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walking distance of Cal (any side)

A while back I did some research here to see what was good within walking distance of Cal, and checked out many of the most recommended places. But today I was walking around at lunchtime and it occurred to me that there are hundreds and hundreds of places that may not regularly appear in people's top five but which are perfectly good places to eat if you're in the area a lot, which I am. So...

...what would you all recommend that's not on this list? (Note: this list includes both good and bad - it's not a list of my favorites.)

Arinell Pizza, Blondie's, Cafe de la Paz, Cafe Durant, Caffe Intermezzo, Caffe Strada, Cancun Taqueria, Cesar, C'est Cafe, Chaat Cafe, Cha-Ya, Cheese Board, Chez Panisse, Chipotle, Crepes a Go Go, Eat a Pita, El Sombrero, Ethiopia Restaurant, Extreme Pizza, Fat Slice, Gelateria Naia, Gelato Milano, Gregoire, High Tech Burrito, House of Curries, I.B.'s, Ici, Juice Appeal, La Burrita, La Cascada, La Mediterranee, La Note, LaVal's, Lo Coco's, Long Life Vegi House, Mario's La Fiesta, Masse's Pastries, Michelle's, Naan N Curry, Noah's Bagels, Pane e Cioccolata, Pie in the Sky, Planet Juice, Ryowa, Soop, Taste, Udupi Palace, Vegi Food, Venus, Yogurt Park

Again, this isn't a "I want one really good lunch on such-and-such a date" type of thing - I'd just like to know where knowledgeable locals eat and where they avoid. Gourmet Ghetto, Shattuck, Telegraph, College - anything that's within reasonable walking distance of campus. Thanks so much!

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  1. Brazil Fresh Squeeze and Brazil Cafe. I enjoyed the atmosphere of the shack and the tri-tip sandwich. Haven't tried the sister store.

      1. re: peppatty

        angeline's louisiana kitchen on shattuck. ici on college is a stretch, but walkable for some. anh hong new on university, Brazil Cafe on university and on shattuck. cafe gratitude. Bobby G's Pizzeria. Sam's Kabob Cafe. Zabu Zabu. Top Dog of course, though they're getting kinda pricey. Orzo. I'll keep thinking...this is fun.

        1. re: peppatty

          I noticed walking by the other day that Bongo Burger now features Niman meat.

          1. re: peppatty

            yes, Bongo with the constant dulcet refrain of: "lule kebab, lule kebab, lule kebab, falafel, falafel. looooole kebab"

            but yes very good - is 7 Palms still there (corner store) and does Alison still sweep around there (homeless transvestite with issues)? not scary, just at wit's end.

            Bongo serves Niman??? say it it ain't so.

          2. Adagia is your most glaring omission. Good food within earshot of campus.

            Imperial Tea Court. Zatar. Taste has closed - it will soon reopen as Mint Leaf Organic Indian Cuisine.

            On Saturdays, there are food vendors at the Downtown Farmers' Market.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Morton the Mousse

              Will Mint Leaf have the same or new owners?

              1. re: rworange

                Same, the Aggarwal brothers (who also own Khana Peena Indian restaurants in Berkeley and Oakland including, I believe, the new $1 Curry near UC ), have decided to turn the space into a seasonal Indian restaurant according to Scoop/SFChron.

                1. re: wolfe

                  By the way, the Khana Peena place on Oxford in Berkeley is gone. The two side-by-side former restaurants (other was most recently a Filipino place) have been combined into one Curry-for-a-Dollar (not sure if that's quite right) place. I have no idea if Aggarwals still own it.

                    1. re: meemster

                      Yep, same owners. Here's a little background. Still no response on Chowhound about the food.

                      Berkeley: Dollar Curry House - Tandoori chicken $1, lamb vindaloo $1.99, wine $1.99, beer on tap $1 ???

