College dining these days isn’t limited to 2 a.m. grilled cheese sandwiches and overcrowded bars. Luckily for students, many university towns are ramping up their food scenes. The University of Miami is no exception. These five restaurants dish out great plates accessible on a college budget. They offer everything from high tea to Cap'n Crunch pancakes.
The seared salmon with truffle-Parmesan cauliflower and broccolini ($18).
Photo by Julie Harans
5. Town Kitchen & Bar
This neighborhood staple with breezy outdoor seating is just minutes from UM’s campus, and the extensive menu offers elegant dishes for first dates as well as pizza and burgers that can cure even a frat-party hangover. Standouts include the seared salmon with a thick purée of truffle-Parmesan cauliflower and broccolini ($18) and the scallops with braised-short-rib risotto ($23). Plus, in true college fashion, Town’s happy-hour deals are on point. In addition to regular daily specials, the first two drinks are free for ladies every Monday, and Thursdays, women get free champagne from 4 to 7 p.m. The place can get pretty packed and you may have to wait a bit, but who can be angrey with a free Towntini in one hand and a crisp Brussels sprout in the other?
The Smashed Avo ($13) is a staple at this Australian breakfast spot.
4. Threefold Café
Let’s face it: We’re getting bored of pancakes and eggs. The Australian spot Threefold Café is shaking up the average breakfast plate, giving traditional staples a down-under twist. Whether you’re feeling a sweet, savory, or even spicy start to your day, this Miracle Mile favorite has you covered. Avocado toasts made with Zak the Baker bread like the Mega Mushroom ($16) are crazy delicious and hearty enough to satisfy a college student's appetite. After savoring other over-the-top options like the the Indonesian fried rice ($15) and tuna fish cakes with poached eggs ($16), you’ll never see breakfast the same way again. But be sure to save room for a side of Mornin Monkey ($8), homemade banana-and-walnut bread served with espresso butter and maple syrup; no matter what day it is, it’ll feel like Sunday brunch with this indulgent and addicting dish.
Small Tea's 84 varieties of tea leaves are on display in glass canisters.
Photo courtesy of Small Tea
3. Small Tea
Who says beer is the college drink of choice? At Small Tea, you can swap out Coors Light for a much tastier — and healthier — option. This charming spot boasts 84 varieties, from herbal pineapple to rich dark chocolate and hazelnut. Small Tea also uses Steampunk machines, which allow brewing tailored to each blend. But don’t feel overwhelmed: The employees know their stuff, and they’ll be happy to help you with a written guide. While you’re there, grab one of the pastries or vegan-friendly food options like the edamame falafel wrap ($10.50) or pepper-crusted seared tuna salad ($12). It’s the perfect off-campus lunch break. And if you can’t get enough, the beautifully designed website makes online ordering easy.
Fried Bell & Evans chicken breast with smashed potatoes, Papa Berry’s bacon gravy, and honey-glazed green beans ($18.95).
Courtesy of Whisk
In this city, refined Southern comfort food is hard to come by. Thankfully, Whisk Gourmet Food & Catering serves the perfect combo of comfort and class in Coral Gables. Nestled behind the popular Shops at Sunset Place, this intimate spot offers down-to-earth dishes in a homey setting. No matter what you order as a main dish, start with the warm homemade cornbread with scallion-honey butter ($5.95). Whisk specializes in familiar favorites with a twist, like blue crab and roasted corn fried rice ($16.95) and the stick-to-your-ribs grilled filet mignon sandwich ($14.95). And of course, no comfort meal would be complete without a hearty dessert. Pastry chef Lorena Inostroza’s warm white-chocolate bread pudding soaks up a rich crème anglaise and is topped with a crunchy almond oat crumble. So whether it’s been a long day on campus or a rough weekend, the indulgent dishes and friendly vibes are sure to provide much-needed warm-and-fuzzy feelings.
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Courtesy of Eating House
1. Eating House
It can be tricky to snag a table at this teeny restaurant, but it’s worth the wait. If you’re a Food Network fan, you may already know that Eating House’s chef, Giorgio Rapicavoli, became a Chopped champion last year. And if you’re not a fan, you'll quickly appreciate the quick thinking and outside-the-box creativity that shines through each of his innovative dishes. The menu changes often, but Rapicavoli always creates brilliant pairings of flavors, such as burnt cabbage and soft egg vinaigrette ($12) and beef tartare and sunflower seed miso ($14). You can feel the chef’s passion for his career through the food. It just goes to show that hard work pays off, and that's a fitting message for a college town.