Only in Berkeley  could any traveler expect to find a multitude of all-organic, all-raw food restaurants. Of them all, Café Gratitude (1730 Shattuck Ave., 415/824-4652, www.cafegratitude.com , $7–12) might be the hippiest eatery in all of hippiedom.
Not only is all the food as natural as it’s possible to get, each dish is named as an affirmation. Instead of ordering a kale, beet, and celery juice, you’ll ask for an “I am Worthy,” or instead of a pesto pizza, order an “I am Sensational.” Really.
All dishes are 100 percent vegetarian, many are vegan, and most are a bit strange even for the expanded palates of the average Bay Area diner. But the chefs do work good and hard to spin the fresh ingredients into tasty dishes.
So if you’re willing to brave the kale, tofu, and sprouted everything, give it a shot! (Maybe even a wheatgrass shot.) You might like it.
Sometimes, a weary traveler just needs a bowl of soup on the cheap. In Berkeley  (and at any number of other towns around the Bay Area ), your best choice is Pho Hoa (2272 Shattuck Ave., 510/540-9228, www.phohoa.com ). Yes, it’s a chain—there’s even a location in Saigon. But for the classic Vietnamese rice noodle soup called pho, Pho Hoa provides some of the best big bowls of soup around. The dining rooms are clean if a bit sterile and cafeteria-like.
Newcomers to the world of pho can choose a bowl of chicken, steak, or seafood soup, while the more adventurous (and familiar with Southeast Asian cuisine) might choose some fatty flank, tendon, or even tripe. If you’ve got a huge appetite, go for a large bowl; a big appetite, go for a small bowl; a normal appetite, split a large with a friend! Top it off with an iced milk coffee for the ultimate pick-me-up. All for well under $10 per person.
Another downscale but well worth the time ethnic enclave, the Chaat Café (1902 University Ave., 510/845-1431, www.chaatcafes.com ) offers spicy Indian cuisine for the right prices. This Bay Area local chain serves chaat (small plates and appetizers), of course. You can also get a meaty curry, a tandoori dish, stuffed naan, and more. (Though you’ll find a few vegetarian specialties on the menu, this particular Indian place sticks more to the northern meat-eating tradition.)