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Feb 7, 2008 10:27 AM

ISO East Bay Sunday brunch spot...

We went to 2223 when we visited our friend in the city... now he's coming to the EB and we want to take him someplace great. Any suggestions?

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  1. Eccolo has a good brunch, as does Sea Salt. I like the T. Rex brunch too. Luka's can be fun for brunch, but I didn't love it the time that I was there, though others do.

    6 Replies
    1. re: JasmineG

      I do like Eccolo's brunch, but it seems a little more on the elegant side and a little less on the hip side, compared to 2223. Maybe that's just me. Either way, its definitely an option. We also love Bette's across the street, but that's a lot more casual than what I had in mind (awesome food, though).

      My husband doesn't eat fish, so that pretty much eliminates Sea Salt. Haven't been to T-Rex and it seems like their reviews are getting better these days, so that might be worth a shot.

      Anyone been to Meal Ticket recently? Its been a couple years since I was there, but I remember the food being good.

      1. re: chemchef

        Eccolo seems very casual to me at lunchtime. Great brunch / lunch menu.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          Something about the service and the older crowd made it seem a bit formal to me for a lunch/brunch place. Not that that's a bad thing, the meal was very nice.

        2. re: chemchef

          Luka's might have the hip factor that you're going for. T. Rex is pretty mellow at brunch, so not as hip.

          1. re: JasmineG

            Oooo, thanks! I've never been to Luka's, so I hadn't thought of it. One question: I'm going with two non-drinkers, is the atmosphere very "bar-like"?

            1. re: chemchef

              No, it's not. It's a long, narrow space with the bar area in the front, so when you're in the restaurant part you're not really aware of the bar. Also, it has big windows overlooking the street, so especially during the day it doesn't feel at all bar-like.

              Jonathan Kauffman did a survey of Oakland/Berkeley brunch spots and liked Citron. I wasn't impressed by dinner there, but it sounds like brunch is actually better.

      2. 900 Grayson is excellent for brunch.

        I also love the chicken and waffles at Merritt Bakery.

        2 Replies
        1. re: daveena

          Last time I checked, 900 Grayson was closed on Sundays.

        2. We have been going to Citron, Lukas, Venus and Garibaldis or Somerset for the last several months.The caveat is the "nicer" places open at 10:30 a.m. Half the time it is almost lunch. They are on the expensive side for breakfast, but the ability to walk up to the door and be seated, with a cup of coffee poured for you beats the stand in line-wait for an hour-for rushed food-experience that has become of the more casual places. (La Note, Mamas, Meal Ticket, Homemade Cafe, Sunnyside Cafe, Rockridge Cafe, Any Crepevine anywhere.)

          3 Replies
          1. re: oaktowngirl

            Do any of those places take reservations? Eccolo does.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Garibaldis, Citron and Lukas take reservations. I don't know about Venus, but probably not. We have made dinner reservations there, but for a group a long time ago. Rudys is a groovy hip spot to bring people for brunch. Usually a line unless you get there early, but self serve coffee on the counter and a patio in good weather. Several benedicts and lots of vegetarian options. T Rex is good, also expensive and rich. Limited selection of classic brunch foods. My favorites are the beignets with coffee custard and the gruyere and ham tart with sunnyside up eggs. My husband likes the pulled pork sandwich.

            2. re: oaktowngirl

              We used to go to the Homemade Cafe regularly when we lived on Dwight.... the whole wheat cinnamon pecan waffles are to die for. However, since we moved, its not as convenient, so we typically go to Bette's b/c the food's just sooooo good. All of it. There is almost always a wait, but its not a problem 'cause we just go get our coffee at Peet's while we wait.

              On this particular occasion (which I forgot to mention is in two weeks, not this weekend), it probably won't be a big deal if we have to wait, as we can just "catch up" with our friend. It would be great if they took reservations, but if not, a nice waiting area works too.

            3. Anyone been to T-Rex for brunch??? How is it?

              5 Replies
              1. re: chemchef

                Yes, I love brunch at T-Rex but it is on the pricy side which keeps me from going there more. Keeps the crowds down though.

                Since you mention Homemade Cafe, you might like Kennsington Bistro. A little more ambiance, infinately more more parking and no feet-numbing crowds.

                Hidden City Cafe is run by a former Chez Panisse alum. Well, holy cow, they finally have a website.

                Morton the Mousse said he liked it more than another fav of his ... 900 Grayson.

                Here's a link to my last report which has links to other reports and reviews

                The place record in case I missed anything

                As the name implies ... it is hidden ... in a town at the foot of the bridge. However it is easy to get to via 580 and the town is quaint. If you drive through the tunnel at the edge of town there are some spectacular beaches and your friends would have a whole nother view of SF. There is one point where you can see all three bridges at the same time.

                As you might notice I've been avoiding the "R" word to not scare you off .. but really ... Point Richmond isn't really Richmond. Norman Rockwell could have painted this town and some of the houses on the hill are very Sausalito-like. Here's a picture of the cafe on the tree-lined street

                I think that the reason the town built up was that pixar was once located there. Hidden City has a video about it being featured in a Pixar film. It has a sense of humor that would appeal to creative types. One boxed game on the shelf is the fast food franchise game. There are pictures of the food and restaurant on the site.

                There's also a little cafe in the marina which has a nice deck but the food is more someone pulling up to the marina to get a bite than food-destination type of food. Still ... maybe some coffee afterwards.

                A few places I have yet to try but others might have opinions
                - Rick and Ann's
                - Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe

                1. re: rworange

                  Rudy's is disgusting! Rather.... I suspect you can get lucky, but you certainly can't rely on it. For example: my boyfriend and I both got coffee with brunch. His tasted foul (way too strong and poorly brewed) and mine tasted OK. The food ranged from OK to horrible.

                  I like Piedmont Diner - the ingredients are cheap, but the cooking's excellent. I also like Mama's Royal Cafe - it has excellent ingredients, although the cooking's inconsistent. Both safer bets than Rudy's, for cheap and casual brunch.

                  1. re: eeblet

                    Uh, here.

                    Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe
                    4081 Hollis St, Emeryville, CA 94608

                    Mama's Royal Cafe
                    4012 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94611

                    Piedmont Cafe & Bakery
                    4054 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA

                    1. re: eeblet

                      What did you find disgusting about Rudy's besides the coffee? I thought about mentioning it here but it's not what I'd call a brunch place even if it offers it up. The food isn't mind blowing or special but for what it is (diner fare), it's perfectly fine.

                      The decor and waitstaff attitude (post-punk, industrial 80's, semi-swarmy kid...hence the name) is another deal but I find it refreshing even if a mild and harmless cliche. At least it's not like every other place. Plus they're one of the few places open late in the EB.

                      1. re: ML8000

                        Sorry, that was probably a bit harsh... but the food was really mediocre, and the kitchen looked dirtier than some of my favorite Oakland Chinatown places. I certainly don't mind the attitude - I enjoy it, if anything. But the food seems to have been made with a deep lack of care. I am open to trying it again. What would you recommend?

                2. Contrary to the hours on their Web site, Maritime East is not yet serving Sunday brunch, or at least they weren't open today.

                  Brunch at Sea Salt is not nearly as fish-centric as the lunch or dinner menus:


                  The chowder with poached eggs and bacon is gilding the lily, given all the cream and bacon in the chowder, but good if you're in the mood for a rich and hearty meal.

                  I might note that T-Rex's brunch menu is also pretty different from their regular menu. We went in one day craving their vegetable sides, and at brunch they have only the starch sides: