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Jan 29, 2001 06:05 PM

Berkeley - 4th Street

  • d

I'm taking my from-out-of-town mother shopping etc on 4th Street in Berkeley next weekend -- she read about in a magazine and wants to go. It's her birthday, and I'd like to take her to a good restaurant...I know there are at least a few there...any recommendations?

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    Barry Kaufman

    For breakfast or lunch nothing beats Bette's Ocean View Diner ---be prepared to wait - go next door to Bette's To Go for coffee and just hang until your table is ready ---- for a more upscale dinning experience I recommend Cafe Rouge -- best meat and roast chicken in town - Ginger Island is o.k. but do not go to Spenglers Fish House

    3 Replies
    1. re: Barry Kaufman

      I agree with you that Ginger Island is ho-hum, and that Cafe Rouge is excellent...but where is Bette's in relation to Cafe Rouge?

      1. re: Jim H.

        Bette's is on fourth street, Cafe Rouge is fifty feet north, across the street, and up half a level in the cluster of new businesses (Peet's, etc.)

        What about O Chame? Japanese and American Cuisine in a jewelbox setting. One of my very favorite restaurants anywhere, and it should be open for lunch (they take reservations, I believe). Bette's is a madhouse and you are sure to wait quite some time (no res, I think).

        If your mother prefers American food, you might also consider Rick and Ann's cafe on the street opposite the tennis courts below the Claremont. Only thing is, it is likely to be mobbed as well (no reservations accepted, the last I heard.)

        On the subject of Spenger's -- it has changed hands in the last couple of years (now owned by the McCormick & Schmick bunch -- related to the big place in Ghirardelli Square) AND it has had a major remodel. I haven't been there since all of this has happened, but I wonder if the message about avoiding the place refers to it's old incarnation.

        1. re: Anne Emry

          Bette's--of course; worth the wait
          O Chame--yes
          Cafe Rouge--depends; sometimes good, sometimes not
          Spenger: NO! (I tried it twice AFTER remodel)
          Pasta Shop: if nice day fun to picnic on sidewalk with food from Pasta Shop and coffee from Peet's

    2. The restaurants on 4th Street are quite good (Spenger's excepted; sorry!), but if you really want to treat your mother, Chez Panisse isn't far at all. You can choose either the Chez Panisse Cafe (more casual, less expensive) or the world famous restaurant. Your mother won't forget either experience. Check out their web site ( for the menu. But, be warned, looking at the site while hungry can be very dangerous, indeed.

      1. If your mother is anything like mine she'll LOVE
        4th St. and not want to leave to go to another
        location for lunch. I go to Bette's a lot but I
        think Cafe Rouge is more of a "take Mother to lunch
        place". Just order the things they do best. It's
        true I've been disappointed in the food, but I'm
        VERY picky. O'Chame has delicious appetizers,
        low calorie too, but it's dark and not as upbeat
        as Cafe Rouge. (NOOOOOOOOOOO to Spenger's!) Have
        wine and a birthday desert and I'll bet she'll have
        a great time.

        If she loves food more than shopping, go to Chez

        Let us know the outcome.