This article is the result of four years of living at UBC. (essentially)
Update: July 4, 2022 – In the process of updating this article as the food options at UBC has changed significantly, along with the campus itself since the writing of this article.
Many joke that UBC is an acroynm for “University of Building Construction” but those buildings eventually finish construction and eventually become new residences (some with more dining options at UBC), new lecture halls & student faccilities (often with their own dining options), and residential or commercial properties. Hence, over several years the food at UBC has grown with the campus…. and it will likely continue to provide even more excellent dining options worth trying in the time to come as the “University of Building Construction” continues.
If you’re looking to try the BEST food at UBC, we’re also creating another article for the Best Restaurants at UBC for some quick picks – if you don’t feel like reading a guide that may be a useful introduction to dining on campus.
Welcome to UBC – A Place of Mind.
Right now, we’re going to put your mind on food which is critically important for you to be mindful. 😉
If you’re coming to UBC for your post-secondary education, you will appreciate this detailed and complete food guide for various food choices you have at UBC. Scroll to the bottom (edit – now placed it at the top) for quick picks and cheap eats at UBC.
I hope this page will save you money (important for some students), and save you wasted calories trying low-quality food…there are plenty on campus. (…because with predominantly students as the demographic – perhaps, some on-campus restaurant think they don’t care) There are also plenty of good food on campus. So take the highway and avoid the pitfalls with restaurants at UBC by reading this complete UBC foods guide. :p
Don’t Forget about freshman 15:
Many think that Freshman 15 is just a myth. As a university freshman 5 years ago, you can bet there’s plenty of truth to it. Perhaps, the distance from family, the stress of moving, the busyness of studying/cramming for exams/essays is compensated by the comfort and familiarity of food. Perhaps, the lack of time and lack of time management (personally for me at least.) results in eating high calorie but nutritionally low foods. (which also happens to often be the default foods we eat when stress – potato chips, chocolates, ramen noodles?) Perhaps, the convenience of food on campus and your meal plan dollars results in consistent and frequent eating. (You will be happy to know Totem Park Magdas has a burger ordering open till around 1 AM. Domino’s Pizza regularly delivers till 3 AM. A&W + Macdonalds at the village is 24/7. We didn’t have A&W as a freshman though.)
Whatever the cause, you can be assured without proper intention, you will be putting on weight in you freshman year. Make an intentional effort to eat healthy, exercise, and be mindful of how you are fueling your body for success.
Of course everyone is different, deals with stress/emotions differently, and metabolizes calories differently. (jealous of those who can eat whatever they want and not seem to put on weight?)
Enjoy the delicious UBC food bellow!
Food at UBC:
There are plenty of food choices at UBC. You have eateries all across campus. A large amount of these eateries are owned and operated either by your student society (AMS) or UBC Food Services. There are also many private businesses congregating along the Nest, UBC Village, and Wesbrook.
The list will be categorized by location for convenient sorting rather than by cuisine. Information provided includes (1) Price (2) Rating (3) Comments + Must-try/Avoid.
We are going to categorize an entire list of every possible food spot you can find at UBC campus. We will also share some notable eateries in neighboring communities to UBC such as Point Grey, Sasamat, and Kerrisdale.
Lastly, find our quick pick recommendations at the bottom of the list along with some tips for freshman looking to cook in their dorms 😉 (I was one of the three Asians in Shuswap who cooked in their dorm. It was more so a stress reliever, social activity, and healthy nutrition than it was money saving. I got bored of the assembly line food at the student resident and wanted a difference… home-cook taste. Also had fond memories of meeting with a group of Singaporeans at UBC and cooking Chinese New Year dinner at someone’s home in Marpole. Simple food but a refreshment from mass-prepared store bought foods.)
On UBC Campus: You’re not short on options at UBC campus for foods. You have everything from sushi to pizza. Most food places in the center of campus where the faculty buildings, research labs, and libraries are located, are operated by UBC Foods Services. There is quite a variety of foods but some similarities too. We will group these into “central campus”. The NEST and newly opened Central (besides the bus loop) also feature plenty of food options.
There are a few UBC eateries on the outskirts of the campus, North and South such as Bean Around the World or The Great Dame Cafe. These are privately operated coffee shops located around the residential portions of UBC; we will list these under “Around UBC”.
Finally, the other two spots you will find the most food choices are University Village and Wesbrook Village. Notably, the Save on Foods you will frequent often is at Wesbrook village which is about 20 minutes walk from the Nest or a 5 minute bus ride. There is a nearer, Shoppers Drug Mart where you can buy hygiene products, drugs and vitamins, and quite a food products (no produce) by the dentistry building which is no more than 5 minutes from the Nest. At the University Village, is also Granville Island Market (doesn’t actually have anything to do with Granville Island) that sells produce and essentials.
We will use the Nest as a reference point of distance to any eateries mentioned as that’s most central to the new bus loop (hopefully skytain extension to UBC will be coming) and a popular gathering point for students.
Unfortunately, with the departure of the SUB (replaced by the NEST), some popular and favourite dining choices have been demolish along with the old Student Union Buiding. This included the Korean food store in the basement of the SUB along with the popular Fridays, 50% off deal at the Delly.
The sad and notable part of UBC foods is that the cheapest and most consistent food comes usually from franchises operated by UBC foods. Something has to be done about residents’ dining hall that charges restaurant prices for cafeteria foods. Indeed, it’s great sometimes – the food is good occasionally however drastically over priced when you factor in the maintenance cost within you resident dining plans (as I remembered paying $4 for a slice of cake, $2 for bottled drinks, $2 for milk, about $5 for protein – chicken breast or small slice of fish added with $2-$3 for carbs works each meal easily to $10-$12.) They also do not provide you a receipt unless requested (unless this has changed since) which often you find the occasional mistaken charge. It also does not allow you to properly identify how you’re spending your meal dollars to make for better spending choices/budgeting. I think you should always request a receipt; even if it may take a little extra time. It is good to make a habit of understanding and associating your costs to your goods/purchases. It’s a life skill and I am of the opinion – more than what you learn in university with concepts/theory – is the network, friendships, and life skills you’ve built. With the advancement of technology, the rapid changes in society, many things you learn may not be relevant 10 or 20 years down the road but the life skills you learn are important. To learn how to manage your time. To learn how to deal with extra pressure. To learn how to take things lightly and in perspective – learn to relax and do your best. So with this said, I think resident dining hall should always offer the receipt rather than only providing the receipt upon request (with a grudging response) because students and society need to always associate the cost to the value. Many in society today are delusional because they know their wants but don’t recognize the costs that has been associate to their wants and pursuits. The freedom we have at the cost of those who have fought for our freedom; the brave man and women who served in the armed forces (instead today, many look at them with disdain). The opportunity for us to study because our parents believed in the power/value of education and were willing to make sacrifices and planning to ensure that we could gain an education because they believed it was the right path for us. The opportunity to live in a civilized and operational society with modern comforts because of those who have gave their life publicly to navigate policies with vision. When we learn to realize the costs to everything, we become a more grateful society and more effective in our pursuits. We also learn to appreciate those who have gone before us to pave the way, to repay their kindness and repay it on wards rather than complaining and being self absorbed in our world or in our own pleasures. Look outwards, not inwards. Your fulfillment in life will come from serving others. However, you also need a realistic and pragmatic approach to know you need to first improve and care for yourself. (It’s the age old example of, “In case of an emergency, oxygen masks will drop from the cabin…secure your mouth first before helping others.”)
That was a bit of a discourse but I think our society today has become so self absorb. We don’t appreciate but are quick to judge public servants. We often take a militant approach to any discontentment. Let’s be a more generous and gracious society.
NEST: Located within the NEST are plenty of options for dining on campus from sit-in to fast casual dining options for take out. Most of the Food and Beverage options at the NEST is operated by AMS (UBC’s Student Society) which means the profits are used to fund your AMS programs for students (like yourself probably.)
GOOD – Flip Side: Serving hand-made hamburgers (often slow service) in the lower concourse of the NEST. Find deserts, salads, fish n chips, and fried chicken too!
Price: $ => $4.50 for a cheeseburger
Rating: 3/5 => Average food quality but great prices.
Comments: Flipside UBC is a good place to grab a bite if you’re craving burgers at UBC. You can’t really beat the price on these UBC burgers and they sure stand miles above residence food prices. (If it’s Tuesday however, Triple-O’s features a Tuesday special $3.69 for their original burger.)
A full Flipside burger menu and menu options is available here.
Address: Lower floor of NEST @ 6133 University Blvd.
