Campus Dining

Santa Cruz, CA
Tuition (in-state)
$36,294 ($13,416)
Admission Difficulty
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4 College Sophomore

Campus Dining: since we are in santa cruz, there are a lot of vegan/vegetarian/gluten free/ organic options. its pretty good food and its usually very very healthy food

5 College Freshman

Campus Dining: The dining halls are great. Each week they offer farm fresh foods. Compared to other campuses the food is very healthy.

2 people found this useful Report
3 College Sophomore

Campus Dining: compared to most schools there is alot of dining options, there are 5 different dining halls to choose from.

3 Recent Alumnus

Campus Dining: Not too bad, but it gets old after a while.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Freshman

Campus Dining: Oakes/College 8 dining hall has to be the worst dining hall on campus. However, it's close to the colleges it's named after. College 9/10 dining hall is the place to be if one wants junk food. It's also usually open a lot later than the others. Porter dining hall is where you'd go if you want vegetarian/vegan options.

1 person found this useful Report

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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 1st
    Best Vegetarian/Vegan-Friendly Options
  • 1st
    Healthiest Dining Options
  • 37th
    Best Ethnic/Kosher Options
  • 49th
    Best Late-Night Dining Options
  • 141st
    Best Cafeteria Variety

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Randy Silver
Irvine, California
Environmental Science and Economics
Grad Year
View all previous student authors

There are five dining halls on campus, varying only slightly in regards to the food they serve. Most UCSC students love the healthy options of the dining hall and find a variety of foods to eat. The food is served in an all-you-can-eat buffet style, so once you swipe your student ID card to get in, you can eat as much as you want. All of the dining halls have an extensive salad bar, main course options, a sandwich bar, and drinks. There are always vegetarian options, and at some of the dining halls, there is a vegan option for every meal. Every week at UCSC, sushi rollers, hired from outside sources, rotate through the dining halls.

All of the colleges on campus have a café or eatery of some sort, which include taquerias, coffee shops, and pizza joints. They are a nice alternative to the dining hall, and students with meal plans can use Flexi Dollars to buy food there. Favorites are Tacos Moreno, which specializes in Mexican food; the Stevenson Coffee House, which offers delicious baked goods and a great atmosphere; and Owl's Nest, where you can score a great burger and fries for a decent price. Joe's Pizza & Subs is located on Central Campus and is a popular place due to its prime location, decent food, and because it is the only place on campus that serves beer. It gets crowded on Fridays when they serve $2 pints. A bit of advice: Make sure you watch your Flexi Dollars and ration them throughout the quarter.

Facts & Statistics

Freshman Meal Plan Required?
Students who live on campus must have a meal plan.
Student Favorites: Campus Dining Hall
  • College Eight Dining Hall
  • Colleges Nine/Ten Dining Hall
  • Stevenson/Cowell Dining Hall
Student Favorites: Campus Restaurant/Vendor
  • Owl's Nest
  • Tacos Morenos
Student Favorites: Breakfast Food on Campus
  • Cereal
  • Granola
  • Hash browns
  • Omelets
  • Tater tots
  • Waffles
Student Favorites: Lunch/Dinner Entrée on Campus
  • Chicken salad/grilled chicken club
  • Chicken/chicken-fried steak with gravy
  • Eggplant ricotta
  • Fettuccine Alfredo
  • Fish
  • Flank steak
  • Hamburgers
  • Hot dogs
  • Indian
  • Pasta
  • Pizza
  • Sandwiches
  • Sushi
Student Favorites: Late-night Snack on Campus
  • Chicken nuggets
  • French fries
  • Ice cream
  • Night Owl cookies
  • Nutella
  • Salad
  • Smoothies
  • Tacos Moreno
Student Favorites
  • Joe's Pizza & Subs
  • Owl's Nest at Kresge
  • Tacos Moreno
24-Hour Dining
Off-Campus Places to Use Flex Money
Did You Know?
About a quarter of the produce served on campus is certified organic, half of which comes from local farmers.

Dining Halls & Campus RestaurantsWhat's This?

