Berkeley named one of the best college towns for food

Brenna Alexander/Staff
A glimpse inside Chez Panisse, one of Berkeley's most famous restaurants.

Once again Berkeley businesses prove that they’re the cream of the crop, as the city’s sensational sweets, pizzas with pizazz and Mediterranean medleys made Berkeley one of the Top 10 college towns for foodies.

The editors at The Daily Meal — a website devoted to “all things food and drink” — scoured college towns from Princeton to Madison to Berkeley to find the restaurants and shops that offered the most tantalizing food.  Berkeley was chosen based on its location and overall customer satisfaction ratings, with Chez Panisse, The Cheese Board Collective and Sweet Dreams Candy Store as standouts.

“We wanted to write about true college towns, as opposed to cities that happen to have a high concentration of schools,” said the website’s travel editor, Nicole Campoy-Leffler.

She said they wanted college towns with things like great coffee shops or cafes and where the food choices were diverse. She said this made Berkeley a “clear choice.”

Sweet Dreams Candy Store located on College Avenue satisfies those sugar cravings with offerings like truffles, chocolates and candy for 9 cents.

“It’s an affordable luxury,” said Manager Casper Hett, who has been with the store for seven years. “It’s like an old-fashioned candy store where people can come and return to their childhood.”

Hett said most of the chocolate in the store is made by hand so between the other items in the store, like scented soaps, and the smell of chocolate, its a winning combination.

Other favorites include The Cheese Board Collective, a pizza restaurant with a bakery and cheese store next door, that offers live music everyday at lunch and dinner.

“We offer the highest quality product at the lowest price we can” said Steven Sutcher, one of the owners. “We offer food at a reasonable price.

Although the restaurant serves one kind of pizza each day, there is still usually a 45-minute wait in line. But, when you get to the counter your order is ready.

“You can have one or six pies,” he added.

The neighboring cheese store offers about 300 different varieties of cheese imported from around the world as well as a variety of pastries.

Rounding out the top three choices is Chez Panisse. Celebrating 40 years in the community as of this summer, the restaurant was one of the first to move away from the traditional restaurant menu style.

Much like the concept for The Cheese Board Collective, the menu changes daily because the goal is to obtain the freshest ingredients possible. It was rated the city’s Best Overall Restaurant in The Daily Californian’s 2010 Best of Berkeley.