Reviews by the Press…
My adopted neighborhood for the weekend
A day trip to Berkeley? Think again. And pack a toothbrush.
Peggy Nauts, Photography by Alex Fradkin
If you think of North Berkeley as an afternoon outing, not a weekend escape, a stay at the tasteful Brick Path Guest Suites might do for you what it’s done for me: change your mind. A block off Solano Avenue, it’s ideally located for walking. And as your newfound neighbors already know, wandering North Berkeley in the spring feels like being lost in a giant English garden. Secret pathways and hidden staircases lead from shady streets to proudly tended flowerbeds to terraced hillsides.
Head north from your front door and you trip over Solano, perfect for a low-key day of window-shopping. Go south, and you’re soon in the Gourmet Ghetto. In fact, some book a room at the Brick Path for the express purpose of making a pilgrimage to Chez Panisse. Guests with a coveted reservation can stroll to the brown-shingled mecca, spend a couple of decadent hours over dinner, and simply toddle back to bed.
But even without a table booked at Alice’s restaurant, I’m hardly deprived: I stop at the Cheese Board to buy sourdough English muffins or sheep’s-milk cheese; duck into the party atmosphere at César to booze it up and nibble tapas; or pick up French takeout, such as brandade and duck confit, at Grégoire. A few doors down from the collection of food shops at Epicurious Garden, an elegant new day spa—Panache the Spa—woos foot-weary wanderers with everything from salt-scrub pedicures to haircuts-plus-color that put a new bounce in your step.
Come late afternoon, a cocktail from the extensive list at Solano’s chic burgundy-and-brick-walled Fonda is certainly in order. But not before roosting with a murder mystery in a cushy chair in the Brick Path’s pleasant garden. Does living in North Berkeley always feel like one long vacation?
Brick Path Guest Suites: 1805 Marin Ave., Berkeley, CA thebrickpath.com.
César: 1515 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, 510-883-0222, barcesar.com; Cheese Board: 1504 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, 510-549-3183, cheeseboardcollective.com; Chez Panisse: 1517 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, 510-548-5525, chezpanisse.com; Fonda: 1501 Solano Ave., Albany, 510-559-9006, fondasolano.com; Grégoire: 2109 Cedar St., Berkeley, 510-883-1893, gregoirerestaurant.com; Panache the Spa: 1539 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, 510-841-5555, panachethespa.com
I highly recommend The Brick Path Guest Suites! The location is ideal, and the gardens are enchanting! My wife and I will always remember the wonderful romantic week we spent at the inn.
Our stay at The Brick Path was incredible. The cottage was delightful and contained everything we needed, from pans to dishes to silverware, so we made a wonderful dinner there. We enjoyed our own private patio.
Elmer & Sandy Guderyon.