In a city where chain restaurants dominate the food scene and the people are starved for something new, unique spots like The Vine are a rare find. Its trendy yet casually sophisticated vibes somehow don't clash with its quaint surroundings – instead breathing new life into the old-fashioned downtown – and making Niles the place to be on Sunday morning for young and old alike.
The Vine seems to have emerged out of nowhere, which had me wondering: What brought these crowds, willing to wait over an hour for a coveted seat, to this off-the-beaten-path venue? A glance at the menu in the window, and I had my answer. Intriguing entrees, unusual combinations of flavors that I'd never considered before, but couldn't wait to taste. I knew then that The Vine could satisfy my desire for something different – something original – all while satisfying my hunger. Eventually.
The Vine is located in the old historic district of Niles, directly across from Niles Depot and below the iconic Niles sign. Street parking is available, as well as a public parking lot across the street.
Address : 37533 Niles Blvd, Fremont, CA.
Phone : 510-792-0112
Wednesday – Saturday: 11:30 am – 9:30 pm and
Sunday: 9:30 am – 2:00 pm (Brunch) 4:00 pm – 8:30 pm (Dinner)
The Vine is trendy and casual – its motto displayed in the front window reads “Fine food, not fine dining.” The décor is modern, cozy, and a bit rustic at the same time, fitting perfectly amongst the antique shops and quaint style of downtown Niles. This is the type of restaurant where you'll find folks at every table snapping photos of their food with their iPhones to post on Instagram (myself included).
The comfy couch in the waiting area makes you feel instantly like you're at the home of a friend, though the gold tiled vaulted ceilings add a touch of glamour. The dining area is small, but a patio out back speaks of relaxing afternoons in the backyard, sipping on refreshing mixed drinks, and fun evenings with friends.
This brunch hotspot gets busy on Sundays, meaning long wait times. The hostess estimated an hour, but it took about 45 minutes to get seated – still a long time, but they take down your cell phone number so you're free to wander around downtown in search of hidden gems while you wait. Our server was friendly and attentive.
Moderate and reasonable. Brunch entrées ranged from $8-13 for ample portions, and alcoholic drinks start at $6 per glass and $15 for a pitcher.
Now on to the really important stuff. The Sunday Brunch menu features a long list of familiar favorites with a twist. A breakfast burger, made with both beef and sausage, is topped with bacon and eggs, and humorously dubbed the Morning After Burger. Typical breakfast entrées on the menu include a sausage omelet and blueberry ricotta pancakes.
Our selections this morning were the quiche: eggs, spinach, and puff pastry, accented by the distinct flavor of goat cheese; and the Nutella-stuffed french toast with strawberries and whipped cream. Sounds decadent – and it was – but the combination of the yeast battered bread and the strawberries balanced out the sweetness of the Nutella and whipped cream, resulting in a great blend of flavors that wasn't too sweet.
We also couldn't resist ordering a side of America Boo: tempura-battered, deep-fried bacon with maple syrup dipping sauce. You read that right. If you ever wondered how bacon could be even less healthy and more delicious, this is it. We saw this treat on just about every table. It was love at first bite. The salty, sweet, and incredibly crunchy heart-attack-in-a-bite is the ultimate combination. It might sound like too much (or maybe I'm still stuffed from brunch), but they weren't greasy or overpowering.
The brunch bar has a list of interesting and unique beverages, like a bacon Bloody Mary (in case the deep-fried bacon wasn't enough). We had coffee today (good), but I'll definitely be back with some friends to try some of these crazy concoctions, as well as The Vine's intriguing dinner options.
Published On: Monday, May 27th, 2013