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Feb 28, 2009 05:02 PM

Lalime's in Berkeley?

Any comments? Items that you liked and didn't liked from their menu? Thanks.

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    1329 Gilman, Berkeley, CA 94706

    1 Reply
    1. re: BernalKC

      The kobe w/foie gras mini burger appetizer on the current menu is excellent. The banana praline ice cream sundae was good, but the cookie that comes with it was incredibly excellent. My pork chop main was very good. (This is from last week). All 3 of us seemed to enjoy our meals. Service was very nice.

    2. Haven’t been since last summer but have been meaning to go back. I love the atmosphere. Here is my previous review:

      1 Reply
      1. re: Ridge

        Most of what we had was pretty good (pork chop, duck leg, creme brulee, apple tart). The only rather disappointing dish were sweetbreads (too bad for us, since it's the one we were looking forward to the most). Overall, a very enjoyable dinner.

      2. We went there for the bf's birthday in January and had a very nice meal. My flat iron steak was fine, but his cassoulet was excellent. I kept stealing bites of it all night. Also, the hostess overheard me say "Happy Birthday" to him and they sent out a free scoop of (delicious) ice cream with a little birthday chocolate on top.

        1. #disclaimer: this is based on multiple visits, but none from the last ~5yrs

          i am not really a big fan of lalame. the food is ok ... just cant remember anything
          especially exciting [but dont remember anything awful either]. the main lingering
          memory is i never liked the service there.

          i got some strange vibe ... like maybe they are nicer to regulars? older people running
          up bigger wine tabs? [i mostly went back when i was in my 20s]. i also thought the tables
          were too close together and were kind of packed in. this wasnt just atmosphereics, but
          the one time i was there for a larger group [i.e. not just table for two], a couple of us
          were seated in absurd positions where it really interfered with the server serving and
          the eaters eating ... atmosphereics usually dont bother me much say at "ethnic eateries". ultimately this bothered me less than the non-warm vibe, although in my cynical moments,
          i think packing in the dinners to an absurd point is consistent with the theory of "we just want your money".

          whenever we're casting about for a place in this price/quality band in the berkeley/
          albany area, i veto lalame.

          i realize this is not menu-focused comment but this was an aspect of the experience
          which left a "bitter taste". although i know other people who like the place.
          pizzalio is 100% better and i can think of other places i'd rather go as well.

          6 Replies
          1. re: psb

            The tables are pretty close together. I like the booths. It's an older crowd, certainly. My parents and their friends love the place. (I only go if they're paying!) The main courses can be boring, but I've had some great starters there. The special Spanish menu was great, too.

            1. re: Glencora

              I haven't been there in about three years, but my feeling has always been that the starters are more interesting than the entrees. I think this is actually true with a lot of restaurants: appetizers seem to allow more scope for creativity than an entree where people expect a substantial portion of some central ingredient.

            2. re: psb

              If you haven’t been there in a while I would go back. They definitely went through a bad period but they seem to be over it now. I would go back to give them a second chance. I started working in Berkeley in the late 90s and Lalimes was one of our favorite places. We had many memorable meals there. At some point the food quality started to suffer and we had a string of mediocre meals there. We stopped going altogether after a truly mediocre “Day of the dead” dinner with a very promising looking menu. We went last summer for the first time in about 5 years and we were very impressed with both the food and service.

              1. re: Ridge

                I haven't been back in about 5 years either, but your post has me reconsidering. Similar issue 5 years back, food was poor, waitstaff was indifferent. I never returned, but I might have to give it another try.

                1. re: Scott M

                  If you go back please let us know how it was. I have only been back once, so I would be curious to hear other recent experiences. There are lots of restaurants in the Berkeley/Albany area that in my experience are extremely hit or miss in terms of consistency of the food quality. We almost went back to Lalimes last Friday but decided to go to Sea Salt instead because I was really in the mood for oysters and because their devilled duck eggs are addicting. Sea Salt is owned by the same group that owns Lalimes and several other restaurants in the area. We tend to go to Sea Salt more because we love seafood, the food has been very consistently good and it’s less rich cuisine than Lalimes. I like the atmosphere and setting at Lalimes more though. I do remember a snooty server at Lalimes years ago, but our server last time could not have been more warm and welcoming.

                  1. re: Ridge

                    I go on average maybe 4 times a year. Other than one server who is no longer there, I have found service always ranging from adequate to excellent (over approx. the past 2 to 3 years). Food has always been good to excellent, and they really do excel at some desserts. I don't know if it was my imagination or what, but it seemed like the most expensive entrees had tempered their prices from visits of months' past. (It seems like the creep towards $30 was moving back towards $20.) But I don't have menus to compare. The restaurant group as a whole seems to have become more price-sensitive.

            3. The Chron reports that George Morrone is taking over as executive chef of the Lalime's / Fonda / T-Rex / Sea Salt / Jimmy Bean's group, and will start with a makeover of Lalime's menu.

              1329 Gilman, Berkeley, CA 94706

              5 Replies
              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                That's interesting. Although I'm sure it's a good gig from an employment point of view, seems like a bit of a come down for a hot shot like Morrone from a status point of view.

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  I hope it doesn't turn into an ego conflict thing - I really enjoy Lalime's as it is and hope it stays similar in style and price

                  1329 Gilman, Berkeley, CA 94706

                2. re: Robert Lauriston

                  The Chron reports today that Steve Jaramillo, the chef for the past ten years, left last Friday due to a disagreement about the restaurant's direction:


                  The menu already seems to show a new direction and more focus:


                  Special wild mushroom dinners Tuesday and Wednesday:


                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    I don't remember the old menu specifically, but I was never crazy about the food there. It was well-prepared, but somehow most of the menu items didn't appeal to me. However, this menu looks delicious! I think I'll suggest it for our upcoming December family birthday dinner.

                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                      Has anyone been post-kitchen change? The menu has had some definite price creep - all the entrees except the veggie option are $26+.