There’s many things that college students disagree on. Politics, music taste, even the best breed of dog; you name it, we will argue about it. But there’s one thing we can all agree on: We love food. Food brings us together almost as much as the Tide does, and there’s almost no problems a meal with your crew won’t solve.
As students at The University of Alabama, we’re always looking for the next big restaurant in town. And let’s be honest, it’s really difficult. To make the process a little easier for all of us, we’ve handpicked some of our favorite spots around Tuscaloosa. Warning: You’ll likely be hitting up your friends for some spontaneous grub by the end.
Sweet Home Food Bar
Looking for a great breakfast or brunch option? Sweet Home has a great variety of options, covering everything from delicious frittatas to insta-worthy pancakes to the best chicken biscuits in Tuscaloosa. Check out their Sunday brunch for a limited menu featuring local favorites, or grab your crew and head over for a morning celebration alongside some of the best mimosas in town.
Five Bar and Five Java
Five is one of the most versatile restaurants in the city, offering brunch, lunch and dinner menus that are sure to satisfy. The only catch? The menu only has five items for each section. Five starters, entrees, cocktails; you name it, there’s only five of them. And if there’s only five items, you can guarantee they’re going to be some of the best dishes you’ve ever tried.
Don’t have time for a full meal? Stop next door at Five Java for a cup of coffee or a chai tea latte in a cozy coffee shop with a Brooklyn vibe. Although there’s not many choices on the menu, it makes narrowing down a tough decision between drool-worthy plates much easier.
A newcomer to the Tuscaloosa coffee scene, Monarch provides a chill environment and killer coffee perfect for long study days. At night, this coffee shop transforms into a bar with signature drinks and a cool vibe. Bring your friends and play a board game while you sip, or stop in for a mid-afternoon snack.
Calling all gluten-free and vegan foodies! Monarch has a wide variety of house-made treats aimed specifically for those of us with special diets. Check out their Instagram page for their daily specials.
Local Roots Food Truck
Looking for a quick bite between study breaks in the library? Follow Local Roots.This food truck lives on The University of Alabama campus, serving students and faculty in one of the most convenient ways possible. Stop by for the best burger in town, or try one of their specials for a twist on on-campus dining. Their daily location can be found on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, so give them a follow to see where they’ll be camped out next!
Heritage House has been a staple of Tuscaloosa for years. Known for their coffee drinks like the Bama Blitz, Toffee Coffee and 20-below Hot Chocolate, Heritage House has had a hold on the Tuscaloosa community since its origin. Pair these with their famous baked oatmeal, new breakfast quesadilla or any of their fresh-baked pastries for a great start to your morning. All three of their locations (Towncenter, Riverfront and Alberta) have a different vibe, so try them all to find your fav.
Avenue Pub offers a wide variety of food and drink options, offering some of the most delicious in town. Their lunch and dinner menus, although quite similar, have something for even the pickiest of eaters. Try their bacon burger or fish and chips for a re-defined version of classic dishes. Want to try something more adventurous? Try their Thai Nachos for a new favorite starter in all of T-Town!
This Italian restaurant is one of the most classic date spots in all of Tuscaloosa. With a romantic vibe and killer pasta, it’s a great place to celebrate an anniversary or a first date. You can’t go wrong with any of their specials and pastas, including a lasagna of the day and their Pasta DePalma. And don’t even think about leaving without trying their white chocolate bread pudding— it’s pretty much a Tuscaloosa sin to skip out on this dessert. No matter what you choose on the menu, it’s going to be molto bené!
For many college students, pizza is a food group. And for the pizza connoisseurs who walk among us, Heat is the place to beat when it comes to fresh-baked and delicious pizzas. A new addition to Tuscaloosa, Heat offers classic favorites like pepperoni and veggie, as well as specialty pies like chicken bacon ranch and a gluten-free option. For something a little more special, check out their exclusive pizza menu, featuring thai chicken and Reuben-inspired pizzas. And an added bonus: they have daily discounts on their pizzas and drinks, perfect for college students who are balling on a budget.
This upscale seafood restaurant offers Gulf favorites to landlocked Tuscaloosa residents. Their fresh catch dinners come highly recommended (try them blackened, you won’t be sorry). If seafood isn’t your thing, no worries. Chuck’s also offers a variety of chicken and steak dishes for all the picky eaters out there. Be sure to check out their sushi as well. With one of the largest sushi menus in Tuscaloosa, you’ll keep coming back to try them all.
If you want something more international, Surin is the place for you. Found minutes from campus in its prime spot on the Strip, Surin offers some of the only authentic Thai food in all of Tuscaloosa. Try their Pad Thai for a twist on an old classic, or stop by during lunch for any of their amazing lunch specials. Got a late night craving? Hit up Midnight Sushi on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights starting at 10 p.m. for dollar-priced sushi and meals, perfect for broke college students. Check out my personal favorite, the Rock and Roll, for an eel and avocado roll like you’ve never experienced.
Whether you’re looking for a date spot or trying to grab something quick after work, there’s so many great places to choose from in Tuscaloosa. Try our faves and let us know what you think.