Friday, August 28, 2009

Things to See and Do In Berkeley

Chris Anderson from the CouchDB community just landed in Berkeley, astonishingly near my house.  I had a nice cuppa with him yesterday and realized there was a list of fun things to do, and particularly great eating places, in Berkeley.  So I sent him my list of the Best of the Best, and thought I'd post it here too:

Places to See
  • I mentioned Tilden Park and Lake Anza.  There is also a working farm where you can visit and feed the animals, an old-fashioned merry-go-round, and a real working scale-size steam train you can ride on.  
  • Walk in the North Berkeley Hills.  There's a book around that gives you a bunch of walks to take
  • Fourth Street in West Berkeley, a street of nice (albeit pricey) shops and restaurants just N of University
  • Solano Avenue, particularly at the Colusa intersection
  • Rockridge shopping area at the Rockridge BART station - a nice place to stroll, browse stores, have a cuppa.  Lots of nice restaraunts.
  • Ashby and College is also a very nice walking shopping area.
  • The Bone Store on Solano.  Just check it out, it's weird and interesting :)
  • Botanical Gardens up Strawberry Canyon behind the University
  • Berkeley Rose Garden is a pretty stroll, but dog must be on leash I think
  • Briones Park on the other side of the hill is a stunning set of rolling hills with trails, I think it's dog-friendly.
  • Swimming at the El Cerrito Pool.  It's a salt water pool, affordable, they have hours for "fun" and for laps.  There's also King Pool right up Hopkins from Monterey.
  • At some point you might want to stroll around Bay Street mall - an outdoor mall, much less offensive/oppressive than other malls.  They have an Apple Store! :)  And of course a big movieplex.

  • Lalime's on Gilman - really nice "night out" California Cuisine
  • Rivoli on Solano - even nicer
  • Cesar - a great tapas bar on Shattuck
  • Cha Am on Shattuck - Thai food
  • Cha Ya on Shattuck - veggie sushi
  • Acme Bakery on Cedar and San Pablo - incredible, delicious fresh bread and pastries
  • Cafe Fanny on Cedar and San Pablo - really good, pricey French cafe
  • Vik's Chaat Cafe in West Berkeley (forget exact location) - excellent, cheap Indian "fast food".  Indians from all over the Bay Area know of this place and swear by it
  • Ajanta on Solano for nice Indian
  • A lot of people like Breads of India on Sacramento and Dwight.  I've never been there
  • Picante Mexican - wow, *excellent* Mexican food, very affordable.  We go there all the time.  6th street south of Gilman.
  • La Farine Bakery on Solano - chocolate croissants to die for
  • Barney's Hamburgers on Solano - fun, delicious gourmet burgers, veggie available
  • Jimmy Bean's on Gilman and 6th - excellent cafe, delicious sandwiches, fries, etc.
  • Zachary's Pizza on Solano - you *must* try their stuffed spinach/mushroom pizza.  Bay Area award winner for years
  • A lot of people like The Cheese Board pizza, I don't care for it
  • Gioia Pizzeria on Monterey and Hopkins - New Yawk pizza by the slice with fresh California ingredients. The real deal.  Another regular haunt for our family.
  • Loard's Ice cream in El Cerrito Plaza - not the best ambiance, but definitely the best (affordable) ice cream around
  • If you want good, expensive gourmet ice cream, there's a little place on 4th street (thou must check out 4th street, a fun walkable set of stores, 4th N of University)
  • Homemade Cafe on Dwight and Sacramento - nice breakfasts, although I haven't been there in a while
  • Cafe Mediterranee at Ashby and College - excellent Greek/Mediterranean food

  • Wine store on Cedar and San Pablo - my wife swears by their help and selection
  • Berkeley Natural on Gilman
  • Monterey Market on Gilman and Hopkins - cheap, fresh, delicious, local produce
  • Farmer's Market Saturday mornings in downtown Berkeley between MLK and Milvia.  There are others around town during the week.
  • The Country Cheese Shop on Hopkins/Monterey.  While you're there, check out the fish market and the butcher (and of course Gioia Pizza and Monterey Market).  A real gem of a corner.



Anonymous said...

Some of your places aren't actually in Berkeley. i.e. Rockridge and Bay Street.

zmjezhd said...

While, I, too, don't care much for the Cheese Board's pizza, next store is the best cheese co-op around. And, since you've colored outside the lines, straying into sister communities, how about the Tokyo Fish market on San Pablo Avenue near Gilman?