Healthy and Affordable Food on Campus

When I first came to U of T, I was on a diet of pizza from Cora’s (which was once closed for health code violations) and fries from that truck in front of Sidney Smith. I just found the food from the U of T cafeterias to be crappy and overpriced (one time I found a plastic wrapper inside my salad…).

After several years, I’ve been able to figure out what places have decent — if not awesome — food around campus, which is affordably-priced, filling, reasonably healthy, and has vegetarian options (I am a vegetarian). Hopefully this will help you stop buying hot dogs and Burger King, which I know you hate yourself for eating. While you won’t find food at these places that costs less than $3, let’s be honest — no meal that costs that little can be good for you.

1. Veda

I think this place opened fairly recently. I ran into it today and almost exploded in excitement that there was indian food on campus. Though I didn’t have time to buy anything, the menu looked pretty good (and it smelled really great in there too!).

Type: Indian
Location: Sanford Fleming

2. Sushi World

I eat here at least once a week during the school year. They have a special lunch menu with at least eight different items, all of which are $5.99.

Type: sushi, of course
Location: Chinatown/Kensington Market area

3. Hot Yam

This is cafe is run by volunteer U of T students. They only serve meals on Thursdays at lunchtime but each meal is only $4!

Type: vegan
Location: International Student Centre

4. Sammy’s Student Exchange

The food here is not that cheap but there is a lot of variety and it’s pretty good-quality.

Type: all kinds
Location: basement of Hart House

5. Mother’s Dumplings

I would eat here constantly if it were a tiny bit closer to campus and the service was faster. It tends to get busy and the dumplings are hand-made so sometimes it takes a while to get your food. They serve items other than dumplings but everything is delicious and really affordable. Even though it’s in Chinatown, Mother’s Dumplings does not seem like it is going to have any health code violations.

Type: Chinese, specifically dumplings
Location: Chinatown

6. Rolu

This restaurant used to be called something else, but they serve pretty much the same food as the old place. I’m not sure if they re-branded or it’s just coincidental.

Type: Japanese, specifically sushi
Location: Spadina and Bloor

7. Fresh

I like eating here when I want to feel healthy, though I wouldn’t call the food cheap nor expensive. During busy times like lunch and dinner, there are long lines to get a table.

Type: Vegetarian
Location: Right beside Rolu (Spadina and Bloor)

8. Spring Rolls

If you don’t know, Spring Rolls is a chain of restaurants in Toronto. They have a location now at U of T, which I guess opened within the last few months. The service is pretty fast and the food is tasty but the prices seem to be the same as in the restaurant.

Type: Asian, I think
Location: Sidney Smith

9. Big Fat Burrito

There was a period when I ate veggie burritos from here at least 3 times a week. They are just extremely delicious, filling, cheap, and I don’t feel unhealthy afterward. The only thing is that you have to make the trek to Kensington Market.

Type: burritos, of course! There are tacos too
Location: Kensington Market

Compiling this list made me super hungry! Comment below if I’m missing anything!

Photos from Yelp, Veda, and the Hot Yam blog.

11 comments for “Healthy and Affordable Food on Campus

  1. Sumaiya
    September 15, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    Ooo I didn’t know they had Indian food on campus…but ya Spring Rolls is good (I had it today…it was a big expensive…almost 10 dollars…but the food is great!)

  2. Cynthia
    September 16, 2010 at 12:15 am

    Lori, I ADORE Veda. I go there at least once a week. I get their Curry Bowl, and it comes to $5 for lunch. Their mango lassi is also amazing.

    Spring Rolls is doing a promo at Sid’s Cafe right now, and their Red Curry Chicken Rice is $5.65.

    I’m going to have to try Mother’s Dumplings. They look YUM!

    Thanks for a great list!

  3. September 16, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    Great list Lori! Veda is, indeed, awesome! I had their samosas yesterday at the Field to Fork Festival (http://blogs.studentlife.utoronto.ca/Ueat/2010/09/01/field-to-fork-local-food-festival/) and am craving them again.

    They are actually not that new…they have been around for a few years. The owner is a U of T grad who wanted to open a restaurant that served HEALTHY Indian food…and within a few years, Veda had multiple locations across Toronto, including one at U of T (Sandford Fleming in the basement).

    Yesterday, they opened one more location on campus *applause*. It is located inside the Koffler Centre/Multifaith Centre on Spadina Crescent. Be sure to let them know how pretty the new location is. :)

    Also, we have a wonderful pocket-size food map that highlights which locations serve vegetarian meals, vegan meals, and much more. I find them quite convenient because the map covers the entire campus and shows practically everything related to food. I can mail them to you (or to any address on campus). Send me an email with the address.

    Great post again!
    -Sarah Khan
    Marketing and Communications Coordinator
    UeaT (Food Services, U of T St. George)

  4. September 16, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    I have problem with Fresh. Their food /is/ overpriced, especially for what you’re getting (although it does usually taste good), the service is terrible, and the space way too small and crowded.

    The other ones look really interesting!

  5. Lori
    September 16, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    I haven’t experienced bad service at Fresh before but yeah it is overpriced and usually very busy.

  6. Saman
    November 18, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    Simon Sushi (located almost right beside Mother’s Dumplings actually lol) !

    Great sushi, great price, the only drawback is that the dessert is not ice-cream :(! It’s oranges instead. The atmosphere is great though, and the food is pretty good as well with a pretty good and cheap lunch variety (not just sushi, but bento boxes, and meals as well). Lunch is 1pm-5pm everyday I believe.

    Awesome list though :D

  7. February 19, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    Ok The Next Justin Bieber fan that follows me will die…

  8. February 25, 2011 at 10:12 am

    Mother’s Dumplings will always have a special place in my heart. Plus, they have tons of delicious vegetarian options!
    Another amazing place on Spadina is King’s Noodle House. Not so vegetarian friendly, but still delicious. The service (as far as I’ve experienced) is quick and always decent, the restaurant is kept pretty clean, and it’s not too far away from campus.
    IT IS ALSO SUPER, SUPER CHEAP. :)

  9. Ran
    April 17, 2011 at 1:47 am

    Pork Bone Soup @ Ka Chi (in Korea Town) a 1 minute walk from Bathurst station.
    6.95 for a hot, spicy warm pork bone soup. super filling, VERY GOOD!

    Pork Bone Soup at any other restaurant isn’t as good as Ka Chi. Ka Chi is amazing!

    Price Range: 5$-20$
    Type: Korean
    Location: Bloor & Bathurst
    Service: really fast esp if you order Pork Bone Soup

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  11. Link - Christine
    March 2, 2014 at 11:20 pm

    Hot Yam sounds and look delicious! At $4 a meal, who would object? I wish they had a place like this at Western. It looks like such a delicious and unique alternative to the typical Harvey’s, or TIm Horton’s that are everywhere.

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