Restaurants, cafés, bakeries and the like we have known and can recommend

Charles Shere

ratings: hors concours; excellent; very good; good.

(L) lunch (D) dinner

Recent experience (2003)

Berkeley, California: Gregoire 2109 Cedar St. (near Shattuck); (510) 883-1893. 11-9, M-Sa. I had a Caesar salad and a croque-monsieiur, and both were revisionist: the salad without anchovies but with onion confit; the sandwich very heavy, probably too heavy with cheese, and filled with sliced roast pork, not ham. But it was delicious. Too bad there's no wine here; you have to make do with Orangina or iced tea. But it's fun to eat on the sandwich around the corner from Chez Panisse. The menu changes monthly, and you could probably eat onc a week without getting bored.

Sebastopol, California: K & L Bistro, 119 South Main St.; (606) 823-6614. 24 May lunch. We'd heard about this here and there, but not in any of the normal guides, always as a word-of-mouth recommendation from locals -- always a good sign. It turns out to be in fact a bistro, with the dishes you'd expect. The only reason I ordered a salade Niçose was that I hadn't noticed the salade Lyonnaise (frisée, bacon (if there are no lardons), egg). We both ordered the Niçose, in fact, and we were both transported for a few minutes to Provence.

Berkeley, California: O Chame, 1830 Fourth St.; (510) 841-8783. 23 May 03 dinner. Very consistent: Lindsey always has the "pancakes," eggy and interesting; I have salmon if it's in season, and this day it was, and was as good as I've had just about anywhere. You can converse here; the wine list is good; the price reasonable. An old standby too easily neglected.

San Francisco, California: Foreign Cinema, 2534 Mission/21st; (415) 648-7600. 13 May 03 lunch (at a meeting of The Baker's Dozen): green salad salmon stir-fry broccoli potato salad. Very good. This place is always very good, and fun too.

Santa Rosa, California: Willi's Wine Bar , 4404 Old Redwood Hwy; phone? 30 April 03: brandade spring rolls, veal sweetbread pot pie. Excellent . This is a restaurant with wine bar. The long menu of smallish plates changes frequently; it offers vegetarian alternatives. Leave Hwy. 101 north of Santa Rosa on Mark West Road; right at the stoplight south on Old Redwood Highway for a tenth of a mile. LD 11:30-10p W-Sa & M; D 5-9pm Su.

Berkeley, California: Café Chez Panisse , 1517 Shattuck Ave; (510) 548-5049. 1 May 03: chard crostini, pork loin with sauerkraut, hors concours .

Berkeley, California: A La Carte, 1453 Dwight Way/Sacramento, (510) 548-2322. 11 May 03: arugula-pear-pecorino salad, wild mushroom risotto, chocolate cake, prix-fixe $35, with okay Buena Vista sauvignon blanc, okay Gabbiano Chianti extra. Good.

Los Angeles, California: A.O.C., 8022 W. 3rd St.; (3233) 688-6359. 3 May 03: charcuterie plate, cavaleronero, with white Lazio in carafe, glass of ch. perdrix Condrieu, date-walnut torte, excellent . Susanne Goin's new place around the corner from Lucques. Wine bar, charcuterie bar, fine wine list with many by the glass or by flights. Noisy. Reservations. 5:30-11 pm every night.

Los Angeles, California: Campanile , 24 S. La Brea Ave.; (323) 938-1447. 4 May 03: poached eggs with prosciutto on greens, Champagne. Excellent. We like Sunday brunch here.

Santa Barbara, California: La Super-Rica , 622 N. Milpas St.; (805) 963-4940. 5 May 03: Taco de rajas, guacamole, Tecate. Very good . Easy to get to from Highway 101: take Milpas St. off ramp, go north a few blocks.

Santa Ynez, California: Grappolo , 3678 Sagunto St.; (805) 688-6899. 5 May 03: green salad, risotto with porcini, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo. Good .

Solvang, California: Olsen's Danish Village Bakery, 1529 Mission Drive, (805) 688-6314. 6 May 03: apple Danish, coffee. Good . Lindsey calls their Danish pastry "authentic." Good place for a continental breakfast. Very good cardamom bread. Some items sold by mail.

San Francisco, California: Citizen Cake ; 399 Grove St. at Gough, San Francisco; 415-861-2228. Jan. 31, 2003: a decent Martini to my specs (3:1; well gin; olive; up); a nice butterlettuce salad with pecans and olives; a bavette steak for me, salty and peppery, with spinach and the best mashed potatoes in months on the side. Very good.

Recalled from the past (caution: may have changed since!)

VENICE (Italy): 17 fine restaurants (2001)

Healdsburg, California: Ravenous; Manzanta; El Sombrero

Windsor, California: Mirepoix

San Francisco, California: Zuni

Sacramento, California: Waterboy

Mt. Shasta, California: Trinity Cafe

Dunsmuir, California: Café Maddalena

San Luis Obispo, California: Buona Tavola

Nevada City, California: New Moon

Pasadena, California: Tre Venezie

Oakland, California: JoJo (yes yes)

homepage      rev.: May 2003            copyright © 2003, Charles Shere