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Jul 25, 2001 11:37 AM

Berkeley Restaurants for Teenagers

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I'm looking for a good restaurant to bring my 15 year old cousin to. She's from Chicago and is a sometimes vegetarian. I'm planning on taking her to UC Berkeley for a visit and was looking to go someplace nearby, but am willing to drive anywhere in the East Bay or SF. Any suggestions? Thanks!

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  1. Downtown: catch a Jazz act and a brick-oven baked pizza (mostly vegetarian) one early evening at Jupiter's trumpetvine patio (they may let your cousin in if you tell them you're just there for dinner), or she might like the Long Life Noodle joint down the street on Shattuck, or the always popular ChaAm thai restaurant up on Shattuck and Cedar. If you want to treat her, take her to Chez Panisse's cafe for one of the best dining experiences in the bay area.

    Southside: Intermezzo has good sandwiches/salads and is a Telegraph ave. classic (good Telegraph scene/Berkeley atmosphere, cheap and fast). Or get thai al fresco on the patio of thai house off Telegraph (on Channing?), it's not as good as Cha Am, but it is just as lively and more studenty and just around the corner from Berkeley's great bookstores (Moes, Codys) and record stores (Amoeba, Rasputin). A little more preppyish is Raleigh's on Telegraph, which also has a large patio in the back.

    If you feel like chinese, try Shen Hua on College above Ashby for pretty good food in a nice setting.

    You have tons of options in SF, but if your cousin wants to have a taste of Berkeley, there are plenty of good places that offer this as well as good food. Plus a 15yr old would get more into the student scene in Berkeley than the yuppie scene in SF.

    6 Replies
    1. re: garçon
      Caitlin McGrath

      Long Life Vegi House is on University just above Shattuck, but for my money, Vegi Food on Vine just below Shattuck is much better (both are vegetarian Chinese, though LLVH does serve seafood and a lot of mock-meat, and I find the food bland and not as fresh or carefully prepared as VF).

      Intermezzo is very casual, but quite a studenty scene. The house-baked honey-wheat bread is amazing. Don't think Raleigh's is all that veggie-friendly.

      If she likes Indian, Ajanta on Solano near the Alameda is an excellent choice; a little posher, with lots of frequently-changing seasonal specials and veggie choices.

      1. re: garçon

        Cha Am Berkeley has gone seriously downhill.

        My experience at Stanford LLN was a total rip-off, maybe the Berkeley one is better? (link below)


        1. re: Melanie Wong

          The Berkeley Long-Life Noodle isn't all that great either. I've only tried it once and I haven't felt the need to return. My feeling is, there are so many great and authentic Asian-style restaurants within walking distance of UC that I wouldn't waste my time or money. You can get better and usually cheaper pad thai several places - Plearn, Thai House, even the fast-food Thai Basil. Sun Hong Kong up the street on Shattuck has HK-style pan-fried chow mein, chow fun, noodle soups, and jook that are infinitely better. The advantage of LLN is that if one person has a craving for Japanese ramen, and the other Singapore-style noodles, both can be somewhat satisfied here.

          Just my 2 cents,

          1. re: Yvonne

            So it wasn't just my Old Blue aversion to anything related to Stanfurd? (g)

            Very bizarre to see people flock to places like LLN and Zao Noodle.

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Keep in mind the audience and occasion, a 15yr old from Chicago would not nearly be as picky about the authenticity of the pad thai at Long Life. What I like about Long Life noodle is that it is the first attempt to provide asian food in a pleasant, urban and modern atmosphere, which it does at very reasonable prices.
              The atmosphere there is much better than at most other cheap chinese places.

              This being said, I guess the Vegi house on University and the Great Wall just a few blocks down are also good choices near campus.

              1. re: garçon

                Thank you for qualifying your recommendation. It would be sad though to dumb down food so much for a teenager. Otherwise, where will the chowhounds of the future come from?

      2. Ahh, my neck of the woods. :)

        I second and third the suggestion of Intermezzo. Their salads are big enough to share, with some left over. Be wary of their mustard if you order a sandwich, it's very spicy.

        Smart Alec's (corner of Durant and Telegraph) has good veggie burgers, sandwiches, and salads. There are usually many students studying or reading here.

        If you're willing to drive a little further, try visiting the Pacific East Mall in Richmond, right off Hwy 80, for Asian food. All the restaurants there are pretty good and worth trying. You'll notice lots of Cal students eating in this mall. Right next door is Banana Garden, which has been mentioned on this board.

        Of course, if it's a nice day and the campus is lively, nothing beats eating on Sproul Plaza. Get a slice of pizza from Blondie's (Telegraph and Durant) or Fat Slice (Telegraph between Durant and Channing) and people-watch while sitting on the steps. If your cousin will eat hot dogs, you might want to grab a Top Dog instead (Durant, 1 block east of Telegraph).

        Hope that helps. Go Bears!

        2 Replies
        1. re: Yvonne
          Caitlin McGrath

          Of course, if you want to eat on Sproul Plaza, the collection of carts at Bancroft and Telegraph always offers up tasty options.

          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

            I haven't been on campus during lunchtime for several weeks now so I'm not the expert. But I think those carts mostly disappear over the summer. I think only the Chinese Kitchen and Musashi (Japanese) are left these few months. Out of these 2, go with Musashi for some decent sushi rolls and specials of the day.

        2. uc berkeley, eh? aw yeah, aw yeah.

          lessee, you have the food court on durant and telegraph (as well as the cafe where i work at, wall berlin)... that is nice for just to eat something fast foody but filling. i personally like the pad thai at thai basil, and the soups at vietnam village are good and hearty. (try the curry beef soup...good good)

          since your cousin leans more towards vegetarian...long life veggie house on university would be alright...makri's cafe on that same street is a good diner, but careful, they are only open until 3...

          here are my suggestions for now, could you be more specific (what does your cousin like, what do you like, etc.)

          sights to see...take in a movie at the berkeley pacific film archive...the museum is closed tho, :( and uhhh...