Chez Panisse is a bucket-list restaurant that everyone should go to once, but for return trips, our first choice is Chez Panisse Cafe. This place is upstairs from the mothership restaurant and unlike downstairs, it’s much easier to get a reservation at because it hasn’t reached near-mythic status (yet). Also unlike downstairs, the menu up here is a la carte, so you’re not stuck with whatever they’re serving on the tasting menu with no other options. The food is as close to perfect as you can get with things like pizzas with salt cod mousse, incredible lamb, and chocolate cake that we want at our birthday parties for the rest of our lives. And that’s an option too because it’s much more affordable up here and absolutely worth crossing the bay for if you live in SF.
More spots in BerkeleySee more
Thai Basil is famous among Berkeley students as a perfect spot for late-night eats, but their pad thai is great any time of day.
Emilia’s is the best pizza in the Bay Area. Getting it is a huge pain in the ass. But it is 100% worth it.
Gypsy’s Trattoria Italiana
Gypsy’s Trattoria Italiana serves good and cheap Italian food right next to Berkeley’s campus.
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If you’re looking for sandwiches and salads during work, head to Mendocino Farms in the Financial District.
Square Pie Guys
Square Pie Guys in Soma is a great post-work spot for Detroit-style pizza, burger, and wings.
Tomate Cafe might be a bit hard to find, but you should keep looking - they do one of the best breakfasts in Berkeley.
Suggested by our writers
Rich Table is a restaurant in Hayes Valley that, no matter how many times you go, will always surprise you in the best way possible.
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