Berkeley Bowl

19 ratings since posting on Monday, June 28, 2004
in Berkeley
(submitted by BIG $ )

Overall Rating


based on 19 ratings
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shop here if you're a nazi sympathizer i've never worked there but have 3 friends that did at one point and there is a good reason they don't anymore. the owner sits in an office at the top of the building and watches his minions work for him from behind a two-way mirror. he does this EVERYDAY! there are "security" cameras in the bathroom, and "secret" shoppers there every day watching every move of every soul. the place runs on evil. it was started under good intentions and has become a machine of ill intent that treats it's workers like dirt. power to none. power to all. - Holly , posted 06/04/06
"Stressful Shopping"
No, thanks! Now that I've found El Cerrito Natural Foods. It transformed my shopping experience into PURE Pleasure. 100 % Organic Produce tantalizes your senses. A bit of everything, plus the owner wants even more local fun food. - Flowingrace , posted 04/24/06
This is THE place to shop for food
I drove by the Berkeley Bowl for several years thinking it strange that so many people were carrying groceries along the street outside a bowling alley.

One day I decided to explore this place and I now shop there regularly.

You should shop there at least once. This place is amazing. They have many wonderful things that you can't easily find elsewhere. They have produce that is amazing. The meat department is great. The seafood counter is extensive and everything is fresh. They have a bakery. They have a good selection of cheeses and deli meats. They have more types of dairy items than anyother store in the bay area. , Way more than anything at a supermarket. They have hot prepared foods: asian, mexican, and pizza.

Oddly, they lack some things you can easily find at a supermarket. For example, don't look for preserves that are low in sugar, or Sara Lee low carb bread. They just don't have these things. But they do have indian, chineese, vietnamese, ingredients that you can't find anywhere else.

There are problems. The place is packed. Parking is inadequate. The aisles are too narrow. The shoppers are full of themselves. But it is great as long as you are prepared for it.

The people who work there are helpful. I was looking in the bakery for shortbread to serve with berries and cream. I asked for help at the customer service area and a very odd looking person took the time to walk me over to the produce section on the other side of the store where they kept the shortbread. (Who would have guessed they would put bakery goods in the produce section?). The point is that the tatoos and piercings some of the help wears don't matter anymore than the crowded aisles and the lack of parking.

This is a real place with real people and real food. It is charming that they would go to the trouble to stock some obscure items like "Pie Weights" or "Bar Keepers Friend", or "Indian eggplants". And if you want those types of things this is a great place.

I think the produce prices are extremely reasonable. They will stock 4 different types of blueberries, each from a different area and each with a different price. Want well traveled food from Chile, they have it and it is cheap. Want Organic from Oregon, they have that too and it ain't cheap at all.

I regularly buy fresh mushrooms in a bag for $1.49 per pound. Seems cheap to me.
I buy their Happy Dan chickens for about half of what other stores charge. And these guys are willing to tie up the chicken so it goes right on the rotisserie with no effort.

- Maui , posted 04/13/06
This place has great food, but I hate it because it's the most unpleasant shopping experience. Too crowded, all the time. Small aisles, no parking. Yuck. - Unsubscribed , posted 09/30/05
The most complete selection of veggies this side of the farmer's market! - Hope , posted 07/19/05
organic food with textmarker paint on it? what the...
Just what are those people thinking? They have the most excellent selection of organic food, and then some moron decides it's a good idea to mark them with a standard textmarker. A clerk confronted with it said 'oh its nontoxic.' and showed me a standard textmarker. It definitly did not say organic on that one. I am sure he likes to believe what he said but I'd rather have my food without black textmarker paint on it, thank you very much. - Marc , posted 05/24/05
Survival Tips
My top two survival tips for getting out of BB alive:

1. never, ever, ever, EVER(!) enter the parking lot. You will only become frustrated and angry before you even get inside to face the crowds and long check-out lines.

2. Once inside, do not attempt to take your cart everywhere with you (if possible, use a handbasket). Park your cart at the end of the aisles (by the meat counter) and dash up to collect what you need for each aisle.

The new location is 1000% less stressful than the old location. I only allowed myself to go to the old location (where Any Mountain, or whatever that backpacking store is) when I was in a Zen mood.

Surprisingly, going on a Friday night around 6pm seems to be one of the more empty times to go.

