Narsai David is the KCBS Food and Wine Editor. He has been a successful restaurateur, chef, TV host, and columnist in the Bay Area spanning four decades. You can hear him Saturdays at 10:53 a.m., 12:53 p.m. and 4:53 p.m., and at 2:53 a.m. Sunday on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM.
BERKELEY (KCBS) – There are eight specialty food markets within a two-block radius of University and San Pablo avenues in West Berkeley that are all well worth exploring.
The Spanish Table
1814 San Pablo Ave., 510-548-1383
Every imaginable Spanish condiment, spice, cured hams, sausages and a large selection of wine as well as cookware.
1920 San Pablo Ave., 510-549-3663
Pakistani, Indian and Middle Eastern groceries in addition to a Halal Butcher with lamb, goat, beef and chicken. A great selection of spices, grains and specialty items.
Halal Food and Grocery Market
1964 San Pablo Ave., 510-845-2000
A wide choice of Halal meats and Middle East groceries.
Mi Ranchito Bayside Market
2032 San Pablo Ave., 510-843-5662
Primarily Mexican foods with some South American additions, fresh produce, and a butcher with meat, fish and poultry.
Middle East Market
2054 San Pablo Ave., 510-704-8800
Specialties with a wide variety of grains, spices and packaged foods.
Mi Tierra Foods
2082 San Pablo Ave., 510-540-8946
A large, full scale Mexican market with a very sizable fresh produce section, bounded by an endless display of dried chilies. A butcher shop fills the back of the shop, along with all manner of Mexican specialties as well as some products from Peru, Argentina and Brazil.
Country Cheese and Delicatessen
2101 San Pablo Ave., 510-841-0752
A remarkably long list of cheeses of the world as well as bulk grains and spices.
990 University Ave., 510-843-9600
The definitive Indian market with a remarkable array of rice varieties extending beyond the basic Basmati choices. They are direct importers, so the prices are very competitive with a huge selection of bulk grains, spices and legumes. The Brown Masour lentil looks just like the French lentil de Puy when cooked and costs about one-third as much. Exotic, fresh Indian produce in season, and a great price on butter.
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