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Vote for Your Berkeley Food Bracket Chompion

April 2, 2019

64 Berkeley food and drink establishments entered our bracket, but only one can be crowned the ultimate Berkeley food champion.

With the help of hundreds of UC Berkeley alumni, we’ve narrowed down these delicious rivalries to two final contenders who vie for the title: the Durant Food Court and The Cheese Board Collective

Durant Food Court, an international enclave of restaurants on the south side of campus, has connected UC Berkeley students with delicious, inexpensive fare since 1978. Longtime student favorites include King Pin Donuts, Gypsy’s Trattoria Italiana, Thai Basil, Steve’s Korean BBQ, Bear’s Ramen House, and Sweetheart Cafe. Durant Food Court’s proximity to campus, late-night hours, and wide range of cuisines have endeared it to generations of Cal alumni.

The Cheese Board Collective started out as a small North Berkeley cheese shop in 1971. Today, it includes a cooperatively owned cheese store, bakery, espresso bar, and pizzeria. 100 percent employee-run Cheese Board Pizza is known for serving a special pizza each day topped with unique cheeses and seasonal veggies on a thin sourdough crust. Berkeley alums fondly recall the extra sliver Cheese Board serves with each slice, as well as its unofficial dining area on the grass of the Shattuck Avenue median—a venue now replaced by permanent storefront patio seating.


The Chompionship round is open for voting until Sunday, April 7, at 11:59 p.m. PST. The winner will be announced April 8. Sign up to get notified.

Road to the Chompionship

Our 64 food and drink establishments center around the UC Berkeley campus in the city of Berkeley, occasionally ranging into Oakland. To truly represent generations of UC Berkeley student favorites, our bracket included closed eateries as well as current ones. Shuttered establishments loved by students over the years include Spenger’s Fresh Fish Grotto and hot dog/hamburger joint Oscar’s, Telegraph Avenue institutions Mario’s La Fiesta and Caffe Mediterraneum, and neighboring Solano Avenue ice cream parlors Ortman’s and McCallum’s.

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

The Players

Meet our Berkeley Food Bracket’s Sweetest 16. 

Contenders are listed below by region, in seeding order. An asterisk * denotes places that are now closed. A few live on in a slightly altered form—those are listed together, marked by a slash /. 

Directly south of the UC Berkeley campus, this region includes Telegraph Avenue and the adjacent streets from Bancroft Way to Dwight Way.
  • 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
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. 
  • 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
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”. 
  • 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
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. 
  • 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

Road to the Chompionship: the 2019 Berkeley Food Bracket

Sweetest 16: Learn More about Your Berkeley Food Bracket Contenders

11 Shuttered Berkeley Establishments Cal Alumni Still Cry Over

top right image: Thai new year pizza, Quinn Dombrowski, CC BY-SA 2.0