Looking for evening tea & cake in Alameda County

I miss being able to go out after dinner for a coffee or tea and a slice of cake, like I used to do in New York. Even a place that sells cake and pastries in the evening would be good. Anyone have any recommendations, preferably south of Oakland? Primrose Bakery in Pleasanton is lovely, but they don’t have any tables.

An average Asian chain bakery, Paris Baguette, has numerous locations including Dublin & Fremont. Stays open till 8p and have tables/chairs.

Sadly, like you we would love to have some after-dinner options for dessert, as we did in San Francisco, but after 30 yrs in the EBay I’ve given up. Except for the Asian chains, it’s just “not a thing” in the suburban lifestyle here.

All the good bakeries either close early or are take-out only. Sigh.

Yes, there’s Paris Baguette, and I guess I could go over to Red Ribbon a little west of me for Filipino cake. But that’s too bad. Even where my parents live in suburban NJ, there are nighttime cafe dessert options that aren’t Starbucks.

Maybe not super close but alameda, the restaurant at the Claremont hotel might work. It’s fun to go up there once in a while for us.

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There’s another Asian/French bakery chain, Lavender Bakery & Cafe, on Solano Ave. in Berkeley. Open every day at least - Mon-Thurs till 7:30p, Fri-Sun till 8p. Can’t speak to their coffee, we only tried a few pastries for take-out. Quality is the average/typical for their type; i.e., cake dough is puffy and sweet, like any other Asian bakery.

They did, however, at one time (and hopefully still do) have little individual foil cups of what they called creme brulee. Their sales staff leaves A LOT to be desired, but what it was, turned out to be a very fine, surprisingly delicate creme caramel. One hardly ever finds this in the flan-crazed SFBA, where flans could easily be mistaken for cheesecakes, they’re so solid and heavy.

This was a French-style baked custard, only faintly sweet, with a lovely caramel sauce. If we ever go back I’d look for that one again. The cakes were mediocre and the Napoleon was a disaster, with a tough, completely tasteless puff pastry. The macarons are very sweet, which we don’t like; the chocolate was the best of them, with the slightly chewy texture chocolate gives to the meringue, and an acceptable level of sweetness without going overboard.

1820 Solano Ave., Berkeley, CA


Le Palais Sucre

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That looks great!

Next time you’re in Berkeley, there is a tiny, tiny, tiny Algerian/French cafe along University Ave. just up from San Pablo called Belmo Cafe. A single narrow short window counter and 2 patio tables outside.

But the patisserie is amazing. His cake slices and fruit tarts are the kind of quality one gets from Masse’s/Berkeley. The cheesecakes - individuals and minis - are NY style which is not our fav so can’t judge them. Plain croissant was the delicate Parisian style we prefer, altho it’s regular butter and not cultured. Chocolate croissant was okay but spouse said there wasn’t much chocolate in it compared to other vendors. Eclair was average; the cakes/tarts are better.

For those who like baklava he has many different kinds, both walnut and pistachio fillings, plus the almond paste and semolina sweets beloved of North Africans. He gave us two free kataifa pastries, the little deep-fried balls about the size of walnuts.

We have NEVER liked these - they always seem all dough with little filling, dry but oily, stale and tasteless. But Belmo’s were excellent. Crisp thin shreds around a generous, moist filling of chopped pistachios - delicious!

Coffee/espresso and a small sandwich/salad menu. Really, it’s more a take-out than dine-in, and this is not a great area to be sitting outside at night. But this little shop is an amazing bargain, and really deserves support if you’re in the area and looking for a treat.

Cafe Belmo
1160 University Ave Berkeley, CA
Mon-Fri 7:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Sat/Sun 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.