I have a couple of hours free between 11-1 on a Sunday in October before getting a flight at the Trenton airport, and I’d like to stop for lunch near the campus. I’ve had kids at Harvard, and I always enjoyed the dining out experience in Harvard Square. Where should I go for the comparable Princeton ambience?
PJ’s pancake house used to be the spot back in the day. I suspect it is still a staple.
Winberie’s in Palmer Square
Whoa! And it has a separate craft beer menu - my search may be over!
Haha, and if you want to have another pint, head over to the Yankee Doodle Tap Room across the street!
Tap room has good food too.
Yes to Winberie’s! Great little spot and can enjoy a stroll through Palmer Square.
Witherspoon Grill and Mediterra both have outdoor dining if it’s a nice day. (Palmer Square as well.) There are also a ton of spots where you can grab a sandwich or salad and then install yourself somewhere in town (tables by the public library?) or a bench on campus if you are less interested in dining and want to just observe. There are several parking garages around Palmer Square.
The Tap Room at the Nassau Inn has a great wall of pictures of notable Princeton alumnus. A must see.
If you are a student, you will probably eat at Hoagie Haven (subs) and Halo/Thomas Sweets (for ice cream) a lot, but neither of those places have much in the way of vibe.
While newer, the Dinky (a bar with food) and Roots Ocean Prime (a steakhouse) are nice as they were built in the old Princeton train station. When we dropped our son off this fall, we ate lunch at Roots and the place was filled with prominent professors.
Agree- a trip to Thomas Sweet’s would complete any Princeton visit… try an oreo blend-in!
Another vote for PJ’s, with the caveat that the line to get in can be long on weekend mornings.
Five years ago the Pton restaurant scene was pretty old and tired, but now there are some really great spots depending on what you’re in the mood. I’ll add a favorite dish ().
Roots Ocean Prime: Sits on campus across from McCarter Theater outdoor seating and a little more of an upscale lunch (Sliders)
Witherspoon Grill (BBQ Short Rib Sandwich)
Kristines: Fairly new French Bistro with outdoor seating next to Witherspoon grill (Since you are coming in on a Sunday they have a nice Brunch menu)
Mistral Bar: Across from the public library some outdoor seating (Best Burger in Princeton and fantastic cocktails)
Jammin Crepes: sits on Nassau across from PU, outdoor seating (Bacon/Jam, Smoked Reubon, Lemon and Lavender)
PJs, Pancakes and Breakfast food, Princeton Institution some outdoor tables on Nassau street
Other things to do if you have time
Grab a Coffee at Small world or an Ice Cream at the Best Spoon and walk around the campus
There are a bunch of other great places to go if you are in the mood for Something different: Mexican, Ramen, Pizza, Greek… Let me know if you want any specific recommendations
Great recs, @Novacat9191 !
Bookmarking this thread for our visit to Princeton. I’m a foodie who prefers to eat where the locals do. Really appreciate the thorough list, @Novacat9191.
I think the OP asked for places to get lunch with the Princeton vibe.
If you want suggestions for where the locals in Princeton go:
Local Greek (not the outpost on Nassau Street, the one on Leigh Street)
Contes Pizza (the best pizza and beer place in town)
Shanghai Park at the Princeton Shopping Center (the best shao lung bao and Beijing Duck)
None of these are really walking distance from campus.