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Fine dining in the comfort of fine art.

Bay Area museums are a satisfying refuge when hunger strikes

WHAT IS ONE TO DO WHEN THE hunger for fine art is overtaken by the hunger for lunch? Not to worry. In the Bay Area, three fine arts museums slake both appetites in fine style. With attractive settings (including garden seating) and imaginative menus, their cafes stand head and shoulders above what other art museums present for on-site food service. The atmosphere is informal (cafeteria-style), which helps keep prices low (entrees range from $4.50 to $7.50).

At each, the food is good enough to be worth a trip even if you skip the exhibits. But why would you? This month, after lunch, you might take in the show of Mexican archaeological finds at the de Young, a vintage film at the University Art Museum, or masterworks by Bay Area artists at The Oakland Museum.

Cafe de Young, M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, near Eighth Avenue and John F. Kennedy Drive, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco; (415) 863-3330. Cafe hours are 10 to 4 Wednesdays through Sundays, until 8 the first Wednesday of the month. In the garden, you dine among bronze sculptures; inside, your view may include a William Keith landscape. The most popular dishes are the rotating specials, including Chinese chicken salad, Peruvian stew, and grilled vegetables in tomato-basil sauce. The children's menu offers hot dogs and the like. Brunch ($12.50) is served the third Sunday of each month at 10:30 and 11:30, and includes a docent tour of the collection; call 750-3638 for reservations (required). In the museum, you'll see Teotihuacan: City of the Gods (through October 31); for museum hours and admission information, call 863-3330.

Cafe Grace, University Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive, 2625 Durant Avenue, Berkeley; (510) 548-4366. Hours are 11 to 4 Mondays and Tuesdays, 11 to 7:30 Wednesdays through Sundays; until 9 Thursdays. Art and posters line the walls, and picture windows face the garden. Chefs here bake specialty pizzas on site (with such toppings as pesto, chorizo sausage, or goat cheese), offer a variety of salads daily, and prepare entrees such as pecan breaded chicken breast or a sausage sandwich. Desserts range from black-and-tan cake (a hazelnut sponge) to pot de creme (a chocolate custard). And yes, they offer espresso and cappuccino (remember, you're in Berkeley). For film programs, call 642-1124; for information about museum hours, admission, and exhibits, call 642-0808.

Oakland Museum Cafe, The Oakland Museum, 10th and Oak streets, Oakland; (510) 834-2329. Cafe hours are 10 to 4 Wednesdays through Saturdays (entrees are served 11 to 2:30) and noon to 5 Sundays (entrees until 4). This large, open cafe has huge picture windows overlooking graceful gardens; hanging on the cafe walls this month is an exhibition of art by East Bay Area children. One of the most popular menu items is the Thai chicken salad; homemade soups are always offered. Other items are identical to those found at Cafe Grace (both are run by the same catering company). Don't miss the big cookies baked by volunteers ($1). In the museum this month is Here and Now: Bay Area Masterworks from the di Rosa Collections (October 16 through January 2); call 834-2413 for hours and admission information.
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Title Annotation:San Francisco Bay Area museum cafes
Author:Finnegan, Lora J.
Date:Oct 1, 1993
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