How to eat vegan in Berkeley!
Second semester my freshman year of college, I met my best friend. We were partnered together in an AC class with a couple others to embark on what became a two year long project to design a stream-diversion based watering system for Planting Justice, a Bay Area Food Justice nonprofit (but that’s a whole ‘nother story I’ll probably get around to sharing here at some point!).
She’s majoring in Environmental Engineering, and I am too. She’s super creative, talkative, and funny, and I am too (I think I am at least). When I found out she was vegan, I knew we were going to be best friends. Our friendship (which I treasure so so dearly) has been sweetened by all the vegan dessert we’ve enjoyed (and not enjoyed… but those stories are also coming) together.
As I was a little freshie with a meal plan, I still hadn’t explored too many of Berkeley’s vegan options (besides Cinnaholic which I loved so much that when I was in high school, I had friends tour Berkeley and bring it back for me [I lived in SoCal but I’m happy to say they travel well]). My best friend shared a google doc of vegan options found in Berkeley, and I’m here to pass it on to you dear reader*! Feel free to comment any additions/subtractions below!
*On the off chance that you are more of a cook yourself, or are on a budget, I feel you and we can still totally make this vegan thing work! You can get access to free fresh produce at several local gardens (I recommend the Gill Tract Farm – take the 52 to the UC Village Sunday—Thursday and take home whatever you need), or check the Berkeley Student Food Pantry (5 items, twice per month with the exception of donated items or PRODUCE — follow the facebook page to know when it’s stocked!). Consider becoming a boarder at a co-op that includes food! For BSC co-ops, boarders are people who don’t live in the house, but pay for access to meals! Straight off the co-op website, boarding rates are:
- FULL BOARDING for the academic year and for summer:
- $1,212 for the academic semester – $646 per 12-week session for summer
- 3 hrs work-shift of per week
- This is all access to all food, all the time.
- 5 NIGHT DINNER BOARDING:
- $576 for the academic semester – $310 per 12-week session for summer
- 2 hours of work-shift per week.
It might look really intimidating, but if you’re struggling with money, I would really encourage you to reach out to a local house! Kitchen managers work really hard with boarders on creating agreements that work for both parties.
Anyways, back to the list! Enjoy!
Vegan Eats in and around Berkeley:
- Tivoli Cafe: $8-$11ish, you can order full pizzas made using Daiya cheese + lots of toppings [Bancroft/Southside]
- Sliver! It’s more like a pizza without any cheese at all + has corn on it which I think is weird (also you have to buy a whole pizza! They do not sell by slices)
- Taco Bell: You can eat vegan! [https://www.tacobell.com/feed/how-to-eat-vegan]
- Celia’s: Good burritos and a a nice sit-down place! [Northside / Euclid]
- Chipotle: If you go to Chipotle and just get veggies (I think the Sofritas is super spicy!) you get free guacamole!
- Flacos Tacos: Flacos Tacos has vegan options, and rhymes! What more could you want from a restaurant!
- Souley Vegan: I’ve heard such such good things about Souley Vegan (in Oakland!) try it, and let me know what you think!
- Toss Noodle Bar: It’s a custom noodle bar, just ask for vegan and they’ll make sure they don’t put eggs or anything in there [Downtown Berkeley]
- Lotus House: Has tons of vegetable chow fun, lots of noodles and lots of vegetables and not too much oil [Southside/Durant]
- Mandarin House: Vegetable chow mein, very oily but lots of vegetables and quite large portions [Southside]
- Long Life Vegi House: Honestly with a name like that do you need anymore convincing
- Diyar: Falafel wraps + other things, very affordable [Southside, also Northside]
- Flying Falafel: If you’re really feeling falafel, The Flying Falafel in Downtown Berkeley is 100% vegan & has cheesecake (don’t get the banana milkshake, it’s weird)
- Saha: A really nice restaurant with lots of fancy mediterranean options and great place to try new foods, and a nice place to go with parents or sugar daddies who will pay for your food [Southside / Downtown]
- Racha’s Thai House: Get the pineapple fried rice no egg [Southside/Telegraph]
- Thai Noodle 2 [Southside / Telegraph]
- Jasmine Thai [Northside / Euclid]
- Thai Delight!
- Berkeley Thai House: Makes a mean Pad Thai with no eggs & no fish sauce!
