Tufts University Dining Services does a fine job of keeping Jumbos satisfied both in the quantity and quality of food; but, sometimes, it fails in variety. The classic remedy is to look off campus for a solution. The problem is that, with so few opportunities to eat outside the dining halls – whether that be because of inconvenience or price – so many of us return to the same place time and again to eat the same things time and again. To help you expand your culinary horizons, here are five certifiably delicious eats that you may not have heard of or hadn’t thought to try yet just a hop, skip and a jump away in Davis.
Just as the sign says, this place offers barbeque and southern hospitality this side of the Mason-Dixon Line. The grub is prime slow cooked meats with your choice of sauces to spice it up whatever way you like with the usual southern sidekicks like beans, coleslaw, and all that good stuff. For those who can partake, there are 24 micro-brews available on tap. The place is open pretty much anytime you would want to eat, so swing by whenever the urge for BBQ strikes – it should happen soon.
2. Martsa on Elm
Here is a place that will raise an eyebrow. Martsa on Elm specializes in Tibetan fare. Most people do not know what Tibetan cuisine is, and their lives are sad and limited as a result, so bring them happiness by going to Martsa and trying just about anything on the menu. The dishes fall somewhere at the intersection of South and East Asian (think Indian curries crossed with Chinese stir fries). Plus, the place is nice and the food is cheap; check it.
3. Palm Sugar
This is the mother of all Thai restaurants. It’s also barely in Davis Square (sorry not sorry). Just one block outside of Davis proper on Elm Street, this gem looks grungy – just like all good restaurants do – but oh, is it good. The Drunken Noodles will bring tears to the eyes of even the coldest hearts both for its incredible spiciness and deliciousness. The menu has all the classics and then some, including sticky rice, golden triangles, and curries ad nauseum. Along with the waitress’s no-frills attitude, the food makes a meal at Palm Sugar a meal well spent.
4. Blue Shirt Café
Right in the heart of Davis, Blue Shirt Café will satisfy all of your new-age health food cravings. The place looks like it could have fallen from a hippie’s how-to-build-a-restaurant guidebook, but don’t let that deter you from sampling its offerings. The chicken Caesar wrap is divine; but it’s not just healthy(ish) food on the menu. Pick up a Peanut Butter Delight smoothie (chocolate, peanut butter and banana) if that’s more to your liking. Or both, because why not?
5. Dave’s Fresh Pasta
Dave’s is a cult. Those who know it swear by its pastas. The store – not really a restaurant, actually – itself is nice, not small, but still quaint. The place is stuffed with Italian cold cuts, cheeses, wines, and, of course, pastas. The pasta menu can give you vertigo, but you’d have to be the Grinch find something unappetizing on it; there’s so much more to Dave’s, however, than just the pasta. Like the pasta menu, the sandwich menu is extensive – the Cuban Sandwich (a classic combination of pork, cheese, pickles, and chipotle aioli) is worth a serious look. The next time studying has you down, Dave’s can help bring you up again.
Of course, there are so many more amazing places to eat in Davis that did not make it onto this list; and by no means is this list authoritative. Give these places a try, then go make your own list of the best places to eat in Davis.