Everyone knows about Lemonade, Seeds, Panda Express and California Pizza Kitchen in Campus Center. Located in the center of campus, these dining options are arguably the most popular places to grab lunch at USC. When 12:30 p.m. rolls around, you can almost guarantee that any of these places will have lines out the door. However, there are several other gems on campus that can certainly compete despite being more low-key and out of the way. Below are five underrated places that you should check out the next time you’re hungry:
1) Tutor Hall Café: I didn’t even know this café existed until my junior year, when my friend showed me a tasty Vietnamese sub he got from Tutor Hall. Tucked in the southeast side of campus, this spot is convenient (for engineering majors especially) because it’s rarely crowded and the service is fast. If you want to grab something quick between classes, you can score a delicious lemongrass chicken Banh Mi sandwich for around $5.
Address: 3710 S. McClintock Ave. (located in Viterbi)
2) Popovich Café: The best thing about Popovich Café is the generous portions. In my experience, you can get a very fresh and filling salad for a solid $8. Sure, you could probably make your own salad for way cheaper, but other places in L.A. will charge you up to $14. Last but not least, there’s also a Jamba Juice machine as well as a Peet’s Coffee and Tea brewery, for those who want an extra boost of energy in the middle of the day.
Address: 611 Exposition Blvd. (across from the Alumni House)
3) Literatea: This coffee shop is the coziest spot to study on campus. With all the gloominess and rain this past week, I was in Literatea curled up with a book and a cup of joe. My favorite drink there is the Chado tea, which is served in a pot with China teacups. Besides coffee and tea, Literatea also has a small food menu with a selection of snacks and pastries. Pro tip: Dip one of their scones in a delicious handcrafted mocha when you’re feeling especially indulgent. With the peaceful ambiance and a sweet treat in hand, you’ll be in heaven.
Address: 3550 Trousdale Pkwy (behind Doheny Library)
4) Law School Café: To be honest, I only come here for the boba because being able to get a quick boba fix is crucial on a hot day. When I’m craving something cold and refreshing, I don’t want to venture all the way to Cup of Joy or Volcano on Figueroa just for pearl milk tea. The only place on campus that serves boba drinks, the Law School Café is enough to help me hit the spot. However, my friends who frequent this place,also claim that it has great chicken lettuce wraps.
Address: 699 Exposition Blvd. (located in basement of Gould School of Law)
5) West Annenberg Café: Annenberg can actually get pretty busy during lunch hours, but when it’s not crowded, I love studying and eating at the high table across from the cashier. So far, I’ve tried the Iced Cappuchino Tempesta and the Alfogato, and they have both been pretty tasty. If you want a break from Starbucks, I highly recommend these two drinks
Address: 3612-3624 Watt Way (located on the first floor of Annenberg Hall)