Two spots to try in the Berkeley: Elmwood Cafe and Padi Restaurant.
Quick Bites: Palate Pleasers
Elmwood Café: This cozy corner spot is always packed with a mix of readers, computer users, coffee klatches, and parents with tots. The décor is simple with an artistic touch, and the vintage wooden bar from the building’s previous incarnation as the Elmwood Soda Fountain (morphed, of course, from the original, Ozzie’s Soda Fountain). Sweet children’s books from Mrs. Dalloway’s next door are on display through the internal windows that divide the two spaces. The food is tasty, light fare with rich pastries, strong espresso, salads, and sandwiches, wines, and beer on tap. But the real star is the café’s attitude: half of its profits go to charities like The Bread Project, Go Green Initiative, and City Slicker Farms. 7 a.m.–10 p.m. daily 2900 College Ave., Berkeley, 510-843-1300, www.ElmwoodCafe.com.
Padi Restaurant: If you’ve never tickled your palate with Indonesian cuisine, you are in for a treat at this new eating spot. If you’re interested in getting a quick education in Indonesian flavors and cooking techniques, try the mini rijstaffel (a Dutch word that translates to “rice table” and usually includes 40 dishes; the “mini” will still have you leaving Padi with doggie bags), which includes 12 dishes, from potato pancakes to curried beef to curry jackfruit to sticky rice pudding with coconut milk. Vegans and vegetarians will find plenty of options, too. 5–10 p.m. Mon.–Wed. and 11:30 a.m.–10 p.m. Thu.–Sun. 2965 College Ave., Berkeley, 510-374-0675, www.PadiBayArea.com.