A report by Dana Eastland: Sergio Emilio Monleón and Emily Sarlatte, chefs who co-own the Ñora Cocina Española catering business, are getting ready to open their first brick-and-mortar location in Berkeley. It’s called LA MARCHA, and it’s opening in October. The name comes from the notorious late-night bar crawl in Spain, fueled by tapas and drinks. The restaurant will offer more than 25 different tapas, as well as 8 or 9 paellas.
The pair has already become rather well known for their paella catering, and they plan to offer the signature rice dish in traditional preparations, like the paella Valenciana, with rabbit, duck, snail, and green beans, and more creative choices, like the paella tres cerditos with chorizo, smoked pork belly, pork loin, lima beans, leeks, and apple cider. The menu will change with the seasons, as well.
The bar at La Marcha will focus on sherries, with a selection of more than 20 of the fortified wine. They will offer sherry tasting flights for both sherry newcomers and those more experienced with the beverage, as well as occasional sherry tasting dinners on Mondays. In addition, there will be 30 old-world, Spanish-style wines available, with a focus on affordability, as well as three wines on tap. Plus, they will be pouring a rotating selection of Spanish-style dry ciders and local craft beers.
The restaurant, which opens in mid-October, is designed by Restaurant Design Concepts and will feature warm rustic elements, like wood, terra-cotta tile, and bricks, with modern, colorful accents in blue, red, and white. Hours will be Tue-Sun from 4pm-12am, with not just one but two happy hours, one from 4pm-6pm and another from 10pm-12am, when tapas are offered for free with drink purchased. Dinner is served Tue-Sun 5pm-10pm. 2026 San Pablo Ave. at University, Berkeley.
STEEL RAIL, a new café from the reggae-loving team of Temoor Noor, Steve Sparkes, and Effie Speigler, is now open in Jack London Square, according to Scoop. The café serves soups, salads, and sandwiches, all priced between $6 and $7, along with beer and wine on tap. Here’s the menu and drink list. For now, the hours are Mon-Fri 11am-3pm and Sat-Sun 8am-3pm. They plan to open until 8pm soon, with an extended menu that will include oysters, meat and cheese plates, and more. 439 Water St. at Broadway, Oakland, no phone.
Laurent De Barbier, who owns BRITTANY CRÊPES AND GALETTES, is getting ready to open his first brick-and-mortar location in Berkeley in November. Brittany Crêpes and Galettes has already established quite a following, with their farmers’ market appearances and catering operation, and the new location will allow De Barbier to expand some of his offerings. De Barbier and his wife both hail from Brittany and bring authentic Breton style to their crêpes. For the savory crêpes, or galettes, they will be using the traditional buckwheat flour, while the sweet crêpes are made using white flour. The fillings will run the gamut from traditional (ham and cheese, strawberries and cream) to more seasonal and creative (braised leek with butter sauce). As De Barbier says, “there are no rules with fillings, it is dictated by the seasons and we can have fun.”
In addition to crêpes, look for entrée salads, charcuterie plates, and French-style ice cream. They also plan to offer beverages like wine, beer, and cider from Brittany. The space has seating for 35, and they plan to start with dinner service, then will add lunch and brunch later. And for those who love seeing De Barbier at their farmers’ market, don’t worry: he’ll continue to serve his crêpes there, as well. 913 University Ave. at 7th St.
If you love board games, listen up: Berkeleyside Nosh reports that there is a new café in Berkeley just for you. It’s called VICTORY POINT CAFÉ, and it’s now open. They’ve got 750 (!) different board games, ranging from classics like Monopoly and Balderdash to the more unusual, like Munchkin and Qin. Here is a list of the games, but they will likely add more. They’ve also got coffee, tea, and snack bowls with nostalgic munchies like teddy grahams with raisins, yogurt-covered pretzels, chocolate-covered blueberries, and vanilla almond granola; you can peek the menu here. There is also a plan afoot to serve beer and wine. Hours are daily, 11am-late. 1797 Shattuck Ave. at Delaware, Berkeley, 510-982-6325.
The paella mixta from La Marcha. Photo by Phi Tran.