Berkeley, CA

Hidden Gem Restaurants in Berkeley Worth Trying


Berkeley has always been the destination for delicious and new bay area cuisine. I always enjoy adventuring out into this part of the Bay because I always stumble upon a good or unique restaurant. But because Berkeley is a very popular foodie destination, there is so much competition. Therefore, I want to share some hidden gem spots that I think are worth trying on your next visit to Berkeley.

1) IB’s Berkeley

If you love yourself a good cheesesteak shop, look no further because IB’s Berkeley has delicious and drool worthy cheesesteaks! This place has everything from cheesesteaks, sandwiches, burgers, and wings. All of the food here is generously portioned and delicious. Here are several recommendations I normally order when I make a visit:

Avogobble Cheesesteak: If you are an avocado lover like myself, definitely order the Avogobble Cheesesteak. It’s packed with fresh roasted turkey, cheddar cheese, and thick slices of avocado. You could settle and have way more than enough with just a regular but for the Avogobble Cheesesteak, I order it large and save the leftovers for later.

Surf and Turf Cheesesteak: When you order this cheesesteak, you get the best of both worlds. Juicy pieces of grilled shrimp with your choice of meat (I always order beef for this one). It is then topped with cheese, grilled onions, mayo, mustard, lettuce, tomatoes, and a “not so hot sauce” which is almost like their signature sauce.

Chili Cheese Fries: I love me a good side of chili cheese fries topped with warm nacho cheese and thick chili. The best things about IB’s are that they have a wide selection of fries! You can choose from house cut, curly, tater tots, waffle, onion ring, and sweet tater tots. I surely love my batch of curly fries and tots though.

House Wings: Just because this spot is a cheesesteak shop doesn’t mean you can sleep on their wings! I love ordering their wings! You can choose from an order of 5, 9, or 20 wings and customize your flavors. My top three favorite wing flavors are Honey Garlic, Buffalo, and Lemon Pepper!

LOCATION: 2513 Durant Ave Berkeley, CA 94704

2) Garden Variety

All I have are great things to say about this place. Not only is the owner a polite and friendly man, but he works hard and makes great tasting and quality food! This spot is still new and opened during the pandemic and like most restaurants was hit really hard on trying to advertise themselves to the public. However, this is why I would like to take time to shine light on the business and let many people know just how amazing Garden Variety’s food really is! Not only is the food and service amazing, but the location and the backyard rose garden you can rest and eat at is so peaceful and inviting. Here are some of the things I enjoyed eating during my visit:

Fried Chicken Sandwich: If I could describe this sandwich in one word: WOW. I’ve had my fair share of fried chicken sandwiches in the bay area but Garden Variety definitely had solid flavors and a juicy fat fried chicken to match it. It is made with buttermilk marinated fried chicken thigh on brioche bun with in house coleslaw. And it comes with a side of potato salad or orzo pasta salad as well. It’s a very filling meal and I highly recommend it.

Teriyaki Chicken Salad: I have never had udons in my cold salad, but this changed my views on how to eat udon noodles! I loved the texture of the udon noodles complimenting the crispy fresh veggies of this salad. The salad is made with chilled udon noodles, shiitake mushrooms, baby bok choy, red bell peppers, and topped with a homemade sesame-garlic dressing

Arugula and California Oranges Salad (GF, Vegan): If you are looking for a fresh as well as a gluten free or vegan option, this salad is perfect for you. It is so refreshing and it is made with fennel, romaine, chives, toasted almonds, and topped with a homemade citrus vinaigrette

Homemade Cookies: I cannot stress enough that if you are here and there are cookies in the cookie jar, BUY IT, maybe even BUY IT ALL! I am telling you right now, you won’t regret it. I tried both the Chocolate Chip Tahini Cookie and the Ginger Molasses Cookie and loved both of them so much that I ordered the whole batch to go. They are $2 a cookie and it’s worthy every penny. It’s seriously heaven in a cookie.

LOCATION: 1966 University Ave Berkeley, CA 94704

3) Amausaan Uji Matcha

This place isn’t necessarily a restaurant, it is more of a dessert shop but I love how Instagramable this spot is and the quality of the desserts are just as good as they look! Here are some things I recommend trying if you ever pop into Amausaan Uji Matcha for dessert:

Mango Extreme: I am a huge fan of mango flavored drinks but always find many of them to be too sweet and not enough tart. Luckily Amausaan Uji Matcha makes a really delicious mango extreme drink that is fruity, tart, and the perfect amount of sweetness.

Kyoto Matcha Cube Latte: I love this matcha latte because it is a play on the dessert! The Matcha are frozen cubes and you melt them with warm milk to make the perfect matcha latte. It is for sure Instagram worthy and also worth trying.

Matcha Red Bean Mille Crepe Cake: If you are into crepe cakes, you have to try the matcha red bean mille crepe from Amausaan Uji Matcha. I love it because it is not overly sweet and the mild and creamy matcha taste compliments the red beans that are inside of the cake. Amausaan Uji Matcha also offers other flavored mille crepe cakes so I would love to go back and try their other flavors like Hojicha (roast matcha) mille crepe cake as well!

LOCATION: 1950 Shattuck Ave Berkeley, CA 94704

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Huge foodie traveling all over the Bay Area, city-to-city, eating at restaurants and recommending my favorites. Yes, I eat a lot, and YES, I will travel for food! Hungry tummy coming to a city near you. :)

San Francisco, CA

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