When you need to debrief hours of weekend drama with your best friends on a Sunday morning:
With an authentic American diner feel, Village Deli is the breakfast place of my dreams, with so many delicious items on the menu it’s nearly impossible to choose what to get. They are well-known for their “COLOSSAL, HUGE, GIGANTIC” pancakes — as described on their menu, but also have plenty of other options whether you are super hungry, just looking for a light bite or prefer something on the savory side.
When your parents are visiting and you’re sick of dining hall food:
Lennie’s is conveniently tucked away on Kirkwood just in front of the Sample Gates. I recommend the Pesto Garlic Penne — get the large so you can bring back leftovers. The tri-color chips and queso make a delicious appetizer as well.
When you just finished three exams in a row and are nearly burning out:
Siam House is a reliable spot for large portions, quick service and delicious food. It is hard to go wrong on their menu — this is many students’ go-to place for a reason. If you’re a spice lover — or not — you’re in luck, as they let you choose yours all the way from mild to “thai hot.”
When you want to celebrate a special occasion:
I just went here for the first time recently, and I can say with confidence that it is a must-try for anyone who finds themselves in Bloomington. Be sure to call for a reservation ahead of time, as they can get busy. With authentic Italian offerings, their menu is both comforting and classy, making it the perfect destination to celebrate a birthday, anniversary or anything in between. You might leave with stubborn garlic breath, but I promise it is worth it.
When you’re exhausted after a game day and haven’t eaten for hours:
Taste of India
Taste of India has generous portions of addictive food, and I have never left without my stomach being just a bit too full. If you’re bored of monotonous dining hall food and want to try something decadent and flavorful, this is absolutely the place to go.
Mother Bear’s Pizza
Mother Bear’s has a deliciously soft and fluffy crust, and I feel more excited for every slice I eat. The writing all over the booths and the walls attests to their popularity with people from Bloomington and beyond — for a good reason. The atmosphere is chill and comfortable, with extremely friendly staff and an ever-present energy of love and laughter in the air.
When your high school friend is visiting and you need to take them to brunch spot that will convince them Bloomington is the best college town in the U.S.:
The atmosphere inside this restaurant is unmatched, and it is clear why every person I know who graduated from IU over 20 years ago recommended this place to me before anywhere else. Old books and eclectic knicknacks line every inch of the walls, giving it a cozy and quirky feel. Whether you’re a savory breakfast lover — or have a sweet tooth — Runcible Spoon has something for everyone — from giant pancakes to eggs benedict. For those who love a bit of everything, I am loyal to their Weekender platter, which comes with eggs, toast and your choice of two sides.
When you just got back from a night out:
Goodfellas Pizzeria or Pizza X
You cannot go wrong with either of these places when it is late at night and you’ll eat anything. If you prefer a New York style pizza, Goodfellas Pizzeria has your back — offering both slices and pies in addition to boasting a convenient Kirkwood Avenue location. Pizza X is open into the wee hours on weekends and their wide range of toppings, sauces and fluffy breadsticks are sure to satisfy when you need it most.
When it’s Sunday night and you’re still coming to terms with the fact that you have class tomorrow:
The salsa here is the best I’ve had in Bloomington, and each person even gets their own individual bowl for dipping. If that’s not reason enough to try it, the chips that come with it are always warm and fresh. If you miraculously don’t accidentally fill your entire stomach eating the chips and salsa, their menu offerings are vast, with everything from fajita nachos to an entire vegetarian section.