Spenger’s Fresh Fish Grotto, Diamond on Fourth Street
The recently launched Sunday brunch at Spenger’s Fresh Fish Grotto is now the talk of Berkeley. Fresh-from-the-boat Pacific oysters never looked as good as they do here, under a full-scale tall ship model mounted on crates above the brunch buffet.
The ambience is nautical, whimsical, eclectic, and thoroughly enticing. The food is bountiful and fresh, and neatly arranged in specialty stations that include: seafood – salmon, crab, shrimp, and bivalves; meat – prime rib and ham; specials – eggs Benedict, grilled fish and chicken, bacon and sausage, rice and potatoes; omelets made to order – with artichoke hearts, mushrooms, tomatoes, and other gourmet ingredients; freshly baked breads and salads; seasonal fruit and vegetables; bananas foster and waffles; pastries and other desserts.
Mimosas and champagne come in bottomless glasses and coffee cups are duly refilled.
Spenger’s Fresh Fish Grotto is a very special place, with plenty of character and a rich history that goes back for more than a century. Founded by a fisherman, Johan Spenger, who brought his daily catch to the kitchen straight from the San Francisco Bay, it was owned and operated for decades by the Spenger family.
In its heyday, Spenger’s was considered the largest seafood restaurant in the world, and continues to stand out today as a classic seafood place committed to local sourcing and quality.
To me, the most striking feature of this unique restaurant is the Star of Denmark 34-carat canary diamond, modestly displayed in a sort of a compass stand, in the entryway to the dining hall. A commemorative plaque reads, “…This diamond was set in a ring given by the Princess of Denmark to Queen Kapiolani of Hawaii when she attended Queen Victoria’s jubilee in 1887…” Of course, you come here for food, not diamonds, but I’d return to Spenger’s just to look at this marvel…
Sunday brunch at Spenger’s Fresh Fish Grotto is served from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at 1919 Fourth Street in Berkeley.
Call for reservations (510) 845-7771, or visit their website.