Campus Food

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Campus Food


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3 College Junior

Campus Food: It's just so expensive, but otherwise it's pretty awesome.

3 College Junior

Campus Food: Dining halls have a variety of food but it does seem repetitive at times. At least you don't have to cook or do the dishes.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Senior

Campus Food: Food and snack options around most parts of campus. Courtyard cafe is hands down the best food on campus.

4 College Freshman

Campus Food: Campus food is campus food. There will be some bad and some good.

3 College Sophomore

Campus Food: The dining commons are great but food sometimes does get repetitive. Other on campus option are alright. We have two Subways but no Starbucks, does not make sense.


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Student Author OverviewWhat's this?

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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?
Average Meals/Week
Freshman Meal Plan Required?
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
Off-Campus Places to Use Flex Money

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.
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.
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.
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

What are the best food options on campus?    Based on 115 responses

  • 16% Panda Express
  • 12% Subway
  • 11% Woodstocks
  • 10% Jamba Juice
  • 8% The Arbor
  • 8% Root 217
  • 7% Coral Tree Cafe
  • 7% Wahoo's
  • 5% Hana's Kitchen
  • 4% Niccoletti's
  • 4% Corner Store candy by the pound happyhour discount
  • 3% Courtyard cafe
  • 1% Anything in IV
  • 1% The dining commons
  • 1% Freebirds
  • 0% Free Birds
  • 0% Wahoos
  • 0% Blaze Pizza
  • 0% DLG
  • 0% Carillo

What are the worst food options on campus?    Based on 104 responses

  • 23% Portola
  • 23% I heard Protola food isnt good.
  • 14% Ucen vending machines
  • 13% Vending machine food is expensive and old
  • 11% Get bored of food after a while
  • 5% Carillo for dinner
  • 4% Dining Commons
  • 3% Wahoos
  • 2% The food options are not that bad.
  • 1% DLG
  • 1% I think the food is generally delicious everywhere

What are the worst things about the campus meal plan?    Based on 112 responses

  • 26% The meal swipes doesnt roll over!!!
  • 22% If you have a guest you must pay $12 for them
  • 16% The food in dining halls gets repetitive
  • 11% There is a set number of meals per week
  • 7% Can't give your swipes to other people
  • 6% Strict rules about what food can be taken out
  • 5% Limited hours of operation
  • 5% Dining in Santa Catalina hall is disgusting
  • 2% Breakfast closes too early
  • 0% Portion sizes served are tiny

What are the best things about the campus meal plan?    Based on 112 responses

  • 24% Buffet Style
  • 21% You can eat as much as you want!
  • 16% Late night at DLG
  • 13% Ortega takeout
  • 11% You can change your meal options
  • 11% No need to cook.
  • 3% It is easy to make your own meal
  • 0% Never had a campus meal plan
  • 0% I don't care for the no-orderly-line style eating

Rate campus dining on the following topics    Based on 249 responses

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


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