Close Mobile Menu

The Final Fork: Cast Your Vote in the Berkeley Food Bracket

March 29, 2019

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”. 

Further Afield
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. 


The Bracket

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. 

Berkeley Food Bracket full image
Download a blank copy of the Berkeley Food Bracket (PDF).

The Players

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 /. 

  • Telegraph
  • 1 Larry Blake’s* / Pappy’s Grill and Sports Bar
  • 2 Cafe Intermezzo* / Cafe Mezzo
  • 3 Durant Food Court
  • 4 Yogurt Park
  • 5 Boba of Your Choice
  • 6 Raleigh’s Bar and Grill
  • 7 Top Dog
  • 8 Mario’s La Fiesta
  • 9 Caffe Strada* / Caffe Roma
  • 10 Berkeley Thai House
  • 11 Caffe Mediterraneum*
  • 12 Blondie’s* / Abe’s Pizza
  • 13 Henry’s
  • 14 Cheese ‘n Stuff
  • 15 La Burrita
  • 16 I.B.’s Hoagies and Cheesesteaks
  • Downtown & On-Campus
  • 1 La Note Restaurant
  • 2 Great China Restaurant
  • 3 Cancun Sabor Mexicano
  • 4 Bear’s Lair* / Bear’s Lair Tavern
  • 5 Crepes A-Go-Go
  • 6 The Faculty Club
  • 7 Jupiter
  • 8 Caffe Venezia
  • 9 Pedro’s Brazil Cafe
  • 10 Ippuku
  • 11 Tuk Tuk Thai
  • 12 Angeline’s Louisiana Kitchen
  • 13 Edy’s*
  • 14 Jayakarta Restaurant
  • 15 Spats Berkeley
  • 16 Tupper and Reed / Beckett’s of Berkeley*
  • Northside & North Berkeley
  • 1 The Cheese Board Collective
  • 2 Chez Panisse
  • 3 Cha-Am Thai*
  • 4 Oscar’s*
  • 5 La Val’s Pizza
  • 6 Grégoire Restaurant
  • 7 Peet’s Coffee and Tea
  • 8 Love at First Bite Bakery
  • 9 Triple Rock Brewery
  • 10 Saul’s Restaurant and Delicatessen
  • 11 Virginia Bakery*
  • 12 Bongo Burger
  • 13 Crepevine
  • 14 Urbann Turbann
  • 15 Caffe Espresso
  • 16 Yali’s Cafe
  • Further Afield
  • 1 Fentons Creamery and Restaurant
  • 2 Vik’s Chaat
  • 3 Zachary’s Chicago Pizza
  • 4 Spenger’s Fresh Fish Grotto*
  • 5 Blue Nile*
  • 6 Brennan’s*
  • 7 Berkeley Bowl
  • 8 Ortman’s Ice Cream Parlor*
  • 9 McCallum’s Ice Cream*
  • 10 La Mediterranee
  • 11 The Kingfish Pub and Cafe
  • 12 Wat Mongkolratanaram (Thai Temple)
  • 13 Ici Ice Cream*
  • 14 Fondue Fred
  • 15 Bertola’s*
  • 16 Smokehouse

Related Stories

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