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Top 10 US College Dining Hall Rankings on the Blacklist

The quality of food served in educational institutions goes beyond just providing sustenance. In a world where gastronomic experiences often define our daily joy and contentment, it is important to consider the impact of dining hall food on students. In addition to the academic atmosphere, social life, campus environment and housing security, college food is also one of the factors many applicants consider when choosing a college. If your favourite college food is not tasty, would you still apply to it?

College Dining Hall Rankings Blacklisted

Here, we list the top 10 US colleges with terrible dining halls. Every one of them has a C or below on Niche, and some of them were on the Princeton Review’s Campus Food Not So Tasty List.

1. University of California, Berkeley

Niche Campus Food: C+

UCB has 4 canteens. Three dining halls(Cafe 3 & Crossroads & Clark Kerr) are located near the southern part of the campus and only one(Foothill) is located in the northern part of the campus. Reviews of the college food are mixed.  Some think it delicious, while others feel it unpalatable. Crossroads offers low-calorie foods, most of which have no more than 120 kcal, making them ideal for fat reduction. The only downside is that the plastic cutlery is not good. Foothill is on a mountain. Once encountering bad food, one can only silently drink three cups of different drinks to satisfy hunger. Foothill still has tasty food. In addition, there are many delicious Chinese restaurants near UCB, which is a good choice for students.

2. University of Rochester

Niche Campus Food: C+

There are 3 dining halls in the University of Rochester, with Danforth serving only lunch and the other two serving all meals. According to the feedback of students, the dishes in the canteen have a high overlap rate, and whether you can have the privilege to taste the delicious food depends on your good fortune. Still, the college’s Douglass Dining mainly serves pasta. Asian ramen, Korean bibimbap, and other foods are more suitable for international students’ tastes. An international student once commented, “I can’t say it’s delicious, but you will be full in Douglass!” 

3. Syracuse University

Niche Campus Food: C

Syracuse University has 2 dining halls and 14 cafes. By contrast, students prefer to have meals at Schine Dining, mainly because of a series of chain restaurants such as Panda Express and Halal Shack. The dishes are varied, but the food quality is poor, and the repetition rate is high. Fortunately, you can still brag about the canteen soup. If you don’t want to go to the cafeteria, there’s plenty to eat on Marshall Street near the school. Many students said they would like to make this street their first choice for dining. Meal Plan is also available as a meal option.

4. Georgia Institute of Technology

Niche Campus Food: C+

Georgia Institute of Technology has 3 dining halls. Two dining halls (North Ave Dinning Hall and Brittain Dinning Hall) are on the campus’s east side. The menu of these two restaurants shows that every meal has hamburgers, hot dogs, cheese, and so on. Although the taste of North Ave food has different opinions, Brittain is said to be delicious. West Village Dining Hall is located on the west side of campus. Some students said there is no problem with food safety, and the nutritional elements are enough, but they shouldn’t eat if they can’t eat in West Village. Although the cafeteria Food is often difficult to eat, the Campus has a wide variety of Campus Retail and Food trucks, 18 of which serve everything from sushi to ice cream. Retail mainly eats burgers and pastries.

5. Bentley University

Niche Campus Food: C-

Bentley University‘s dining hall has always been criticized. It has only one dining hall (The 921). And it mainly serves burgers, pasta, pizza, salads and other foods that can easily make people tired. Occasionally, students can find raw meat, wire and wax paper in their meals. The worst thing is that the price of meals is not low, except for commuters and students living in apartments who can choose the cheapest Block 20. According to student feedback, the food at LaCava Center and Currito is delicious, and the only Starbucks on campus is also open in LaCava Center. However, these two places only accept discretionary funds, which can be a big student expense.

