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We were advocates before: Now, we’re fanatics. New chef Joseph Humphrey cooks with a sensibility and sensuality that doesn’t shortchange California’s seasonality. His charred avocado in a brightly dressed gem lettuce salad, shavings of Santa Barbara sea urchin butter atop a Dungeness crab risotto, and a slick of fruity California olive oil surrounding airy chickpea fritters underscore Humphrey’s penchant for what’s lush and local. Meanwhile, his version of the classic Italian porchetta and dry-aged duck breast are as revelatory as the warm ginger cake is comforting. The Advocate’s unassuming dining room is tastefully bordered by a craft-cocktail bar and open-fire kitchen. Because it’s just a few miles west of the Caldecott Tunnel, one needn’t live in Berkeley to call this neighborhood gathering place one’s very own. Dinner daily, brunch Sat.–Sun.
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