Campus Food

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Campus Food


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4 College Junior

Campus Food: Although there could always be things to pick on, it's overall awesome. The SLP has been slacking lately though on variety and options, especially at brunch or weekend dinners.

3 College Freshman

Campus Food: There are a variety of food you can eat on campus. Until you've eaten almost all of them, and life at college lasts a long time. The only things you can hope for to avoid eating the same things over and over again are special SLP dinners and new food arrivals.

5 College Sophomore

Campus Food: Expensive but good food options

4 College Sophomore

Campus Food: USD requires you to buy a meal plan that is too large. The dining dollars are useful, but the meals are a waste. They are making us waste our money with buying an uncessary amount of meals. Although with the dining dollars, you can get a lot of good food. Some good food you can buy with dining dollars - crepes at Aromas, sandwiches at Tu Merc, Mongolian noodles at La Paloma, and smoothies at Mission Cafe. Also, the lunch at the SLP during the weekdays are really good. There is lots of variety and the desserts are good too.

1 College Junior

Campus Food: Transferred from another school where there was always someplace to eat and the food was always good. But not at USD, I've gotten food poisoning from La Paloma, Bert's and the SLP. The brunch is a literal joke and there is never actual good food in the SLP except the pasta from Mickey. There are hardly any late night options and the food is never fresh or prepared well. Tu Mercado only makes sandwiches and they never make the sandwiches right either plus I've seen the girls prepare food with their bare hands or touch the garbage with gloves and not change the gloves before making the next sandwich. The workers for all the dining services are almost always rude or mess up the orders.


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Student Author OverviewWhat's this?

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With the remodel of the University Center and the addition of the Student Life Pavilion in 2009, campus dining has taken a definite turn for the better. The UC now includes Tu Mercado, an all-in-one supermarket, gelato shop, sandwich and salad bar, café, and gift shop. The SLP has fruit and salad bars, sushi, a pasta bar, Chinese, Italian, Mexican, soup, grilled cheese sandwiches, hamburgers, tuna melts, a dessert bar, and "Secret Ingredient," where they make original meals featuring the unique secret ingredient of the day. Other eateries on campus include Aromas (coffee, tea, baked goods, crepes), La Paloma (fresh sandwiches, salads, gyros, soup), Bert’s Bistro (wraps, sandwiches, sushi, barbecue, burritos), and Mission Café (coffee, waffles, frozen yogurt, smoothies). La Gran Terraza, located in the UC, is USD’s most elegant and, accordingly, most expensive dining option. It is a nice, sit-down restaurant with delicious Mediterranean-inspired food. USD also has a food truck that parks outside Copley Library in the mornings and near the Vistas at night, and serves a wide variety of food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

Between about 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., you can expect a long wait just about anywhere on campus. Dinner at the SLP, which starts at 4:30 p.m., gets pretty busy between 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Since you can only use the meals on your meal plan at dinner and brunch at the SLP, both eating times get pretty busy. Students, in an attempt to use their meals, will come in herds to the SLP. At lunch, students who live on campus use dining dollars across campus, often trying to avoid another typical SLP meal. The food at USD is of very high quality—definitely not your average college cafeteria food—but the limited options mean you can get sick of the food during the semester.

Facts & Statistics

Meal Plan Available?
Average Meals/Week
Average Meal Plan Cost
$2,289 per semester
Freshman Meal Plan Required?
Student Favorites: Campus Dining Hall
Pavilion Dining
Student Favorites: Campus Restaurant/Vendor
  • La Paloma
  • Tu Mercado
Student Favorites: Breakfast Food on Campus
  • Bagels from Missions Café
  • Brunch on the weekends
  • Chocolate-chip pancakes
  • Omelets
Student Favorites: Lunch/Dinner Entrée on Campus
  • Chinese food from Pavilion Dining
  • Salmon Caesar salad
  • Sandwiches from Tu Mercado
Student Favorites: Late-night Snack on Campus
  • Frozen yogurt ("fro-yo") from Missons Café
  • Pizza
24-Hour Dining
Off-Campus Places to Use Flex Money
  • Domino's Pizza
  • Olive Café
  • Ryan's Café
Special Options
USD Dining Services offers foods that are gluten-free, low fat, organic, nut-free, vegan, and vegetarian. Color-coded symbols designate these options, so they're easy to spot. USD also serves fair trade items and meals made with local ingredients.

Dining Halls & Campus RestaurantsWhat's This?

Location: Maher Hall
Food: Pastries, Starbucks coffee
Hours: Monday-Thursday 7 a.m.-9 p.m., Friday 7 a.m.-3 p.m.
Bert's Bistro
Location: Mother Rosalie Hill Hall
Food: American, breakfast sandwiches, Mexican, paninis, rice bowls, salad bar, sandwiches, soup
Hours: Monday-Thursday 9 a.m.-8 p.m., Friday 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
La Gran Terraza
Location: Hahn University Center
Food: American, California cuisine
Hours: Monday-Thursday 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Saturday 5 p.m.-9 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
La Paloma
Location: Kroc Institute
Food: Breakfast, coffee drinks, hot entrées, gourmet on-the-go items, signature sandwiches
Hours: Monday-Thursday 7 a.m.-9 p.m., Friday 7 a.m.-4 p.m.
Missions Café
Location: Valley Fitness Center
Food: Breakfast, salads, sandwiches, sushi
Hours: Monday-Thursday 7 a.m.-12 a.m., Friday 7 a.m.-9 p.m., Saturday-Sunday 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
Location: Hahn University Center
Food: Tapas
Hours: Monday-Saturday 5 p.m.-10 p.m.
Pavilion Dining
Location: Student Life Pavilion
Food: American, Chinese, Japanese, Mediterranean, Mexican, pastries, pizza, salad bar, soup, vegetarian, Vietnamese
Hours: Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Saturday-Sunday 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
Tu Mercado
Location: Student Life Pavilion
Food: Natural food grocery store, smoothies, specialty bar
Hours: Monday-Thursday 7 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday 7 a.m.-9 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m.-10 p.m.

Student Polls

What are the best food options on campus?    Based on 88 responses

  • 15% Tu Mercado sandwiches
  • 14% La Paloma
  • 11% Mongolian noodles at Paloma
  • 11% Crepes at Aromas
  • 10% BERTS!!!
  • 8% Aromas
  • 7% Salads at Paloma
  • 7% O'tooles/La Gran Terraza
  • 5% Missions Cafe
  • 4% Torero Tu-Go Food Truck
  • 3% Chives salad bar in the SLP.
  • 1% Calzones at slp
  • 0% SLP
  • 0% Paloma sandwiches
  • 0% SLP @ lunchtime
  • 0% Sushi
  • 0% Sushi at SLP
  • 0% Sushi at Berts
  • 0% Pasta station at SLP
  • 0% Clean Earth Kitchen @ SLP

Rate campus dining on the following topics    Based on 158 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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