Cafe Rouge, Berkeley
When it comes to Cafe Rouge, eat at the bar. A mainstay at 1782 4th Street, Cafe Rouge has amazing food and amazing atmosphere (think one of those French bistros that does all of its shopping at local farmer's markets or in Les Halles), however it often takes the French attitude too much to heart . I remember someone else describing the wait staff as "aloof," and I think that's the perfect word for it. If that's your thing (and for most Europeans, it is), then you're fine.
At the bar, however, you'll find much more attentive service--which is good if you only have an hour or so to eat. But if you have such little time, you may want to save Rouge for a more leisurely evening (remember, the theme here is "slow" food). You'll want to take time to savor the oysters, the meats, the wines, and--bien sur--the desserts. If you want a quick fix, you can also visit their adjacent meat market to stock up on chacuterie, cheeses, and artisanal cooking supplies. [more ]
Café Rouge is a split between a café and a butcher market, combined, making it a carnivore's dream and a vegetarian's living nightmare.
You'll be insured to be served fresh, hormone-free meat, including everything from pork chops, burgers, sausages and more, all of which come in different shapes, forms and varieties. There are also seafood dishes available here, as well, including oysters and more.
The dining room here at Café Rouge is on two levels, including a zinc bar and even patio seating when weather permits. Overall, four stars. [more ]