Campus Dining

Location
Santa Barbara, CA
Undergrads
18,318
Tuition (in-state)
$36,549 ($13,671)
Admission Difficulty
Average
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Reviews

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4 College Senior

Campus Dining: UCSB has 4 dining commons, De la Guerra and Carillo being the best options depending if its breakfast or dinner time. I believe they have great variety and the freshets ingredients, often being local and organic produce which is a definite plus. I also love that they compost the kitchen waste thus leaving minimal carbon footprint. However, it is a little pricey especially for someone as low ass budget as myself. It is buffet style but I was set with only 10 meals per week meaning I could only eat twice for 5 out of the 7 days in a week; in this aspect I wish it was like Santa Cruz where you could go in and out as you please. But overall great!

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3 College Freshman

Campus Dining: Okay food for high prices. You get sick of the food after a while

5 College Sophomore

Campus Dining: Everything is fresh and yummy! Dining plans are expensive, but after hearing horror stories from other schools, UCSB has awesome dining.

3 College Sophomore

Campus Dining: I do not like the on campus dining halls because the menu is limited and continually repeated. All the prep for the meals are the same with the same ideas and seasonings, so everything starts to taste the same. A lot of the food is focused on gluten and there should be more healthy options including more vegan, gluten free, dairy free, sugar free options. Overall, the food is okay. I can't complain about having unlimited food.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Sophomore

Campus Dining: You get tired of it pretty quickly, but it can be surprising sometimes.

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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 37th
    Best Late-Night Dining Options
  • 65th
    Best Vegetarian/Vegan-Friendly Options
  • 70th
    Healthiest Dining Options
  • 86th
    Best Cafeteria Variety
  • 154th
    Best Quality Food

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Louie Tamayo
Hometown
Long Beach
Major
Sociology, Education and Applied Psychology
Grad Year
2012
View all previous student authors

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.

Facts & Statistics

Meal Plan Available?
Yes
Average Meals/Week
21
Freshman Meal Plan Required?
Yes
For those students living on campus, the meal plan costs are included in tuition for room and board.
Student Favorites: Campus Dining Hall
Carrillo Dining Commons
Student Favorites: Campus Restaurant/Vendor
Panda Express
Student Favorites: Breakfast Food on Campus
  • Bagels
  • Omelets
  • Waffles
Student Favorites: Lunch/Dinner Entrée on Campus
  • Panda Express
  • Waffles at the DLG (De La Guerra Dining Commons)
Student Favorites: Late-night Snack on Campus
  • DLG (De La Guerra Dining Commons)
  • Grilled cheese sandwiches
Student Favorites
  • Gaucho Deli & Café
  • Jamba Juice
  • Nicoletti’s
  • Panda Express
  • Romaine’s
24-Hour Dining
None
Off-Campus Places to Use Flex Money
None

Dining Halls & Campus RestaurantsWhat's This?

