A Definitive Ranking of NYU’s Dining Halls

It’s no secret that New York has thousands of dining options, ranging from 99 cent pizza to meals that can cost upwards of $1000. But NYU also has some really great (and some not-so great) options that you can get for just one meal swipe. This list finally puts an end to which dining hall is the best.

To rank the dining halls, I’m rating them on a scale of 1-5 for variety, convenience, and quality.

13. Sidestein

I’m not sure if this technically counts as a dining hall, but you can get some pre-packaged meals or food from the hot bar for a meal swipe. Sidestein is an okay option if you want some snacks and have extra dining dollars, but the hot bar sits out all day and doesn’t look very appetizing.

  • Variety: 1/5
  • Convenience: 4/5 (The lines get really long during peak times)
  • Quality: 1/5

Total: 6/15

12. Dunkin’ Donuts

The lines get ridiculously long and every time I’ve tried using Tapingo, they never made my order. But you can use meal swipes, which can be a pretty great deal! Plus, what’s not to love about donuts and a coffee in the morning -- all for just one meal swipe!

  • Variety: 2/5
  • Convenience: 2/5
  • Quality: 4/5

Total: 8/15

11. Starbucks

Honestly, I think that this Starbucks is totally overrated. The lines are always super long and, even if you use Tapingo, orders often get neglected by the staff or get taken by someone else. Plus, they only take dining dollars and there aren’t many options for food.

  • Variety: 3/5
  • Convenience: 2/5
  • Quality: 5/5 (I mean, the pastries are good)

Total: 9/15

10. Third North

Oh, Third North. You were great for the first week of college when all I ate was pizza, ice cream, and cookies. But, just like Welcome Week, our time had to come to an end. There are plenty of options like pizza, cereal, the grill, and the salad bar that you can always count on, but there isn’t much variety and there tends to be a lot of greasy, creamy, and overall unhealthy options.

  • Variety: 2/5
  • Convenience: 5/5
  • Quality: 2/15

Total: 9/15

9. Lipton

Lipton will always be Hayden to me, but name aside, Lipton is a slightly better option that Third North. The salad bar is more extensive and the vegan station, even though it’s definitely not the best food, is a nice touch for omnivores. Bonus points for the healthier drink choices, like Tazo tea and lots of sparkling water flavors!

Plus we all know you’re just in it for the cookies.

  • Variety: 3/5
  • Convenience: 4/5
  • Quality: 3/5

Total: 10/15

8. Downstein

The only thing I ever get at Downstein is the vegetarian wok, but that alone is worth a trip (pro-tip: get extra vegetables from the salad bar and they’ll sautee them for you. Mix it with rice and add soy sauce and you have a filling vegan meal!).

Like Third North and Lipton, is has all-you-can-eat basics and classics like a salad bar, deli, and grill. It gets boring after awhile and it’s not the best quality, but it’s reliable, convenient, and there are plenty of options.

  • Variety: 4/5
  • Convenience: 4/5
  • Quality: 3/5

Total: 11/15

7. U-Hall Burger Studio

U-Hall’s Burger Studio is a pretty underrated dining hall. There isn’t much variety, but it’s fast, it’s a meal swipe, and you can customize your burger however you want. Avocado that doesn’t cost extra? Count me in!

  • Variety: 2/5
  • Convenience: 5/5
  • Quality: 4/5

Total: 11/15

6. Argo

Argo is always my go-to for breakfast and snacks. They only take dining dollars and it can be pretty pricey if you get a meal and a drink, but it’s definitely worth it if you have extra dining dollars to spend. The sandwiches, pastries, and all their tea drinks are all really great, and the service tends to be better than the other NYU coffee shops. And they also have coffee for those who aren’t tea lovers!

  • Variety: 3/5
  • Convenience: 4/5
  • Quality: 5/5

Total: 12/15

5. Peet’s

Yes, Peet’s gets super crowded, but you can get coffee, a bagel or sandwich, and fruit for one swipe! They tend to be pretty reliable with Tapingo orders if you want to plan ahead.

  • Variety: 3/5
  • Convenience: 5/5
  • Quality: 5/5

Total: 13/15

4. Kosher Eatery

The Kosher Eatery is definitely worth checking out at some point -- you don’t have to be kosher to go! I really like it because they alternate between meat and dairy days, so on dairy days, everything is vegetarian! It tends to be a quiet oasis from the craziness of Weinstein, and since it’s smaller than other dining halls, the food is typically better quality. And they have onion rings!

  • Variety: 3/5
  • Convenience: 5/5
  • Quality: 4/5

Total: 13/15

3. Upstein

The Chick-fil-A and Jamba Juice are definitely the highlights of Upstein, but there are also other good options like pre-packaged sushi, the salad bar, and all-day breakfast.

  • Variety: 4/5
  • Convenience: 5/5
  • Quality: 4/5

Total: 13/15

2. Kimmel

Kimmel is hectic during peak times, but if you go at off-times (early in the morning, during class, and in the evening), it’s manageable and has some of the best food at NYU. Highlights include the pasta station, the deli, and the Mexican station. And if the lines are too long, soup in a bread bowl or the salad bar are always good, fast options.

  • Variety: 5/5
  • Convenience: 5/5
  • Quality: 4/5

Total: 14/15

1. Palladium

We made it to the best dining hall and it’s obviously Palladium. Even when it’s not the decadent Sunday brunches or a monthly restaurant night, Palladium is still the best around. The sushi, salad, and pizza are all restaurant-quality. And the new addition of Maoz with falafel bowls and vegan shawarma is to die for!

  • Variety: 5/5
  • Convenience: 5/5
  • Quality: 5/5

Total: 15/15

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