Sharing our Love of the Mediterranean for 30 Years.
Raised in Lebanon, Levon Der Bedrossian and Garbis Baghdassarian both share a great love for the cuisine and flavors of the Mediterranean, especially the recipes and influences of Armenia, Greece, Lebanon and France.
Levon founded the first Cafe La Mediterranee on Fillmore Street in San Francisco in 1979 cooking up his grandmother’s recipes.
A few years later, Levon and Garbis opened the Berkeley restaurant on College Avenue on Nov. 3rd, 1982. Twenty-five years later to the day, the mayor of Berkeley declared Nov. 3rd “Cafe La Med Day.” Now reaching their 30-year milestone, Levon and Garbis are humbled. Little could they have known in 1982 that Berkeley’s Cafe La Med would be a 30-year adventure and pride of Berkeley.
Part of the reason Cafe La Med has continued to tantalize Bay area residents throughout the last three decades is because they’ve been using the same family recipes with the finest ingredients available. Many patrons are surprised to learn that most recipes such as the fillo specialties, dolmas, hummos, baba ghanoush, quiches, kebabs, tabuleh, chocolate mousse and more are all made fresh daily, but Levon and Garbis would not have it any other way.
Whichever restaurant you frequent (there are now 3 Cafe La Med restuarants), you’re sure to witness how much the cuisine and decor reflect the love of Levon and Garbis’ homeland; the ‘homeland’ that they prefer to remember in the broader scope as “La Mediterranee” instead of as individual countries with flags and borders. To them, it is the color of the sea, the fragrant herbs and spices, and the warmth and hospitality of the peoples and cultures that resonates. Their restaurant decor upholds this warmth and nostalgia, and inspires akin reveries with fellow patrons. Just ask any wait staff about the symbolism behind various decor elements, and you’re sure to learn something new.
Whether you come for breakfast, lunch, dinner or an afternoon coffee break, Levon and Garbis want you to feel as they do - that you’ve visited the Mediterranean for the breadth of a relaxed meal or sweet interlude. And, because the recipes, like the Mediterranean itself, vary greatly, there’s truly something for everyone at Cafe La Med.