1620 Shattuck Ave
Berkeley, CA 94709
Guerilla Cafe is one of our all time favorite restaurants. It hits that sweet spot of being affordable enough to go every week or two, unassuming enough that it’s not overrun with customers, and simply delicious. When we were living in Berkeley, it was our go-to brunch spot, and now a visit to Berkeley isn’t complete without an hour lounging out on the sidewalk outside this quirky little cafe with a waffle and a polenta, a cubano and a milk and honey.
Since we’ve moved to LA, we’ve recommended this place to everyone we know who’s headed Berkeley’s way, as if we could eat vicariously through our friends.
The atmosphere at Guerilla is quintessentially Berkeley. The small interior is dominated by the art covering the wall opposite the counter. The art changes every few months and varies from giant murals, to unobtrusive framed prints, to a chalkboard that invites doodles from guests. The tables are identified by a placard that teaches you about a revolutionary, an activist, or an anarchist, depending on your perspective. As expected from a place called Guerilla Cafe, they aren’t shy about making a political statement.
When you go up to order, note the waffle of the day. Whether it’s coconut milk, buckwheat orange, or ginger spiced, it’ll be served up hot with fresh fruit, delicious butter, and their homemade apple syrup. These waffles are so consistently amazing that I wish I could go back until I’ve tried them all.
If you’re in the mood for something savory, their polentas are sure to satisfy that craving. It’s the ultimate comfort food, warm and filling. The poached eggs in the eggs polenta are always the perfect texture, and the mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes in the savory polenta always hit that sweet, sweet umami spot. For more excitement, add as much of Guerilla’s homemade hot sauce to your bowl as you’d like.
The choice between the waffles and the polenta at Guerilla is a painful one, which is why you should always bring an eating partner and mooch off their food.
The espresso drinks at Guerilla are great, and there’s steamed milk and honey for the non-coffee drinkers in your life. If you need coffee to-go, or if espresso’s not your thing, Philz is right next door.
When you finally get up from your table, full of breakfast and coffee, why not check out the art gallery a block away and support some local artists while you’re in the neighborhood, and then drop by Cheeseboard for lunch? If you’ve made a reservation far enough ahead, Chez Panisse is right across the street and will make a most memorable dinner.
We love Berkeley. We miss it’s eccentric charm, we miss campus life, but most of all we miss having so many amazing things to eat within walking distance. For all that Los Angeles is a foodie haven, it hasn’t got that.