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Berkeley -- good coffee, WiFi and good parking?

  • k

any recommendations?

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  1. Most coffee in Berkeley is pretty bad. Around campus, everything is atrocious except for Musical Offering, on Bancroft. The coffee's pretty good, the cornbread is superb, and you can sometimes get wifi leaking over from campus. No way you'll get a parking spot, though.

    Fellini, on University at I think Acton, has excellent coffee (at least, I like the Mexican mocha - I got it my first time there and have never had a reason to get anything else). They have a good parking lot, and you can just walk up to an outdoor counter and take your coffee in the car or sit at one or two tables that they have. Dunno if there's wifi from nearby houses or not.

    Cole Coffee, on College near Claremont, is probably the East Bay's only competition to Blue Bottle in San Francisco, in terms of quality and variety of beans, and care in preparation. Parking's probably okay, and no idea on the wifi. Blue Bottle does show up at the Saturday Berkeley farmers' market, with a little cart stand thingy.

    4 Replies
    1. re: David Boyk

      I consider the parking around Cole Coffee atrocious. (I don't think they have WiFi, but am not positive. However, their coffee is quite good - they make French Press with whatever freshly ground bean you choose.) The area of College & Claremont is very busy with LaFarine's original location (www.lafarine.com), Yasai Market, Safeway, VerBrugge Meats, etc. If you are interested in buying green coffee and roasting your own, Sweet Maria's (www.sweetmarias.com) has moved to the bay area from Ohio and are great folks, very knowledgeable about coffee. You can go to their warehouse/office and pickup your order, thereby saving on shipping. Checkout their site, they sell coffee accoutrement, as well as beans.

      1. re: joltgrrl

        The parking in that area is atrocious? I usually just park in the Safeway lot that's right across the street, but I've had good luck getting street parking, especially on weekdays.

        1. re: JasmineG

          I prefer not to take a Safeway space when I'm not shopping there, and I can only go on the weekends, so I guess I'm just DOOMED... ;)

          Oh well, I'll just have to spend millions driving around & around & around looking for the fabled parking spot that's ~really~ close!

      2. re: David Boyk

        The two best coffee experiences I've had EVER... Caffe Strada in Berkeley and Don Pasquale's in SantaFe, NM. I grew up and lived in Berkeley and Caffe Strada (corner of College and Bancroft Avenues) was consistenly good - far better than chemical Peet's and homogenous Starbuck's or any of the other Berkeley coffee hangouts. A couple of years back I was in Santa Fe and had an amazing breakfast at Don Pasquale's Cafe. Their Cafe Mocha blended chili and Mexican chocolate. It was an almost transcendental experience. But all in all, nothing compares to those Bianca Mochas (white chocolate mocha) at Caffe Strada. Will always go back to this Berkeley haunt when visiting.

      3. Now, now ... things aren't that grim ..

        SHATTUCK:

        Village Grounds ... Barefoot & Flying Goat coffee and some good empanadas. It is 1/2 way between University & Chez Panisse.

        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

        Guerilla Cafe which serves Blue Bottle coffee.It is closer to Chez Panisse. No WIFI, but at one time they mentioned it. You can ask.

        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

        Zamocha - ok hot chocolate IMO, but others like it ... never tried the coffee ... but CERTAINLY great wi-fi ... please report back if you go ... they were new when I went so the food wasn't too exciting, but things may have changed.

        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

        At the above three cafes, the parking is as good as parking is on Shattuck, usually there's a space nearish.

        Mokka on Telegraph a block from Smokehouse ... Organic Equator coffee ... organic eats ... FABULOUS sipping chocolate & whipped cream ... plenty of parking ... ooops, no WIFI, but plenty of electrical outlets.

        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

        Caffee Trieste on San Pablo ... their own coffee ... WIFI, good coffee, ok food, parking ... you'll usually have to walk a block.

        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

        Tomate Cafe on 5th ... REALLY great place and sort of hidden. A restaurant, but they don't bother you about lingering since they have lots of space and a lovely outdoor patio. Good coffee, nice morning glory muffins, beaucoup parking ... not sure of the WIFI situtation. Give them a call ... phone in link

        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

        4 Replies
        1. re: rworange

          thanks for the recs rw... i'll probably give Zemocha or Cafe Trieste a try later today.

          off topic.. but I know you've mentioned Maggie's in EC before -- do they have wifi? or any other place in Albany/EC?

          1. re: kc72

            I am currently in love with Sabor Brazil which is up the road from Maggies at MacDonald ... ok, it is technically Richmond. Not sure of the wi-fi situtation, but they have a few terminals set up and are in the process of getting a web site.

            They have some good coffee though not world-class, lots of Brazilian snacks, but outstanding here ... the smoothies and juices made with Brazilian fruit ... especially the smoothies ... crazy about those. TONS of parking and really ... its Brazilian ... hang out forever.

            Here's the phone number so you can ask 510-232-2500

            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

            To keep in the back of your mind, there's a new coffee shop opening on Solano near Britt Marie's. Still just a sign in the window.

            Maggies was supposed to get wifi,but not sure if they did. I do see people with pc's in there occasionally. They are going thru some adjustments as a new business, so be sure to ask if that pastry is from Lolas ... Lolas granola is GREAT for snacking, just don't drop it in you computer keyboard.

            1. re: rworange

              thanks again rw.. i'll try giving Sabor Brazil and Maggies a call before heading towards Berkeley.

              btw, is Sabor Brazil the place right near Angelo's Deli(?)/Chevron and BofA? if so, have always wondered what was in that building.

              1. re: kc72

                Yep. Really worth a stop. Don't know what was there before. Sabor Brazil is only a few months old.

        2. Maggies does have free Wifi.. will give that a shot before giving the Berkeley places a try, esp w/ the warm weather today.

          1. My visiting nephew went to The Bread Workshop on University and Acton. They have wifi and good baked goods. I had a nice bruschetta there yesterday. Don't know about the coffee, but parking should be easy.

            1. Coles coffee is the best in the Eastbay.

              Either beans or take away.

              Nice prices too!

              Locally roasted,owned and has fair trade coffee.

              Why people go to the Mega corp coffee joints never fails to amuse me.

              Parking is always easy during the week,

              Yasai Produce Market across the street has fantastic produce at great prices too.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Mission

                I love Cole's Sumatra. I think I am in the minority around here, but I like it over Blue Bottle. I haven't had as rich of a dark roast from Blue Bottle. Maybe its just me.

                  1. re: kc72

                    On College Ave at 63rd (right at the Berkeley/Oakland border). You can buy beans next door to the coffee shop.

                1. Oh yea, Coles coffee used to be Royal coffee not too long ago, right?

                  I like their coffee mostly, and I love that they make it fresh drip in the cones. But I find their roast a bit dark. I think with roasting that dark you get more roast flavor and not as much origin flavor. The more I roast my own, the lighter I like...

                  1. Just a quick datapoint:
                    I am on an open wireless network from a table outside CRIXA
                    right now. Parking is easy here, pastries are good ... I'm
                    not too picky about coffee ... maybe somebody else can speak
                    to crixa coffee quality.

                    Man it's funny to see what Berkeley people consider
                    "atrocious" parking.

                    I guess one thing about sitting outside here is there
                    is a lot of auto traffic that goes by, which isnt so nice.
                    But you can sit inside of course.

                    n.b. bandwidth and latency good enough to work interactively.
                    no pringles can needed.

                    --psb