You’re sick of the dining hall’s monotonous meal rotation and their coffee sucks. You’re crashing after seven hours in Bass Library and you need sugar STAT. You’re drunk, it’s 3 am and you really need chow mein. You have the questions, we have the answers.
Welcome to Spoon Yale’s eating and drinking guide for the “best of” around campus.
1. When you’re tired of Starbucks: Blue State Coffee
Blue State Coffee is your one-stop shop for caffeine, study space and a quick bite. With two locations on campus, you’re never too far from delicious, strong coffee—and the enormous windows make it an amazing people-watching spot.
Locations: 276 York St., New Haven, CT 06511 (one block from Bass Library); 84 Wall Street, New Haven, CT 06511 (across from Cross Campus)
2. When you’re trying to be healthy: B-Natural
After a night of downing mind erasers at Woad’s, then capping the evening with wings at Yorkside, you need a detox. Get a healthy start to your Thursday with a smoothie and egg white omelette from B-Natural, or go for lunch and grab a salad. Either way, you can put your dietary regrets from Woads behind you. Unfortunately, B-Natural will not make you feel better about your awkward dance floor make-out with that kid in your history section.
What to Order: For breakfast, get the protein-packed Scramble Bowl featuring organic scrambled eggs, black beans, feta cheese, veggies and a grain blend. Stopping by for lunch? Try the avocado chicken salad and embrace the health benefits of Omega 3’s.
Location: 1044 Chapel St., New Haven, CT 06511 (in the alley on Chapel St. across from Old Campus)
3. When your friends don’t eat meat: Claire’s Corner Copia
Whether you’re vegetarian, vegan or highly carnivorous, you’re sure to enjoy your meal at Claire’s, the fully vegetarian restaurant on the corner of Chapel. Claire’s menu features a range of cuisines, from vegetable curry to eggplant parmigiana. What matter most however, are Claire’s cakes (AKA the main reason your friends want to celebrate your birthday).
What to Order: There’s nothing better than Claire’s vegan chili and homemade tortilla chips to warm you up and fill your belly in the winter. Room for dessert? The chocolate chip ricotta cake is probably the best cake you’ll ever have. I’m not kidding.
Location: 1000 Chapel St., New Haven, CT 06511 (across from Old Campus)
4. When you’re “doing it for the Insta”: The Pantry
If you’re looking for a breakfast that is both delicious and aesthetically pleasing enough for Instagram, take a trip to The Pantry for brunch. While it is a bit of a trek (unless you’re in TD, which we’re still not sure actually exists), the cinnamon roll pancakes are well-worth the journey.
What to Order: The cinnamon roll pancakes, duh.
Location: 2 Mechanic St., New Haven, CT 06520 (past TD)
5. When you’re craving something sweet: Sugar Bakery
Sugar Bakery not only survived the rise (and fall) of the cupcake craze of ’08, but thrived after it, winning Food Network’s Cupcake Wars in 2010. Make the journey up Science Hill a little sweeter by grabbing a cupcake from their cupcake truck on Tuesdays, you can also locate the truck elsewhere or visit their store in East Haven.
What to Order: Sugar Bakery offers over 30 cupcake flavors daily. So far, my favorite is the cookie dough: vanilla cake topped with cookie dough buttercream, cookie dough pieces and chocolate ganache. I’ll let you know if that changes once I get through the whole menu.
Location: Prospect St. next to Ingalls Rink on Tuesdays (up Science Hill); various New Haven locations (see truck schedule); 424 Main St., East Haven, CT 06512
6. When you need a slice (or a whole pie): Pepe’s Pizzeria
Welcome to New Haven, home to four of Spoon’s top 25 pizzas in America, with Pepe’s Pizzeria topping the list at #1. In fact, this famous New Haven “apizza” establishment tops nearly every best pizza list in America—and for good reason. While there is often a long line during peak hours, it moves quickly. If you’re too lazy to wait, they also deliver.
What to Order: Pepe’s is known for the white clam pie (pictured above), made with fresh clams shucked in-house daily. If you need red sauce on your pie, go for a simple cheese pizza.
