NYU Dining Halls, Ranked

Third North really needs to get its sh-t together, but you already knew that.

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The new and rebranded Upstein has a prominent NYU Eats banner outside of its entrance. (Staff Photo by Marva Shi)

By Gaby Baldovino, Staff Writer

Following semesters full of student complaints about dining options, NYU launched a new campus dining provider this year — NYU Eats. Catered by Chartwells, NYU Eats boasts sustainable food options and new educational opportunities. Of course, we NYU students only care if the food actually tastes better. Here’s how the dining halls stack up against each other this year.

6. Third North
Third North has turned into the meme of first-year housing and so has its dining hall. The last time I dined there I thought I had discovered the holy grail of mac ‘n’ cheese, only to spend the night feeling like my stomach was its own whirlpool. The variety of food is comparable to Lipton, with the only potential leg up being the social scene at Third North. If you really, truly can’t make the hike to Palladium, Weinstein or Kimmel, the pancakes might be the most tolerable item there.

5. Lipton
Lipton is great if you’re vegetarian, pescatarian, vegan, gluten-free or just trying to avoid the Freshman Fifteen. However, if you’re looking for a tasty, hearty meal after a long day of back-to-back classes, Lipton is not it. It’s the smallest dining hall out of the six on this list, which means that there’s usually limited seating and the food is almost always running low. Much of the time, the food isn’t seasoned and comes out dry. Thankfully, there’s salt and pepper at the tables.

4. Kimmel
Kimmel’s lines during lunch hours are infamous, but if you can wait, the food is worth it. Complete with outdoor seating, Kimmel is the perfect place to meet up with friends for a bite before you rush off to your next class. While the food isn’t extraordinarily tasty, what makes Kimmel so popular is its convenient location. Whether you’re craving a deli sandwich, salad, pasta or sushi (which, I can confirm, does indeed slap), Kimmel has you covered. 

3. Downstein
This might be a hot take, but Downstein comes very close to Upstein in terms of quality, and it’s all because of the soft serve. It just hits differently, especially when you can now pile on an absurd amount of toppings, a new option this year. Everything else at Downstein is typical dining hall fare, but stands out in the sense that it has actual flavor. What makes Downstein unappealing at times is the fact that you can never find a seat. The awkward five minutes you spend lingering by a table that looks almost done downgrades the experience.

2. Upstein
Two things: Chick-fil-A and Jamba Juice. Whether you’re the type to indulge in greasy foods after a night out, or attempt a dining dollar detox, Upstein’s got you covered. Upstein arguably benefitted the most under the new dining provider with its two new additions. The Egg Shoppe offers a variety of breakfast options and The Daily Press has a menu comprised of quality sandwiches. The great thing about Upstein is that it’s the most consistent of the dining halls, but its lack of variety is sadly what makes it finish runner-up.

1. Palladium
Sunday brunch at Palladium Brunch is legendary. But Palladium is far from a one-hit-wonder — it offers consistently delicious food seven days a week. Imagine perfectly toasted sandwiches and a salad bar that makes you actually want to eat salad. While the sushi bar became cheaper, and therefore worse across the board under the new dining provider, it still exceeds gas-station-quality. Personally, I believe that the rice bowls are the star of the show. Another gold star for Palladium is its spacious dining area. Every time I find myself in Palladium, even if it’s peak dinner or lunch hour, I can secure a seat. Weinstein and Kimmel can’t relate.

Compared to a ranking published on WSN three years ago, Downstein has upgraded overall, Lipton has traded in flavor for healthiness and Third North remains Third North. Campus dining is never going to be perfect, but NYU students will be eating somewhat better this year.

Email Gaby Baldovino at [email protected]