Ahh... Au Coquelet, the welcoming Berkeley cafe where you can get a cup of coffee at the crack of dawn and come back after midnight for another cup with an Irish kick, indulge in a fresh fruit torte or any of the homemade desserts. No matter what time of day you opt to sit for a spell in the brick-walled Berkeley institution, the tables are sure to be dotted with people typing at laptops, thumbing through books, or just shooting the breeze.
This Chinatown breakfast and lunch counter serves “organic bicycle-pedaled roasted coffee” and Sri Lankan homemade Chai tea. There’s also an array of tropical smoothies, and a lunch menu full of Caribbean and Sri Lankan flavors that rotates daily and often sells out. (You can order a day in advance.) The muffins and breads all come from Semifreddi’s bakery. Prices are very reasonable, seating is limited, and catering options are available.
At Asha Tea House, the bubble teas are brewed with loose leaves, the boba is cooked fresh at least twice a day, and each drink is mixed and shaken by hand, not by a machine. Factor in the sleek, modern decor and the well-curated selection of snacks, and you've got yourself a boba shop that's a cut above the rest.
This chocolate lovers' paradise proffers drinks, pastries, and bars such as chocolate dulce de leche pudding and chocolate Thai iced tea.
Serves breakfast and lunch made from organic, locally grown ingredients, including house-cured cold cuts, daily roasted meats, and poached eggs.
Housed in a mellow, spic-and-span space, Cafe Yesterday is Berkeley's most comprehensive cereal bar, though its well-rounded menu also includes salads, sandwiches, house-baked pastries, and fair-trade coffee.
Like an old-fashioned Eastern European bakery, Crixa Cakes has everything from chocolate-cherry mousse cake to Fatima’s Thighs. Also, all of Crixa's delectable delights are baked from scratch on-site. The cafe boasts an expansive coffee bar, which features various espresso-based beverages in addition to the standard-issue cup of joe. Surf the 'net while you sip and chomp; they've got free wi-fi as well.
At the sidewalk tables outside, attractive hipsters enjoy a late brunch — grilled panini, poached eggs and toast, or the waffle of the day with fruit. Inside, animated with the buzz of excellent espresso drinks, still more attractive hipsters converse as soulful beats play in the background. At the counter, laminated tributes to subversive visionaries from Mother Jones to Bob Marley kindle activist sparks. Owners Andrea Ali, Keba Konte, and Rachel Konte are artists who select thought-provoking work to showcase on the walls. Never has the leftist cafe community been so tasty, creative, and mod. Organic, fair-trade coffee served.
Stepping inside this cozy venue might conjure up sweet memories of sunny days spent in your grandma's kitchen. Beyond beer and wine, the cafe offers up a simple but sweet home-style menu of soups, sandwiches, and baked goods like lemon pound cake. Live bands, from jazz to bluegrass acts, hit the stage weekly. The Station also caters private events in its lounge area or in the entire cafe.
What doesn't this place do? Located beneath the venerable Jazzschool in downtown Berkeley's theater district, the Jazzcaffè, run by German-born proprietor Kristine Seinsch, is part cafe and part bar, and also offers catering and event production services. Each succeeds on its own merits. Originally intended to serve a quick bite to Jazzschool students and teachers, the cafe has grown into a gathering place for the local jazz scene, offering a simple yet sophisticated (and evolving) menu of breakfast, brunch, and lunch fare. The bar offers a range of wines, beers, and apertifs.
The Junket is a European-style cafe in the El Cerrito Plaza shopping center. The cafe mainly specializes in German and British products. They offer many imported cheeses, meats, and gourmet sandwiches. Aside from tea or espressos, customers can try their fill at German beer on-tap along with imported wines.
This hip, airy Temescal hangout serves fresh, often tasty and imaginative soups, salads, sandwiches and breakfast items. Rich, buttery chowder, spiky tamarind chicken salad, a meltingly tender pulled-pork sandwich, and exemplary triple chocolate-chip cookies are among the menu's highlights.
This fancy cafe and classical music store, located across the street from UC Berkeley's Sproul Plaza, is one of the few venues in downtown Berkeley where you can eat scones and sip lattes while listening to live chamber music or cabaret.
Located a couple blocks from Ashby BART, Nomad provides the soy-latte crowd a place to discuss their recent trips to Guatemala and work on their laptops, thanks to free wi-fi. In addition to the espresso menu, Nomad serves sandwiches, beer, and smoothies.
After developing a cookie dough recepie for William Sonoma, the owner of Sweet Adeline worked as a pastry chef for Garibaldis On College before opening this bakery. The restaurant/bakery features tea cakes, ginger sticks, peppermint patties, and chocolate cream pie as well as cheese quiches, challah, and more. The establishment has free wi-fi as well as an outdoor seating area.