Top USC Village Spots for Every Occasion


Students line up outside CAVA for the perfect quick lunch. (Andrew Kerner | Daily Trojan file photo)

USC Village is the center of fond memories for almost every USC student. Maybe you had a perfect first date in Dulce, marked your summer internship by queuing for CAVA, or participated in a group study session outside of SunLife that their acai bowls have improved a bit. All of these memories have one thing in common: great food. While you’ll probably have a good experience at one of the USC Village restaurants, here are my expert picks for every occasion.

A light lunch: CAVA

Lunch is a criminally underrated meal, and it’s essential in college. As you run from class to class, it might be tempting to ignore it, but that’s a bad idea. If you’re near USC Village and have time to stop by, consider CAVA your lunch of choice. Keeping your lunches meatless and piled high with veggies is a great way to ensure a nutrient-dense meal. With great vegetarian options and plenty of veggie additions, CAVA is the best place to create the perfect lunch on the go. After eating, you’ll leave USC Village for your afternoon class feeling like you’ve done your body a favor.

Friday Night Mayhem: City Tacos

On a Friday night filled with loud laughter and risque text messages, there’s only one option in USC Village that’ll get the job done: City Tacos. There’s nothing quite like biting into a delicious hot taco after a long week and a hectic night. City Tacos offers a dense menu filled with mouth-watering taco options: chicken, fish, beef, vegetables and more. Their burritos and quesadillas also pack a flavorful punch. Grab a side of guacamole and fries to share with your friends and you’ll end the evening on a high. Don’t forget that City Tacos closes at 9 p.m., so be sure to plan ahead and arrive early so you don’t miss out on an amazing dinner.

Monday morning after the gym: SunLife Organics

Monday mornings are easy to dread, but they’re also surprisingly easy to make the most of. First, hit the gym with your friends, making sure to laugh as much as you squat – CorePower Yoga and the USC Village Fitness Center are two hotspots for USC athletes and casual gym goers. After working up a sweat, head to SunLife for a breakfast shake or an acai bowl filled with fresh fruit, protein, and sweet toppings. Their beloved Hawaiian bowl will make your Monday morning feel like a vacation rather than the school week. Eat it outside and soak up the year-round California sunshine before spending the day in class or the library. After trying it once, you’ll make it a weekly tradition.

Wednesday Night Crisis: Il Giardino

Midweek Wednesday night, your spirits might be understandably low. Homework is starting to pile up and Friday night feels like years away. At this stage, there is only one remedy to cheer up: pasta. Carbohydrates work wonders and Il Giardino does not disappoint. Her pasta selections will have you feeling toasty warm before you have to read the books. With a menu that includes homemade gnocchi and vegan bolognese, you can’t go wrong. Invite your friends over to sympathize on your long to-do lists over a delicious bowl of tagliatelle, and when the bowl is empty, order the tiramisu to sweeten the night.

Homestyle Family Dinner: Honeybird

When the sun goes down and everyone’s home from work or school, there’s nothing quite like a rowdy dinner party with your family in your hometown. So when you’re homesick and miss those meals, gather your closest friends and create some of that magic for yourselves on campus. Go for Honeybird as your dinner spot. If you make sure to choose waffle fries and cookies as a side dish, along with a fan of fried chicken, that feeling of homesickness will disappear as soon as you take your first bites. After all, what could be more intimate than a fried chicken dinner?

College can be messy, exciting, and stressful, but USC Village offers great places to work out any situation. At least, that’s what I tell myself when my restaurant bill gets a little high. So visit these places or add them to your list of delicious USC Village foods that act as a culinary treatment plan for all those college bruises, burns, and cuts.

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