Just steps away from campus on Euclid Avenue in Berkeley’s Northside is the charming Cafe Nefeli. Despite its close proximity to thousands of students milling about on campus, Cafe Nefeli is a haven from the exciting, vibrant, yet sometimes stressful aura that Cal radiates beyond its borders. To be sure, the small cafe often becomes crowded during lunch-time and can be loud with conversation and a great mix of music (that admittedly can become a distraction at those points when you feel so inclined to set down your book on Byzantine art history and sing aloud to the Rolling Stones). But unlike many other popular cafes, especially those on Southside, this cafe definitely has its quiet, peaceful moments, particularly if you are there early or late enough.
Adding to the study-friendly environment, Nefeli offers free wi-fi and some very comfortable corners to sit and read (or, alternatively, stare aimlessly at the lovely, tree-lined Euclid Avenue). The tables are small, though, so don’t plan on spreading out and finishing your big, end of semester research project here.
In terms of food and drink, Cafe Nefeli excels. While I haven’t sampled all beverages that Berkeley’s hundreds of cafes have to offer – a practically impossible (though no doubt highly enjoyable and delicious) task – I can say with confidence that the baristas at Cafe Nefeli make one of the best cappuccinos I’ve ever tasted.
They also offer a great menu of Mediterranean salads, sandwiches, and deserts for surprisingly affordable prices considering the fanciness and freshness of the ingredients. If the sound of a Nefeli salad with fresh greens, goat cheese, pears, and citrus vinaigrette, or of a mushroom, roasted red pepper and walnut grilled sandwich, or of a lemon tart sprinkled with ground pistachio hasn’t already convinced you to pack your bags and head towards Northside, I can only once again strongly encourage you to visit Cafe Nefeli, bring a book, and enjoy.
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