I've survived going on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving -- some insanity made me think that I would be the only person who'd leave shopping to the last minute. HAHA! I'm taking up knitting so I have an activity I can do while waiting in lines there. - madethegrade , posted 02/09/05
Not for the claustrophobic
This joint has an awesome produce section and also well stocked butcher, fish monger, and deli. However, the isles are narrow parking lot is tiny, lines are ridiculous and the prices for packaged food is easily 30-50% higher than other big chain grocers in the area. The combination of crowds, cramped spaces, and flourescent lighting make my brain hurt, but there just isn't any other place in Berkeley if you really need sashimi grade tuna, 13 different kinds of tangerines, and 30lb. wheel of gouda. - Dave , posted 02/07/05
Great food if you can get it
The food is great.

The place itself sucks. There is no parking, and the store is way overcrowded. The isles are small, and the staff isn't entirely familiar with the store contents. The checkout lines are long. The hours are really limited. Given that I work your typical 9-5, I can't shop there on a weekday morning.

I've tried on many occasion to like this place, but I just can't. I'm much more happy going to a wide range of other grocery stores. - object88 , posted 10/15/04
The people drive me nuts, but the food is great
I'd shop there, but the insane high stress atmosphere, and people make me crazy. After trying to wait for my wife outside the restroom once, I was stepped on and run into 5 separate times, without a single apology. If I could shop there by myself at 4am, I'd never shop anywhere else. As is, I'd rather not hike 6 blocks from my parking spot in order to get run over with a shopping cart. - kris , posted 10/14/04
Best Organic veggies
Great selection of reasonably priced, organic vegatables. Good range of meats and excellent fish market. Everything else is overpriced. Olive bar worth it. If you like wine, you can often find their house brands at good prices -- and tasty! My biggest peeve with this spot is the snooty, yuppie, Berkeley shoppers ... uhhhh .... hello? Can you say excuse me when you crash by my cart??? - Luz C. , posted 10/12/04
The only place to shop for produce, and food in general
I'm still not sure which one is better... Rainbow or Berkeley Bowl. They are both absolutely excellent. - TANJA , posted 10/12/04
best organic produce section in the East Bay
Berkeley Bowl is my favorite place to grocery shop at -- long lines and difficult parking notwithstanding. I've taken out-of-town visitors to Berkeley Bowl just to show them where I shop at, and had them leave suitably impressed. Has the best selection of organic fruits and vegetables, outside of the local farmers' markets, and at a very reasonable price too. The bulk foods section cannot be beat, nor can their cheese section, nor beer/ short, you'll find pretty much anything you're looking for, and have plenty of options while at it. As mentioned by others, yeah, try to go on a weekday, in the morning if at all possible. - Unsubscribed , posted 10/10/04
Berkeley Bowl is a produce mecca
I honestly don't know what I'd do without Berkeley bowl. Yeah, the parking lot sucks and the crowds and checkout lines are ridiculous. However, they have the most amazing selection of produce you have ever laid your eyes on with low prices and really high quality. I love being able to find every type of fruit or vegetable I could ever want under one roof. The bulk food selection is also great and they have a nice assortment of cheeses. Whenever I have to go to a big chain like Safeway instead of Berkeley Bowl I am always appaled by their low quality and high prices. I only wish there were more independent grocers like Berkeley Bowl out there--they have redefined food shopping for me.
2020 Oregon St., Berkeley - melanie , posted 10/07/04
Fantastic Produce at Great Prices
2020 Oregon St. Berkeley, Ca 94703 --510.843.6929
The Berkeley Bowl is a one-of-a-kind independently owned grocery store with an extensive produce (8,000 square feet!) and bulk goods selection and really exceptionally good prices. Cheaper than the farmer's market and far more selection. The downside is that it is virtually always packed cuz everyone else thinks its fantastic, too. Try going early on a weekday. - Unsubscribed , posted 10/06/04
Awesome selection, not so awesome crowd
Berkeley Bowl is the place to go if you are looking for high quality produce, organic products and other things that you might not be able to find in a mainstream grocery store. Unfortunately it gets insanely crowded and the prices are a bit high. I recommend hitting it in midafternoon after the lunch crowd is gone and before everyone else gets out of work. Visiting on weekends is just pure insanity. - WildChyld , posted 10/06/04
cheap produce
parking sucks but the produce is really cheap and there is a huge secelction of everyhthing even out of season/exotic fruits/vegetables. they have environmental friendly household products. the list goes on... - Unsubscribed , posted 10/06/04
good seafood section
Berkeley Bowl they have a good seafood section - BIG $ , posted 08/23/04

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