This page was created in August 2005 for the attendees of the
Approx-Random conference. It has been frequently visited after the
conference was over, and so I have left it online. Fell free to send feedback to
luca at cs dot berkeley dot edu
sfstation.com has information
on things to do
in San Francisco and in the Bay area here is
another list of restaurants in Berkeley, written with less editorial restraint bart.gov has information on how to use the Bart (subway system connecting
Berkeley with San Francisco and other places) 511.org provides traffic information. Google maps
or Yahoo maps
can be used to find your way around campus and beyond
Canvas, also listed below under "After Dinner". Free
wireless internet access, near Golden Gate park.
1200 9th Avenue (@ Lincoln)
Prices are according to Zagat's guide. Expect to pay more for a full meal with wine.
Restaurants in Berkeley
Convenient For Lunch
There is a food court of sorts on Hearst street, going down half a
block from Soda Hall. There is a Thai, a Vietnamese, a Korean, a Chinese,
Japanese, and a hamburger place. Luca likes the spicy chicken from the Korean
place and the daily specials from the Thai place. Note that the Thai place is
somewhat downstairs with respect to the others.
There are several places around the corner from Soda: on Euclid between
Hearst and Ridge, including:
Nefelihas elaborate, and good, sandwiches (for example the
Alpino has prosciutto, walnuts, fontina, pears and arugola) and one or two
daily specials. The coffee is very good
Hummingbird has sandwiches made to order and middle eastern fare
(falafel, hummus, . . .)
Far from Soda, but still walking distance:
Cheese Board makes one type of pizza per day, always different, and
that's all they sell. It's run by a collective. It's a Berkeley institution. 1504 Shattuck
unbelievably good sandwiches made by a noted local French chef. Desserts and
potato puffs are also worth noting. 2109 Cedar (@Shattuck)
Phoenix fresh pasta, open only for lunch. 1788 Shattuck Ave (@Delaware)
Walking Distance from Soda Hall (Dinner)
Liason very popular French restaurant
to Soda Hall. 1849 Shattuck (@ Hearst). $32
cuisine, suggested by James. 2327 Shattuck (@Durant) $21
Cha Am Thai nice Thai restaurant. 1543 Shattuck (@ Hearst). $18.
Cha Ya a vegan Japanese restaurants popular with the theory
group.1686 Shattuck (@Virginia). No Zagat's rating, moderate price, around $25
Cesar excellent place for drinks and small plates, the kitchen
is open until 11pm, which is considered very late by Berkeley standards.
Next door from Chez Panisse.
1515 Shattuck (@ Vine)
Chez Panisse Cafe the temple of the new California cuisine, no description
would give it justice. Zagat's price estimate is very optimistic. Reserve at least
two weeks in advance, but for a 10pm seating same-day reservations are typically possible.
1517 Shattuck Ave (@ Vine) $43
Chez Panisse for the serious worshipper, the Chez Panisse restaurant,
downstairs from the cafe, offers just one prix-fix menu,
that is changed every day. 1517 Shattuck Ave (@ Vine) $69
Further From Soda Hall (Dinner)
Vik's Chaat Corner exceptionally good South-Indian place, with
all the hard-to-find "breakfast" items like idlis and dosas, plus very very good chaat.
A cross between a car repair shop and a fast-food joint, the decor is not Vik's strong point.
726 Allston (@ 4th) $10
Breads of India excellent Indian restaurant, with a short menu that
is changed daily. They do not accept reservations and the wait can be long. 2448 Sacramento St. (@ Dwight) $18
Kirala very good sushi place. No reservations, and occasional long waits.
2100 Ward St. (@ Shattuck) $33
Rivoli a place to go when you can't get a reservation at Chez Panisse,
it has excellent food but, according to Luca (others disagree), it does not achieve greatness.
