For the procrastinators — or maybe just the forgetful — among us, scheduling a brunch reservation for Mother’s Day on Sunday may prove difficult. Most places that take reservations have been booked for at least a week (or more). Luckily, there are plenty of restaurants in the East Bay that don’t take reservations at all, meaning planned or not, you and mom can still enjoy a delicious meal together — no reservation, no problem.
Check out the following list of East Bay brunch spots that seat on a first come, first serve basis. We can’t promise that the lines won’t be long, but on the bright side, that time waiting for a table is more time to spend with your mom.
THE BUTCHER’S SON If mom is a vegan or vegetarian, this is the place to be. The menu changes regularly, but it’s guaranteed that everything is 100% vegan and the faux meats and cheeses are made in-house. For brunch, guests can expect breakfast sandwiches like the #ThisisMyAddiction (bacon, scrambled egg, mozzarella and avocado on ciabatta) and the Donut Stuffed Pancake, which is literally a donut turned into a pancake, served with butter and syrup. Keep in mind that seating is limited, so this is a good option for a party of two, rather than a big family outing. Brunch is served from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekends. The Butcher’s Son, 1941 University Ave. (at Bonita), BerkeleyCAFÉ M Over on Fourth Street, Café M serves up breakfast and brunch all day. The menu features various benedicts, egg dishes, french toast, pancakes and more. If Mom likes a little bubbly with her brunch, order her a mimosa (with fresh squeezed OJ, grapefruit or pomegranate), or a bottomless mimosa, if she wants to get extra celebratory. Café M will be open 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Mother’s Day. Café M, 1799 4th St. F (at Delaware), BerkeleyTOMATE CAFÉ Not only does Tomate Café have a great outdoor patio, this West Berkeley spot also serves breakfast all day, so you can head over a little later in the day to avoid the brunch rush. The breakfast menu includes egg plates like the Harvest Breakfast (two eggs, potato cakes, bacon, sausage, toast, apples and kale) as well as omelettes, hotcakes and more. Yes, there are mimosas, but there’s also coffee, fresh squeezed juices and smoothies, fresh ginger tea and other refreshments, too. Plus, the patio is dog-friendly so the whole family can join Mother’s Day brunch. Hours are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. Tomate Cafe, 2265 5th St. (at Bancroft), Berkeley
VENUS Downtown Berkeley’s Venus is a popular hotspot for its varied and locally sourced brunch offerings. The menu ranges from classics like omelettes and biscuits and gravy to less usual breakfast fare like the Indian Brunch (curried carrot-zucchini-parsnip pancakes, akoori-mango aioli, handmade chapati, banana raita and tomato-cilantro scrambled eggs with chiles). Other favorites include the lemon ricotta hotcakes and challah french toast. Brunch is served daily from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Venus, 2327 Shattuck Ave. (between Bancroft and Durant), Berkeley
ALAMAR KITCHEN & BAR If Mom’s a seafood lover, consider taking her to alaMar Kitchen & Bar, where the rotating menu offers dishes like a make-your-own seafood boil, ahi tuna toast, and fried oyster breakfast torta. Non-seafood offerings include sweet and savory dishes, like red velvet flapjacks and braised oxtail potato hash. For Mother’s Day, alaMar will be offering all-day brunch (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.) with a few specials. Just note, if you have a party of eight or more, a reservation is required. alaMar Kitchen & Bar, 100 Grand Ave. (between Valdez and Webster), Oakland
BROWN SUGAR KITCHEN Be prepared for a wait at local favorite Brown Sugar Kitchen, but also be prepared for your mom to be impressed with the brunch at chef Tanya Holland’s standout soul food spot. The Buttermilk Fried Chicken & Cornmeal Waffle is their most famous dish, but you won’t go wrong with the BBQ shrimp and grits, the bacon-cheddar-scallion biscuit, oyster po’boy or any of the other hearty, comforting fare on the menu. Brown Sugar Kitchen’s hours on Sunday are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Brown Sugar Kitchen, 2534 Mandela Parkway (between Campbell and 26th), OaklandDRIP LINE For Mother’s Day brunch in West Oakland, check out Drip Line. Drawing inspiration from South East Asian flavors, chef Nora Dunning offers items like her signature Singapore Chicken Rice and Koji Fried Chicken and Waffles. For something with a little more sugar, try the Sweet Waffle, which is only available on the weekends. Drip Line will be open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Mother’s Day. Drip Line, 1940 Union St. (between 19th and 21st), OaklandGRAND LAKE KITCHEN Lucky for walk-in customers, Grand Lake Kitchen does not take reservations for brunch or holidays. Another plus, it’s considered to serve one of the best brunches in town. The menu features plates such as the Savory French Toast (rye bread dipped in porcini batter, with two poached eggs and wild mushrooms) and the Savory Avocado Toast (country levain with two eggs, Aleppo chile and baby kale salad). The Smoked Fish Tower is a great option to share with a group. For moms with a sweet tooth, the donuts — covered in cinnamon, sugar and nutmeg — are sure to be a hit. On Sunday, brunch takes place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Grand Lake Kitchen, 576 Grand Ave. (at El Embarcadero), Oakland
JULIE’S Julie’s in Temescal serves brunch from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the weekends. The menu includes items such as Brisket Hash (with roasted turnip, marble potatoes, sautéed greens and poached eggs) and Spelt Pancakes served with strawberry-rhubarb compote and toasted pecans. If mom’s a tea fan, Julie’s offers tea service featuring both caffeinated and non-caffeinated infusions, including several black teas, green teas, white teas, pu-erh teas and herbal teas. Julie’s, 4316 Telegraph Ave. (between 43rd and 44th), OaklandOAKLAND GRILL Over in Jack London Square, Oakland Grill serves breakfast all day and is a good bet for large parties. The menu is pretty extensive, with more than 20 items, including omelettes, benedicts, pancakes and more, so there’s something for everyone. For a fruity refreshment, give the strawberry mimosa a try. Oakland Grill, 301 Franklin St. (at 3rd), Oakland
NEPTUNE’S The sea-inspired restaurant Neptune’s welcomes guests with ocean blue walls and lots of sunlight. The brunch and breakfast menu offers a variety of dishes including french toast, breakfast sandwiches, chilaquiles, shrimp and grits and a Persian-style frittata. (Read more about Nosh’s visit to Neptune’s for brunch.) Neptune’s is open from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Sundays. Neptune’s, 630 Central Ave. (between McKay and Webster), Alameda