Boston's Best Student Hangouts

Editors' Picks
September 11, 2013
by Zagat Staff

Boston is awash in universities, which means it's also heavy on student hangouts. These spots for coeds and post-grads rise to the top of the class.

Pinocchio's Pizza & Subs
Pizza · $$
Food 4.3 · Decor 3.2 · Service 3.9

“Not your average sub shop” , this Harvard Square “staple” slings “delicious” sandwiches and “excellent” Sicilian slices on simple paper plates; there are “a few tables” , but it’s “more of a take-out facility” that does “booming business” late-night when students descend for some “cheap” “drunk food.”
Tasty Burger
Burger · Fenway/Kenmore · $$
Food 4.2 · Decor 3.5 · Service 3.8

This local chain serves “wicked good” , wax paper–wrapped burgers and other “genuine American diner” eats in “no-frills” , retro-tinged spaces; “consistent” service, “cheap” tabs and “peppy” vibes come with the territory, and there’s a “great late-night” scene in Harvard Square – where the griddle stays hot till 4 AM Thursday–Saturday.
Trident Booksellers & Cafe
Cafe · Back Bay · $$
Food 4.4 · Decor 4.1 · Service 4.0

"Curl up" with something "delicious" from the affordable "diner-type menu" and/or an "amazing book" from the shelves of this "quirky" , "nerdy" Back Bay hangout that's part independent bookstore, part "charming" cafe; the "courteous" "art-student servers" can be "slow" at "high-traffic times" , so the "hipster" clientele suggests you just "read while you wait."
Charlie's Kitchen
Gastropub · $
Food 3.6 · Decor 3.4 · Service 3.7

Imagine a “German biergarten” in the heart of Harvard Square to get the gist of this “charming” fixture that draws a “talkative, often hilarious” pack of “Cambridge’s finest” with its “affordable” drafts and chow (think cheeseburgers and fried chicken) and alfresco seating; service is spotty and it can get “packed” in warm weather, so be prepared for occasional “face-offs” for seats.
Anna's Taqueria
Mexican · $
Food 4.3 · Decor 3.2 · Service 3.8

“Tongue-tingling” tacos, “hefty, quality” burritos and a few other fairly “amazing” Mexican entrees are plated up with “rapid, machinelike” efficiency to keep the “craving” crowds of this “go-to” local chain at bay; “you definitely do not go for the decor” , which has all the “flair of a high school cafeteria” , but for that “quick, cheap” “takeout” “built to order.”
Roxy's Grilled Cheese & Burgers
American · Allston · $
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.1 · Service 4.3

“You can’t go wrong” with this trendy, “friendly” brick-and-mortar spawn of an Allston food truck, slinger of “absolutely fantastic” grilled cheese sandwiches – many with unique ingredients like avocado and short ribs – that “put all others to shame” by being “made perfectly to order” ; though its colorful decor is “not particularly exceptional” , it does offer craft brews and burgers, unlike the mobile original.