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Nov 12, 2011 11:57 AM

French restaurants in Berkeley / Oakland area?

A friend who moved to Berkeley recently was asking about hardcore French restaurants in the area. All I could come up with were Liaison, Rendez-Vous, Chez Simone, Nizza, and La Note. Also La Bedaine for takeout.

Am I forgetting anything? There are lots of Cal-whatever places with some French touches, such as BayWolf, À Côté, Rivoli, and Gregoire, and depending on the night you might get a very French meal downstairs at Chez Panisse.

La Note Restaurant Provencal
2377 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704

Nizza La Bella
827 San Pablo Ave, Albany, CA 94706

Bistro Liaison
1849 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, CA 94709

Chez Simone
4125 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611

Rendez-Vous Cafe Bistro
1111 Solano Ave, Albany, CA 94706

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  1. Your list seems to cover it. Cafe Rouge serves French dishes, as well as food from other Mediterranean countries. I like the cassoulet.

    Cafe Rouge
    1782 Fourth St, Berkeley, CA 94710

    1. Today's brunch at Nizza la Bella was really good. All 3 of us thoroughly enjoyed our varied dishes

      (1) Steak Salad
      (2) Pizza w/egg
      (3) Baked eggs w/ham and sauce

      Prices for the brunch/lunch menu are quite reasonable. The most expensive of the 3 was the salad (at $11-something, I believe) which had a quite generous portion of meat.

      1. La Rose Bistro downtown is on the French-ish end of the spectrum. I've only been there once, maybe around three years ago. It was a pretty solid meal as I recall, but not special. I think I had duck confit and profiteroles.

        1. Has anyone been to Le Bateau Ivre recently enough to compare their quality to the other places mentioned in this thread?

          3 Replies
          1. re: hyperbowler

            Unless they have changed recently, the food is terribly mediocre.

            1. re: Armoise

              I thought it was mediocre when it opened in the 70"s. But at the time, it was charming.

            2. re: hyperbowler

              The food is probably as equivalent to a corner brasserie in Paris. Competent, but nothing stellar. It would not be a place I would search out for French food. But if you want an apertiv under the open sky on the outside patio- it's the right place to be.

            3. The food at both La Note and RendezVous Cafe is less then mediocre. In my opinion the food at Rendez Vous is pretty bad. I was taken there by friends and will never go back. It was very crowded on a Wednesday evening. I have not been to La Note is the last several hers, but when last I went many of the ingredients were not seasonal and in fact out of CANS.

              1 Reply
              1. re: zinfanatic

                I think the way to do La Note is for a French breakfast. Nicely prepared/presented options.

                For lunch, I always do the (very good) spinach salad, which is, I guess, not esp. French.

                Dinner, I more or less agree--I wouldn't say "pretty bad," but not great (I always think I'm going to like the ratatouille; and then, meh)

                As for the setting: sitting out on the back patio on a nice day is pretty terrific. And the French touches in the dining room make for a charming space.