Three new restaurants serving a variety of cuisines have entered the Berkeley food scene, with two of them set to open in early 2019.
PassioneCaffe, an Italian café, had its soft opening Wednesday at 91 Shattuck Square. The restaurant offers coffee, pizza, salads and pastries, among other menu items.
PassioneCaffe replaced PiQ, a similar Italian-style cafe. According to PassioneCaffe restaurant supervisor Jubilee Dominguez, many Berkeley community members were “so glad” that the restaurant opened because several employees are former employees of PiQ. Dominguez added that the coffee and the food at PassioneCaffe are very similar to those from PiQ, which she said customers appreciated.
“(PiQ) was my favorite coffee-to-go place when it was open, and basically everything has stayed the same,” said customer and Bay Area resident Olivia Majer. “I love the European flair, and I come here every day.”
PassioneCaffe is set to have its grand opening by January 2019, once it obtains its liquor license and sets up its gelato bar, Dominguez said.
Mad Seoul, a Korean bibimbap restaurant, is set to open in January 2019 at 1801 C Shattuck Ave., according to owner Aaron Kim. Bibimbap is a traditional Korean dish including a bed of white rice and marinated Korean barbecue with various cooked and raw vegetables. Kim said his goal is to modernize bibimbap by offering nontraditional ingredients.
“I believe Korean food is a comfort food full of complexity but currently underrepresented in the mainstream culinary world,” Kim said in an email.
Though Kim is a trained architect, his family owned a restaurant that he would work at any time he had a gap in his schedule as a child. Kim said in an email that he decided to change his profession because he wanted to create his own business and felt there was a great opportunity in his bibimbap concept.
“To me, Berkeley represents a cultural hub for the east bay area,” Kim said in an email. “ I believe our restaurant will be a good fit in the community.”
Amausaan Uji Matcha
Amausaan Uji Matcha is an Asian dessert shop that will open at 1950 Shattuck Ave. The shop is slated to open in February 2019, as first reported by Berkeleyside.
The Amausaan Uji Matcha menu focuses on matcha-flavored desserts and offers pastries, ice cream, smoothies, tea and other sweets. According to the shop’s website, Amausaan Uji Matcha introduces new products about once a month “to adapt to the tastes of different groups of people.”
The first Amausaan Uji Matcha location opened in north China. The business has since expanded across China and now into North America. According to the shop’s website, Amausaan Uji Matcha combines the flavor of Japanese matcha with Chinese influences to produce the “authentic Uji Matcha flavor.”