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Mar 5, 2010 04:53 PM

Breakfest East Bay

What is the top five "moderate" Breakfest places in the East Bay

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  1. I have only been to places in Berkeley and Emeryville along I-80 so can't really offer the "top five" in EB authoritatively; But I like the following:

    Cafe Aquarius in Emeryville
    Jimmy Bean's in Berkeley
    Betty's in Berkeley
    Doyle Street Cafe in Emeryville

    The last one tends to be calmer, especially on weekends. The first 3 can be crowded if you don't get there early (or late). Not being rushed on a weekend morning is more important to me than the food itself.

    There is always a large crowd at Rudy's Can't Fail in Emeryville for some reason (good food? easy parking? cute waitstaff?). I never feel the need to wait in line for breakfast so have never tried it.

    9 Replies
    1. re: tvr172

      Here's a rough priority list of places I've eaten at, without regard to the wait

      I dislike "best" lists because some of these places specialize in different foods, so mood matters.

      Rick and Ann's - lousy parking long wait great food
      900 Grayson - fairly light, smallish menu, but great
      Sunnyside - heavier, great all-around
      Betty's - long long wait - not so bad at the counter
      La Note - light, limited menu - more lesiurely
      Venus - heavier, lousy parking - I remember slow service
      Jimmy Bean - good all around, but lousy coffee
      Cafe Ina - very limited menu, heavy on the organics
      Meal Ticket - don't remember well, but remembered liking
      Sam's Log Cabin - old-school charm
      Au Cocolet - never a wait, good mochas
      Homemade Cafe - the waffles, but a very long wait on weekends
      Rudy's Can't Fail - filling, lousy parking if full, crowded on weekends
      Mama's Royal - old school
      Tomate Cafe [may have been poor execution the one time I tried it]
      Fat Apple's - very old school and a bit greasy, huge pates of food

      I'm leaving out some places I haven't tried (Chop Bar), some places that just aren't worth the mention (Gilman St Cafe).

      1. re: bbulkow

        Meal Ticket was outstanding for breakfast last week.

        Slow roasted pork with eggs was a hit. The pork was very tender, juicy and flavorful, with a hint of curry. Eggs done as ordered; potatoes added necessary starch. This was delightful.

        Trout filet with eggs was also delicious, with more of a curry flavor to the trout than the pork. Fish was very fresh and flaky. Eggs and potatoes as ordered.

        Coffee excellent.

        This is a place in which you order at the counter and then they bring the food. There is a large back patio.

        Meal Ticket
        1235 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94706

        1. re: lil mikey

          Meal Ticket is a very nice place for breakfast/brunch. The patio when it's warm is excellent. I had a very nice trout plate with veggies, rice pilaf in the summer (it was around $10). I've heard a lot about the pancakes but have never had them.

          Meal Ticket
          1235 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94706

        2. re: bbulkow

          Second Venus.
          I ate there 3 times in August, always experiencing good, quick service. I like their coffee, benedicts, scrambles and Morning Glory muffins, which happen to be the best Morning Glory muffins I've tasted.

          I like the spinach, mushroom, roasted red pepper and chevre omelette at Five in the Shattuck Plaza Hotel, although the tastiness factor varied a little depending on which cook was preparing it (more spinach/mushrooms/cheese some days).

          I wanted to try Bette's, but the line-up was insane, even early on a weekday, so I grabbed some pastries from the Bette's To Go side. Nice breakfast rolls, cinnamon rolls, donut muffins. If I ever do manage to get a table at Bette's, what should I order?
          Bette's Breakfast menu:

          Bette's Oceanview Diner
          1807 4th St, Berkeley, CA 94710

          Venus Restaurant
          2327 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94704

          1807 4th St, Berkeley, CA 94710

          1. re: bbulkow

            Chop Bar has an above average brunch with fresh tasting foods and decent, strong coffee.

            1. re: moto

              When have you last been? Because every time I've been to Chop Bar, the coffee is terrible. Like, some of the worst coffee I've ever had terrible. The first time I sent the coffee back and got a new cup, and it was just as bad, so I figured that they just regularly make really bad coffee. The food is good, and I happily go there for brunch, but either get coffee first or bring it along with me now. I'd be happy to know if it's gotten better.

              1. re: JasmineG

                a little over a year since we went to Chop Bar for brunch. thanks for the downhill notice -- the stuff we have at home is personally blended, roasted, ground and brewed to order, so mediocre coffee is like a big flag. in a recent discussion about CaƱa someone commented how the blue bottle coffee is individually brewed there and always bitter, so there's a definite possibility that some places choose to make their brews a certain way as a style preference.

