Content originally written for the Let’s Go: USA & Canada Guide by our researcher-writer, Graham Bishai.
The Butcher’s Son ($-$$)
1941 University Ave.; (510) 984-0818; www.thebutchersveganson.com; open M 11am-8pm, Tu-W 11am-3pm, Th-F 11am-8pm, Sa-Su 9am-5pm
In this ironically named vegan paradise, the over-25 sandwiches on offer range from ordinary to mind-blowing-how-the-heck-is-that-vegan extraordinary. Stick with a BLT or get their fried mozzarella and meatball, served spilling out of a garlic bread roll. All sandwiches come with a side, and portions are generous. On weekends at brunch, try the donut-stuffed pancake. Sit down, if you can find a seat, and pig out in this bright, airy, plant-based spot!
Entreés from $9; all vegan; gluten-, soy-, nut-free options, wheelchair accessible; brunch menu Sa-Su 9am-2pm
Soy y Luna ($-$$)
1926 Shattuck Ave.; (510) 540-8880; open daily 11am-8pm
If you’ve ever called a restaurant “cute,” you’ll revise your statement when you see this local Berkeley taqueria. In a little side alley used as an eating area, flowers and strings of lights bedazzle the shop’s pistachio green walls, making it a quaint and charming place to enjoy your food. Speaking of, the food is renowned as some of the best Mexican in Berkeley. Authentic and fresh, Soy y Luna keeps Berkeley residents coming back for more. The fresh rainbow of ingredients you’ll get on your plate will match the shop’s festive, floral look. Spice up your fare at the salsa bar, or use it as dip for their freshmade chips.
Burritos from $9; vegetarian and vegan options; wheelchair accessible
Saturn Cafe ($$)
2175 Allston Way; (510) 845-8505; berkeley.saturncafe.com; open M-F 10am-midnight, Sa-Su 11am-midnight
The 60s diner aesthetic is a #look. And now, so is being vegetarian. Get the best of both, with some extra colorful flair, in this cute, friendly and unassuming corner café, which serves a meat-free all-American diner menu. The tabletos give off a vibe that can only be described as “futuristic-space-meets-Johnny Cash.” Slurp a milkshake with a red striped straw, a beer on tap, or a glass of wine. The only blue to be felt is the Robin’s Egg Blue walls.
Entrées from $12; all vegetarian; vegan and gluten-free options; wheelchair accessible; happy hour M-F 4pm-7pm
Angeline’s Louisiana Kitchen ($$-$$$)
2261 Shattuck Ave.; (510) 548-6900; angelineskitchen.com; open M 5:30pm-9pm, Tu-Th 11:30am-9pm, F-Sa 11:30am-10pm, Su 11:30am-9pm
With Mardi Gras beads hanging from the walls and sweet tea pouring from the jugs, Angeline’s is a piece of NOLA in NorCal. At its prime Shattuck Avenue location, this popular restaurant has high ceilings, relaxed vibes, and generous portions—the holy trinity, honestly. The space’s Southern décor, quirky yet modest, resonates with the restaurant’s unpretentious comfort food with a sizable helping of fine-dining elegance. Angeline’s you brings front-porch ease, keeping it casual with bluegrass and country ballads playing in the background. Dig your teeth into some fried chicken, slurp up some gumbo, or melt at the taste of a beignet. Your taste buds will thank you.
Entrées from $12; vegetarian options; wheelchair accessible
KoJa Kitchen ($)
2935 Telegraph St.; (510) 962-5652; www.kojakitchen.com; open daily 11am-10pm
This place has Korean-Japanese fusion down to a science, but its digs are plain and simple. Brimming with students, it serves up fast, greasy grub at a good price. Try its namesake specialty, the KoJa (Korea+Japan=KoJa): a burger made from a fried rice bun with your choice of BBQ meat or another protein. You can also keep it (relatively) simple with a bowl, or go crazy with their Kamikaze fries, which are waffle fries drenched in sauces and meat. There’s counter service, with space to sit, and great music.
Entrees from $7; vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options, wheelchair accessible