EatsSan Francisco

Ital Calabash: Vegan Rastafarian Spot in Berkeley

A LION KEEPS GUARD

A LION KEEPS GUARD

If you’ve ever gotten off at the Ashby Bart station (and by 'œgotten off' I mean exited the train, not what the dude in the seat behind you was doing), looked across the street, and wondered what that tiny shack painted with the bright colors of Jamaica is, here’s the answer: one of my favorite vegan restaurants!

BRIGHT AND COZY

BRIGHT AND COZY

And what does 'œItal Calabash' mean? Their menu explains it thus: 'œItal is a way of life. Ital means 'œof the earth,' plus organic and free from animal products or artificial ingredients of any kind. Labeled by Rastafarians in Jamaica over 70 years ago, Ital is a Vital way of life.' This tiny hole in the wall may not look like more than a few people can fit inside at a time (which may be true), but the atmosphere is homey, the food is awesome, the decoration is rad, and the staff, often in traditional Rasta garb, is super friendly (thankfully for me and my roommates, the proprietors totally like white people, or at least they pretend really well). Ital keeps odd hours and doesn’t have a website, so it feels pretty special when you’re in the right place at the right time. I do know this much: they seem to close pretty early on weekdays and are closed on Saturdays (Rastafarians observe the Sabbath and I always used to go there after my morning garage sale-ing and be super bummed they were closed, plus it made me feel like a bad Jew for forgetting).

THE FLOORS ARE FULL OF CASH!!!

THE FLOORS ARE FULL OF CASH!!!

Here is a detailed, and hopefully mouth-watering (even to carnivores), description of some of my top picks. They’ve got delicious and affordable $5 'œburgers' (choice of homemade veggie patty or soya fish/soya chicken, with names like 'œOsho’s Bliss,' 'œBuddha’s Queen,' 'œNegril Jerk,' 'œBBQ Bliss,' all with amazing spices and sauces, or order one with 'œthe works' for an extra $1.25 and get avocado, soy cheese, tomato, onion, lettuce, and sprouts). Then there are the $4 smoothies made of the most decadent ingredients. 'œPure Niceness' is a combo of peanut or almond butter, banana, nutmeg, cinnamon, dates, and maple syrup, while 'œPiña Calabash' and 'œJamaica in a Glass' offer more tropical ingredients like pineapple, coconut milk, and papaya.' Check out the savory stews, sweet porridges, live seaweed wraps, amazing sweet or salty plantains, fresh ginger drinks, and so much more!

Ital Calabash [across from the Berkeley Ashby Bart Station]
3031 Adeline St. btwn. Emerson St and Essex St.

Like this article? Make sure to sign up for our mailing list so you never miss a goddamn thing!
Previous post

PS122's Red and White Fiesta!

Next post

Broke Ass Financial Coaching: Your Financial Priorities


Chloe - Pennywise Reporter

Chloe - Pennywise Reporter

Chloe's youth was split between California and Kauai, frolicking on a macadamia nut farm in the tropics and landing finally in the Bay Area. Raised by super-Jew hippies, and the youngest of three sisters, Chloe learned early the virtues of thrift, economy, and green living. To the chagrin of her parents (who hoped, of course, for a Jewish doctor or lawyer), Chloe has put her degree from UC Berkeley to great use by becoming a folk singer. As "Chloe Makes Music" she plays shows throughout SF and beyond, donning vintage frocks, selling handmade merch, and pinching pennies as she sings for her supper. Calling Berkeley home for the last six years, you can think of Chloe as the website's East Bay Correspondent, opening your eyes to the hippie-filled, tree-hugging, organic-loving, vegan-eating, but way-overlooked and awesome assets of Berkeley, Oakland, and beyond.