As a freshman you want to be able to fit in, know your way around and of course, know the good spots to eat. Don’t be that guy wearing the free TCF Bank sweatshirt and a lanyard around his neck with a map of campus in his hand wondering where Alice Lloyd’s dining hall is.

Keep in mind, this isn’t necessarily a list of the best restaurants in town, but rather a guide to the basics.

Dining Halls

MoJo: If you haven’t had the chocolate chip cookies in MoJo, you haven’t lived. Don’t feel bad if you eat more than a reasonable amount. Embrace the Freshman 15 (or learn to avoid it here).

ann arbor food

Photo by Alex Weiner

East Quad: This summer, East Quad won a national award for its dining concept of micro-restaurants. Each station offers a specific type of food and a smaller portion sizes. They say “saving the environment,” I say “setting me up to dump food all over myself while trying to carry ten plates without a tray.” Po-tay-to, po-tah-to.

South Quad: This is the newest dining hall that supposedly has awesome food. You hopefully won’t have to share a table with some rando since it seats 950. There’s also no need to rush because South Quad is open all day during the weekdays, (7 am-8 pm or 7 am-9 pm, depending on the day). Oh yeah, and breakfast is served all day. Freshman, feel #blessed.


Pizza House: This is one place you’ll get to know, I guarantee it. Whether it’s to satisfy your late night drunchies or to reward yourself for a night of studying, Pizza House (and likely their famous cheesy bread) is in the cards. Favorites have to be cheesy bread and chapatis if you’re pretending to be healthy. It’s open every day until 4 am, plus there’s delivery and an option to order online. Might as well add them to your speed dial now. Yes, I just called the iPhone favorite’s list speed dial.
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Zingerman’s: This legendary eatery is a must for any AA bucket list. However, don’t be confused by Zingerman’s Deli and Zingerman’s Roadhouse. The Deli is located in Kerrytown and is known for it’s huge assortment of sandwiches, salads, oils and cheeses, not to mention the Reuben that President Obama ate. Roadhouse serves all meals, where you’ll find American favorites like eight different types of mac and cheese, or fish and chips. The stuff’s expensive, but you’re buying pure quality.

ann arbor food

Photo by Abbie Ginis

Good Time Charley’s: Mostly known for its famous fishbowl (a 64-oz. fruity drink and no, there are no fish), Charley’s is an AA staple. Once the weather is tolerable to sit outside in, students flocks there for a fishbowl and a sweet Instagram pic. There’s a large menu from burgers and salads to typical bar food, but the drinks are the highlight. It’s a great location on the corner of South U. and Church Street.

Frita Batidos: You haven’t been in Ann Arbor long enough if you haven’t had a frita. It’s essentially a Cuban burger made from either chorizo, chicken, beef, fish or beans. Its topped with shoestring fries and any other toppings you choose, such as tropical slaw or a fried egg. There’s other options that look just as good too, like a Cuban sandwich or sweet plantains and churros, but the frita has my heart. It definitely made our AA food porn list.

ann arbor food

Photo by Brooke Gabriel

Kerrytown Market and Shops: Here you’ll find an assortment of small shops and cafes, in addition to the farmer’s market. One of my favorites located inside the building is Kosmo, where you can get Korean bibimbap or bulgogi, grilled cheese or a Kosmo burger. There’s also Monahan’s Seafood Market, where you can purchase fresh fish from the case, or have them cook something up for you. Sweetwaters Coffee and Tea is also located here.

Sava’s: Anyone who’s anyone has been to Sava’s. Located on State Street it’s a close spot to go for a nice, sit-down dinner, or when your parents are in town and you demand ask nicely for them to take you for a good meal. And, while some may downplay it because of its hype, we think it lives up to expectations. I recommend the brunch buffet and making reservations.

*Sidenote, Sava’s has very recently changed its menu again and we cannot yet be held accountable if it sucks…we’ll let you know soon, but we hear there is a LOT of goat cheese involved.

ann arbor food

Photo by Zoe Zaiss

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Amer’s: This deli has two locations, one on State St and the other on Church. Amer’s is a great place to go for anything from coffee and teas, sandwiches and salads, to baked goods and even fro-yo. They also serve breakfast. And if you’re like me, you’ve got the incentive to study because all bases are covered: breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. They even made our list of best places to eat alone.

Sadako: Good sushi that’s reasonably priced is hard to find around here. Sadako, aka Sa-dank-o has great lunch specials from 11:00 until 2:30 pm, with tons of stuff from sushi and donburi, to bento boxes, which are the perfect option if you can’t decide what you wanna eat, like me. You can’t go wrong with the Sadako Roll, which is essentially a glorified California Roll.

ann arbor food

Photo by Julie Mirliss

No Thai!: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve eaten No Thai, partly because I can’t remember and mostly because it’s an absurd amount. On South U., it’s a prime location, in addition to being open until 11 pm. The menu is super simple. Just choose your dish, which protein you want (veg option included) and your spice level. Since you’re at a Thai restaurant, you should probably order the Thai iced tea. Add some cream, and you’ll be happy you read this article. Did I mention they deliver? When it comes to No Thai! the answer is always yes, Thai.