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Eat, Drink, Explore: 5 New Spots In Downtown Berkeley

By Hoodline

Looking to find out about the newest places for food and drinks in downtown Berkeley? From a vegan eatery to a seafood restaurant, read on for a rundown of the newest hot spots to open for business in this part of Berkeley.

Veggie Grill
48 Shattuck Square

Vegan chain Veggie Grill has opened a new casual eatery that's serving plant-based burgers, sandwiches, salads and bowls.

Seasonal items include the Luxe Burger, made with a Beyond Meat patty, white truffle cheese sauce, roasted mushrooms, arugula, Sriracha ketchup and roasted tomatoes on a poppy seed bun, and the pumpkin spice cake.

Other options include the Far East Bowl, made with your choice of sesame-crusted chickin' or grilled tofu, brown rice, cilantro green curry sauce, spicy broccoli, green papaya salad, Fresno peppers, crispy shallots, Thai sweet chili sauce, mint and cilantro. (Find the full menu here.)

Veggie Grill currently holds four stars out of 22 reviews on Yelp, indicating good reviews.

Yelper William G., who reviewed it on Sept. 9, wrote, "I was a bit confused at first because the bowl had regular chicken in it when this place obviously seemed vegetarian. Upon tasting it, I realized yeah, it was probably vegan chicken, but honestly it was pretty close. More importantly, the breading was very tasty and the sauce interesting."

Tanya D. noted, "Has the best customer service. Every staff is literally so nice and helpful! The food was great."

Veggie Grill is open from 10:30 a.m.–10 p.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m.–9 p.m. on weekends.

2086 Allston Way

New restaurant Zino offers flavors and fresh ingredients inspired by 22 Mediterranean cuisines, food-friendly wines and craft brews from around the Bay, per its website. It's located in Hotel Shattuck Plaza.

According to Mercury News, menu items include grilled octopus with Spanish chorizo; shared plates of dips of muhammara with roasted peppers, walnuts and pomegranate; and Persian braised lamb shank with apricots, piquillo peppers and pearl onions.

Zino is off to a promising start with four stars out of nine reviews on Yelp.

Yelper Sean P., who reviewed the restaurant on Sept. 9, wrote, "A few things that are a must try are the Muhammara, a roasted pepper, walnut and pomegranate dip that is seriously one of the best I've ever tried, especially in the Bay Area. Also, be sure to try the octopus and the braised lamb shank."

And Jordan W. wrote, "Really like this restaurant! Was right near a parking garage which is nice. The ambiance is great and so is the food! The dip trio was delicious and so was the avocado toast we had."

Zino is open from 6:30–10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. and 5–9 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, 6:30–10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. and 5–10 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, 7 a.m.–1:30 p.m. and 5–10 p.m. on Saturday and 7 a.m.–1:30 p.m. and 5–9 p.m. on Sunday.

Bag O' Crab
2124 Center St.

Bag O' Crab is a spot to score seafood and more. Seafood lovers, dive into the classics: snow crab legs, king crab legs, crawfish, black whole mussels, lobster, shrimp and more.

Fans of fried food can expect options like fried fish, fried oysters, fried shrimp, fried scallops and fried soft-shell crab. Grilled beef short ribs, Cajun fish with mango salsa and lamb chops are also available. Round out your meal with garlic bread, corn on the cob, potatoes, onion rings and sweet potato fries. (Find the full menu here.)

Yelpers are liking Bag O' Crab, which currently holds four stars out of 34 reviews.

Jon M., who reviewed the new spot on Sept. 16, wrote, "Bigger portions than other places. There are garlic fries, nice and quick staff, bibs and gloves, cheaper market price than other places. And the music was pretty good."

And Dorothy L. wrote, "Honestly, I'm addicted. The portions are pretty small but the sauce is amazing."

Bag O' Crab is open from 11 a.m.–9:30 p.m. daily.

Rush Bowls
1935 Addison St., Suite B

Colorado-based fast-casual chain Rush Bowls is offering açaí bowls and more at its new shop in Berkeley.

The menu features fruit-filled bowls like the Power Bowl with blueberries, raspberries, bananas, oats, granola and honey; the Graham Berry made with blackberries, blueberries, graham cracker crumbles and optional fat-free frozen yogurt; and the signature Beach Bowl with açaí, mango, banana, pure guava juice and granola.

With a 4.5-star rating out of 16 reviews on Yelp, Rush Bowls has been getting positive attention.

Albert T., who reviewed the new spot on Aug. 28, wrote, "They had so many options to choose from, so I just went with a basic açaí smoothie. The portions were enormous, and you get your bang for your buck here."

Yelper Melissa F. wrote, "I absolutely love açaí and this is one of my new favorite spots! Friendly customer service, very generous with their portions and the fruit is tasty and fresh."

Head on over to check it out. Rush Bowls is open from 7 a.m.–8 p.m. daily.

Sancha Bar
2041 University Ave.

Sancha Bar is a fresh addition to Berkeley's bubble tea scene. Like other shops in the area, visitors can customize their drinks' sweetness level.

Menu items include matcha green milk tea, rose milk tea, winter melon tea, mango honey green tea and grass jelly milk tea. Toppings include egg pudding, tapioca pearls, red beans and an assortment of jellies.

Spam musubi snacks, Oreo milkshakes and berry smoothies are also available.

Sancha Bar appears to be a welcome addition to the neighborhood with 4.5 stars out of 28 reviews on Yelp.

"I had the house special black tea yesterday and it was super good," Yelper Gia Khanh B. wrote. "They use fresh fruit for their drinks. I will definitely recommend to my friends."

Yelper Jeff P. added, "My favorite tea place in town. All the fruit teas are fresh and taste amazing. The best boba in the Bay Area."

Sancha Bar is open from noon–10 p.m. daily.


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