The Voice

Strolling Along Lincoln Avenue

Elizabeth Bernal

Hay Market's cod salad sandwich takes your tastebuds on a ride.

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You’re looking for somewhere to eat lunch with your friends nearby, so you head down to Lincoln Avenue. When you get there, you realize…there are a ridiculous number of options! The Voice visited several restaurants on Lincoln Avenue, and we’re here to tell you which ones we think are among the best!

Best Quick Stop: Top Nosh

Food: Tasty Comfort Food

Atmosphere: Colorful Café

Price: About $5-10

Don’t have a lot of time for a leisurely lunch, but still want great food and a nice atmosphere? Head over to Top Nosh! This chic café is famous for its delicious meat pies and soups.

After ordering at the counter, you can wait for your food to be delivered at one of many tables or bar-style counters. If you would like to people-watch on a beautiful day in Willow Glen, outdoor seating is also available.

Colorful decorations and bright lighting give this café a happy and eco-friendly atmosphere –the counter is constructed of recycled paper, while the tabletops are made of wood from demolished barns.

We enjoyed a chicken and tomato pie, mushroom soup and a honey roasted pear salad. On a cold and rainy day, this food really hit the spot.

The chicken and tomato pie had both sweet and savory spices, while the mushroom soup was flavorful and hearty, with a mixture of different types of mushroom. The Parmesan cheese on the honey roasted pear salad gave it an interesting bite to contrast the sweet pears and cranberries.

Desserts like tarts, bread pudding and cookies, just to name a few, are made fresh each day. They can be enjoyed with a variety of espresso drinks and teas. Frozen pies can be purchased to-go, so you can enjoy this tasty treat at home anytime!

Best Weekend Lunch: Hay Market

Food: Gourmet with a Twist

Atmosphere: Rustic Chic

Price: About $10-20

If you need a fun new restaurant where you can get a great, unique meal and the opportunity to meet new people, Hay Market is the perfect place for you!

When you walk through this restaurant’s huge door, you sit at one of two long communal wooden tables. This is a perfect opportunity to socialize with new people while you enjoy a good meal. There are also two non-communal and handicap-accessible tables at the front of the room. The walls are lined with racks full of antiques and four flat-screen TVs showing classic movies (we enjoyed the epic film Rocky during our visit).

The menu changes almost every day to reflect the freshest ingredients available. There are many sandwich and salad options on the menu. When we dined at Hay Market, we feasted on a “sun-choke salad” made with artichoke and sunflower seeds (get it? sun-choke?) and a cod salad sandwich. Both dishes were absolutely delicious and were light, yet filling.

When we saw the couple next to us eating dessert, we could not resist ordering a sweet treat for ourselves! We enjoyed the Paris Brest, a donut-shaped pastry ring filled with praline buttercream (it’s essentially like a giant cream puff!). It was amazing and sweet, and we finished the entire thing in about three minutes.

At the end of the meal, you are given a temporary tattoo and a warm cloth with which to apply it. It was the perfect surprise to end our visit to this unique eatery.

Best Girls’ Night Out: Opa!

Food: Modern Greek

Atmosphere: Cozy Hot Spot

Price: $10-20

Do you want to feel like a god or goddess? Opa! serves food that you would expect to be served at the top of Mount Olympus! This small restaurant features a variety of modern Greek dishes.

To start, we ordered the fiery feta spread with some freshly baked pita. The “dip” was quite delicious and had an interesting salty and spicy taste and the homemade pita bread was top notch.

For our entrees, we enjoyed a lamb gyro and a Greek cheese steak pita. The lamb gyro featured perfectly cooked meat, fresh vegetables (lettuce, tomatoes, onions) and tzatziki sauce. The Greek cheese steak pita consisted of gyro meat, sauteed onions and bell peppers, mozzarella cheese and a spicy aioli sauce.

Each entree also came with a side of Opa! Fries. These fantastic fries are topped with crumbled feta cheese and served with spicy Opa! sauce. Delicious. For the more health conscious customer, a side of rice is also available with the pitas and entrees.

The restaurant is almost always packed with people, so it is best to plan ahead. Tables are available both indoors and outside. Be ready to wait up to an hour for a table. Although the wait is long, we agree that the Opa! fries alone are worth the wait.


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Strolling Along Lincoln Avenue