Here at Northeastern, we love our dining halls. There’s nothing better than some grilled chicken from IV or some stir-fry from Stetson East, no? But, in the words of good ol’ William Cowper, “variety’s the very spice of life that gives it all flavor.” So, in pursuit of flavor in our lives and our meals, we’ve got some hidden eateries for you that are close enough to campus to make the trek for dinner.
This quiet, casual, no-reservations cafe is definitely not to be underestimated. Lucy’s cafe has been getting quite a bit of buzz around here recently, and it’s for good reason! Ethiopian cuisine is famed for its injera, a large sourdough flatbread that is topped with thick stews or spiced meats (like the tibs above). Lucy is known for the Addis Combo, which consists of red lentils simmered in a spicy hot sauce, split peas in garlic and ginger sauce, and herbed spinach and potatoes. Yelp reviewers gave it 4 out of 5 stars, not to mention the title of most authentic Ethiopian restaurant in town! We recommend going for lunch or takeout your first time as limited tables make the dinner rush quite the bear. Located at 334 Massachusetts Ave (near the Symphony).
Oakleaf Bakery Cafe
You may have passed right by this place on your pilgrimages to Whole Foods or CVS as it’s tucked around a sharp corner just as you hit Massachusetts Ave. This glorious bakery practically has sugar saturated into the air, which is just how we like it. The display cases are always well-stocked with an array of artfully decorated cupcakes and pastries, including trifle cups that include flavors as decadent as Lemon Dream and Brownie Bliss. We dare you to try them all (and bring us some)! The roommate is having a birthday soon? You can stop by Oakleaf day-of and pick up a Grab & Go Gourmet cake from the display case, which rotate in flavor beyond just your standard chocolate and vanilla to flavors such as Nutella cheesecake. They’re all just as gorgeously decorated as the huge special-order event cakes that can be ogled at while you make your purchases. Located at 12 Westland Avenue.
El Pelon Taqueria
Their slogan is fresh, authentic, Mexican. What’s not to love? Their commitment to fresh, quality ingredients as well as made-to order food that accommodates dietary restrictions has build up a die-hard fan base. They’re perfect for some spicy fish tacos or for your mid-day guacamole cravings (those are definitely a thing). They also have Jarritos, which are absolutely delicious and sometimes hard to find Mexican flavored sodas. And we haven’t even mentioned the tacos and quesadillas yet! El Pelon is a particularly hot spot after Sox games, but also has steady traffic the rest of the year. Since it’s a pretty small place to begin with, we’d recommend take-out. It also wins brownie points for low student-budget-impact…which means most entrees are under $10. Located at 92 Petersborough St. in Fenway.
Haley House Bakery Cafe
This socially-minded enterprise focuses on bringing the community of Roxbury together under one welcoming roof. The Haley House runs a variety of programs to promote economic independence and local growth, like a soup kitchen, food pantry, a live-in community, and much, much more. In their own words, they “fill the streets with much more than fill the streets with the aroma of healthy, delicious food.” The Bakery Cafe is a wonderful way to learn more about and support their efforts while enjoying a delectable lunch. They have a wide variety of dishes all with straight-up, healthy ingredients, including Thai Peanut Chicken Salad and the Dade Street Grilled Cheese to name a few. Go for the atmosphere as much as the food, as it’s a fun local watering hole that draws people from all walks of life through its doors. They’re open weekdays for breakfast and lunch, and for dinner on Tuesdays and Fridays. Located at 12 Dade Street in Roxbury.
Ooh la la and three cheers for French food! This stylish little brasserie in the South End is a tad farther from campus, but is worth the walk. We guarantee you will feel transported to the Champs-Élysées while sitting by the old-fashioned bar relishing a good bite of very authentic baguette. It’s a fantastic spot for brunch, lunch, and dinner alike, serving classics like boeuf bourguignon and salade nicoise for dinner and an array of butter-y delicacies for brunch. What better way to tackle a weekend visit from your parents than by noshing on vanilla french toast and croque-madames on a fine Saturday morning? We also recommend taking the folks to Gaslight so they can pick up the bill–it’s a bit pricier than our other options here, but is perfect for a special night out! Located at 560 Harrison Ave in the South End.