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Jun 23, 2008 11:18 PM

Berkeley on the Cheap?

Son is going to Berkeley for a conference most of next week. He is an undergrad going with a grad student whom he's been collaborating on some research with. Neither one of them has much money, obviously. They are staying in a dorm (Foothill Hall, which is up near Stern Hall on close to the Northside...), and breakfast and lunch are included...but not dinner. So they are looking for good, cheap places to chow. He asked me since I went to school there, but things have changed in 30 years so I might not be the best resource. Obviously Vik's (if he can get there before they close for the evening) and Top Dog are possibilities...but where else do you recommend? He will have a car.

I figured the Hounds might have some ideas.....



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    1. The Northside Bongo Burger location is close, cheap, and tasty.

      3 Replies
      1. re: lexdevil

        yes, BONGO!

        while listening to the constant dulcet and montone refrain from the kitchen "falafel, falafel, falafel, lule kabob, lu-le ka-bob"

        it's been years since the SO was in grad school and lived on LeComte, but there were (and I would bet still are) a slew of cheap and cheap-ish places on that stretch of Euclid and Hearst.

        1. re: hill food

          A 4th or 5th on Bongo...nothing like a Persian burger at 10 p.m.

          Pie in the Sky and Mario's La Fiesta are good picks too.

          1. re: ML8000

            Holy crap! Bongo Burger has updated their website. And they're using Niman Ranch... Menu is here:

            Also reminded me that they have a real bargain breakfast. Three egg cheese omelet w/ toast and home fries for just $4.15. Two eggs, sausage or bacon, toast and home fries for less than $5.00. The 'shroom and cheese omelet is great for the price.

      2. on the southside, cafe intermezzo is very good and cheap - it's the only salad place that i would actually go to. good sandwiches and bread. also raleigh's is a good pub a couple doors down, both are on telegraph.

        le bateau ivre is a few blocks farther down on telegraph. it's a nice, quaint french restaurant, but it's also great for a drink before dinner.

        le petit cheval on bancroft has good vietnamese for the price.

        i don't think there are any good places on hearst / euclid northside, except for maybe the top dog.

        if he's willing to drive or go for a long walk, the gourmet ghetto has good places. cheeseboard pizza is especially good and cheap (maybe he could compare it with blondies).

        3 Replies
        1. re: cornflower55

          Bongo Burger = exception to Northside = nebbish rule. Good falafel, Persian (lamb) burger, grilled eggplant sandwich...

          1. re: cornflower55

            Cheese Board Pizza's the only good place (maybe the only place, period) in the not-so-Gourmet-anymore Ghetto that's anywhere close to the same price range as Vik's and Top Dog.

            1. re: cornflower55

              >le bateau ivre is a few blocks farther down on telegraph. it's a nice,
              >quaint french restaurant, but it's also great for a drink before dinner.
              if i were on a budget [and had access to a car], i think it would be a
              shame to make bateau ivre my "splurge" destination ... i thought
              the food was "blah" and the service was sort of inexplicably lame ...
              like service would take a surreal amount of time even when the
              resto was close to empty.

              i suppose they might be ok for a drink

              i did like the espresso milkshakes with a shot of cointreu tho ...
              even if it took an insane amount of time to make the transaction happen.

              [this is based on quite a few years ago ... pre-Y2K]

              in my book ptit cheval, raleighs, are pretty fair for the money.
              i used to like intermezzo more but the last couple of time there
              it didnt measure up so much ... maybe my tastes have shifted
              in the gregoire direction.

              cheeseboard of course is a crown jewel.

            2. One of my favorite cheap eats in Berkeley is Lucky House Thai on the south side of University between Oxford and Shattuck. Large menu and super fresh ingredients on the cheap.

              Also, there are tons of student options on the south side of campus like the Durant food court. Very cheap and surprisingly tasty, at least by student standards...

              1. Gregoire at Haste & Shattuck -- can find the menu on line. Changes each month. Very fair prices.

                4 Replies
                1. re: walker

                  fair and cheap are too different things, and Gregoire is not cheap, IMO.

                  1. re: susancinsf

                    Yeah, Gregoire is not cheap at all. If they want pizza, I've found Jupiter on Shattuck to be pretty affordable, and if it's a nice night, they have a good sized patio in the back. There have also been good reports on Bobby G's pizza, which is nearby.

                    FYI, Vik's closes for the evening at 8 now (this is a relatively recent change), so unless his conference runs really late, he should be able to easily get there in time.

                    1. re: JasmineG

                      Is Vik's open every night until 8? I thought that only applied to the weekend nights....

                      1. re: janetofreno

                        Hmm, that could be true, but the hours on their website still say 6 everyday, which I know isn't true. Maybe he should call.