Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Sep 4, 2007 12:53 PM

Cheap between-class places to eat near UC Berkeley?

My girlfriend just started attending Cal, and wants to make the most of her food options, but while there are tons of places nearby, she has no idea what's actually any good. She takes BART to school, so if any hounds could make any reccomendations within walking distance that I could pass on to her, I'd really appreciate it. She does not like Indian (at least she thinks she doesn't, I'm still working on that...), but would be cool with pretty much any other cuisine. I got her liking banh mi over the summer, so if there's a place that has those, that would be awesome. But anything else that's cheap (i.e. no more than $10, but ideally around $5) is great, too!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Cheese 'n Stuff in the Sather Gate parking structure which you can enter from Durant (@Telegraph) has really great made to order sandwiches which are about $3. Another plethora of cheap options is at the Durant Small Taipei food court which is on the other side of Durant and Telegraph (next to the post office there), they have Chinese, Italian, Thai, Korean, Vietnamese and more. Across from the food court, there is Top Dog which is always good with La Burrita next door which has cheap Mexican. Of course there are tons of other options, but these are the first that come to mind since most students hang out on the south side of campus. Hope this helps!!

    1 Reply
    1. re: liujenny

      On the northside, that whole shacky stripmall lookin' thing with the Top Dog in it is supertasty. I love the Korean BBQ place there, though it frankly would never withstand a health inspection. Nefeli coffee also has sandwiches and salads if she's into that and doesn't, god forbid, want more Thai food. Also the best coffee on that side of campus (near Soda Hall). But for cheapass breakfast, the tiny little place on the right in that same food court (can't remember the name) is not to be beat. I think it's $3 for eggs and toast plus a side.

      1. Healthy Heavenly Foods in the Bear's Lair food court sells bahn mi, I think for $2.50. They do a wide range of Asianish food including rice plates and summer rolls. Not much is made to order but they're probably the best eat on campus property.

        For $7 or less, there's Pie in the Sky (NY pizza) and Brazil Cafe (tri-tip sandwich) downtown, Sunrise Deli and Espresso Experience (bulgogi sandwich) on southside, Hummingbird Cafe (Middle Eastern plate) on northside, Top Dog everywhere. Many more good places on University Ave if one's willing to walk a little further and pay a little more.

        1. On the walk west to BART, she can hit Bongo Burger for good cheap falafel, grilled eggplant sandwich, or Persian (lamb) Burger w/ sumac. Breakfast prices are very low too. Here's the Bongo Burger menu:

          There's also a branch of Top Dog next to the Bongo Burger.

          There are also branches of both of the above on South Side, closer to campus.

          On the same route she can try the new Filipino place, Kawayan. The Adobo is tasty.

          Top Dog
          2534 Durant Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704

          Bongo Burger
          2154 Center St, Berkeley, CA 94704

          Top Dog
          2160 Center St, Berkeley, CA 94704

          Bongo Burger
          2505 Dwight Way, Berkeley, CA 94704

          10 Replies
          1. re: lexdevil

            I also strongly second Bongo Burger and swear by their shish kabab sandwich. Others - Cheese 'n Stuff, Smart Alec's (healthy, I like their basil chicken sandwich), and the Thai place at the back of the Durant food court (try the #45a w/ lots of sriacha - yum).

            On the way up from BART, if she wants to take a slight detour to the left, two blocks down on Shattuck at Addison, there's Saigon Express. They are not the best banh mi or pho, but the place is clean, quick, and the people are nice. Another block down and to the right is the Brazil Café which has very good tritip sandwiches and plates.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                I walked by there this morning, they're open.

                1. re: adrienne156

                  I must have been confusing them with another place.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Maybe the place on Center that Pie in the Sky replaced?

                    Oh, and one more place on University - Crepes A Go Go.

                    1. re: adrienne156

                      There's a big space with windows papered up and for-lease signs. Used to be Sun Hong Kong and whatever was next door.

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        Oh well. I've only been to Bongo on that little strip of Center... Anything else worth eating there?

                        1. re: adrienne156

                          Apart from Pie in the Sky, the only place I go to on Center is C U Sushi. Good for the price (I especially like the scallop nigiri on the permanently half-price menu), though probably over $10 if you're a big eater.

                          C U Japanese Fusion
                          2152 Center St, Berkeley, CA 94704

                        2. re: Robert Lauriston

                          The space that is on Center that is papered has a posted liquor license transfer to Tomatina. They should open in November, I think.

              2. re: lexdevil

                Bongo Burger is cheap, but not as cheap as their website indicates. Full falafel sandwich is 4.75, not 3.50, a falafel ball is .75, not .50. (I'm annoyed because I tried going by on Sunday and they were closed, then I went back with not quite enough money. Grrrr.)

              3. Wow, I remember the Dwight Way Bongo Burger from the early 70's. Awesome that it has stayed in business this long. They made an excellent cheeseburger as I recall.