The food served in the dining commons is always cooked fresh and serves a variety of healthy options; however, students often grow tired of the food selections. Most people enjoy the dining commons food, but many find themselves eating at one of the numerous restaurants located on campus. There are healthy cafés and salad bars that cater to the health-conscious eaters as well as chain restaurants like Domino’s and Panda Express for those looking to indulge their taste buds. Other ways in which students satisfy their hunger are through several coffeehouses and carts that serve up hot and iced coffees—make sure to ask for "the Turtle," a UCSB favorite. Every student has a preferred place to eat at, such as Rice Garden for Asian food, Nicoletti’s for coffee, Romaine's for soups and salads, and Coral Tree Café for good lunch. If you are looking for a quick snack or pick-me-up, try one of the three convenience stores on campus: The Arbor, Corner Store, and The Store at Buchanan.
Although there are multiple options for on-campus dining, the dining commons do have one advantage—eating with your friends. Every freshman living on campus is required to have a meal plan, so you can count on always seeing someone you know during mealtime. Each cafeteria has a salad bar, grill, and hot-food line; however, each is known to specialize in something different, and as a student, you are allowed to eat at any dining commons. So the food may become repetitive and boring at your closest dining hall, but the good thing is that you can eat at any of the four commons. If you’re not a fan of the same food every two weeks, then you might want to put some extra money on your Access Card and eat at any of the on-campus restaurants. But if you are fan, then you’ll have no problem here.