South Bend's Top Eight Restaurants, according to ND Admissions

Author: The Interns

Crooked Ewe

The number one thing to ask any college tour guide or admissions counselor before enrolling is: "Where is the food?" Beyond Notre Dame's dining halls, cafés, Grab & Go, and other hidden gems on campus, there is a whole world of appetizers and entrées, just a few minutes into South Bend. Here are just a few of our favorites!


Eddy Street: listed by Hailey

If you don’t want to wander too far from campus, Eddy Street is just a short walk away! Chipotle, Five Guys, Blaze Pizza, and Jimmy Johns are great for quick trips with friends. BarBici’s, an Italian restaurant where you can build your own pasta dishes and sandwiches, is innovative and delicious! Wings Over South Bend has so many different sauces for wings-lovers to enjoy, from Golden Barbecue to Jet Fuel. Kilwin’s, an ice cream and chocolate shop, is the perfect sweet treat after your meal. And these places conveniently accept Domer Dollars! There are also sit-down restaurants like O’Rourkes and Brothers if you’re looking for something other than fast food.

Chicory Cafe: listed by Lisa

If you’re looking for a low-barrier-to-entry restaurant in downtown South Bend, Chicory Cafe’s got you covered. It’s easy to get to—it’s just across the street from a parking tower, and a short walk away from the Transpo bus station (the best way to get around South Bend from ND without a car). It has a menu of full meals, but also provides smaller cafe-style baked goods and specialty coffee drinks, so you can have a sit-down meal or cozy up on one of their sofas and have a good long study sesh. You can also count on Chicory for some entertainment: they offer everything from live music to trivia nights! So, whether you’re exploring alone or with some friends, need a quick caffeine pick-me-up or a comfy casual date night, Chicory Cafe is worth checking out. On top of all that, their beignets are so good that they get catered to Notre Dame events. Just something to think about!

The Original Pancake House: listed by Sarah

Looking for something a bit different? Exhausted all the places in South Bend that accept your Domer Dollars? Want late-night pancakes? South Bend's very own, The Original Pancake House is the perfect match for that late-night carb-loading, early-morning brunch, and afternoon get-togethers! One thing that I always miss from back home in New Jersey, is just how easy it is to get a waffle, or omelet, or pancake at any hour of the day. The Original Pancake House is one of my favorite places in South Bend because it truly brings a part of NJ just eight minutes from campus!

Crooked Ewe: listed by Seun

Dinner on the water; the St. Joseph River to be exact! Yes! And it's all in South Bend. Nothing beats a show and a meal, especially when that meal is at the Crooked Ewe. The restaurant itself is divided into two levels with a nice rustic look. The bottom level is for the family while the top level is for those 21 and up. There are a variety of meals from Poke to Pad Thai… in other words, there is something for everyone - no matter your dietary needs. 

South Bend Chocolate Cafe: listed by Mario

As someone who has a sweet tooth myself, I appreciate the wonderful array of chocolates, cookies, and candies. If you get tired of campus dining hall cookies or cakes for desserts… If you just want to treat yourself... If you need something extra special for your cheat day and your sweet tooth is calling... the South Bend Chocolate Café will happily answer. It’s the perfect place for gooey gifts for that special someone and sweet treats to please a crowd. They also offer an array of coffees, ice creams, and pastries to enjoy in the Café. Their cheesecake is a must-have, and the laid back vibe is great for a chill night with your friends! The best part yet? It's only about a ten-minute drive from campus, and it's perfect for that weekend rendezvous.

Ichiban Golden Dragon: listed by Hailey

Whether you’re looking for authentic Chinese, American Chinese, or Japanese sushi, Ichiban has it all! With one menu for their authentic Chinese food and a separate one for their American-style options and sushi, Ichiban has options for everyone. They sort dishes based on their protein - chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, and lots of vegetarian entrées as well. Many options can be shared family-style, which is perfect if you’re going with a group! The mapo tofu (a traditional Chinese dish) is a great dish for those who like spicy food. Their dumplings, soy-braised beef, and chicken lo mein have also gotten good reviews!

Evil Czech: listed by Catherine

What about those nights where no one can decide what they want to eat, or everyone wants something different? Well, look no further, because Evil Czech is the restaurant for you. I would, however, recommend coming hungry, because few would describe this fare as light. Their burgers and fries are truly unrivaled, their tacos are to die for, and their macaroni and cheese is indulgent yet delectable, as all good mac & cheese should be. They also have a famous Sunday brunch where you can sample several of their menu items. Overall, the food is delicious, and the environment is friendly, so this is definitely a great place to take your parents when they are in town.

Nom Nom Pho: listed by Tajae

If you're looking for a restaurant close to campus with options for all, Nom Nom Pho is the place for you. With over fifty menu items from Pho to Pad Thai, Nom Nom Pho is able to expertly blend flavors from different cultures and make something new and fresh. Nom Nom Pho is located in downtown South Bend, and it is less than a ten-minute drive from campus. It is in the center of downtown, which is currently being modernized and becoming a hotspot for Notre Dame students. Not only is Nom Nom Pho making food for all palettes, it is also making sure that the food is fresh and healthy. They source from a farm in Southwestern Michigan and are actively trying to remove additives from their food. Nom Nom's owners understand that you should not have to compromise your health in order to enjoy tasty food. Go visit Nom Nom, and after you are done eating, there is still so much to do in downtown South Bend. Take a break from on-campus dining and see what Nom Nom Pho and the rest of downtown have to offer, you will not regret it.