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Brunch in Berkeley/Piedmont area

We're going to meet some friends that we haven't seen in awhile for Sunday brunch in a couple of weeks. They live in Piedmont so we're looking to eat in Piedmont or Berkeley. However I'm not so sure about their choice of restaurants judging from past experience. I'd like a restaurant that has really good brunch food, maybe bloody marys and would be a comfortable place to get together and talk. They suggested the Claremont which I went to years ago. I just don't care much for large buffets. I eat too much and the food isn't usually that great. Would love suggestions.

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  1. Best brunch: Camino (on Grand Avenue).

    It's convenient for your Piedmont friends. There is a bar for an eye-opener, but Camino's approach--at all meals--is to put a few specific cocktails on the menu, rather than leave the bar open for all requests.

    If you can live with that, the food is out of this world, and the place is much quieter at brunch, so that you can talk...

    1 Reply
    1. re: Rapini

      Totally concur on the Camino brunch. Convenient and awesome. Only issues to be aware of are 1)long communal tables (though no forced conviviality), and 2)fabulous menu that does NOT include your brunch standards. Here's a sample: http://www.caminorestaurant.com/brunc... I think it's much better than the standard fare, but those who want a house of large sizes buffet will be disappointed.

    2. I haven't been so I don't know about the food, but for convenience, I've heard that Citron on College (Rockridge, pretty close to Piedmont) takes brunch reservations. Nice looking menu, quiet-looking atmosphere.

      1 Reply
      1. re: kmah

        I've eaten dinner there twice and found it less than acceptable. Wilted veggies, tasteless meat. It made the 'never again' list a decade ago - I still don't understand why they're open.

        Cesar Piedmont has brunch - "the best kept secret in the bay area' - and a full bar. Might be worth a try.

      2. Across the street from the Claremont is Rick and Ann's. The food is good to very good but nothing special or mind blowing but it's a comfortable place and it fits in with the 'hood in a casual way. It gets crowded and the lines long however. Of course they probably know of it.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ML8000

          Unreasonably long wait, leading to, at best, neglectful service by vapid servers...

          The food at my last visit (some years ago) was good, but not nearly good enough to overcome the rest of the experience...

          Can't recommend it, don't know why anybody puts up with it...

        2. Does Pican still have brunch? Fried chicken, hollandaise and beignets, mmmm, mmmm do cardiologists take Sunday calls?

          1. T-Rex does a pretty good brunch. Sunny Side Cafe (on Solano Ave.) is probably our favorite brunch spot -- Fonda next door is also good. if you don't feel like going all the way up to Albany, you can try the new downtown Berkeley location of Sunny Side on Oxford St. (near campus).

            Camino is another great option, as others have noted.

            1. We like the Terrace Room at the Lake Merrit Hotel. Great View, very good food, very good service. I think there is a thread from July 09.

              1. I would go to Sea Salt, Camino or Cesar.

                1. Thanks everyone. It looks like Camino is well-liked by many. In addition to Camino, I thought that the menus at Sea Salt, Cesar and Pican looked good to me. Now I have to pass the info on the my husband and my friends. A question about Camino. Are there only communal tables?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Javagirl

                    If I remember correctly, they're not all communal...in any event, when I went for brunch, it wasn't so crowded that you were elbow-to-elbow with other diners...

                  2. Thanks Rapini for the info on Camino. It turns out our friends love Cesar which is also close to their house, so that's where we'll meet. I'll keep the rest of the suggestions for future Berkeley/Oakland visits.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Javagirl

                      Note that Cesar (on Piedmont) will be switching to a Pan-Latin menu starting 2/12. Don't know how that will affect their brunch menu. The branch in Berkeley will still be serving Spanish-style tapas.