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Restaurants & Bars 73

Gourmet Ghetto: not so much any more?

Robert Lauriston | Mar 5, 2008 01:30 PM

Recent posts by tourists planning to spend time touring Berkeley's "Gourmet Ghetto" (Shattuck around Chez Panisse) made me think maybe the name's out of date.

Lots of the places that made its reputation are gone (Pig by the Tail, North Berkeley Wine, Cocolat, Vivoli), dated (Juice Bar Collective, French Hotel, Poulet), or no longer unique (Peet's). More recent attractions like Phoenix Pastificio and Shuna Lydon's desserts at Poulet are gone too. What's left?

Chez Panisse is great (if you have a reservation).

The Cheese Board is a great cheese store.

Cheese Board Pizza is unique, fun, and cheap.

Cesar is good upscale bar and tapas place, but the branch on Piedmont is better.

Vintage Berkeley is an excellent wine shop but not exactly a tourist attraction.

Some people love Gregoire, I don't get the appeal. (Doesn't help that on my first and only visit I ended up with grease all over my lap from lack of seating and the weird octagonal box.)

Maybe a couple of the places in Epicurous Garden have some good food, I dunno. I'm too creeped out by the Disneylandish claustrophobic space.

I think that's about it. Are any of the other restaurants of interest unless you live in the neighborhood? Barney's? Cha-Am? Saul's? Not really destination sorts of places.

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