November 4, 2009 1:22 AM
One of the most frequently visited locations around the UC Campus is the Durant Food Court or what was once known as Asian Ghetto. Since its convenient for students and house a wide range of cuisines, its no brainer that this is the first thought in people's mind as an alternative to cooking or eating in the dorms. I, too, have a couple of favorite restaurants there. Normally, when I eat there with friends, I order the Kimchi Spam Fried Rice from Bear's Ramen House. Even for those of you who are afraid of spicy food, you should try it because its actually more sweet than spicy and has a lot of delicious flavor. Thai Basil is another favorite among my friends, who often swear by their Pad Thai over any other Thai restaurant around the area. Although, Gypsy's look like a small, crowded and oily restaurant, you will be surprised by the satisfaction a large plate of Italian homecooking can bring. However, I also want to introduce you to MANY other incredible restaurants in Berkeley to visit before you graduate. So here is MY LIST!
Brazil Fresh Squeeze Cafe: located on University Ave, next to the hardware store. This is, in my opinion, a golden nugget in a haystack. Most people dismiss the little family-owned restaurant, as a little shack with sketchy food. But in reality, this is one of the jewels of Berkeley. They offer the best tri-tip sandwich I have ever tasted and have many authentic platters like the Tri-tip plates which will definitely fill you. Also, ask your friends if they have a free mango smoothie coupon. While most of their sandwich items come with a mango smoothie, plates do not. I like their smoothies because its natural--no added sugar!
Gregoire's: a small french gourmet take out restaurant located in Gourmet Ghetto. Between the intersection of Shattuck and Cedar St. Before you order anything from their monthly menu, you have to consider trying their handmade potato puffs. Crispy outside and buttery, fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth inside, is sure to satisfy your taste buds. I like the fact that they try to be innovative and introduce a new menu every month. The menu is uploaded on their website so be sure to check before you go. One of my favorites was House-smoked salmon with Tangy Guacamole over Puff Pastry. Deeelicious.
Cheeseboard: One of the two most famed pizzerias in Berkeley (the other being Zachary's which offers some of best chicago deep dish pizzas around. The only problem is that its far away from camps. But definitely go with your friends at least some point in your 4 years in Berkeley). It is also located in Gourmet Ghetto next to Andronico's supermarket. You will have no problem locating this little gem because there is always a line of people waiting to order a slice. Cheeseboard is known for offering a new vegetarian, thin crusted pizza every day Tuesday-Saturday. Although the ingredients sound tame in taste, as a combination, they bring out a unique pizza flavor, highlighting the taste of each ingredient. My favorite ones have been corn with onions, roasted eggplants with fontina cheese, pear with onions, and lime. They use different combination of cheese each time as well.
La Note: Since this semester started, I have already visited La Note thrice for their gorgeous brunch menu. Be forewarned that you may leave with a terrible case of food coma. Each entree is rich with french flavor. I highly recommend Cote Nord which is a (stolen from their online menu): 2 eggs lightly scrambled with cream cheese over Levain bread with garlic roasted russet potatoes (which may change every now and then) and roasted tomatoes. Also, order a plate of the Brioche Pan Perdu, a whole new way to enjoy french toast. Brioche Pan Perdue is thickly cut cinnamon swirled brioche bread, coated with french toast batter and lightly toasted. I also love LOVE their real maple syrup for pancakes and pan perdu.
Joshuya's and Norikonko: Norikonko is a small family-owned authentic Japanese restaurant located in The Village down on telegraph. They offer traditional Japanese homecooked meals which consists of normally a main fish dish, several smaller cold dishes, and korokke (potato croquettes). They are known for their home-made ramen. Joshya's, sushi restaurant, is located on the intersection of telegraph and dwight. This is the only sushi restaurant that I consistently return for their fresh cuts of sashimi and nigiri. They also offer a wide selection of sushi rolls as well. Be sure to purchase their $25 gift certificate for $10 on http://www.restaurant.com/rdc_site.net/listings.aspx?StateID=&zip=94720 before you visit!
Tropical Paradide Ghanaian Restaurant: located on University Ave. is a great place to try Ghanaian cuisine. To be honest, I visited here with a friend because she had a gift certificate. But I am glad that we went because it was a new experience. I've never tasted African cuisine but I enjoyed each entree we ordered. What I found was interesting was that Ghanaian stew reminded of chinese stewed meat. Also, their fufu (thick pillow of cassava and yams) tasted wonderfully with their stewed dishes. I recommend this restaurant for those of you who love spicy food.
Lucky Thai House: located on university and across from Brazil Cafe, has a great selection of thai curries and noodles. My favorite dishes from here are their peanut curry with chicken. Many of my friends have recommended me to come here because it leaves them with nostalgic feeling of their mom's home cooking. You can't go wrong with any of their curries.
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