Think of a ridiculously sunny Sunday, Ikea-worthy outdoor upstairs patio, and enormous pitchers of orange juice. Nestled away in a quirky corner of Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto, Nico’s 1508 exudes humility as a wholly underrated upscale Berkeley brunch spot. I was surprised to find Nico’s relatively empty on a relaxed Sunday morning, but that just added to the romantic, rustic air so I could continue aimlessly lounging in a large wooden chair.

A Full Spread

Erika Zhang

When splurging on a pricey meal, go all the way. "When in Rome," they say, but it's more like, "When in Berkeley’s richest suburbs." As a big proponent of “family style,”—the choice maneuver for a Nico’s breakfast of champions—everyone needs to have a bite of everything. Therefore, ordering multiple dishes and splitting makes that goal easy to accomplish. The brunch menu is straightforward, orderly, and split into four unique categories. After rounds of heated discussion, decisions are justified and conclusions are made. So pancakes or waffles, sandwiches or burgers, mimosas, maybe? A successful brunch is the combination of equal parts from breakfast and lunch. Our verdict: Nico’s Burgermonger with a truffle egg, Pork Belly Eggs Benedict, Ahi Sliders, Blueberry Pancakes, heaps of potatoes, and fruit. Did someone say feast?

Burgermonger and Ahi Burgers

Erika Zhang

A monstrosity in its own right, this burger was indulgent and decadent. It displayed a runny yolk placed atop a medium beef patty and had butter running down the sides of the sesame-seed bun. The over-easy truffle egg was absolutely mouth-watering. This 16-ounce, 100% Angus Chuck patty became so much softer as the yolk bled into it.  

Ahi Burgers? More like Aha! Burgers. An inspired twist on an otherwise family favorite, the use of Ahi over traditional beef made for a burst of Aioli confusion in my mouth.


Erika Zhang

Ordering a full spread of both sweet and savory foods means major mouth confusion—an influx of flavors, textures, and ideas. Compliments to Nico’s chef, as there was a certain degree of nuance to every dish. Here I continue my streak as a 40-year-old boozy wine mom basking in the sun, savoring each and every bite. After a tremulous battle at the table deciding whether to dine with chocolate chip or blueberry pancakes, I have to say, the blueberry pancakes were to die for. The pancakes were extremely fluffy. Let's spend a few seconds talking about the butter. The butter was airy, light, and whipped to perfection. I have never had something melt in my mouth faster or more decadently. This short stack has intense overtones laced with luxury.


Erika Zhang

Another memorable Nico's dish was the potatoes—two different kinds! Alternating between garlic horseshoe fries and garlic-seasoned diced potatoes, I’ve never been sent to carb overload faster. Dip each into garlic aioli and feel as your mouth continues to salivate. Nico’s turned the ultimate children's finger food into one of elegance and heavenly flavors. Alongside the Ahi Sliders—a crazy concept in itself—a basket of soft potatoes was just waiting to be aggressively eaten. Did I say that I was thoroughly transported somewhere divine with each bite?

Though the most important component of a good brunch is the food, I think the ambiance of Nico’s 1508 exponentially increased my experience. The service was quick, the food was delectable, and my friends were wonderful. What more could I ask for? If you ever find yourself craving chicken and waffles or bottomless mimosas, Nico’s 1508 is your new go-to.