If you have trouble doing food preparation and planning packed lunches, you just might find your wallet feeling lighter than usual. Berkeley is quite an expensive city, but if you look in the right places, you could snag some pretty cheap meals.
This café is one of my favorite options for a super quick lunch. However, the narrow Northside space makes it rather difficult to sit, so I tend to take the food with me to go. But, lucky for you, this space is close to Memorial Glade, so you can easily sit outside and eat! Known for its smoothies and sandwiches, this Mediterranean paradise has a massive selection of options for under $10 — nearly everything, in fact. Also, its extensive variety of options means you can satisfy any craving, from lasagna to fresh-squeezed watermelon juice.
Placed at the center of the Sliver vs. Cheeseboard debate, this spot is a perfect pizza option for lunch. Located in Downtown Berkeley, Sliver offers flavors, from the traditional Roma tomatoes and mozzarella to corn and chile pasilla, that alternate daily. For only a few dollars a slice, or half a pizza for $11, one can definitely fill up on some cheesy goodness.
Pedro’s Brazil Cafe
I was first introduced to Pedro’s “Shack” even before I went to UC Berkeley. It’s known for Brazilian bowls, sandwiches and salads, most of which are under $10. This spot is definitely popular, and after trying their famous Tri-Tip Sandwich, I understand why. Topped with ricotta, pineapple and jalapeños, the flavors are there, and the food is a nice variation from my usual lunch options. This is definitely the spot to try if you’re tired of normal fare and want to venture out and try something new.
TOSS Noodle Bar
If you haven’t tried TOSS, you really should. Suitable for a variety of occasions from weekend dinners to date night, this spot gets busy, but the ambience makes the wait worth it. This spot is known for the make-your-own-dish experience, which is perfect to suit a lot of people and different moods. At TOSS, you can select your base (noodles or fried/steamed rice), flavor (wok toss, soup, curry) and protein (tofu, chicken, beef, pork) all for $8.50! The personalization makes it super easy to shake it up and try new combinations. Personally, I’m a traditionalist and recommend the Hokkien noodles with Thai sauce, but the options are definitely vast.
Located in the heart of Elmwood, this café is a quaint option unlike what you find closer to campus. At this café, not as much is under $10, but you can still find a solid set of options, which include their pastries, BLT, grilled cheese sandwich and soup of the day. And if you’re a breakfast-all-day kind of person, they have waffles until 4 p.m.! While it’s a little farther away, this is definitely a cute option I recommend to check out if you have the time!
Find that cheap meal, Bears!
Contact Emma Sayiner at [email protected].