best cheap eats in the Berkeley / Oakland area
- Robert Lauriston Mar 21, 2014 11:51 AM
Posted this in another topic but it really deserves its own.
La Bedaine (French takeout)
Ba Le (banh mi)
Lanesplitter (pizza and great local draft beer)
Miss Ollie's (Caribbean)
Pyeongchang (soondobu - Korean soft tofu soup)
Champa Garden (Laotian, avoid the Thai dishes)
Chef Yu's aka Yuyu Za Zang (Chinese-Korean)
Vik's (Indian chaat)
Shan Dong (Chinese dumplings)
Jalisco Cafe (carnitas)
El Huarache Azteca (Mexican dishes made with fresh masa)
Pho An Sen (pho with crazy good lemongrass condiment)
Cam Huong could be the #1 bang for your buck.
702 International Blvd
Oakland, CA 94606
920 Webster St
Oakland, CA 94607
Order one of their specials ($7.99+tax)? I would do it fairly regularly when I worked over by there, and would end up satsifed and not hungry until dinner (and I have a healthy appetite). If you order chaat, then yeah, it's going to be over $10. And generally, I like their chaat/dosas better, but I still think it's good food.
re: Robert Lauriston
I will try it again this week....if nothing else to check out the free parking.
I will probably go around 1:30 so hopefully they will be a spot?
I will see if I can get satiated for $15 or less out the door for lunch.
I doubt it...especially if I buy any kind of drink.
Report to follow.
I often stop by for lunch around noon and have never had any trouble parking in their lot.
If you want to get out for less than $10, you have to do one of the specials (IMO). I like their weekend specials better though, and generally get their veggie specials (and lamb roti on the weekend). If going with multiple people you can order a few chaats and probably get out for ~$10...
Pho Ao Sen
Taqueria Sinaloa Truck
Banh Mi Ba Le
Lunch at Gregoire is usually a pretty good deal and under $10 (sandwiches, salads, potato puffs).
Geta for good cheap sushi and other japanese dishes.
Gum Kuo for jook and rice noodle rolls
Phnom Penh House - Cambodian
Vien Huong for noodles (chow jew noodle soup and beef stew ho fun are especially good)
Genova Deli for really good sandwiches
Turkish Kitchen (request fresh pita instead of lavash if you get a sandwich)
Ethiopia Restaurant for best low price Ethiopian, but for higher quality Ensarro or Cafe Colucci are in the $12-$15 range
+2 for El Huarache Atzeca, Banh Mi Ba Le, Battambang, and Banh Mi Ba Le. All are cheap with no hit on quality.
+1 for Gum Kuo and Spices 3. Cheap but not as good as more expensive places (and that's okay).
Vik's advocators--- there's not a lot of recent updates, so please post recent experiences if you have a chance. An old thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7808...
--Cheeseboard is of course a crown jewel.
--Kim Albany Cafe is a little pricier than VN sandos in deep oakland or the tenderloin but is a good deal ... certainly cheaper than La Bedaine (I like La Bedaine and I think they are good deal for quality, but I dont think of them as cheap)
--Bongo Burger Persian Burger is a good deal for $7.50 with tax (and have the $3.50 breakfast)
--Suya Afro/Carib Grill ... I havent gone their too many times but I think it is a good option. Not a lot of seating space.
--If you list La Bedaine, might as well list PIQ or Gregoire Sandos (as long as you dont order a potato item, it's under $10 for lunch)
--you can get some cheap and good stuff at Oasis Market, but it's a bit weirdly run ... I've been charge different amounts at different times, quality can vary etc. Beef somosa, spinach pie, lebne/baba ganouj all generally pretty good ... i dont think they still sell pita individually for 20cents but i think you can get 5 fo ~$1.
Some friends and I recently had a really good lunch at Arabica on Kittredge in downtown Berkeley. They make their own pita, which they bring to the table after you order, with olive oil and zatar, and it's addictive.....and they brought more when we asked. I had the chicken kebab plate with lots of vegetables, and my friends had the lamb burger and the chicken kebab sandwich in a pita. At $11, it was big enough for two people. Most of their sandwiches, entrees are in the $10-11 range.
