Berkeley: random news and notes

Pollara Pizzeria

1788 4th Street, Berkeley
Cash, all major credit cards
Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Mon.-Sun.


The concept is unlike any other pizza shops I’ve come across in the Bay — and what sets Pollara apart is the unique dough. The high-hydration pizza dough is cold-fermented in the fridge for 72 hours. This allows large bubbles to form in the dough to create a honeycomb structure, yielding crust that’s thick yet surprisingly crisp, light, and airy. The pizza is baked in an electric pizza oven from Italy.

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Berkeleyside reports a few notable changes to our restaurant scene.

Lilly’s, the Cantonese place on Hopkins near Monterey Market is closing, and will be replaced with a Japanese sushi joint. Last service is today, if you want some classic fried rice and pot stickers.

Bacheesos, the Mediterranean buffet place on Telegraph, is closing, and the site will become a “five-story mixed-use complex”. Last service will be on Nov. 3rd or 4th; I can’t tell from the text.

Fondue Fred is closing in December. It’s in that cute little food/shopping court at Telegraph and Dwight. Another mixed-use building will replace it. I’ve never eaten there.

Lucia’s Pizza, downtown, got a new chef from Italy, as I found out last Sunday when I ordered a breakfast pizza. The pizza used to have tomato sauce and fried eggs, but the chef says that tomato does not belong with eggs. The perfect is the enemy of the good. IMO.

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I stopped by Bacheesos for lunch today. It was great, with veggie moussaka, Persian lamb kofta, roasted tomatoes, baked fish, pilaf, roasted chicken, stuffed peppers. I’ve developed a system for AYCE, involving tasting-menu portions of each dish, so I was just comfortably full afterwards. I’ll miss the place.

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I’m sad they’re going to demolish the building. Berkeley’s getting boring. I haven’t eaten at Fondue Fred’s since college in the late 80s, but I remember having cheesecake for dessert! Lilly’s was fine in a pinch. And as for no egg on a tomato sauce pizza – that’s crazy.

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Yes, the no egg thing is a mystery, considering that another brunch dish is Italian baked eggs–in tomato sauce.

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold