As a college freshman living in a dorm, good food is something that was once the norm but is now the exception. At the University of Florida, the dining halls that most students eat at are Broward Dining Hall and Gator Corner Dining Hall. Although the buffet-style food at these halls isn't terrible, it certainly isn't on par with the home-cooked meals many of us are used to. Thus, when a new dining hall opened near Student Recreation & Fitness Center in September 2023, hundreds of students, including myself, flocked over to see what it had in store. Cravings Campus Kitchen features a restaurant-like ordering system, where students can choose from a variety of foods and cuisines. Additionally, a choice of entrée and dessert is included with every meal swipe. I tried a few of the meals and here are my thoughts.

Italian Club Sandwich

Candela Jimenez Lopez

First, I ordered the Italian Club Sandwich, and I had potato wedges as my side dish. The sandwich had salami, pepperoni, ham, cheese, tomato, and lettuce on focaccia. It looked like an item you would find at your local sandwich shop, and it tasted like one too! The flavor of the items complemented each other well, especially the combination of the three meats. The bread was also the perfect texture—soft, yet slightly crunchy. Additionally, the potato wedges had a crispy constancy and were delicious when dipped in ketchup. I have had this sandwich and the potato wedges many times since, and each time, it is just as delicious.

Vietnamese Pho

Candela Jimenez Lopez

Next, I tried the pho. The pho is ordered Chipotle-style, so you can customize almost everything in your bowl. I chose the beef, ramen noodles, and beef broth. I topped it off with onions, carrots, cilantro, lime and hoisin sauce. From the first spoon of the noodles mixed with the broth, I could taste the savory and citrusy flavors of the dish. The warmth and spice of the broth perfectly mixed with the sweetness and crispness of the toppings. The unique flavors trumped anything I've tried at other dining halls and it tasted like a simplified version of a dish you could find at a Vietnamese restaurant. Furthermore, it actually filled me up and gave me energy for my day—a rarity among college meals.

Strawberry Cheesecake

Candela Jimenez Lopez

Finally, I had the strawberry cheesecake for dessert. This dessert was relatively disappointing. The crust was so stiff that it almost hurt to bite into, while the strawberry sauce tasted artificial. Especially when compared to the desserts at the other dining halls, which are often the best part of the meal, this strawberry cheesecake was underwhelming. 

Final Thoughts

Despite the long lines, Cravings Campus Kitchen is worth a try due to its large variety of delicious foods, such as sandwiches and pho. Although the strawberry cheesecake was disappointing, there are many other options for dessert, like the chocolate chip cookies and churros, that may be more tasteful. Therefore, if you ever find yourself tired of the other dining halls or needing a pick-me-up after a workout at the gym, I would recommend checking out Cravings Campus Kitchen!