a popular hang-out space. Telephone the café at 510-647-9863 to confirm it is open before venturing out. … Continue reading »
1. Hog’s Apothecary
Hog’s Apothecary just passed its one-year anniversary in Temescal, and it already seems like a neighborhood fixture. With 33 local craft brews on tap — some may come from as far away as the Pacific Northwest — and a Cicerone (beer sommelier) on staff, this place takes its beer seriously. (There are also bottles, and a few wines and sodas). Chef-owner John Streit has designed a menu that is pork-heavy (with a name like that, is that a surprise?) offering charcuterie, sausages and lard-fried potato chips, but there are plenty of non-pork and vegetarian options, too. Communal tables encourage conversation, especially about what beer you’re drinking. Tip: Though a casual place, it’s extremely popular, and those in the know make reservations on OpenTable. Also, while you may discover your new favorite beer there, don’t count on it to be there the next time you go; taps change constantly, as does the menu. Follow the business on Facebook to learn what new beers are being poured. Hog’s Apothecary is at 375 40th St., Oakland. Hours: Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday from 5-11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to midnight. Closed Tuesdays. … Continue reading »
Last week saw the launch of NOSH Weekly, a free weekly email that points to the best, most interesting, most mouth-watering stories about food, restaurants, chefs and more in the East Bay.
Berkeleyside launched its standalone food section NOSH in November 2012. Unlike its host, NOSH covers cities other than Berkeley — from Oakland to Kensington, scooping up El Cerrito, Alameda and Albany on the way. … Continue reading »
DRUNKEN FISH OUT, JUDOKU IN The team behind popular Korean restaurants Spoon and Bowl’d has a new enterprise coming to North Oakland. Chi Moon and Jessica Oh — who have two Bowl’d locations in the East Bay, in Albany and Oakland, as well as Spoon in Berkeley — are opening a new restaurant in Oakland called Judoku Sushi. [Note: Moon and Oh are using the company name of Jechi, and gave Berkeleyside the actual name of the new restaurant — Judoku — on Friday afternoon. Oh also said, via email, that Judoku means “addict” in Japanese.] The new venture is set to take the place of Drunken Fish on Piedmont at Broadway. Sushi spot Drunken Fish had quite a long run, but served its last meal Sept. 26, according to a reviewer on Yelp. No word yet on when Judoku will open or exactly what diners can expect to find, but stay tuned for details. The business does have an on-sale beer and wine license pending with the state — as well as a temporary permit already issued, which may bode well for a prompt opening. Judoku is set to be located at 3314 Piedmont Ave. in Oakland.
B-DAMA OPENING NEXT WEEK We hear from the manager of Swan’s Market in Old Oakland that B-Dama will have the soft opening of its new restaurant there next week. Japanese restaurant B-Dama’s original location is on Piedmont Avenue. Swan’s Market in Old Oakland now has a wealth of eating options to choose from. According to its website, restaurant tenants include Breads of India, Coobi Yogurt & Wraps, Cosecha, The Cook and Her Farmer, Miss Ollie’s, Periscope Cellars, Rosamunde Sausage Grill, Sincere Seafood and Taylor’s Sausages. Connect with B-Dama on Facebook.
NEW CREAM (PHILZ?) LOCATIONS CREAM, the hot spot for good-value ice cream sandwiches, is looking at opening a new shop on the Oakland-Berkeley border in one of the retail spaces created by the new Safeway project currently under construction at College and Claremont avenues. According to Inside Scoop SF which first reported the news, Philz Coffee may also snap up one of the street-front spaces. CREAM’s Telegraph Avenue store in Berkeley is a Cal student staple, and the chain has been in expansion mode with seven new franchise and corporate locations around the Bay Area, most recently in the Mission. CREAM co-owner Gus Shamieh told Inside Scoop that Philz Coffee was also considering one of the Safeway spaces. The Berkeley coffee chain recently opened its second location at the emerging Gilman district shopping hub. … Continue reading »