A semester of dorm food is enough. Café 3 food can only be covered in so much ketchup and Sriracha. And the mysteries at Crossroads can only feel safe for so long. There’s no worse feeling than running out of cash and having dorm food as the only option. But, it definitely has nothing on Brown’s or Golden Bear Café. Why walk all the way back to the dorms to have some mediocre food when you can get wraps at Qualcomm Café and panini at Ramona’s right next to your classes?

Here’s Spoon‘s ultimate ranking of the 4 on-campus dining locations:

1. Brown’s


Photo by Jonathan Hsu

This is hands down the best place to spend meal points — even the walk to the GPB building is worth it. You can grab a burger or panini to go, or settle in for one of their plates. Brown’s also has the option to get a main dish (steak, chicken, turkey, etc.) and some sides (freshly made hummus, seasonal vegetables, sweet potato fries, and more).

All ingredients are from local organic farms, so the menu changes slightly with the season. Everything on the menu is a definite must-try, so nothing will disappoint. (Brown’s has somehow perfected even Brussel sprouts.) There’s also a Peet’s inside to satisfy your coffee cravings.

#SpoonTip: Avoid the lunch rush and go in at 15 minutes before or after the hour to beat the crowd.

2. Ramona’s


Photo by Jonathan Hsu

Located inside Wurster Hall, Ramona’s is a hidden gem that’s only going to be here for a few more weeks. For 7 meal points, you can get a teriyaki rice bowl or a panini. While the line is usually out the door, Ramona’s has a surprisingly quick turn around time. It’ll be replaced by a new café next fall, so enjoy it while it’s still here.

3. Golden Bear Cafè


Photo by Isabel Wang

While there are no more chicken strips, GBC’s salads, wraps, and burritos still beat your typical freshman dorm food any day. Breakfast is always great with grab-and-go breakfast burritos, customized croissant sandwiches, breakfast muffins, and toasted bagels. There are also fruit cups, yogurt parfaits, and snacks stocked in the store. Like Brown’s, there’s a Peet’s inside, which makes it the go-to spot for all things food.

4. Qualcomm Café


Photo by Jonathan Hsu

Located on Northside, Qualcomm Café has a menu similar to GBC’s: bagels for breakfast and wraps for lunch. The Peet’s also makes it convenient for any all-nighters spent coding. Qualcomm’s large inside seating area makes it a great stop between classes.

Rather than walking back to the dorms for dining hall food, consider these options for lunch instead! Cal Dining has so much more to offer on campus — the variety will keep you eating happier. Spend your meal points wisely and save your tastebuds from only tasting ketchup and Sriracha.