Tag Archives: Berkeley dining

Drumroll, please… introducing the Nosh Guide

Fried chicken sandwich at The Half Orange. Photo: The Half Orange
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You’ve heard it many times, and you’re likely to hear it many times again: the East Bay restaurant scene is booming. We live in a place with more than just high-end, Michelin-starred restaurants — there are plenty of places serving innovative dishes for less than you’d pay for an appetizer on Valencia Street. And, as more chefs and food businesses are leaving San Francisco for sunnier digs in Oakland and Berkeley, the East Bay is reaping all the benefits.

Yet this restaurant boom has a downside, if you could call it that: too many choices. We can’t count the number of times we’ve been bombarded by endless ideas when looking for a new spot for dinner or different bar for happy hour. We craved an easily scrollable list of the best places to grab a delicious sandwich, the most worthwhile restaurants for a fancy dinner, or the ‘diviest’ dive bars.

So, we made one — the Nosh Guide.

The guide is divided into six categories — Breakfast and Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Dessert, Coffee and Tea, and Drinks — because that’s where our mind goes when we’re thinking about food and drink. But the categories are broad: there’s no reason why you couldn’t stop into some of our favorite bakeries for a dessert instead of breakfast, or grab lunch at some of our dinner picks. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Genova Deli, People’s Café, The Wolf, more

Genova Delicatessen. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Openings, closings…

GENOVA DELI’S LAST DAY IS SATURDAY Get in for your Italian combo fix while you can, because Genova Delicatessen‘s last day will be April 30. “We are humbled by all the good wishes and love from the community and want to thank you for so many years of support,” wrote the deli’s owners on its website. The 90-year-old Italian deli in Oakland’s Temescal district had announced in February that it may be forced to close due to a rent dispute with its landlord. However, in a story in the San Jose Mercury News, co-owner David DeVincenzi’s wife Patti said that other rising costs were a bigger contributor in the decision to close. They didn’t want to be forced to raise prices. “The cost of doing business is to the point now where it became uncomfortable,” she said. David DeVincenzi told the San Francisco Chronicle that the family is working on finding a new location in Oakland, but was unwilling to hint at where that location may be. In the meantime, the Genova factory on Broadway, the Napa store, and the two Genova Deli locations in Walnut Creek (owned by another branch of the family) remain open. And, according to the Mercury News, the property owners at Temescal Plaza are looking for a new local deli operator to open in the space; property representative John Dobrovich said he hopes the new tenant will hire some of the former Genova employees. Genova Delicatessen is at 5095 Telegraph Ave. (between 49th and 51st streets), Oakland. Connect with the deli on Facebook.Continue reading »

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First look: The Butcher’s Son in Berkeley

This fried mozzarella and meatball sandwich was heavy and hearty, just like the real thing. Photo: Alix Wall
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You know when that craving strikes for a meatball sandwich? The kind that is slathered in tomato sauce with sautéed onions, bell peppers and mushrooms, topped with a generous hunk of mozzarella? A sandwich that requires multiple napkins to catch all the juice that dribbles down your chin?

The next time that very craving strikes, try something different and head to The Butcher’s Son in Berkeley. Not only will you enjoy the hell out of that sandwich, but you can feel virtuous about the fact that an animal didn’t have to die for it, nor did your sandwich contribute to the emission of greenhouse gasses. Yep, everything on the menu at The Butcher’s Son is vegan. … Continue reading »

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Bites: New Public Market tenants, La Crema, more

The redesigned entrance for Public Market Emeryville. Photo: courtesy Public Market Emeryville
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Openings, closings..

TWO NEW TENANTS ANNOUNCED FOR EMERYVILLE PUBLIC MARKET Slowly but surely, Emeryville’s Public Market is adding more new restaurants. Shiba Ramen and KoJa Kitchen are now both up and running, with We Sushi and Mayo & Mustard to follow later this spring. Now we hear that a new casual Peruvian café, Granja Eatery, will occupy a prime 1,500-square-foot space at the front entrance to the market. Granja Eatery is a project from chef Carlos Altamirano, who owns several restaurants and food trucks across the Bay Area. Altamirano will offer street food-style Peruvian food, and the restaurant will feature an open kitchen and a bar with beer, wine and sangria. He hopes to open this fall. Also headed to the market in July will be Oui Oui Macaron, a Daly City-based macaron company. It will be the first food purveyor to open in one of Public Market’s three shipping-container spaces. Public Market Emeryville is at 5959 Shellmound St., Emeryville.Continue reading »

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Where should we eat? The Nosh Guide is coming…

Lunch of BBQ pork ($13) with a side of mac salad and a Highwire nitro brew coffee at Drake's Dealership. Photo: Benjamin Seto
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“Where should we go for dinner?”

