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Bar Agricole

Meh - went on a Friday night, had a reservation, had to wait 45 minutes (!) to be seated, host/hostess/bartender/waiter were neither very apologetic nor friendly. While waiting, there was no place to stand, it was impossible to get drinks, and we were fairly uncomfortable and annoyed. Once seated, food was very good (a bit too salty) and we were brought 2 apps by someone who was very apologetic and almost made up for the rest of it. But when this was followed by an unfriendly and inattentive waitstaff experience, I left feeling as if this place is far too popular for its own good. If the food is as important to them as they suggest it is, then they need to make sure it gets the attention it deserves and that can only happen if the service is better and the environment is more comfortable. I'm assuming the staff are actually good and the solution is NOT to replace them, but they clearly seem to be overwhelmed. Someone higher-up needs to notice this and do something about it. Yeah, sure, I could go on a Tuesday at 5 and everything might be fantastic but if you want to be this busy then figure out how to be this busy without annoying your customers.

Bar Agricole
355 11th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

Jan 15, 2012
roikoe in San Francisco Bay Area

New cafe/creperie in West Berkeley

While walking home from Local 123 (our new favorite coffee spot), discovered Zazou's Cafe (2309 San Pablo Ave between Bancroft Way & Chaucer, 510-649-1824) and stopped in to check it out. This is in the cute little spot formerly occupied by Gallegos. I could be wrong but I believe the owner, Zazou, is a former Cafe Trieste manager and barista. He opened this spot about 3 weeks ago. Menu has coffee (which we didn't try but reviews on yelp suggest is very good), sweet and savory crepes (tried sugar and butter - thought it was very nice but would benefit from a squeeze of lemon and a few more moments of cooking to get browner), some house-made baked goods (after admiring the looks of the chocolate marzipan cake we were provided with a slice, on the house - thought it was delicious, not too sweet, and perfectly moist and dense), and a few other things (panini, eggs). There are a few seats inside and out, parking on-site, and an impressive number of people given how new the place is. Always happy to see new things in West Berkeley and this looks like a great addition to the neighborhood. We will definitely be back to try more!

Local 123
2049 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94702

Zazou's Cafe
2309 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702

May 08, 2010
roikoe in San Francisco Bay Area

Hibiscus - Trinidadian / Caribbean in Oakland

Went here recently for an early Valentine's Day meal with the spouse. Am not sorry we tried it but overall was disappointed and am not inclined to go back - which sounds harsh but needed service and food to be better to justify the price (which is not exorbitant but there are only so many $75 meals - 1 app, 2 mains, 2 drinks, includes tax - that we can justify). The space is really nice - warm and angled. We were off to a bad start when we were seated for an unusually long time before anyone came over to bring water or menus. The place was mostly full but far from packed - there were a few open tables. Our waitress was friendly and knowledgeable but did not manage to get back to us until after our mains were removed which was a little bit annoying because when she asked us how our food was and we pointed out that the short ribs (part of the pepperpot stew) were tough and dry she said "you should have told me so that I could have taken them back" when we hadn't had the opportunity to tell her until long after we had finished the rest of our food. On to the food (and drink) - wine list looks ok, but we opted for other beverages. I had a nice cocktail (homemade ginger limeade with rum) and husband had one of the beers. For food, to start we had the salt cod with ackee which I thought was really tasty. Bread came at the same time - rolls - and the plain one seemed appropriate (slightly sweet) but the olive seemed like an odd choice. For mains we had the crab with grits which was really delicious. The pepperpot stew was a little disappointing - the oxtail was tender and the greens and beans were nice - but the short ribs were stringy, dry, and overcooked. We weren't that interested in dessert but probably could have been swayed by something that sounded amazing - but to be honest the selection wasn't that awe-inspiring. Overall - I think more attentive, rather than just friendly, service could have saved it. But the combo of inattentive service and disappointing pepperpot stew were a little bit too much.

1745 San Pablo Ave, Oakland, CA 94612

Mar 04, 2010
roikoe in San Francisco Bay Area

Community supported fishery in the Bay area?

Surely I'm not the only one who heard this story on NPR ( about a community supported fishery (run like a CSA, but with fish, genius, right?) in the Boston area ( So, does this exist in the Bay area?

Jul 09, 2009
roikoe in San Francisco Bay Area

SPQR since Daniel's departure - Not up to snuff?

Just returned from out first (and last) experience at SPQR. The service was great, the waitstaff knowledgeable, but Carrie hit the nail on the head: the brussel sprouts were virtually unpalatable with the amount of salt added to them. The lamb burger was similarly over salted and had the consistency of old oatmeal. The cannelloni with pork and ricotta was tasty but nothing particularly noteworthy. The Trombette with long cooked broccoli romanesco and ricotta salata was bland and uninspired. The chocolate dessert with pepperoncini, though, was really good as was the antipasto grilled pecorino with endive, radicchio and capers. SPQR is rather inexpensively priced but in this instance I'm afraid we got what we paid for.

Mar 09, 2008
roikoe in San Francisco Bay Area