It’s easy to feel trapped on campus at Boston University. Our sprawling school covers a large majority of Comm Ave and has everything a student could ever need; thus many students stay on campus for the majority of their time. Commonly dubbed the “BU Bubble”, this phenomenon is well-known across campus, and many students are heard complaining that they don’t spend enough time “ in the city”.
But while trips to Faneuil Hall or the Seaport District might take a little more time out of your day, there are a number of easy places students can hit up off campus to briefly escape Comm Ave. Check out some of the best spots to hit in Brookline and Allston, the places that aren’t quite “in the city” but are well enough “off campus” to feel like you’re actually doing something productive.
Shabu Zen is a hot pot restaurant on Brighton Avenue in Allston, the perfect restaurant to hit up on a rainy weeknight. Hot pot is a style of Asian cuisine during which customers cook their food in giant pots filled with boiling broth. Customers order one or two flavors of broth and then pick from a wide selection of meats — all of which are served in thinly sliced raw slabs. The meat is then cooked IN the broth, a miraculous process to watch. You can also order raw noodles, vegetables, and seafood, all of which are delicious to cook in the broth. Shabu Zen is hot, delicious, and an extremely fun dining experience. I highly recommend having a meal at Shabu Zen in Allston.
LimeRed is a new spot that recently opened this summer. Their speciality is boba tea, but they sell a number of delectable other drinks as well. The interior is decorated with a number of succulents and potted plants, giving the place a very relaxing atmosphere. LimeRed is a great spot to grab a boba or a coffee, chill out, and do some homework. Within walking distance from West Campus and Star Market, LimeRed Teahouse is an awesome new spot that can offer a change of scenery.
When Pigs Fly
Alright — I’ll admit, When Pigs Fly isn’t exactly a place to hang out, but it sure does have some incredible bread. Yes, that’s right — bread. When Pigs Fly Breads is an authentic bakery in Brookline on Beacon Street. It sells a variety of homemade, fresh breads, ranging from your classic Sourdough to Pumpkin-Cranberry to Spinach, Onion, and Garlic (yes, all three flavors in one loaf of bread). The store is warm and appetizing and consistently smells of freshly baked bread. So next time you need a study break, refuel your carbs supply by heading into Brookline and picking up a delicious loaf of warm bread.
Alright, so maybe this list has turned more into the best carbs outside of Dining Hall breakfast potatoes, but if you’re cool with it, then so am I. Bottega Fiorentina is a corner Italian bodega off Babcock Street in Coolidge Corner. In addition to sandwiches, pastas, and salads, customers can also shop for a variety of authentic Italian grocery items — imported straight from the motherland of carbs itself. Stop in and meet the owners or pick up some food for a picnic in Amory Park, either way, definitely fill up on what Bottega Fiorentina has to offer.
There are tons of other restaurants and stores in Brookline and Allston, and all of them add their own flair to the community. So get out there, support your local businesses, and “get off campus”. Try a new restaurant, take a walk around, and enjoy these neighborhoods we’re lucky enough to call our own.