With school and extracurriculars piling to create busy schedules, not much time is left for students to explore all the food that is offered on and around campus. From dining halls at the University of Texas at Austin to nearby restaurants, ORANGE Magazine’s Food + Drink staff shares the best meal they have eaten at UT.
Illustration by Madii Poirot
The strawberry fields salad at San Jac’s Cypress Bend was a mix of spinach, walnuts, strawberries and feta cheese. The salad was topped off with a balsamic dressing that added a good tanginess to balance out the sweetness of the strawberries. If I felt like really treating myself, I would also get the garlic breadstick that was offered with all the salads. Definitely a good option if you’re looking for a good salad on campus!
The best thing I ever ate around UT was definitely takoyaki from Don Japanese Kitchen. Takoyaki is a popular Japanese street snack served in an order of eight. Made from a flour-based batter, and mainly known to be filled with pieces of octopus, pickled ginger and green onions, it is shaped into a sphere, the size of a golf ball. Each individual piece is very flavorful and piping hot, making it an enjoyable snack to share between friends.
The best thing I ever ate at UT is the Sriracha Noodles from Thai Kitchen on Guadalupe. I always enjoy a little spice in my life and will never turn down Thai food, so if you put those two together, I’m sold. I first had them when my best friend referred the place for lunch one afternoon. I was a little upset because I preferred Thai How Are You, but now I’m happy I was open to new things. The noodles are a perfect combination of sweet from original Thai noodles and the kick from a perfect amount of sriracha. It makes your mouth water and your body sweat, of course in a good way. If I could have them for every meal, without risking myself for heartburn, I would.
The best thing I ever ate at UT is the PB&A Bowl from Shake Smart in Greg. On campus dining at UT is perhaps not the most accommodating to a vegan diet, but acai bowls are a delicious treat that satisfy my sweet tooth and dietary needs. We’re talking 20 grams of protein! There’s something special about the rich pinkish red color of an acai bowl that makes the eating experience all the more enjoyable. Plus, the sweetness of the acai is balanced with the nuttiness of the peanut butter, giving the base more dimension than your run-of-the-mill smoothie bowl. Once it’s topped with a generous serving of cacao nibs, bananas and granola for texture, I’m sold.
For me, mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food, but it’s hard to find good quality mac and cheese on campus. Littlefield Patio Cafe serves their mac and cheese hot and extra cheesy, and if my meal comes with two sides, you can bet that both of my sides will be that mac and cheese. While it’s super delicious, it’s also pretty heavy and not served all the time. So on the rare occasion that I’m on that side of campus, haven’t had lunch yet and the mac and cheese is being served, I know it’s going to be a good day.
I’m all about comfort food. In my book, Fat Sal’s has the best cheeseburgers around campus. There’s nothing better than treating myself to a warm, juicy burger and thin cut fries. Fat Sal’s stays open pretty late too, which makes it even more tempting when I’m in need of a quick study break and everything else around campus is closed. I don’t know what they put in their "fat sauce," but I don’t think I could ever get sick of it. This is always the first place I recommend to people when they’re looking for places to eat at UT.
I would take a dunk in Torchy’s Queso if I could. When I first visited Austin in high school and had Torchy’s, it was pretty much the solidifying factor in me applying to UT. The chip to cheese ratio that they give is perfect. It’s not too spicy, but still has a burst of flavor. On top of that, the guacamole adds an interesting texture that cools off my tongue.