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Apr 28, 2007 08:43 AM

Tourist in Gourmet Ghetto

I am planning on spending a day in the Gourmet Ghetto. Can you someone please tell me more about where to go and what to eat? I will be there in late May-early June.

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  1. What day of the week?

    Gourmet Ghetto's not big enough to take up a whole day.

    Cheese Board
    Cheese Board Pizza
    Chez Panisse
    Epicurious Garden (ugh)
    farmers market (Thursdays 3-7pm)
    Peet's (the original)
    Vintage Berkeley

    For a whole day, you'll want to add another neighborhood or two. Here's a topic with lots of suggestions:

    10 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      I didn't have a specific day in mind. Is there a day of the week that would be best?

      1. re: squiphie

        On Saturday there's the farmers market downtown, on Sunday there's brunch at the Thai temple.

        1. re: squiphie

          Note that the Cheeseboard is closed on Sunday and Monday ... that is a major ... major reason to go to that area.

          Gorilla Cafe serves Blue Bottle coffee. I really liked the Africano. That original Peet's is an instituiton but the ambiance puts me off ... a lot. Worth sticking your nose into though.

          Epicurious Garden can be pleasant. Look for posts about Imperial Tea. The soup place is good but on a one day visit I wouldn't make it my focus. Taste has wine but if faced with the choice between Taste and Cesar next door ... go with Cesar ... no matter how crowded.

          Are you driving or taking BART? If BART, there are two very good gelato shops there - Milano and Naia ... MUCH preferable to Cioa Bella. BART is a few blocks from the Gourmet Getto.

          This is a locals shopping area, so I'd do a tour of Andronico's Market and Elephant Pharmacy to get a feel for the dynamics of the area.

          1. re: rworange

            Taste has reportedly gotten a new chef, a bit of an interior redesign, new prices, and maybe a new owner.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Yeah, I know. Haven't heard anything about it yet. With so many great places on that street, for a one-time visit it is restaurant roulette as to what it is like.

              Also forgot to mention there is a small farmers market on Thursday afternoon in that area. Also, Saturday is usually a zoo in terms of everyone doing their shopping that day.

              1. re: rworange

                The three great places (Chez Panisse up and down and Cesar's) are often full up, and Gregoire and Cheese Board Pizza are mostly takeout. The other places are not great. So there's definitely room for another place.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  I know you are not a fan of Gregoire. It depends on if all the seats are taken.. Some of the most pleasant afternoons I have ever spent were sitting at the three seat counter watching the food being prepared and listening to the chat capped off with some excellent to me food. No booze though.

                  Just from my perspective, it would seem worth the wait for outstanding food rather than unknown. I know everything has totally changed at Taste, but I was so off-put by my last visits their under the old regieme, it will take quite a few positive reports before I step foot in the door again. What I read in the Chron hasn't compelled me to rush there.

                  Has anyone tried Taste lately.

                  Anyway, unless the OP has further question I believe we've both adequately stated our perspectives on the GG.

            2. re: rworange

              Thank you for the suggestions. I will be taking BART, but I am not too sure about the gelato as there are quite a few good gelato places in Vancouver where I am from. I would prefer to save room for food I cannot find at home. Any suggestions for authentic Californian cuisine aside from Chez Panisse?

          2. re: Robert Lauriston

            Oops, forgot Cesar. Nice in the middle of the afternoon, usually too crowded and noisy other times.

          3. Here are some threads to get you started:





            Some of the info is outdated - Phoenix is gone, Chaya has gone downhill, Socca Oven is now a Mexican restaurant, and Taste is under new management.

            I wrote a guide to the Gourmet Ghetto about a year ago, but I can't seem to find it.

            I disagree with Robert - you can easily spend a full day enjoying the Gourmet Ghetto.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Morton the Mousse

              I also agree that you could spend a whole day in Berkeley and the Gourmet Ghetto area....when you're not eating, you could be sitting at a cafe reading, walking through Cal campus, or visiting farmer's market.

              Dave MP

              1. re: Dave MP

                Berkeley as a whole, you could spend several days and not get through the A list of food destinations, but only a small percentage of them are on Shattuck north of Hearst or Virginia.

                1. re: Dave MP

                  Sunday is not a good day to do this.