Joanna's Virtual Campus Food Tour

By: Joanna Zhang

If you haven’t figured this out already, I love eating good food. So I was very happy when I realized there are actually some very good eats on campus. I’d been thinking about doing a review long before this blog came to existence, but everything was forgotten when the pandemic hit. Alas, I was once again reminded when I finally tried out Dirty Birds which just opened (more on this later), so join me on my food tour as I talk about all the spots that I’ve tried on campus.

I’ll start with the Price Center, since that’s where most of the restaurants are located.

Zanzibar Cafe at the Loft - Back before Soda & Swine opened, I thought this was the most restaurant-y place on campus. Needless to say, their food is amazing! I love their Lobster Roll, Blackened Fish Sandwich, and Lamb Burger. For lunch, they also have this combo where you can get half a cold sandwich with a side and a cup of the soup of the day which I get a lot of times. But, the most important part is their happy hour, which is when they sell drinks, tacos, mac n cheese, flatbreads, and quesadillas for half off, and they have some amazing tacos and mac n cheese. During the summer, happy hour would start an hour early at 2pm, so I’d basically just go there and feast as my lunch.

Dirty Birds - Words cannot describe how happy I am that a wings place opened on campus. They’ve been talking about this since I first got here and I am so glad that it finally opened. Obviously, their wings are fantastic, although I wish their spicy versions were spicier. They also sell them half off during happy hour which is such a steal. Also it seems like their Monday special is an entire pizza (and I mean a big 18” one) for $6, which seems too good to be true. Might drop by next Monday to check it out so tune in for more info.

Lemongrass - This place is mainly Thai food with some good vegan options. I occasionally stop by if I really feel like switching it up but I feel like their food is just too sweet for me.

Rubio’s - I love seafood and I love tacos so obviously I love Rubio’s with all my heart. I always get their Coastal Trio and they’ve never disappointed me yet. Not to mention their amazing salsa station. However, I wouldn’t get their burrito (and this goes to all the Rubio’s chains) because they always add way too much rice. 

Seed + Sprout - Stopped by here once and it was kinda meh. It felt like a knock-off Sweetgreen and I just love Sweetgreen too much. A good spot if you’re looking for something healthy, though

Shogun - OKAY so Shogun is divided into TWO sections, a rice bowl section and a noodles section, and it’s not immediately obvious that one section exists when you’re in the other (at least it wasn’t obvious for me). Their rice bowl section is pretty meh, just a fast food version of Japanese cuisine, but their noodles section is pretty great. They have at least 20 different kinds of noodles (although most of them are fancy instant noodles) and I really like to get their curry udon with beef.

Jamba Juice - I mean, who doesn’t like Jamba Juice?

Tapioca Express - Not the most amazing boba ever but good for when you’re hit with a sudden boba craving. They got all sorts of flavors and even slushy versions. They also sell small servings of fried snacks and also lunch combos which were pretty decent the one time I tried them. 

Croutons - Okay this place is technically in the Student Services Center but it’s close enough to Price. They’ve got great paninis and they also have a combo where you can get 2 paninis and a soup for a good deal.

Alright, now we’re moving onto the Old Student Center, also known as Student Center B.

Blue Pepper - Another decent place for some Thai or Chinese food. They also have a lot of vegan options! My go-tos are the Chicken Kra Prow with a fried egg, Chicken Satay skewers, and the Thai Boat Noodles. 

Soda & Swine - I love this place so much I’ve tried almost everything on the menu. I really hope they’re coming back after the pandemic but it’s really not looking good… Anyways, you know this place is legit the minute you walk in because their decorations are on point and the servers are all wearing super cute overalls. My favorites are the Hen and the Banh Mi sliders, the Baller Patty Melt, the Rigatoni and Sunday Sauce pasta, the Mac n Cheese (don’t forget to add a meatball!), Scotch Egg, Crispy Brussels Sprouts, and Sauteed Broccolini. I’m not kidding about trying almost everything...

Taco Villa - Another great place for tacos, and their burritos have the perfect rice ratio. I always get the Surf n Turf Burrito with Chipotle sauce, but they also have good deals on Taco Tuesdays.

Art of Espresso - Arguably the best coffee place on campus and I don’t even really drink coffee. Their blended mocha drinks are mind-blowingly good and they’ve got great smoothie selections. 

And last but not least, there are still some places that I’m looking to try.

Y Mas - A little cafe that sells delicious-looking pastries. Unfortunately I was never a pastry person so I didn’t really think to check it out. But after 8 months of stress-eating during the pandemic I can affirm that I am now indeed a pastry person so would definitely want to stop by if they’re back post-COVID.

International House - Apparently they have $5 all you can eat ethnic cuisine on Fridays. But they only take cash and I never had cash on me so I never stopped by.

It doesn’t seem like most of the places are open right now, and it’s unclear how many are coming back post-pandemic. But more than missing the food, I miss eating together with my friends after a long day of class. I’ll stay hopeful for 2021.

Powell-Focht Bioengineering Hall, 9500 Gilman Dr, La Jolla, CA 92093
© Copyright 2021 UCSD BEGS

Create a site with Mobirise