Sotsil

Chapeaux bas! Lalime’s Restaurant – Berkeley July 20, 2009

lalimes4 My sister and her hubby are in Berkeley (CA) for the summer to tidy up their house for the next tenants from the university.  They bought a fixer-upper about four years ago and it still needs a lot of work.  Living full time in the east coast, summer’s the only time they can roll up their sleeves and get “down to the gutters” and continue with the upgrades to their Berkeley house.

I was going to mail a pair of bermuda shorts to my sister for her birthday last week but thought, hmm, this must be the umpteenth pair of bermudas I’m giving her and I’m sure she hasn’t gotten around to wearing the last pair I sent…use your imagination!

Decision:  my birthday gift will be dinner out at a French restaurant.  I am aware that they love ethnic food, but I figured that when they’re back east, they can go to all the ethnic digs they like. 

Google gave me several options in the Berkeley area but I decided on Lalime’s for two reasons:  they had just re-modeled the restaurant and were opening on the 11th of July.  Second reason was exceptional customer service.  I spoke to Ali Wagner of the restaurant and she said they would mail the gift certificate on Saturday.  My sister actually got it that day which means they made an effort to mail it a day earlier.

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So what’s Lalime’s like?  These keywords should give you an idea, but visit the links I provided as well:

  • organic ingredients only (see restaurant’s “mission statement” here: http://www.lalimes.com/essential/)
  • French Mediterranean cuisine  (see menu here:  http://www.lalimes.com/menu/)
  • quality pre-fixed menus (for their meal on Bastille Day, they were served a salad with Rocquefort cheese and bacon.  This was followed by seafood soup and then the main dish was rack of lamb on greens.  Dessert was a pear and peach tart.  See photos below.  The menu offered three different wines (white, red and rosé), but my sister and hubby opted for  a bottle of Cabarnet Sauvignon instead).
  • crowded, even on week days
  • substantial repeat business (as my sister and her hubby waited for their table, the people behind them were regulars who had been dining at Lalime’s for years and were eager to see what the new restaurant looked like)
  • unpretentious, homey ambiance

Lalime’s is on 1329 Gilman Street, phone number 510-527-9838.  Reservations recommended for weekend dining.  They were featured on  station KTVU in March this year.  Watch the video here:  http://www.ktvu.com/video/18840503/index.html.

Hats off to Lalime’s!  My sister and hubby enjoyed their meal and my brother-in- law said, looks like you did some good research there.  Actually, no.  But I must say search engines like Google did their algorithm, spybot crawling and indexing tasks to a T!

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My thanks to Ari Wagner who made my sister’s birthday celebration with her favorite person/husband/friend a delightful experience.  Their friendly waiter Aaron said they work hard at Lalime’s to be as good, if not better, than Chez Panisse, also an organic-themed Berkeley restaurant – their main competitor.

PS:  you’ll have to forgive the blurry quality of the photos above.  How do you expect intoxicated diners to hold their camera with a steady hand?

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