I present to you the first installment of my new 2-part article series: The Best Places to Eat Lunch near the University of Texas—where I will provide you (totally) unbiased opinions on the best places to stuff your face around lunchtime.
The list is fairly long—because there is so much food around here—so it has been split up into two parts. I will give you 10 of the best places to eat.
This is part 1 of the series, starting with 5 of the best:
Pinch Urban Food Lab is an Asian-inspired food truck that has two locations near campus; one on 21st and another on 24th/San Antonio. I discovered them because they are the busiest food truck on 21st street, that’s how you know it’s good! If you go during lunchtime, there is often a line but it goes by very quickly as you place your order on an iPad and the wait is usually no more than 1-2 minutes.
They serve up completely delicious takeaway boxes with very college-friendly prices. Your choice of protein (I always get the fried chicken) comes with a bed of white rice, broccoli, and cabbage. You also get to choose your sauce, my favorite being the spicy mayo! Prices start at $6.50 and they usually don’t charge for extra sauce — it’s a very affordable way to fill your belly! If you’re not super hungry, the portion could easily be 2 meals.
MoZZo is a newer resident of the UT Union, offering Italian street food. It is a healthier alternative to many of the options on campus with a lot of veggies and meat. They have salads, pasta, and wraps but you can customize your items — many of them can be made vegan! The prices are decent as well, you can get a carbonara pasta for only $5, and $8 if you add meat.
Next time you’re in the union, maybe take a break from Panda Express, and check out this great alternative!
Cava is the newest mediterranean restaurant on the drag, located between 25th and 26th streets. The prices are a little higher than other places, but the food will definitely make you want to splurge. Similar to MoZZo, it is a build-your-own bowl kind of place. You first get to choose greens, then rice or lentils, dips, protein, sides, and sauce — and remember to get a pita as well!
The portions are large and the food is incredibly fresh. There will be a lot of flavors going on in your mouth!
They also make their own lemonades and agua frescas on a rotating basis which are incredibly refreshing. You can either choose a bowl for there or to-go. I would recommend always getting the bowl to-go because you may not finish it all in one sitting, and you’ll want to keep your leftovers (also the to-go bowls are bigger, so there is at least the illusion of getting more food).
If you are in the mood for a delicious sandwich or soup for lunch, look no further than the Potbelly on the drag—located on 2316 Guadalupe st. directly across from the Pi Beta Phi sorority house.
This Potbelly location is better than most. (Which is saying a lot.) They not only provide first-rate food, but they also provide local live music with your lunch—Potbelly’s way of supporting local artists while providing diners with some atmosphere.
This place is great for a casual lunch date, or for just sitting by yourself and cramming a sandwich down your throat with your 15-minute gap between classes. No judgment here! We’ve all been there.
5. Coco’s Cafe
For the best authentic Taiwanese food in town, as well as the best bubble tea, look no further than Coco’s Cafe on 1910 Guadalupe street—about a 30-second walk from Dobie mall.
This place’s food is legit. I shared a bathroom in Jester West with an engineer from Taiwan who told me that this food was authentic Taiwanese/Chinese food. (For those of you who don’t know—like I didn’t—Taiwan is an island that is governed by China.)
But delicious, authentic Taiwanese food is only half the reason to go to lunch at Coco’s.
Coco’s is home to the best bubble tea in town. In my opinion, nothing beats an almond milk bubble tea with tapioca “pearls.” It is a great drink to take with you to class, or wherever. So refreshing!
If you order a meal you also get free egg soup, which is delicious and is great to enjoy while you wait for your food be served to you.
P.S. Make sure to leave a tip for the cashier ringing you up. While you might think that the cashier is only swiping your credit card, they are actually the ones who will be making your food and bringing it out to you. Like other servers, their pay is almost entirely tip-based.
You should be nice and throw them a buck or two when you pay for your food. Just sayin’!
Part 2. Is anyone else hungry?