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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UC Berkeley chapter.

A massive advantage of UC Berkeley for me was the downtown atmosphere, especially since the restaurants are abundant. I’ve been a die-hard foodie my entire life. My parents were never big on cooking, so, throughout my childhood, the three of us often went out to dinner multiple times a week; this wasn’t necessarily due to their lack of kitchen expertise, but rather our joint pleasure of sitting down with one another and enjoying delicious new meals.

When I moved to Berkeley this fall, I was extremely excited to explore the eateries that the East Bay has to offer. Having friends who grew up in the Bay has made finding new restaurants easy, as they always have a family favorite for me to try. 

So, it isn’t surprising that one of my all-time favorite restaurants in Berkeley came from a friend’s recommendation. Nestled into the quaint storefronts on College Avenue in Rockridge is A16, an Italian eatery with some of the best pasta and appetizers I’ve ever tried. Named after the autostrada — or highway — that connects Naples and Canosa in Italy, it truly heeds to its Southern Italian routes, deeming itself an “Upbeat, contemporary eatery pairing pizza & Southern Italian plates with a lengthy wine list.” If you’re looking for an upscale dinner, this is the place!

A16 Restaurant Berry Pie
Photo by Sloane Moriarty

The most unique feature of A16 is their seasonal menu. The first time I visited was with my mom and dad, during parent’s weekend in early October. We were greeted with various summertime appetizers, but ultimately settled on a delicious prosciutto and melon starter with marinated olives. However, it was our second and third courses that made A16 so memorable. That time, we’d ordered the short rib pasta, and the meat was so tender that it melted in your mouth like cotton candy. We also got a delicious Capricciosa Pizza and berry pie for dessert. Our waitress was fantastic, indulging in all our questions about the menu. Upon departing, my parents and I agreed that our meal was some of the best Italian food we’ve ever had! 

When I returned a month or so later, while my dad was visiting, we discovered that most of the dishes we’d ordered, aside from the pizza, were no longer on the menu. Being a family that’s prone to order the same things from our frequented restaurants, we were initially disappointed. However, our feelings quickly changed once we tried the Braised Pork Meatballs; they were so delicious that a few months later when I returned with my roommates and our moms, we also got them with a side of focaccia to dip in the remaining red sauce. We also ordered smoked burrata and the Kale Salad (farro, fuji apple, pecorino, toasted walnut). Despite its simplicity, the dish was one of the most fruitfully flavored and perfectly dressed salads I’ve ever tasted! 

I have yet to try something from A16 that isn’t delicious. Their menu rotation pushes you out of your comfort zone and into a world of new flavors. It’s the spot I repeatedly suggest when someone asks for a dinner recommendation in Berkeley. An Italian gem. 

A16 restaurant Melon Salad and Marinated Olives
Photo by Sloane Moriarty

Another one of my favorite places to eat in Berkeley, I discovered entirely on my own. The morning after my parents moved me in during August, we were craving a good late-breakfast meal. I did a quick Yelp search and found Oceanview Diner. Located on Fourth Street near the Berkeley Marina, this restaurant gets its name from the previous title for the city of Berkeley: Oceanview. After looking at the drool-worthy photos, we drove straight there and immediately found a metered parking spot. When you walk in, you’re greeted by friendly staff and swept into a classic 1950s diner, with black and white checkered flooring and red leather barstools; however, the cuisine is nothing near traditional!

Every time I’ve visited Oceanview Diner, there’s been a wait, but, once you order, the food comes out rapidly. The kitchen is open for guests sitting at the bartop to watch their eggs get cracked, and house potatoes sit in a heavenly mixture of oil and onions. My parents and I ordered the California Breakfast: Oceanview’s take on an eggs benedict. The English muffin gets substituted for your choice of bread, and the usually heavy hollandaise sauce gets replaced by a delicate, lemony butter sauce. The meal is paired with breakfast potatoes and punchingly flavourful grilled tomatoes. Even though the dish is definitely on the more expensive side at $18.50, it won’t disappoint nor leave you hungry! 

Oceanview Diner food
Photo by Sloane Moriarty

If you don’t have time for a full breakfast or just happen to be in the area, next door to Oceanview, there’s a bakery and pick-up area called “Oceanview To Go,” where you can order most of their menu and other goodies for the road. 

From fluffy souffle pancakes to huevos rancheros, they have it all. For Berkeley students craving a home-cooked type of breakfast on a Saturday morning, Oceanview is the spot!

Sitting down at a meal is where most of my fondest memories have occurred, and I’ve been lucky enough to continue that here at UC Berkeley. Sometimes, it’s less about where you’re eating and more about who you enjoy a meal with; at Berkeley, I’m lucky to get both.

Sloane Moriarty

UC Berkeley '27

Sloane is a freshman at UC Berkeley studying English, and minoring in education. She is passionate about writing and literacy because she finds words and communication to be the single most important factor in the development of our world. She loves to read and write because it can expand one's ideas and force their beliefs to grow. In her free time, she loves to spend time in the ocean, explore the outdoors, and try new restaurants. She is excited about her future at UC Berkeley and plans to get her masters in education and become a teacher.