One of the perks of attending UW-Madison is the accessibility to an array of amazing restaurants. Instead of taking daily trips to the dining hall, we’re lucky enough to be within walking distance to the endless options from State Street all the way to the Capitol. And who better to share this with than your group of friends? Going out to eat with my friends is one of my favorite things to do in college. Though simplistic, sitting around a table sharing cheese curds and telling stories of our week is comforting. At the breakfast, dinner or brunch table, I can always expect that it’ll end in non-stop laughter, even if it’s the same inside joke told over and over again. While going out to eat can seem like too much stress for your wallet, Madison offers restaurants perfect for the college student. Here are some of my favorite places to go with friends that are affordable yet delicious!
1. Bel Air Cantina
What’s better than a classic taco night? On Tuesdays and Thursdays, this lively Cali-Mex restaurant offers select $2 tacos. Even better, if you order three tacos, it comes with free rice and beans. This is the perfect spot to start off your weekend with your friends and regroup about the triumphs and struggles of the week. Even though it’s farther away from campus near the Capitol, the location makes you feel like you’re leaving campus and all of your stress behind.
2. Bassett Street Brunch Club
If you and your friends can’t decide on what to eat, then this is the go-to spot. Not only does this restaurant offer brunch all day long, but you also have the choice of sweet or savory. The location is also near a lot of apartment buildings, which is another important factor especially now that the weather has suddenly changed to winter. They also offer Red Card, which is a great option if you’re looking to not use up your cash.
If convenience is what you’re looking for, then Roast is the spot for you and your friends. Roast has a casual yet inviting atmosphere perfect if you or a friend have a class right before dinner plans. It’s located right at the beginning of State Street so you don’t need to make that long trek toward the Capitol. It’s easy-going with a menu with all kinds of different sandwiches that you’ll want to try each time you go.
4. The Nitty Gritty
If you and your friends are celebrating a birthday, then without a doubt this is the place to go for dinner. They offer classic burgers that are always reliably satisfying. It’s also the perfect place to go after a hockey or basketball game. They’re also another place that accepts Red Card, which is a great, added bonus! When you go here, it’s most likely always for a celebration.
Madison’s food scene is one of my favorite and these are places that are always a go-to spot for me and my friends. There’s nothing better than starting the weekend with a group dinner each reiterating our stories of the week. And luckily in Madison, we don’t have to resort to the dining hall! So the next time you’re planning a girls’ night out, take a look at this list for the perfect casual spot for a college student.