When I was in college in the Boston area, I really didn't eat out much, sticking only to local sandwich spots and on-campus options. My Boston restaurant knowledge was limited to Newbury St, where I waitressed about 3 shifts a week.
However, since I've entered the working world, I've discovered a lot of places that would have been great for "college me". Not too expensive, but worlds better than Vinny T's (EW!) or Roggie's, these places are hidden gems in a sea of overpriced and underwhelming.
My cousin, and Dish This reader, Liz, who was at our Antico Forno dinner, is only a freshman but seriously into food. She even has experience IN the kitchen at restaurants, already having a one-up on "college me". This post is dedicated to her.
1.) The Super 88 food court.
Replaces: Chinese take-out places, as the only option for super fast Asian cuisine
Since Liz is a BU student, I would definitely steer her towards the Super 88 food court. Why I didn't frequent this place more often when I lived in Allston and went to school, I'll never know. Maybe because most grocery store food courts are gross? This one is definitely the exception, with authentic Asian foods at great prices.
2.) Myers + Chang. *
Replaces: The Cheesecake Factory, as the "go-to" birthday restaurant
Okay, I know, another Asian place. But this restaurant makes this list because it combines everything a college foodie would be looking for: delicious food, creative menu, relatively cheap, and a really fun atmosphere! Plus, while there certainly are yummy cocktails, the restaurant is not centered around drinking, making it a perfect spot for a festive birthday dinner for the under 21 set. *PS Yes, their website is a MySpace page. Clearly they want to pull in the college demo! ;)
Replaces: Bertucci's (or similar Italian chain restaurant), as the "go-to" date spot
Instead of heading to your local pizza place on a date, spend a few more dollars for a cozy atmosphere and luscious flatbread pizzas, courtesy of Todd English, at this tiny Beacon Hill spot. T. Anthony's is certainly fine for late-night cravings, but for a more memorable dinner out, Figs is a great option, and SURE to impress.
4.) Flour Bakery.
Replaces: Au Bon Pain, as the "go-to" cafe & bakery
Here we go with the Joanne Chang worshipping again...but I just had to let college foodies in on this great South End/Fort Point Channel spot! Forget ABP or Panera Bread; for a sandwich that's approximately the same price, you could get a SERIOUS upgrade at Flour. Try the grilled roast chicken with brie, arugula, roasted red peppers & caramelized onions. A sure-fire crowd pleaser. And definitely save room for dessert-- sticky buns are the specialty, but I'm pretty sure any of the pastries there are top-notch.
5.) Kingston Station.
Replaces: Uno's, as the "go-to" pre-going out burger & fries place
For pre-Faneuil Hall Thursday nights, don't even think of heading to tourist traps in Faneuil Hall. Start out instead in Downtown Crossing, a quick hop, skip, and a walk away, at Kingston Station. You can carbo-load with a massive portion of fries covered in gruyere cheese, or try their famed burger. Girls can enjoy large salads with yummy dressings, like the hazelnut vinagrette. All in a great space, decorated like an old train station, and very lively, especially on weeknights.
Your post-party options? My old favorites from college, McDonald's and street carts with sausage and peppers, still work for me!! :) Apparently, some things you never grow too old for...