The best places to eat around the University of Minnesota for less than $10

Two orders of sushi sit on a table at Mango Factory on Sept. 26, 2016. The restaurant, located on West Bank, serves affordable sushi, desserts and beverages.

Maddy Fox

Two orders of sushi sit on a table at Mango Factory on Sept. 26, 2016. The restaurant, located on West Bank, serves affordable sushi, desserts and beverages.

This is where you insert some cliché about how all college students are broke. You’ll say tea and instant ramen soup run through your veins — then follow swiftly with general praise for free food and dining halls.

The truth is, most college students can afford to eat out every once in a while. The problem is that they have no idea what food is the cheapest until they’re face-to-face with an impatient waitress in a crowded dining room.

If you’re like me and most college students, a food’s taste is directly correlated with how much it costs. That’s why there’s this list. The goal is to balance price — everything here is under $10 — with taste.

Pho at Bona Vietnamese Restaurant

I was reluctant to try Bona. Hordes of hyper-liberal yuppies have told me their pho is both “traditional” and “liberating.”

Vietnamese is the best, but I don’t usually like Asian-style soups — especially when people act like the food is profound.

Pho is a traditional beef broth noodle soup. Bona has seafood, chicken, beef and veggie options and every bowl comes with a plate of garnishes like green onions and bean sprouts. The best part? The amount of soup you get for $8 could fit snugly in one of those oversized gas station soda cups.

I’m actually salivating as I write this — just at the thought of getting another bowl.


Sushi at Mango Factory

Mango Factory is Cedar-Riverside’s premier cheap sushi spot. It might be a trek depending on how close to the University you live, but it’s well worth it.

Mango has all of the typical sushi rolls and sashimi combos you’d expect from a mid-range sushi bar. In addition, they have different ramen and noodle soups — all fall at the $10 marker.

The best time to go is for their weekday lunch special which includes two rolls and a bowl of miso soup for $8.95. Otherwise, go buy a Groupon and eat ’til your little stomach explodes.


Everything at Wally’s Falafel & Hummus

I’ve plugged Wally’s too many times to count. Everyone knows it’s a Dinkytown landmark. Eating there is essentially a requirement for every University student.

With this being said, I’ll keep it brief. Wally’s has sandwiches, dumplings and platters. They even have substantial meal deals for parties of two or four. I guarantee you’ll spend less than $10.

Wally’s is the restaurant I’ve frequented the most since moving to Minneapolis. They have a great variety, and it’s possible to eat there every week without going broke. Plus, they have the best falafel.