1539 Solano Ave. (@ Neilson) $42
Oliveto is another back-up for Chez Panisse, and it's highly
recommended by most of the Berkeley theory group. 5655 College Ave (@Shafter,
in Oakland) $47
O Chamé a very good Japanese place. 1830 Fourth (@Hearst) $30
Ajanta a good Indian
restaurant, suggested by Neha. 1888 Solano (@Alameda) $24
Fonda tapas place,
recommended by Alistair. 1501 Solano Ave (@Curtis, in Albany) $31
À Côté French tapas,
recommended by Alistair. 5478 College Ave (@Taft, in Oakland) $34
place, recommended by Alistair 5634 College Ave (@ Keith, in Oakland)
Trattoria La Siciliana good Italian restaurant, with notable seafood dishes.
2993 College Ave (@Ashby Ave) $26
Holy Land Isreali
restaurant praised for falafels and hummus. It has a branch in Berkeley and
one in Oakland. Both keep a kosher kitchen, but only the branch in Oakland is
certified by a rabbi. Berkeley: 2965 College, Oakland: 677 Rand. No Zagat's
rating, cheap (around $10).
Picante mexican restaurant, suggested by James. 1328 Sixth St (@ Camelia)
Restaurants in San Francisco
In the Mission
The following places are easiliy reachable from the 16th st or 24th st stops of the Bart
Delfina Luca's favorite reasonably priced restaurant in San Francisco, it has exceptional
appetizers and pastas, somewhat less satisfying entrees, and very good desserts.
It is good to reserve at least one week in advance. Delfina's pizzeria has just opened
next door. 3621 18th St.
(@ Dolores) $41
Limòn officially a Peruvian restaurant, it has a very good selection of
``nuevo latino'' dishes. 524 Valencia St. (@ 16th St.) $33
Andalu one of the places that started the tapa trend in San Francisco, when
they say "small plate" on the menu they mean small. Be prepared to order
a lot of dishes, or to move to the nearby Pakwan for a real dinner afterwards.
3198 16th (@ Guerrero) $31
Pakwan Luca's favorite cheap Indian place in San Francisco (others
prefer Shalimar). 3182 16th (@ Guerrero) $13
Charanga a very good Cuban tapa place, the seafood dishes are quite recommendable.
2351 Mission St (@ 19th) $24
Watercress a French-Asian fusion restaurant, its $20 three-course prix fix is
an unbeatable deal. Luca always orders either the shrimps (that come with mashed potatoes!)
or the fried wontons (with goat cheese stuffing) for appetizer. This is one place
where you will pay less than Zagat's estimate. 1152 Valencia St (@22nd) $31
Poncho Villa: taqueria in the Mission, Samantha calls it "one of the best places for burritos, soft and hard tacos, homemade chips, salsas, and it's also cheap."
3071 16th St (@Valencia)
In the Tenderloin / Union Square
These places are easily reachable from the Civic Center or Powell stops of the Bart,
and are convenient if you go to the shops or theaters around Union Square.
Note: this area feels scary at night but it is not really unsafe. At night, it
is better to use the Powell stop than the Civic center stop, and it is better to stay
on Geary and O'Farrell, rather than Turk, Eddie or Ellis.
Osha Thai an outstanding, cheap Thai place in the Tenderloin that
is open until 2am. Luca always
orders the spicy string beans. 696 Geary (@ Leavenworth) $15
Shalimar some people say this is the best cheap Indian place in San Francisco.
532 Jones (@ Geary) $14
Far from the Bart
Helmand the same menu and the same very good Afghan food of Helmand in Cambridge, MA, but
with friendly service. Being surrounded by strip joints, its location could be better, but, on the
good side, parking is not difficult. 430 Broadway (@ Kearny) $29
Old Mandarin this Muslim restaurant manages to prepare Chinese
food without pork and is probably ok for non-strict Kosher eaters. It is better
to go with a Chinese speaker, but in any case, by pointing to the other tables
if necessary, do get the thing with the big boiling pot where you cook your own
lamb. 3132 Vicente (No Zagat rating)
Burma Super Star it is very difficult to park, they do not take
reservation, and the wait is always very long, but what does it matter
when the food is so good? Write your cell phone number in the waiting list, and
then go to the coffee shop across the street. Eventually, they will call you when
a table is ready. 309 Clement St. No Zagat rating, quite cheap.
