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A bowl from Cava Grill.
Cava Grill
Cava Grill

Where to Eat Around USC and the LA Coliseum

The essential spots to dine on or near campus

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Cava Grill
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The University Park area has some notable dining gems that are worth checking out, whether one is a student branching outside of the dining halls, a faculty member on a quick break, or a visitor looking for a bite to eat. Trojans and alumni alike will attest that there is a breadth of reliable, tried-and-true eateries just a short distance from campus. The USC Village, in particular, has a diverse offering of spots that are bound to satisfy cravings, featuring options for a sweet treat, a healthy lunch, tacos, or a happy hour cocktail.

Below are the standout food destinations on or near the USC campus.

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Ebaes is a hip spot a few blocks away from campus that serves an array of inventive Japanese-inspired dishes, including small plates, ramen bowls, and sushi rolls. The signature Thai-style ramen is made with coconut milk, which results in an ultra-creamy broth. Past the heavy wooden door is a dimly lit interior that feels more like a local pub, complete with bold decor and eclectic, colorful artwork. Definitely take advantage of daily happy hour deals between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., and visit on the first of the month for $7 ramen.

Bowls of ramen from Ebaes.
Ebaes.
Ebaes

Jacks N Joe

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For fans of all-day breakfast, look no further than Jacks N Joe. Though the small, diner-esque spot offers a variety of brunch options including omelets, breakfast plates, and sandwiches, the pancakes — known here as flapjacks — reign supreme. The warm and fluffy hotcakes are elevated with decadent toppings like lemon butter, cinnamon apples, and crumbled Oreos, and they pair especially well with a cup of the house roast coffee.

Pancakes from Jacks N Joe.
Jacks N Joe.
Jacks N Joe

Dirt Dog Inc.

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Despite its not-so-appetizing name, Dirt Dog nails it with creative and hefty takes on the classic hot dog. Each version starts with a bacon-wrapped Nathan’s frank in a toasted bun that is then loaded up with toppings and sauces. The House Dog is the restaurant’s signature and comes with grilled veggies, house spread, mayo, mustard, ketchup, and bacon bits. Make sure to try the fries, which are coated in a chili-lime seasoning and also come in various renditions, including an elite-inspired version.

Hot dogs from Dirt Dog.
Dirt Dog.
Dirt Dog

Northern Cafe

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Northern Cafe is the spot for those in the mood for a dumpling feast close to campus. Definitely try an assortment of the xiao long bao, potstickers, and spicy wontons. The beef roll pancake and scallion pancake are standout shareable bites, and the beef noodle soups come with ultra-tender meat and a soothing, umami broth. Northern Cafe also serves a variety of Chinese and Taiwanese classic wok-fired dishes, including a favorite of Sichuan cuisine — the Chongqing crispy chicken.

Noodles from Northern Cafe.
Northern Cafe.
Northern Cafe

Himalayan House

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For top-notch Indian and Nepalese food near campus, Himalayan House is the obvious choice. Though the restaurant’s exterior appears small and unassuming, the menu is quite the opposite, as it boasts a wide array of classic Indian dishes like chicken tikka masala and garlic naan, as well as steamed momo dumplings. The mixed tandoori platter is a stellar choice for those who want to dabble in an array of flavorful protein options, while the yak meat is also worth a try for those feeling adventurous.

A thali from Himalayan House.
Himalayan House.
Himalayan House

Cafe Dulce (USC Village)

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Swing by Dulce to satisfy any sweet tooth or caffeine craving. The cafe and bakery specializes in coffee drinks and a variety of unique baked goods, ranging from roti buns and baguettes to brick toast and doughnuts. Green tea and bacon doughnuts are two of the most popular flavors, and they make for a great accompaniment to the drinks. The milk teas are a hit, along with the blueberry matcha and Vietnamese-style iced coffee.

Doughnuts from Cafe Dulce.
Cafe Dulce.
Cafe Dulce

Kobunga

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Kobunga is a fast-casual Korean barbecue operation that serves up hearty and filling lunch plates. Each comes with a base, protein, and two sides, and diners can opt for one of the restaurant’s signature plates or build their own. The meats include short ribs, bulgogi, pork belly, and chicken, but Kobunga is also a solid spot for vegans, as they also have a soft tofu option and all of the sides are plant-based.

A variety of dishes from Kobunga.
Kobunga.
Kobunga

Honeybird

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Another gem in the USC Village, Honeybird serves Southern comfort food, with golden fried chicken as the star of the show. The chicken is hormone-free and brined for 28 hours in Honeybird’s herb and spice mix. The garlic mashed potatoes, collard greens, and macaroni salad make worthy sides to the mixed chicken meals, while the fried chicken sandwiches come with pimento cheese, slaw, tomato, and pickled chilies. Make sure to grab a slice of homemade pie to finish off the meal.

A range of dishes from Honeybird.
Honeybird.
Honeybird

Greenleaf Kitchen & Cocktails

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For a healthy fast-casual option at the USC Village, Greenleaf makes a solid choice. The restaurant prioritizes sourcing local and natural ingredients for its hearty bowls, salads, sandwiches, and plates. The biggest appeals of Greenleaf include its innovative, refreshing cocktail menu, seasonal specials, and all-day breakfast items. Visit during happy hours on weekdays between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. for the best deals on drinks and small bites.

