Around town with Allison: Let's make a toast to the best toast in Berkeley

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APRIL 06, 2018

Here’s a toast to the best non-avocado toasts of Berkeley. Avocado toast has been all the rage, but there are so many other tasty toppings you can put on toast. As a huge avocado lover myself, I think these toasts are big news — perhaps even life-changing. What is toast without avocado, lemon and pepper? After exploring many cafes throughout Berkeley, I’ve found some of my favorite spots to enjoy some non-avocado toast. Try out some of these not-so-basic alternatives for your next brunch or snack!

Bartavelle Coffee & Wine Bar

Location: 1603 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley, CA 94702

This small eatery is popular for its avocado toast, but don’t sleep on its other tasty toast options! Located conveniently right next door to Acme Bread, Bartavelle gets all of its bread fresh each day, which makes all the difference. Try the smoked trout tartine — which is made with smoked trout, radishes and creme fraiche on Acme bread — for a creamy and satisfying non-avocado toast experience. If fish doesn’t do it for you, give the prosciutto toast a go! Garlic-rubbed bread topped with a delicate layer of prosciutto makes the perfect savory afternoon snack.

Philz Coffee

Location: 6310 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618

Known for its delicious coffee, Philz has been killing the coffee scene in the Bay Area for a long time. Besides coffee, Philz also has some great food options, one of which is the cinnamon sugar toast. The cinnamon sugar toast is exactly as it sounds: toasted bread topped with cinnamon sugar. This simple dish is a perfect grab-and-go option with your cup (or two) of Philz coffee!

Zazzi Foods

Location: 1398 University Ave., Berkeley, CA 94702

As a new establishment on University Avenue, Zazzi Foods is serving more than just good coffee. Along with its yummy assortment of pastries, granola bowls and beverages, it also has a number of tasty toast combinations. Try the roasted curry cauliflower or the goat cheese and homemade butternut squash jam toast for a filling and savory take on your everyday toast. If you have more of a sweet tooth, the cinnamon brulee toast is definitely calling your name!

Babette Cafe

Location: 2155 Center St., Berkeley, CA 94704

Located on the second floor of the Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive, Babette takes a fresh spin on your classic toast. Serving breakfast from 9-11 a.m. on Wednesday through Friday, Babette offers a couple of mouthwatering toast options. Babette’s ricotta, poached pear, hazelnuts, honey and mint combination is game-changing, especially when it’s on Babette’s own homemade whole-wheat bread. Another tasty option is the smoked trout toast topped with pickled red onion and creme fraiche.

Way Station Brew

Location: 2120 Dwight Way, Berkeley, CA 94704

Way Station Brew is a coffee shop that doubles as a beer garden. Besides its amazing coffee that Way Station Brew roasts itself, the shop also offers some pretty delicious toasts. Mint and squash probably aren’t the first things that pop into your head when you think of delicious toast, but they will be now! Try the mint tarragon tahini toast with squash and hazelnuts for a savory and refreshing treat. If you’re looking for a sweeter option, be sure to check out the whipped ricotta toast that’s topped with blackberry jus, honey and almonds for the perfect accompaniment to your coffee. Be sure to check out the beer garden in the back for some amazing outdoor seating (and pictures) at this Berkeley gem.

Although avocado is probably the best thing to have happened to this world (besides “Parks and Recreation” and coffee, of course), these tasty concoctions are big challengers to the famous avocado toast. Dare I say that some of these spots serve toast that might be better than avocado toast? Don’t just take my word for it — try them out for yourself!

Contact Allison Fong at 


APRIL 06, 2018