February 7, 2020

Hello Berkeley High! “Food Fiends” is a food column focused on finding good places to eat for students. We choose and critique restaurants based on their value, quality of ingredients, service, and above all — food. We hope to expose students to new places or a new perspective on an old favorite. For our first review, we will be discussing Kim’s Cafe. 

As you enter Kim’s Cafe, a brown pebbled floor will bring you to a welcoming order counter. Don’t let the simplicity of the decor fool you — this place is good. 

Browsing their menu, you can see sandwiches with a variety of meats and tofus listed, as well as vermicelli, phở, salads, and plates. Don’t forget the Thai iced tea! Kim’s Cafe is a delicious Vietnamese restaurant located on the lower half of Solano Avenue.

After ordering, I stared at my banh-mi. It was a kaleidoscope of colors. Chicken colored yellow by spices laid with shredded bright-orange tangy carrots. Pale green, refreshing slices of cucumber disguised the fiery jalapeno, but the chopped cilantro cooled its heat. These elements combined to make a remarkable rainbow of a sandwich. I took a bite. The baguette crunched. It was as rich in taste as it looked on my plate.

The service at Kim’s is friendly. They are primarily a to-go restaurant. However, if you’re in the mood to eat there, they have a decent amount of seating and a friendly vibe. Their prices are very reasonable and because of this, it’s a very popular spot for students at Albany High School to grab lunch (sorry Yellowjackets). 

Another bonus at Kim’s is their wide array of drink choices. They have a refrigerator full of delicious options like Bruce Cost Ginger Ale, Kombucha, and Thai iced tea. Kim’s has more than just sandwiches. They also have phở, garden rolls, and vermicelli salads. The cheapest option is a small banh-mi. It’s $4 for a six-inch small and $6 for the nine-inch large. Drinks can run a bit pricier, with the Thai iced tea costing $5. The vermicelli bowl is great too; it’s a salad of herbs and greens on a bed of rice noodles.

This restaurant is a nice option for students if they’re in the area. It’s affordable, but you don’t sacrifice your food’s quality by eating here. One negative about Kim’s, though, is that they take a long time to prepare your food. If you’re in a rush, maybe go somewhere else. An insider tip we would like to offer you is calling your order in ahead if you’re planning on getting it to-go. 

Whichever ordering method you decide, The food makes the wait worth it. We recommend eating at their back patio. If the weather’s nice, it has a better atmosphere than the restaurant itself. It’s nice and quiet, tucked away from Solano.

If you’re near the bottom of Solano, Kim’s is one of the best places to grab lunch. They have great food and reasonable prices. As a student, it’s hard to ask for a better combination. If you have the time, stop by and grab yourself their lemon-grass chicken banh-mi and a refreshing.

To recommend a restaurant to review, email sydneytaylor1@students.berkeley.net

Sydney Taylor

Oliver Porter

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