A salmon and salad plate from Greenleaf Kitchen & Cocktails.
Greenleaf Kitchen & Cocktails.
Greenleaf Kitchen & Cocktails

Rock & Reilly's USC Village

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Rock & Reilly’s brings the spirit of a modern Irish pub to the USC Village. The atmosphere teeters between lively and laid back, depending on when one visits and what game is playing. But the food and drinks are consistently decent. Appetizers like the fried pickles and sliders are a great accompaniment to the beers on tap, and one can’t go wrong with the burgers. Tuesday is the preferred night to stop by for those looking to get a fix of trivia or a good deal on tacos.

Burgers, fries, and more from Rock & Reilly’s USC Village.
Rock & Reilly’s USC Village.
Rock & Reilly’s USC Village

Cava Grill

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Serving simple but vibrant Mediterranean food, Cava is conveniently located at the USC Village. Diners can opt for one of the chain’s grain bowls, pitas, salads, or build-your-own options. The ingredients here are fresh and packed with flavor, and the options are plentiful. Cava doesn’t skimp out on the portions, so make sure to go all out on the toppings and try the hummus and tzatziki.

A bowl from Cava Grill.
Cava Grill.
Cava Grill

The Lab Gastropub

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The Lab Gastropub is a science-themed bar located right by the campus and a dependable pit stop for some grub before or after a USC football game. Indulge in one of the restaurant’s hefty burgers or enjoy shareable bites like wings, fries, or pita chips and spinach dip with a group of friends. The patio is the optimal spot to sip on a cocktail and draft beer on tap, though it can get quite crowded here on weekend evenings.

From the team behind Chichen Itza is another standout Mexican food stand inside the Mercado la Paloma marketplace. Holbox serves simple seafood classics that call to mind the coastal regions of Mexico. The tacos and ceviches are absolute must-order dishes, while the oysters are also incredibly fresh. Despite the casual food hall setting, Holbox also hosts a weekly 8-course tasting menu dinners on Thursdays and Fridays.

Colorful uni-topped ceviche tostada on a white plate with colorful tablecloth at Holbox.
Colorful uni-topped ceviche tostada at Holbox.
Farley Elliott

Chichen Itza Restaurant

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Family-owned Mexican eatery Chichen Itza has been surviving Yucatan-style Mexican dishes since 2001. The stall, located in the Mercado La Paloma community marketplace, is just a short walk from campus. One can’t go wrong with the cochinita pibil — juicy, shredded pork marinated in achiote, sour orange juice, and spices before it’s cooked in banana leaves. Proceed with caution with the habanero hot sauce; though it’s a great accompaniment to the tacos, it definitely packs a punch.

A dish from Chichen Itza.
Chichen Itza.
Chichen Itza

Ebaes

Ebaes is a hip spot a few blocks away from campus that serves an array of inventive Japanese-inspired dishes, including small plates, ramen bowls, and sushi rolls. The signature Thai-style ramen is made with coconut milk, which results in an ultra-creamy broth. Past the heavy wooden door is a dimly lit interior that feels more like a local pub, complete with bold decor and eclectic, colorful artwork. Definitely take advantage of daily happy hour deals between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., and visit on the first of the month for $7 ramen.

Bowls of ramen from Ebaes.
Ebaes.
Ebaes

Jacks N Joe

For fans of all-day breakfast, look no further than Jacks N Joe. Though the small, diner-esque spot offers a variety of brunch options including omelets, breakfast plates, and sandwiches, the pancakes — known here as flapjacks — reign supreme. The warm and fluffy hotcakes are elevated with decadent toppings like lemon butter, cinnamon apples, and crumbled Oreos, and they pair especially well with a cup of the house roast coffee.

Pancakes from Jacks N Joe.
Jacks N Joe.
Jacks N Joe

Dirt Dog Inc.

Despite its not-so-appetizing name, Dirt Dog nails it with creative and hefty takes on the classic hot dog. Each version starts with a bacon-wrapped Nathan’s frank in a toasted bun that is then loaded up with toppings and sauces. The House Dog is the restaurant’s signature and comes with grilled veggies, house spread, mayo, mustard, ketchup, and bacon bits. Make sure to try the fries, which are coated in a chili-lime seasoning and also come in various renditions, including an elite-inspired version.

Hot dogs from Dirt Dog.
Dirt Dog.
Dirt Dog

Northern Cafe

Northern Cafe is the spot for those in the mood for a dumpling feast close to campus. Definitely try an assortment of the xiao long bao, potstickers, and spicy wontons. The beef roll pancake and scallion pancake are standout shareable bites, and the beef noodle soups come with ultra-tender meat and a soothing, umami broth. Northern Cafe also serves a variety of Chinese and Taiwanese classic wok-fired dishes, including a favorite of Sichuan cuisine — the Chongqing crispy chicken.

