It’s a late Saturday afternoon, you’re just about done with everything school-related, and the last thing you want to do is whip up a homemade meal (ain’t nobody got time for that). You’re left yet again to face the relentless battle of deciding where to eat. Instead of opting for the mainstream, student-ridden eateries of Davis, consider hitting up these hidden gems instead.

1. Village Bakery

Sharing a margherita pizza out in the best Fall breeze. #moredayslikethisplease

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Nestled in the very back edge of downtown, this easy-to-miss eatery is separated from the usual hustle and bustle of foot travelers and bikers. Given its peaceful location and expansive outdoor seating, it makes for the perfect place to stop for a bite of pizza on a nice, sunny day. As a plus, this bakery also sells desserts such as tiramisu cake slices for the more sweet-toothed peeps out there.

2. Shanghai Town

Sometimes, a good ‘ole plate of orange chicken and rice is all you really need. Shanghai Town provides just this and more. Tucked away in the quiet West portion of Davis, this family-owned restaurant is home to all the key dishes necessary to satisfy your Chinese food cravings. Aside from its amazing lunch specials, this eatery has xiao long baos, universally-coveted soup dumplings, that will leave you yearning for more.

3. Chickpeas

Food and Fellowship go hand in hand ?

A photo posted by Emily Kovarsky (@emiemstar) on

Situated in the North Davis Savemart plaza, this small Middle-Eastern eatery serves as a quick meal stop for days where you’re more on the go. The wrapped pita sandwich is a classic pick, and comes in meat-lover favorites such as chicken shawarma and beef gyro as well as falafel, a great vegan alternative. Best yet, you’re granted a trip to the salad bar, where you can stockpile your plate with unlimited toppings ranging from marinated chickpeas to pickled veggies.

4. Taqueria Guadalajara Grill

Carnitas Boooo-reeee-toeee! =P

A photo posted by ?: C i n d y. (@cindabun) on

Although far less frequented than its sister in North Davis, this Mace Boulevard branch is no less amazing.  In fact, its quaint outdoor seating, not to mention mouth-watering lengua (beef tongue) burritos, make it a strong contender for the ‘Best Taqueria’ title in all of Davis. Feeling something lighter? Try one of their crunchy tacos instead. Top it with tender, marinated steak and you’ve got yourself the perfect midday snack to carry you through the day.

#SpoonTip: Super-size your burrito for that extra ‘oomph’ of guacamole. You can never go wrong with guac.

5. Cloud Forest Cafe

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Located just outside the heart of downtown Davis, this cafe is the quintessential place for students to study, yet somehow remains unknown to a vast majority of the university population. Along with its welcoming ambiance, this family-operated business has some of the richest and creamiest lattes around. If that’s not enough to convince you to give it a try, picture this: perfectly browned, cheese-oozing paninis? Um, yes please.

6. Icekrimski Cafe

Just perfect on a hot summer day??? #icecream#gelato#sorbet#summertime#myfav#guiltypleasure

A photo posted by ♌️LA ➡️ Davis ✏️ (@carolynzz07) on

We couldn’t forget about a dessert place, not even one as tiny as this gelato shop. As a windowed-off attachment to its neighbor, Davis Varsity Theatre, this place is the true definition of ‘hole-in-the-wall’. With its gourmet candy and gelato selection, Icekrimski serves as the ultimate post-meal destination.  For maximum enjoyment, mix and match flavors such as green tea, honey lavender, and stracciatella–you’ll be sure to return in a heartbeat (take this as a warning).

And last but not least…

7. Fluffy Donuts & Sandwich Shop

saturday morning doughnut & coffee run ?

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Because let’s face it: we all need a good donut or two in our lives.  The ones here are baked fresh on the daily, and since the shop is situated at the corner of the U-mall in close proximity to campus, it makes it that much easier to satisfy all your post-exam cravings.  They also have bomb Vietnamese sandwiches, banh mi, that are sure to not disappoint.

So there you have it: the hidden gems of Davis. The next time you find yourself struggling to find a place to eat, give these hole-in-the-walls a try. You’d be surprised at what’s left to uncover.