The Best Cheap Eats In Berkeley, California

Photo of Clara Obstfeld
17 November 2016

As a college town, Berkeley prides itself on some of the best inexpensive eats around. Frequented by UC Berkeley students and locals alike, these spots offer big flavor without the price tag. From burritos to sausages to pizza, we show you how to get the most out of your visit without breaking the bank.

La Mission

A hidden gem located toward the bottom of University Avenue, La Mission serves up some of the best Mexican food in the area. With huge portions and loaded tacos at very reasonable prices, it is no wonder the restaurant is so popular among those in the know. Open from until midnight, this spot is also one of the best for a late night snack.

Gordo Taqueria | © Gary Stevens/Flickr

Gordo Taqueria

With locations scattered around Berkeley, Albany, and San Francisco, Gordo is a mainstay for college students and resident locals. The burritos and quesadillas are some of the best in the entire Bay Area, rivaling favorite staples in San Francisco. You can’t go wrong here with the carnitas, succulent braised pork served in everything from tacos to burritos.

Banh-mi | © London Chow/Flickr

Saigon Express

Located conveniently downtown between UC Berkeley and Berkeley High School, Saigon Express is a quick and inexpensive option for fresh Vietnamese fare. With large portion sizes and banh-mi for around $3, the restaurant is a great choice that won’t break the bank. Stop in for a bowl of traditional pho or a vermicelli noodle salad that is sure to please.

Top Dog | © Jason Riedy/Flickr

Top Dog

The idea at Top Dog is simple: fresh and high quality sausages and hot dogs cooked to order. These links are original and delicious, with popular flavors like smoked chicken apple and German bratwurst. Served on hearty and chewy sesame seed buns with your choice of mustard and sauerkraut, one link alone is easily a light meal. At only a few dollars each, these dogs are a real steal.

Cheeseboard Pizza | © kennejima/Flickr

Cheese Board Pizza

Arguably the single most popular restaurant in Berkeley, Cheese Board Pizza offers only one vegetarian option every day. Topped with fresh ingredients and cheeses from their shop next door, these pizzas are truly special. Try heirloom tomatoes with goat cheese or fresh California corn with feta and avocado cilantro sauce.

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