6. The University of Virginia

Niche Campus Food: C-

In the UVA, only Observatory Hill and Runk will be open all day, and John Paul will serve dinner only. The variety is relatively more, the price of each meal is not expensive, and the nutritional elements can be met. But the primary menu is chicken, fish, beef, onion and lettuce, hamburgers, sandwiches and rice are often seen, and the taste can’t be guaranteed. In addition to cafeterias, there are also many chain fast food restaurants in UVA, such as Subway and Chick-fil-A. The school’s Street Eats is a full row of food trucks serving Asian, Indian, Mexican, Turkish and more. Campus Center’s Corner Juice is also well-received by students. UVA is also near Uncle Edward, Walmart, Sam’s and Costco. All in all, students are left with a lot of choices

7. UC Merced

Niche Campus Food: C-

The number of dishes available in the two dining halls of UC Merced is very small. In Yablokoff Wallace, students can eat standard American fast food like pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs, and fried chicken every day. In the Pavilion, there is always a variety of bowls or plates, and the heat is extremely high. The school food truck is not much better. which also serves high-calorie foods.

8. William & Mary

Niche Campus Food: D+

Every year, the College of William and Mary attracts a large number of new students because of its rich history. The most delicious food at William and Mary was the least healthy, like fried chicken and French fries. Meat and vegetables often have an undercooked taste. Even the cooking of pasta has been patchy, with one student having food poisoning after eating pasta. The dining hall also has very few food options.

9. Brandeis University

Niche Campus Food: D+

Because of the Jewish background of the school itself, Brandeis University cafeteria is divided into Kosher sections (kosher food) and Non-Kosher sections. The college also often prepares holiday meals (especially those related to Judaism). Most of Brandeis’s cafeterias stay open until 2-3 a.m., allowing students to eat even later. But whether it tastes good or not is another matter. According to the student feedback, the canteen dishes are not only simple, but the taste is also poor, and occasionally there will be some new “special dishes”, such as lemon stir-fried chilli.

10. Fordham University

Niche Campus Food: D-

According to Niche, students’ reviews of Fordham University’s canteen can be split into two categories – ‘inedible’ and ‘expensive’. “Not edible” because you can throw in all kinds of surprises from time to time, like tiny insects and thumbtacks. The food available was very small and not very healthy, and there were even seven school food poisoning cases. In addition, the canteen space is small, so there is a long line whenever it is time to eat. Regarding “extremely expensive”, Fordham can also be said to be the ultimate. Freshman residents must purchase a meal plan for the entire academic year, typically from $6,645 to $7,825. NYU’s most expensive 300 Flex meal plan costs $6,286 a year. No wonder one student commented directly: “It was literally the most expensive and worst tasting food I ever had to eat on regular basis.”

How to Choose a Meal Plan?

College meal plans are pre-paid accounts that provide students access to campus dining services. Schools typically require residential students, especially first-year students, to purchase a meal plan. Choosing the optimal meal plan for one’s collegiate years requires considering various factors to ensure it aligns with one’s dietary preferences and lifestyle. 

  1. Evaluate the Plan’s Flexibility: Choose a flexible meal plan that allows you to change meals or swap credits when needed.
  2. Investigate the Dining Environment: Dining halls are more than just places to eat; they’re spaces where communities forge and ideas blossom. 
  3. Budget Considerations: When managing your finances, choose a meal plan that fits your budget without sacrificing quality or quantity. When needed, consider cost-benefit ratios and ask about financial assistance or scholarships.


While college dining hall rankings may tempt students and their families to select certain universities, it’s crucial to approach these lists with a critical perspective. Potential students should look deeper into what these dining hall services offer, including their commitment to sustainability and the diversity of food options. Also, it’s necessary to know how they cater to the unique dietary requirements of their student body. Based on knowing this information, students can consider one more indicator when choosing a school. After determining which university to go to, understanding how to select a meal plan can help students better integrate into college life.


According to the statistics from Niche, the top 10 college food are as follows:

  1. University of California-Los Angeles
  2. University of Massachusetts Amherst
  3. Virginia Tech
  4. California Baptist University
  5. Saint John Fisher University
  6. St. Norbert College
  7. Bates College
  8. James Madison University
  9. University of San Diego 
  10. Florida International University

Collectively, the average cost of food per month for a college student is $670

  • College students spend on average $410 a month eating off-campus.
  • Meals cooked at home average $260 a month when the cost of eating off-campus is included.
  • A campus meal plan averages $450 a month.
  • A vegan diet cooked exclusively at home averages $155 a month for a college student.

Umass Amherst. According to the Princeton Review in 2023, whose campus food ranking list is based on student ratings of the food at their colleges, The University of Massachusetts Amherst dining program has been ranked number one in the nation for the 7th year in a row.

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