Heard plenty of good things about La Note, so after a night of horrible, fitful sleep as a result of jetlagging we went in search of some comfort for the tummy.
This charming French bistro that has gained the recognition of Zagat and other big names in the Bay Area food review scene features a rustic decor with Californian accents. I got the famous La Note Pain Perdu that consists of three generous slices of semolina french bread soaked in orange water batter and sprinkled with lavender honey. This came with a jug of maple syrup (the real deal, not some synthetic thing they’re so fond of serving these days) and a dish of butter. The bread was extremely soft and yielding, soaking up the honey and organe water batter easily but holding enough of its own to not be converted into a sloppy soggy mess. The maple syrup was as good as any other and would have been excellent with your normal pancakes next door, but here I thought it gilded the lily with its overpowering sweetness and dampened the intriguing tickle the subtle orange flavors were working on my palate.
ZY got the Omelette Fromage et Jambon, which was enmental cheese and ham omelette served with home fries and toast. He had the server bring a bottle of ketchup but this was rendered completely useless (in my opinion) after the first taste. The eggs, soft and yet not overly moist, the smoked ham and the chewy cheese made for a tasty bite, and the roasted potatoes (which substituted the fries) were decently flavored. Toast came with a dish of butter but this was nothing special.
The mocha made with espresso and dark French chocolate was great (it helped immensely that it came in a big fat and happy bowl) but I found zy’s house coffee a tad too drippy. Service was fast and efficient and the waitress had luscious dark hair and a sexy French accent. Don’t ask me why I noticed that last part but I found it a bonus. We forgot to take note of the prices, but the meal set us back by about 30 USD in total, tip included.
Yummy first experience, come early if you want instant gratification because this place fills up pretty quickly and lines usually form on weekends by 8-ish. Come for brunch (available 8am to 3pm, Saturday and Sunday) if you can, they have more choices and the sandwiches are supposed to be good. I’m definitely coming back for that, I heard they serve a mean ratatouille and I’m dying to try it.
La Note Restaurant Provencal (web)
2377 Shattuck Ave
Berkeley, CA 94704