The Best Entertainment, Restaurants, and Shopping at the University of California, Berkeley

Posts tagged “Sproul Plaza

Best Coffee: Caffe Strada

This isn’t Caffe Strada’s first award in Best of Berkeley – in fact, it’s taken this category each of the last four years.

Strada’s success may not seem surprising – after all, it’s close to campus and student housing. But Berkeley has many cafes that share these benefits without the same success. There are at least 10 places on campus to buy coffee, and Cafe Milano has prime real estate across from Sproul Plaza.

But the welcoming atmosphere of Strada places it above its competitors, believes owner Daryl Ross. When Ross was a UC Berkeley student, he found some cafes intimidating. “The scene was so intense, and it was like cliques had formed within the cafe,” he said. With its outdoor seating and European ambiance, Ross feels Strada provides a more casual culture.

Of course, the coffee is held to a high standard. According to Ross, employees can make coffee drinks only after six months of observation. This commitment to quality, combined with Strada’s setting, has earned it seemingly irrevocable rights to the throne.

-Rajesh Srinivasan

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Best Place to Use Your Meal Points: Golden Bear Cafe

The smell of fried food wafts over Sproul Plaza as students walk by, tempting them to stop at the Golden Bear Cafe. It has all the works to satiate hungry college students with meal points at the ready, and is conveniently situated for a quick bite between classes.

Whether you need to pick up a bag of chips or want to go all-out with a smoothie, burger, salad and soup, the cafe offers tons of options. Check out the grill, which provides fish tacos and samosas if you’re feeling fancy, or chicken strips (if you need some comfort food). The breakfast also merits praise.

You’ll definitely wait in line during lunchtime rush hour, but the lightning speed with which the cashiers ring up the food is nothing short of miraculous. Though outdoor seating is limited, the tables offer a great people-watching spot to observe the eccentricities of Sproul. When hunger strikes at 3 after class, the GBC stands as a reliable source of food when the dining halls are closed.

Also make sure to check out the new frozen yogurt station, complete with delicious toppings. As warm weather arrives, don’t be surprised to see meal points disappearing from your account.

-Alisha Azevedo


Best Place to People-Watch: Sproul Plaza

On a beautiful day in Berkeley, you’ll see Sproul Plaza artfully splashed with the eclectics of the afternoon. There’s Yoshua, handing out his doomsday propaganda. There’s the countless brigade of students handing out their own faceless fliers. Sproul Plaza is a place to meet, a place to greet; a place made famous by Mario Savio, by Barack Obama’s televised inauguration speech, and by the plethora of protests, marches and demonstrations that pass through. It defines Berkeley and its history, and serves as the beating heart to a teeming, growing city.

Sproul is considered the best place to people-watch in Berkeley because it seamlessly combines the community with the campus. For this reason, Sproul is one of my favorite places; it’s the quintessential intersection between Telegraph Avenue and Sather Gate, the place that attracts activity daily. It is a place to revel in Berkeley’s characters, and essentially, in Berkeley’s spirit. The city is known as “Berzerkeley” for its characters, its creeps, its combined insanity and its integral place alongside San Francisco in a progressive-thinking world. Come sit at Sproul. You never know who – or what – you’ll find.

-Summer Dunsmore