Best Cheese Shop
The Cheeseboard Collective
In the heart of the Gourmet Ghetto lies this original, 1960s Berkeley co-op and modern gourmand paradise that would make anyone with a milk allergy cry with jealousy. Their menu includes hundreds of cheeses from all over the world, including rare, raw varieties, and they'll let you sample anything — though other shoppers will hate you if you take this privilege overboard on one of their insanely busy weekday mornings. It's a great place to stop before a dinner party when you don't know what to bring and want to look cultured and not-cheap: Beyond cheese, they sell great olive oils, fancy mustards, fruit preserves, and the best homemade scones and baguettes in Berkeley. The adjacent, recently renovated pizza shop serves one kind of delicious vegetarian pizza per day while a live jazz trio plays, a scenario as classically "Berkeley" as they come. Don't bring a credit card; they don't take them, a policy which somehow manages to come across as cute, quaint, and old-fashioned, not annoying.