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This summer, I spent my days interning in construction project management at ARCO Murray, a design-build firm based out of Emeryville, California. But more importantly, I spent my evenings and weekends exploring the food scene in Berkeley, trying well-Yelped spots, recommendations from friends, and even some UCB campus favorites (beat the bears!).

If you’re headed to Berkeley for an internship, to visit a friend, or even for the weekender, I have recommendations aplenty! Read on for some of the best spots I discovered in my three months living there.

  1. The Cheese Board Collective

This local favorite is a cheese shop and bakery that often has a line out the door for their famous “Pizza of the Day”, which varies daily based on seasonal ingredients. While the pizza was delicious, and you can pick some up either for dinner or par-baked for you to finish off at home, the real secret is their morning baked goods selection. I recommend getting their morning buns and anything you spot that has both cheese and jalapeños.  Make sure to get there early, particularly on Saturdays!

  1. Masa Ramen Bistro

A favorite among the students at Berkeley (or so I was told!), Masa Ramen serves up delicious, comforting bowls of warm noodle soup perfect for the foggy NorCal evenings. After a long day at my internship, coming home and slurping a good bowl of ramen was the ideal way to decompress. My favorite is the Broke Da Mouth – Masa Special, but the Kuni bowl is a great alternative if you’re feeling slightly less adventurous. The tako is also an excellent side dish to share if you are visiting Masa Ramen with friends!

  1. A Côté

This one is located in Oakland, only a short bus ride away from Berkeley. Great for a weekend dinner spent catching up with an old friend, A Côté had incredible seafood, pasta, and appetizers. They tend to get busy, so having a reservation beforehand is a must. Fresh bread is one of Berkeley’s biggest gems (especially in comparison to Los Angeles) so try something on their menu that incorporates toast, flat breads, or the like.

  1. La Mission

No food list in California would be complete without a recommendation for where to get a good burrito. My personal favorite I tried this summer was at La Mission, a small restaurant on University Avenue. Their menu is expansive, but the item I loved most was their mole burrito. If you’re someone with a sweet tooth (like me), their tres leches is also a great add.

  1. Bonus: Berkeley Bowl!

While I am as much of a Trader Joe’s fan as the next USC student, Berkeley Bowl is a local grocery store that had a great selection of products! Since I had a 9-5 schedule for the first time and did not have work on the weekends, I had a lot more time (and energy) to cook than I do during the semester. Berkeley Bowl was a great local find for fresh vegetables and meat, and I recommend it to anyone staying in Berkeley for an extended period of time.

Jeet Madnani

MAJOR: Mechanical Engineering YEAR: Class of 2025 HOMETOWN: Guangzhou, China PRONOUNS: he/him/his INSTA: @jeet.203 I am currently involved in USC's Business Technology Group, a student organization providing consulting services for firms in the tech realm. Within the club I lead my own project where we are working with a start up and are helping them develop their MVP.