In my experience Arizmendi Valencia has good game, but Golden Gate Park, E'ville, Lakeshore are all noticeably weaker. I've eaten at all of them quite a few times, but havent been in a while, so maybe they have gotten better.
[judging on pizza alone ... although the Valencia Focaccia with cheese is also good].
I think Nick Pizza and Slicer are fair deals for slices. I like Lanesplitter too.
I've eaten at Sliver maybe 20 times and they were trending down from their opening [at which point I think their staff were all cheeseboard emigres] but still ok ... if the downward trend continues, it might be a problem, but otherwise I think they are a reasonable cheeseboard sub and a cheap lunch indeed, if you dont get a cocktail [which i did once or twice and are generally not good].
Sorry, not a fan of Vik. I'm in the south bay enough these days to save my indian food/chaat outings for ECRish places.
re: La Bedaine ... I think his smoked salmon which used to be priced at $16/lb was a great deal. It's gone up ... and that is more of a treat than a lunch/dinner. Not sure if you can do lunch there for under $10. Although we're splitting hairs to suggest their are more than Gregoire ... for me, if I've gone all the way over to Solano, I'll end up getting more than a Sando, so I always end up spending more at LB than G, but I suppose it's not inherently more expensive.
Build: over priced.
Pho place on Euclid across from Bongo, Next to LaVals: over priced.
Stuffed Inn: not sure if they have gotten worse or expectations have been raised but I was in the mood for an old school white bread sando and it was pretty bad. The sando/middle eastern/smoothie place has a better $4.50 "school lunch" type sando.
That indian fast food place on Euclid [Urban Turban] actually gives you a quite large amount of food for what they charge, if memory serves.
My colleagues and I miss Brasa, although it was perhaps pushing "cheap".
My colleague like Donkey Burrito ... it is very cheap, tacos $1.25 I believe, but I do not think it is very good. I am not a huge fan of Cancun either.
I've heard decent things about Rocket Food or whatever it is called, but I suppose that is sui generis.
When Cafe Rouge has their pastrami, it is also a great deal ($14?) ... I'll just eat it straight for lunch. Local Butcher corned beef has gotten too pricy ($18?).
I live a block away from Khana Peena on College Ave.
and I still think their Indian buffet Lunch for $8 is a great value.
They no longer give you cloth napkins and a free soda drink but its still always satisfies.
Their outdoor dining area is great!
Don't order a beer as it will cost $ almost as much as the buffet.
5316 College Ave
Oakland, CA 94618
339 9th St
Oakland, CA 94607
b/t Harrison St & Webster St in Oakland Chinatown
Phone number (510) 839-3188
I've never tried this -- thanks for the tip.
Also, 8th Street Cafe
337 8th St
Oakland, CA 94607
b/t Webster St & Harrison St in Oakland Chinatown
I've been here several times for the extremely cheap 3PM to 6PM specials.
Now you are getting the cheapest food, with questionable service and scary sanitary issues.
I like it, my wife is appalled.
Just me, I'm not a fan of Le Bedaine or Khana Peena. I did really enjoy the Kama Sutra border art around the skylight though! That was, ummm...unexpected.
Our only contribution to a 'cheap eats' thread would be Red Sea's lunch buffet. You have to deal with the red palm oil; they use a lot of it. We're fond of it so no problem for us. The injera is made that morning so it's much fresher at lunch than at dinner.
Do NOT try ordering off the menu. We cannot figure out why they are so slow, plating food that is often right on the buffet for less than $7/pp, but they are. We spent over 90 minutes on our first visit, watching people sit down, stuff themselves silly with plates of food, and zip out while we were still waiting, waiting, waiting.....
The quality is moderate, the seasoning depends on which relative is cooking, but it's an amazing bargain. We get their only smoothie, the Red Sea fruit juice, which ups the bill a bit, but no biggie.
When they're "on", the zigne (spicy beef red curry) and the okra are excellent. The doro alicha (chicken yellow curry) is usually the boneless tibs but very occasionally will be the bone-in wot, which my DH loves.