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Jan 18, 2007 04:12 PM

Breakfast / brunch in the Berkeley / Oakland area

Starting a new topic on this subject since the existing ones are a bit out of date.

At 900 Grayson I had one of the best restaurant breakfasts I've had ever. Great hash browns. Nueske bacon was excellent as promised in previous reports. Eccentric but delicious hash. Even the toast was superior.

Not a brunch place, since they stop serving breakfast at 11 and are closed on Sunday.

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    1. Sunnyside Cafe on Solano.

      1. 900 Grayson serves brunch on Saturdays. They're my all around favorite brunch spot, though I wish they opened on Sundays.

        Food wise, Eccolo serves my favorite brunch, though it is spendy. They do excellent standards, their eggs benedict is unparalleled, and the omelletes are fantastic. They also do a great job on the non-egg dishes. I love the wild salmon salad and chicken under a brick with guac. And the Marco's burger is the best burger I've had anywhere, period (and I eat a lot of burgers). They have a full bar (though sadly, no draft beer). The desserts are good, but I usually go across the street to Sketch for sweets.

        Cafe Fanny does my favorite quick(ish), cheap(ish) brunch.

        I haven't been impressed with members of the brunch old guard (Sunnyside, Bettes, Rick and Ann's, etc.) The food is fine, but it lacks the spark and the "wow" factor of newcomers like Grayson and Eccolo.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Morton the Mousse

          Re 900G, is there a brunch menu or can you order from either breakfast or lunch or what?

          Cafe Fanny's prices are high, and service is often so slow that it can take longer than some places with table service.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            There is a brunch menu at Grayson. It combines the "best of" from the breakfast and lunch menus.

            Like I said, Fanny is cheap(ish). For someone seeking a local, sustainable brunch, it's about as cheap as it comes. I usually spend about $10-$12 per person, which is cheap by my standards.

        2. I keep meaning to try sunday brunch at Luka's after raves I've heard about it. I've loved the brunch at Blackberry Bistro in the past, but the restaurant was recently sold, so I'm not sure what's happening there (does anyone else?). I like the food at 900 Grayson, I just wish the service wasn't so...chilly. I'll go back for the hash browns, though. Somerset is the Rockridge brunch newcomer; I've been three times for brunch, and have liked everything that I've had, I just wish the price point was a little lower, and that they had a few simpler dishes (sometimes I just want the eggs any style with potatoes and bacon). Mama's Royal Cafe has it's problems (including really really bad coffee), but their homefries are my favorite anywhere locally, so I'll go there for that.

          4 Replies
          1. re: JasmineG

            Get the oxtail hash at Luka's. OHMIGOD yum! Make sure they don't overpoach the yolks in the eggs, tho.

            The beignets aren't worth it. Wish we'd ordered the cornbread.

            1. re: lintygmom

              Yeah, they've changed the beignets - did you have them when it was just a few large beignets to an order, with a few shards of Scharffenberger chocolate to stuff in the middle, and rasberry coulis for dipping? I loved those. The were perfect, hot, greaseless. But the last time I went, they were making mini beignets, piled into a frites cone. They were kind of undercooked to begin with, and then the ones on the bottom sort of steamed from the heat of the ones above. And there was no chocolate.

              1. re: daveena

                And they were tough. At $6, a rip-off. Sounds like you went in the nick of time to get good ones.

                1. re: daveena

                  Yeah, I've had the beignets at dinner -- the first time were the good ones, and then last time I was there I had those bad tiny tough ones. I don't know why they changed!

            2. I agree 900 Grayson is excellent, and such a nice addition to our neighborhood. I hope they will be open for dinner soon, and that the dinner prices will be reasonable...

              But back to breakfast/brunch. I still like Meal Ticket--especially the grilled trout breakfast. Fanny is nice for a light breakfast, same goes for Caffe 817--perfectly poached eggs, toast with a slight char to it, and a piece of ham along with some delicious coffee. And, I know T-Rex has been panned by many, but I love it for brunch--they do a great duck hash with poached eggs, and I like the house-smoked salmon, generously draped over a disk of rosti potatoes. My husband likes the sausage gravy and biscuits, but its a little too much starch and cream for me. They have some killer eye-openers on the bar menu, and it is a great place to watch a game during football season--especially if you have friends who root for East Coast underdogs.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Leadbelly

                T-Rex does brunch? Oh, I did not know that! I've really liked their dinner, so I might have to try it.

                1. re: Leadbelly

                  Whether they can expand their hours probably depends on whether neighbors or nearby businesses think people coming and going at dinnertime would have a detrimental impact on the residential or industrial character of the neighborhood.

                  See subsection F of this section of the Berkeley zoning code:


                  1. re: Leadbelly

                    Just went to T-Rex for brunch this morning, and I agree that the brunch is great -- I had the duck hash, and it was delicious (my only complaint is that the eggs were poached a little too hard for me, but I've had that issue at other places as well, I think I need to start asking for my eggs lightly poached in order to get the eggs runny), and my companion had the scrambled eggs with bacon and fried oysters, and wow, their bacon is excellent. The Bloody Mary was also fantastic.