The Best $5 Meals Around Campus

By Jacob Horn, Special to the Planet
Friday September 08, 2006

Are you a student? Do you need all those extra dimes and nickels to pay your tuition? But, you still need to eat, right? Here are a few restaurants around campus that can keep your stomach and wallet full. 


Cancún Taqueria 

2134 Allston Way, 549-0964 

Located in downtown Berkeley between Shattuck and Allston, Cancún is one of the better taquerias in the East Bay for a value meal that won’t hurt the wallet. When going there, be sure to order the savory Chicken Lime or Tortilla soup. Each soup comes with a basket full of freshly made tortilla chips, and there is a great salsa bar where you can choose at least 20 different kinds of salsa. The soup and chips will set you back $3.80 and should satisfy most anybody. This restaurant is a good option for health conscious eaters. 

Mon.-Thurs., 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m.-10 p.m. 


Fred’s Deli 

1929 University Ave. 548-2294 

Fred’s has been known for years for its delicious piroshki-style sandwiches, made with grilled meat, grilled onions, tomatoes, lettuce, and mayonnaise. Each sandwich can be made with or without cheese, but if you haven’t had one before, make sure you order it with cheese. Always go for the chicken as the flavor of beef never blends as well as its white meat counterpart. Top off this meal with an Arizona drink: it’ll cost you $5.50 and it’ll be totally worth it. 


Top Dog 

2160 Center St. 849-0176 

2534 Durant Ave. 843-5967 

2503 Hearst Ave. 843-1241 

A Berkeley favorite since 1966, this great hot dog stand has been serving the same famous great tasting dogs for over 40 years. If you come from New York, don’t say anything until you have tried the real thing, right here in Berkeley. For a meal without the bill, go ahead and try the Top Dog Doggie Bag, which includes the famous dog as well as chips and a drink. You get all this for a measly $4.75, and trust me, your stomach will thank you. 

Mon.-Fri. 10:30 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sat. 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m.-10 p.m. 



2119 Shattuck Ave. 841-4035 

Welcome to another Berkeley classic. Arinell’s pizza opened in the ’70s and was one of the first places to offer pizza by the slice in Berkeley. It used to be located in a hole-in-the wall, until it moved next door. They still serve the same great New York-style pizza as they did decades ago. Don’t expect this to be a thick-crust, massive pizza. Rather, it’s a more working class thin-slice pizza that’s cooked to perfection. For $3.50, you can get a soda and a slice of this classic pizza. Hey, it may be a little more than other places, but it sure will keep you happy for the rest of the day.