It’s a big moment – you’ve decided to say no to the dining halls for a meal, and you’re ready for a food adventure. You might be going on a date, or maybe your parents are in town and they’ve offered to take you out. Whatever the occasion may be, these are the best choices from most casual to most bougie:

1. Driftwood


Photo courtesy of Driftwood Deli & Market

Occasion: You’re not on a meal plan and you’re tired of eating the same panini from Coupa every weekend. For less than 10 bucks you can walk out of Driftwood with one of the best sandwiches in the area. Best part: you’ll be in and out in 5 minutes…every other place in Palo Alto takes 15 minutes just to park.

2. Sprout


Photo courtesy of @foodofthebay on Instagram

Occasion: You’re looking to make a delicious salad, but the dining hall salad bar just isn’t cutting it. If you want a quick and healthy meal that leaves you satisfied, Sprout is the place to go. They also have an impressive menu of grilled cheeses so you can tempt all your friends to come with you.

3. Tofu House


Photo courtesy of @jedijoey10 on Instagram

Occasion:  It’s cold and rainy (thanks, El Niño) and you want some comfort food. As an Argentinian who grew up in Texas, I never thought I’d recommend a restaurant with the word “tofu” in it, but I’ll be damned if the Fried Noodle Soft Tofu isn’t delicious.

4. Terún


Photo courtesy of @annielikestoeat on Instagram

Occasion: You’re craving delicious, oven-cooked pizza and endless burrata. With a beautiful patio in the back, Terún is the best place to get your dose of Italian food.

#SpoonTip: split two or three appetizers and a pizza with some friends to leave with a happy stomach and an equally happy wallet.

5. Burma Ruby


Photo courtesy of @litchtenstadt on Instagram

Occasion: You’re looking to impress someone with a not-so-typical meal. Burma Ruby’s famous fermented tea leaf salad and large vegetarian selection guarantees everyone will leave with a smile on their face.

Pro Tip: If it’s full and you can’t get a table, just walk down a couple of blocks to Rangoon Ruby, it has the same menu.

6. Tamarine


Photo courtesy of @debbieoung on Instagram

Occasion: It’s your birthday, you just landed your dream internship, or your parents are paying. Definitely the most expensive on this list, Tamarine takes Vietnamese cuisine to a new level. You can blindly point at anything on the menu and bet that it will be delicious, so make sure to order family-style and try as many different dishes as possible.