The Arbor
Location: Across from main library
Food: Convenience store
Hours: Monday–Friday 7:30 a.m.–5 p.m., Saturday–Sunday 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Carrillo Dining Commons
Location: Carrillo Dining Commons
Food: All-you-can-eat
Hours: Monday–Friday 7:15 a.m.–8 p.m., Saturday–Sunday 10:30 a.m.–8 p.m.
Coral Tree Café
Location: Near Cheadle Hall, about a 10-minute walk from UCen
Food: Breakfast, sandwiches
Hours: Monday–Friday 7:30 a.m.–2 p.m.
The Corner Store
Location: Upstairs UCen
Food: Convenience store with a wide variety of snacks
Hours: Monday–Thursday 7:30 a.m.–9 p.m., Friday 7:30 a.m.–6 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m.–4 p.m.
Courtyard Café
Location: Engineering Building
Food: Coffee bar, crepe station, deli
Hours: Monday–Friday 7:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
De La Guerra Dining Commons
Location: De La Guerra Dining Commons
Food: All-you-can-eat
Hours: Monday–Thursday 11 a.m.–12:30 a.m., Friday 11 a.m.–8 p.m., Saturday–Sunday 10:30 a.m.–8 p.m.
Die Bretzel
Location: UCen cart
Food: Gourmet hot dogs and pretzels
Hours: Monday–Friday 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
Domino's
Location: Upstairs UCen
Food: Pizza, salads
Hours: Monday–Friday 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
Jamba Juice
Location: UCen
Food: Smoothies
Hours: Monday–Friday 7:30 a.m.–6 p.m., Saturday–Sunday 11 a.m.–4 p.m.
Library Store
Location: Library
Food: Convenience store
Hours: Monday–Friday 8 a.m.–4 p.m.
Nicoletti's Coffeehouse
Location: Upstairs UCen
Food: Gourmet coffeehouse featuring daily specialty coffees, espresso, iced coffee drinks, baked goods, panini sandwiches, and fresh fruit
Hours: Monday–Thursday 7:30 a.m.–9 p.m., Friday 7:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
Nic's Northwest
Location: UCen
Food: Coffee cart
Hours: Monday–Thursday 8 a.m.–3 p.m., Friday 8 a.m.–2 p.m.
Ortega Dining Commons
Location: Ortega Dining Commons
Food: All-you-can-eat
Hours: Monday–Friday 7:15 a.m.–8 p.m.
Panda Express
Location: The Hub
Food: Chinese
Hours: Monday–Friday 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Portola Dining Commons
Location: Portola Dining Commons
Food: All-you-can-eat
Hours: Monday–Friday 7 a.m.–8 p.m., Saturday–Sunday 10:30 a.m.–8 p.m.
Rice Garden
Location: Located within the Courtyard Café
Food: Asian food
Hours: Monday–Friday 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Romaine's
Location: Upstairs UCen
Food: 26-foot salad bar, breadsticks, fruit, homemade soups, muffins
Hours: Monday–Friday 11 a.m.–3 p.m.
Root 217
Location: The Hub
Food: Local, fresh, natural food
Hours: Monday–Friday 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
The Store at Buchanan
Location: Right outside of Buchanan Hall
Food: Convenience store and coffee cart
Hours: Monday–Friday 7:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
Subway in The Arbor
Location: The Arbor
Food: Sandwiches
Hours: Monday–Thursday 8 a.m.–11 p.m., Friday 8 a.m.–5 p.m., Saturday–Sunday 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Subway in the UCen
Location: UCen
Food: Sandwiches
Hours: Monday–Friday 7:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m., Saturday 10:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Wahoo's Fish Taco
Location: The Hub
Food: Asian/Brazilian/Hawaiian/Mexican
Hours: Monday–Friday 10:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Woodstock's
Location: The Arbor
Food: Pizza
Hours: Monday–Thursday 9 a.m.–10 p.m., Friday 9 a.m.–6 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m.–4 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.–10 p.m.

Student Polls

Rate campus dining on the following topics    Based on 166 responses

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

What are the best food options on campus?    Based on 19 responses

  • 24% Panda Express
  • 24% Wahoo's
  • 16% Root 217
  • 16% Subway
  • 13% Coral Tree Cafe
  • 5% Courtyard cafe
  • 3% Niccoletti's

What are the worst things about the campus meal plan?    Based on 19 responses

  • 28% The meal swipes doesnt roll over!!!
  • 26% If you have a guest you must pay $12 for them
  • 23% The food in dining halls gets repetitive
  • 19% There is a set number of meals per week
  • 4% Dining in Santa Catalina hall is disgusting

What are the best things about the campus meal plan?    Based on 18 responses

  • 50% Buffet Style
  • 46% You can eat as much as you want!
  • 4% You can change your meal options

What are the worst food options on campus?    Based on 16 responses

  • 47% I heard Protola food isnt good.
  • 42% Portola
  • 11% Dining Commons

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