Serving “seasonal farm-to-table cuisine” at the Claremont Hotel Club & Spa, Meritage commands one of the East Bay’s most historic and highly prized views: a surrealistically supersized panorama that starts with tennis courts and venerable Canary Island palms, then displays Berkeley as a glittering fairy-tale village. Bridges, silver-blue bay, peaks, and metropolis shimmer beyond, under a sky so wide and high as to coax you into believing God exists. Its dinner menus feature 98 percent locally sourced dishes paired with wines in at least six different categories. But the Meritage’s most popular meal — and deservedly so — is its glorious Sunday champagne brunch. A guilty pleasure of buffets is that they don’t just let you eat your fill: They let you eat, together, foods that society decrees should never meet. At cheap buffets, this means chow mein and chili mac. At Meritage, it means Israeli couscous and Chinese steamed water-chestnut dumplings and prime rib.
Hours: Breakfast: Mon-Sat 6:30 a.m.-11 a.m.; Sun 6:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m. Buffet Brunch:Sun 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Dinner:Tues-Thurs 6:00 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Lounge:Tue-Sat 5 p.m.-10 p.m.
Organic produce is used whenever possible; nearly all produce and many other ingredients are purchased at local farmers' markets.