Restaurants at Penn State
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Student Life

Your Guide To Ethnic Restaurants At Penn State

Pro tip: most of these restaurants are significantly cheaper during lunch, so try them in between classes if you don't want to put a huge dent in the budget.


Incoming freshman, transfer students, and people who just love to eat good food, some say that State College doesn't offer much in the realm of heterogeneity, but fear not. One thing State College does well is represent many different cultures in the restaurant options in and around downtown. Here are some of the best of different ethnic cuisines in the area:

Pro tip: most of these restaurants are significantly cheaper during lunch, so try them in between classes if you don't want to put a huge dent in the budget.

1. Indian: India Pavilion

I never tried Indian food before coming to Penn State— I was never exposed to it, so I just assumed that I wouldn't like it. At the end of my freshman year, my roommate suggested we try India Pavilion for lunch one day, and we have been going multiple times a week ever since. India Pavilion features both a buffet and kitchen options which makes each dining experience unique, and their food is always very flavorful and fresh. But with all the great options that India Pavilion has to offer, their naan might be my favorite thing to eat (and I might have eaten just naan for lunch one or two times...shh).

2. Thai: Galanga

I love a good Pad Thai, and there are a bunch of places around State College where I could get a plate. Galanga is located right on East College Ave and is set up like a made-to-order takeout restaurant, which means that their food is always prepared quickly. They are owned by the same people as Cozy Thai on Allen Street, which is another great Thai option, but Galanga is quick, convenient, and delicious. Their portion sizes are huge too, which means always means lunch or dinner for the next day, and Thai food is always delicious reheated.

3. Italian: Faccia Luna

You're in a college town, so, obviously, there will be a pizza joint at every street corner. Depending on who you ask and their state of sobriety, you won't get a definitive answer about where to find the best pizza. But if we're talking real Italian food, bruschetta and pasta and all that good stuff, Faccia Luna is your place. You'll get a nice, hot homemade Italian meal that reminds you of your grandma's home cooking. It's a little farther down South Atherton so not within walking distance of campus, but it's well worth the trip, especially for the mushroom ravioli. And yes, if you really want that pizza, Faccia Luna has some unique flatbread options too!

4. Mexican: Yallah

Everyone knows Yallah. If you don't know Yallah after your first weekend at Penn State, you're not doing it right because Yallah is amazing. Now, there's two Yallah's downtown: the Yallah Taco Truck and the actual Yallah Burrito location. The truck is the one you want. They serve up fast Mexican food late into the night while blaring music, and you always know that you'll be served the greasy, cheesy, delicious food that you've been craving after a night out.

5. Middle Eastern: Pita Cabana Grill

Pita Cabana is owned by the Yallah company, so it is already assumed that their food will be delicious. Pita Cabana offers anything from pita wraps to gyros to salads to baklava, and it is another great grab-and-go place.

6. Asian Fusion: Green Bowl

Green Bowl is a really unique restaurant— its main attraction is a bar with hundreds of different raw ingredients and sauces that you can choose to add to your green bowl, and once you are satisfied with what you picked, the chefs will cook it up. The options are endless and the staff can give you suggestions about which ingredients mix well with different sauces and spices. Did I mention it's all you can eat? No? That just might be the best part about Green Bowl. And each time you want another bowl, you can stick with what you already made or pick completely different ingredients. Lunch is especially cheap at $9.99, so if you come hungry you can absolutely get more than your money's worth.

7. Comfort Food: Bagel Crust

When most people think of State College and comfort food, The Corner Room immediately comes to mind, and although I agree that everybody MUST try their gigantic mac n cheese bowls, Bagel Crust takes the cake for comfort foods. It's a takeout-type restaurant where handheld breakfast foods are primarily served, like their iconic bagel sandwiches. Bagel Crust is especially busy on weekends during brunch time, but a bagel sandwich and coffee is definitely worth the wait if you're craving some delicious carbs and cheese.

8. Honorable Mentions

This list is not all encompassing, so here are some honorable mentions that didn't make the list.

Big Bowl: Another Asian fusion restaurant that is cash only and super cheap but serves huge portions.

The Corner Room: A State College staple that serves up comfort food in a Penn State-themed atmosphere.

Ottos: A restaurant up on North Atherton that has its own brewery and an extensive menu that is inclusive of many different diets.

The Waffle Shop: Another State College staple that is cash only but serves a large variety of breakfast and brunch foods.

So there you have it! No matter what cuisine you're craving, State College has a delicious and convenient place for you!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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