10 best college towns for foodies, according to OpenTable

If you're already planning for your parents' weekend for the fall semester, we've got you covered.

Just in time for the back-to-school season, OpenTable has released its 2019 ranking of the Best College Towns for Foodies. And no matter if your child is only just starting their college experience or is heading back for their final year, there's nothing more essential to a visit from the 'rents than a good meal. 

Best college towns for foodies
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Best college towns for foodies
Whether you're a seafood lover or a strict carnivore, let OpenTable's list of Best College Towns for Foodies guide your stomach this semester! Scroll through to see what made the reservation platform's cut, and where you should eat in each city. 

10. Dallas, Texas

"You may think steak when you think Dallas and you wouldn’t be wrong. We’re sure attendees at Southern Methodist, Dallas Baptist University, and the University of Dallas regularly dig into all the meats. But there are spots aplenty (157, to be precise) that serve something different to satisfy hardcore foodies, like Uchi, the ultra-hot contemporary Japanese foodie magnet that showcases chef Tyson Cole’s signature plates plus an inventive menu from chef de cuisine Alex Astranti that changes four times a year."

9. Seattle, Washington

"UDub (a.k.a. the University of Washington) and neighboring colleges Seattle University and Seattle Pacific, are all hot higher-education magnets. However, with 174 restaurants deemed fit for foodies, such as executive chef Stuart Lane’s new-ish Spinasse, which has quickly become a house of worship for pasta lovers of all denominations, we like to think students come to this city to satisfy their appetites for crave-able cuisine."

8. Houston, Texas

"Houston students at Rice University, University of Houston, and Houston Baptist University, you don’t have a problem when it comes to discovering terrific eats, thanks to places like Weights and Measures, a casual bar, bakery, and restaurant from chefs Richard Kaplan and Fernando Rios that was one of Houston Chronicle’s 100 best restaurants in 2018 (#18!) that serves American and Italian dishes; Scratch that; perhaps you do: there are an impressive 174 other restaurants designated as fit for foodies from which to choose."

7. Atlanta, Georgia

"To fuel up after studying, attendees at Emory, Georgia Institute of Technology, and the University of Georgia can put some south in their mouths at 181 foodie-approved establishments, like The Optimist from popular chef-restaurateur Ford Fry, which serves fresh seafood and a killer lobster roll that is already legendary."

6. Los Angeles, California

"Out-of-state students alike may come here a stellar education (and perhaps a bit of sunshine) at UCLA, the University of Southern California, and Pepperdine, but they also know they can enjoy fresh fare across a melting pot of cuisines that delight foodies, such as Nancy Silverton’s Michelin-starred Osteria Mozza, which is one of 181 restaurants on the list, and features a greatest hits menu Angelenos can recite by heart."

5. Boston, Massachusetts

"The Cradle of Liberty is also the cradle to some of the nation’s greatest dining, like chef-partner Tony Messina’s revered Japanese fusion seafood spot Uni, with 206 restaurants serving avid eaters at Boston College, Boston University, and the University of Massachusetts."

4. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"Students at colleges including University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State-University Park, and Villanova and their in- and out-of-town guests have an array of cutting-edge eateries from which to choose. There’s ingredient-driven Serpico from namesake chef Peter Serpico and James Beard Award-winning restaurateur Stephen Starr, and 222 additional places fitting the bill."

3. Washington, D.C.

"Politicos aren’t the only ones who like to eat well. Attendees of Georgetown, Howard University, and The George Washington University have easy access to restaurants serving creative cuisine, like Victor Albisu’s Poca Madre, which specializes in flavor-bomb upscale Mexican and is one of 258 top spots."

2. Chicago, Illinois

"The Windy City boasts top schools like Northwestern, the University of Chicago, and University of Illinois-Champaign, and the city and its ‘burbs have established and hot dining destinations, like chef Dave Park and Jennifer Tran’s imaginative contemporary Korean newbie hit Jeong, among its 362 foodie-friendly restaurants."

1. New York, New York

"It’s no secret that the greater New York area is home to some of the world’s best dining – which works out well for attendees of schools like New York University, Columbia, and neighboring Princeton. It’s got a whopping 983 restaurants, such as produce palace Loring Place from veggie-loving chef Dan Kluger, deemed Fit for Foodies (and it’s this close to NYU’s Greenwich Village campus)."


The annual list was generated from diner reviews collected over the past year, whether that be for a Michelin-star restaurant or local hole-in-the-wall gem. Restaurants that had a certain amount of reservations were considered a "foodie" restaurant, which were then aggregated into the list of cities that made OpenTable's cut. 

Scroll through above to see the top ten cities that made the ranking, and see the entire list here.

RELATED: Check out more of these popular cities for food lovers 

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