Hit-Or-Miss Tastemade/Snapchat

The 10 Best College Dining Halls In The US

In addition to cliches about discovering yourself and broadening your horizons, most of what you learn in college will center around what does or doesn’t qualify as a pizza topping. Many top-tier universities in the U.S. have begun drawing students in with the sweet aromas of build-your-own burger bars and fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. This list highlights the creme-de-le-creme of reasons to cut French class and expand your waistline instead of your mind. It’s not too late to apply.

1. Bowdain

Your Bowdain College culinary adventure begins with a lobster bake at orientation, offers easy access to organic fruits and veggies from the campus garden center on a daily basis, and culminates with korean barbecue tacos. The first thing you’ll learn is what “freshman fifteen” means.

2. Roger Williams University

How about a little surf and turf at this Rhode Island liberal arts college? Not good enough for you? Maybe you’d prefer a turkey carving station for a Thanksgiving feast, complete with all the trimmings and trappings just like your Grammy makes it? Still not impressed? How’s about three types of chocolate fountains (white, dark and milk) on Valentine’s Day? BOOM!

3. Virginia Tech

Get as technical as you want with Virginia Tech’s build-your-own burger restaurant, featuring top choice cuts from the institution’s Meat Sciences Department (best science=best department). The dining hall will also cut you off a slice of ribeye any old day of the week. But this Old Dominion institution doesn’t stop there, with fresh lobster and wood-fired pizza on the menu as well. Maybe there’s some vegetables in there too, but who cares?

4. Washington University

The St. Louisan student body enjoys the late night dining options at WashU, which feature chicken and waffles as well as chicken fingers and fries until 2 AM. But it’s not all battered chicken: other options include Parmesan cream potato gnocchi, ahi tuna rolls, and braised pork cheeks with cinnamon candied apples. Also, there’s a Dr. Seuss themed night, so I hope you like Green Eggs and Ham.

5. Johns Hopkins

Johns Hopkins produces Nobel laureates almost as fast McDonald’s makes french fries, but unlike McDonald’s it also provides swanky college dining experiences that probably won’t make you vomit. There’s no snootier complement for the live jazz music than the baked brie, bananas foster, and shrimp cocktails that they typically serve at this meal—which is more impressive than the average American’s life.


6. University of Massachusetts Amherst

Sure, many of the schools mentioned above go out of their way to import exotic foods and broaden students’ cultural horizons, but UMass Amherst throws in a live DJ set to kick it up a notch. Brazilian churrascaria with a side of Skrillex for dipping. There’s also a daily pho bar that will have you in beef broth and beansprout heaven.


7. Columbia

Another Smorgasburg beauty: Neapolitan-style pie by @bigmozznyc. A mobile wood-burning stove! 🍕

A photo posted by Columbia Dining (@columbiadining) on

“Zero trans fat” is probably the last thing that students care to hear, next to “written mid-term.” But when attached to dishes like Thai chili wings, eggplant roulette and “JJ’s Philly Cheesesteak,” it doesn’t sound so bad. If that all seems too high-falutin for your particular Ivy League sensibilities, you might want to check out the peanut butter and jelly bar.

8. James Madison University

Today on Tandoori: Chicken Tikka Masala over Rice

A photo posted by JMU Dining Services (@jmudining) on

Fifteen unique dining locations serve the students of James Madison University, including tandoori ovens and Chinese woks to offer some multi-cultural variety. Of course, students away from home for the first time will likely appreciate the made-to-order grilled cheese station and the home-made ice cream options just as much.

9. Cornell

Ithacan students have taken to the create-your-own omelette and pancake bars—giving students access to ingredients like M&Ms, sprinkles and fruit to add to pumpkin or blueberry batter. Whether you’re literature fan or food fanatic, you’ll also appreciate the “Hogwarts Night” featuring chocolate frog legs, butterbeer and other Harry Potter-themed eats.

10. Northwestern

It’s #DiningHallHack Monday. Check out this fun and simple hack. Be sure to tag us in all your favorite hacks!

A video posted by Northwestern Dining (@northwestern_dining) on

Northwestern’s campus dietitian oversees the menu at this Chicago university, but don’t worry: the dining service still manages to put on exotic theme evenings like Moroccan and Jamaican nights. The real highlight is the weekly hot cookie bar, which features bakery treats so piping hot and delicious that they will make your mother’s cookies taste like an inedible declaration of war.