U of M dining: a student's guide to the best university-area eats

Goldy's gotta eat, right?
Goldy's gotta eat, right?

School's back in session at the U of M, and along with it, hordes of hungry co-eds are looking for ways to avoid the cafeteria.

Just failed an exam and want to console yourself with something sweet? Got a hot date Friday night who you want to impress? Here are a few recommendations for where to go in a variety of student dining scenarios.

On a tight budget
Dinkytown is full of cheap eats, but our recs for restaurants beyond Stadium Village include hot dogs at Uncle Franky's, late-night falafel and cheese curds at Santana Foods, or, if you're feeling more adventurous, the Afghani pizza at Crescent Moon Bakery.

With a group of friends
The Twin Cities famed Tea House restaurants recently opened a spacious new University Avenue location. They have pork buns, dan dan noodles, and all your other Szechuan favorites, plus the only local offering of half-Chinese, half-American breakfasts (weekends only).

After failing an exam
Console yourself with one of the titular treats at Cupcake. Preview their website to help you decide between the Paris Hilton (vanilla with hot pink sprinkles) and the Mad Cow (chocolate with cream cheese frosting).

Trying to find a date
Hit up the moody, bohemian Loring Pasta Bar for dinner and then stay for Latin Dance Night. If oom-pah's more your style, have a plate of pierogi at Nye's and then head to the hipster-drawing bar next door.

With a date
If you want to keep things casual, try the excellent (and affordable) Chinese/Indian noodle and rice dishes at ChinDian Cafe, owned by Nina Wong of the Rainbow Chinese dynasty. If you lock down a second or a third and want to take things up a notch, try Obento Ya (chic, cozy space, peaceful patio, and awesome bento box combos) or Ginger Hop (beautiful bar, tasty menu of kimchi Reuben, walleye satay, and General Tsing's Chicken, and a music venue downstairs.)

When your parents visit
It's easy to forget about Signature Cafe, as it's tucked away in a sleepy residential neighborhood, but the homey eatery has a nice menu of crowd-pleasing gourmet American fare. If Mom and Pops are paying, though, you might as well have 'em take you to Alma for a prix fixe meal of James Beard-lauded chef Alex Roberts's contemporary Midwestern fare.

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Crescent Moon Bakery

1517 Como Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55414


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