By Connor Brown
Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula
[3 minute read]
The USC Village is home to many restaurants and retail stores, and offers enough variety to suit anyone’s taste. The Village is an incredibly convenient location for USC students given its proximity to campus, and is one of the best spots to grab lunch in the immediate area. It isn’t just the dining hall, dorms, and Target, but a bunch of good eats too! Here are my top three favorite eateries in the Village:
Cava has been my most frequented Village location (besides Trader Joe’s) since I arrived on campus three years ago. It offers big bowls of Mediterranean food at a relatively decent price in a build-it-yourself style that offers complete customization. You can think of it as Chipotle for Mediterranean food, though I think this chain is much better than Chipotle. I usually go for a rice bowl with some lettuce, then load it up with hummus, kalamata olives, pickled onions, and cucumbers. There are many different protein options, and I tend to go with either the harissa honey chicken or the falafel. Suitable for a wide variety of diets, Cava is a great place to grab a meal between classes or meet with friends and chow down. It’s always fun to meet a friend there, order your bowl, and head on over to the Great Lawn to chat and eat on the grass, enjoying the California sun and afternoon vibes.
- Il Giardino
Hungry for pasta? This is the place for you! Il Giardino is the home of Italian food at the Village, and offers a number of different types of pasta and sandwiches. Whether you like to keep it simple and roll with spaghetti with tomato sauce, prefer a hearty bolognese, or want a pasta and fish dish, Il Giardino has got you covered. I’ve yet to try their sandwiches, given my affinity for pasta, but I have heard nothing but good things. They have fun Italian sodas as well, their fridge always holding a number of different flavors of San Pellegrino, which pair well with whatever entree you get. If you’re craving Italian food and don’t want to have to go far to find something good, Il Giardino is a solid spot.
- City Tacos
When I heard Trejo’s Tacos in the Village was closing, I thought it would be missed. While there are an abundance of tacos spots around LA and near USC, having a tasty taco joint in the Village was wonderfully convenient. City Tacos opened a couple months ago in the same storefront where Trejo’s used to be, and I’ve been impressed with my first couple of visits there. They have a lot of tacos. I mean — a lot. Whether you’re looking for breakfast tacos, fish tacos, carne asada, chicken, al pastor, or something else, City Tacos will probably have what you’re looking for. They even do California-style burritos that come with french fries inside, which as a native Californian, my definitely totally completely unbiased opinion strongly approves of. I’m looking forward to trying more from City Tacos, and recommend you give it a try as well!
That just about wraps up my overview of my favorite places to eat in the Village. While I’ve only highlighted three restaurants here, the other Village eateries are very good as well, offering everything from hamburgers to ramen, and are worth checking out. If you are looking for a way to spend a couple hours on a lovely afternoon, studying or spending time with friends, grab a blanket, a bite, and enjoy food from the Village on the Great Lawn. Make sure to bring sunglasses, SoCal tends to shine!
Connor is a senior majoring in History and Italian at the
Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences. Born and raised in
California, in Los Angeles and the SF Bay Area, he has long been
interested in experiencing diverse cultures and learning new
languages. He is fluent in Spanish and proficient in Italian, drawn to
both by his love of history and cuisine. He enjoys adventuring in both the urban and natural landscapes of California, as well as playing and listening to music, and is always happy to recommend the best taco spot to eat at, beach to walk along, or album to listen to. He is a huge sports fan and loves to chat about everything from the Lakers to soccer.