Campus Dining

Location
New York, NY
Undergrads
7,236
Tuition
$47,246
Admission Difficulty
Very Hard
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Reviews

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3 College Sophomore

Campus Dining: I am not on a meal plan, but I have eaten in the dining halls before. As a freshman you are required to purchase an unlimited meal plan (19 meals a week) which is a huge waste and quite expensive. There are 3 dining halls but there can be little variety between them. Only one offers a kosher option, but it's much more extensive than other universities.

3 College Freshman

Campus Dining: The food options are great but after a while, you might get tired of them.

3 people found this useful Report
3 College Sophomore

Campus Dining: I mostly use the cafeteria. The food is not restaurant quality, but it is very easy to eat healthy, and there are plenty of options.

3 people found this useful Report
3 College Freshman

Campus Dining: Honestly it depends on where you eat and the day you go. There are three dining halls so there can be variety, but most of the time the food is more or less the same quality wherever you go. If you go somewhere where the food is good on that particular day, you're fine -- but otherwise, when the food is terrible, it's *really* terrible. Odds are you can find something you like but don't bank on every meal being the best.

4 people found this useful Report
4 College Sophomore

Campus Dining: I enjoy the food. There are many options to choose from; they offer Vegan, Vegetarian, and meaty dishes. Breakfast and lunch is best at Ferris; Brunch on the weekends and dinner during the week is best at John Jay Dining Hall; Late night food (til 1am) is offered at JJ's in the basement of the John Jay dorm. JJ's is a nice spot to grab breakfast 12am in the morning, sit and chat with friends, and watch television (they have several TV sets down there).

2 people found this useful Report
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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 55th
    Best Ethnic/Kosher Options
  • 72nd
    Best Late-Night Dining Options
  • 126th
    Best Vegetarian/Vegan-Friendly Options
  • 194th
    Healthiest Dining Options
  • 406th
    Best Quality Food

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Sara Cervantes
Hometown
Austin, TX
Major
English and American Studies
Grad Year
2014
View all previous student authors

As is the case at most universities, freshmen are required to have a meal plan. The smart move is to sign up for the option with the least meals and the most Dining Dollars (usable on campus for buying snacks or meals from Columbia cafés). While Columbia food is edible, students often complain that it is nowhere near being worth the price of the meal plan. If the repetitive menus of John Jay and Ferris (the two dining halls at Columbia) have got you down, you can always cross the street to Barnard's dining hall, Hewitt, which accepts Columbia meal plans and offers better-quality food. John Jay and Hewitt make efforts to provide vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options, as well as kosher and halal choices. Additionally, Hewitt has an entire separate kitchen dedicated to preparation of kosher meals for those on the kosher meal plan.

Many upperclassmen opt to go off the meal plan and choose instead to invest in lots of Dining Dollars and Flex. Both of these options are usable on campus at the various cafés, and Flex is accepted at several off-campus locations. Between these cafés and the campus dining halls, students have a good variety of on-campus options from which to choose.

Facts & Statistics

Average Meal Plan Cost
$4726 per year
Freshman Meal Plan Required?
Yes
All first-year students must have a meal plan.
Student Favorites: Campus Dining Hall
  • Ferris Booth Commons
  • John Jay Dining Hall
Student Favorites: Campus Restaurant/Vendor
Café East
Student Favorites: Breakfast Food on Campus
  • Breakfast sandwiches
  • Egg and cheese bagel
  • Ferris breakfast buffet
  • Make-your-own waffles
  • Oatmeal
  • Omelet (from Ferris or Wilma's in John Jay)
Student Favorites: Lunch/Dinner Entrée on Campus
  • Fish tacos
  • Pasta
Student Favorites: Late-night Snack on Campus
  • Frozen yogurt
  • Halal cart
  • JJ's Place (curly fries, hot wings, burgers)
24-Hour Dining
None
Off-Campus Places to Use Flex Money
  • Aangan
  • Atomic Wings
  • Big Daddy's
  • Chipotle
  • Deluxe
  • Five Guys Burger & Fries
  • Gan Asia
  • Havana Central
  • The Heights
  • Il Cibreo
  • Mel's Burger Bars
  • Nussbaum & Wu
  • Panino Sportivo
  • Papa John's
  • Sip
  • Village Pourhouse
Special Options
  • Columbia dining will accommodate just about any dietary restrictions, offering kosher and halal options in main dining halls. Additionally, vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options are becoming increasingly available, as are locally-sourced food options.
  • Columbia students have access to Barnard College dining halls, too, like Hewitt Dining Hall.
Did You Know?
  • Where JJ's is now located, there once was a pub called the Lion's Den. Though little remains of the original space (which was closed in 1985 after New York raised the drinking age to 21), there is still an oddly grandiose fireplace amongst the pool tables and fluorescent lighting of JJ's.
  • Furnald Hall used to have a pub (called Furnald Pub), but the first floor is now a beautiful lounge with hardwood floors and couches where a cappella groups often perform and residents study.

Dining Halls & Campus RestaurantsWhat's This?

Blue Java Coffee Bar
Location: Butler Library
Food: Coffee and munchies
Hours: Monday-Thursday 8 a.m.-1 a.m., Friday 8 a.m.-9 p.m., Saturday 12 p.m.-6 p.m., Sunday 12 p.m.-12 a.m.
Blue Java Coffee Bar
Location: Dodge Hall
Food: Sandwiches and coffee
Hours: Monday-Thursday 8 a.m.-7 p.m., Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Blue Java Express
Location: John Jay Hall
Food: Coffee
Hours: Monday-Thursday 7:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m.
Brownie's
Location: Basement of Avery
Food: Coffee, snacks, sandwiches
Hours: Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-6:30 p.m.
Café 212
Location: Lerner Hall
Food: Salads and sandwiches
Hours: Monday-Thursday 8 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday 8 a.m.-9 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m.-10 p.m.
Café East
Location: Ground Floor Lerner Hall
Food: Bubble tea, dumplings, smoothies, sushi
Hours: Monday-Thursday 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday-Saturday 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m.
Carleton Lounge
Location: Mudd Hall
Food: Coffee and munchies
Hours: Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Ferris Booth Commons
Location: Lerner Hall
Food: Buffet breakfast, dinner, pasta, pizza, salads, sandwiches, wraps
Hours: Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-8 p.m., Saturday 10:30 a.m.--8 p.m.
JJ's Place
Location: John Jay Hall
Food: Greasy grill food and other Freshman 15 delicacies
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 8 p.m.-1 a.m., Friday-Saturday 12 p.m.-8 p.m.
John Jay Dining Hall
Location: John Jay Hall
Food: Buffet
Hours: Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
The Kosher Deli
Location: John Jay Hall
Food: Kosher
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
Lenfest Café
Location: Jerome Greene Hall
Food: Salads and sandwiches
Hours: Monday-Thursday 9 a.m.-8 p.m.
Uris Deli
Location: Uris Hall
Food: Sandwiches and coffee
Hours: Monday-Thursday 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Friday 8 a.m.-3 p.m.

Student Polls

Rate campus dining on the following topics    Based on 61 responses

Very poor
Excellent
  • Availability
  • Ethnic/kosher options
  • Healthy/organic options
  • Late-night options
  • Quality
  • Value
  • Variety/number of options
  • Vegetarian/vegan options

Photos

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