Bloomington is a culinary mecca compared to most campuses, with many top chefs and cuisines from all over the world. But for students who are on a budget, this can make it hard to eat anywhere besides Chipotle and Subway. So we’re breaking down the five best places to eat at in Bloomington that any student can afford.
My Thai has the best food on 4th street and in Bloomington, hands down. They recently added new outdoor seating which is great for when the weather is nice. What to order: pad see ew with chicken, with either 2 or 3 spiciness. If you want a light and tasty appetizer, get the fresh spring rolls with tofu. I know, Tofu. But just try it.
Upland Brewery Brewpub
Upland strikes a great balance of local brewing paired with local food. Upland has some of the highest quality “bar food” dishes in Bloomington. They put time and effort into making their food and it definitely shows. The increased space after their renovation was worth the wait to allow them to serve more patrons at a time. What to order: the bison burger. It’s a more unique dish, not to mention it’s one of the best burgers I have ever had.
All of their unique ice cream flavors are homemade and delicious. Hartzell’s has a large selection and also offers soft serve and yogurt, if you’re into that kind of thing. What to Order: The pumpkin spinner. It tastes like they put a whole piece of pumpkin pie into some ice cream and mixed it up… because they did.
Bucceto’s Smiling Teeth (East)
How did a chain restaurant make the list? Because Bucceto’s is dishing out better-than-Olive-Garden meals and salads and for a price you can afford. What to Order: Any of the pasta is good, but I would go for the shrimp Santa Cruz. As an added bonus, every pasta meal comes with FREE bread and the biggest side salad you will ever see.
This might be the most obvious of all the places as it is a Bloomington staple. There are a handful of upscale breakfast and brunch places in town, but save yourself a couple bucks and get some enormous pancakes from V Del. What to Order: The power breakfast. Two eggs, home fries, a pancake too big for a plate, and coffee all for around $8.
If you want the scoop on more restaurants in Bloomington, check out these reviews: