Since the founding of our university in 1868, bright, young students have arrived at UC Berkeley hungry for knowledge, learning, and—well—just hungry. With access to a multitude of food and drink options in the city of Berkeley and surrounding East Bay area, it’s no surprise Cal alumni can discuss the virtues of Berkeley’s food establishments with as much passion as we do our athletic teams. Even UC Berkeley’s Nobel laureates are as eager to talk about their favorite campus hangouts as they are about research.
Now, it’s time for UC Berkeley alumni to join together in our shared love of campus-area food. We’ve compiled a Berkeley food championship bracket featuring some of the best Berkeley food and drink. Since some of our most beloved spots are no longer with us, we’ve included places that are no longer open as well as current establishments. Whether inexpensive eats or fine dining, all the players in our championship bracket have made their marks on Berkeley history by earning the undying love of Cal students.
The Final Fork round is open for voting until Monday, April 1, at noon PST. The Chompionship round opens April 2. Sign up to get notified at the beginning of the next round.
About the Regions
Directly south of the UC Berkeley campus, this region includes Telegraph Avenue and the adjacent streets from Bancroft Way to Dwight Way.
Downtown & On-Campus
On the west side of campus, this region includes food and drink around the Berkeley BART station area, University Avenue, and Shattuck Avenue. Also represented are eateries located directly on the UC Berkeley campus.
Northside & North Berkeley
This region includes food and drink on the north edge of campus known as Northside, plus places north of University Avenue, including the section of Shattuck referred to as the “Gourmet Ghetto”.
UC Berkeley students don’t let distance stand between them and a good meal. This region includes popular food and drink reachable by a short hike, bike, or drive in the greater Berkeley and Oakland area.
How did we get here? LaBu got knocked out in the first round? And what have you done with Intermezzo? See the full bracket below.
Download a blank copy of the Berkeley Food Bracket (PDF).
Meet our Sweet 16. The food and drink establishments are listed below by region, in seeding order. An asterisk * denotes places that are now closed. A few shuttered establishments live on in a slightly altered form—those are listed together, marked by a slash /.
Larry Blake’s* / Pappy’s Grill and Sports Bar
Cafe Intermezzo* / Cafe Mezzo
- 3 Durant Food Court
- 4 Yogurt Park
Boba of Your Choice
Raleigh’s Bar and Grill
- 7 Top Dog
Mario’s La Fiesta
- 9 Caffe Strada* / Caffe Roma
Berkeley Thai House
Blondie’s* / Abe’s Pizza
Cheese ‘n Stuff
I.B.’s Hoagies and Cheesesteaks
- Downtown & On-Campus
- 1 La Note Restaurant
Great China Restaurant
- 3 Cancun Sabor Mexicano
Bear’s Lair* / Bear’s Lair Tavern
The Faculty Club
- 7 Jupiter
Pedro’s Brazil Cafe
Tuk Tuk Thai
- 12 Angeline’s Louisiana Kitchen
Tupper and Reed / Beckett’s of Berkeley*
- Northside & North Berkeley
- 1 The Cheese Board Collective
- 2 Chez Panisse
- 5 La Val’s Pizza
- 6 Grégoire Restaurant
Peet’s Coffee and Tea
Love at First Bite Bakery
Triple Rock Brewery
Saul’s Restaurant and Delicatessen
- Further Afield
- 1 Fentons Creamery and Restaurant
- 3 Zachary’s Chicago Pizza
- 4 Spenger’s Fresh Fish Grotto*
- 7 Berkeley Bowl
Ortman’s Ice Cream Parlor*
McCallum’s Ice Cream*
The Kingfish Pub and Cafe
Wat Mongkolratanaram (Thai Temple)
Ici Ice Cream*
11 Shuttered Berkeley Establishments Cal Alumni Still Cry Over
Anchor’s Aweigh: Spenger’s Fresh Fish Grotto Sets Sail for Good
Food, Glorious Food: Why Do So Many Cal Alums Take a Career Detour Into the Kitchen?
Food for Thought: Making a Dent in the Crisis of Student Hunger at UC Berkeley
Stirring Up History: The Bancroft’s Chez Panisse Archives
A Lunch at Chez Panisse Inspired the Imagination, the Palate and a Dissertation
image: Thai new year pizza, Quinn Dombrowski, CC BY-SA 2.0