Photo Courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org

Photo Courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org

February 22, 2017

Definitive Rankings of All Eateries on Campus

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Every student at Cornell has a different opinion on the best (and worst) places to eat on campus. The Sun’s Dining Department has decided to create a definitive list — a guide, so to speak — of where to spend your BRBs and where to avoid at all costs.

However, if there’s one thing we learned from creating this list, it’s that a definitive list is probably not possible. Every ranking was contested, every comment was disputed and the outcome is, at the very least, controversial.

So while the Dining Department consists of a relatively diverse  sample of Cornell students — different backgrounds, years, majors, etc. — who all love food in one way or another, had we polled a different set of 20 Cornell students, we might have ended up with an entirely different result. So take our “definitive” list with a grain of salt, weigh in with your own opinion and enjoy the contentious variety of food that Cornell has to offer.

33. 104 West

Photo Courtesy of cornellcjl.com

Photo Courtesy of cornellcjl.com

“104 West ranks low simply because [of] its lack of options. It’s a great place to go if you’re kosher, or if you’ve checked out the menu ahead of time and like the options. Other than that, it’s not likely to be a crowd pleaser.”

— Louisa Heywood ’20


“Everyone must go here at least once for a Shabbat dinner. The food is much better than people give it credit for, and it is a lot of fun. The people are all friendly! Definitely worth going to at least a couple of times.”

— Spencer Sigalow ’19

32. Rusty’s

Photo Courtesy of psych.cornell.edu

Photo Courtesy of psych.cornell.edu

“Mediocre options other than coffee. Do not come here unless you want a cup of coffee, or maybe a banana. It is a glorified vending machine, with Cliff Bars and overpriced bottled drinks.”

— Spencer Sigalow ’19


“Rusty’s doesn’t have much to offer. Generally, when you go to Uris Hall, all you want to do is leave Uris Hall.”

— Louisa Heywood ’20

31. Okenshield’s

Photo Courtesy of news.cornell.edu

Photo Courtesy of news.cornell.edu

“Don’t understand what all the hate is; the food is repetitive but not worse than that of any other dining hall on campus. Happy Dave makes me happy, as do the throwbacks.”

— Emily Jones ’18


“I despise this dining hall more than the eateries I’ve never even eaten at. Why? Because this dining hall was created to suck. Cornell has made the only place on Central campus that accepts swipes purposely bad. Students are forced to come here because they need to use swipes. Cornell is using this to make a huge profit by serving cheap food that usually lacks any real flavor. Screw you, Cornell.”

— Murali Saravanan ’20

30. Carol’s Café

Sun File Photo

Sun File Photo

“If you lived in Balch (and I did), Carol’s Café was a lifesaver. I would go there all the time in my pjs and slippers for a sandwich or cookie if it was too cold or I was too lazy to go to the dining hall. I could also get my morning coffee before I even left my dorm. But if you don’t live in Balch, it’s not the most relevant café.”

— Olivia Lutwak ’18


“I had the pleasure of not living in Balch so I have not been.”

— Sherry Wu ’17

29. Mattin’s

Photo Courtesy of cs.cornell.edu

Photo Courtesy of cs.cornell.edu

“Duffield Hall is always filled with students eating their lunch, chatting with their friends or working on homework. While ordering food can sometimes take a while, Mattin’s has various yummy options. Often full of Engineering students, as it is on the engineering quad!”

— Annika Pinch ’20


“Where even is this place?”

— Louisa Heywood ’20

28. Fork and Gavel

Victoria Gao / Sun Staff Photographer

Victoria Gao / Sun Staff Photographer

Victoria Gao / Sun Staff Photographer

“As a Manndibles fan, Fork and Gavel is also a decent option. The location is unbelievably inconvenient, so I rarely, if ever, eat here. For those people that are closer, I highly recommend it, because unlike Manndibles, Fork and Gavel has a full kitchen.”

— Spencer Sigalow ’19


“Good, but I always feel uncomfortable and unwelcome because I’m not a law student.”

— Allison Wild ’19

27. Atrium Café

Photo Courtesy of johnson.cornell.edu

Photo Courtesy of johnson.cornell.edu

“I like going to Atrium Café occasionally when I want to avoid the lines at Statler, which is where I have all my classes. Atrium is incredibly open and filled with light. I like that you’re able to serve yourself there, like make your own salad, serve your own soup, and build a yogurt parfait in the mornings. The sandwiches are pretty good as well.”

