Not having a car on campus can often seem like a terrible thing. One is prone to feeling boxed in, like an animal in a small cage. It may seem near impossible to get off campus and explore the few things that this city has to offer, such as live music, films, nightlife, art and, most importantly, food. But car-less food lovers need not despair — there is a way to get your fix of delectable meals.
The Red Line buses are a seemingly underused resource on this campus. Having only used it a few times, until recently I remained oblivious to the various options that it creates for people looking for meals that don’t include Pit pizza.
To really get to the heart of decent dining in the city, one must somehow transport themselves to the triumvirate streets that are Park Avenue, Monroe Avenue and East Avenue. Coincidentally, the Red Line makes stops at two out of three of these oases of pleasure.
The first stop really worth checking out is the third, which brings the rider to the corner of Alexander and Monroe. From there, it is about a three minute walk to Dac Hoe (pronounced dahk-WUH), a wonderful little Vietnamese restaurant across from the Bug Jar. Though the run down appearance may slightly unnerve a prospective diner, be assured that the food is wonderful. Any trip to Dac Hoe would not be complete without a taste of the wonderful pho soup and one of the ducks hanging in the window.
The next (seventh) stop brings you to Park Avenue, which is littered with small restaurants and various shops. After a five minute walk, one can encounter a plethora of restaurants including Sinbad’s, which specializes in general Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine; Jines, a solid Greek influenced diner; Dorado, a fairly new and decently tasty Mexican place; and my personal favorite, Café Cibon.
I’ve been there many times and I have never been let down. They have a wide variety of high quality antipasti, my favorite of which is the cheese board ($12). Their pastas are always wonderfully al dente and flavorful, and the sauces are consistently fresh and full of flavor. The only thing even remotely close to a bad experience I’ve ever had at this place is when a gussied-up 70-year-old woman sat uncomfortably close to me and my friend and continued to order drinks and listen in on our conversation until we left. The food was great though.
Stop No. 8 brings you within walking distance of the George Eastman House. Along with showing a wonderful assortment of films at the Dryden Theater, one can also get a bite to eat at the Dryden Cafe. The baked goods are generally very fresh and of good quality albeit a bit pricey.
The next stop (nine) on the corner of Park and Alexander is within short walking distance of The Old Toad, a homey and affordable place to pick up authentic British pub fare, Gusto, a small Italian restaurant whose forte is affordable, portable and scrumptious paninis and Bamba Bistro, which should be avoided at all cost unless you have the strange desire to be ripped off and have a belly full of less than mediocre food.
The final stop (11) drops you off right near the Eastman School of Music. The most notable place within walking distance is Golden Port Dim Sum where a starving college student can be showered with various different small servings of chinese food for a miniscule price.
Another notable restaurant in this area is Max of Eastman, an absurdly expensive, hyper-fancy but ultimately delicious restaurant that should be reserved for occasions when someone else is fronting the bill.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of dining adventures in the Rochester area or even on the route of the Red Line. There are many more restaurants out there that I encourage people to get out and explore. I only mean to demonstrate that it is possible and sometimes even convenient, for people without a car to explore this city’s dining options outside of the University.
Ford is a member of
the class of 2013.