If you’ve ever been a freshman at UGA, chances are you're already familiar with its five dining halls. UGA's policy requires all students living on campus to have an all-access meal plan, meaning they can swipe their UGA card at any time of day and eat as many times as they want.
I’ve reached the point in my first year where I have eaten in the dining halls for the almost every one of my meals for the past six months, to the point where I’m almost too familiar with its endless options. Here is my definitive, bottom-to-top ranking of UGA's dining halls.
Let me just start by saying that I would not call any UGA dining hall bad, but Snelling just happens to be my least favorite. Despite the Pizza, Mexican, and Grill stations, all anyone seems to talk about when it comes to Snelling is their midnight breakfast. I won’t deny the convenience (and awesomeness) of a 24-hour dining hall, but their food always seems a bit underwhelming to me compared to the rest of UGA’s dining halls.
What to try here: Midnight breakfast hash browns, waffles, bacon, biscuits and gravy.
While I consider Bolton's food pretty good, its around the clock crowds led me to place it at #4. Right across from the MLC and just a quick walk from the freshman high rise dorms, you can’t deny the convenience of Bolton’s location. Sadly, this accessibility means that this UGA dining hall will never not be packed.
Yes, the pasta, burgers, and eggs are good, but I have legitimately waited thirty minutes in line for them before. While Bolton has two stories of yummy options, the lines stretching outside the door aren’t exactly appealing to a college student’s one hour lunch break.
What to try here: Whole wheat pasta toss, patty melts with pepper jack cheese, buttermilk pancakes, and mac and cheese.
#3 East Campus Village (ECV)
Located on East Campus near the Ramsey Student Center, ECV consistently delivers with its superior salads, smoothies, and Philly Cheesesteaks. Their salad bar beats all the others', featuring daily speciality salads with unique toppings like kalamata olives and butternut squash.
The fresh smoothies and fruit display are perfect for a post-Ramsey snack, but you can also treat yourself with a personal pan pizza or curly fries. Plus, along with Bolton, it’s open on the weekends!
What to try here: Philly cheesesteak, curly fries, lite n' luscious smoothie, personal Margherita pizza, and speciality salads.
#2 Oglethorpe House
Often overlooked and underrated, this dining hall features the sole hibachi line and coffee bar at UGA, as well as a sandwiches, hamburgers, eggs, pasta, and Mexican fare. Yes, it’s always somehow 100 degrees when you first walk in and it may not be the newest or snazziest dining hall, but its location just a short walk from the high rises and Meyers Quad makes it accessible when the Bolton crowds are just too much to handle.
I stop by O-House at least once a day, and while it’s not the most convenient for North campus classes, I always find myself getting chicken and veggies hibachi for dinner.
What to try here: Teriyaki hibachi, chicken quesadilla, chicken fingers, burrito bowl, cinnamon apple scones, and hazelnut lattes.
#1 The Niche
If The Niche isn’t your favorite dining hall, you probably have never been. I see it as the elite secret of UGA dining halls. It’s the longest trip, located on the health sciences campus, and only open on weekdays until 2:30. And you MUST show up at the perfect time to ensure the sandwich line doesn’t wrap around the entire floor.
Usually, I have to reserve a two-hour chunk of time to bus there and back, and it’s normally pretty crowded. However, the immaculate, gourmet, custom burgers (the best of any dining hall), sweet potato fries, wood-fire oven-made pizza, delectable mac and cheese, self-serve frozen yogurt machine, and fresh fruit bar make the trek more than worth it.
What to try here: Bacon cheeseburger on a pretzel bun, sweet potato fries, red onion rings, pizza with pesto sauce, dutch apple pie with vanilla soft serve, greek pasta salad, and specialty mac and cheese.