If you can’t beat them, join them. Chinese food is pretty much a staple at Cal –and being situated close to Oakland and San Francisco, two cities with the biggest Chinatowns in the country – you can count on some solid authentic Chinese cuisine here in Berkeley. So swing by for a fancy date night or some take out for a quiet night in – there’s something for everyone out here.
Great China (Bancroft Way and Fulton Street)
After the old establishment burnt down a few years ago, Great China is back, bigger and better than ever. After extensive remodelling and relocation, it’s elevated itself from a small hole-in-the-wall to a pretty classy, high-end locale. With high, dark-wood ceilings and a modern side-bar to welcome you into the restaurant, Great China has definitely become a reliable, go-to date night spot. The food isn’t exactly authentic and caters to a pretty Western palette but nonetheless you can count on Great China for a consistently tasty, and ridiculously filling meal. Come for family-fstyle dinners or personal plates for lunch – either way, you can’t go wrong at Great China.
Chengdu Style Restaurant (Bancroft Way and Bowditch Street)
Chengdu is a hot spot in Berkeley--literally. Famous for its unapologetically, mouth-numbingly spicy Sichuan cuisine, Chengdu definitely draws a different crowd than Great China. Since Chengu is pretty much as authentic as it gets around Berkeley, it’s packed with international students who miss a taste of home. It also offers hot pot for dinner for those desiring a more customizable option. Needless to say, Cheng Du is a local favorite, a little piece of home away from home. With a large selection of soups, dumplings, stir-fried plates – basically anything Chinese you can think of – the menu is pretty much inexhaustible. It also offers hot pot for dinner for those desiring a more customisable option. Needless to say – Cheng Du is a local favourite, a little piece of home away from home.
Mandarin Garden (Shattuck Avenue and University)
If you are looking for some authentic Chinese food here in Berkeley, you won’t want to miss Mandarin Garden. In its almost 40 years of existence, Mandarin Garden has remained remarkably popular and reputable among the Chinese students and professors in Berkeley. As you step into the restaurant, the traditional Chinese style decor and all the Chinese-speaking students will make you feel as if you were in China itself. Unlike Great China, which offers very Westernized Chinese food, or Chengdu Style Restaurant offering traditional Szechuan food, Mandarin Garden is known for its Beijing style cuisine, which is hard to find in Berkeley. Therefore, if you want to have an authentic Chinese food experience or try something you've never had before, Mandarin Garden is the place to go.