What's for Lunch?

In a lot of our presentations, we get questions about good lunch spots on campus. Here's the 4-1-1 on great places to eat around campus on and off the dining plan. There are different dining plans that are available depending on your schedule and dietary preferences. You're required to be on a plan for your freshman year but after that, it's up to you. Dining plans are comprised of some combination of dining swipes (used at dining halls and other select locations on campus) and dining dollars (used at certain restaurants on campus)


These are usually utilized by students who have dining swipes (typically freshmen or student athletes). They are all-you-can-eat so you can definitely get your fill. The best dining halls are probably Hill (newly renovated!) or NCH. However, I did live in Kings Court English House my freshman year so I ate at that dining hall a lot and liked it a lot (the sandwich station during lunch was the best part).


Depending on your dining plan, you'll also have dining dollars. There are a lot of great places on campus that accept dining dollars (which is actually why I'm still on a dining plan). A very popular place is Houston Market in the basement of the student union, Houston Hall. Houston has a variety of options including (but not limited to) sushi, salads, a grill, pizza, a sandwich place, grab-and-go options, and a cafe. Other places that accept dining dollars include Frontera (mexican fast food), Pret a Manger (soups/salads/sandwiches/coffee/pastries), Starbucks, and many cafes in different academic buildings. I practically live at Pret - everything they have is delicious! There's also a small grocery store called Gourmet Grocer that accepts dining dollars. Finally, there's a farmer's market outside of the bookstore every Wednesday; some of their booths accept dining dollars so you can get fresh fruits and veggies every week.


If you're just looking for a place to grab a bite but aren't on a dining plan, there are a ton of places to eat around Penn's campus. We have the classics: Chipotle/& Pizza/Qdoba/Subway/Bobby's Burgers/Subway/McDonalds/HipCityVeg/Honeygrow/Sweetgreen. But we also have other places that are a little more unique to Penn life. Greek Lady is a great option if you're looking for both Greek and American comfort foods (Hummus is another great Greek option on campus). Gia Pronto and Just Salad are both great salad options. Sobol has delicious acai bowls. Food trucks are also very popular on campus. Though they're all very good, the best are the Halal trucks. There are also great options at Franklin's table, the new food court by 34th and Walnut. If you're looking for good sit-down restaurants, you can't go wrong with White Dog Cafe, Baby Blues Barbeque, Han Dynasty, Pattaya, Sitar, and Ramen Bar. If you're a coffee fanatic, Penn is probably the place for you with our 4 off-campus Starbucks as well as Saxby's and United by Blue.

-Grace M, C’18