Café Gratitude (Berkeley)

Review by: Kathryn

1730 Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94709
(415) 824-4652


When I first heard about this place opening in San Francisco in about 2003, I laughed at the concept: a healthfood restaurant that compels you to utter affirmations? No thanks.

Now, by 2010, I eat at the Berkeley Café Gratitude on a regular basis, and I love it. Café Gratitude exclusively serves food that is raw, vegan, and organic. The entrees are in fact listed as positive declarations: for example, I AM ELATED is a vegan quesadilla (the cheese is made from ground nuts) and I AM GIVING is an Asian kale salad.

My favorite dishes are the grain bowls, in particular I AM WHOLE and I AM ACCEPTING. The first involves sea veggies, carrots, roast almonds and kale over a choice of red Bhutanese rice or quinoa. The second also comes with an offering red rice or quinoa, topped with avocado, seaweed, and nuts. I get either of these with both grains, half-and-half. They are both delicious and nourishing.

Café Gratitude’s atmosphere is crunchy in the extreme: the waitpeople are kind and often dreadlocked, and the low grind of the juicer at work forms the background noise. Its red-brick walls make it cozy and warm. There are sofas, a bar in front, and outdoor seating on the sidewalk.

The food here is not cheap, so rather than raise prices infinitely, they started offering half portions, which is what I go for (it’s plenty of food).

I recommend this place to anyone—it’s great for vegetarians, not to mention a quintessential Bay Area experience.

Warning to people with nut allergies: for you, every entree may be I AM IN ANAPHALACTIC SHOCK. So be careful, lots of dishes involve nuts.

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