Here are some great restaurants around U of Berkley. Vik Chaats restaurant near U of Berkley Vik’s Chaat – I sometimes call Vik’s the In N’ Out of Indian Food — definitely a little overrated, but nonetheless consistently satisfying. You know this place is legit when literally every Indian person in Berkeley knows about it. For the uninitiated, chaat refers to Indian street food commonly found in large cities. Most dishes contain a fried element that is either topped or mixed with tomatoes, onions, yogurt, garbanzo beans, potato, cilantro, and chutneys (sauces). Typically, each of these dishes is not really a standalone meal by itself. What my family/friends and I usually do is order a few dishes at first and then keep ordering until everyone is full (the order-to-eat time is very fast). Apart from chaat, they also offer some common one plate meals like biryani, pav bhaji, and idli/sambar. The ambience is busy/noisy in a good way — think community soup kitchen. Protip: the Cholle Bhature is bomb.

  • Kabana – I’m Indian, and this is pretty easily my favorite Indian restaurant in Berkeley. It’s owned by four or five Pakistani uncles who are doing it right. Their menu is fairly standard, but the dishes are simple, flavorful, spicy, and not too greasy. Whenever I’m looking to treat myself after a midterm, Kabana is my restaurant of choice. Note: This isn’t the best option for vegetarians.
  • Gregoire – Affordable French food. This hole-in-the-wall is far enough from campus that it’s usually not overflowing with people, but close enough to be accessible. Lunch will set you back less than $10, but dinner is a bit more pricey ($10-$20). All items come nicely packaged in their signature containers, shown below. Protip #1: you must order the crispy potato puffs! Protip #2: call in your order 15 minutes before going — you effectively cut the whole line.
  • Wood Tavern (College Ave, across from Safeway) – food is amazing.
  • Venus (on Shattuck Ave, not to be confused with Jupiter, a few blocks down) –  also fantastic food, more intimate ambience.
  • Gregoire – French. Super small, primarily take-out place with picnic tables outside. Very yummy. Get the potato puffs with whatever else you order.
  • Paragon (at the Claremont Hotel) – beautiful views, great burger, great fries. Kind of a swanky bar at night. Live music inside, sweeping views from the outdoor deck.
  • Gather (on Oxford) – so, so delicious. Friendly to gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian, and vegan folks.
  • Kirala – best sushi in Berkeley, hands down.
  • Cactus (on College Ave. in Rockridge) – Mexican. Crispy tacos, fish tostada, and pineapple salsa can’t be beat.
  • Genova (on Telegraph in Temescal) – best sandwiches ever.
  • Nabolom Cafe (on College Ave in Elmwood) – dynamite cold-brewed coffee & baked goods. Try the cinnamon twist.
  • Bakesale Betty – get the crispy chicken sandwich and a lemonade freeze. Take pie home for dessert.
  • Brazil Fresh Squeeze Cafe – a little stand on University, great steak sandwiches. Cheap and the cilantro sauce is super addictive.
  • Cheese Board – cult favorite for pizza.
  • Zachary’s – deep dish pizza, another cult favorite.
  • La Note (on Shattuck) – it’s all about the brunch.