My employer moved our company to Emeryville, an act I will never forgive. (At least they moved very close to the Berkeley border.)
My lunch posse (me plus up to 5 omnivores, who are on the carnivorous side of omnivorousness) decided to make the best of it, and we go on wide-ranging field trips to eat at different locales, often straying beyond Eville itself in search of a pleasant, social dining experience.
Here is a list of the places we enjoy, more or less in the order of frequency with which we visit.
Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe (rudyscantfailcafe.com), at 4081 Hollis Street (at Park). The hip diner that everyone loves. Excellent burgers, taco salads, huevos or tofu rancheros, a veggie club to die for... And dangerously good fried food. They batter-fry their fries - you will become addicted. Also: tasty beers like Mothership Wit from New Belgium. You have been warned.
Cocina Poblana (cocinapoblana.com), at 1320 65th Street (at Hollis). Heavy, satisfying Mexican food. I used to find their dishes salty, but they've let up a bit. Delicious nachos, quesadillas, a very tasty and satisfying nopales and potato vegan burrito, and a great salsa bar.
Ruby's Cafe (yelp.com), 6233 Hollis Street (near 62nd). This is a coffee place with lots of cookies, cakes, coffee drinks, bagels, plus a fabulously addictive Greek wrap (feta, kalamanta olives, cucumbers, hummus, and other tasty things in a pita), a very tasty eggplant sandwich, a mozzarella sandwich... There isn't anything vegan on the menu. They make a tasty soy chai. I go there when my feta tolerance is high, which is more often than I would like to admit. (Feta will be the last cheese give up, I suspect...)
Emerybay Public Market (emerymarket.com), 5959 Shellmound Street. This is a sort of international food court with pre-made food on steam tables. This was the place my colleagues were most excited about when we first moved to Eville, and the place they rolled their eyes about the most once they got settled in and the novelty had worn off. I like:
Emery Bay Cafe (yelp.com), 5857 Christie Avenue, Emeryville (at Powell). This is a little dive that does burgers, fresh sandwiches, donuts, egg-oriented breakfasts and the like. The veggie burgers are good; everything is inexpensive. Avoid the veggie wraps. It's a very casual place.
Semifreddi's Bakery and its related cafe menu (www.semifreddis.com), 4242 Hollis Street (at Park). Fabulous breads, tasty sandwiches, delicious soups. The menu is small, but the food is of very high quality. And you'll want something to go, like a loaf of multigrain sourdough to have with dinner, or some of their decadent, fresh pastries. Seating is limited, but very pleasant on their little patio.
900 Grayson (900grayson.com), 900 Grayson Street, Berkeley (at 7th; just a few blocks off Ashby). Cute little patio, nice little dining room. Vegetarian soup of the day daily; stellar, fresh pasta dishes, salads, and desserts. There are usually 2 vegetarian entrees on the menu, one of which is the "seitan lover" (companion to the non-veg "demon lover") but that looks so fried it could kill me. But that's just me. Spectacular side dishes. Good beer and wine. Pleasant space.
Triple Rock Brewery (triplerock.com), 1920 Shattuck, Berkeley (a block and a half off University). Veggie burgers, an awesome vegetarian chili (which, despite my disbelief, is fabulously heavy on mushrooms), grilled sandwiches, awesome fries, even more awesome garlic fries, and the remarkably long beer menu. We always leave happy.
Cafe Cacao (cafecacao.biz), the restaurant in the Scharffen Berger Chocolate factory, at 914 Heinz Avenue (at 7th, not far from Ashby). This is a decadent place with lots of heavy sandwiches filled with whole milk cheeses and served on remarkable breads. There are usually 2 or 3 vegetarian sandwiches... And a slew of decadent desserts based around dark, dark chocolate. (Not vegan-friendly.)
Riva Cucina (rivacucina.com), 800 Heinz Avenue (off 7th). This is a delightful, fancy, sit-down Italian place. The wines are excellent, and the entrees are both lovely and very tasty. (Vegans: they have options for you, but use butter for some dishes, so ask.) It's REALLY good. Possibly the best of the places we eat out.
Plearn Thai Cuisine (No 2). They are currently in the process of moving from one location to another, and are currently closed. I'll visit when they're open again and post a new review. This went over well with my lunch group.
Pyramid Alehouse (pyramidbrew.com), 901 Gilman Street (between 7th and 8th in a huge, warehouse-like building). In addition to beer, beer, and more beer, there are tasty treats from the pizza oven (especially the mushroom pizza), veggie burgers, and salads large enough to feed a small army. (Limited vegan options.)
Udupi Palace (udupipalaceca.com), 1901 University Avenue (at MLK). This is an all vegetarian dosa and Indian entree place. I go for dosas. They are delicious, alarmingly enormous, filled with wonderful spiced potatoes and the veggies of your choice, and are surprisingly inexpensive. Vegan-friendly!
Cafe Aquarius (yelp.com), 1298 65th Street (at Hollis). For the longest time, this was just a coffee place famous for its tasty pastries: now it is also a full-service restaurant. They serve tasty dishes, but at rather high prices for the area/what they are. ($12 entrees.) I need to visit again so I can write a more detailed review.
There are many other places we have eaten out together (Renee's in Berkeley on Solano; Breads of India; King Yen; and others that I don't recall), but we haven't gone often enough for me to opine about them here.
last updated august 3, 2008
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