Bette's Oceanview Diner: Reviews

Bette’s Oceanview Diner: Reviews | restaurant info | recipe | episode video |

Other ways to watch episode online (and on video iPod):
Download episode (requires iTunes or QuickTime)
Subscribe to Video Podcast

Scrapple, Poached Eggs,Tomatoes, and ToastGreen Onion and Salami Omelet and Potatoes with Sour CreamButtermilk Pancakes, Sausages and Potatoes
Scrapple, Poached Eggs, Tomatoes, and Toast; Green Onion and Salami Omelet and Potatoes with Sour Cream; Buttermilk Pancakes, Sausages, and Potatoes


Emma Logan
Name: Emma
Occupation: Human Resources Director
Location: San Francisco
Favorite Restaurant: Bette’s Oceanview Diner
Reviewed Bette’s Oceanview Diner: Monday February 18, 2008


As always, the food was fabulous.

We came expecting a wait and were not surprised to be told it might be as much as an hour and 15 minutes by the friendly man running the front of the diner, as it was a holiday Monday and there were four of us (there are more tables for two). After an hour of sipping coffee from the shop next door and chatting in the outside area where people sat complete with Diner-provided blankets, we happily heard our names and were called inside to sit down. Once seated, we all drooled over the menus and placed our orders: mine was potato pancakes with a cup of fruit on the side, my friends ordered an herb and cheese omelet, the Maryland breakfast, and the Philadelphia breakfast.

The food arrived quickly, and our conversation abruptly stopped, as we all gobbled a few bites before looking up to offer samples around the table. The omelet was cheesy and delicious; the orderer declared that she had recently made the decision to judge breakfast/brunch restaurants by their potatoes, and that the home fries here at Bette’s, complete with onions and sour cream, passed her new litmus test with flying colors. The Maryland breakfast included a very tasty house-made corned beef hash and buttery poached eggs. The Philadelphia breakfast included grilled tomatoes, poached eggs and scrapple (a traditional Pennsylvania Dutch food that typically contains cornmeal and pork formed into a loaf and then sliced before being fried on the griddle), and even the uninitiated enjoyed this lighter tasting version of scrapple. My potato pancakes were deliciously crisp on the outside while creamy on the inside and were complemented well by both the sour cream and applesauce. The fruit cup was very good and enjoyed by all.

Sated, I looked around at the clean and bright space, enjoying the family photos and Fiesta Ware pitchers. My friends were surprised by the giant piece of cherry pie hanging over the register. We made smiley faces at the baby at the table behind us, intent on drawing on me with a crayon.

I will be back to Bette’s; the wait is always worth it.

Side note: my favorite place to eat at Bette’s is at the counter where I can watch the egg chef do his thing (I love that I can choose how done I’d like my eggs and really get what I ask for), while the other cooks in the small kitchen work in a clean, efficient and well-choreographed way.


Patrick Cournoyer
Name: Patrick
Occupation: In-Flight Training Manager
Location: Redwood City
Favorite Restaurant: Stella Alpina Osteria
Reviewed Bette’s Oceanview Diner: Sunday February 24, 2008


Let me start by saying that I am a huge breakfast/brunch fan. I love spending a leisurely couple of hours at a good brunch place with great food. I took a look at the website for Bette’s before heading over to Berkeley. The reviews had me interested in checking this place out. We arrived at 12:00, and there was an hour wait, which I expected from reading the website. We waited outside for our table and watched all of the people walking by. The diner is on a cute street with many families out in the shops. I grabbed a book about the diner and flipped through it while waiting. I am glad I picked it up as it explained why the place is called “Oceanview” when there is no such view. I will not ruin it for you, but I am sure they get asked all of the time. If you want to know without asking, check out this book and find the explanation.

The diner is very small and very loud. We sat at a table in the back of the restaurant, which was a bit quieter than the rest of the place. The menu is pretty standard breakfast fare with a few additions. They serve sour cream with the home fries. They had a great selection of meats for sides. I would have liked more options for the omelet combinations.

I ordered a large fresh squeezed OJ, which was very tasty, and a cup of coffee. I had read that the coffee was really strong, which I was excited about, as I am a big fan of strong coffee. Well, the coffee was strong, but tasted burnt. I was a bit disappointed with the coffee.