AVOID – Grand Noodle Emporium: This UBC Chinese food replaces Moon Chinese food in the (old) SUB. The Grand Noodle Emporium serves Pan Asian Cuisine which includes classic Chinese take-out, noodles including ramen, Southeast Asian food, and Thai food (Pad Thai + Thai Curry). It’s a little bit of everything Asian.
Price: $ => $9 for BBQ Pork Fried Rice
Rating: 2/5 => Your experience depends on the day you go.
Comments: Your average prices for ramen and Chinese take-out. I am a little skeptical about the wide range of menu offered (from Thai food to Japanese to Chinese). While variety is good, it likely means quality and freshness can suffer when all these added menu options and responsibilities add up. Reviews reflect that certainly. Take a risk if you want to but there are likely better dining options on UBC campus.
A full Grand Noodle Emporium menu can be found here for your reading pleasure and finding food at UBC.
Address: Lower concourse of the NEST, just opposite Flip Side @ 6133 University Blvd.
OK – Palate: This is where you find vegetarian and vegan food at UBC. Healthy and seasonal food with vegan options. Palate UBC serves mostly sandwiches and made-to-order paninis. Palate UBC also has great gluten free brownies, vegan desserts, and often no line-ups for a convenient and quick meal.
Price: $ => (details required)
Rating: 3/5 => Quick lines and vegan food options at UBC.
Comments: Palate at UBC has undergone a few changes over the past two years. It use to be predominantly a vegan food option at UBC however shortly introduced more varied options including meat items. They now serve excellent sandwiches, wraps and made to order paninis along with a variety of delectable fresh salads, soups, and desserts (which includes vegan and gluten-free options.) It’s not by any means a vegan restaurant at UBC but they do provide a size-able variety vegan options. You will especially like their emphasis on fresh and local ingredients as near as the UBC farm. Palate is one place you can find healthy food at UBC.
A full Palate UBC food menu can be found here subject to seasonal updates.
Address: Main Concourse of the NEST @ 6133 University Blvd.
Opposite the elevator on the exit besides the #4/14/9 buses. Right besides UBC CheckOut grocery store.
GREAT – Honour Roll: Yes, that’s the Canadian spelling of Honour serving sushi at UBC. Some students really love their sushi (including me during my undergraduate) and have it everyday of the week!
Price: $ => $3.95 for smoke salmon roll.
Rating: 4/5 => As far as UBC sushi is concerned, it’s good.
Comments: Actually, pretty ok take-out option at UBC as far as food in the NEST is concerned. It’s surprisingly consistent as well (compared to Grand Noodle Emporium at least) although the quality was even better in the SUB. (That chicken teriyaki sushi was actually considered good UBC food. They even had one for one offer towards closing hours in the old SUB. Delicious and quick.)
Address: Corner of main concourse of the NEST towards the North exit @ 6133 University Blvd.
GOOD – Pie R 2: They serve delicious pizza with a variety of unique choices like cheeseburger or buffalo chicken and the classics like pepperoni, Hawaiian, and cheese.
Price: $ => $2.75/slice ($2.50 for pepperoni or cheese.), $5 Lasagna
Rating: 3/5 => Reasonable pizza.
Comments: If you’re looking for a quick bite on campus at UBC then Pie R 2 is your choice (unless there’s a line-up; which during lunch hours at UBC, where doesn’t? Even in between classes.) It’s filling and nutritious (reasonably). There is better pizza at UBC and you get a better deal ordering in from Domino’s but this is an AMS operated UBC pizza eatery which means the proceeds goes to AMS coffers. (I have a sneaking suspicion they are as efficient as the government, however.)
Address: Right besides the South entrance of the NEST opposite Checkout grocery store @ 6133 University Blvd.
Ok – The Pit: This is where you find many drunk college students on Wednesday nights. It’s also where you can go and grab a bite during the decent hours. Mainly the food you would find at a local neighborhood pub. (Nachos, Appetizers, Soups, Salads, Sliders.) They also feature a variety of local craft beers and alcoholic/non-alcoholic drink options.
Price: $$ => $9 for 3 pork sliders.
Rating: 3/5 => Reasonable UBC food. Not something you’d eat daily but the occasional finger food or salad.
Comments: A convenient spot for get together among university students. This is one of two licensed venues at the NEST with the other being the Gallery. It’s not really been my thing; it’s in the basement and dark. You would be better off enjoying food at the Gallery with a cold one (or two.) I personally don’t drink.
