University of California-Berkeley Top Questions

Tell us about the food and dining options.


For on campus dining options, there is the Golden Bear Cafe (GBC) on Sproul. This is your basic convenience store/ cafe. They provide burgers and soups for lunch, but they aren't really anything to brag about, just basic fare. There is also Ramona's by Wurster. They serve rice bowls, coffee, and other snacks. The dining commons for the dorms are buffet style and change their menus daily. However, they always have a salad bar, some soup, pizza, and some type of vegetarian option. The deserts aren't too bad either. You can always find the menu for the dining commons online so you can decide if you want to go there or not. All of these places accept the campus meal points. Off campus, there are plenty of options. There are a number of pizza places to go to. On the south side of campus Blondie's is the closest and probably the one I would recommend. There is also Cheeseboard, but that one is vegetarian only and its a bit of a walk. Zachary's is also good, but you have to bus there and there is always usually a bit of a wait. If you're not in the mood for pizza, but still in the mood for Italian, there's Gypsy's at the Durant Food Court, or you can walk further down Telegraph and go to Pasta Bene. There may not be many chain fast food burger places in Berkeley, but we still have some pretty good alternatives. The most well known is probably Bongo Burger. There are three of them: one on Euclid for those who live North side, one on Center Street, and one on Dwight for those on South side. There is also Smart Alec's and Manhattan Burger's across from the Durant Food Court. If you're looking for something a bit more exotic, you can always try some sushi at C U Sushi on Center or Joshu-ya's on South side. If you're looking for something sweet there's Chocolatier Blue on University Avenue or CREAM on Telegraph. There are plenty of places to eat around campus, after all, students need their brain food.


Berkeley has all sorts of food to eat. The dining commons for dorm residents are tolerable, but I suggest veering from the dining common course. Pakistani/Indian food, Thai food (of all kinds), breakfast food, healthy food (a bit harder to find), the food collective, and much more proliferate the streets of Berkeley. Food is concentrated in certain areas, such as College Ave. in Elmwood and Telegraph/Durant near campus. After a while, your normal food places will become old and you will want to try something new. That's when you walk just a little further than usual and find something entirely new that you didn't know existed before. That's the magic of Berkeley.


Here's the thing, everyone at every school hates their cafeteria food for the simple reason that they have it every day. But when you look at the facts, Berkeley is pretty exceptional. We have 4 main dining commons scattered around the campus. This is typically where people get dinner (though they are open for lunch too). You swipe your card and everything is served buffet style. We have amazing salad bars, foods from many cultures, and great vegetarian/vegan options. There are also about 10 "retail" locations on campus. These are places where you can buy snacks, to-go sandwiches and wraps, drinks, etc. with your meal points. They are a great option when you are on the go and just need to grab a quick lunch. We have two Peet's Coffee locations that you can use your points at and the food generally ranges from decent to pretty awesome. Get the Chicken Strips from Golden Bear Cafe. You won't be sorry.


Berkeley's dining options are pretty much limitless; the only problem one ever has is deciding where to go. There are barbecue joints, burger breweries, and buffets. There's Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Ethiopian, Cajun, Indian, Italian, and Mediterranean; there are sandwiches, salads (RIP Cafe Intermezzo!), and wraps, there's sushi and pizza. With hundreds of restaurants vying for your dollar and that coveted title as your "favorite place to go", it's likely one of them will win, subsequently making your eating out experience back home pale in comparison. Berkeley does a serious number on your wallet (and belly) if you're not careful. The only thing we don't have is an In and Out; luckily there are two in Oakland, a short bus ride away. On campus there are several places you can spend your meal points, including Free Speech Cafe and Golden Bear Cafe, the former boasting some pretty fine panini, and the latter full of your typical, cafeteria food, with checkout lanes flanked by whatever snackfood you might be craving. And lastly, because of the large constituency of food-and-health conscious people, the chances of each place having healthy, organic, or vegetarian alternatives is pretty high.


Most people know of Kip’s as simply a bar, and the most popular alternative to the Bear’s Lair, which only serves beer


Enjoying the unique advantage of hundreds of international residents and the right to serve alcohol


Strada is the site of many teacher and GSI office hours and is one of the most popular meet up spots on southside


people eating lunch at noon at the Golden Bear Cafe. all things considered, it's just not as crowded at usual