Banana Leaf Thai Cuisine (recommended by @azeeem.f on Instagram)

If you ever need a homey, laid-back space where you can eat your weight in spicy curry, Banana Leaf Thai Cuisine is the place for you. Located about 13 minutes from campus, this restaurant offers a variety of options, from rice to soups to noodles and more. There are several protein options available too, including tofu and veggies for any vegetarian readers out there. You can even order your dish according to your spice preference on a range from zero to five. There’s something for everyone at Banana Leaf. I ordered the yellow curry with chicken ($13.99), which smelled incredible before it even hit the table. The sauce was creamy and smooth, and the portions here are so generous that I had to take some home. (I am so pumped for those leftovers.) The fried bananas with honey ($4.99) were huge too, so definitely share them with friends! I tend to prefer desserts packed with sugar, but if you like a lighter flavor, the fried bananas may be right up your alley. And finally, be sure to drink in the comforting atmosphere while you eat. The restaurant has a mostly dark color scheme and, combined with the rainy day, I felt like I could relax and doze off surrounded by delicious food.

This hidden gem is well worth your time, and I’m sure I’ll be heading back soon.

Asian Mint (recommended by @ava_castillo15 on Instagram)

While Asian Mint isn’t an everyday sort of restaurant, it may just be the place for your next date night or night out with friends. About eight minutes from campus, Asian Mint label themselves as a fusion restaurant, but the menu is mostly Thai based. The main draw here is really the décor; there are adorable string lights over the patio, the inside seating is luxurious, and everything follows a cohesive white and green theme. Appropriately, I also found myself compulsively saying “cute” out loud every time a new dish was brought out because the plating is so pretty. I absolutely had to get the Mango Mint mocktail ($5.95) with mint leaves, mango puree and green tea. Even as someone who doesn’t normally like tea, I drank the whole thing. There’s also a Lychee Ginger mocktail on the menu if mango isn’t your thing. The summer rolls ($6.45) were light and refreshing, with a super tasty peanut sauce on the side. It was a pretty big plate, so you can share them with your friends. The star of the show for me was the spicy Tom Yum soup ($10.00). The broth is tangy and very spicy, just how I like it. I could eat this soup for a week straight. I only wish it came with more vegetables.

While I was able to get an amazing soup for only ten dollars, do keep in mind that most entrees at Asian Mint range between $13 and $17, and seafood dishes can go even higher. This isn’t meant to discourage you, just something to remember when you check it out.

For the Instagram girlies who need a new photo spot, consider trying Asian Mint.