Best Food On A University Campus? UCLA Kills It

The Anderson Cafe at the Anderson School of Management is just one reason why UCLA ranks as having the best food on a university campus

When the Anderson Café first opened its doors at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management two years ago, it made a world of difference for eating options on campus. The Mediterranean-inspired dishes were filled with grains, salad, or both. The custom sandwiches included turkey pesto, turkey avocado, and salmon salad. And what’s more, the Anderson Café became the first on-campus eatery where you could order a Starbucks’ caramel macchiato.

It’s just one of the reasons why UCLA has just topped the newest list of having the best food on a university campus, according to the 2022 ranking by Niche which rates the culinary delights of a school on the basis of student reviews and the cost of a college meal plan (see full ranking below). Of course, few students ever think the food on campus would ever deserve a Michelin star. But in the universe of university cuisine, UCLA gets an A+ for the quality of the available options. The school also has the highest ranked MBA program of the top ten places for students who want to eat well.

Anderson Cafe was the first on-campus Starbucks location at UCLA

Anderson Café, with seating both inside and in the exterior courtyard, is but one of many options on the UCLA campus for MBA and other students to take a moment and comfortably enjoy a drink or meal. All told, there are 17 restaurants and coffeehouse locations on the UCLA campus that serve more than 20,000 customers a day. In a typical year, some $27 million are spent at those 17 on-campus locations, according to the most recent an annual report by the Associated Students of UCLA.

At Lu Valle Commons, the options range from Fusion, with its rice bowls and plates of chicken or tofu, to Burger Assembly, were one can order a spicy Latin veggie version of a burger, with pepper jack cheese, avocado, tomato, grilled onions, and chipotle mayo. Over at Ackerman, there’s the Curbside Avenue A for Freshly prepared wraps, salads, sandwiches, vegan, vegetarian, and kosher offerings. And if you are a fast food junkie, you could always satisfy your hunger at Taco Bell or Carl’s Jr. where a charbroiled burger with chili fries and a shake will put extra pounds on you in no time.

Of course, which campus really has the best food depends on who you ask and when you ask them. Princeton Review, which publishes its own list for campus foodies, maintains that the University of Massachusetts at Amherst is best in class. On its top ten are Washington University (3rd place), Cornell University (5), Vanderbilt University (6), and Virginia Tech (8). The Daily Meal website, a hangout of sorts for real foodies, awards top honors to Columbia University where Flex Dollars can be used at Chipotle, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, Five Guys Burgers and Whole Foods. Duke University placed second, followed by the University of Pittsburgh, and Johns Hopkins University.

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