Escape the dining halls: Berkeley restaurant hot spots you can’t miss

Amanda Ramirez/File

A freshman’s first month at UC Berkeley is always filled with excitement, getting lost, desperately trying to make friends and eating a whole lot of food from the dining halls. But as freshmen become more seasoned UC Berkeley students and gain that jaded look in their eyes, they start getting tired of Crossroads chicken nuggets and the Café 3 vegetarian options. They’re tired of settling for “not good, but not that bad” food, and also have had their fill of Asian Ghetto food and Taco Bell on Durant. As a freshman, the best restaurants in Berkeley aren’t always common knowledge. But we at the Clog are here to rescue you with our handy-dandy list of hot food spots around campus!

Jayakarta Restaurant

Jayakarta is our underrated fave. It serves ridiculously authentic and tasty Indonesian food with varying spice levels to choose from. Pretty much everything there is incredible, but our favorites are the mie tek-tek and martabak telor. Skip the dining hall line and learn what real flavor tastes like! 

Bette’s Oceanview Diner

Sometimes sitting alone at a booth in Crossroads is a drag. Try a booth at Bette’s Oceanview Diner instead! It’s a little ways away, on Fourth Street near Berkeley Marina, but it’s worth the bus ride for the yummy breakfast food and old-timey feel! The diner has some wonderful potato pancakes and soufflé pancakes, but also your basic breakfast options.

The Italian Homemade Company

Relatively new to College Avenue, The Italian Homemade Company has already taken Berkeley by storm with its homemade pasta, awesome mix-and-match sauce options and adorable bowls that the food is served in. The restaurant has a casual, rustic atmosphere and a big open window that makes it even more pleasant. To the picky pasta eater who can’t handle dining hall pasta, we’d highly recommend you check this place out.

The Butcher’s Son

To all our vegan readers out there, have no fear! The Butcher’s Son is the most filling vegan restaurant we’ve ever been to, with an array of sandwiches and desserts. We truly had no idea that vegan mozzarella could taste so good. This place could turn any carnivore into an herbivore for an hour. 

Noodle Theory

Leave Berkeley and expand your horizons in Oakland at this small but not-to-be-forgotten noodle restaurant! From Thai to Japanese, you can find all kinds of Asian noodles here — you can’t go wrong with the soup or stir-fry noodles. We also love how the servers give you edamame before your meals. 

PIQ Bakery

Another underrated Downtown Berkeley classic, PIQ has some of the best baked goods, sandwiches and pizza we’ve had in the area. It’s a great place to study as well as a little slice of Italy amid the hustle and bustle of the Bay. Come for breakfast, lunch or a midday snack.

Meal points are great and the dining halls are actually pretty good as far as dining halls go, but it’s only human to get tired of them. Whenever you’ve saved up enough or simply can’t eat another salad from the Crossroads salad bar, spice up your life with these restaurants. You won’t regret it!

Contact Sunny Sichi at [email protected].