Encorecake's bakers turn dessert into an art form. In a kitchen filled with the smells of fresh baked treats, they craft colorful cakes and cupcakes covered in fluffy frosting, in unusual flavors ranging from green tea and s'mores to jellybean and German chocolate. Ovens churn out French macaroons and warm cookies each morning, perfect for pairing with their freshly grounded coffee or Thai tea with boba. Customers can also request made-to-order 8-inch cakes layered with buttercream or chocolate, commission a customized multi-tier cake for a wedding, or project a hologram request for a 3D cake for a birthday celebration.
There is no rush at Kiks Café. The cozy, bistro-style tables and complimentary WiFi encourage passersby to stop, sit for a while, and enjoy a mocha made with organic coffee beans and Ghirardelli chocolate. To complement these drinks, the cooks deftly assemble sandwiches atop pieces of french, wheat, or sourdough bread, covering the slices with everything from black forest ham to pureed kalamata olives. The casual menu also includes salads with bits of grilled chicken, feta cheese, or croutons scattered amid leaves of romaine lettuce.
The owners of Honeyberry derive a sense of pride from their local-mindedness; it's why they plaster their café's walls with illustrations of Berkeley life, and infuse each of their creations with locally-sourced ingredients whenever possible. They also supply the community with tried-and-true local favorites, from frozen yogurt topped with chopped fruits and candies to crispy golden waffles. Despite all of the boosterism, the café's menu also has its international corners; gelato, bubble tea, and freshly baked roti buns all draw upon culinary traditions from far-flung cultures. These elements combine to create an experience that's both familiar and novel, like returning to your childhood home to find that it's been converted into a paintball arena.
Family-owned Caffe Trieste?s early risers are treated to breakfast foods like quiches and bagels topped with lox. For lunch or dinner, customers choose from one of seven breads to create their own panini. They then mix-and-match meats, cheeses, and veggies?including pastrami, roasted red pepper, and cheddar?and finish off the flavor with sun-dried tomato pesto or chipotle dressing. The chefs also personalize classic Italian pasta dishes according to customers? preferences, with five noodle options and homemade marinara or Bolognese sauce. All of which may be enjoyed over a live musical performance on Tuesdays at the Oakland location and Sunday?Tuesday and Friday?Saturday at the Berkely location.
A chrome espresso machine whirs in Nefeli Caffe, where baristas brew illy coffee drinks as the kitchen staff whips up an array of Mediterranean dishes. Chalkboard menus announce entrees such as moussaka made with Niman Ranch ground beef, as well as tapas such as hand-rolled dolmades and mushroom-fennel “cigars” wrapped in filo pastry and served with tiny guillotines. Nefeli Caffe serves its dishes both indoors amid plants in rustic terra cotta vases, and outdoors at wrought-iron sidewalk tables.
Since debuting in Taiwan in the 1980s, sweet tapioca pearls have traveled the world, jockeying for the title of America’s next taste sensation upon landing in California. Made of sweet potato, cassava root, and a hint of brown sugar, each pearl is soft on the outside and chewy on the inside, much like a nerf ball filled with creamy mashed potatoes. Tea Leaf Bistro captures the gems in more than 100 frosty, fruit-flavored bubble drinks and velvety milk teas—crafted from authentic ingredients imported from Taiwan and hand-selected tea leaves—in flavors such as mango, lavender, almond, and strawberry. The pearlescent bubble drinks pair with a menu of Taiwanese snacks, including garlic fried chicken, crispy calamari rings, and an assortment of potstickers.