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Best After-Midnight Meals 

Au Coquelet

A night-owl nest since the 1970s, Au Coquelet features a cafe out front and a real restaurant out back that serves delicious full meals until 1:30 a.m. — a godsend in a town that otherwise pretty much hits the hay at 10 p.m. Skylights, soaring ceiling, sound-sucking wall-to-wall carpet, and DIY Christmas-bulb chandeliers facilitate the effect of dining in some warm foreign courtyard, but a diverse menu makes the location of that courtyard up for debate. Lasagna and thick-crusted pizza say it's Italy; quesadillas and burritos and two-bean chili say it's Mexico. A rich, soft-crusted quiche says it's France. Reuben sandwiches say it's Anywhereville, USA. Grilled-eggplant sandwiches sporting mushrooms, peppers, and tomatoes say it's Berkeley — as does the clientele, which ranges from local cops to pontificating activists wearing Abu Ghraib-silhouette T-shirts to UC Berkeley students in various states of wakefulness. Want dessert? The cafe serves liqueur cocktails and pastries, including what might be the East Bay's best brownies.

(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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