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Eats: Gaumenkitzel

A taste of Bavaria brightens the East Bay.

Berkeley
To a lonely stretch of San Pablo Avenue that has long been low on umlauts and most everything else, Kai Flache and Anja Voth have brought knackwürste, bratwürste, gruyère-enriched spätzle, and other dishes whose proper spelling requires the option key. Husband and wife both hail from Hamburg, where they know from comfort cooking. Hence a wintry starter of baked butternut squash with a snow-white dusting of melted feta—a belly-warming prelude to roulades, the braised ribbons of beef wrapped around red cabbage with a vinegary kick. No matter what the entrée—pork-loin schnitzel in a crackling coating or crisp parsnip-and-oat cakes that taste like healthful latkes—there’s a lot of heart in this hearty cooking, and the kitchen’s care comes through in tiny touches, like a side of roasted carrots delivered in a painstakingly symmetrical dice. The dining room is large and despite its homey details—wood tables, thick cloth napkins, displays of jam and bottled beer—feels a bit outsize for the restaurant’s otherwise intimate intentions. More than the decor, the sweetness of the service and the buttery smell of Voth’s beautiful pastries lend Gaumenkitzel its cozy feel.

2121 SAN PABLO AVE. (BET. ADDISON AND ALLSTON STS.), 510-647-5016 $$ W ★★

Our review policy: To ensure that we get a typical consumer’s experience in a restaurant, our writers dine anonymously; all expenses are paid by the magazine. Reviews are pulled from our listings two years after the review date or any time personnel changes at a restaurant render a review invalid. Our admittedly imperfect star ratings are based on food quality, variety, service, ambience, and value. 

Staff reviewers and contributors to our restaurant guide include John Birdsall, Susan Bryan, Stett Holbrook, Rachel Levin, Jan Newberry, Josh Sens, and Lisa Trottier.

Prices:
Average price of an entrée:
$ = $10 or less
$$ = $11–17
$$$ = $18–24
$$$$ = $25 or more

Symbols:
D = Dinner only
R = Reservation required/recommended
C = Cash only
V = Valet parking
W = Wheelchair accessible

Ratings:
★★★★ = superlative
★★★ = excellent
★★ = very good
★ = good