Noodles from Northern Cafe.
Northern Cafe.
Northern Cafe

Himalayan House

For top-notch Indian and Nepalese food near campus, Himalayan House is the obvious choice. Though the restaurant’s exterior appears small and unassuming, the menu is quite the opposite, as it boasts a wide array of classic Indian dishes like chicken tikka masala and garlic naan, as well as steamed momo dumplings. The mixed tandoori platter is a stellar choice for those who want to dabble in an array of flavorful protein options, while the yak meat is also worth a try for those feeling adventurous.

A thali from Himalayan House.
Himalayan House.
Himalayan House

Cafe Dulce (USC Village)

Swing by Dulce to satisfy any sweet tooth or caffeine craving. The cafe and bakery specializes in coffee drinks and a variety of unique baked goods, ranging from roti buns and baguettes to brick toast and doughnuts. Green tea and bacon doughnuts are two of the most popular flavors, and they make for a great accompaniment to the drinks. The milk teas are a hit, along with the blueberry matcha and Vietnamese-style iced coffee.

Doughnuts from Cafe Dulce.
Cafe Dulce.
Cafe Dulce

Kobunga

Kobunga is a fast-casual Korean barbecue operation that serves up hearty and filling lunch plates. Each comes with a base, protein, and two sides, and diners can opt for one of the restaurant’s signature plates or build their own. The meats include short ribs, bulgogi, pork belly, and chicken, but Kobunga is also a solid spot for vegans, as they also have a soft tofu option and all of the sides are plant-based.

A variety of dishes from Kobunga.
Kobunga.
Kobunga

Honeybird

Another gem in the USC Village, Honeybird serves Southern comfort food, with golden fried chicken as the star of the show. The chicken is hormone-free and brined for 28 hours in Honeybird’s herb and spice mix. The garlic mashed potatoes, collard greens, and macaroni salad make worthy sides to the mixed chicken meals, while the fried chicken sandwiches come with pimento cheese, slaw, tomato, and pickled chilies. Make sure to grab a slice of homemade pie to finish off the meal.

A range of dishes from Honeybird.
Honeybird.
Honeybird

Greenleaf Kitchen & Cocktails

For a healthy fast-casual option at the USC Village, Greenleaf makes a solid choice. The restaurant prioritizes sourcing local and natural ingredients for its hearty bowls, salads, sandwiches, and plates. The biggest appeals of Greenleaf include its innovative, refreshing cocktail menu, seasonal specials, and all-day breakfast items. Visit during happy hours on weekdays between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. for the best deals on drinks and small bites.

A salmon and salad plate from Greenleaf Kitchen & Cocktails.
Greenleaf Kitchen & Cocktails.
Greenleaf Kitchen & Cocktails

Rock & Reilly's USC Village

Rock & Reilly’s brings the spirit of a modern Irish pub to the USC Village. The atmosphere teeters between lively and laid back, depending on when one visits and what game is playing. But the food and drinks are consistently decent. Appetizers like the fried pickles and sliders are a great accompaniment to the beers on tap, and one can’t go wrong with the burgers. Tuesday is the preferred night to stop by for those looking to get a fix of trivia or a good deal on tacos.

Burgers, fries, and more from Rock & Reilly’s USC Village.
Rock & Reilly’s USC Village.
Rock & Reilly’s USC Village

Cava Grill

Serving simple but vibrant Mediterranean food, Cava is conveniently located at the USC Village. Diners can opt for one of the chain’s grain bowls, pitas, salads, or build-your-own options. The ingredients here are fresh and packed with flavor, and the options are plentiful. Cava doesn’t skimp out on the portions, so make sure to go all out on the toppings and try the hummus and tzatziki.

A bowl from Cava Grill.
Cava Grill.
Cava Grill

The Lab Gastropub

The Lab Gastropub is a science-themed bar located right by the campus and a dependable pit stop for some grub before or after a USC football game. Indulge in one of the restaurant’s hefty burgers or enjoy shareable bites like wings, fries, or pita chips and spinach dip with a group of friends. The patio is the optimal spot to sip on a cocktail and draft beer on tap, though it can get quite crowded here on weekend evenings.

Holbox

From the team behind Chichen Itza is another standout Mexican food stand inside the Mercado la Paloma marketplace. Holbox serves simple seafood classics that call to mind the coastal regions of Mexico. The tacos and ceviches are absolute must-order dishes, while the oysters are also incredibly fresh. Despite the casual food hall setting, Holbox also hosts a weekly 8-course tasting menu dinners on Thursdays and Fridays.

Colorful uni-topped ceviche tostada on a white plate with colorful tablecloth at Holbox.
Colorful uni-topped ceviche tostada at Holbox.
Farley Elliott

Chichen Itza Restaurant

Family-owned Mexican eatery Chichen Itza has been surviving Yucatan-style Mexican dishes since 2001. The stall, located in the Mercado La Paloma community marketplace, is just a short walk from campus. One can’t go wrong with the cochinita pibil — juicy, shredded pork marinated in achiote, sour orange juice, and spices before it’s cooked in banana leaves. Proceed with caution with the habanero hot sauce; though it’s a great accompaniment to the tacos, it definitely packs a punch.

A dish from Chichen Itza.
Chichen Itza.
Chichen Itza

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