San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Must-try restaurants for SDSU students

Milo’s Pizza, La Moon Thai Eatery, Underbelly Ramen and Cafe Madeline offer diverse cuisine at affordable prices
Graphics by Daisy Garcia

Milo’s Pizza

Hidden in a strip mall between a nail salon and a cellphone repair shop is an authentic New York-style pizza parlor where the food is good and the company is friendly. Milo’s Pizza is located on the corner of El Cajon and Montezuma, a four-minute drive from San Diego State University. The pizza parlor is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day of the week. Their current deal is two slices and a drink for only $6, making it affordable for college students.

Milo’s was founded in 1996 and hasn’t moved an inch since then. Their large slices and thin crust echo their New York authenticity, though, you can ask for a thicker crust for no extra charge. They pride themselves on their use of fresh ingredients. Customers can order anything — from plain cheese or pesto chicken pizza — to subs and calzones. The only thing they don’t have are dessert options, but the pizza is so filling that dessert might not even be necessary. This cross-country deliciousness can be delivered, picked up or eaten in-house at the homey restaurant.

The ambiance is one of my favorite parts of the restaurant. The last time I was there, “Confidence” by Ocean Alley played over the speakers as workers baked pizzas in the brick oven while eclectic art and decorations seemingly found at antique shops riddled the walls. People sat, sipping their sodas, eagerly awaiting their slice, pie or other menu item. A blue surfboard mounted toward the ceiling looms above a trophy that actually has nothing to do with pizza, but rather, a soccer award from after a worker’s team lost. The employees are laid back but work hard to get you your food in a timely manner. Check it out if you want pizza by the slice or a whole pie to share with friends or family. 

La Moon Thai Eatery

If you are looking for authentic Thai food on your next night out, consider stopping by La Moon Thai Eatery on El Cajon Boulevard, which is right across the street from BLVD 63 apartments. La Moon Thai Eatery offers a variety of authentic Thai dishes from the wonton soup appetizer to the traditional Pad Thai with shrimp. 

With a spice scale ranging from 1-10, those wanting more adventure in their flavor can take their chances going as high as they dare to venture. Those who want to play it more on the safe side can order no spice and still experience all the flavors of the dishes regardless. One item go-to order that never disappoints is the Thai Fried Rice with chicken and an order of  cheesy wontons. 

They offer traditional Thai Tom Yum soup, showcasing the unique taste of lemongrass seasoning, a blend of citrus and ginger flavors mixing to create a unique taste. They also offer a variety of curries, whether you are craving yellow, red or green. A meal is not complete without a glass of Thai tea to go along with it. They accept orders over the phone, on their website and through food delivery apps such as DoorDash and Uber. There is a dine-in option, but seating is limited, so be sure to get there early. 

Underbelly Ramen

UnderBelly Ramen brings a refreshing and hip take to traditional Japanese ramen. Located in North Park, the restaurant offers a menu of exotic dishes and open-air seating. 

UnderBelly features ramen choices that are sure to please all pallets. They offer vegetarian and vegan options like their “Farmers Market” ramen and some craftier takes to the dish such as the “Thai Curry” or “Chicken Confit” ramen. If those aren’t your style, the ramen house also has plenty of mouthwatering appetizers and sides. One of their most popular non-noodle dishes are their Baos, which are taco-shaped buns filled with different ingredients. 

The ambiance and vibe that the restaurant creates is a feat in itself. With communal outdoor seating, coupled with unique decor and a great playlist, the atmosphere of the restaurant gives off an exciting yet laid-back feel. 

The combination of delicious food options and an impressive seating area makes for an elevated dining experience. The restaurant is a must-try. Come for the ramen, stay for the vibes. 

Cafe Madeline

This quaint little spot offers the taste of French bites that transports you to the small-town cafes that one would hope to stumble upon while strolling through the south of France. Bright red shutters cover the exterior of the restaurant, making it hard to miss. 

Cafe Madeline has a range of food options inspired by French cuisine but with college-friendly prices. The menu includes sweet eats like crepes, but also many savory brunch options like paninis, quiches and much more. If a full meal isn’t what you are feeling, there is a pastry case filled with on-the-go baked goods. 

The food is good on its own, but to have the full cafe experience, they have a long list of drink options to complement. For an energy kick, there are many options for espresso and coffee drinks, but if you are feeling like taking in the full brunch vibes, they also serve some alcoholic beverages. 

The interior is pretty compact, but the ambiance is distinctly European. French posters and paintings line the walls, while the booths sit against large windows that fill the place with natural light. Most of the seating is outside, where one can enjoy the San Diego breeze and smell the fresh flowers on each table. 

This is a perfect little bistro that can fit the bill for many college students. With meals staying below $20 and the restaurant being a quiet place to focus on work with a 15-minute drive from campus, Cafe Madeline checks many boxes for what students are often looking for. The next time you want to check out a new cafe, put Cafe Madeleine on your radar.