— Jamie Kim ’19

26. Green Dragon

Photo Courtesy of blogs.cornell.edu

Photo Courtesy of blogs.cornell.edu

“Green Dragon is a really special place that is very different from the rest of Cornell’s cafés. It’s a good place to get away. I think they have the best coffee on campus, the environment is cool — dim lights and it’s underground — and the playlists are always good.”

— Jamie Kim ’19


“Really nice vibe but very limited in selection. Will often end up getting something pre-made.”

— Siddhant Rao ’18

25. Cook

Photo Courtesy of alicecookhouse.cornell.edu

Photo Courtesy of alicecookhouse.cornell.edu

“Cook is my least favorite of the West Campus dining simply because too often, they don’t serve what’s listed on the Eatery app. With so many dining halls to choose from, I go where the menu looks best and it is very disappointing to walk all the way to West Campus to not find what I’m expecting. If you live nearby, give it a try! They have an interesting speaker series and taco night is, let’s just say, pretty darn good.”

— Louisa heywood ’20


“Best place to go for Sunday brunch when I had a meal plan.”

— Catherine Elsaesser ’17

24. Bear’s Den

Photo Courtesy of blogs.cornell.edu

Photo Courtesy of blogs.cornell.edu

“Located right next to the Ivy room in the bottom of Willard Straight, the Bear’s Den is a room where students can gather, work on homework or just sit and enjoy a smoothie and some pizza. The Bear’s Den has a relaxed atmosphere that makes it a nice spot to simply hang out and take a break from the daily stresses.”

— Annika Pinch ’20


“Just found out about this place by Googling it. Truly have never heard of it.”

— Spencer Sigalow ’19

23. Synapsis

Sherry Wu / Sun Staff Writer

Sherry Wu / Sun Staff Writer

RIP — Synapsis was great. I will truly miss this spot. The smoothies were delectable, and food was great too. I typically came here for a bit larger meal on days when I skipped breakfast. Gone, but certainly NEVER forgotten.”

— Spencer Sigalow ’19

22. Keeton

Photo Courtesy of williamkeetonhouse.cornell.edu

Photo Courtesy of williamkeetonhouse.cornell.edu

“Keeton has yet to let me down. There are always a range of food options, it is not overcrowded, and all the food is tasty. This is probably my go-to dining hall on West Campus.”

— Annika Pinch ’20


“The most out of the way and lowest quality of West Campus dining halls.”

— Sasha Chanko ’19

21. Big Red Barn

Photo Courtesy of blogs.cornell.edu

Photo Courtesy of blogs.cornell.edu

“The Big Red Barn is perhaps one of the greatest discoveries I have made on campus thus far. Not because of the food it offers, but because of its warm atmosphere and gorgeous interior. There are plenty of places to sit (I recommend upstairs on the couches by the big window), and the Big Red Barn does offer sandwiches, drinks and a series of bakery items. It is an incredible space, and if you haven’t seen it yet, it is worth going there! Next time you have a class in Rockefeller, Malott Hall or any building in this area, stop in at the Big Red Barn!”

— Annika Pinch ’20


“Really good food at reasonable prices. Its lack of popularity is probably due to the fact that it isn’t connected to an academic building.”

— Siddhant Rao ’18

20. Franny’s

Sonya Ryu / Sun Staff Photographer

Sonya Ryu / Sun Staff Photographer

Sonya Ryu / Sun Staff Photographer

“If you haven’t been to Franny’s, you must check it out. It can be cold standing outside waiting for food, and they may not be fast, but boy are they worth it. The Chicken Tikka bowl was the best lunch I had all last semester, and I can’t wait to try the dumplings and the Banh Mi. Architecture, Art and Planning students love this hidden gem, but thank god it’s open to everyone.”

— Louisa Heywood ’20


“If you’re not an Architecture major, you won’t even know that this place exists. In an extremely inconvenient location for pricey food that isn’t very good.”

— Murali Saravanan ’20

19. Goldie’s

Photo Courtesy of cornellgourmetclub.org

Photo Courtesy of cornellgourmetclub.org

“Goldie’s offers a few delicious sandwiches. But if you have physics or chemistry near here during lunch, you’ll find yourself coming here over and over for convenience. Eventually you exhaust the menu options. Although you can create a custom sandwich, who wants to be that guy slowing down the line during lunch rush? I come to Goldie’s only because it is convenient and because the employees here are incredibly nice (shout out to my man Anthony).”

— Murali Saravanan ’20

18. RPCC

Photo Courtesy of 15ilcatcornell.blogspot.com

Photo Courtesy of 15ilcatcornell.blogspot.com

“Definitely the best eating option on North Campus to use your meal swipes on. The Mongolian station is a must, as is the weekly ‘Breakfast for Dinner’ bar. However, the summit of RPCC deliciousness is undoubtedly Sunday brunch. Treat Yo Self with some dim sum. You deserve it after a late night out.”

