Berkeley is full of casual dining options offering carefully and ethically made fresh, fast, and simple food. With standards like these, it is no surprise that the city is replete with neighborhood spots offering delicious and sometimes unexpected sandwiches. Here’s our guide to some of the best places to get a sandwich.
Behind the Counter The Local Butcher Shop
The Local Butcher Shop
Butcher, Restaurant, Sandwich Shop, American, Fast Food
Offering only one type of sandwich a day, The Local Butcher Shop is a haven for those looking for both high-quality meat and sandwiches. The shop uses seasonal, sustainable, and local ingredients, attributes that contribute to uniquely scrumptious sandwiches. Each is an artfully crafted masterpiece, incorporating produce sourced from local farmer’s markets, sustainable fresh meat, all served on local ACME bread. The menu changes daily with offerings like roast pork loin or ham with shaved fennel, roasted leeks, whole grain mustard vinaigrette and capers.
Cafe, Bakery, Pastry Shop, Pastries, American, Fast Food, $$$
Trumpetvine Court | Café Panini
While they do offer delicious pizza, salads, baked goods and even have a menu of dinner specials, the sandwiches at Summer Kitchen & Bakeshop stand out. The atmosphere is casual and unassuming, with simple walls and furniture arranged around an open kitchen. Like so many other restaurants in Berkeley, Summer Kitchen strives to use ingredients that are local, ethical, and sustainable. This philosophy has produced a range of diverse sandwich options, like their popular fried chicken with caraway-mustard slaw, house-made pickles and aioli.
A favorite of Berkeley High and UC Berkeley students alike, Cafe Panini is one of the best casual lunch spots in downtown Berkeley. This gem is tucked away and, with ample outdoor seating, is a welcome escape from the bustle of downtown. Many of the sandwiches are served daily but the cafe offers rotating specials for both vegetarian and non-vegetarian sandwiches. Dig into an avocado feta sandwich with balsamic vinaigrette and pea sprouts or a BLT with avocado and basil mayo for a relaxing meal in a secluded setting.
With multiple locations throughout Berkeley, Brazil Cafe has become a staple among sandwich lovers looking for something a little different. This Brazilian joint features a beautiful rose garden set back from University Avenue. While the Cafe does have rice bowls and salads on the menu, it is the sandwiches served on soft French rolls with cilantro-garlic sauce that keep customers coming back. Juicy and flavorful tri-tip is always a favorite, especially scrumptious washed down with a fresh mango smoothie.
Led by French-trained chef and owner Jacquet, Grégoire has become one of the best lunch spots in North Berkeley. The menu constantly rotates to include a variety of seasonal ingredients from local small businesses. These carefully chosen elements are used to create refined salads, soups, and sandwiches. Though the restaurant itself is very small, one can enjoy a Fra’mani soppresata and marinated tomato sandwich or devour buttermilk-fried chicken on one of the picturesque picnic tables outside. The offerings change month to month so Grégoire always excites.