Location: 157 Wooster St, New Haven, CT 06511
7. When you’re drunk at 2 am: Ivy Wok
I specify “2 am” for a reason: Ivy Wok—the insanely delicious, hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant next to Box 63—unfortunately closes at 2 am. While I know Box doesn’t close until 3 am, it is worth leaving a little early for these awesome drunchies. Just don’t piss off the cashier, or your pork noodles will never see the light of day (or night).
What to Order: The Chicken Chow Fun noodles and the Pan Fried Dumplings make a killer late-night combo. And bonus: they’re both just as good cold the next morning.
Location: 316 Elm St., New Haven, CT 06511 (right across from Box 63, hooray!)
8. When you’re craving sushi: Sushi on Chapel
Frankly, Sushi on Chapel is incredibly mediocre and overpriced. The rolls are pretty basic and are so small it takes two or three to make a decent-sized meal. Nevertheless, it is the best sushi we’ve got in New Haven and it serves its purpose when you’re desperate for spicy tuna and edamame.
What to Order: The Dancing Eel is one of the bigger and more exciting rolls, filled with shrimp tempura and topped with eel, avocado, scallion, tobiko and eel sauce. Add an order of edamame or gyoza and you probably won’t even need to order a second roll.
Location: 1022 Chapel St., Suite #4 (down the stairs), New Haven, CT 06511 (across from Old Campus)
9. When your parents are visiting and footing the bill: Harvest Wine Bar
Parents Weekend = NO DINING HALL. Have your parents take you to a fancy dinner at Harvest on their last night in town. You’ll get to say goodbye over delicious new American cuisine, and they won’t have time to get mad at you for ordering tuna tartare, steak AND dessert because they’re leaving in the morning.
What to Order: The shaved brussels sprouts salad (pictured above) turns your least favorite childhood vegetable into a tower of cheesy goodness. The salmon entree is also great, especially after you’ve gotten used to the neon pink fish in the dining hall, sigh.
Location: 1104 Chapel St., New Haven, CT 06511 (across from the art gallery and JE)
10. When you’re trying to be fancy and romantic: Union League Cafe
Taking out that special someone, or want a special someone to take you out? Bring your date to Union League Cafe. The classy, candlelit French brasserie is trés romantique, and I hear oysters are an aphrodisiac (but I’d skip the escargot).
What to Order: Go for the classic, French moules frites combo and order the mussels with a side of french fries. If you still have room for dessert, try the profiteroles.
Location: 1032 Chapel St., New Haven, CT 06511 (across from Old Campus)
11. When you’re hungover: Maison Mathis
While there are many ways to cure a hangover, the most enjoyable way to fix the spins is with eggs. Luckily, Belgian café Maison Mathis has you covered. From sandwiches and omelettes to quiches and croque madames, you are sure to find eggy solace in your brunch here. Maison Mathis also has insane Belgian waffles if you’d rather sleep off your hangover with a sugar coma.
What to Order: You can’t go wrong with the egg, bacon, and fromage crispy roll—it’s basically a fancy BEC. Craving something sweet? Get the Belgian waffle with house-made Belgian chocolate sauce. It’s out of this world (or at least this continent).
Location: 304 Elm St., New Haven, CT 06511 (on the way to Morse/Stiles and Payne-Whitney)
12. When you need a place to study outside of the library: Book Trader Cafe
Book Trader Cafe is the coffee shop/bookstore hybrid you always pictured yourself studying at while nursing an Americano in college.
Unfortunately, you now know that most study sessions have much less romanticism and much more Doritos dust than you imagined. Don’t let the reality of college make you jaded, though. Take a break from Bass and escape to Book Trader to experience the study session of your naive freshman dreams.
What to Order: The real reason to come to Book Trader isn’t the coffee, it’s the ambience and incredible pastries baked in-house daily. The scones are particularly impressive.
Location: 1140 Chapel St., New Haven, CT 06511 (a block from Pierson, Davenport, Branford, Saybrook and JE)