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Nov 1, 2010 09:58 AM

"Gaumenkitzel" West Berkeley

A new restaurant/bakery is going into the old Metro Lighting location on San Pablo Ave. It is called "Gaumenkitzel" German for "delight for the taste buds" (there must a better translation). All I can say that Gaumenkitzel is a wonderful concept...the tickling of your taste buds. Construction work has started and this will be a restaurant/bakery focusing on Northern German food/baked good- fresh, sustainable etc.

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  1. The original comment has been removed
    1. There were people in there today, said they'll be open tomorrow (Sunday 1/30).

      8 Replies
      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        Yes, they had a celebration party in there, and will be open tomorrow. We looked inside, and it looks very promising. Since we live in walking distance, I think we will head there for breakfast tomorrow.

        1. re: evacarleton

          Just had breakfast at Gaumenkitzel and it was lovely. I thought we would be one of the first people there (at 9am in the rain) but the place was already busy (German accents all around), and it had a constant stream of people coming. The interior space is gorgeous - all windows, high ceiling, skylights, vivid colors of orange and green. The space felt really good. I had two broiled eggs with cream and herbs, my husband had the gourmet breakfast (an egg, cheeses, cold cuts, smoked salmon, homemade jam) and both of our breakfasts came with home-made rolls and bread. I loved the bread and my eggs. The service was slow but I would think since it is their first day, it is a trial run to figure things out. The breakfast menu features also muesli, home-made yoghurt, hot cereal etc. The prices were very reasonable too I thought. I took a look at the lunch menu and it looked inviting - several salads, a soup, a dish I have not had in forever (creamed spinach, roasted potatoes, and fried eggs), a beef dish (Rindsroulade) and the catch of the day; and then several desserts -specialties of the owner.

          I was very pleased and will be back soon; great space to hang out, meet others, and enjoy locally sourced produce and meat - and everything home-made. I would go back just to get more bread :-)

            1. re: sydthekyd

              Yes, they came in a ramekin - I suppose they put them under the broiler; very yummy; I loved the herb they used - I was not sure what it was.

              1. re: sydthekyd

                Eggs previously cooked, poached/fried, and finished under a salamandar.

                1. re: wolfe

                  Those breakfasts sounded great, so I stopped in today. Alas, they weren't serving them after 11. The manager said they might move to extending the hours for weekend brunch sometime in the future. Nice, airy space with a communal table.

              2. re: evacarleton

                I tried them out at lunchtime on opening day and was less ithan mpressed. They were out of the bread and rolls by 12:30. I ordered the creamed spinach, potatoes and two fried eggs. Nothing was seasoned and the cubed potatoes were just that, plain cubes of lightly pan fried potatoes. Portions were small and I felt nothing warranted my breakfast's price of $9. The latte I ordered was basically warm milk slightly flavored with coffee. Truly bad. I also took a few desserts to go, slices of the butter cake and the cake with hazelnuts as well as the caramel pudding and while the flavors were passable, the tiny portions and not so timy prices made me sure to never return ($8.50). On the topic of portion size, the gentleman seated at an adjacent table ordered a second beef dish after finishing his first small plate of the same, basically spending $36 for a lot of mashed potatoes and two small pieces of beef. Being a frequent visitor to the neighborhood, living only two miles away, I was sincerely hoping to love this place. I'm hoping for better luck with the new Italian place.

                1. re: Hungrymama

                  Here is a link to The Thrillist with more info and a menu (although I think the lunch menu has changed for february.


          1. I went yesterday (on opening day) around 12:15, and noted several problems:

            - There was no hostess so people did not know how to get a table and were left loitering near the door (none of the servers bothered to pay any attention to the number of people standing around waiting for a table. Bizarre).
            - Portions were terribly small. I think they were running out of food.
            - Food was under-seasoned. We had to ask for salt, as the soup salad and eggs were bland.
            - The wait took 45 + minutes for salad
            - Our server didn't tell us they ran out of bread until after our tiny meals were delivered. Not a big deal if they are out of bread but the portions were so small that having a little bread to eat with it would have helped tremendously.
            - Prices were not reduced even though portion size was - they charged for a large soup when it was clearly a small, etc.
            - No beer to drown the disappointment
            - Several disgruntled diners sitting nearby our table. It was clear we were not the only ones unhappy with the experience.

