Hidden Gems in Downtown Berkeley
“We are so lucky that we live in area where you can purchase the perfect gift have an incredible meal and see a show and never leave Downtown!”
We can all agree that anyone who knows anything about the East Bay knows that Berkeley has an incredible food scene! Just in Downtown you can find fresh flavors for anyone who likes food. But that’s NOT all folks! There’s a lot more to discover.
From the funky counter culture to the food and world renown Downtown arts district, Berkeley is still full of hidden gems just like nearby Oakland or San Francisco! This list represents our favorite must-see spots Hidden Gems in Downtown Berkeley. Bust out your apps and take some notes!
1) Heroic Italian
2020 Kittredge St c | Wednesday - Sunday 11:30am-8pm
2) East Bay Spice Company / cocktails
2134 Oxford St | Monday-Tuesday 5pm-2am Wednesday-Sunday 2pm-2am
Nestled along a quaint strip of Oxford Street right on the edge of Downtown Berkeley you’ll find the East Bay Spice Company. This cozy and very hip restaurant & bar serves up delicious Indian street food favorites cooked in their very own tandoori oven including the very popular chicken tikka masala pizza! The East Bay Spice Company also has one of the best cocktails programs in the East Bay! Come early and grab a seat at the comfortable bar or one of the little nooks and settle in for a super chill experience.
Don’t be confused by its name, it’s not a spice shop but their fresh homemade food is seasoned to perfection. There’s cozy seating upstairs perfect for a candlelit dinner for two and the first floor bar with big windows and adjacent parket makes this Downtown Hidden Gem a great hang out spot after class or to meet up with friends after work!
7) Sash Coffee
2023 Center St | Monday-Thursday 7:30am-4pm Friday 7:30am-12pm Closed Saturday & Sunday
This Hidden Gem, located on the ground floor on the Center Street side of the amazing new Center Street Garage in Downtown Berkeley. This is the second location in the East Bay for this master craft roastery and cafe. Modern Coffee who sees their approach to a delicious cup of coffee as an experience that should be simple and never cost an arm and a leg! They believe that if they can create a warm & inviting environment staffed with friendly people customers will keep people coming back again and again. “We’re not trying to change the world, we’re just trying to make your day.” Modern Coffee shares their space with another awesome Hidden Gem, the Bike Station. The Bike Station is not only a place to securely park your bike, but also get simple adjustments made and also get the low down on all the local bike news
Modern Coffee’s goal is to capture the rich and deep character of the coffee they roast and serve something unique and delicious to their customers! ..And they have new parklet seating directly outside!
8) The Back Room / music venue
1984 Bonita Ave | Open during Events & Shows
The unstoppable Sam Rudin opened this very Berkeley music venue in Downtown Berkeley in 2016. He calls it The Back Room, to honor his vision to recreate the cozy ambience of the original Freight & Salvage, a beloved Berkeley music venue dedicated to acoustic music now located on Addison Street.
Every East Bay music lover of a certain age knows that the beloved Freight & Salvage, currently a 420 seat concert hall started out as a tiny 87 seat room, stuffed with thrift-store couches and great music. The Freight’s overwhelming success and resulting expansion have been celebrated by all, but there are some who miss the living room intimacy that allowed lesser-known musicians to make their mark, and better-known players to get up close and personal with their fans. Enter, The Back Room and it delivers on all fronts!
Rudin, known for his rip-roaring solo piano wizardry as well as his band of jazz and blues veterans (Hurricane Sam & the Hotshots), describes his venture as a small space (100 people max), with great acoustics and comfortable seating, that showcases the musicians with respect and appreciation.
The Back Room welcomes all acoustically-based genres, including jazz, blues, folk, bluegrass, Americana, and more, and is an all-ages venue. Children under 12 are free. BYOB.
9) D King Rock Posters / posters, comics, collectables
2284 Fulton St | Open Saturday, Sunday and Thursday 11am-6pm
If you’re serious about rock posters you probably already know about this Hidden Gem! D King Gallery is well known in collector circles for their prominent collection of private rock poster in the world and Bay Area. Colorful signed tour posters from almost every famous rock artists you can think of from early punk rock flyers to 60’s psychedelic posters to vintage theatre European posters. But they're more than just your average silkscreen poster shop they also have graphic tees, vinyl records, graphic novels, vintage comic books and other collectibles such as sports cards memorabilia.
This famous shop is tucked away on Fulton Street near Bancroft right on the edge of Downtown Berkeley. It’s one of those places you have to visit in order to believe such places still exist.
10) Razan's Organic Kitchen / Mediterranean, Mexican
2119 Kittredge Street | Open 10am-10pm
Believe it or not this Hidden Gem is the oldest organic restaurant in Berkeley! Razan Organic Kitchen was established in 1997 and has continuously offered amazing Mediterranean and Latin plates including burritos, soups, salads, falafel, shawerma, fresh squeezed juices, smoothies, wraps, and more. Located on Kittredge near Oxford, Razan makes all their homemade meals using only the very best organic certified local ingredients and grass fed beef and lamb that are free of antibiotics and hormones certified organic and halal food quality. Opens every day at 10:30 until 8:30 on weekdays and 9:30 on weekends. Perfect for picnics!
11) Sushinista / sushi
2235 Milvia St | Monday-Friday 11am-2:30pm, 5pm-8:30pm Saurday 11am-3:30pm Closed Sunday
People are going crazy for this Downtown Berkeley Hidden Gem! As one would expect from a sushi spot in Downtown Berkeley, Sushinista specializes in serving authentic Japanese food made with quality fresh ingredients. One of the many great things about this place is that it’s typically not super crowded (yet) so you never wait for more than 5-10 minutes which means it's perfect for someone who is on the go and wants some really good fresh sushi! If you have a little more time make sure you grab a seat out on their very cool outdoor patio. Pro tip: Try the yam tempura!
12) My Coffee Roastery / coffee
2080 Martin Luther King Jr | Monday 8am-4pm Wednesday - Friday 8am-4pm Saturday-Sunday 9am-5pm
Tucked along the busy MLK thoroughfare is a gingerbread house where two coffee aficionados share their labor of love. Their specialty is roasting small batch of curated beans and offering expresso, pastries, pour overs and cold brew. Their bright energy, and unbelievable understanding of the coffee/roasting industry leaves you feeling like you’re straight out of a fairytale from the décor to the outside seating. Their impeccably precise techniques used to make your pour over, to the equipment they use to roast your beans, everything is done with the utmost emphasis on QUALITY. Stop by My Coffee Roastery and have them to make you a cup of coffee.
15) Arinell Pizza / New York style pizza
2119 Shattuck Avenue | Monday-Tuesday 11am - 9pm Wednesday-Saturday 11am - 10pm Sunday 12pm - 9pm
You know a good pizza place when you see it and Arinell's is not only the place you frequent when you go to Downtown Berkeley for a quick bite before a show in the Arts district of a movie at one of the many theaters in the area. If you're looking for a NY style thin crust you have come to the right place, from that traditional pepperoni to the new vegan pizza. Arinell Pizza is your place to go.