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La Note and Café Clem
Dorothée Mitrani-Bell, owner and proprietor of both La Note and Café Clem in Berkeley, was born in the South of France and grew up in Paris. Daughter of French gourmet cooks, she is no stranger to fine French cuisine, but wanted to bring the rustic and unpretentious side of things to her clientele. “I sell conviviality,” she says, adding with a laugh: “It’s about people – I want people to be together and sit together…and calm down.”
After “Berkeley called, ” a young twenty-something Dorothée arrived on a one-way ticket and $6 in her pocket, attended Cal, and sometime thereafter set up shop in a once dilapidated 1875 building that she completely renovated and restored on her own. La Note opened in 1997 and has been in the same location since.
“As soon as I walked in to the building, I had a vision of what it is today” – that is a charming eatery with a warm and rustic Provençal ambiance. Reclaimed and repurposed furniture like old pews make it feel homemade, like the food. The pancakes are a must-try, as are the eggs. Les Oeufs Lucas and a fresh croissant will not disappoint.
More Paris than French countryside, the new Café Clem opened last April near Berkeley High with much fanfare. “The kids are fans of the Nutella-filled baguette and les pain perdus.” A pain perdus, for the uninitiated, is a pressed stack of challah layered with Nutella, served here with a glass of milk – French comfort food at it’s finest, for students and adults alike. (Jackie Andrews)
La Note, 2377 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley | (510) 843-1535| lanoterestaurant.com
Café Clem, 2020 Kitteredge St., Berkeley | (510) 280-3881 | cafeclem-downtown.com
Voted as “Best Taqueria” in the Best of the Bay for 10-plus years, this taqueria is one of the best in the Mission. Their tacos and burritos are always delicious but if you are looking to mix it up a little try their pastor torta – flavorful pork between two fluffy warm buns with lots of tasty toppings in between. If you are a vegetarian this place will satisfy since they’ve been voted “Best Veggie Burrito” more than once. This small, quaint, authentic taqueria is located in the heart of the Mission at 2288 Mission St. @ 19th with another location at 1003 Market St. @ 6th and their newest one at 3211 Mission St. @ Valencia. Whether you are looking for lunch, dinner or a late night snack, this place deserves consideration. Open Monday through Thursday 10am to1am, Friday and Saturday 10am to 2am, and Sunday from 10am to 1:30am.
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