As a college student, you dread the steadily dropping numbers on your bank account and cry at the sight your piling credit card bills. With most of your expenses going toward tuition and rent, the money left over can barely cover the essentials. Can you really afford to go to that concert over eating dinner for the next month? What if we at the Clog told you that it’s possible to budget both? For those of you who are culinary-challenged and broke, hit up these places for your food needs so that you have money left over for special occasions.
1. Tacos Sinaloa
Located down Telegraph Avenue, Tacos Sinaloa serves authentic Mexican cuisine. Its tacos and burritos are made fresh to order and come with sides of lime, pickled carrots and jalapenos. Choose from a variety of meats including chorizo (Mexican sausage) or asada (steak). For the more adventurous, Tacos Sinaloa offers cabeza (beef head) and lengua (beef tongue). Tacos are normally $2 each, and an order of three is more than enough. Swing by Tuesdays and pay only $6 for a large, savory burrito.
2. Tea Press
Don’t let the name Tea Press fool you. Along with sweet and refreshing drinks, this cafe on Bancroft Way across from Hearst Gym is perfect when you’re strapped for cash. The long lines at lunch time attest to the popularity of this hole-in-the-wall shop. Tea Press’s bento boxes are filling yet cheap, about $6 each. Each box comes with a large scoop of rice, soy sauce tofu, steamed veggies, tea eggs and your choice of entree. Thirsty? We at the Clog recommend ordering a Thai milk tea for a well-rounded meal.
Just opened this summer, Eatsa on Telegraph Avenue is a nutritious option for non-meat eaters and carnivores alike. Every bowl at Eatsa is only $6.95, so you won’t be breaking the bank. If you’re in a hurry, order on its app ahead of time and pick up your food without any hassle. The large portions, quality ingredients, personalized delivery and clean aesthetics are appealing to us college students, because we’re getting a lot of food and an Insta-worthy meal. If you’ve always wanted to try quinoa, now’s your chance to dip into the granola hipster world.
4. Sliver Pizzeria
This isn’t your ordinary pepperoni-or-cheese pizza joint. At Sliver Pizzeria, only one type of pizza is made daily, in order to keep ingredients fresh and customers happy. Its pizza features eclectic combinations like corn and goat cheese or roasted Yukon gold potatoes and toasted pine nuts. Don’t be scared by the unusual flavors — you’ll be buying quality pizza. Each slice is only $3 and is larger than your typical pizza serving. We at the Clog recommend slathering its complimentary cilantro green sauce on your pizza for an orgasmic tasting experience. Check out its website to see its weekly pizza schedule before making your way to Downtown Berkeley.
5. Thai Basil
Found in the Durant Food Court (Asian Ghetto), Thai Basil has consistently ranked as the Best Thai Food in Berkeley by The Daily Californian. To get the best deals, come on weekday afternoons and take advantage of its lunch special. The special comes with a serving of Pad Thai and three entrees of your choice. It’s so much food that you could split it into two meals. Plus, it’s only $6. Be sure to have cash, because Thai Basil doesn’t accept card.
6. Cafe Durant
If Thai food isn’t your thing, walk around the corner and up the stairs to Cafe Durant. The open floor space on the balcony is an ideal spot for a cheap date night or friendly hang out. Stop by Monday morning and grab a breakfast burrito for $3.95. Then, return in the evening and get cheesy nachos for only $5.25. We highly recommend spending your Wednesday nights at Cafe Durant for Wing It Wednesdays where chicken wings are only $0.65 a piece. Its wings come in classic sauces like BBQ and buffalo. Want something more off-beat? Try out its mango habanero and parmesan cheese flavors. Basically, you can’t go wrong.
7. Hummingbird Cafe
This humble deli on Euclid Avenue is great if you find yourself hungry on the north side of campus. A long day at Soda Hall can be relieved by the delicious smoothies made by owner Jamal. Hummingbird Cafe prides itself on its tropical fruit smoothies, which are only $4. But if the sound of Raspberry Jazz or Bingo Flamingo isn’t music to your ears, try a falafel wrap from the many sandwich and wrap choices on the menu. Yes, they’re priced at $7.12, but those extra 12 cents are worth the burst of Mediterranean flavor made by this Smoothie Man.
When you find yourself in a financial limbo, don’t instantly gravitate toward skipping meals. There are affordable lunches and dinners in Berkeley, if you know where to look.
Contact Angeline Nguyen at [email protected].