- Muracci’s: Vegetable curry, and they give lots of curry + free rice [Southside/Telegraph]
- House of Curries: Chana Masala = chickpeas, Gobi Masala = cauliflower with lots of spices + free naan bread or rice if you go 2:30 PM -5:30 PM on weekdays) [Southside/ Durant]
- Udupi Palace: Vegetarian Indian restaurant
- Kaffa Ethiopian Cuisine: A nice vegan place! Enjoy!
- Mezzo: I love love love their salad, and they have vegan bread too! Make sure you let the person helping you know you’re vegan!
- Pasta Bene [Southside / Telegraph]
BURGERS / SANDWICHES:
- Pat Brown’s: Great tofu burger!
- Ike’s Sandwiches: Lots and lots of vegan options!
- Veggie Grill: Now open in Downtown Berkeley
- Butcher’s Son: Honestly just really good everything! I got my best friend’s birthday cake here!
- Ben and Jerry’s: They have ice cream pints ($8-ish, chunky monkey, chocolate fudge brownie, coffee caramel fudge, peanut butter & cookie sold at BSFC) and also scoops ($4-ish, peanut butter & cookies only, last time I checked) [Downtown Berkeley]
- Curbside Creamery: A little pricey, like $10 for a pint (ok really pricey) but it’s REALLY GOOD – cashew based and a really cute place! Take the 6 bus from campus all the way here, and there’s a great Mexican restaurant across the street with fantastic sangria!
- Cinnaholic: Custom cinnamon buns with different types of toppings, fillings, etc; also has brownies for purchase [Downtown Berkeley] CLOSED ON MONDAYS I REPEAT CODE RED CLOSED ON MONDAYS THERE IS NOTHING SADDER THAN WALKING ALL THE WAY DOWNTOWN AND FORGETTING IT IS MONDAY
- Smitten Ice Cream: Chocolate ice cream pops made with coconut milk [Oakland/right next to Rockridge BART, also in SF/Civic Center BART]
- Cream: Always has 3-4 vegan cookies and 1-2 vegan ice creams! $4.99 for an ice cream sandwich [Southside / Telegraph]
- Oreos: They’re vegan! This fact will ruin your diet, sorry.
- Cake: Just Desserts Vegan Midnight Chocolate Cake (cupcakes / full-size cakes) (I’ve seen it at Safeway and once at Andronico’s, usually just chilling in the bakery section but sometimes you have to look for them)
- Timeless Cafe: Take the 51B bus from right near the RSF for like ~10 minutes~ and escape campus for some wonderful vegan dessert! Would recommend the carrot cake, wow. I’ve heard they have vegan brunch too!
- Philz Coffee: They have maple and coconut donuts, among other varieties, usually only available in the mornings [Shattuck/Gourmet Ghetto]
- Vegan Donut Gelato: great place CLOSED ON TUESDAYS CLOSED ON TUESDAYS I REPEAT CLOSED ON TUESDAYS
- The Butcher’s Son: Great brownies. Super fabulous, $2.50
- Saturn Cafe: Vegan milkshakes of all kinds of flavors [Downtown Berkeley]
- Flying Falafel: They have banana milkshake but they also sell cheesecake and that’s SO MUCH BETTER.
TRADER JOE’S HAUL (let’s be real, this is where it’s at):
http://www.traderjoes.com/dietary-lists/vegan ← SO MANY OPTIONS
- Masala Burgers
- Sweet Chili Veggie Burger
- Masala Burgers
- Vegan Tikka Masala
- Vegan Panang Curry
- Vegan Pakoras
- Vegan Fried Rice
- Vegan Soft-Baked Snickerdoodles
- Soy Mini Ice Cream Sandwiches (Vanilla / Chocolate)
- Dark Chocolate Espresso Beans
- Coconut Whipped Cream (not sure if they have it at Trader Joe’s but def at Lucky’s and sometimes at Safeway– great for whipped cream / mixed berries dessert!)
- Speculoos Cookies
- Vegan Marshmallows
- The $5 one pound dark chocolate bar! Honestly a #steal (and here is a list of chocolate supported by the food empowerment plan!)
This is my working list (although to be honest, now that I live in the co-ops it’s hard to get me to eat anything else that isn’t co-op food besides chipotle or ice cream when I am feeling very #treatyourself). Happy eating!