Banana Joe's Quick Mart
Location: Crown College
Food: Burgers, fries, grab 'n' go meals, sandwiches, snacks
Hours: Monday–Thursday 10 a.m.–11 p.m., Friday 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
College Eight Café
Location: College Eight
Food: Sandwiches, snacks
Hours: Monday–Thursday 8 a.m.–10 p.m., Friday 8 a.m.–5 p.m.
College Eight/Oakes Dining Hall
Location: Oakes College
Food: All-you-can-eat buffet
Hours: Monday–Thursday 7:15 a.m.–11 p.m., Friday 7:15 a.m.–8 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.–8 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m.–11 p.m.
Colleges Nine/Ten Dining Hall
Location: Colleges Nine/Ten
Food: All-you-can-eat buffet
Hours: Monday–Friday 7:15 a.m.–11 p.m., Saturday–Sunday 10 a.m.–11 p.m.
Cowell Coffee Shop
Location: Cowell College
Food: Coffee/tea, salads, sandwiches, snacks
Hours: Monday–Thursday 7:45 a.m.–11:30 p.m., Friday 7:45 a.m.–4 p.m.
Cowell/Stevenson Dining Hall
Location: Cowell College
Food: All-you-can-eat buffet
Hours: Monday–Friday 7:15 a.m.–8 p.m., Saturday–Sunday 10 a.m.–8 p.m.
Crown/Merrill Dining Hall
Location: Merrill Hall
Food: All-you-can-eat buffet
Hours: Monday–Friday 7:15 a.m.–8 p.m.
Global Village Café
Location: McHenry Library
Food: Coffee/tea, salads, sandwiches, snacks, sweets
Hours: Monday–Thursday 8 a.m.–9 p.m., Friday 8 a.m.–7 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m.–6 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m.–8 p.m.
Joe's Pizza & Subs
Location: Bookstore Quarry
Food: Pizza, sandwiches
Hours: Monday–Friday 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
Oakes Cafè
Location: Oakes College
Food: Coffee/tea, sandwiches, snacks
Hours: Monday–Thursday 8:30 a.m.–11 p.m., Friday 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
Owl's Nest
Location: Kresge College
Food: Asian, crepes, salads, sandwiches, smoothies
Hours: Monday–Thursday 7:30 a.m.–8:30 p.m., Friday 7:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
Perk Coffee – Baskin
Location: Baskin Engineering Buildings
Food: Coffee/tea, salads, sandwiches, snacks, sweets
Hours: Monday–Thursday 7:30 a.m.–4 p.m., Friday 7:30 a.m.–2 p.m.
Perk Coffee – Earth & Marine Sciences
Location: Earth & Marine Sciences
Food: Coffee/tea, salads, sandwiches, snacks, sweets
Hours: Monday–Thursday 7:30 a.m.–4 p.m., Friday 7:30 a.m.–2 p.m.
Perk Coffee – Physical Science
Location: Physical Science Building
Food: Coffee/tea, salads, sandwiches, snacks, sweets
Hours: Monday–Thursday 7:30 a.m.–4 p.m., Friday 7:30 a.m.–2 p.m.
Perk Coffee – University Center
Location: Above Colleges Nine/Ten Dining Hall
Food: Coffee/tea, salads, sandwiches, snacks, sweets
Hours: Monday–Thursday 8 a.m.–4 p.m., Friday 8 a.m.–2 p.m.
Porter Slug Grill & Café
Location: Porter College
Food: Mexican
Hours: Monday–Thursday 7 a.m.–11 p.m., Friday 7 a.m.–4 p.m., Saturday–Sunday 3 p.m.–10 p.m.
Porter/Kresge Dining Hall
Location: Porter Hall
Food: All-you-can-eat buffet
Hours: Monday–Friday 7:15 a.m.–7 p.m.
Stevenson Coffee House
Location: Stevenson College
Food: Coffee/tea, ice cream, salads, sandwiches, soups
Hours: Monday–Thursday 7:30 a.m.–11:30 p.m., Friday 7:30 a.m.–5 p.m., Sunday 8 p.m.–11:30 p.m.
Tacos Moreno
Location: Merrill College
Food: Mexican
Hours: Monday–Friday 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Terra Fresca
Location: University Center
Food: Pizza, salads, sandwiches
Hours: Monday–Friday 11:30 a.m.–2 p.m.

Student Polls

Rate campus dining on the following topics    Based on 123 responses

Very poor
  • Availability
  • 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 10 responses

  • 38% Different dinning halls
  • 25% Pizza
  • 19% Vegetarian ;)
  • 19% Cafes around campus

What are the worst things about the campus meal plan?    Based on 9 responses

  • 56% The campus meal plan is great!
  • 33% Meal plan is expensive(Depending on your meal plan
  • 11% Hours of operation

What are the best things about the campus meal plan?    Based on 8 responses

  • 50% One may choose a different meal plan.
  • 30% So many options on where to eat
  • 20% 7 day unlimited meal plan

What are the worst food options on campus?    Based on 6 responses

  • 57% The meat
  • 43% Pizza


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