Look, I get it. If you are reading this article, you probably grew up eating a combination of what your mom and the closest restaurants in town make, which typically consists of Americanized versions of Italian, Chinese, and Mexican food, with Traditional American food mixed in (don't ask me to define that incredibly vague genre of food).
Most of the time, what's comfortable is what's best. Bear with me though; the City of Lancaster actually has some great restaurants that are incredibly under-utilized by F&M's campus on the whole. Here are eight places to get a meal guaranteed to be better than Sodexo and manage not to break the bank:
1. Himalayan Curry & Grill
Whether you're eating off their Nepali or Indian menus, your taste buds will thank you. Arguably, the only quality Indian food in the area, Himalayan Grill manages to have a relaxed, quiet atmosphere in the thick of the city. I found the meats and sauces they utilize to lie on the spicy/savory side of the palate, which was a nice change of pace from typical American food. With plenty of options for carnivores and herbivores alike, this is a great spot for a night of trying new things.
2. On Orange
A quaint, hole-in-the-wall establishment with a breakfast menu that sports the best assortment of omelets I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing. The old brick row house has more character than it does items on the menu, not to mention its peaceful outdoor pavilion located in the back. Definitely check this place out on a warm weekend morning.
3. Rice & Noodle
Though it's not the sleekest restaurant on this list, Rice & Noodle makes spectacular Vietnamese food. When I say spectacular, I mean it. Don't disregard this spot for its cheesy menu design and unappealing decor—it is delicious. Their spring rolls, soups, and assorted stir-fried dishes are awesome and guaranteed to surprise you with their eclectic flavors and textures.
4. Aussie and The Fox
The pinnacle of American foodie-ism, Aussie and The Fox captures modern American/Australian cuisine with a variety of dishes featuring traditional meats with some very intriguing choices for accents (think fish with almond dust including a side of rainbow chard). If you're in the mood to try something outrageously new, Aussie and The Fox is your go-to spot.
The quintessential sports bar in Lancaster, Stubby's also features some of the best cheesesteaks and wings that Central PA has to offer. Not only is the carefree and fun atmosphere (aka this place serves more alcohol than normal and is not a club), it is a nice escape from the hustle and bustle of college life. Come munch on the best bar food in Lancaster with some townsfolk.
6. Prince Street Cafe
The Chai Latte—that is all. Also, some other great breakfast/brunch food, but mostly for their awesome selection of drinks. If you haven't been here yet, where have you been going?
7. The Pressroom
One of the best burgers I have had in a while, a casual-yet-cool venue that is a great alternative to Iron Hill for when your parents visit. Located in the heart of Downtown Lancaster, The Pressroom serves traditional American food and is probably the most conservative spot on this list in terms of food choices.
Only a few blocks away from campus, you'd be a fool not to try out this F&M staple. Thai food, one of the lesser-known sub-cuisines of Asia, has never been better in Lancaster. Get your spicy food fix with the many options the menu offers, which includes a delicious pad Thai shrimp.