Vik’s Chaat Corner—Berkeley
Chaat means snack, and this Berkeley eatery serves them up cheap and delicious
With fresh paint, new tables and chairs, and tasteful design flourishes, the new location of this popular Berkeley eatery is a big improvement over the former space. Aesthetics, though, are not the reason hordes flock to Vik’s: The food is consistently delicious, and the prices can’t be beat.
Offering India’s vibrant street food, Vik’s menu includes a rotating selection of weekday and weekend specials, plus a standing chaat, or snack, menu.
A standout among the chaat is the samosa cholle ($4.75), crisp fried pastries filled with a savory mixture of potatoes, onions, peas, and spices. Try one with bit of mint or tamarind sauce, or a side of spicy garbanzo curry. Other chaats to try include the dahi pakori ($4.25), lentil dumplings served with yogurt and chutneys, or the pani puri ($4.25), a puffed fried dough served with garbanzo beans, potatoes, and tamarind chutney.
For something more filling, the masala dosa ($6.50), served daily, offers great value. This giant, crispy crepe comes folded over and stuffed with a potato filling. Dip it in the coconut-based sauce, which comes on the side along with sambar (a lentil and vegetable stew) and chutney. Also, check the daily board for tandoori specials.
Order a mango lassi ($1.50), or sip coconut juice ($2.50), for something a little different to drink. On a cold day, the always-flavorful chai ($1) will warm you up.
Lunch Special: Vik’s offers lunch specials that change daily, always with a vegetarian option but also featuring chicken, lamb, or fish. These come with rice, lentils, roti (whole wheat flat bread), raita (flavored yogurt), papad (a crispy wafer), and spicy Indian pickle. Prices vary from $5.75 to $6.75.
Eye Candy: Feast your eyes on the mithai (sweets) counter—row upon row of colorful and interesting desserts ($1–$2.50), featuring such flavors as saffron, basil seed, cardamom, and rose.
Dine and Dash: Just five blocks north, you’ll run into Berkeley’s swanky Fourth Street shopping district—perfect for a post-lunch stroll.Vik’s Chaat Corner, 2390 Fourth St., Berkeley, (510) 644-4432, vikschaatcorner.com. Lunch and dinner Tues.–Sun.