5 places that are cheaper and tastier than Cal Dining

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Sophia Elia/File

Since we’ve been away from UC Berkeley for summer break, our good ol’ meal plan has experienced quite the makeover. Rather than sticking to its usual meal-point system, where one point equates to $8 spent each time you enter, Cal Dining has switched to the concept of meal swipes to turn a quick profit on its undergrads. If you’re thinking of stopping by the cafeteria for a bite on the way to classes, don’t be scammed by the $13 lunch and $14 dinner. The best thing about college cafeteria food is its affordability for students, so with this year’s price hike in mind, the Clog is here with some alternative options to save you some money.

Gypsy’s Trattoria Italiano

Gypsy’s has been around for years, serving up varieties of hot calzones, pastas and pizzas to the student body until midnight for reasonable prices, ranging from $8 to $10. A combo, which includes a salad and drink, will only cost you $10.99 — a college-budget deal! There’s lots to choose from and the portions are ginormous, making Gypsy’s the perfect spot to hit up if you want lots of tasty Italian food without emptying out your wallet.

Sliver Pizzeria

This isn’t your normal pizzeria joint. Sliver serves a different kind of vegetarian pizza each day, ruling out the decisive factor that can be oh-so-challenging for college students on the run to class. The combination of fresh ingredients will have your mouth watering with each bite, leaving you in shock that a single slice is only $2.98 and half a pizza is affordably priced at $11.90.

Tacos Sinaloa

Tacos Sinaloa is the best Mexican food you can find close to campus. The tacos only cost $2 each and come with plenty of fillings to choose from. If you’re craving something a little heavier, the burritos are especially tasty at a price of only $8.50. Don’t forget to try all of Tacos Sinaloa’s perfectly sweetened horchatas for $2.50 — these horchatas are drinks that you definitely won’t find at the soda machine at Crossroads.

Toss Noodle Bar

At Toss, you can still showcase your dining-hall creativity by designing your own dish. You get to choose your base, sauce and meat, which comes out to a total of $9.95. I usually order a noodle base each time, and the portions are quite large, leaving you filled for the entire evening. If you’re in the mood for some Asian-inspired cuisine, head over to Toss to get your money’s worth.

The Snack Shack

The Snack Shack is my favorite burger spot to hit up on my way to my classes on Northside. The $7 to $10 burgers are worth every single bite with fresh, delectable ingredients used in each menu item. You’ll surely taste the difference. Try the spicy Californian if you’re a lover of cheese, as the brie will melt in your mouth, or the umami if you want something a little more savory. If you’re looking for something quick and convenient to take on the go, Snack Shack’s waffle-cut fries are equally delicious.

One wonderful thing about Berkeley is that you never have to walk too far for cheap eats. As college students living in the Bay Area, budgeting has become increasingly essential. However, saving your money doesn’t necessary translate to eating at the dining hall every single day. You might find yourself pleasantly surprised by the tons of great and affordable options surrounding you.

Contact Erika Lee at [email protected] .