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French restaurants in Berkeley / Oakland area?

Robert Lauriston Nov 12, 2011 11:57 AM

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

  1. Glencora Nov 12, 2011 12:19 PM

    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. l
      lmnopm Jun 17, 2012 01:33 PM

      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. Caitlin McGrath Jun 17, 2012 07:39 PM

        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. h
          hyperbowler Jun 18, 2012 01:11 PM

          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
            Armoise Jun 20, 2012 05:39 PM

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

            1. re: Armoise
              Rapini Jun 20, 2012 10:22 PM

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

            2. re: hyperbowler
              l_emily Jun 22, 2012 09:33 AM

              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. z
              zinfanatic Jun 23, 2012 12:22 PM

              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
                sundeck sue Jun 23, 2012 07:55 PM

                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.

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