Ah, college. People always tell you about great things like making new friends, late nights out, finding your passions, making your own decisions and the freedom that comes with it all. Often, when talking about Northwestern University, people leave out one of the most important parts about college: the Evanston food scene.

Here at Northwestern, students are #blessed with above-average eateries in Evanston. There are diverse options for every mood and any time of day.

During my first quarter at Northwestern, I struggled to navigate the plethora of restaurants and food options both on campus and around town. Here, I present to you, my food guide for first-years. You don't have to struggle like I did.

For late night eats: Lisa's or Fran’s

One of the saddest things about Evanston is the lack of options for late-night drunchies. Therefore, my two go-to’s for late night meals are actually on campus. At Lisa’s, which is on North Campus, fulfill your cravings with a grilled cheese or chicken tenders. If you’re on South Campus, Fran’s is the best option. You can get a quesadilla and waffle fries, as well as use a meal exchange. Amazing! 

For parent's weekend: Union Pizzeria

Union Pizzeria is the perfect place to take your parents. The wood-fired pizzas are insanely good and the other dishes are tasty, too. The staff is always friendly and will leave every member of your family satisfied.

For a treat-yo-self brunch: Next of Kin

Next of Kin will always be one of my favorite Evanston restaurants. When I walk in, the vibes make me feel like I have left the Northwestern area and transported myself to some chic, sophisticated alternate universe. Better yet, the food is amazing. You can’t go wrong with the Brussels sprouts, honey butter fries and avocado toast. 

For when you’re too lazy to walk five minutes to the nearest dining hall so you order-in: Chipotle

Chipotle is my go-to on nights when I can’t imagine eating more grilled chicken and pasta from Sargent Dining Hall. It’s close to campus, so you can count on an order arriving within 30 minutes of being placed. Best of all, Chipotle’s app has a reward system, so you can occasionally get free meals and discounts. Don't all college kids love discounts?

For when you want to ball on a budget: Dave’s New Kitchen

Dave’s New Kitchen is ideal for college students. It offers large portions of customizable pasta and pizza, all for a reasonable price. The inside is small, but you can order-in and eat in your dorm. Even better, you’re bound to have leftovers. Two meals in one? I think yes. 

For when you desperately need to study but are sick of the library: Backlot Coffee

Backlot Coffee on Central Street is a relaxing study spot. It's only a quick 10-minute CTA bus ride from campus, too. Backlot is far enough away from campus to be exciting and different, but close enough to just hop on the bus and go. There is ample seating, and the coffee and food options are delicious.  As a matter of fact, I am sipping on an oatmeal cookie latte as we speak. 

#SpoonTip: Don’t feel like getting on the bus to Central Street? There’s a smaller Backlot on Sherman Avenue. 

For when you want to feel healthy and eat good food: Pono Ono 

Eating every meal at the dining hall can can get you in a funk, especially when the best options are french fries and pizza. Therefore, fresh, healthy food is sometimes needed. Look no further than Pono Ono. The eatery serves poke made from fresh ingredients. Additionally, the greenery vibes from the plethora of plants is impeccable.

Part of the Northwestern experience is venturing out to Evanston eateries. Don't let the abundance of options deter you from trying a new brunch spot or pizzeria. Visit each place throughout the best four years of your life.