              2. Within 5-10 minutes walk from campus --

                Highly recommended:
                Jayakarta (can be astonishing if you know what to order, many posts here)
                Norikonoko (limited hours)
                Sunrise Deli for falafel

                Great China, but not for lunch
                Turkish Kitchen
                Healthy Heavenly Foods in the Bear's Lair food court
                Hummingbird for the Middle Eastern plate
                Espresso Experience for the bulgogi sandwich
                Top Dog
                Brazil Cafe
                Tandoor Kitchen
                Namaste for momos
                Platano (very slow)
                Triple Rock for burgers
                Taiwan (best for weekend brunch)
                Berkel Berkel (only for beef)
                Nefeli Caffe
                CU Sushi for the permanent half-price menu

                Sort of recommended, in that they're better than many places on your list:
                Imperial Tea Court
                Bobby G's
                Da Lian for smoked pork
                Thai Basil
                Lotus House
                Desi Dog
                Tuk Tuk Thai
                Bongo Burger for lamb
                Smart Alec's except the fries
                Baja Fresh

                1 Reply
                1. re: bradluen

                  For reference and/or kicks, this is how I'd break down the places I've been to from the OP's list:

                  Highly recommended:
                  Chez Panisse
                  Pie in the Sky
                  Cheese Board
                  House of Curries
                  Udupi Palace

                  Almare (formerly Milano)

                  Sort of recommended:
                  Cafe Durant
                  Cafe Intermezzo
                  Caffe Strada

                  If you must:
                  La Cascada
                  La Val's
                  C'est Cafe/Subway

                  La Burrita
                  La Med
                  Crepes a Go Go
                  Fat Slice
                  Eat a Pita

                2. This is such a timely thread as we are planning a day trip to Cal this Sunday or next week and my first choice, Pizzaiolo, is not open for lunch (was planning on early lunch & then visiting campus). What is a good alternative? I would try Pie in the Sky but how's the seating? Maybe Bobby G's? For wood fired, thin crust, we go to Pizza Antica in Santana Row basically for convenience.

                  My other choices would be Indian (Tandoor kitchen?) or Middle Eastern. I saw Holy Land on Check Please, worth a detour vs. Middle Eastern in Berkeley? Is Sunrise Deli falafel better than San Jose's Falafel Drive In? Haven't been to Cha Am in 20 yrs., nice to know it's still there. Again, would appreciate seating info as we will be with two kids (9 & 12).

                  Have to come up with other short day trips too as kids will be at home all week, aah!

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: ceekskat

                    There's a great new Turkish restaurant next to McDonald's on Shattuck. Lots of report links on this place record

                    1. re: rworange

                      Arghh! I just managed to erase my whole report on Turkish Kitchen. Idiot! Okay, okay, calm down and start over.

                      8 of us had dinner there last night and were verrrry happy. We shared appetizer plates (baba ganouj, a fish roe spread that was similar to taramasalata and a tahini spread. Served with wonderful, warm flattish bread.

                      We ordered various main dishes and everybody tasted everything. We had Chicken Beyti, shish kebab, lamb donar, stuffed eggplant, cucumber salad, chicken kebabs, and several other things I can't remember.

                      Everything was great except for the donar which was a bit overcooked and dried out. The shish kebab was cooked perfectly, juicy and delish.

                      Oh yeah, one person had kofte (don't know whether they're called that in Turkey but I mean the ground meat) and they were also cooked perfectly.

                      The Chicken Beyti is spectacular, but it is so rich it should be shared with another person or two. It comes to the table looking like a coffee cake ring. It's actually chicken and spices rolled inside dough and baked, then sliced into pieces. It has a bite to it and, since it's made with butter, some richness as well. A really great dish.

                      I also had their cranberry juice. It was deelish. Maybe it was even from a bottle from Safeway, but it went perfectly with the meal.

                      The place was packed the whole time we were there. A woman at the next table told us that it was recently reviewed in the Chron.

                      The best part was that it was so cheery and bright in the place. One would NEVER know it was the same place that housed the dreary Truly Mediterranean or whatever it was called....dank, depressing and mostly empty.

                      I hope this place lives long and prospers!

                      1. re: oakjoan

                        The decor hasn't changed much and the lighting's the same. It was just as bright when it was The Mediterranean and before that Truly Mediterranean, which had good food (though not as good as Turkish Kitchen's) and was often pretty full.

