Best Breakfast/Brunch ~ East Bay Express 2008

La Note offers the difficult decisions that brunch-goers dream about — whether to have lemon gingerbread pancakes with poached pears or raspberry oatmeal pancakes, fresh seasonal fruit or fresh-baked croissants, or any of the menu items featuring insanely good chocolate. Sure, there are countless cute little restaurants in Berkeley. But few have a menu that matches up to all that charm the way La Note does, not to mention a staff this well schooled in how to do espresso drinks right. (Although at La Note, the chocolat chaud is so tasty it's tempting to forgo the caffeine-rush altogether and sip hot cocoa instead). On the weekends, this isn't the place to go if you're in a rush. Plenty of others have discovered La Note, and there may be a line. But after one or two bites of just about anything on the menu, it'll become instantly clear it was worth the wait. It's earned its place as a Berkeley institution.

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