Berkeley Neighborhoods Council


Dedicated to improving the quality of life for all
by creating a unified neighborhood voice
for promoting livability and resolving problems


Special Neighborhood Food Prowl Section

Every once in a while BNC will present a Special Section.  This time, it's a Special Section regarding our Neighborhood Food Prowl, except BNC reviewers didn't review any of the restaurants mentioned.  The reviews for the restaurants on this list were done by the professional reviewers from Michelin.

The 2014 Michelin list was announced on October 24, 2013 with the French Laundry in Yountville and The Restaurant at Meadowood in St. Helena retaining their coveted 3-stars.  Note: only about 100 restaurants in the whole world have a 3-star rating.  The 2014 list reveals that our area is home to more 2-star restaurants than any region in the United States, beating out New York!  We counted seven on the 2-star list - one in Los Gatos, one in Palo Alto and five in San Francisco, including Saison.  We counted 28 on the 1-star list, including Commis in Oakland, but none in Berkeley.  Berkeley's Chez Panisse had a 1-star, but lost it in 2010.

Just so you know what the ratings are all about, here is the scale as defined by Michelin:

1-star means a “very good restaurant”
2-star means a restaurant “worth a detour”
3-star means a restaurant “worth a special journey”

All of this is interesting, but we all know that dining in a 3-star or even a 2 or 1-star Michelin rated restaurant is not like taking the family to a neighborhood place on Friday night after a hard work week.  Even if you could get a table on the spur of the moment, your wallet or credit card will take some time to recover.  One of our BNC reviewers scored a table for two for lunch at the French Laundry a while back and even though the food was heavenly and quite deserving of its 3 stars, the wallet took a $500 hit (no regrets though except you just can't do that very often).  Reviews of Saison in San Francisco have often mentioned checks for dinner for two at around $1,000.  Gulp!!

What we can do though is to consider the Michelin list that they call “Bib Gourmand.”  It's a list of restaurants where you can get 2 courses, plus a glass of wine or a dessert for less than $40 per person.  These awards were also announced on October 24, and guess what?  There are SIX restaurants in Berkeley which received a 2014 MICHELIN BIB GOURMAND AWARD!

BNC sends congratulations to all, and to all, a Good Night:

Comal, 2020 Shattuck Ave (Downtown, in the Arts and Theater District),
Modern interpretations of dishes from Mexico
Corso, 1788 Shattuck Ave (near Delaware),
Italian (from the same folks who operate Rivoli - see below)
FIVE, 2086 Allston (Downtown, in the Hotel Shattuck Plaza),
American Bistro
Gather, 2200 Oxford St (Downtown, across from the UC Campus),
Northern California with a menu of both vegetable and meat dishes
Ippuuku, 2130 Center St. (Downtown, between Shattuck Ave and Oxford),
Japanese small plates served with drinks
Rivoli, 1539 Solano (between Nielson and Peralta),
Seasonal California, mostly organic (they also operate Corso above)