The waitress was nice; she was very quick with us as was necessary to keep the flow of the place in sync. Tables were in and out very quickly as many people were waiting. I ordered a ham and cheese omelet, in which I asked to substitute chorizo for the ham. I also asked for it to be cooked well as I do not like “soft” omelets. I would suggest ordering it like this if you like omelets more firm as it was cooked to my liking. I also had a short stack of buttermilk pancakes as they had rave reviews on the website.

The omelet arrived and it was a nice size and looked fully stuffed with meat and cheese. The pancakes looked much better to me for some reason. Not that he omelet looked bad, but the pancakes looked great. Between the two, the pancakes were a clear winner in my book. The omelet was decent., but nothing spectacular. The pancakes were really good. They had a lot of flavor and were cooked perfectly.

Overall, the place is decent. I found it to be very loud and felt a bit rushed by all of the commotion. It lives up to its name of being a diner. The staff was fine, they all seemed very into keeping the place cranking right along. I was not blown away by the diner, but not disappointed. If I were over in that neighborhood and didn’t mind waiting an hour, I would go back. I would not make a special trip out there to go. It clearly is a popular place with the locals. Oh, and the pastries did look tasty but I did not try them.


Bob Sarlatte
Name: Bob
Occupation: Comedian
Location: San Francisco
Favorite Restaurant: Chou Chou
Reviewed Bette’s Oceanview Diner: Tuesday February 12, 2008


This place is a total “winner” in every respect of the word. Located in an area of Berkeley I don’t often get to, 4th Street is lively and hip, yet not over the top and presumptuous in the least. College towns are bright, bookish and brainy, and usually put me in a good mood, and Bette’s simply complemented that experience.

On the back of the t-shirts worn by the waitresses at Bette’s it reads: “Good Food, Friendly Service,” and it is all that and more. Upon entering, a buddy and I heard the sounds of BB King as well as other blues tunes to follow. We were then promptly greeted with a smile and shown to a nice table, as we walked along a diner-like black and white tile floor. All the tables featured fresh lilies.

I love places that feature breakfast all day — their hours go to 2:30PM, opening at 6:30AM the day I was there — their lunch specials begin at 1PM, I think. I chose the “Breakfast Special,” a green onion and salami omelet that came with sour cream, pan-fried potatoes cooked with onions, and an onion bagel with cream cheese. The portions aren’t huge, but you don’t mind since the “sides” are prepared with as much attention to detail as the main dish. A nice toasted bagel with cream cheese and the potatoes were great. At the time of day we were there (1:30PM), things were pretty quiet, but with a hum of business to it. I chose a Mimosa — champagne and OJ — as my beverage, and that was also nice.

My friend Mike had the fish tacos; he loved them, commenting favorably on the light batter, their “clean taste,” the fresh lettuce, and the fact there were two tortillas per taco — not just one — thereby avoiding any messiness in eating them, no “breakage.” He also called his lemonade “nice and tart!” And when Mike didn’t finish the black beans that accompanied his meal, the waitress happily provided me with extra sour cream as I dug into them!

Totally polite help, reasonable prices, and great quality in an upbeat and winning atmosphere make Bette’s Oceanview Diner a place I would return to again and again.

No tags for this post.
  • greghousesgf

    The food here is good but there’s always a really long wait.

  • Len Welsh

    Patrick is so right about the pancakes. You can go there and order nothing else, and if you really pay attention to what you are eating, you will find them a unique and unequaled culinary accomplishment.

    I salute Patrick’s zeroing in on such a simple, humble food that is so neglected by the greater world of restaurants and yet so hard to get right. They cook the best pancakes on the planet, and I have tried many times in vain to duplicate them.

    It is, of course, great that they serve real maple syrup with them, which is absolutely what they deserve, but you can eat them plain or with just about anything and come away wowed.

    BTW, it’s nice of them to sell their pancake mix, but I swear to God, they are holding something back.

    The food, which goes far beyond the humble pancake in its is diversity and sophistication and is uniformly fabulous, is well worth the wait, despite the noise and cramped quarters. Getting there early in the morn doesn’t hurt a bit…