Meals can make or break an entire trip, so no experienced trailer takes them lightly. We want to remember our trips, and meals engage all of the senses - sight, sound, taste, touch, smell - which makes meals the most memorable part of almost any day.
Berkeley is part of the larger Bay Area culinary movement. Whether it's breakfast, lunch or dinner, you should expect local, fresh and environmentally-sound produce, free of pesticides and any of those chemicals that keep our food from being just food. Alice Waters started this food revolution with her iconic Berkeley restaurant Chez Panise, so don't settle for anything less when you're eating in Berkeley. And whatever it is you crave, there's a Berkeley breakfast to meet that particular craving.
Often enough, mealtimes dictate our choices, limiting restaurant possibilities. When circumstances narrow the options, let 10Best help. We'll direct you to the best Breakfast restaurants in Berkeley and save you the hassle of calling around for business hours. 10Best readers find much to enjoy at Lama Bean's thanks to its all-around good offerings. It's also hard to beat Bette's Oceanview Diner, which serves just what you're looking for when you're in the market for a great breakfast.
Meritage at the Claremont
Spice up Sunday breakfast at The Claremont Resort & Spa, where a rejuvenated menu inspired by local ingredients and a live jazz band complement The Meritage (formally Jordan's) sensational views of the East Bay skyline. Breakfast is especially bountiful, with numerous selections devoted to carved meats, chilled seafood, made to order omelets, dim sum, and fresh fruit. The dessert buffet is a sure-fire hit as well – it's laden with cakes and tortes, clairs, pies, and pastries. If you also need a dinner option, come back at night for California French cuisine, plus an assortment of healthy alternatives. Reservations recommended. (510-549-8510)
Cheese Board Collective
Although it was founded as a private business, the Cheese Board philosophy has always been that of a collectively owned and operated enterprise. Each member owns an equal share of the business, contributes an equal number of hours, and has a position on the board of directors. Perhaps since everyone has so much of themselves invested, the shop and café have been amazingly popular and successful. Along with an astounding variety of artisan cheeses, the shop specializes in out of this world homemade breads and pastries. There are a few tables out front where you can enjoy a fresh cup of coffee or tea, along with a muffin, scone, or tasty sandwich. (510-549-3183)
At Henry's you'll find great food, a comfortable atmosphere, and friendly service from morning to night. Breakfast is a surefire hit – the Chef's Hangover Special (cheese omelet, pancakes, bacon, fried potatoes, and coffee) is a steal. For something a little different, choose the corn-flake crusted French toast with cinnamon butter. Lunch and dinner options include fabulous burgers and sandwiches, plus entrees like fish 'n chips, meatloaf, and pasta. The pace picks up at night, when Henry's really shows its sports bar side. Draught beer choices include European favorites such as Boddingtons, as well as domestics like Fat Tire and Sierra Nevada. (510-845-8981)
This respected and popular restaurant has a well-deserved reputation, especially when it comes to breakfast or brunch. Whether you're an "eggs and bacon" type or a pancakes person, Venus has got you covered. Fresh fruits and veggies play a role in many breakfast dishes, as do homemade sausages and breads. There's even a vegetarian tofu scramble that will knock your socks off – it's brimming with mushrooms, peas, cauliflower, and other good things. Dinner is a surprisingly enchanting affair, replete with innovative salads, succulent roasted meats, and unusual sides. And everything is organic and free-range, to boot. Superlative location right on always happening Shattuck Avenue. (510-540-5950)
Saul's Deli & Restaurant
Breakfast is served until 2pm at Saul's, so if you find yourself craving an omelet at noon, this is a great option. Try an open face deli omelet with pastrami, corned beef and salami, potato latkes with apple sauce and sour cream, or even kippers and eggs. Grilled deli sandwiches are also good, especially the Reuben and the Mega Mushroom, and they make a mean tuna melt. If you're watching your carbs, there are several big salads available, too. Smoked fish platters and daily specials are the way to go at dinner time. (510-848-3354)
Rick & Ann's
Best-described as an upscale diner, Rick & Anne's stands as a departure from the area's other high-profile eateries, eschewing haute cuisine for more traditional American fare. Owners Rick and Ann strive for "dishes we relished in our childhood." Among the top-flight comfort dishes highlighting the menu are macaroni and cheese served with sautéed spinach and meatloaf with mashed potatoes and roasted butternut squash. Breakfast appetites, meanwhile, take solace in dishes like potato-cheese pancakes, red flannel hash two eggs any style, and hearty omelets. The setting meanwhile is relaxed and comfortable, making it easy to see why so many locals make multiple stops here each week. (510-649-8538)
Formerly Jimmy Bean's, Lama Beans continues the tradition of serving excellent food at reasonable prices. Brother to Lalime's and Fonda, this casual eatery is deservedly popular at breakfast and lunch. The menu focuses on traditional American favorites prepared with the freshest seasonal produce, with plenty of healthy options too. Egg dishes are scrumptious, with Southwestern flair – along with your two over easy and fried potatoes, you get fresh salsa, chipotle sour cream, and cilantro pesto. Breakfast burritos, several versions of eggs Benedict, and French toast (made with cinnamon challah) are noteworthy, as well. Reservations not accepted. Traditional look but very eco-friendly. (510-528-3435)
Sconehenge Bakery & Café
Tex-Mex breakfast dishes are popular at Sconehenge, but the baked goods are awesome. Drop by for a scone or a fruity pastry, and you'll be hooked. The atmosphere is casual and friendly, so you may find yourself returning more than once. Many of their products are also available in local supermarkets. Great location on the corner of Shattuck and Stuart, so you can either sit down to a full meal or grab that delectable pastry to go and start your day immediately. Don't pass up their special English Tea Scones, which can be ordered and have even received rave reviews from Europeans, who know a thing or two about scones. (510-845-5168)
Earthy colors and a rustically elegant ambience suit this Provençal restaurant admirably. Country French cuisine receives expert treatment here, no matter what meal you're having. Breakfast and brunch are hugely popular, and you may encounter a wait, but once you sample the lemon gingerbread pancakes or cinnamon brioche French toast with lavender honey, or a perfect omelet, you won't be sorry. Lunch and dinner find classic French sandwiches and bright salads on the menu. A fun starter to share might be a platter of fruit and cheese, charcuterie, or crudités, and entrees include ratatouille, bouillabaisse, and snapper with a delicate mustard sauce. This being Berkeley, you'll also find plenty of vegetarian options. (510-843-1535, 510-843-1525)
Bette's Oceanview Diner
Breakfast and lunch never had it so good! Bette serves up all the traditional favorites, like pancakes, waffles, and scrambled eggs, but since it's all made with the absolute freshest ingredients it tastes that much better. No limp, heat-lamped flapjacks here! Make no mistake, this is classic diner food, with the classic diner ambience to go with it, but everything is a notch above. The counters sparkle, the napkin dispensers gleam, the jukebox rocks, and the food sings. A visit to Bette's will not only include a memorable taste for breakfast, but patrons also get a real taste of what Berkeley is all about. (510-644-3230, 866-972-6879)
About Tom Molanphy
The only thing that Tom Molanphy loves more than the food, art, music, and culture of San Francisco is sharing it with others. San Francisco never gets old for Tom.
Tom has lived in the San Francisco Bay area since 2000. His journalism has appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle, SF Weekly, and 7x7. He teaches writing, journalism and literature at the Academy of Art University in downtown San Francisco. His latest book, Loud Memories Of A Quiet Life, is available through Outpost19.
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