70 Days Across America
Limewood Bar and Restaurant is the main dining room at the Claremont Club & Spa, an iconic landmark on the Oakland/Berkeley border. The menu is short but sweet. The food is innovative. And you can’t beat the amazing view of San Francisco and the Golden Gate!
Limewood Bar and Restaurant Overview
The menu showcases Northern California’s extraordinary farm-to-table produce. And the limited number of dishes demonstrates the creativity of the chefs.
Meanwhile, the bartenders give a new twist to classic cocktails. Is that why it seems to be a hangout for the locals living nearby?
The eatery is open for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner.
Why I’m Here …
Whether I’m in Berkeley or Oakland is open to debate. And this is a bone of contention for residents (and fans) of both cities.
Because BOTH cities claim the iconic hotel as its own.
In fact, the hotel sits within the Oakland city limits. However, the Berkeley Post Office serves this part of Oakland. Therefore, the hotel has a Berkeley address.
Furthermore, the entrance of the hotel (and much of its parking lot) does, in fact, sit within Berkeley. But not the hotel itself (or its restaurants) …
My Dinner ….
During my two-night stay at the hotel, I enjoyed a sumptuous three course dinner. In fact, I was a guest of the hotel.
In addition, one of my best friends, a long-time resident of San Francisco, accompanied me for dinner.
Consequently, we were able to catch up over a sumptuous meal.
The Appetizers …
The appetizers ran from Jerusalem Artichoke Soup to Chef’s Seasonal Oysters. Next came Hamachi Crudo and Sage and Rosemary Delicada Squash.
Finally, there were Chicory and Burrata Salad, County Line Organic Mixed Greens, and Bone Marrow.
My dining companion and I couldn’t make up our minds, so we let our server surprise us with his favorites.
In fact, they were all delicious. But the Bone Marrow (pictured above) stole the show!
Consisting of roasted garlic gremolata, fresh herbs, and grilled sour dough, it was a celebration of colorurs, textures, and flavours.
The Entrees …
The entrees ran from Schmitz Ranch Beef Ribeye to Tamari and Citrus Marinated Tofu, Ricotta and Tomato Cavatelli, Alaskan Halibut, and Pasture Raised Roasted Chicken.
My dining companion ordered the Wild King Salmon. And I opted for the Steak Frities.
My companion loved the salmon. In fact, she said it was perfectly cooked. My steak was perfectly cooked, as well. That is to say, it was perfectly rare, just the way I like it!
In addition, it was served with sunchoke puree, charred fennel and apricot salad, pickled sea beans, and smoked salmon roe. Finally, there was a yummy caramelized onion jus and Kennebec fries.
In addition to the entrees were two pastas: cavatelli and wild onion agnolotti.
The Desserts …
It was hard to choose between the six yummy-sounding desserts.
For example, there was chocolate pot de creme. And there was mascarpone cheesecake.
Should we try the blueberry financier or the warm pear almond galette?
And what about the selection of house-churned ice cream and sorbet or the artisanal cheese plate?
We settled on two and split the difference. I washed mine down with a double espresso. And my friend ordered a pot of Lot 35 Tea.
The Ambiance …
The atmosphere in the bar was a bit boisterous on the evening we visited. In fact, it was a bit like a neighborhood sports bar.
Does that mean it’s hangout for the denizens of the neighborhood?
Regarding the restaurant’s dining area, it had an unmistakable casual elegance. If the menu was fine dining, the ambiance was laid back.
The View …
In the foreground were the stately date palms that are native to California. And in between the fronds, you could make out the San Francisco skyline and the Golden Gate Bridge across the bay.
The Verdict …
This was one of the most creative meals I had in Northern California, which is known as a Foodie’s Paradise.
I liked the short but sweet menu. And I appreciated the fact than nothing on the menu was anything that I had ever tried before.
I’ll give this restaurant an enthusiastic thumb’s up!
Limewood Bar and Restaurant – Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel, 41 Tunnel Road, Berkeley/Oakland, California. Telephone: (510) 549-8585.
The hotel is a 12 mile drive from downtown San Francisco. And it is a 6 mile drive from downtown Oakland.
If you don’t mind hoofing it, you can walk from the Rockridge BART Station in less than 30 minutes. And it is a VERY nice walk. In fact, there are lots of cafes, antique shops. boutiques, and wine bars along the way.
You can also walk to the campus of the University of California at Berkeley in about 10 minutes. It is a leisurely walk through an elegant residential district.
This review of the Limewood Bar and Restaurant is part of a series chronicling my epic journey, 70 Days Across America.