Berkeley News and Notes 2020-2024 [Berkeley]

from The Mercury News:

The restaurant has taken over the former Caffe Mediterraneum, a historic cafe famously featured in the movie “The Graduate.” Caffe Med closed in 2016 after six decades on Telegraph Avenue.

The restaurant offers traditional Taiwanese hot pots, like stinky tofu and curry pork, in addition to creative updates, like pumpkin milk with cheese, Japanese miso hot pot and even vegetarian options, like a mushroom-veggie tofu pot. Having your own personal burner for your pot means you don’t have to round up the troops when soup cravings hit.

Boileroom is open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily at 2475 Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley. Find more details on the restaurant’s Facebook page.

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193 posts from Berkeley: Random News and Notes from prior to 2020 are located here:

Pepe’s, the new Mexican taqueria in the former La Palmita space on San Pablo, is open. They’re offering the latest local trend, “quesa tacos”, originally from Tijuana. These are corn tortillas filled with meat and cheese, folded over and then grilled, and served with a cup of dipping sauce. A new place in Richmond that serves them has lines out the door.

I had one with carnitas and one with birria. They were a little too messy for me, requiring a knife and fork so my hands didn’t get covered with grease. Very tasty, though. The tortillas were very fresh, possibly house-made. Prices are a little higher than they were at La Palmita, but not unreasonable.

[edited to correct the name of the restaurant]

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A couple of observations in my part of town, after all these months of isolation.

  • Fourth Street is hopping, maybe a little too hopping. It’s busy enough on weekdays, but I was down there on a Sunday afternoon and the crowds were thick on the sidewalk/outdoor parklet around Bette’s (there’s also a parklet at Zut! across the street) The patio at Market Hall doesn’t have free-standing tables, but there are chairs for the fixed ones, and there’s another covered parklet across from Sur La Table. Pollara Pizza abandoned the ordering line, and now you order from the menu at the front entrance. They’ve added a few entrees, in addition to the pizza (chicken parm, for example), and have loaves of home baked bread. Tacubaya is open with a few tables on the patio. Everyone was wearing masks.

  • There’s a quirky pop-up on San Pablo a block north of Cedar, They’re heavy on Japanese and Korean dishes, but this week they have some German dishes, for Octoberfest (not on the website yesterday). I had a surprising and imaginative soft-shell and bacon bao for lunch today. I was surprised that they’ve been at that address for nine years, doing catering only.

What are you seeing around town?

5 Tacos and Beers on Solano at Stannage finally opened after “coming soon” for months and is very popular. Lots of outdoor dining. Also at the Indian place across the street and Boss Burger up the block by the post office and Tay Tah across the street from the post office. I actually avoid walking on that block. Too busy for me.

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It looks like the German dishes are on the website now. Thanks for the heads up.

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More news on San Pablo: in the parking lot at Gilman, there’s a tamale stand, and a taco truck. I don’t know if they’re connected. The pork tamale I got was large and well-filled with spicy shredded pork, a good deal at $3.50 each, 3 for $10. The taco truck didn’t have prices posted.


La Capilla, the taqueria on University near San Pablo, is closing today. They have the best fish tacos in town, IMO, and if you read this in time it’s worth your while to stop by.

For awhile La Capilla had the best bargain tuesday tacos of the four taquerias within four blocks of each other owned by the same group.

They said the chef at La Capilla is moving to Montecristo up the street. I asked whether the fish tacos would be going with him, and they said maybe once the chef settles in.

Augie’s Montreal Deli is moving into the former Brennan’s space, with a targeted opening date of 1/9/2021. Berkeleyside says they’ll be expanding their menu.

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Berkeley Bowl has online shopping now with delivery and free curbside pick up options. I think they have always had delivery through Instacart, but this is their own program. Prices were slightly higher and the selection is greatly truncated, but I was so relieved to not have to wait in the entrance line that wrapped around to Ninth street all the way down to the bike trail.

I placed my order today at 10 AM, and I received a text an hour later (earlier than the estimated availability time) that my order was waiting for me. You have the option to substitute or remove items that are out of stock. My credit card was charged an initial value and then reimbursed and charged again with the actual value, so you aren’t paying extra/less for things like produce and cheese. Available produce is mostly organic.

For pick up at Berkeley Bowl West, there is a yellow curb pick up spot right outside the Heinz entrance ramp. Call the number on the sign and someone will wheel your groceries out. I wanted to point that out because I drove through the front parking lot first and got stuck in it because people were waiting for parking spots and blocking the lanes.

Overall, I’m quite pleased! I would have loved to have a bigger produce and bulk item selection, but this experience took a fraction of the time versus my in-person visit there a few weeks ago.


If you’re concerned about crowds on 4th, Augies has been relatively quiet on the two weekday afternoons that I was there. I really liked the club sandwich with pastrami brisket bacon. Just like real bacon but with less fat. Their coleslaw is slightly sweet with no detectable mayo, the way that I like it. They have smoked turkey chili, but they were out both times I was there due to supply chain problems.

There isn’t anything else foodwise on that side of University other than Catahoula Coffee. I like their iced mexi mocha and the very friendly owner. The Still Room down the street is closed down now.

sfeater has an article about El Rulas, the taco truck in the little parking lot at San Pablo and Gilman. This is the same location as the tamale stand.

And their instagram:

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Thanks for posting this. We’ll try it.
Mark Yen is a great mechanic, by the way.

Berkeleyside profiled a new-ish burger place on Grayson at 10th, Cali Alley, and I had lunch there yesterday. The burger is one of the best I’ve had, thick and juicy with a proper medium rare. It’s huge–I could only finish half and had the rest for dinner. The fries were crisp and well-seasoned with a “secret” mix.


Venerable (20+years) fishers Mike and Yvette Hudson are leaving the business, citing dwindling salmon runs and high fuel costs.

I remember when they sold their salmon from the back of their panel truck parked on Cedar at Curtis, before they started at the farmers markets. I still have most of the whole salmon I got in August (and a few steaks left over from 2020, vacuum sealed).


And Mike sent out email today with a correction: they will continue to fish and sell at the FMs until the sale of their boat goes through, at least until the holidays.

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Bette’s Oceanview Diner and bakeshop have closed permanently.

I’d been going there since I worked at a software startup around the corner, in 1988.


German restaurant Gaumenkitzel is closing, possibly to be replaced by a BBQ joint.

In other news since 1/2022, Bette’s was purchased by its employees, and changed its name to just Oceanview Diner. They still have great sandwiches in the bakery, and the diner itself is packed.

Quince Cafe on San Pablo, mentioned a few replies up, still has not reopened.
Augie’s Montreal Deli has closed.
Bartavelle on San Pablo has moved next door, where they have indoor and outdoor seating.
Marin Pizza on 9th at Gilman has been replaced by a branch of Oakland’s Homeroom.