The 50 Best Restaurants for College Students and Their Parents

le bernardin
Every college student has had to deal with this problem. Your parents are coming to campus for a visit to see what a student loan or the money they’ve been saving up all of their lives is funding. You’ll need to get them something to eat eventually and there’s no way you’re going to subject them to the nutrition hall of horrors that is campus dining. So where do you take them out to eat? College Choice has compiled a list of the 50 best restaurants where parents and students can get a good meal not far from campus.
Most of the dining options on the list are a bit on the pricey side but as long as you’re not eating the freeze-dried stuff that gets microwaved for a college cafeteria, you’ll gladly fork over whatever beer money you were saving to enjoy it. The French-style seafood eater Le Bernardin located near the City University of New York’s John Joy College of Criminal Justice made the top of the list. Two other New York restaurants rounded out the top five including the ritzy Eleven Madison Park and the modern French cuisine of Daniel. Chicago’s Alinea near Northwestern University and the University of Illinois and Chicago and Coi near the University of San Francisco also rounded out the top five.
The website compiled the list using reviews from several, well-respected publications such as GQ, Zagat and OpenTable and ranked the best ones that were located within a few blocks of a college campus in a major metropolitan city. You’ll notice that we said “located within a few blocks of” and not “on a college campus” because that’s just not possible, according to the modern laws of physics, space and time. The only way a campus dining restaurant gets a four-star review in Zagat is if they pay you to eat there.
So check out the detailed breakdown from College Choice–and here’s an alphabetized list, in case you just want to confirm that it doesn’t include Chevy’s or Applebee’s. We still recommend the Chevy’s in Times Square….

  • ABC Kitchen (New York)
  • Animal (Los Angeles)
  • Aria (Atlanta)
  • August (New Orleans)
  • Bacchanalia (Atlanta)
  • Bern’s Steak House (Tampa)
  • Blackbird (Chicago)
  • Canlis (Seattle)
  • Coi (San Francisco)
  • Chez Panisse (Berkeley)
  • Cochon (New Orleans)
  • Commander’s Palace (New Orleans)
  • Daniel (New York)
  • Del Posto (New York)
  • Etch (Nashville)
  • Fountain Restaurant (Philadelphia)
  • Frasca Food and Wine (Boulder)
  • Galatoire’s Restaurant (New Orleans)
  • Girl & the Goat (Chicago)
  • Gramercy Tavern (New York)
  • Gunshow (Atlanta)
  • Husk (Charleston)
  • Il Terrazzo Carmine (Seattle)
  • Island Creek Oyster Bar (Boston)
  • Joll Robuchon Restaurant (Las Vegas)
  • La Belle Vie (Minneapolis)
  • Le Pigeon (Portland)
  • Momofuku Ssam Bar (New York)
  • NAOE (Miami)
  • Next (Chicago)
  • Nishino (Seattle)
  • NoMad (New York)
  • Orso and Winston (Los Angeles)
  • o ya (Boston)
  • Per Se (New York)
  • Pyramid Restaurant & Bar (Dallas)
  • qui (Austin)
  • Rasika (D.C.)
  • Restaurant Gary Danko (San Francisco)
  • Roe (Portland)
  • State Bird Provisions (San Francisco)
  • The Bazaar by JosE AndrEs (Los Angeles)
  • The Painted Lady (Newberg, OR)
  • The Publican (Chicago)
  • Trois Mec (Los Angeles)
  • Uchi (Austin)
  • Zuni Cafe (San Francisco)


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