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Berkeley brunch

Looking to have brunch in the Berkeley area on a Friday. It seems that there are tons of well-regarded brunch options! Assuming we're doing Mama's for our other brunch place in SF, which of the following would you choose and how are they different from one another (food, uniqueness factor, view, atmosphere, etc.)? Any other suggestions would be welcome. Thanks!

-Rick and Ann's
-Bette's Oceanview Diner
-Venus
-La Note
-900 Grayson

We are coming from NY so something more unique and Californian-inspired would be great.

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  1. La Note's great in nice weather when they have the back patio open.

    1. I vote for Mama's Royal Cafe in Oakland. Then you could call it the Mama's to Mama's weekend. Little hole in the wall with lines out the door on the weekends. The menu isn't "California Cuisine", it's just creative and delicious breakfast. Neighborhood isn't chichi Berkeley, it's working class Oakland. (Don't worry, it's safe!)

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

      1. 900 Grayson has outside seating if thats something that appeals. Its also very California-y, to me, food-wise. Interesting stuff on their menu(s). That would be where I would take you given the description in your post. Grayson is in a funky location. Its small but efficient.
        http://www.900grayson.com/breakfast.html
        I love La Note but its simple frenchy. Quaint. I am always happy eating there.
        Have fun wherever you end up!!

        1. i vote for 900 Grayson for the best corned beef hash and well made egg dishes. . I wish the waffles in the Demon Lover (fried chicken and waffles) was better because then that dish would shine!

          GREAT coffee here. . .

          1. These places in a nutshell:

            Rick and Ann's: right across the street from the Claremont Hotel and near a Peets, in an upscale part of Berkeley. The food is perfectly pleasant, but not great. There are a few outside tables (I think two or three).

            Bette's: Great pancakes, everyday specials that are good, fun old diner setting, the neighborhood is a nice one to wander around, because there are a number of other food shops/boutiques around there. The food is diner meets California. Two or three tables outside, but just on the sidewalk. Very Berkeley.

            La Note: Lovely outside patio, menu is very Frenchy, good egg dishes and pancakes. Very nice place to relax and eat. Nothing else that great right around it, but it's not a far drive from the Gourmet Ghetto, where you'll find the Cheeseboard and other good places to stop by.

            900 Grayson: nice outdoor patio, good but not that creative food (the hash browns are great, though) a nice relaxed place.

            I'd probably go to Bette's, given what you're looking for.

            4 Replies
            1. re: JasmineG

              And on a Friday morning, the wait at Bette's probably won't be too bad. On the weekends, or weekday lunch time, the wait can be a real problem.

              I love corned beef hash, and Bette's offers a very nice one. Their's is a less greasy, 'lighter' version topped with poached eggs. Highly recommended.

              1. re: BernalKC

                I second the recommendation for Bette's. The corned beef hash is great, as are the pancakes (really, really good pancakes--light as air and practically melt in your mouth). The have different pancake specials everyday, and every single one I've tried has been stellar! Also, don't forget the donut muffin (my husband's personal favorite). And, lastly, they do soft-scrambled eggs really well, though I usually ask for mine to be medium-soft-scrambled. Always good food and consistent service.

                1. re: JasmineG

                  I haven't been to Rick and Ann's in a while, but it used to be my favorite. I usually got whatever special pancake was on the menu, and I particularly remember a lemon-ginger pancake once. Corn pancakes, too. The food isn't greasy and heavy like at some other places. I stopped going there after I was told there was a 2 hour wait a couple of times - that's a weekend wait time -- and it seems to get less love these days. It's much more in the Berkeley chez-pannise mode, great arts and crafts room, communal table.

                  La Note is good for the light eater. It's great for a bowl of oatmeal, or a light pancake, and their merguez is quite good, but it's two *teeny* little sausages. I always leave a little hungry.

                  I'm not a huge fan of Bette's. Their pancakes are pretty good, but I'm just not a fan of the 4th street vibe, or the neuvo diner. The area is rather constructed and plopped down, and it doesn't even have cody's anymore. But I'll admit, perhaps grudgingly, that the food's OK.

                  I'd take the Homemade Cafe over Bette's. Just feels more real there, even though it's such a small spot.

                  Too bad about 900 grayson; I'd agree it's a good spot to try.