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Dining in College Park

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You have a lot of options for a decent lunch, all within a mile or two.

North of IKEA, on the route 1 corridor in Beltsville:

There are two pho places, Pho 88 (in the Petco shopping center), and Pho Vn One (in the shopping center across from Costco). 88 has been somewhat inconsistent recently, but still has its good days (even on its bad days, it's never terrible). Pho Vn One just opened two weeks ago; but based on two visits it's a very good option.

A Korean noodle shop, Myong Dong, at the corner of Rt. 1 and Powder Mill Rd., is family run, very homey, delicious and cheap. There aren't very many choices here, but you don't need many. A bit further north, also on the left, is Gah-Rahm, an ambitious, sprawling Korean bbq that also does sushi and has a lunch buffet. Generally quite good. There's another Korean place in the same shopping center which I haven't tried, but which was recently recommended on chowhound.

The route 1 corridor is littered with Carribean places, none which have really stood out at me as being any more than decent, but I haven't tried all of them either.

South of IKEA in College Park:

On rt 1 south, on the left side just north of campus in the Campus Village Shopping center is the Food Factory II, and Afghan place. They make excellent naan in a tandoor and also bone-in chicken kebabs over a wood-fired grill. These are excellent. There are some other choices here at the lunchtime buffet, of varying quality. However you can get the kebab and the bread at the buffet, so it's a good deal to get that and try some of the other dishes to see if they are to your taste.

On eastbound Greenbelt road between rt 1 and Beltway plaza is Costa Alegre, a family-run Mexican restaurant. The tortas, sopas, and tacos are all good options here. I don't know if it's as good as the best places in Little Mexico Bladensburg, but it's definitely in the ballpark.

Second the Marathon rec.

Finally, if you're coming from Silver Spring per your location, there are tons of options along University Blvd on the way from SS to IKEA, including the obvious places such as Woodlands and Tiffin, Pho 75, and an infinite number of Central American trucks and holes-in-the-wall, which I probably couldn't cover if I spent the rest of my life trying (nonetheless, I will probably make the effort. It's important to have goals in life).

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A bit further north, also on the left, is Gah-Rahm, an ambitious, sprawling Korean bbq that also does sushi and has a lunch buffet.  Generally quite good. 
Welcome alopez, and thanks for the informative first post. Can you could tell us some more about Gah-Rahm's bbq and the Korean menu in general? Are there any menu standouts that you've tried? Edited by crackers
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Can you could tell us some more about Gah-Rahm's bbq and the Korean menu in general? Are there any menu standouts that you've tried?

I wish I could, but I've mainly tried the spicy noodle soups and similar meal-in-a-bowl type dishes. I haven't tried the bbq, which serves at least a couple and requires someone else to go in on it with me (making matters worse, the spread of traditional appetizers is huge and can be pretty filling all by itself). As I said, the place is ambitious, and the menu is sufficiently vast that I've really only scratched the surface. Nonetheless, the spicy noodle dishes have all been good.

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The original Ledo on University Boulevard and only for pizza. Better, much better than any of the 50+ outposts. A University of Maryland and Morgan Wootten tradition.

College Park may have the worst food of any single municipality in the greater Metropolitan Washington area. I spent too many years in college and afterwards finding this out. So bad that at one time I thought the Terrapin Taco House (i.e. Tippy's) was beginning to taste fairly decent. Chef's Secret, for a time, was also good near Beltway Plaza.

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I contend that the Bagel Place is one of the best places for a bagel in the Metro DC area. And a second on the Kimi and Phil's China Cafe recommendation. I'm also a sucker for Udupi Palace in Langley Park (up 193 away from Greenbelt, on the left) which, despite Rocks love for Woodlands, has for my money the best dosa around these parts.

Hmm... it is a shame that Mandalay is now gone. That would be a top suggestion otherwise.

[former Terp here too]


Edited by Kanishka
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There's a plethora of new places that opened up in the CP area recently. There's a good Israeli kebab place - Pita Plus. Great bubble tea at Bubble Mix, and a Ten-Ren with Taiwanese small eats (unlike the Rockville one). There's a Tasti D-Lite, which is a low-cal frozen yogurt place, but it's really good. DP Dough's is good and the Prince Cafe is better than the one in Tenleytown.

I have yet to check out the Philly cheesesteak place yet, but hopefully I'll get a chance to go out there soon.

Oh yeah, York Tropical Ice Cream has a location in Beltsville... corner of 212 and Route 1. Mmm... Guinness ice cream.

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Food Factory II makes good naan in-house, which alone means they do more cooking than about half of the dining establishments in College Park. Not sure I can recommend much else, though.

(They've come under new management, and from what I can tell, the new management has let things slip. I never ate at the place before the switch, though.)

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Have heard good things on Pho 88 but not gone there.

Myong Dong used to be sublime and now is "merely" very good. They are very nice folk too. Super cheap as well.

Ikea cafe.... I always wondered where the Styrofoam packing peanuts went when they die.

