Bette’s Oceanview Diner

Bakery | Diner | Eclectic | Pancake House | Sandwich Shop
Memorable
One of the best
Save

I tend to be skeptical about retro restaurants, diners in particular. Even if their heart is in the right place, all too often the food is not. Repeat visits to Bette’s over the years have disabused me of prejudice.

Here is a modern restaurant with classic values … and really good pancakes. I don’t only mean the special souffle pancakes, which are oven-baked, and terrific. I’m also talking about regular buttermilk pancakes, usually available in a special flavor each day; about sourdough pancakes, cottage-cheese pancakes, buckwheat cakes, and banana sour cream pancakes. Savory potato pancakes are a wonder: coarse grated and redolent of spuddy flavor, grilled to a crunch and served with extraordinary apple sauce. (Bette’s pancake prowess — and all its pancake recipes — are featured in a precious volume titled, The Pancake Handbook, available from the restaurant’s website.)

Around Christmas, the day’s pancake (and waffle) often is egg nog. Wonderful! The extra egginess is subtle, adding intangible richness to the cakes, all the better when drizzled with real maple syrup that comes alongside. An egg nog waffle is the thin-tread type, but egg nog does tend to diminish its crispness.

Bette’s breakfast goodness goes way beyond pancakes. Among highlights is some of the best scrapple I have had anywhere, including the Delaware Valley. Part of a “Philadelphia breakfast” with poached eggs, this oinky meat is made from pork butt, cornmeal, sage, and plenty of pepper. It is sliced thick enough that while the outside gets brittle, the interior still wants to melt into nothing but flavor. A “Maryland breakfast” features rugged, crisp-edged corned beef hash. The “Mexican scramble” includes house-made chorizo sausage.

When I visit, I try to arrive early in order to find a counter seat with a view of the kitchen staff at work. Beware, though, Bette’s is famous, and famously crowded. So at most normal meal times, expect to wait.

Jim Ellison | December 14, 2007

Bette’s offers a great two-for-one deal. On the right side is a perfect breakfast and brunch spot with the atmosphere of a classic American diner. On the left side is Bette’s To Go, which offers a wide variety of foods for take-out, including exceptional baked goods. If you cannot get into the diner at least pop in for one vanilla macaroon; these are the best I have ever had.

Opinions differ on whether the place is cozy or cramped. Everyone seems to agree that the wait can be very long for a booth or table, but people keep waiting, and the time spent in line is worth it. Bette’s serves up classic breakfast items as well as some not so traditional morning fare such as huevos rancheros or lox and eggs. Pancakes are one of the major claims to fame here. There are several varieties of perfect pancakes to choose from (buttermilk and buckwheat are local favorites) and if you adore them, you can buy the pancake mix to take home with you. If you want something just a little bit lighter try the California Breakfast: toast, two eggs, perfect homefries, and avocado slices.

For lunch and brunch, there is an array of sandwiches from meatloaf to tuna salad. The sandwiches are served with your choice of four types of fresh bread. There is something good for everyone here.

The interior is classic diner: checkered floors, red vinyl booths, and plenty of art deco ambiance. The staff is friendly and enjoys helping you make a selection from among the many tough choices on the menu. This is a dining destination in Berkley that you should not miss. If you arrive early in the week, you can minimize the wait. If you do have to wait for your table or need to work off a big meal, fill your time by wandering along 4th Street.

What to Eat
Bette’s Oceanview Diner, Pancakes
Pancakes
Must-Try
Pancakes are Bette's signature dish.
Bette’s Oceanview Diner, Fruit Salad
Fruit Salad
Must-Try
Fruit is peeled and cut to order.
Bette’s Oceanview Diner, Chocolate Espresso Twinkie
Chocolate Espresso Twinkie
Must-Try
Chocolate espresso Twinkie from adjoining bakery
Bette’s Oceanview Diner, Souffle Pancake
Souffle Pancake
Must-Try
Souffle pancake: light weight, big flavor
Bette’s Oceanview Diner, Pie
Pie
Must-Try
Flaky, rugged crust + dense banana custard = terrific pie
Bette’s Oceanview Diner, Blackberry Preserves
Blackberry Preserves
Must-Try
All tables have homemade blackberry preserves.
Bette’s Oceanview Diner, Smoked Salmon
Smoked Salmon
Must-Try
Smoked salmon special includes avocado, poached eggs & hollandaise.
Bette’s Oceanview Diner, California Breakfast
California Breakfast
Heavenly home fries at the back of a California Breakfast
Bette’s Oceanview Diner, Waffle
Waffle
Egg nog waffle for Christmastime
Bette’s Oceanview Diner, Corned Beef Hash
Corned Beef Hash
Bette's corned beef hash has massive amounts of crisp, crunchy edge.
Directions and Hours
closed now
Sunday6:30am - 4pm
Monday6:30am - 2:30pm
Tuesday6:30am - 2:30pm
Wednesday6:30am - 2:30pm
Thursday6:30am - 2:30pm
Friday6:30am - 2:30pm
Saturday6:30am - 4pm
Information
Price
$$
Seasons
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Breakfast, Lunch, Dessert
Credit Cards Accepted
Yes
Alcohol Served
Yes
Outdoor Seating
No
Website

Other Nearby Restaurants

  • Bacon & Butter

    Sacramento, California

    The sunny Bacon & Butter serves beautiful breakfast dishes such as 6-minute buttermilk pancakes and fried green tomato Benedict with lardons.

  • Split

    San Francisco, California

    Whatever you order at Split — healthful or indulgent — make sure to include crispy butterball potatoes with a touch of rosemary.

  • Media Noche

    San Francisco, California

    Light-filled Media Noche is a beautiful spot to enjoy modern takes on Cuban favorites, like The Celia: crisp-fried chicken, coconut slaw, and avocado.

  • Loló

    San Francisco, California

    At Loló, creativity abounds, in food and decor. Try chile verde pork butt with crispy shoestring potatoes, roasted tomatillos, and à la carte corn tortillas.

  • Souvla

    San Francisco, California

    Bay Area ingredients get a Greek twist at Souvla, where salads are piled with spit-fired meat and frozen Greek yogurt is sprinkled with sea salt.

  • Frog Hollow Farm

    San Francisco, California

    Beautiful pears, peaches, nectarines, and plums come to San Francisco’s Ferry Building from Frog Hollow’s organic farm in the Sacramento River Delta.