Berkeley Bowl West (920 Heinz, Berkeley) is a good place to have lunch, but we like to buy stuff in the market and bring it into the cafe, rather than buy cafe food. The eating space is much nicer here than at the Shattuck location, because it’s in another building and you don’t have the hustle and bustle of shoppers all around you as you eat – though it does get crowded at lunch.
So far we have not been thrilled with the cafe food, but they may just need some time to work out kinks. My Mom had a Cuban sandwich there a couple weeks ago that was so skimpy and cold (they never pressed or grilled the thing) I though she was going to have a conniption. I dragged her back there when Matt and I went so she could see the kinds of things we select.
Here are the things we like:
1) The store-made sushi, in particular the spicy tuna roll.
2) The egg salad at the deli, which Matthew loves. We get a container and then select a couple of rolls from the bread department to go with it.
3) The turkey meatloaf from the deli counter. The texture is gluey, but I like this stuff. I swear there is the flavor of liver in there. Despite the fact that many people in the food business never order meatloaf from anywhere (you never know what evils lurk in a product that is ground and formed), I get it here.
4) The Chinese food at the hot food counter. You can’t go wrong, for the most part. The potstickers are pretty good.
5) The pecan roll. At a buck fifty, I can’t believe they even make money on this thing given the volume of pecans on top. They can be had at the pastry counter and are usually in the cafe, too.
6) A little piece of cheese from the cheese counter. (This is another place the rolls come in into play…)
Take your goodies across the little divide to the cafe, grab some utensils and napkins and set up shop. You may purchase a beverage, but we usually just have water.
Oh, before I forget: the house-made potato chips at the cafe are to die for. Even my Mom had to admit this.