Best Bargain Breakfast

Flavah Island Cafe

For many Americans, eating breakfast out was among the first comforts to be sacrificed when the economy went kaput. But what if you could enjoy a hearty restaurant breakfast for less than five bucks? At Berkeley's Flavah Island Cafe, chef/owner Donald Edwards branches out from the Jamaican specialties his restaurant is known for to offer traditional breakfast fare at bargain-basement prices — it's one of the few places this side of Mickey D's where you can get a full pancake breakfast for just $2.99. The generous stack of pancakes comes topped with fresh berries and syrup and includes a choice of bacon or breakfast sausage. Mind you, these aren't frou-frou gourmet pancakes, but they are honest and buttery and served up hot. Other options include a couple different omelets and the steak and potatoes, which, at $5.99, is the priciest item on the regular breakfast menu. And if you're feeling flush or just in the mood for something more exotic, splurge on the special Jamaican breakfast ($7.99): usually some variation on ackee and codfish, the best in town. In theory, Flavah Island opens at 8:30 each morning, but it's the kind of super-casual place where it's best to call ahead to make sure.

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