My boyfriend is going to spend a week in Berkeley so I gave him a list of my favorite places to eat there; I’ll share that list here too. Berkeley is awesome because the combination of hippies and students results in lots of restaurants serving local and organic food for pretty cheap prices. One of my favorite places (Cafe Intermezzo) served HUGE, fresh salads (like weighing multiple pounds) with really tasty dressings (I liked poppy seed dressing best) for like $5. Sadly, it no longer exists (though there are plans for it to come back soon!) but a bunch of other really awesome places are still there. Here are my faves:
Cheese Board (Shattuck at Vine St) – this is some of the best pizza I’ve ever had. They are fully vegetarian and only make 1 type of pizza per day, which you can buy by the slice or by the pie or half pie. You can check their website to see the lineup for the week. Cheese Board has live music on Wednesdays and are closed on Sundays and Mondays. Fun fact: they are also a collective so the employees all share in the profits.
Great China (2190 Bancroft Way) – This place has been around forever (well, technically, this place has only been around for 2 years since a fire destroyed the original location); my dad ate here when he worked in Berkeley over 20 years ago. They have delicious Peking duck and walnut prawns. The “double skin” appetizer is also pretty tasty; it’s a cold mung bean noodle dish, which comes with an assortment of vegetables and seafood all mixed together.
La Note (2377 Shattuck Ave) – this larger French place has really excellent pastries (croissants!) and breakfast. Their pain perdu is super decadent and be sure to add the homemade fruit compute. Try to get here early because it fills up quickly.
Chez Panisse Cafe (1517 Shattuck Ave) – this is located upstairs to Alice Waters’ famous restaurant. The menu here is served a la carte and everything here is local fresh and delicious. I love all of the garden lettuce salads and the fish entrees especially. It’s important to make reservations; they take them up to a month in advance.
These next couple of places are in Rockridge, which is about 20 minutes walk along College Ave. It’s a great neighborhood with fantastic food and lots of shops.
Wood Tavern (6317 College Ave) – the service here is fantastic and they make an awesome duck entree and charcuterie board. The atmosphere is warm and cozy. Everything is also uber fresh and the drinks are good too.
Rockridge Market Hall (5655 College Avenu) – this place has a fantastic assortment of food. Cheese, fresh pasta, fresh bread, meat, and even seafood. The bakery has great Swedish princess cake (sponge cake with layers of custard and jam, topped with whipped cream and marzipan). There are free samples throughout the Hall. The wine shop at the back is also great; I used to always come here whenever I needed to pick out a wine for a dinner party.
Bakesale Betty (5098 Telegraph Ave) – Bakesale Betty is a bit farther than Rockridge in the Temescal neighborhood but it’s worth the trip because they make the best fried chicken sandwich ever. The chicken is perfectly crisp and comes with an awesome slaw. It goes perfectly with a giant ginger cookie for dessert. They are only open Tuesday-Saturday from 11-2pm.