Wherever a syllabus is assembled and degrees are pursued, you can bet a restaurant will not be far away. The neighborhoods around our local hubs of higher learning have a tremendous diversity of dining options. What follows is a primer on some sure bets near New Orleans campuses, selected with a student budget in mind.
TULANE & LOYOLA UNIVERSITIES
The number of options around these two neighboring campuses can seem overwhelming, but it means you don't have to settle for the ordinary in any category.
For standout sandwiches, try Milk Bar (710 S. Carrollton Ave., 504-309-3310), a charmingly quirky shop where combinations like sliced lamb with hummus or sauteed shrimp and pesto are encased in big, crusty ciabatta rolls. At Maple Street Patisserie (7638 Maple St., 504-304-1526; www.maplestreetpatisserie.com) you can pick your bread from the selection baked on the premises, and at Breads on Oak (8640 Oak St., 504-324-5173; www.breadsonoak.com) there's a clear view of baking in progress just past the service counter, where grab-and-go baguette sandwiches make quick lunches. The late-night, walk-up stand Crepes a la Cart (1039 Broadway St., 504-866-2362; www.crepecaterer.com) will fill a hot, just-made crepe with anything from chicken cordon bleu to s'mores, whether it's high noon or the wee hours of the morning.
To see the latest twists on Vietnamese cuisine, visit Pho Bistreaux (1200 S. Carrollton Ave., 504-304-8334; www.phobistreaux.biz) for Vietnamese tacos and sliders or choose Ba Chi Canteen (7900 Maple St., 504-373-5628; www.facebook.com/bachicanteenla) for ever-evolving pan-Asian fusion specials, as well as traditional pho.
For extra credit, remember that on Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Crescent City Farmers Market (200 Broadway St., www.crescentcityfarmersmarket.org) sets up shop near campus and brings along its Green Plate Special, an inexpensive, to-go meal prepared by guest chefs using market produce. The guest for August is chef Ryan Hughes of the soon-to-open Purloo, a modern Southern restaurant.
Through a quirk of New Orleans restaurant distribution, the Xavier campus is ringed with Asian eateries. Five Happiness (3605 S. Carrollton Ave., 504-482-3935; www.fivehappiness.com) has an imperial decor and a huge menu, while the smaller Chinese Kitchen (3327 S. Carrollton Ave., 504-482-1122) a few blocks away has great bargains and a loyal following. The nearby Mikimoto Japanese Restaurant (3301 S. Carrollton Ave., 504-488-1881; www.mikimotosushi.com) runs one of the most robust take-out and delivery operations around (it also has a drive-through window for sushi on the go), while the new Asuka Sushi & Hibachi (7912 Earhart Blvd., 504-862-5555; www.asukaneworleans.com) has good lunch specials from the sushi bar and the grill.
On the other side of campus, the sandwiches, fresh breads and tempting sweets at Gracious Bakery + Cafe (1000 S. Jefferson Davis Parkway, 504-301-3709; www.graciousbakery.com) are close at hand, while across Washington Avenue, C&A Seafood (1429 Jefferson Davis Pkwy., 504-822-8497) has boiled shrimp and crabs, po-boys and gumbo and – wouldn't you know it? – Chinese food.
DELGADO COMMUNITY COLLEGE
The vintage Bud's Broiler (500 City Park Ave., 504-486-2559; www.budsbroiler.com) directly across from campus is the original location of this beloved local burger chain, where you order by the numbers (No. 4, please, with grated cheddar and hickory sauce). Provided you're of age to enter a bar, you also can get an acclaimed burger at the nearby Beachcorner (4905 Canal St., 504-488-7357; www.beachcornerbarandgrill.com), and The Bulldog tavern (5135 Canal Blvd., 504-488-4191; www.draftfreak.com) serves burgers and solid bar food by the beer taps or on its patio.
For an offbeat lunchtime retreat, head into City Park. There's the Morning Call Coffee Stand (Casino building, 56 Dreyfous Drive, 504-300-1157; www.morningcallcoffeestand.com), serving jambalaya and red beans along with its famous cafe au lait and beignets. And inside the New Orleans Museum of Art, you'll find sandwiches, flatbread pizza and salads at Cafe NOMA (1 Diboll Circle, 504-482-1264; www.cafenoma.org). Museum admission is not required for the restaurant.
UNIVERSITY OF NEW ORLEANS
The Gentilly neighborhood leading to the University of New Orleans' (UNO) lakefront campus is dotted with good eats, provided you know where to look.
Exhibit A is The Munch Factory (6325 Elysian Fields Ave., 504-324-5372; www.themunchfactory.net), which combines comfort food (Buffalo shrimp, potato skins) with Creole classics (shrimp remoulade, blackened redfish). Sassafras Creole & Seafood Restaurant (2501 Leon C. Simon Blvd., 504-288-3939; www.sassafrasnola.com) keeps things more trad-itional, with stuffed peppers, smothered okra and a Creole gumbo packed tighter than a freshman course load.
Deeper in the neighborhood, Fleury Of Wings (5325 Franklin Ave., 504-302-9675) is a small, family-run wing shop with a huge array of sauces. And there's Zimmer's Seafood (4915 St. Anthony Ave., 504-282-7150), a combination market and sandwich shop with great marinated crab salad and shrimp po-boys on bread from the traditional Italian bakery next door.
Finding good food around Dillard takes more digging, but it's there. McKenzie's Chicken-In-A-Box (3839 Frenchmen St., 504-943-8908), for instance, formerly was a combination bakery and fried chicken take-out joint and now operates solely as a take-out restaurant for items like fried chicken, po-boys, ribs, fried fish and pork chop plates, while its neighbor, Riteway Soul Food (3044 Gentilly Blvd., 504-949-6000), lives up to its name with home-style plate lunches and po-boys. A block away, Bar-B-Q Kings (2164 Milton St., 504-949-2210) serves old-school New Orleans barbecue, with an emphasis on sweet, thick sauce and a specialty in beef ribs the size of tomahawks.
If you can venture a little farther from campus, try Sammy's Food Service and Deli (3000 Elysian Fields Ave., 504-947-0675; www.sammysfood.com) for massive burgers and first-rate po-boys. The Ray Ray combines fried chicken with ham and Swiss and has won honors twice at the Oak Street Po-boy Festival.