Address: Lower concourse of the NEST opposite the convenience store @ 6133 University Blvd.
AVOID – P.H. Tea: AMS has caught on the bubble tea craze and added their own rendition of bubble tea at the NEST. Prices are what you’d expect for boba however the quality is sorely lacking. Perhaps, it just needs to be fine tuned a little bit over time…add bubble waffle and you probably have a winner.
Price: $ => (Details Required)
Rating: 1/5 => Needs work.
Comments: While students may appreciate grabbing their bubble tea conveniently at the NEST instead of walking to the village for Pearl Fever UBC…it doesn’t hit the high standard for many students looking for bubble tea at UBC. The bubble tea needs some work, a lot of work (tea flavor, boba, and customization.) …service is good though.
Address: North entrance of the NEST, besides Honour Roll @ 6133 University Blvd.
GOOD – Uppercase: The convergence of Bernoulli’s bagels and Blue Chip Cookies results with Uppercase. A cozy spot at the NEST main concourse where you can find delicious cookies, reasonably good coffee (check bellow for the best coffee on campus if that’s your thing.) and of course bagels…along with a variety of quick and simple sandwiches including PB&J. You got your fancy drinks too from mocha to a latte with 7 shots of espresso (for exam periods where sleep is just a dream for the engineering faculty.)
Price: $ => $2.10 for 12 oz coffee & $2.50 for blue chip cookie (details required)
Rating: 4/5 => Good coffee, good cookies
Comments: Great place to get good coffee, support our local AMS, and enjoy some delicious albeit overpriced cookie (but then, what isn’t overpriced on UBC food? Franchises!) Service can be hit and miss.
Address: Centre of main concourse at the NEST @ 6133 University Blvd.
Check Out Grocery Store:
Bus Loop – Central:
Central Campus: Here entails all the faculty building dining spots including two student residents dining halls/cafe, one Starbucks franchises, and two Tim Horton franchises.
Comments: Great coffee, good service, overpriced pastries.
– Right besides the NEST by the Robert Lee Alumni Center
University Village: Officially known as University Marketplace, University Village is just a 5 minutes walk from The NEST and right besides Regent College. The village as it’s also otherwise known consists of private rental apartments, a basement food court, and retail shops ranging from dry cleaning to printing services; but what we’re really interested in is the food! There’s plenty of UBC Village food choices here.
Bubble Waffle Cafe: A Taiwanese restaurant on UBC at University Village. Food prices are very reasonable and especially their combos.
Click here for a map of Bubble Waffle Cafe, University Village restaurant.
Click here for pictures of Bubble Waffle Cafe that is available here.
Click here for a Bubble Waffle Cafe menu that is available here.
One More Sushi:
Click here for a map of Bubble Waffle Cafe, University Village restaurant. Pictures of Bubble Waffle Cafe is available here. A menu is available here.
Visit Bubble Waffle Cafe on Yelp or Zomato for more feedback!
Located on the 2nd level of the village
Comments: Generally avoid Suga Sushi if you’re looking for good UBC sushi. The prices are comparable to sushi places on and off campus but the quality, freshness, and taste is far bellow standards. The Korean food is supposedly good but generally you will find better food on campus elsewhere. It is one of the few Korean restaurants at UBC.
Comments: Mcdonald’s great marketing means that many young adults and adolescent remember Mcdonald’s fondly as a comfort food of choice. While yet rather unhealthy, flocks of UBC students can be found waiting in lines throughout the day waiting for the Big Mac or ice cream cones on a hot day and the occasional happy meal (for the memories) Actually, McDonald’s is quite the marketing genius
Comments: Omio Japan is by no means great sushi according to Vancouver standards. (We have over 600 sushi restaurants! You got to be good to survive.) However, if you’re looking for reasonable standards for sushi on campus served with exceptionally friendly service, then Omio Japan is where you should visit for your sushi fix. If you’re willing to trek a little off campus, then perhaps going to Ajisai Sushi or Hitoe Sushi would be a better choice.
Near UBC Campus:
Quick Pick and Cheap Eats at UBC:
Best food at UBC:
Best Pizza at UBC:
Best Sushi at UBC:
Cheap and good food at UBC:
Deals and Steals at UBC:
Grocery/Produce Stores at UBC:
– Check Out Grocery Store:
– Shoppers Drugs Mart:
– Granville Island Produce
– Save on Foods:
– Safeway (Off-Campus):
UBC Food open Late: