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Jan 10, 2010 12:44 PM

Oakland Brunch (with baby) - Aunt Mary's now too crowded

So, Aunt Mary's was our go-to brunch spot, but after today, waiting ~30-40 minutes for a table, and then another 30-40 minutes for our food, we need to look elsewhere. (It's distressing that we had to wait so long to eat. It seems their kitchen can't handle their seating capacity. Thankfully, the food is still good.)

Racking my brain, I could think where else we could get a quality brunch, and where it's large enough that high chairs aren't an issue. We'd prefer not straying too far from Rockridge/Temescal. And to not wait more than 15 minutes (which rules out Brown Sugar Kitchen and Venus in Berkeley, which we haven't bothered even trying to go to with out 16 month old).

Aunt Mary's Cafe
4307 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

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  1. Camino's my current favorite East Bay brunch spot, and they take reservations. I haven't seen any high chairs, but I'd be surprised if they didn't have them.

    1. Our favorite brunch spot is Sunny Side in Albany, but it's not a particularly big room--I wonder if their new Berkeley location is any bigger. In any case, we've never waited more than 15 minutes or so at the Solano location.

      Another good place for brunch is T-Rex, and we've never had to wait there.

      T-Rex Barbeque
      1300 10th St, Berkeley, CA 94710

      Sunny Side Cafe
      1499 Solano Ave, Albany, CA 94706

      3 Replies
      1. re: abstractpoet

        Two doors away from Sunnyside Cafe on Solano is Bistro 1451 (formerly Walker's PieShop).
        I've enjoyed the organic pear pancakes. eggs benedict and beef short rib hash. It's a sunny, warm room with yellow tones and usually not crowded. It's family friendly and roomy enough for high chairs. The food is solid and the owner/cook pays attention to presentation.

        1. re: bunnysitter

          We like this place for a low key brunch. Never crowded, decent food, nice room. I am surprised (and worried) that they don't have more business. Maybe at dinner? Our problem has been that brunch on weekends often doesn't start until 10:30 or 11. I am headed for lunch at that point! We loved Aunt Mary's, are happy they are doing well, but would like suggestions for places open before 10. (Tired of Doyle Street Cafe and Venus.)

        2. re: abstractpoet

          After today's visit (our first one in a long while), I'm going to have to take back my T-Rex brunch recommendation. The food, at least at brunch, has gone seriously downhill. We used to love getting an order of their beignets to share -- it'd come with this decadent, but not too sweet, dipping sauce: whipped cream, with a really tasty coffee-infused custard that you had to dig for underneath. Now the beignets are served with a cloyingly sweet "caramel" sauce (tasted like frosting, basically) with the gimmicky addition of bits of bacon. Terrible.

          My go-to brunch order was the hangtown fry, and that's no longer on the menu. Another disappointment. So I got the eggs benedict. Poached eggs were fine, but the Hollandaise tasted overly sour to me. The breakfast potatoes on the side were soft and pretty cold. Didn't bother finishing them. Portion size wasn't particularly large for a $12 plate, and the dominant feature on that plate was some big hunks of assorted fruit (cantaloupe, pineapple) that I didn't particularly want with my breakfast to begin with.

          My wife had a spinach omelette, which she said was fine but nothing special. Same cold, soggy potatoes.

          With so many better brunch options in the area, I don't think we'll be back.

        3. i love Aunt Mary's myself but I agree, way too crowded. Sunny Side in Albany is also super crowded. They are a bit stickler about not seating you until your whole party is there.

          May want to try Lynn & Lu's Escapade Cafe on Grand Ave near Lake Merrit. It's right off the freeway, parking is moderately easy and the food comes extremely fast. They are very efficient and friendly. Two very important criteria for myself. May be nice with a small child if the service was fast. Never had to wait for a table and the food was tasty. The atmosphere is a little grungy but gives off a family-owned, home-style-cooking vibe.

          1 Reply
          1. re: kittyjoyjoy

            The breakfasts at Lynn & Lu's are solid, but the menu isn't particularly exciting or varied. That said, I've enjoyed my meals there and the service is very friendly.

            Another option is Cafe M, on 4th St. in Berkeley. Good benedicts and corned beef hash. Can get a little bit crowded on weekends, but not nearly as much as Bette's down the street. I often see lots of families with kids there.

            Cafe M
            1799 4th St, Berkeley, CA 94710

            Lynn & Lu's Escapade Cafe
            3353 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA 94610

          2. If Adesso is open, try's a favorite of mine on Saturday afternoons; light and quiet and economical and you can plenty of room, normally...maybe there?

            4395 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA

            1 Reply
            1. re: Munching Mark

              How about the hidden treasure:

              Café Aquarius

              1298 65th St
              (at Hollis St)
              Emeryville, CA 94608

            2. Jimmy Beans in Bezerkley is the best place for breakfast. They are fast and the food is top notch. They have the best buttermilk pancakes. I have eaten breakfast all over and this is by far the best place in the eastbay. I thought Aunt Mary's was way overrated. Too long of a wait and service is poor.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ajb1200

                When juggling a hungry baby waiting for table and food can be pretty tricky. Most places don't have a horrible wait before 9AM, but if you are at peak brunch times it can be very bad. Jimmy Beans is a little too self-service for me (I have 17 month old). Hob Nob in Alameda never seems to have a wait and is very child friendly. I love Fat Lady in Oakland, but I go early. They have great hotcakes and corned beef hash. My son also loves dim sum and we go to East Ocean in Alameda.