Berkeley Social Club is located in downtown Berkeley, at 2050 University Avenue, about a 15-20 minute walk from UC Berkeley and a 4 minute walk from the Downtown Berkeley BART Station. It's open weekdays for breakfast 9am-2:30pm, and for breakfast/brunch on weekends from 8am-3pm. It also serves dinner, which we didn't try.
There are no reservations for breakfast or brunch; instead, on the right hand side, there's a screen to input your details for the restaurant's wait list. On a recent Sunday, upon arriving around 12:30pm, we had a 15 minute wait and were then seated at a large communal table. The first thing we noticed is that the place is noisy. Not just lively. Loud.
Berkeley Social Club and Food
Here's the weekend breakfast and brunch menu:
The host seated us and gave us menus. About 3 minutes later, our server stopped by to ask if we had any questions or were ready to order. I asked for his recommendation for the best Korean-influenced dish on the menu, and he was happy to give me his recommendation: the Pajun Pancake. He was quick to caveat that it was just his opinion, but it was the dish he liked best.
Moments later waters arrived, and about 5 minutes later we were brought our coffees. I would have appreciated a more barista-made latte, with some latte art, as my decaf latte seemed to be an automated machine type, but I did like that the ceramic mug it was in kept it hot longer than many mugs.
Our food came after about 15-18 minutes. My Pajun Pancake was excellent, reminding me of a thinner version of some of the okonomiyaki I used to enjoy when living in Japan (since I've had less exposure to Korean cuisine), and I was glad I was sharing it with my husband since I wouldn't have finished it all. It came with a soy-sesame dipping sauce and a perfectly poached egg on top, crowned with some seaweed shavings.
My husband's Mascarpone Blueberry Stuffed French Toast was also good, although a tad too rich for my taste. I'd have appreciated a few more berries and perhaps something slightly acidic to cut the richness, such as a tart passion fruit syrup or passion fruit curd.
My husband also ordered a side of the Millionaire's Bacon, which was thin and crispy.
Berkeley Social Club was a great brunch experience except for the noise. It's a very live environment, with no sound dampening, so be prepared to lean forward and have your ears be ringing after you exit. My Korean Pajun Pancake was satisfying, with a great blend of bacon, bell peppers, shrimp and kimchi, and my husband's Mascarpone Blueberry Stuffed Crunch French Toast was as decadent as it sounds.
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