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Lunch at Vito's Pizzeria today, located on the corner of Route 1 and Hartwick. Had a couple of sizable slices of plain, which basically tasted like an average New York-style street pizza. Nice crispness to the crust, and a good enough sauce, but too much cheese for my tastes. Still, a nice change of pace from the same predictable chain sandwich shops.

Apparently, Vito (he actually does exist) is going to be expanding into the space next door, and I'm glad to see he's doing well. The space he's in right now is really not a good fit, and there's been a ton of different food options which have come and gone from that space.

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Marathon, for gyros, is great. Cash only, best gyro I have ever had.

The aforementioned Franklin's is the only interesting full restaurant/bar within miles. Miles and miles and miles. And they brew their own beer.

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Kapnos Taverna is opening in The Hotel at the University of Maryland this summer.

Regarding the intensity of smokiness in their lamb - and I'm assuming this flavor is all-natural - I wonder if there's some type of kitchen restriction at the hotel which would prevent them from spit-roasting on-premise (I actually have no idea if they roast their lamb on-premise at all their restaurants, or if there's a central location).

Anyway, the intensity of flavor in their lamb is pretty amazing. The portion size at their other restaurants is teeny-tiny, so I'm warning you in advance not to assume this alone will fill you up. Given the stratospheric price of their spreads - which most people probably order by habit, just like ordering a Margarita as soon as they plop down in a Tex-Mex restaurant - you'll need to navigate their menu with some acuity.

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8 hours ago, pjnewman said:

I might have overlooked it under this topic but Fishnet has to be included among the best in CP.  That and an occasional stop at Ledo Restaurant (not Ledo's Pizza) are my go to places in the immediate area.

Hello ... Newman.


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I live nearbyish and eat in College Park fairly regularly just for convenience. There has been a lot of turnover in the past 5+ years. These are the places that I can recall offhand, working vaguely north to south down Rt 1:

Unforgettable Flavors, listed as temporarily closed online? one of the better Jamaican places in the area, odd location in Seven Springs Apartments

Jerk Pit,  I've only been here once or twice, thought it was ok but isn't at the top of my list for jerk

Rita's Ice Custard,  one of the few places with soft serve around, annoying parking lot, closed Oct-Feb (reopens early March). Look for monthly coupons in those snail mail coupon envelopes if you live nearby, there are usually BOGO deals for this location.

Rasoi : this is an Indian restaurant inside of a hotel on Rt 1. Ate there once, would not go back - food and service were very meh, it had a weird grimy vibe as well. There are much better Indian options nearby in Langley Park, Hillandale, or Laurel.

Kangnam BBQ: this a large Korean BBQ place on Rt 1. Have been there 2-3 times.  It has seating for large groups and seems to cater to the university crowd - has a kind of noisy sports bar thing going. Food was ok but not amazing. 

NuVegan Cafe: http://www.donrockwell.com/topic/46986-nuvegan-cafe-100-vegan-franchise-with-raw-food-options-on-georgia-avenue-nw-in-park-view-and-baltimore-avenue-in-college-park/?tab=comments#comment-294506    I'm surprised this one is still open, but it is there every time I drive by. 

Food Factory: I've been here a few times for dinner, and wonder if it is better at lunch time? The buffet options seemed to be suffering a bit by the end of the day. 

South of UMCP:

Aroy Thai: tiny little place on College Ave just off Rt 1. Decent thai, a couple of odder options (spaghetti versions of some noodle dishes). Better service than Pho Thom, the other local thai option.

Krazi Kebob: Lehigh just off of Rt 1, shares a building with Bread N Greens. "Indian Pakistani Mexican Fusion", has things like naan pizza and naan wraps/quesadillas that you can get different combinations of Indian/Pakistani/Mexican fillings. This was perfectly fine as a quick counter service/takeout option if you need a fast meal to go.

Cluck U Chicken: Ok, so I haven't eaten here in 20 years, but this was open when I was an undergrad in the mid 90s. I remember liking the fried mushrooms and teriyaki wings, with the hot flavors being very inconsistent. 

Ten Ren's Tea House:  Used to go here more often before Kung Fu Tea opened down the street. Bubble tea is ok, the food options were kind of variable. Giant shave ice dessert things are...weird. 

"Original" Ledo: I remember eating at the real original Ledo's on 193 in Adelphi -  but this is just a slightly nicer Ledo than the rest of the chain. Sauce is too sweet, weird crust, just ugh.

Kung Fu tea: this is alternatively empty or overrun with college students depending on the season/time of day. Lots of options, properly made bubbles, also different jelly add-ins, and non-dairy flavors.

Ivy Noodles: Chinese place with a bit of an eclectic menu. I like the two-person "dry hot pot" option, which is a giant bowl of veggies and your protein choices with the type of seasoning used in hot pot, but sans broth. Has non-american menu items, larger menu than NW Chinese next door, service on the slow side.

Northwest Chinese:  small place with limited noodly menu, good noodle options, often crowded at lunch or dinner

Pho Thom: while pho is on the menu, the rest of the menu is "standard" american type Thai food. Food is usually decent but not exciting, service can be really really slow though

Applebees: I remember when this opened to great excitement as a new dining option (prior to the opening of IHOP up near Ikea), haha.

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