Let's face it, Brown's meal plan and what seem like an endless amount of swipes are nice, but can get really boring after a couple of months. Sometimes, you need more than curry or pasta night at Andrews Commons to spice up your life. For that reason, here's a quick guide to food stops at walking distance from the university for any student looking to expand their culinary repertoire on a budget. Get the bang for your buck and a delicious meal while you're at it. 

1. East Side Pockets

In my opinion, this is straight up one of the best places on Thayer Street. You can never go wrong with a filling kabob wrap or platter, and their falafel is out of this world. Each wrap can easily last you two meals, and includes toppings such as hummus, tabouleh, and tzatziki. The line and amount of options may seem intimidating at first, but the line moves quickly and the food is definitely worth the wait. If you're not super hungry, grape leaves, pita chips, and salads can be ordered as well.  Be sure to add a slice of baklava to your meal for a sweet ending. 

2. Baja's

If you haven't been to Baja's yet, what have you been doing? There are two store fronts on Thayer so it's impossible to miss. The portion sizes are huge and insanely cheap, and unlike some other Mexican places, they load up the meat and guacamole for free. If you're not in the mood for Mexican, Baja's offers sandwiches, burgers, and fries as well. Both locations are open late (12 AM and 1:45 AM) so you can hop in during your late-night study sessions.  

3. Sakura

A short walk halfway down the Hill leads to the amazing Wickenden Street, which is full of restaurants and cute shops. Here, you'll find Sakura, a go-to when in the mood for sushi and Japanese cuisine, and a great location to have a big family-style dinner with your friends.

There are a variety of rolls at various prices, such as the classics like California, spicy tuna, and a Philly Roll, but also specialty rolls like the I Love You Roll which is a spicy tuna and lobster roll (one of my favorites!). If you're in the mood for something sweet, check out the Yam Roll which can double as dessert. Though admittedly not the healthiest, the roll consists of a tempura-ed piece of yam and comes with a sweet soy sauce under the roll. Don't worry, it's not overly-sweet, due to the rice in the roll that neutralizes the flavor!

4. La Crêperie

Located in a little alleyway just off Thayer Street, La Crêperie can be easy to miss. But make sure to keep an eye peeled, because it's one of Providence's loveliest hidden gems, with friendly owners and fast service in addition to great food!

A variation of crêpes can be ordered here, from Nutella, to apple pie, to turkey and cheese, to chicken and mushroom, amongst many others. And, if you're not in the mood for crêpes, have no fear, you can also get a waffle or smoothie. It has been argued that these smoothies are some of the best on Thayer due to their smooth, thick consistency and the presence of tropical fruits like mango, pineapple, and banana. The Tropical Oasis smoothie is a favorite amongst my friends and I.

If you're on the go, order ahead on Snackpass and still receive a fresh, hot crêpe to gobble up in between classes, or after a challenging exam.

5. Flatbread Company

If you want a home-y, feel-good, family vibe restaurant, walk up Thayer to Flatbread. Situated next to the main street's CVS, you can easily identify the restaurant by the packed parking lot and wood-fired oven burning outside. Everything served is natural, organic, and locally sourced so it's ok if you fall victim to the flavor of the pizza and eat the entire thing because you'll still be ~healthy~.

I remember my mom would always order salad with pizza, something I would always complain about when I was younger, but here at Flatbread I've reversed my beliefs. There is the option to make your own salad, but also to order a pre-designed salad which includes carrots, celery, and sesame seeds, amongst other meats and cheeses you may want to add on. The ginger-tamari vinaigrette that comes with the salad on the menu has the perfect level of tartness to complement the veggie mixture, and the sauce-to-salad ratio is amazing because you can actually taste the freshness of the ingredients alongside the tang of the sauce. 

6. Den Den Café Asiana 

Alexandra Cerda

By now, you've probably seen the Den Den Korean Fried Chicken restaurant on Thayer, but you might not have yet discovered Den Den Café Asiana down by RISD. Expanding beyond KFC, this Den Den branch serves up some delicious, piping hot Korean classics such as Kimchi Pancakes and Hot Stone Bibimbap.

Korean food is unique because it features aromatic spices and skillfully combines smooth textures from sauces and rice with melt-in-your-mouth meat and crunchy, crisp vegetables (like my personal favorite, cabbage). Overall, Den Den is a great place to go to when you wander off Brown's campus, as it is a chill and relaxed environment due to the low lighting and large student customer base. 

7. The Duck and Bunny

A quaint little townhouse-turned-teahouse, the Duck and Bunny is the place for freshmen to brunch off campus due to its close location and filling portions. Reviews praise this snuggery for their crepes, brunch specials, and cupcakes. Upscale takes on crêpes feature combinations like Black Forest ham and Gruyère cheese, Norwegian salmon and capers, and brie and pear.

Located on Wickenden Street, this is a Providence community favorite and is therefore constantly packed, so be sure to wake up early to snag a fast seat for brunch. Not a morning person? Don't worry, afternoon tea is available all day, where you can sample their delicious cupcakes (vegan and gluten-free options available!) and enjoy seasonal tea such as pomegranate pear, chamomile vanilla, and kiwi strawberry. 

8. Heng Thai & Rotisserie

In my opinion, Heng's is the fastest and most delicious Thai food restaurant located within a 5-minute walking radius from campus. Just off of Thayer, this small eatery provides huge portions of Thai noodles and dishes for a good price. This is a great place to explore alone, or otherwise to bring friends to, because the menu offers a variety of traditional Thai noodle dishes like Pad Thai but also has green and yellow curry and delicious appetizers like garlic green beans.

Each noodle entree can also be customized with different proteins, so every meal is sure to have a different flavor. This place can get packed in the evening, but the wait passes fast and is totally worth it. Be sure to order the Thai iced tea to accompany your meal! Many times, Thai iced tea can be too sweet and need to be watered down but this one is just right. 

So there you go - a brief list of food stops located around Brown that can satisfy a range of cravings you may have. By the end of freshman year, make it your mission to try a number of these and decide which one you'll call your favorite. From what I've understood from upperclassmen, each of these places holds a special place in Brown's culinary culture, so dive right in and finally discover what the hype is all about!

For more on food around Providence, RI, check out these articles:

-The Ultimate Student Guide to Eating and Drinking at Brown University

-7 Delectable Places to Breakfast in Providence

-The Best Food on Wheels in Providence, RI