For those who cashed in before the bubble burst
Expect to pay more, much more, than Zagat's estimate
in these places. For Aqua in particular, the bill can easily
be almost twice the estimated amount. For the other places,
expect about 40-50% more than the estimate.
Gary Danko generally considered the best place in San Francisco.
Alistair and Umesh beg to differ. 800 N. Point (@ Hyde) $88
Masa Gary Danko's rival, Luca thought that Masa was great but
not worth the hype and the bill. 648 Bush (@ Powell) $93
Acquerello considered the best Italian restaurant in San Francisco,
Luca was blown away by the appetizer and the pasta during his only visit.
1722 Sacramento (@ Polk) $60
Aqua extremely good Asian-fusion seafood place. 252 California St.
(@ Battery) $65
Fleur de Lys the place where Luca had his best dinner ever.
The second visit was not as good. 777 Sutter (@ Jones) $87
Cesar also listed above as a restaurant, it's a great place to go even just for
Jupiter the standard place for drinks close to campus for the crowd that does not need
a fake ID. 2181 Shattuck
Blake's the place close to campus for the crowd that does need a fake ID. 2367 Telegraph
The Albatross Andrej
calls it "a very nice pub with good beers, games to play, and live music from time to
time" 1822 San Pablo
Cato's Ale House is a
"family-friendly" drinking place. Snacks are available until late. 3891 Piedmont Ave,
Yoshi's a well known jazz place
in Oakland. They also serve an undeservedly expensive dinner. 510 Embarcadero West
In San Francisco
Remember to go to sfstation.com for many
more suggestions of things to do in San Francisco and in the Bar Area.
111 Minna Art gallery by day, bar
with a small dance floor at night. The crowd is pretentious but interesting
(think an average place in New York, but with less black turtlenecks and more
adventurous piercings ). 111 Minna.
Canvas, to top 111 Minna, Canvas
is an art gallery that is a coffee shop by day, with free wireless internet access, and bar at night.
Wonderful ambience. No dancing. 1200 9th Avenue (@ Lincoln)
Toronado is praised by
Andrej for its "amazing selection of beers on tap, including Chimay and
Hoegaarden." 547 Haight
The Elbo Room: Samantha describes it
as "a relaxed bar with a club upstairs that regularly features live bands."
647 Valencia (@17th)
El Riobar with outdoor patio/dance floor, variety of music (world, salsa, hip-hop, house), the type of music depends on the day/night.
(Mixed gay-straight crowd) 3158 Mission St (@ Cesar Chavez)
Martuni's a piano bar with a curious mix of show tunes and
jazz music. (Mixed gay-straight crowd) 4 Valencia.
The Lexington the main (and only?) lesbian bar in San Francisco.
Small and low-lit, it plays mostly hip-hop and Latin music. 3464 19th St
Bar on Castro unimaginatively named, this small place gets extremely
crowded on weekends and is more pleasant on weekdays. Luca thinks it has
the best ambience
and the best music in the Castro. A theory graduate student thinks "it is
too yuppie sometimes." It does not have a dance floor, but the whole
place becomes a dance floor on weekends. No cover charge. (Predominantly gay crowd) 456 Castro (@18th).
Popscene only on Thursdays.
Brit-pop and indie music. Probably the most fun party in San Francisco. 330 Ritch.
Trannyshack only on Tuesdays at the Stud,
they have a high concept (and always different) drag show at midnight:
think of a drag interpretation
of Pink Floyd's the Wall, or a drag take on punk rock. Offensive, imaginative, and highly recommended.
Dancing before and after the show.
399 9th (@Harrison)