Where to go for lunch
One of the best things about Berkeley is the good, cheap food! The
three main food areas near campus are: Northside (corner of
Hearst and Euclid, 2 minutes walk), Southside (starting at
Bancroft and Telegraph, 10 minutes walk), and Downtown (around
Shattuck and University, 15 minutes walk). Here I will list a few of
my favorite places:
NORTHSIDE: Berkeley can rival Paris in the number of cafes per
capita. For a true Berkeley experience head for Brewed
Awakening (on Euclid, first block from campus) for an assortment
of coffees, pastries, freshly squeezed juices (try grapefruit!) and
wonderful smoothes. Cross the street to Cafe Nefeli for a more
intimate Greek cafe experience (and a chance to spot a Turing Award
winner or two). Try their wonderful (albeit overpriced) sandwiches
and, for dessert, Gelato Amaretto.
For cheap yet delicious sandwiches, salads, fruit
smoothes, freshly squeezed juices (orange, carrot, apple, and water
melon, among others) visit the Hummingbird Cafe, a deli shop run
by a friendly
Syrian-Armenian. There is no seating inside, so take your sandwich to
go, and sit at North Gate or on the patio above Sibley. Good and
greasy Middle Eastern food can be had at Bongo Burger (try the
falafel). The food court on Hearst (at Euclid) has a range of
ethnic places (Thai, Chinese, Korean, Japanese) of average quality.
SOUTHSIDE: Head south across campus to Telegraph Ave. where
hippies and yuppies peacefully coexist in this colorful neighborhood.
For the biggest salads in town, go to Cafe Intermezzo
(Telegraph at Haste). They bake their own bread and make their own
dressings. For variety try their half-salad, half-sandwich combo.
Thai House (2511 Channing Way, at Telegraph) serves good, cheap
Thai food in a nice, quiet setting (try to get a seat outside and
enjoy the sun). For students on a budget, there can be nothing better
than a $2 fatty slice of pizza from the notoriously rude Blonde's
Pizza, or for fatter slices try Fat Slice (on
first and second block of
Telegraph). On Durant St. (East of Telegraph) Cafe Durant
serves pretty good Mexican food and other stuff like crepes,
Eat-A-Pita is a good Middle Eastern place, and there is also a
food court of medium quality. For a more sophisticated lunch
experience, try the Musical Offering Cafe and Record Shop (2430
Bancroft), where the local Bach lovers come to have a sandwich and
browse a large collection of classical CDs.
DOWNTOWN: Go to University Ave. between Oxford and Shattuck for a
number of wonderful restaurants. The owner of Crepes-a-Go-Go
(first block of University) used to sell crepes on the streets of
Paris. Now he is in Berkeley, and his sweet and savory
crepes are the best in town (plus, he now stocks Gelato Classico,
the best ice cream west of Florence)! Across the street
delicious Cambodian/French restaurant serves dishes with amazing
sauces (try the fish!). Further down, Plearn Thai (2050
University) serves good Thai food at reasonable prices.
GOURMET GHETTO: A bit too far for lunch, there is the famous
Gourmet Ghetto (Shattuck at Vine) with lots of great
restaurants. Notably, Cha Am (Shattuck at Cedar) is the best
Thai place in Berkeley. And, of course, if you have an expense
account, try Chez Panisse where chief Alice Waters started the
whole California Cuisine.
In the evening
Although it's spring break and few people are around, it's still
possible to experience the Berkeley soul by taking a stroll on
Telegraph Ave. Make sure to stop by Cody's Books for the best
selection of new books and at Moe's Books for used book
bargains. Rasputin's Music and Ameba Music both have a
huge collection of new and used CDs and vinyl (Ameba has an especially
good collection of used classical CDs upstairs).
And if you get bored in Berkeley, all the excitement of San Francisco is
just a 20-minute BART ride away!
On the Weekend
If you are staying for the weekend, there are plenty of things to do
around the Bay Area. Visiting San Francisco is, of course, a must.
Take a walk around China Town and North Beach. Climb atop Coit Tower
for a wonderful view of the city (see if you can spot the Berkeley
Campanile!). For big waves and breathtaking sunsets, go to Ocean
Beach (BART into the city, transfer to MUNI metro N, and take it to
the "Ocean Beach" stop, which is the end of the line). From there
walk north to Cliff House and take a stroll along the path to Land's
End for amazing views of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Berkeley, hiking in Tilden Park (up in the hills) or picnicing and
kite flying on the Berkeley marina (at the end of University Ave.) is
a great way to spend a Saturday. Either way, we hope you will have a
Some of the cafes have internet access. The Engineering Library
one floor down from Sibley has a few computers with World Wide Web
access [you can trick a web browser into starting a telnet session for
you by typing: "telnet://your.address.edu" as the URL]
Written by Alyosha
Efros. Find him for more info on these and
other local attractions.