Food court gourmandise.

I know. It’s an oxymoron. Indulge me.

You find yourself at AnyMall, in AnyTown, USA. You’re exhausted, you’re hungry, and you’re going to slum it today and run an extra 3 miles tomorrow.

What food court restaurant’s irresistible call do you answer?

Me… hands down, it’s Panda Express. Unless there is also a souvlaki place. In which case I’d have a crisis on my hands.

Probably Cinnabon, if there’s one available. A hot cinnamon roll fresh from the oven is hard to resist.

Ugh, only in the last few years have I been able to train myself out of the siren song of food court chinese. It always sounds like such a good idea but the execution ends up depressing. Soggy, flavorless mush.

If I don’t choose to just skip the meal and treat myself to a cup of cinnamon roll bites and a regular latte, I go with whichever store will sell the closest thing to a hot meat sandwich. I prefer the places that have the grill in front and throw the meat and veggies on while you watch but those aren’t standard in all malls.

If your mall is lucky enough to have one: It’s the place usually run by Asians that are selling Cajun style food in stir fry form. I always get the bourbon chicken.

If it’s a run-of-the mill food court, I’ll probably head to Taco Bell. For me, even low-end Mexican is better than no Mexican at all. Otherwise, I’ll grab a burger at either McD’s or A&W, or some chicken at the Colonel’s.

That may sound like slumming to some people, but with Chinese, Greek, Cajun, or anything else as exotic, I’d rather skip the food court and go to a real restaurant (or just make it myself at home).

Food court Chinese sounds dreadful, but sometimes you can find a place that surprises. I think it’s the kind of thing that counts a lot on the individual chef – stir fry doesn’t seem to be particularly formulaic, so the person cooking can be fastidious with the seasonings/flavors and put out a good product.

A lot of the malls around here have Greek/Middle-Eastern fare that is far more solid than would typically be expected.

Sbarro with a giant Dr Pepper.

I’ll probably get in line and hope they have their stuffed pizza, or spinach pizza, and they will have neither, and I will pay incredibly too much for too little food and be hungry on the way home.

But…Sbarro with a giant Dr Pepper.

It depends what I’m in the mood for, but it’ll usually be either the Chinese place or, if they have one, the steak sandwich place. Sometimes I’ll go with Sbarro’s.

Never McD or BK or any fast food place that is ubiquitous outside the mall - I can get that anytime. I’m almost never in a mall except the week before Christmas. :slight_smile:

When working at Manhattan Beach mall it was Pita Pockets. In general, cheap-ass chicken teriyaki bowl and gyoza with cinnabon for dessert.

Either Sbarros or Hot Dog on a Stick and then Cinnabon for desert.

Depending on my mood, either Taco Bell, Sbarro, Panda Express, or the no-name gyros place that they always have around here. (It’s called Pinky’s in the food court in the State of Illinois building)

If they have pizza I’d stick to that.

I get my Cinna-on that the Cinna-bon!

Actually, I really like mall chinese. I have no idea why, but I always find myself in front of those places.

Hypocritical to say it maybe, but Sbarro is too greasy for me.

We have Popeye’s chicken, Arbys, mall Chinese (and the one with the bourbon chicken), Wendy’s, Subway, Sbarro’s (or something exactly like it), and a little place in front of a Japanese steak house that will make a quick stir-fry or sushi right on the spot. Plenty of choices, and all of them are swell with me! I love Popeyes chicken and Arbys has reuben sandwiches, too. Nothing wrong with Subway, and the stir-fry or sushi is pretty darned good. (I am easily pleased, I guess. There is no Burger King (love BK) or McD (I will eat their chicken snack wraps in a pinch).

First, I look for whatever is not a chain… I always go for the local place first.
If it’s all chains… is there one I haven’t tried?
If so, go there.
If there are several I haven’t tried…which line is shorter.
If there are none I haven’t tried…which line is shorter.

The only reason I’d ever willingly eat Sbarro is if I need some ah… purging.

Panda is dependably decent, but only during busy times. Go there at 3:30, and the orange chicken will probably have been there since just before the lunch rush ended.

Nothing wrong with the other nationals like McDonalds, Burger King, etc. The mission is to get food with minimal effort and minimal gastrointestinal side-effects.

I’ll take the McDonald’s. There’s always something there that I like, and they are at every food court, so I don’t have to worry about whether I can find them in a particular food court.

My problem with the mall food court is the seating. I just can’t sit there and enjoy a meal. Sorry. I’d leave the mall and stop for sushi/pizza/burger/whatever and eat without seeing people walking by carrying bags.

I’ll always go for the chicken teriyaki at Sarku Japan. Good, and certainly healthier than a lot of the other options.

Another vote for Chinese. In my opinion, even average Chinese food is generally pretty good.