It’s exam week! You know what that means… time for takeout! After a long semester of hard classes and dining hall food, it’s the perfect time to order food from local restaurants and fuel yourself for your next exam. There’s nothing that feels better than warm, delicious food right before you stay up all night to cram for finals! Here are some of my favorite local restaurants; since I’m a vegetarian, they all offer vegetarian options, and most of them are dietary-restriction friendly! Most of them even offer Grubhub** for if you can’t find the time to get off campus.
- La Casa**
Offering classic and authentic Mexican cuisine, La Casa offers a homey feel inside their restaurant with food that matches the same vibe. The first time I went, I had their nopalitos, which is a taco with cactus (yes, cactus) sauteed in roja sauce, served with pico, cheese, chipotle cream, and lettuce. They were to die for, but if you’re not in the mood for tacos, I recommend their sopes, which are fried masa cakes topped with cheese, refried beans and more.
- Khong Thai Cuisine**
Thai food is something that you need to try if you haven’t yet. Noodles, soups and thick curries made with coconut milk are full of flavors you can’t find anywhere else. Khong Thai offers it all for an authentic experience you shouldn’t miss. Even if you’re scared to try it, you can’t go wrong with adding fresh spring rolls or satay to your order with some delicious plum-peanut sauce that never fails to satisfy.
- Tandoor of India**
Indian food has a reputation for being spicy— but only because of how the spices used are so warm— though it can get pretty spicy depending on the dish you choose. Tandoor of India offers a long, long selection of Indian specialties, so there’s always something for everyone. If you’re new to Indian cuisine, you can always try the chicken or paneer tikka masala. If you want something new or different, the kerala black peppercorn paneer is an entirely different flavor profile and is absolutely mouthwatering.
Are you really going to UR if you haven’t had a garbage plate yet? There’s still time! While I don’t recommend going for one in the middle of your exam week (your stomach wouldn’t thank you), celebrating at the end of the week with a garbage plate is definitely one way to finish out the semester with a bang. Get on it if you haven’t had one yet!
- Seasoning Thai Bistro
More Thai food, you ask? Yes, because it’s just that good. Seasoning Thai Bistro offers a wide selection of authentic dishes, from pad thai to their short list of special creations that’s specific to them only. If you’re looking to try something new, you have to try the pineapple curry, which has housemade Thai chili paste and curry powder cooked in a coconut milk sauce with your choice of meat (or tofu/vegetables!).
- Raj Mahal Indian**
While most Indian restaurants in the area offer mostly chicken and paneer curries, Raj Mahal offers more South Indian cuisine that you won’t find at other places. They offer several different variations of biryani, uthappam, and masala dosa, which are all iconic South Indian dishes. Now, if you actually want something really spicy, I have to recommend the mysoor masala dosa, for the beloved experience of your eyes tearing up but it’s just so good you can’t stop!
- Elmwood Inn**
Two words: pretzel sticks. Sometimes pub food just hits, you know? This is one of those times. The pretzel sticks with jalapeno cheese sauce at the Elmwood Inn are an out-of-body experience, and you have to have them if you have not already! In addition, they offer quesadillas, burgers and a large selection of sandwiches to tempt whatever late-night cravings you might have. Good thing they’re open until 1AM most nights, and that they’re right in Collegetown!
- Bubble Fusion**
Do you like boba? Want to try something new away from Collegetown? Bubble Fusion is the way to go. With milk tea, fruit tea, premium tea and smoothies, there’s definitely something for everyone here. I personally really like their milk tea, but their smoothies are really, really good as well. Besides bubble tea, Bubble Fusion also offers a wide variety of sushi, boasting a long list of their fusion rolls named things like Godzilla and Out of Control.
- Voula's Greek Sweets
Now, we go on to the desserts. There’s always room for dessert, right? Make sure you’re not too full walking into Voula’s, because you’re sure to walk out with a bag full of baklava, kataifi, melomakarona and whatever else looks good to you when you walk in! Their specialty is Greek sweets, but they do also offer brunch and lunch/dinner menus if you can’t get enough. In particular, if you want fresh, house-made hummus served with warm toasted flatbread, this is the place for you.
- Hedonist Artisan Ice Cream
Hedonist holds a special place in my heart, and it really should for you, too. Their ice cream and sorbets are as artisan as it gets, and there’s nowhere else I’d rather go for ice cream. They rotate flavors as they run out, so you’ll very rarely see the same flavor twice. This semester itself, I’ve been to Hedonist three times and it’s probably likely that I’ll go again before I go home at the end of the semester! Everything about their frozen desserts is just so good, it’s smooth, it’s creamy and it has huge chunks depending on the flavor! If you ever see they have matcha ice cream or mango sorbet, I recommend you run as fast as you can to get some—they don’t last long!
So, now you have a long list of restaurants to choose from when you’re hungry during exams! They all offer different types of cuisines for whatever you might be feeling, and each one has its specialties. The only thing left to do is to start planning which one you want to go to first…