With graduation just a few days away, we’ve compiled a definitive ranking of the best brunch places in Berkeley. It’s tradition to get a fancy shmancy family dinner after graduation, but we think it’s just as important to celebrate before your commencement. Our top 6 joints around campus will make you wish you weren’t leaving Berkeley so soon.
You may have seen this iconic wall all over Instagram, but did you know that an amazing brunch place is conveniently located across from it? Sunny Side Cafe is a hole-in-the-wall restaurant that serves breakfast all day long near Downtown Berkeley. Like most brunch places, Sunny Side Cafe offers eggs Benedict and french toast, but their speciality is the Alameda: A savory french toast sandwich topped with over-easy eggs, hollandaise sauce and balsamic reduction. We definitely recommend coming here for brunch while drinking mimosas outside on the patio and snapping some Instagram-worthy pictures of your brunch adventure.
Located on the corner of Allston Way and Oxford Street, Gather offers quality food made with fresh ingredients from local farmers, ranchers and artisan food producers. Its menu changes on a daily basis, offering uniquely crafted dishes with seasonal ingredients, including vegetarian and vegan-friendly options. We recommend ordering the vegan charcuterie or spicy tomato pizza. At Gather, you will get to experience fine dining in a rustic, yet sophisticated, ambience.
4. Cafe M
Also located in West Berkeley is the home of modern American comfort food, Cafe M. It is a more casual restaurant, but Cafe M still serves food with great finesse that is on par with other restaurants. This small, welcoming restaurant is the perfect location to enjoy brunch with your family and friends. Be sure to try the crab cake Benedict and cinnamon-stuffed french toast—and don’t forget the bottomless mimosas!
3. Elmwood Cafe
Welcome to Elmwood Cafe, where you can find Berkeley’s best hot chocolate. Like most cafes in Berkeley, the space here is cozy and the decor is on point. Walking into Elmwood Cafe is like walking into a snazzy, old-fashioned bar or vintage cafe with your dear grandmother’s lovely chinaware collection on display. Elmwood is great for conversations over lattes served in bowls, lemon curd waffles, award-winning scones and their popular cinnamon-currant toast with cream cheese.
Bartavelle’s got it all in West Berkeley. Though it may look small, Bartavelle has a large, loyal crowd of customers. It’s no secret that Bartavelle serves quality food with quality experience. Nobody said you had to choose between coffee and wine–wine not both? We cannot forget their perfectly soft-boiled eggs served with anchovies. And their toasts? You can choose from avocado toast, prosciutto toast, ricotta toast with apricot or persimmon jam, TCHO chocolate toast and so many more options on ACME bread–it’s basically toast heaven here.
1. La Note
The. Best. Brunch. In. Berkeley. Period. La Note is tucked in Downtown Berkeley and is a quaint, rustic and homey French place always bustling with people from all over the Bay Area. If there is one brunch place you absolutely must go to before you die, La Note is the one. It is the perfect location for both small groups and romantic dates. Be sure to try their creme fraiche pancakes, as well as their poached pear gingerbread pancakes. Spoon tip: Make sure you get here early before the lines get long!
As all things come to an end…Cal Spoon would like to say: Congratulations, UC Berkeley Class of 2015! While your undergraduate years may have ended, we hope your appetite for amazing food never ceases.