Campus Dining

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Very Hard
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3 College Junior

Campus Dining: Decent options in my opinion. John Jay, Ferris, and JJ's Place are the three main options. JJ's is the late night spot but doesn't always have the healthiest options.

3 College Junior

Campus Dining: It ok for campus dining, not like home.

4 College Senior

Campus Dining: The food is good, wish there were more protein options

1 person found this useful Report
1 Recent Alumnus

Campus Dining: I would have liked and probably taken part in a dining plan for summer students.

1 person found this useful Report
College Junior

Campus Dining: I've eaten there once and that is not enough to for an opinion.


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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
Austin, TX
English and American Studies
Grad Year
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
$4868 per year
Freshman Meal Plan Required?
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
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.
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 66 responses

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

What are the worst things about the campus meal plan?    Based on 5 responses

  • 100% Swipes don't roll over.


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