By Aymen Sherwani, September 20 2022—
Do you have a dietary restriction but don’t know which places cater to your needs? Here’s a guide to help you navigate where to grab a quick bite or a hot meal — that actually tastes good — while also not compromising your diet. Unless it’s kosher, there’s really something for everyone who’s eating vegetarian, vegan, halal and gluten-free on campus.
Vegan & Vegetarian
A classic failsafe lunch option on campus would be a veggie sub from Subway — with or without the cheese — but I did get food poisoning after eating there in my first year. Better options would be a vegetable bánh mì from Bake Chef, a Beyond Meat® burger from A&W or Carl’s Jr. If you’re not into sandwiches. Two vegetarian options that have always been there for me during those late nights at the TFDL are the Noodle & Grill Express and Oriental Wok — both of which serve really inexpensive takeout with the addition of crispy vegetable spring rolls.
If you don’t mind dairy, the spanakopita and falafel from Opa!, served with their in-house tzatziki both really hit the spot when it’s cold outside and you’re craving something carb-heavy. Finally, Starbucks’ spinach, feta and egg white wrap is where it’s at when you’re just looking for a quick bite in between lectures — just don’t forget your plant-based iced coffee.
Bake Chef has been a cornerstone of campus cuisine for years, but did you know that they also serve halal beef and chicken bánh mì’s? My parameters of a good sandwich were changed permanently during my first time, but sandwiches get boring — even customizable ones — which is why a close contender is Canadian Pizza Unlimited, where students can buy two massive slices of pizza for only eight dollars. Did I mention they had halal pepperoni and other meat lover’s options? I would pick their pizza over Domino’s every time.
If you’re looking to actually sit down and have a meal, The Landing has an All-You-Can-Care-To-Eat menu that includes halal options. Granted, it’s located further from everything else on campus but you don’t need to worry because The Den & Black Lounge have an entire array of halal options that are taste-tested and approved. They offer an entire pound of chicken wings for only $14, and while I don’t think my intestines could handle that, I know for a fact that their beef quesadilla is the stuff of daydreams.
Gluten-Free and Keto
Eating gluten-free and keto on campus are a lot trickier because you’ll often find yourself asking restaurants to make accommodations for you — whether it be asking for a burger wrapped in lettuce at A&W or Carl’s Jr., or asking for rice to be substituted for more salad or meat at the Korean BBQ House. If you’re looking for meals, other than The Landing, Freshco Poke is probably the best option out there when it comes to catering to those wanting gluten free and keto options, as their customizable poke bowls give students the options to choose vegetable, quinoa and rice bases alongside having an extensive array of protein options.
As someone who’s had all of these options — I can wholeheartedly say they’re all worth a shot this semester.