            9 Replies
            1. re: breanac

              I think they are avantgarde and got the new dietary guidelines before anyone else :-)
              But they do have to work on organizing their staff. I just figured it is opening pains although making a good impression to start with seems like a good idea.

              I will be back this weekend to taste all of their breads, including the sweet ones, and to see what lunch looks like.

              1. re: evacarleton

                I'll give them some time to work out issues before stopping in. But when I peeked in the window, I noticed their hours were strange - they close at 6pm, so it isn't like it is just a lunch service - are they trying to cater for early dinner? Or a carry-out business for people on the way home? I'm not eager to try an early dinner only to feel like they are closing right after I order and want to go home. Anyone know the thinking here?

                1. re: lmnopm

                  Given the hours, I figure they conceived it as a bakery-cafe, not a restaurant.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Yes, I stopped in this weekend, but didn't get anything, since it was 'tea time' and they only had a couple sweet pastries. As I recall they are open continuously from 8? to 6 but serve prepared dishes like breakfast, lunch, and dinner only at regimented times. I believe dinner starts at 4:30. Lunch and dinner options sounded good, but they were out of all savory breads by the time I got there at 3 pm.

                    1. re:

                      From what I read, the idea is the expand the evening hours in a little while; so for now it is only a very early dinner; the "typical" regional way to eat is to have a good breakfast, a good lunch (although from the comments, people did not feel they got that), then it is traditional to sit down for an afternoon snack (Jause) where you have coffee, bread or some sweets), and dinner would be rather early and not that substantial.

                      I have my hopes up that they will be successful because I really like the concept but so far many people have been disappointed.

                      1. re: evacarleton

                        I went for breakfast yesterday. Had the Gourmet Frühstück. It was very good and a great deal for the $$. Soft boiled egg done perfectly, a little house smoked salmon, cream cheese, brie, emmenthaler. Some house smoked meats and their dynamite orange marmalade. Also a few slices of apple. Came w. a roll and two kinds of bread. All this for 8.50$! Coffee was meh. Service was fine.

                        1. re: Eli

                          Since coffee in Germany is usually meh that sounds pretty authentic.

                          1. re: boris_qd

                            I wanted to add that what really got us down was the arrogance. The presumption that folks don't know better and will just accept a child's portion at an unreasonable price.

                            You know what would've saved the day? A few incredibly simple things:

                            "Sorry, we are having a hectic opening day. We know the portions are tiny, and that's because we didn't anticipate the crowd. We'll charge you for a small...or here's $10 to spend next time you come in"

                            "Hey everyone, thanks so much for coming. Unfortunately we're out of bread, so here's a pastry."

                            1. re: breanac

                              I don't think they are arrogant or what you experienced is a sign of arrogance. Disorganized - yes, inexperienced, yes....this was the first time I ever showed up for the opening of a restaurant, don't know if it tends to be like this for a first time restorateur. I am somewhat shocked because after all they are German - so I would have expected more preparation. I think this is their first venture, and the focus was in the kitchen (where she probably fussed over everything and hence the delay in getting the food out) and the staff was clearly inexperienced, had no proper sense of what needed to be done and had no-one that directed them. The lack of charge in the dining room made for a less than good experience and also resulted in no-one being in charge to give customers a discount, cookie or whatever they needed. Although I should say that in Germany/Austria you generally do not have a hostess as people seat themselves; if there are no seats, people will often just leave and not form neat lines as they do here. And, I don't think I ever got a discount etc. in Europe for anything. I tried to send something back once - that did not go over well....However, Gaumenkitzel should obviously cater to how things are done here.

                              I was there this morning at 8 to see if they had any sweet rolls yet - regular rolls yes (and I think they are excellent) but the sweet ones were not ready - although staff told me that the idea is for them to be ready at 6am. My colleage went by around 7am and said they had no take-out rolls/bread or anything except for one or two cookies.

                              My colleague and I will give them another breakfast chance next week (we may have to drop in 123 for coffee afterwards :-)

            2. The original comment has been removed
              1. Ate there today. The Gourmet Frühstück was a classic German breakfast: assortment of cold cuts and cheeses, smoked salmon, an egg (I had soft-boiled), bread, rolls, butter, house-made blood orange and rosemary jelly. I thought it was a great value at $8.50.

                Out of curiosity we also tried the Bircher Müsli ($5.50), which was surprisingly light due to a high percentage of grated apple. Very nice.

                The server said when their liquor license goes through they plan to stay open until 11.


                2121 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702