6.7 out of 10

Center St, Downtown Berkeley

37.8701266224397 -122.26943286484
Great for
  • Eating Out
  • Gym & Fitness
  • Nightlife
  • Public Transport
  • Shopping Options
Not great for
  • Clean & Green
  • Lack of Traffic
  • Parking
  • Peace & Quiet
  • Neighborly Spirit
Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • LGBT+
  • Hipsters


4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 1/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 4/5

"A Taste of Tokyo in Bear Territory"

Maybe its the Stanford gal in me, but I haven’t quite gone gaga over Berkeley the way some of my friends have. The other day though, I did put aside my love of the Cardinal to venture here into Bear territory for a meal within just steps of the UC campus.

What brought me here to Center Street was the restaurant Ippuku. It’s a Japanese restaurant that was voted one of the Top 100 Bay Area restaurants by SFGate last year. It is very Japanese. You feel you like you have stepped on the set of the Last Samurai or Lost in Translation when you are there. We thoroughly enjoyed it even though I don’t remember the names of what ate. My only problem with it was that the plates were way too small.

As to the rest of the street, it seemed like it was a typical Downtown Berkeley street, filled with noisy traffic and dirty. (Sorry, any street in Stanford has Berkeley beat in terms of cleanliness.) But I can completely see what Cal students like about the area surrounding their campus--you do feel like you are in the heart of a bustling international city (I heard at least 4 foreign languages while we were there.)

The other great thing is that BART is right there, so you don’t have to hassle with parking. And there look to be a ton of other restaurants on this part of Center including Le Regal, a Ben & Jerry’s and a place called Alborz--all of which I am keen to try next time I am here. Of course, there was also a Starbuck’s on the corner, a Quiznos and a Bongo Burger which I’m sure are great for undergrads but which have no pull with me.

I also saw a Tibet souvenir store which looked kind of cool but we were in a hurry to catch a movie on one of the streets over, so I didn’t spend much time inspecting it. Oh yeah, and Games of Berkeley--a store devoted solely to games, is on the southern corner with Shattuck--pretty cool!

I was a lot less impressed with Center to the south of Shattuck. There was a parking lot down there and I understand that Berkeley High is there too, but there seemed not to be much worth exploring down there--very urban looking.

Overall, a great place to grab a bite to eat, and to keep your Cardinal Red well hidden away.
  • Great Restaurants and Shops
  • Close to UC Campus
  • BART
  • Dirty
  • Parking, Traffic and Noise
  • Crime Worries
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • LGBT+
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish

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