It’s a question we ask ourselves daily — along with where to go for breakfast, brunch, lunch and drinks — but the answer isn’t always easy.

We’re living in a restaurant boomtime — there have never been more (and better) choices for going out to eat in the East Bay. But the plethora of choice can be overwhelming.  Sure, there are restaurant listings all over the internets. And, yes, there is Yelp. But you may not want to sort thorough all of that chatter when it’s 6:30 and you’re hungry for dinner — now.

At Nosh we believed it was time for a thoughtful, curated listing of the best places for food and drink in our East Bay cities.

So we came up with a solution. … Continue reading »

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Dine on head-to-tail chicken at the new Hina Yakitori

Hina Yakitori serves a variety of skewers, vegetables and small plates. (Pictured, grilled asparagus, hiyashi wonton, and chicken meatball). Photo: Benjamin Seto
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Izakaya — Japanese gastropubs serving up small, drink-friendly bites — are only becoming more popular in the East Bay, and restaurateurs are finding new ways to set themselves out from the pack.

Located in Oakland’s Temescal neighborhood, the new Hina Yakitori is doing just that by specializing in chicken — more than 15 whole chickens are broken down each night into various skewers that are then grilled over Japanese-imported binchoton coals.

Hina Yakitori, which has been in soft-opening mode for the last two weeks but is gradually starting to add more operating hours, is a more refined, contemporary izakaya. Translation? Elegant plates in small portions. … Continue reading »

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Cult sandwich spot Ike’s picks downtown Berkeley

The Jon Lum (steak, bacon, onion rings, cheddar). Photo: Ike's Place/Facebook
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The old Togo’s storefront will soon sell sandwiches again. In what could be as soon as three weeks, it will be home to the first Berkeley location of the rapidly expanding sandwich shop Ike’s Place.

Ike’s, named for its owner Ike Shehadeh, launched his first shop, a tiny take-out spot on 16th Street in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood, in 2007. Its sizable sandwiches, whose recipes were originally based on ones Shehadeh used to eat while studying at UC Davis, quickly gained a cult reputation. The original store was selling up to 1,200 sandwiches a day, according to the New York Times, long lines were the norm, and the eatery was cited on many a “best sandwiches” list.

Ike’s now has over 20 locations and has been teasing the opening of a Berkeley shop for months. A signage application on the City of Berkeley’s Zoning Applications Board revealed the new location would be at 2172 Shattuck Ave., right near the Downtown Berkeley BART station. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Handlebar and Bacano Bakery closures, more

Handlebar is at 984 University Avenue in West Berkeley. Photo: Bill Newton
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Openings, closings

HANDLEBAR TO CLOSE, TWEAK CONCEPT West Berkeley’s Handlebar is changing. Owner Jennifer Seidman has brought on Farm League, the restaurant design and management group behind Tigerlily, East Bay Spice Company, Westbrae Biergarten and Drake’s Dealership, to update the restaurant’s concept to something that “makes more sense for the neighborhood,” Farm League’s Joel DiGiorgio told Nosh in an email. That concept will, thankfully, still include Handlbar’s signature burger and tater tots, plus new sandwiches, bar snacks and milkshakes. Seidman says that all of the menu items will be available to-go and for delivery via Caviar. The larger conceptual changes will have to do with service, wrote DiGiorgio, but the “general feel of the place will stay somewhat intact.” The new iteration of the restaurant will be focused on a fast casual service model where customers will order at the kitchen window. In addition, Farm League and Seidman will be adding a “retro game room” and jukebox, which frequent customers will note has already been underway, as well as a “grab-your-own craft beer wall,” a la Honor Bar & Kitchen. On the bar side, Farm League is bringing in Adam Stemmler (East Bay Spice Company and Tigerlily) to work with Seidman on a new cocktail menu that will be “heavy on crushed ice drinks,” according to Stemmler. It will also likely include drinks like Moscow mules on draft and “adult milkshakes.” Handlebar will be changing its name once final installations are complete; we have not yet heard what the new name will be. DiGiorgio hopes to keep the restaurant open as Farm League and Seidman make changes in order to support the staff. We will keep you posted as we learn more details and a timeline for the relaunch. Handlebar is at 984 University Ave. (between Eighth and Ninth streets), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook.

