Do you bleed maize, blue and chintzy coupons for far away chain restaurants? Then you must live in Ann Arbor–a city that suffocates students’ bank accounts for skyrocketing rent, overpriced textbooks and fair trade harem pants. Every once in a while, your stomach wants to journey over the rainbow of South Quad’s burrito bar and into the wild of the Ann Arbor restaurant scene. But, alas, a broke, weary college student like you could never afford those good eats. Not with Charley’s fishbowls and Amazon Prime seducing your debit card away from your responsible hands, right? Think again. While Ann Arbor loves to dangle restaurants with parents-weekend prices over your head, these delicious eateries have loopholes for your nose-diving bank account and noisy stomach to sneak through.
Located in the heart of south campus, this unique sandwich shop serves as a great place to catch a quick lunch when you’re running late to class or a late night snack after a wild game at Yost. “It’s a restaurant full of my favorite childhood sandwiches made many different ways, twice as good in the way that all wonderfully greasy grilled foods are good!” said sophomore Abbie Berringer.
What We Recommend: For a delicious combination of two childhood favorites, try the S’Mac and Cheese. With crispy, toast-cuddling cheesy noodles, you can have your mac and your grilled cheese too.
2. The Lunch Room
A hip Kerrytown vegan eatery to match your Birkenstocks and vintage iPod nano, The Lunch Room is a great spot for vegetarians looking for an alternative to Zingermanns’ pastrami or the carnivorous menu at Buffalo Wild Wings. “The vegan dishes are made with very fresh stuff, and the pad thai is made without fish sauce,” sophomore Julia Moss said. No more staying home because you can never find a restaurant that accommodates your diet.
What We Recommend: The pad thai offers a truly veggie-only version of a take-out favorite. Rice noodles and veggies come together in a savory collaboration for both vegans and vegetarians to enjoy.
3. Jerusalem Garden
This beautifully decorated eatery serves delicious Mediterranean food without sacrificing a restaurant feel.“It has a really cool atmosphere. The staff is laid back; they make it fun, and there’s no sense of urgency,” sophomore Colin Beresford said. “The food is really good and very reasonably priced. They also have a lot of gluten free options, which is nice.” Tucked away from the bar scene, Jerusalem Garden often gets neglected by the late night crowd, making it a quiet and study-friendly lunch spot.
What We Recommend: For a relaxed dinner after that tough blue book exam, try the falafel with hummus–you won’t be disappointed!
Your taco Tuesday prayers have been answered, my friends. Mexican favorites blend with late night crowds better than corn salsa and beans at this fast food favorite on South University. “They actually cook their tortillas in front of you instead of buying them at Kroger. And it’s really fast,” junior Onaka Bennett said. With business hours that extend well into the early morning hours, you’ve got to stop there on the way home from a wild night at Cantina.
What We Recommend: A chicken burrito with a side of spicy queso gives your mouth a party bigger than Animal House.
5. Frita Batidos
Frita Batidos has established itself as a downtown Ann Arbor favorite. The delicious Cuban street food sets this quaint restaurant apart from the usual burger and fries of the South University bar scene. “The food is not your usual American food that you can get anywhere. It’s different and it’s not too expensive,” freshman Caroline Lurs said. What more do Ann Arbor students need than an affordable, chic hangout in the Main Street area?
What We Recommend: Transport your taste buds to the streets of Havana with juicy and a refreshingly sour chorizo frita with cilantro lime salsa.
6. Suvai Palace
This family-style Indian restaurant in Ann Arbor sits between the fast food places on State Street and the wallet sweater restaurants on Main Street. “The lunch buffet is awesome. The atmosphere is nice and the staff is friendly,” freshman Adeeb Afeez said. Within it’s welcoming walls, Suvai Palace hides an array tasty Indian dishes that makes any college student’s stomach and wallet happy.
What We Recommend: Try the creamy mutter paneer. There’s enough kick to send you all the way back to your neglected study cubby in Hatcher.
Don’t succumb to Wendy’s and pass by this restaurant as you pass through Main Street. “Good food, good service [and] a lot of different options for food and drinks. The atmosphere is really nice, classier than the dining hall for sure,” sophomore Sam Rosenberg said. Make a mental note to take Mom (and Mom’s wallet) to Vinology on her next visit. The appetizers, sandwiches and wide selection of wines let you get your Beyonce on while still spending like Macklemore.
What We Recommend: For a sour-sweet combo, try the Curried Spelt and Kale Sandwich with a glass of Ryan Patrick Riesling.
8. No Thai
This Ann Arbor favorite serves good Thai food fast–a great option for a lunch between classes or a to-go dinner to chow down on as you cry into your calculus webwork in the UGLi. “The curry fried rice is amazing. The pineapple enhances the flavor of the rice and meat, and it has a great sweet and salty flavor to it,” senior BJ Meyers said. With four Ann Arbor locations, you’ll never find yourself far from an affordable, delicious meal.
Recommendation: The Curry Fried Rice’s trademark sweet tang leaves you in serious food lust making you come back for more every week.
Tomukun is the most unique noodle bar in Ann Arbor. Serving Asian favorites in a hip, relaxed atmosphere, this is best place for your friends or a romantic meal for two. The Japanese beers won’t break the bank, either. “Tomukun uses really fresh ingredients, [and] the meat and the veggies always taste awesome. And the food feels really authentic,” junior Talis Rehse said. Say goodbye to measly, sodium-filled Cup Noodles.
What We Recommend: The tender noodles and unique stock make the Kitsune Udon a slurpy treat.
10. Pizza Bob’s
Got the late night munchies? Round up the squad, empty your cups and head over to this Ann Arbor classic on south campus. Pizza Bob’s honest, delicious take on junk food favorites are sure to rally you for another round. “Pizza Bob’s has really good, very reasonably priced, not-too-high-end food. It’s a hole-in-the-wall place that’s Michigan sports oriented and has a good college feel. The workers are also pretty nice,” sophomore Abbey Edward said. I think you just found your new favorite drunchies spot.
What We Recommend: The milkshakes are sweeter and more enjoyable than watching your best friend dance around after those Long Island deals at Circus.