UCI: A Foodie's Dream School!
$2 Boba Sales - If you don’t know, now you know. If you attend UCI, you probably have developed a boba obsession, or know someone obsessed with boba. Also called “bubble tea,” boba is a staple to survival at UCI, and we are surrounded by these beautiful drinks. Buzzfeed’s “Worth It” guys Steven, Adam, and Andrew even did an informal boba “Worth It” while giving a guest talk on campus! UCI is also notorious for good eats, offering five star restaurants right across the street in close proximity at University Town Center. These five star restaurants include college essentials like In-N-Out, Chick-Fil-A, Chipotle, Taco Bell, and Jack-in-the-Box. But those restaurants don’t stand alone; so, this blog post will be a list of UCI students’ top boba shops and eateries!
7 Leaves (5.5 mi)
Voted most “Worth It” by the official Buzzfeed guys themselves, most UCI students will wholeheartedly agree that 7 Leaves is the best boba in town. Make sure you grab a punch card, as lines get long with students during finals week for 7 Leaves’ famous house coffee.
85 Degree Bakery (4 mi)
This Taiwanese bakery offers incredibly cheap breads and pastries, but their boba is also notable. Enjoy their sea cream jasmine tea with boba and egg tarts to kick off your year!
Cha for Tea (0.2 mi)
A UCI staple and classic, this boba shop is conveniently located right across the street from campus. It is the site for many student fundraisers and small eats like sweet potato fries and popcorn chicken. Their almond milk tea boba is their most popular drink, but it isn’t necessarily the boba that sets this apart - its location is impeccable for first dates, hall hangouts, and student discounts!
Almond Haus (12 mi)
Lactose intolerant? No problem! Almond Haus specializes in all things plant-based!
$2 Boba on Ring Road (0.0 mi - 1.3 mi)
10 minutes between classes and you’re running from Bio Sci to Social Sciences. The sun is blazing, and even though you’re scootering, you feel like you have been walking through the desert with no food or water for 3 days. Suddenly, you spot it: a $2 boba sale. They accept venmo. Dreams do come true.
OR your friend from PUSO shamed you into buying a cup. Support campus clubs!!!
In-N-Out (0.2 mi)
Ah, a California staple. Located right across the street, the smell of In-N-Out permeates the cold night. What would late nights be without trips to In-N-Out? This holy site will always be there for you - unless it’s after 1:30AM. Then you’ve got to trek all the way to Jack in the Box (open 24 hours) or Taco Bell (open until 2AM).
Seaside Donuts Bakery (7 mi)
Speaking of late night trips, UCI students go crazy for Seaside Bakery, which is open 24 hours and is located right on the beach next to the Balboa Pier. Their famous blueberry donuts, ham and cheese stuffed croissants, and large crowds at 3am are part of the UCI initiation.
Banzai Bowls (6 mi)
Acai bowls are the best way to detox your body after a late night at Seaside. With a location conveniently located right on Newport Beach, your Instagram will thank you.
BCD Tofu House (4 mi)
BCD is true Korean soul food - located just down the street in the famous Diamond Jamboree, the hot tofu soup with an egg and endless bonchan (side dishes) is the best for bonding. Again, this staple is open late into the night until 2AM.
Raising Cane’s (6 mi)
Fried chicken, fries, and thick buttery texas toast? Treat yourself!
All That Barbeque (5 mi)
All you can eat kbbq is the move - grab your meat-loving friends and get to work!
CocoIchibanya (4 mi)
Although simple, this restaurant serves hot, spicy Japanese curry with rice. You can order your curry with dumplings, chicken katsu, or vegetables, and can sop up the remaining curry with garlic naan!
Le Diplomate (0.2 mi)
If you’re looking for a quick lunch break, you’ve got a friend in Le Dip. Specializing in baguette sandwiches and creamy garlic sauce, it is a very cheap, closeby, and delicious option; but if you’re on a date, go easy on the garlic sauce!
Oaxaca Taco Truck (Location Varies, but Santa Ana streets)
Taco Tuesday just became taco everyday. Open 8PM until 3AM, authentic tacos are located on street corners in Santa Ana. With a full salsa and topping bar, these tacos are meant to be eaten on the sidewalk with friends, standing, or in your car. This place is cash only!
Hironori Craft Ramen (2.2 mi)
Want to get ramen, but have a vegetarian or vegan friend? No worries - this shop offers the meaty, flavorful ramen broth you’re used to, but is also inclusive with a delicious vegan ramen option. In my opinion, the vegan ramen is even better than its meat counterparts.
These have been my favorite, go-to places around UCI for the last three years, so I hope you all enjoy them as much as I do. However, this list does not even touch how many food places there are to explore around UCI - if you’re a true foodie looking to apply to colleges, the food scene here is endless!