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Spring break steals

by Melanie Lieberman / Beacon Staff • February 21, 2013

Spring break is right around the corner, and for many, that means a short getaway or trip home.  But for those of you sticking around Boston, the closed dining hall and extra time are the perfect reasons to eat beyond our little corner of the Common. With a wide variety of student offers and discounts at eateries around our city, there’s never been a better time to explore an unfamiliar neighborhood and dig into a new cuisine.

Start with traditional Italian food in the nearby North End at La Famiglia Giorgio’s Ristorante. 

Bring your student ID and get 20 percent off your order.  Take advantage of the discount and try one of the homemade pastas, including whole wheat fusilli or tri-color rigatoni. Gluten-free pasta is also available, and the ability to select your own sauce for every dish will help you make healthier choices. Stick to tomato-based sauces, including marinara, cacciatore, or the lesser-known matriciana, which contains prosciutto and hot Italian peppers. When ordering from any Italian restaurant, a healthy rule-of-thumb is to avoid dishes that come breaded or stuffed with cheese. La Famiglia Giorgio’s offers lighter dishes, such as The Scallop Isabella, which has grilled scallops and shallots served over baby spinach. 112 Salem St., North End, 617-367-6711; lafamigliagiorgios.com

Ride the silver line into the South End for a late morning brunch with eclectic American dishes at Grille 705. 

On Mondays, you can get 10 percent off anything on the menu with a student ID. Try a spinach-wrap breakfast burrito stuffed with Egg Beaters and cheese, or any one of the restaurant’s Fiesta scrambles. Dishes at Grille 705 are large in size — the perfect opportunity to split an Eggs Benedict, which comes with three poached eggs, homefries or grits, and either toast or a bagel. Lunch items are also available all day long, including everything from spicy chicken fajitas to Asian-style Teriyaki vegetables. 705 Massachusetts Ave., Back Bay, 617-606-3522; grille705.com

Cross the river to Harvard Square for Indian at The Maharaja.

On top of a 15 percent student discount, the extensive lunch buffet is the perfect way to fill up without cashing out. From 11:30 — 2:30 p.m. on weekdays, you can sample 10 Indian dishes, some of which are unique to The Maharaja. On the menu, you’ll find traditional Indian specialties such as Mutton Qorma, a bone-in goat dish with yogurt and spices, and the fresh Jeera scallops with cumin and saffron sauce. Exchange heavy curry dishes for ones prepared in drier spices and sauces, and feel good about going back to the buffet for seconds. 57 JFK St., Cambridge, 617-547-2757; maharajaboston.com

Experience innovative Japanese and Sushi in Somerville at Ebi Sushi. 

If you’re tired of prepackaged cucumber rolls at the Max, break out of your sushi-rut with a healthful entrée at Ebi. The reasonably-priced menu gets even more affordable with a 10 percent student discount. Spicy and sour kimchi vegetables with pork or squid isn’t something you’ll find on just any menu, nor is the House Futomaki made with egg, pickle, squash, cucumber, and crab.  After dinner, indulge with Mochi Ice Cream — these unique Japanese desserts, which come in exotic flavors such as red bean and green tea, are rice cake-wrapped ice cream, and are only 100 calories a piece. 290 Somerville Ave., Somerville, 617-765-5556; ebisushi.com

Right around the corner from in Symphony is the delicious Thai restaurant, Pan Thai. 

Here, there isn’t just a college night or a student discount. Instead, Pan Thai offers an entire Student Menu. These special combos are all $9.95 or less, and can be ordered every day, at any time of day, with a complimentary bowl of jasmine rice. Pick your protein and how you’d like it prepared, and enjoy the rich Thai flavors. Try vegetables and tofu sautéed with ginger and scallion, or chicken with chunks of pineapple in a special house sauce. For only one dollar extra, you can get your meal with two appetizers — pick the salad and chicken broth soup with soft tofu or vegetables for the healthier pairings. 14 Westland Ave., Symphony, 617-236-7907; panthairestaurant.com