Whether you are looking for a quick meal to grab with your morning coffee or a fancy dining place to treat yourself after a difficult week, you are bound to find a restaurant that suits your cravings in this popular college town. If you are a foodie, just like me, you will be relieved by the fact that Ann Arbor's food scene is one of the most diverse around the country - you are bound to find anything from global flavors, such as the famous chicken tikka masala, to American Classics, such as hot dogs.
P.S - The photos included are intended to make you hungry and get you excited to be on campus.
As most of us are college students on a budget, it would be ideal to start off by mentioning the fast food joints on campus which are preferred by several Wolverines and those which may grab your attention. Just like any other college city, Ann Arbor also welcomes almost all known fast food restaurants. Fast food joints, such as Subway, Dominos, Panda Express, are easily accessible within walking distance on both Central and North campus while fast food joints, such as Taco Bell, KFC, Wendy’s, are a ride away by using theRide transportation system. However, they are three fast food restaurants which are kind of unique to Ann Arbor itself.
Joe’s Pizza NYC - Ann Arbor - Now as International students, when we hear of American Pizza all we think about is how huge the slices are and Joe's Pizza is basically that. Joe’s Pizza may have their main branch in New York City (NYC) but Ann Arbor is lucky to have a sub-branch. Joe’s Pizza is one of the student favorites not only because of their slice selling strategy which allows students to grab a pizza slice during class breaks but also because it remains open till the early hours of the morning allowing you to grab a meal after a long night out or a late night study session.
No Thai! - This one is my personal favorite. It is one of the best places I have ever eaten Thai food and it is also served within 5 minutes. Plus, all dishes on the menu are less than $10.00 (before tax) and the portion is so huge that one serving could definitely last you two meals. No Thai! Is available on Central Campus, North Campus, and Kerrytown. My personal favorite is the sweet and sour chicken with the Yoga Flame spice.
Krazy Jim’s Blimpy Burger - Ann Arbor’s oldest hamburger stand with a unique method of ordering which will make you feel as if you are in Karen's Diner, but once your burger is ready and you have had your first bite you will want to keep on coming back for more. This is one of my favorite places in downtown Ann Arbor and I would suggest checking out the link to learn how to order before going there. My personal order is a small onion rings, triple regular bun with swiss cheese, bacon, and egg.
When you start exploring campus and most importantly, in this situation, looking at all restaurants you are bound to notice that one of the more popular cuisines is Mexican and one thing is for sure - you will be caught within the debate as to whether you would rather eat at Chipotle or Pancheros. My personal favorite is Pancheros because of the warm burritos and it never runs out of food unlike the Chipotle on State Street which once only had corn and salsa. Apart from the fast food joints, you will find more authentic Mexican restaurants famous for different reasons. There is TAQ (famous for its variety of different tacos), Isalita (famous for having a variety of Mexican dishes), Condado Tacos (famous for its loaded tacos) and Chapala (famous for its Margaritas).
Finally, I am just going to list a few more restaurants that are popular with students and what they are known for, just to add a little bit more temptation.
Mani Osteria - Popular Italian restaurant on East Liberty. Gets really packed at night during the weekends so would suggest reserving a table. At night, I would recommend wearing Jeans but even any casual outfit would do during any time of the day. Make sure you try their famous wood fired pizzas.
HopCat - An American Bar & Grill which serves food to ages of all people but for drinks need to be 21+. You can go to HopCat at any time of the day and you will be served with amazing bar food. The recommended dress code is casual, so do not dress up as it is a bar and during game days it will get packed up so you do not want to be left sweating. I would recommend trying out their fries/chips.
Frita Batidos - One of the most famous restaurants in Ann Arbor which serves Cuban inspired street food. It is popular among college students because of its unique presentation and cuisine. Pick a frita of your choice and design it with the toppings of your choice and have it alongside your batido, a tropical milkshake. Fritas is always exceptional but better during a hot day.
That was your FOOD 101 but do not forget to explore the 100 other restaurants that are available on campus and make sure you also try the above so you can live the Michigan Experience.
Written by Lakhvir Sohal
Summer Orientation Peer Advisor