By Elizabeth Magno | Chief Copy Editor

Any new student will find out soon enough that Sodexo simply doesn’t suffice on a daily basis. As reliable as campus dining is, sometimes you need to stray off the friendly confines of Saint Mary’s to explore other food options. Maybe you’ve already heard about many of the great places to eat in Moraga. In case you haven’t, though, start with Golden Palace. It’s right on Moraga Road across from Ascot and Rheem Center, making it about as convenient and close to campus as it gets. Appreciators of Chinese or Japanese food will find Golden Palace especially attractive. The portion sizes are filling, the prices are reasonable, they give Saint Mary’s students a discount, and  they even give you free fruit. Golden Palace is a Saint Mary’s favorite, so it’s hard to go wrong 581 Moraga Road.

If you don’t want Asian food, though, venture out to Walnut Creek. Of course, this city has a lot of the chains, such as The Cheesecake Factory, Starbucks, Chipotle, Ike’s, Ruth’s Chris, Fleming’s. But they also have some of their own unique gems, one of these gems being Telefèric Barcelona. You can find it in the heart of downtown Walnut Creek on Mount Diablo Boulevard. The restaurant prides itself on its authentic Spanish dishes, especially its tapas. Some of their most popular tapas selections include the traditional croquettes, patatas bravas, garlic prawns, and flatbread. To get the most authentic Spanish foodie experience, the diner should get a serving of their patatas bravas, a plate of paella, and a dessert order of their Catalan crème brulée.

Of course, Spanish food isn’t for everyone. For an array of American food options head over to the Lafayette Circle area in—you guessed it—Lafayette. You’ll find Roam Artisan Burgers, which offers a number of unique menu of gourmet burgers to go along with their delicious milkshakes; Chow, which is essentially Trader Joes if it were a restaurant; and American Kitchen, an all-American restaurant with a relaxed atmosphere.

Sometimes, though, we get tired of the quiet Lamorinda area. So, let’s hop over the hill to Berkeley and Oakland. If you’re a pizza lover, go to Jupiter. Parking can be a nightmare in the area, so I recommend taking BART out to the Downtown Berkeley station (yes, one transfer is required). From there, just walk across the street and into Jupiter’s entrance. Jupiter is originally a taproom, but they’re also known for their delicious pizzas. The place does have its classic cheese (the Mercury) and pepperoni (the Aries) pizzas, but it’s worth tasting one of their more “unique” orders—they offer 12 other options. Customers can also opt for vegan cheese, as well as gluten-free crust.

Not in the mood for pizza? Try Homeroom, a Bay Area favorite. You can find Homeroom on the corner of 40th and Shafter, right next to 1-2-3-4 Go! Records. Homeroom specializes in mac ‘n’ cheese dishes, offering a variety of their own unique versions. Homeroom makes a top-notch Hawaiian Mac for those of us who like Hawaiian Pizza. The order includes the typical bacon and pineapple, but Homeroom’s recipe adds scallions, a great blend with Havarti cheese. For the vegetarians, take a pick from the White Cheddar Mac, the Macximus, or the Vegan Mac dishes. There’s about nine other mac ‘n’ cheese dishes you can choose from (including a make-your-own), so you should just make it a bucket list item right now to try all of their options.      

These spots are only a selection from a list of Bay Area eateries. If you really want to expand your Bay Area food palette, try going somewhere new every time you  decide to ditch Oliver Hall’s Sodexo options.

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