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

Julia's at Berkeley City Club. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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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.  … Continue reading »

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Stateside Bakery transforming into Stateside Treats

When Stateside Bakery changes its name to Stateside Treats, it will add ice cream tacos to the menu. Photo: Benjamin Seto
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Stateside Bakery in Berkeley lets you relive your childhood, giving you permission to indulge in sugary treats that look like Twinkies, Hostess Cupcakes and Oreo cookies. But its versions of these nostalgic treats are better — they’re made with high-quality natural ingredients and no preservatives.

I finally got to try Stateside Bakery recently when I visited its tiny store on Telegraph Avenue across from Whole Foods. I was thrilled to see what looked like Hostess Cupcakes and big Oreo cookies, but sad that they were out of their Twinkies, or what they call “Twinkles” for obvious trademark reasons. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Meal Ticket, Cholita Linda, Crêpes A-Go-Go

Meal Ticket, Name that Nosh, Dec. 5, 2012. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Openings, closings…

MEAL TICKET ON THE MARKET, NOT CLOSING We hear from Meal Ticket owner Carolyn Del Gaudio that she and her husband and business partner Jimmy Carter are looking to retire. They have put the San Pablo Avenue restaurant on the market, but Del Gaudio is adamant that Meal Ticket will remain open in the interim. She said in a written statement that “they are hoping to find an energetic buyer who would have the passion to either continue … Meal Ticket or honor its legacy by creating another wonderful restaurant in [its] space.” Meal Ticket has been open in its current location since 2001, and itserves a solid menu of breakfast standards and sandwiches, plus an adventurous line-up of daily specials. Its tree-lined backyard patio is one of our favorite spots for sunny day dining. Meal Ticket is at 1235 San Pablo Ave (between Gilman and Harrison streets). Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.Continue reading »

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4 East Bay food companies up for Work Local Awards

Paul Canales of Duende. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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Localwise, a job board created by UC Berkeley alums Benjamin Hamlin and Maya Tobias, is honoring well-regarded local businesses with its inaugural 2016 Work Local Awards. Four East Bay food businesses — Duende, The Local Butcher Shop, As You Wish Frozen Yogurt and The Town Kitchen — have received finalist nods out of a pool of over 1,000 nominations from the Localwise community. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony April 28. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Antoinette, Urban Remedy, Ye Olde Hut

The dining room at the newly opened Antoinette Brasserie at the Claremont Hotel. Photo: Fairmont Group
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Openings, closings…

DOMINIQUE CRENN LEAVES ANTOINETTE After only two months of operation, Dominique Crenn has officially left Antoinette, the new French brasserie in the Claremont Hotel and Spa. The news broke Wednesday in Inside Scoop, the same day the East Bay Express’s Luke Tsai ran an unflattering review of the restaurant, calling Antoinette “dispiriting, at times baffling.” A statement jointly released by Fairmont Hotels & Resorts (owners of the Claremont) and the Crenn Dining Group said that the two “have mutually agreed to end their partnership.” Antoinette will close temporarily on April 6 and will, according to Eater SF, reopen in a few weeks under the same name and concept. The menu will, however, change. It was unclear how much input Crenn had in the original concept of the restaurant; she had been clear from the beginning that her role in the restaurant was “advisory.” Executive Chef Justin Mauz was at the helm of the kitchen day-to-day; no word yet on his future with the restaurant. Antoinette is at The Claremont Club & Spa, 41 Tunnel Rd., Berkeley. Connect with the Claremont on Facebook.Continue reading »

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