East Bay's Best Breakfast Places

Tomate Cafe, French toast with fruit, image

The French toast at Tomate Cafe is piled high with berries. | Kristina Malsberger

Road Journals Blog—As a natural-born night owl, I would gladly skip mornings entirely — except that would mean missing out on my favorite meal. When it comes to breakfast, these four East Bay spots are guaranteed to get this grump out of bed and smiling in no time. Area code is 510.

Chop Bar
Wooden picnic tables and a metal rollup door make this indoor-outdoor space in Oakland's warehouse district the perfect spot for warm summer mornings. Flavorful chilaquiles and chile verde with free range pork spice up the menu, while Bloody Marys served with a bacon swizzle stick are a meal unto themselves. 247 4th St., Oakland, 834-2467, oaklandchopbar.com.

900 Grayson, Demon Lover, image

The Demon Lover, chicken and waffles, is a hit at 900 Grayson. | Kristina Malsberger

900 Grayson
Leave your calorie counter at the door of this cheery corner eatery and dig into their signature "Demon Lover" breakfast: buttermilk-fried chicken and waffles served with cream gravy or Vermont maple syrup . . . or both. Is it tastier than their wildly popular bacon burger? Come for Saturday brunch and find out. 900 Grayson St., Berkeley, 704-9900, 900grayson.com.

Tomate Cafe
Tucked into a West Berkeley side street, this casual café often hosts live music on its sunny, dog-friendly patio. Berry-topped French toast is a favorite, as is the Harvest Breakfast—two eggs, sausage or bacon, fried apples, and savory zucchini cheese cake. 2265 5th St., Berkeley, 549-9885, tomatecafe.com.

Venus Restaurant
Seasonal, organic, and sustainable are the buzzwords at this downtown Berkeley café known for fluffy lemon-ricotta hotcakes, the vegan-friendly Harajuku Scramble, and the Venus Benedict (add avocado for an extra creamy treat). 2327 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, 540-5950, venusrestaurant.net.

What's your favorite breakfast spot in the East Bay?

This blog post was first published in July 2012. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.


I have been trying to find a good breakfast place in Walnut Creek, Lafayette, or Orinda, especially weekends. So far I have been disappointed. Surely there is a place I have not yet discovered. Outside of Chows and Millie's I have not been impressed.

HI, I'm the Web editor. We only covered a few areas, but I'd love to hear what you think are the best places to eat in those areas.

Why are only Oakland and Berkeley shown as "East Bay?" Where are Danville, San Ramon, Walnut Creek, etc. Best Breakfasts listed?

Concur that Brown Sugar Kitchen should be on the list, as should Mama's Royal Cafe in Oakland.

Also Otaez Mexican restaurant in Alameda, which serves tasty bargain breakfasts daily, with a marvelous buffet brunch on Sunday. Add The Ranch in Hayward, which offers a ham and three egg special daily before noon M-Sa for $5.95. Or Pier 29 at Ballena Bay in Alameda with a $5.95 weekday early-bird eggs benedict special M–F.

Cafe M should be a must on this list!

How is Bette's Oceanview Diner not on this list?

How is Brown Sugar Kitchen not in this list?

I did not like having to come here to finish reading the articles referenced in Via.

While everyone is lining the entire block of 4th Street for Bette's Oceanview Diner, my girlfriend and I sneak into Cafe M and enjoy an even more delicious brunch--filled with corned beef hash and fennel sausage scramble. Less crowds, more room to relax, and lightning fast service.