For Binghamton students, Sodexo can definitely get boring and repetitive. I know I certainly feel that way sometimes. Luckily, downtown Binghamton does offer several quality restaurants that are perfect for any occasion including dates, Restaurant Week, or just for a night off campus. These restaurants have several options to truly create a mouthwatering meal that will make you craving more.

As a sophomore, I have been to several restaurants downtown and have discovered amazing and flavorful meals that I never would have expected to find in Binghamton. Here are the 5 best meals any Binghamton student must try before graduation.

1. Ahi Tartare Tower and Macaroni and Cheese from Social on State

Mikaela Orenstein
macaroni, pasta, cheese, tortellini, sauce, parsley
Mikaela Orenstein

Surprisingly, these two dishes can be found on State Street. One of my favorite restaurants in Binghamton is Social on State. Because this restaurant focuses on tapas style plates, the portions are slightly small. However, if you order the ahi tartare tower and the mac and cheese, your appetite will for sure be satisfied. The ahi tartare tower is so fresh and flavorful because of the spicy and savory flavors found in the tuna, avocado, and wasabi aioli. Add the mac and cheese to your order and you've created an amazing meal you never knew you needed in your life. The mac and cheese contains several types of cheese so this is the perfect addition for any cheese lover. These two tapas are one of the best combinations for any night out and will for sure leave you wanting to come back to Social for more.

Location: 201 State St, Binghamton, NY 13901

2. Rigatoni Ala Vodka from Lost Dog Cafe

penne, sauce, pasta, chicken, garlic, basil
Mikaela Orenstein

This Binghamton staple is well known for its vodka sauce. Ask anyone who has ever visited Binghamton, and he or she will tell you Lost Dog is a must. The rigatoni ala vodka is all over any student's Insta feed, and if that isn't enough to convince you to visit Lost Dog, then hopefully this is. The flavors from the garlic, basil, and cheese create one of the best pasta dishes you will ever consume in your life. I'm seriously not joking. Don't waste your time and visit Lost Dog for the vodka sauce that will change your life for the better.

Location: 222 Water St, Binghamton, NY 13901

3. Ahi Tuna Burger with Fries from Burger Monday's Bar and Grille 

french fries, tomato, bread, meat, cheese, chicken, sandwich, vegetable, sauce
Mikaela Orenstein

As a pescatarian, it may seem unusual that I actually genuinely enjoy this burger place. At first I was hesitant to try Burger Monday's, but I'm glad I did. The ahi tuna burger is so fresh and when paired with the fries, adds a nice crunch to your meal. The burger comes rare with an Asian style cabbage slaw and wasabi aioli, which contributes to the tanginess of the burger. As an ahi tuna lover, this meal certainly does not disappoint.

Location: 23 Henry St, Binghamton, NY 13901

4. Caprese Salad and Lobster Mac from Number 5 Restaurant

Mikaela Orenstein
cheese, meat, macaroni, chicken
Mikaela Orenstein

Because Number 5 can be a bit pricey, I tend to go for two appetizers since after all, I am a college student on a budget. In the caprese salad, the mozzarella is so fresh and the tomatoes are ripe. Add some fresh pepper to the mozzarella, tomato, roasted pepper, and balsamic glaze salad, and it is the start of a quality meal. The lobster mac is my favorite addition to the caprese. The melting cheese and delicious lobster is the perfect combination to finish off your meal. This dish honestly makes your mouth water and is perfect for leftovers when eating on campus the next day.  

Location: 33 S Washington St, Binghamton, NY 13903

5. Hummus A. Tune from Nezuntoz Cafe

sandwich, salad, tomato
Mikaela Orenstein

While not technically downtown, Nezuntoz (pronounced knees and toes) is a great spot to hit up for lunch. My personal favorite meal here is the Hummus A. Tune sandwich. This dish comes with hummus, feta cheese, roasted peppers, and lettuce. This sandwich is one of my favorite vegetarian options in Binghamton because the different ingredients go so well together and satisfy my Mediterranean craving. I highly recommend taking the quick 15 minute drive to Nezuntoz for a sandwich you will truly remember for the best.

Location: 50 Pennsylvania Ave. Binghamton, NY 13903

While there are still your fair share of restaurants in downtown Binghamton, these 5 places offer some of the best food I have ever had the luxury of eating. Each meal is so unique and different that your taste buds and cravings will for sure be satisfied for the whole semester. Even though eating out can be expensive, splurging once a month is a great way to get off campus and enjoy the quality meals Binghamton has to offer. Whether you're going on a date, have visitors, or are tired of on campus dining, these meals are the perfect opportunity to get off campus and try something new before graduation.