          2. re: tvr172

            1. i think breakfast at homemade cafe is consistently yummy. true, there is a long wait on the weekends (isn't that true for most good b'fast places, though)-but there is usually counter space and it is fun to watch the long time cooks at the grill. forewarned-this place is scruffy in atmosphere-which i think is a plus-also has a great mix of people.
            2. rick and annes-yes: long wait, terrible parking (ride your bike) -and more expensive than others-but the breakfast is top notch (i waited tables there for a year and never got sick of the food-if that says something)
            3. the egg shop in montclair-great service usually and a cool ceiling toy train
            4. west side bakery
            5 and one no vote-rudy's can't fail cafe-everyone seems to like this place and i can't figure out why-after 5 tries and five mediocre results-i have given up

            1. re: deirdretaos

              I love the corned beef hash at Westside.

          3. Aunt Mary's Cafe
            Jennifer & Todd's Cafe Soleil

            1. Full House Cafe in Oakland.

              1. Hob Nob - Alameda - Upscale/tasty
                Fat Lady - Jack London Square - my favorite east bay pancakes - good corned beef
                Westside Bakery - Berkeley - lots of veggie options - house made bread
                La Pinata - Alameda -- Filling cheap Mexican Breakfast (Otaez also has huge buffet if you like Mexican breakfast)
                Jim's Diner- Alameda- Old School - cheap and huge

                7 Replies
                1. re: myst

                  for the vegans, Westside Bakery makes a fierce tofu rancheros for breakfast. it's really outstanding.

                  1. re: myst

                    I would second Jim's, really good old school breakfast.

                    1. re: rtmonty

                      I feel like Rudy's was good for awhile, then at some point they kind of lost interest. But the aura of hipness still seems to cling to the place.

                      1. re: redrover

                        I like Guerilla by the corner of Shattuck Ave. and Cedar.
                        Ole's in Alameda. Nothing fancy, but watching the cooks if you sit at the counter is amazing.
                        We did like Brown Sugar Kitchen until one of the owners, she said she was an owner, was rude to us. Never again.

                        1. re: achefsbest

                          Doug's Place. Castro Valley. Better Chicken Steak than anything mentioned above, or below. And good hash browns. Cheaper than half of the options above too.

                          Doug's Place
                          20871 Redwood Rd, Castro Valley, CA 94546

                      2. re: myst

                        Also in Alameda: Albert's -- how can you not like a place that features the "hippie special" and is helmed by a gravel-voiced, rainbow-haired grandma?

                        Albert's Cafe
                        1541 Webster St, Alameda, CA 94501

                      3. I'm surprised there hasn't been a mention of Sunny Side Cafe on Solano in Albany (or is it Berkeley?). Large and fresh portions with seasonal changes to their specials. Locally raised produce and meats. Outdoor seating. Great prices. Yay!

                        Sunny Side Cafe
                        1499 Solano Ave, Albany, CA 94706

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: mollyamorous

                          Sunnyside is good, but definitely not great prices! We went a couple weeks ago, and got a crazy giant french toast with eggs and ham and something else- tons and tons of food, but kind of just okay taste wise. I got eggs blackstone, which was good. nice outdoor seating though.
                          My favorites:
                          Tacubaya- usually great churros, strong coffee and good chilaquiles- get there before 12 when it gets packed
                          Cockadoodle cafe in old oakland (bwtn 7th and 8th ..cant remember exactly, near the courthouse)
                          great breakfasts, mexican influence, great people delicious specials, and a shady patio if i remember. havent been there in a while
                          Mamas Royal- fresh squeezed oj, great hash, quality meat and ham used, good diner-y breakfast
                          Sam's Log Cabin- very homemade tasting, good pancakes and corncakes, cash only i think, nice nice people, strong coffee
                          Cana (sorry, cant do the enyay) on grand ave was really cool, not amazing, but definitely a menu i want to go back and eat more of- cuban food
                          And heads up- i cook so i dont go out to eat at these places on weekends- i have NO idea who's too packed to bother on sat/sun, though i think mamas royal and tacubaya definitely have a wait

                          1. re: rabbitblue

                            Cockadoodle does have a nice breakfast -- patio in the back-- it's located on Washington St. near the police station / courthouse (the main county courthouse is further uptown and close by Lake Merritt). It's cooking style is rather lighter, less greasy-spoonish than Mama's Royal, but some folk of course like the old fashioned ways.

                            1. re: rabbitblue

                              Tacqueria Talavera is as good or better than Tacubaya, cheaper with more food. Outdoor seating if the weather is good and less crowded than Tacubaya.

                              Then saunter up Solano to La Bedaine for dessert.

                              Taqueria Talavera
                              1561 Solano Ave, Berkeley, CA 94707