Oh the places you’ll go to spend meal points

Roya Chagnon/Staff

For most students, freshman year of college means freedom. Yes, you may have to do your own laundry, but now you have no curfew and no parents nagging you to clean your room. Many of these freedoms you will adapt to for the rest of your life, yet there is one special luxury freshman year brings that you may never experience again. The magic little card you got at orientation holds the key to UC Berkeley’s most hallowed halls: the dining halls. No matter what meal plan you choose, the points on that sacred card fuel a freedom unlike any other … if you know where to use them.

Brown’s Café

A hidden gem on the northwest corner of campus, this whole-food café uses mainly locally sourced ingredients to create amazing salads, sandwiches and meals. Grab a quick sandwich to-go or sit down at its outside tables and order a chicken breast, brussels sprouts and some homemade hummus. With a Peet’s coffee station located inside, Brown’s is the perfect place to take a study break, eat a good lunch and grab a coffee before returning to the grind. Though it is the most expensive café on campus — a satisfying meal here will cost you more than a meal at the dining halls — an order of its famous sweet potato fries is well worth the price.  

Golden Bear Café

More commonly known as GBC, this is by far the busiest café on campus. Located near Sather Gate and equipped with coffee, smoothies and great breakfast sandwiches, it is not uncommon to run into everyone you know here by 9 a.m. Its lunch selection is a bit bland (meat roll-ups and a small selection of salads), but its shelves are stocked with enough snacks to help you through that midday hump. Stop by for dinner and grab a burrito or quesadilla for much less than Chipotle down the street. With its cheap prices, central location and large selection of meals and snacks, GBC is the place to be with meal points to spend.

Bear Market

Don’t want to wait in line at Late Night but still want a snack? Forget to go grocery shopping on your way home? Bear Market has your back. Tucked behind Café 3 in the Unit 3 courtyard, this mini grocery store is a great place for microwaveable and frozen meals, snacks, drinks and health and beauty items. With a selection of nuts, candies, chocolate and trail mix, Bear Market is perfect for a late night study snack. Though overpriced in comparison to the nearby Walgreens, Bear Market is convenient enough to be worth the extra points.

The Den

The Den is a great spot to stop for a quick lunch if you don’t have time for a dining hall. Located on the side of Crossroads dining hall, it is close enough to the units to make it a popular spot to stop for breakfast on your way to campus in the morning. Run in and grab a bagel or breakfast burrito and coffee on your way to class, or a roll-up and a smoothie on the way back. Though it has very little seating, the Den’s convenient location and quick-but-delicious snacks and meals make it a go-to for many UC Berkeley freshmen.

Contact Rebecca Gerny at [email protected].