An Unofficial Self-Guided Food Tour of Downtown Oberlin


Madison Olsen

Follow this map to go on a curated culinary crusade through Oberlin.

This self-guided food tour provides one perfect way to spend an afternoon eating your heart out around Oberlin — although there are many more dishes and local restaurants to enjoy not named here. We recommend ordering takeout and enjoying food outside to practice COVID safety. This tour is designed for you and one other person, whether that be a friend, a special someone, or an arch-nemesis. The total price for all dishes is $49.20, plus the recommended 20 percent total tip of $9.84, coming out to $59.04 — or around $30 per person if you split drinks. 

Start at Catrina’s Tacos y Margaritas and split tacos al pastor. Adding pineapple to savory foods has long been a matter of controversy, but trying al pastor definitively settles the debate. The sweetness and acidity of the pineapple balance the spice and richness of the pork. Served together at Catrina’s with a side of rice and beans, you can’t go wrong. Three tacos, $10.25 + 20 percent tip. 

For your next stop, you’ll want to stroll down to the Arb at Tappan for their chickpea salad wrap. Fresh and savory and crunchy and soft and herby and rich, this delicious vegetarian offering from one of Oberlin’s newest restaurants is just really tasty. The potato chips are also good — but you’ve got a lot more eating on this tour, so be careful with your munching. Two halves, $7 + 20 percent tip. 

If you head west on College Street and turn down Main Street, you’ll find Bingo Chinese Restaurant. Here, I recommend ordering crab rangoon. It’s crispy and fried on the outside and soft and cheesy on the inside, and it basically tastes like a savory cream-cheese hug. Four pieces, $4.95 + 20 percent tip. 

After you leave Bingo, you’ll probably be a little tired. Weighed down by the delicious marriage of cream cheese and crab and fried, you deserve a refreshing pick-me-up. Get a coffee from Slow Train Cafe if you’re feeling sluggish, or an Arnold Palmer for something lighter. This author’s beverage of choice is a cold brew with oat milk or a sweet Albino Squirrel. Price is variable, but a drink tends to be around $5 + 20 percent tip. 

Leave through the back door of Slow Train to find yourself at the entrance to Kim’s Grocery & Carry-out. It’s time for pork buns! Rich and sweet, the soft pillowy exterior perfectly complements the decadently meaty filling. The kimchi dumplings are also a fabulous bite-sized offering if you want something lighter at this point in the tour, with their satisfying combination of flavors and textures. Two buns, $5 + 20 percent tip. 

For a sweet treat and even sweeter vibes, visit Blue Rooster Bakehouse. Feel free to choose a delectable baked good or two, because from their expansive and ever-changing options you’re guaranteed to find something you like. Still, with all the fancy new cake and pastry flavors, some classics such as the hummingbird cake or maple donut never fail to satisfy. The bakery varies their offerings, but expect to spend around $8 + 20 percent tip. 

Your journey could end here, and you would have had a perfect Oberlin food experience! But if you’re over 21…

You have the option to finish out the evening with a Rejuvenator cocktail –– Bacardi silver, pineapple juice, and 7Up –– and some tots from the Feve. Add some ranch or garlic aioli for dipping if you’re feeling nasty. At first, you won’t think you want the tots — but after a couple of Rejuvenators, you will. Trust me. Get both for $9 + 20 percent tip. 

The human body can only tolerate so much food — and moreover, the human wallet can only spend so much on a single elaborate outing. But there are many other delicious local restaurants to choose from, including Lupita’s Mexican Restaurant, Mandarin, Steel Magnolia, 1833 at the Hotel at Oberlin, Lorenzo’s Pizzeria, and ThiNi Thai. To check out more local businesses, visit the Oberlin Business Partnership here.