So when Berkeley Bowl West opened a little over a year ago, it offered vastness to temper the frenzy. There was even space enough to set off the café as an annex, big enough to accommodate strollers and grandma-style wheeled shopping carts. The sandwiches here are hulking and satisfying, including the Cuban, something SFoodie has its own particular lust for.
The version here shines with artisan finesse, thanks to rosemary ham from hometown salumeria Fra'Mani. It's gently smoky, pink and tender enough to make it hard to distinguish from slices of roast pork loin. Not Surprisingly, it's a Cuban that skews more Tuscan than Latin, a reckoning that feels distinctly Berkeley. Maybe the best part? Sage-green coins of house-cured pickles, tart enough to cut through the heaviest of animals.
Berkeley Bowl West Cafe: 920 Heinz (at Ninth St.), 898-9555.