— Spencer Sigalow ’19


“At first glance, you’ll be overwhelmed by the amount of food available here. ‘So much variety!’ Then a month later you realize they repeat the same menu items over and over again and you grow to hate it just as much as you hate the other dining halls on North. Its only saving grace is Sunday brunch: the made to order pancakes and the dim sum are both delicious.”

— Murali Saravanan ’20

17. Bethe

Photo Courtesy of hansbethehouse.cornell.edu

Photo Courtesy of hansbethehouse.cornell.edu

“I had my first meal at Bethe the other night. It was not crowded and I was pleasantly surprised by my food. At first I was wary of the lack of options, but once I found the chicken fajita station, I was all set! To finish my meal I had some pineapple and a brownie. West Campus desserts never disappoint. Unlike the dried up brownies some of the other dining halls serve, Bethe offered me a creamy, soft brownie full of flavor. Going to West was definitely worth the walk down the slope.”

— Annika Pinch ’20


“The food here is pretty good, but the food options at Rose or Becker are usually more interesting, so I go there instead. To be honest, I’ve been turned off from Bethe ever since they tried to make ‘Indian’ food for the Diwali Dinner. That food was absolutely disgusting and I felt insulted as an Indian American. I mean they didn’t even try at all! You can’t just put pita bread out and call it Naan bread! Their ‘Indian’ food was incredibly bland and lacked any depth. I hope they never host a Diwali Dinner again.”

— Murali Saravanan ’20

16. Flora Rose

Photo Courtesy of florarosehouse.cornell.edu

Photo Courtesy of florarosehouse.cornell.edu

“My favorite dining hall on campus. Almost every time I’ve visited, there is something new on the menu. The best meal I’ve ever had on campus was here. It was falafel with goat meat. This is by far my favorite place to eat dinner as the food is always fresh and delicious, with a diverse range of options.”

— Murali Saravanan ’20


“Sunday nights are delicious (there’s lamb!!!), but other nights are just average for West Campus.”

— Sasha Chanko ’19

15. Libe Café

Libe Cafe

“Walking into Libe Café, I always feel a wave of calm. It is busy with students talking, ordering their drinks, or typing away at their computers. If you are working in Olin Library, Libe Café is the perfect break spot. Not to mention if you sit by the huge windows of Libe Café, you get a beautiful view overlooking the arts quad. It is a good place to meet your friends, take refuge from the cold, or simply grab a sandwich or some sushi for a quick lunch.”

— Annika Pinch ’20


“Libe Café is a good place to get quick food while studying in Olin. I like that there is a big baked goods selection as well as Starbucks coffee and tea. Other than that, I don’t think the to-go food is too special, but it does the trick for some quick snacks.”

— Jamie Kim ’19

14. Bus Stop Bagels

Photo Courtesy of @Cornell on Twitter

Photo Courtesy of @Cornell on Twitter

“Bus Stop Bagels is underrated — they use bagels and cream cheese straight from CTB. I’ve never successfully created a custom bagel because I always panic and there are too many combinations that can (and do) go horribly wrong (I’ll never forget the time I hadn’t made up my mind by the time I got to the front of the line and accidentally ended up with a bagel featuring honey and pickled fennel); luckily, their pre-determined menu options are mostly pretty good.”

— Olivia Lutwak ’18


“I love how convenient it is to get CTB bagels on campus and with Cornell peanut butter. My typical order is the California bagel with peanut butter and bananas.”

— Chelsea Leeds ’19

13. Risley

Photo Courtesy of cornelluniversity.tumblr.com

Photo Courtesy of cornelluniversity.tumblr.com

“Risley is the unsung hero of all-you-care-to-eat dining! Although many might be turned away by its gluten-freeness, don’t be. Risley masks it well with delicious, inventive offerings (polenta lasagna? poke bowl?) and a Harry Potter vibe.”

— Louisa Heywood ’20


“Although a safe haven for those of us who are gluten-free, for the rest of us it is simply a place that begs the question: Sure, this tastes okay, but wouldn’t it taste better if they cooked it with gluten? Would not recommend to non-gluten free.”

— Murali Saravanan ’20

12. Becker

Photo Courtesy of college.usatoday.com

Photo Courtesy of college.usatoday.com

“Becker has awesome brunch offerings, and great theme nights. Its French night often features crème brûlée and chocolate-dipped strawberries. If you’re looking for something healthy, Becker also has plain grilled chicken breast slices every night. The only consistent issue with Becker is the lack of seating. It’s clearly a popular place to go.”

