Get on the Boat

The Drunken Boat is located at 2629 Telegraph Ave. Credit cards accepted. Closed Mondays. Call (510) 849-1100 for more information.

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It may be just a few steps away from 7-11, but Le Bateau Ivre (The

Drunken Boat) serves up no convenience food.

From the moment you enter through the two-paneled door, the

hubub of Telegraph Avenue melts away in the warm, farmhouse-like interior.

The restaurant has been carved out of a converted private home and serves

three meals a day in three interior rooms. There's also a luxurious coffee

service on the stone patio and a full bar that has never heard of Natty Ice.

This is the place to make your parents take you when they

realize you live just above the poverty line. Go get pampered - it's worth


Each day's dinner is drawn from two places - the

comprehensive-in-itself regular menu, and an equally large rotation of

specials that include poultry, fish and pasta options, along with an

ever-changing selection of wine and beer.

Being meat-and-potatoes types, my dining companion and I

started with French onion soup with croutons ($3 for a cup) and caesar

salad ($4.75). The croutons in the soup were a little big and messy, but,

unlike the stuff you can buy at Andronico's next door, it was quite good.

After the appetizer, the test of wills appeared in the form of

warm, crusty bread. Not wanting to ruin our appetites, we started thinking,

"No! Must not eat! Oh well, it does look good...mmm...well, perhaps we'll

have some more..."

Carbo-loaded for life, we were ready for some protein. The

filet de saumon ($16.75) was perfectly cooked, neither tough nor mushy, as

is often the case. The sauce on the grilled chicken breast changes all the

time, and the night we were there it was a well-done pesto ($15.75.) I'm

not big on red meat, but if you're going to go all-out, I'm sure the New

York cut steak ($17.75) and filet mignon ($21) are both excellent.

The Drunken Boat definitely serves French food for the most

part, but the chef seems to have picked up some fine Mexican cooking ideas

too, including grilled chicken breast with guacamole ($15.75) and a smoked

trout quesadillas appetizer ($7.75).

Why stop now? Time for dessert! Pretending to be healthy, we

chowed down on the brie and sliced apple ($4.25), but we soon gave in to

our sweet teeth and wolfed down some chocolate mousse cake ($5.75), too.

The brie was good and the apples fresh, and no one I know has ever met a

piece of chocolate mousse cake they didn't like.

While the waiters are nice and unobtrusive, this is not the

place to go for a quick bite. A three-course meal took a little more than

three hours, although time does fly when you're sitting in the wood-paneled

dining room (ask to sit there - it's a little noisier, but by far the most

fun.) Portions are well-sized but not overwhelming.

Reservations aren't a bad idea, but it wasn't too crowded on a

Saturday night when we were there. Go early for a better chance of getting

a good table in the big room.

Our gorging session complete, we forced ourselves to leave (it

was getting a little crowded, anyway). Back out the double door we went,

back on out to all the glamour that is Telegraph Avenue, back past 7-11.

Next time a family member feels like spreading their wealth around, it's

back to The Drunken Boat for sure.


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