In terms of overall experience, Palladium is the clear winner. They’ve got the best salad bar in the biz, solid pizza, Indian food, sushi— and a menu that is constantly changing and offering variety. What’s great about Palladium is you can eat healthy or be utterly indulgent. Oh, and there’s actually room to sit. Of course, the real star of the show is Palladium brunch. They bring out all the stops for this meal. The dining hall’s beloved Sunday feast is a weekly reminder that Palladium is the best of the bunch — the chocolate fountain is all it took to win me over.
The best thing you can get at Palladium: Sunday brunch, Indian food, sushi
What you should avoid: Watered-down soda fountains
Kimmel is another student favorite, as demonstrated by the excessive lines around lunch hours, and for good reason: variety! You have a pasta bar, you have Mexican, you have deli sandwiches. Also, how cute is Chloe’s Soft Serve station? Kimmel is centrally located, always buzzing and even has outdoor seating. Plus, the Peet’s Coffee on the second floor is a nice alternative to the excessively long lines at the Starbucks down
The best thing you can get at Kimmel: Variety, healthy ice cream, quesadillas
What you should avoid: Bumping into people
Quiznos. Chick-Fil-A. That random breakfast corner called Over Easy. A salad bar. Jamba Juice! What more do you need? Bland tasting pizza? Go downstairs for that. Upstein is where it’s at. Sure, there’s never enough seating and the Chick-Fil-A doesn’t serve their full menu, but at least Upstein tries. Of course, don’t rule out the Kosher cafeteria. Zoe Siegal, a junior, says, “Jews love it. And some non Jews.” So, there you have it.
The best thing you can get at Upstein: Smoothies, popular chain restaurants, kosher options
What you should avoid: Trying to bribe the staff for more than two Chick-Fil-A sauces
Downstein — also known as “Weinstein Passport Dining” — also gets variety points. I can’t imagine going to Downstein when you have Upstein right upstairs, but apparently some people do it. You can choose from pizza, pasta, vegetarian options, deli choices and a grill. Downstein is a little random, and there’s something kind of depressing about eating underground, but it is definitely not
The best thing you can get at Downstein: Pretty much anything
What you should avoid: Having high expectations
Hayden — the mecca for social freshmen. It’s your basic dining hall, with a salad bar, grill, pastas, deli sandwiches and horrible bagels. Like a lot of the other dining halls, there’s a good chance you’ll find what you’re looking for at Hayden, but it won’t be the best meal you’ve ever had. However, it does have a great
The best thing you can get at Hayden: Cookies, a new freshman friend, breakfast
What you should avoid: Questionable looking vegetables
To give an example of how irrelevant U-Hall is, I’ve been spelling it UHaul up until a few days ago. It’s far, random, and also underground, but the Burger Studio at U-Hall is not horrible — you can customize your own, get a veggie version and use a cute little machine. The ability to order from your phone is also a plus. But overall, U-Hall has about as much
variety as this year’s
The best thing you can get at U-Hall: Burgers
What you should avoid: Pretty much anything other than burgers.
The Third North dining hall is like that aunt who can’t cook but still tries. Despite being decently sized, there aren’t that many options and the menu is pretty boring. But every once in awhile the grill serves something mildly exciting. And by the way, do not even try walking in just to look around. Swipe or go home.
The best thing you can get at Third North: Grilled cheese, ice cream (if the machine is
What you should avoid: Everything else
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Feb. 1 print edtion. Email Monica Hanna at [email protected]