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10 UC Berkeley Students’ Favorite Local Restaurants

Despite COVID-19 greatly impacting the college experience for many students, restaurants have worked hard to keep local food culture alive. With the loss of most entertainment options, students spend much of their time trying diverse types of food still available for takeout and outdoor dining here at Berkeley. 

I spoke with ten current students about their favorite local restaurants and dishes. Here are their thoughts:

“My favorite COVID-safe restaurant would definitely be Pho K&K on Telegraph Avenue because of their efforts to remain authentically Vietnamese despite the inconveniences that come with the current health restrictions. My favorite dishes there are the Bún Bò Huế and Gỏi Cuốn because they remind me of my mom’s cooking!” -Trang Le

“My favorite restaurant here would have to be Crave Subs on Center Street because of their unique sandwich flavor combinations and witty names. My go-to sub is the ‘Pikachu’ on the dutch crunch bread. It’s so good, and I’ve never had a sandwich like that anywhere else!” -Nicole Aguilera 

Woman Red Lips Eating Hamburger
Photo by Jakub Kapusnak from Foodies Feed

“Berkeley Social Club on University Avenue, with its creative and contemporary Korean-fusion cuisine, is certainly one of my favorite local COVID-safe places. Their ‘Blackstone Benedict’ and ‘Millionaire’s Bacon’ match their reputation. Combined with their outdoor decoration of string lights and cozy environment (there’s an amazing back patio for outdoor dining!), Berkeley Social Club is able to provide quality food at a reasonable price for a memorable experience.” -Jun Ham

“I really like La Burrita on Durant because it reminds me of the food my grandma makes at home. I really like the California Burrito.” -Sam Quinones 

“I like Berkeley Thai House on Channing a lot. They still have sit-down dining outside, which makes for a very enjoyable experience. The staff all wear masks and make an effort to social distance when serving you. The pad thai and spring rolls are delicious!” -Cade Richard

“My favorite local COVID-safe restaurant is Taco Sinaloa on Telegraph Avenue. They have really great Mexican food, which is one of my favorite cuisines, at very reasonable prices. My favorite thing to get there is the carne asada tacos, which is always my go-to taco order.” -Kaitlin Dang

“My favorite restaurant in Berkeley during this time has been Jupiter on Shattuck Avenue because it has a really cool patio/garden in the back with great seating. Their best dish by far is the Eutropia pizza.” -Milad Shafaie 

meat cheese pizza on wood plate
Photo by Jakub Kapusnak from Foodies Feed

“My favorite restaurant here is also Jupiter! They have the cutest outdoor patio with string lights, a fountain, and pretty plant life. All of the servers are super nice, and they do a great job of spacing out the tables. My favorite dish there is the garlic bread because they make it with extra cheese and serve it with marinara sauce.” -Kelsey Leet

“Top Dog on Durant is my favorite restaurant here because they literally have the best hot dogs I’ve ever had. The service is very fast, and the prices are super affordable. My favorite thing to order there is the polish dog.” -Miranda Tao 

“IMM Thai on University Avenue is an amazing takeout Thai food restaurant. I love it because the restaurant has a wide variety of noodles including pad thai, drunken noodles, and pad see ew. The portion sizes of the dishes are large for a decent price, and the spicy drunken noodles are delicious.” -Daniel Chung

Manya Zhao

UC Berkeley '24

Manya Zhao is a freshman at U.C. Berkeley studying psych on the premed track. This is her first time exploring journalism, but she's devoted large portions of time to writing creative nonfiction and short stories in the past. Besides writing, you can find Manya reading, cooking, or binge-watching Friends for the thousandth time.
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