— Louisa Heywood ’20


“Everyone always says that Becker is overrated, but count me in as one of the people rating it so highly. When I lived on West, it was one of the only places open for lunch, and it was definitely worth walking down and back up the slope for.”

— Olivia Lutwak ’18

11. Bear Necessities

Michaela Brew / Sun Staff Photographer

Michaela Brew / Sun Staff Photographer

“Convenient, calzones, delicious, open, BRBs, buzzing. This is how Bear Necessities, known to most as ‘Nasties’, was described to me in one word by various people. Nasties is the place most students count on to get their late night snack, the place to buy yet another box of mac and cheese and the place you can meet up with your friends until the early hours of the morning. If you are a freshman studying at Cornell, Nasties is most likely an important part of your life because of its sheer convenience being near the North campus dorms and because of its unhealthily delicious food. If you have not yet had a Calzone at Nasties at 1 AM, you are missing not just the food, but a truly unique experience.”

— Annika Pinch ’20

10. Ivy Room

Photo Courtesy of gmatclub.com

Photo Courtesy of gmatclub.com

“Great food, mediocre location. I personally don’t like going to Willard Straight because it is always very hectic, but when I do drag myself across campus for a meal here, I rarely regret it. Tons of options and quick service. Another spacious eating area where you can relax with friends.”

— Spencer Sigalow ’19


“I can feel the excitement walking down the stairs to the Ivy room. My mouth waters thinking about the sesame chicken and vegetable Lo mein noodles. The Ivy Room is perfect for a quick bite to eat. There are plenty of tables if you want to stay and eat but you can also get your food to go and take it back to whatever library you were working in. It is fast, efficient, and most importantly, delicious.”

Annika Pinch ’20

9. Martha’s

Photo Courtesy of blogs.cornell.edu

Photo Courtesy of blogs.cornell.edu

“Arguably the most important part of the dining experience aside from the quality of the food is the ambience. Martha’s location inside MVR hall makes it one of the best places to eat (and study at the same time) on campus. Also, Martha’s offers the best of Trillium with shorter lines while also serving up the Cornell Dining coffee shop. Quesadillas? Got it. Made-to-order salad? Got it. Iced mocha? You bet. Looking for something besides the Trillium classics? Try the ‘protein punch’ whole wheat toast with avocado and tahini, or the garlicky flatbread pizzas. Whichever menu route you take, Martha’s never disappoints.”

Louisa Heywood ’20


“I feel obliged to rank Martha’s at the top considering I am in MVR everyday (and still manage to get lost there even after four years) and have conditioned myself to not get sick of the flatbreads or quesadillas. The new soft tacos are a good buy too since they are a very generous portion and less than $5 for lunch.”

Sherry Wu ’17

8. Manndible’s

Courtesy of 90days90restaurants.blogspot.com

Courtesy of 90days90restaurants.blogspot.com

“Great eatery, especially if you are a fan of Mann library, like I am. I get coffee here every day, and it’s great. The food is also fantastic, with all fresh ingredients. Bagels are fresh, soup is UNREAL, and they have burritos if you’re hungrier. Definitely a gem.”

— Spencer Sigalow ’19


“Aside from the downside of not being able to use our beloved BRBs, Manndible’s has really great burritos! If you are on the Ag quad, go to Manndible’s. You can take your food to go and then head into Mann library to study.”

— Annika Pinch ’20

7. Café Jennie

Photo Courtesy of multiteriausa.com

Photo Courtesy of multiteriausa.com

“If you’re looking for a break from Cornell Dining’s version of Starbucks, Cafe Jennie offers great options from Peet’s in both the food and drink department. With the best bakery, Cafe Jennie offers French macarons and the Cheesecake Factory next to classic Sweet Sensations treats. Also, head to Cafe Jennie if you forgot to eat breakfast before class; their oatmeal and yogurt parfaits never disappoint. Looking for lunch while shopping for some new Cornell gear? Cafe Jennie will warm up your sandwich and deliver it to your table on a real plate!”

Louisa Heywood ’20

6. Mac’s Café

Photo Courtesy of statlerhotel.cornell.edu

Photo Courtesy of statlerhotel.cornell.edu

“Mac’s Café is crowded, but there’s good reason for it being so. There’s a lot to choose from – the enchilada portions are huge, the flatbreads are delicious, and the smoothies are good. I also like the yogurt parfaits you can build in the morning, as well as the breakfast burritos/sandwiches. The salads are amazing here, with options of kale and roasted vegetables. I think the salads here are better than Terrace’s.”

