Discover the best dining options on campus

Credit: Adelaide Cole | Art Editor Credit: Adelaide Cole | Art Editor

As you enter Carnegie Mellon, most of you will be ready to embrace college life and the freedom that comes along with it. Now you will be able to stay out until 4 a.m. on a school night, be excused from the routine of waking up early, and be exempt from doing your old chores — except your laundry. Perhaps one of the most thrilling freedoms of all is that you now have the decision-making power to eat anything you want. But with all of the choices Carnegie Mellon provides, this freedom might become a bit overwhelming. We’ve provided you with a head start to where the best food is available on campus.

The Exchange (formerly known as Ginger’s)

Located on the ground floor of Posner Hall, home of the Tepper School of Business, this place is an absolute delight. It not only provides the best sandwiches on campus, but it also allows you to create your own. Other than sandwiches, you can also choose from the daily meal — pastas, hot soups, and the like — and grab a brownie or a cookie at the counter. Jimmy Murphy, a sophomore math major, is a die-hard fan of The Exchange. He said, “The food does not carry any of the negative connotations that usually come with campus food.” And it’s not only the food that keeps him coming back to this place. Murphy added, “The people working there are happy and enthusiastic, making the whole place a great environment to eat in. Additionally, because of their location, the food is named after business concepts or places.” Murphy suggests trying the “Free Market” and the “Wall Street” sandwiches.

Hannah Kumar, a sophomore psychology and social and decision sciences double major, also rates The Exchange one of the best places to eat on campus. Although she considers the seating space inadequate for the crowd this place attracts, Kumar gave a helpful tip: “If you want to try something new but don’t know what to order, ask for ‘something good’ and the guys there will whip up something random that’s usually delicious.” She’s also experimented and has come up with a recipe for the perfect sandwich: “chicken salad, roasted red peppers, cucumbers, pickles, and spicy mustard.” Trisha Ambe, a materials science and engineering and biomedical engineering double major, considers the food to be fresh and tasty — plus, as a true Tartan would say, “It’s not far from the library!”

Tazza D’Oro

Located in the Gates Center, Tazza D’Oro at the R-Bar Café provides the freshest and healthiest eating options on campus. With a great variety of paninis, pastries, and desserts to choose from, Tazza D’Oro is not for those looking for a greasy meal, but it is delicious and satisfying. Each panini comes with a side of mixed greens on the plate, and you could finish off that meal with a “to-die-for apple tart,” as Michelle Berman, a junior economics and statistics double major, described it. “D’Oro caters to both vegetarians and meat lovers. It is definitely the best place to eat on campus as the interior of Gates is very modern and minimalist, providing a quiet and relaxing environment,” Kumar said.

Laura Schraff, a junior computer science major, loves Tazza D’Oro; she said, “It’s not only because Gates is my home building — the food is delicious and healthier than probably anywhere else on campus. Also, the people there are so energetic and super nice. They’ve got great paninis for lunch and some of the best baked goods on campus. It’s also a great environment to casually hang out and study with friends.” Michelle Lin, a sophomore social and decision sciences and economics major, couldn’t agree more: “I swear you can’t go wrong with anything you order there. Whether you’re craving something savory or sweet, it will be there and it will be delicious.”

La Prima Espresso

It’s not exactly a conventional breakfast or lunch location, but La Prima, located on the fifth floor of Wean Hall, remains a great place to get food for those on the go. Available in-house are fresh baked goods like croissants, cinnamon rolls, desserts, breads, and bagels with cream cheese, and some quick meals like focaccia sandwiches. From a vegetarian’s perspective, two highly recommended options are the almond croissants and the tomato and mozzarella half-sandwiches with pesto. Lin recommends grabbing a cup of coffee from La Prima in between classes. And if plain coffee is not your deal, you need not worry. The menu also includes juice, iced tea, lattes, and even double mocha cappuccinos.


Meat lovers beware, but vegans and vegetarians are welcome to falafel, wraps, flatbread pizzas, and salads. The best side option: whole-wheat pita bread with artichoke and spinach dip. Sounds healthy? It’s delicious as well.

Pasta Villagio

Located close to Evgefstos!, on the second floor of the University Center, this is the best place to get pasta on campus, and what’s more, you can create your own. The only thing the food lacks, at least to some taste buds, is salt, so be sure to grab a few packets on your way out.

Spinning Salads

If you felt sick after eating the Schatz buffet, took only a bite of your Skibo pasta, consumed a fat-filled burger at the City Grill, and felt heartburn after chowing down some chicken wings at the Tartans Pavilion, then maybe it’s time to visit Spinning Salads in the University Center. Providing a bowl full of greens with a variety of vegetables, proteins, and salad dressings to choose from, this salad place makes even healthy food tasty.

Maggie Murph Café

This café in Hunt Library has provided fuel to many all-nighters and saved many students from failing their exams. It also deserves mention for its quick-pick sandwiches, sushi rolls, and especially bagels — choices include garlic, whole wheat, multi grain, cinnamon, and everything, along with cream cheese. Some students wander over to the library just for the bagels.
The Underground

Located in the basement of Morewood Gardens, the Underground provides free coffee during finals, when it stays open 24 hours (otherwise closing at 11 p.m.). Still, some like the Underground for other reasons; Berman insists that the grilled cheese sandwich with fries makes for a great stress-busting meal.

There are still many more campus places worthy of mention like Taste of India; the Carnegie Mellon Café, which provides breakfast all day long; and Entropy+, Carnegie Mellon’s own convenience store that offers frozen food, fresh items like fruits and salads, sweets, juices, and those savior energy bars.

If you get tired of campus food, put your DineX to good use and walk down to Subway on South Craig Street, or order a Vocelli pizza to your dorm. Murphy believes that most places on campus get old after a while, but with so many additional eating options available in Oakland, you should always be able to find something delicious to eat.