A Visitor’s Guide to Food

The most common question I get asked at the end of my tours is: Where should I go for food?

My response always starts with, “It depends on what you’re looking for…”

Golden Bear Café is conveniently located on Sproul Plaza and has smoothies, snack items, salads, burritos, and coffee. It’s every student’s go to stop if they’re in need of food quick.

Then, there’s all the Cal Dining Halls that are buffet style and have food everyone can enjoy! The endless salad bars, pizza, desserts, etc.

At that point, some visitors will ask me about local restaurants, and they want one of two things. They are either looking for (1) some nutritious and family style dining food or (2) some quick sugary desserts!

I got them both covered.

For Family-style dining

Café Durant: Southside

It’s a block off campus on Durant Avenue, they serve a wide range of foods, but the best part is that they have breakfast all day with fresh squeezed orange juice. It’s a delightful place to meet up with friends on the weekends, or a quiet place to study during weekday afternoons. If you can, try their chocolate chip banana pancakes or fajitas! Their Mexican food is the best I have found in Berkeley.

Eureka! Downtown Berkeley

This is my go to burger joint! I highly recommend the Cowboy Burger or their salad with their refreshing lemon vinaigrette. Whenever my parents are in town, we always go here to eat! The ambiance can be sports-themed if there’s a game going on or upscaled classic depending on the evening.

Cowboy Burger from Eureka’s Yelp page!

Sliver: Downtown Berkeley

This pizza place has one type of gourmet pizza a day, which means it’s not hard to decide what to order. It always tastes great, and everyone talks about their pesto dipping sauce! If you’re in downtown Berkeley, it’s a great stop and it’s conveniently located across from the BAMFA (Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film).

Café Mezzo: Southside

What I love about Mezzo is that everything is so fresh and delicious. They have sandwiches, salads, and soup. Their sandwiches are huge, and I always pile mine high with their homemade pickles!

For the Dessert Lovers

Cream: Southside

The ice cream shop that has redefined the definition of cream. Their frozen delights are seriously the creamiest. My order is always vanilla ice cream with hot fudge. Also, you can get an ice cream taco or their specialty: an ice cream sandwich.

Cinnaholic: Downtown Berkeley

The first ever Cinnaholic location is right here in Berkeley. You choose your frosting flavor and toppings and get served up your customized cinnamon roll, which is also vegan, so almost everyone can experience their delicious creations. I recommend going with a maple frosting and to finish it off add strawberries to the top!

Menchie’s: Northside

If you’re looking for pineapple dole whip, this is the place! The only place I have found pineapple dole whip outside of Disneyland is at Menchie’s on Northside. They can add some pineapple juice to your creamy dessert and make it a float…they’ll add an umbrella on top and then you’re whisked away into your own mini paradise.

Dole Pinneapple Whip from Menchie’s Yelp Page!

These are just some of my favorites that have been tried and tested by all my friends! Do know that anywhere you go in Berkeley, you can tell the best restaurants by the lines out the doors and packed tables.

Author: Briana Kaler

Hi, Y'all! My name is Briana, and I am from sunny San Diego, California. I am a sophomore here at Cal intending to major in Business Administration. While I am not giving tours, I am either working, exploring campus, hanging with friends, or going to San Francisco. I am excited to share my experience at UC Berkeley: my home away from home.