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                          It wasn't light when we last ate there (a couple of years ago). It was dimly lit and almost empty. Had a forlorn vibe. Must have been The Mediterranean then.

                          It was in the late afternoon during the summer. We were going to eat there but decided to get take out cause of the atmosphere.

                          1. re: oakjoan

                            They must have had some of the lights off. There's been no big change to the interior.

                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                              I think they also washed the mural....but it may just have that everything looked depressing before cause it was so deserted and the food was just okay.

                    2. re: ceekskat

                      Second on Turkish Kitchen, it's great and open for lunch seven days.

                    3. Top Dog, Gregoire, and Cheese Board are all favorites...

                      1. On Northside there's:

                        Top Dog (another one)
                        Bongo Burger (another one)
                        Varamai Thai
                        Gomnaru (Korean)
                        The Stuffed Inn (sandwiches)...all good.

                        From the list:

                        Pane e Cioccolata - chocolate criossant
                        Mario's La Fiesta - avoid burritos, get the place
                        Cancun -- over La Burrito and High Tech
                        Fat Slice - over Blondies (don't go to Blondies) and LaVals
                        Cheese Board -- yes
                        Venus - good


                        Junpiter - nice outdoor eating
                        Au Coquelet - late night (well 1 a.m.)

                        1. Lucky House Thai & Lao on University right below Oxford is a lunch regular spot for me.

                          Lucky House
                          2140 University Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: meemster

                            I'll second Lucky House Thai. Authentic, cheap, fresh, tasty, large menu, friendly service. I can't believe it wasn't mentioned earlier!

                          2. Nice list. Most of what I'd add has been mentioned already by others - Brazil Café, Bongo Burger, Gregoire, Thai Basil for late night (I think they're open until 11:30?). Also, Cheese 'N Stuff under the Durant parking garage for deli sandwiches.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: adrienne156

                              Is that what that place is called, Cheese 'n Stuff? I never knew but I've been a thousand times...I alway thought it as "the sandwich place in the walk through near the steps".

                            2. I'd recommend Finfine over Ethiopia for Ethiopian food.
                              Each has its charms but Finifine is a lot closer to UC and has better food. Not just my opinion, but supported by several ethnic Ethiopian folks that I know.

                              2556 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704

                              Ethiopia Restaurant
                              2955 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley, CA

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Joel

                                What do you recommend at Finfine? Thanks.

                                1. re: ceekskat

                                  I liked the fish. I forget the exact name -- it was cubes of fish, sauteed.
                                  Of course the veg combo is a must at any Ethiopian place.

                              2. Given your list, I'm surprised you haven't tried Cafe Gratitude. I'd list Saul's pastrami above Noah's bagles (Saul's being a few steps closer than Masse's) (although many say Saul's pastrami is nothing to write home about) There's also the veggi sushi place on university I don't remember the name of. And the Indian place that used to be Khana Pena but I hear changed names across from the west side of campus. I'm partial to the Thai place with the elephant out front, the two-level place at the corner of bancroft and oxford.

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: bbulkow

                                  That Thai place is now Looney's Smokehouse BBQ.

                                  1. re: bbulkow

                                    I used to like that Thai place, too. Hua Hin.... it was great. I was pretty disappointed when it became Looney's.

                                    1. re: chemchef

                                      ditto. Hua Hin was my favorite Thai place in the area.

                                        1. re: bbulkow

                                          Once was enough for me. The spareribs were OK but the sides were bland and boring. If I were craving barbecue I'd schlep to T-Rex instead.

                                          1. re: bbulkow

                                            My husband and I enjoyed our meal, but we got it to-go so as to avoid the sports bar atmosphere. Very large portions.

                                    2. Thanks very much, everyone! These replies should keep me busy for a while...

                                      1. Shattuck
                                        Tuk Tuk Thai

                                        La Petite Cheval (if it's still there - I love their garlic green beans)
                                        Berkeley Thai House

                                        Gourmet Ghetto
                                        Cha Am
                                        Love at First Bite Bakery

                                        Northside (Euclid/Hearst)
                                        Hummingbird Cafe (the husband swears by it)