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First Bite: Pompette Opens in Berkeley

French cuisine in a treasured location.


Nicholas Boer

Buttery breadcrumbs, spring garlic, and grated egg decorate snappy asparagus at Pompette, a charming bistro that recently replaced the venerable Cafe Rouge on Fourth Street in Berkeley. The timeless dish, called asparagus mimosa, illustrates how well French cuisine adapts to California—and the season.

Our asparagus was followed by a rich croque monsieur, which illustrates how indulgent the cuisine can be as well. All in all, it’s a real pleasure to see a French-style restaurant open with such aplomb; it’s an ideal spot to go relax in after browsing at all the nearby boutiques.

Pompette's split-level dining room boasts a gorgeous bar, but the prime seats, as we edge toward summer, are on the outside patio adjacent to the shopping mecca's peopled—but hardly pedestrian—Berkeley scene. And with Pompette’s fine selection of French wines (and knowing that pompette means tipsy), this is a fine place to enjoy oneself.

1782 Fourth St., Berkeley, (510) 356-4737, pompetteberkeley.com. Dinner Mon.–Sat., lunch daily.


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Happy Hour Bar & Bites at
The Cooperage

Monday through Friday
3pm – 5:30pm


This isn’t your typical happy hour. This quintessential neighborhood spot offers high-quality craft cocktails on tap and tasty bites. Menu features: $10 cocktails on tap, $5 select beer & wine, $1 oysters, $7 bacon cheeseburger sliders, $7 crispy beer battered shrimp sliders, $9 sashimi-grade ahi tuna tartare. 

32 Lafayette Circle, Lafayette
​Reservations: www.thecooperagelafayette.com or 925.298.5915

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