— Jamie Kim ’19


“Their salad bar literally changed my life. Hands down the best place on campus to go to use BRBs.”

— Allison Wild ’19

5. Appel

Photo Courtesy of sustainablecampus.cornell.edu

Photo Courtesy of sustainablecampus.cornell.edu

“Appel is my favorite place to eat on campus, period. Its highlights include the Sweet Sensations dessert station, good salad, friendly staff, nice soup, the superb wok station and the grill station, which has the only grilled food I’ve ever liked. Unlike RPCC, which is super noisy and has long lines, Appel accommodates groups of all sizes and provides an amicable atmosphere no matter when you visit.”

Janna Yu ’18


“Looking for a place where you can use meal swipes, get a good meal, and not get bored of the food? Hit up Appel, seriously. You will always find varying opinions on peoples favorite dining hall, but Appel has a vast array of food options which vary daily. Appel is also the place to go for breakfast during the week. I know Appel’s scrambled eggs, potatoes and pancakes can certainly keep me going throughout the day.”

Annika Pinch ’20

4. Dairy Bar

Jason Ben Nathan / Sun Staff Photographer

Jason Ben Nathan / Sun Staff Photographer

“The ice cream here is UNBELIEVABLE. I know that everyone hears a lot of hype about this place, and may think that it is unwarranted, but it is NOT. The Dairy Bar has great flavors and is a fantastic treat at any point during the year. You can trust my opinion because I’m lactose intolerant, and still make sure to visit here fairly regularly for some indulgence.”

Spencer Sigalow ’19


“The Dairy Bar has fantastic sandwiches. The grilled cheese is super indulgent but super good. Everyone thinks of Dairy Bar as having just ice cream, but the actual food is something worth going for. The space is very clean and open.”

Jamie Kim ’19

3. Terrace

Photo Courtesy of statlerhotel.cornell.edu

Photo Courtesy of statlerhotel.cornell.edu

“If you want a salad for lunch, look no further. My favorite lunch space on campus is undoubtedly Terrace. The staff is unbelievably friendly, the food is fantastic and it’s in a convenient location. Only downside is the lack of seating. So, be prepared to wait a couple minutes for people to get up, or to bring your food to another part of Statler.”

Spencer Sigalow ’19


“Like Trillium, but not as good. Sorry, not sorry.”

Murali Saravanan ’20

2. Temple of Zeus

Photo Courtesy of news.cornell.edu

Photo Courtesy of news.cornell.edu

“The only annoyance with Temple of Zeus is that you cannot use Big Red Bucks. However, its dissociation with Cornell Dining is also what sets it apart. Temple of Zeus did what we all wanted, and what Cornell Dining has thus far refused to cave in to: bring Ithaca Bakery bread and pastries to campus. Temple of Zeus’ delicious pastries, coffee, prepared food and sandwiches are only in competition with their perfect soups – always changing (so you don’t have to have chili every day like Trillium offers), seasonal, hot and flavorful. The food at Temple of Zeus is so good, and so centrally located just of East Avenue that we can almost forgive its lack of seating for the crowds that flock in at noon.”

Louisa Heywood ’20


“Before Klarman hall renovation — cutesy place to eat soup after your FWS. After renovation need to bargain for seats else eat soup standing. Bottom line — I still want soup.”

Janna Yu ’18 

1. Trillium 

Photo Courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org

Photo Courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org

 

“Trillium has it all. And it seems like the whole student population flocks here every day because of it. You’ve got the Asian station, the famous quesadillas, equally delicious wraps, pasta, and the ever-long salad line. If you’re looking for something quick, check out the pre-made pizzas (delish) or the salads and sushi in the fridges. Trillium also has the biggest drink selection on campus. What can go wrong?”

Louisa Heywood ’20


“Catch me here almost every day for lunch. I will stand by Trillium salads until the day I die, the burritos and quesadillas are amazing and the new ramen station is yet another game changer. Trillium has everything — it’s essentially a microcosm of Cornell dining.”

Olivia Lutwak ’18

6 thoughts on “Definitive Rankings of All Eateries on Campus

  1. How can you call this a definitive ranking when only freshman and sophomores (and your occasional washed-up junior) are commenting? When I was a freshman, I was convinced that Okies was an oasis in a desert of bad food. Let the juniors and seniors handle this. The
    1. Zeus
    2. Terrace
    3. Macs.

    Only Freshman go to Trillium. This is irresponsible journalism. Fake News!–SAD!

  2. Poorly written article. Same students are interviewed and repeat throughout the article. Additionally, there’s a lack of age group variation.

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