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Eat & Drink

Where to eat and drink in and around York University

Posted by Robyn Urback / October 22, 2011

York University RestaurantsWhenever I'm at York University's Keele campus and hunger or thirst suddenly strikes, my first consideration is always of which bus will get me home fastest. Sorry York, ubiquitous power lines, homogenous buildings, and excessive Tim Hortons outlets seduce the downtown elite in me to rear its ugly head. But York students and area locals know there are a few spots that can certainly ameliorate a trip to Finch and Keele (there I go again..) and make a day on campus a little more satiating, if nothing else. Here are some spots to eat and drink in and around York University.

Falafel Hut
In York Lanes (York University's own little mini-mall) Falafel Hut reigns supreme for all things falafel, shawarma, and Middle Eastern grill. While the consensus may be split on this place (people either love or hate it) it's hard to deny the late-night lineups for Falafel Hut's grub. It's usually a winner during exam season, open to or past midnight several days a week.

Oishi Sushi
We all know that if you can use a fork you can go to York, but does the same apply for chopsticks? (Let's hope so, for enrollment numbers.) Oishi Sushi is close enough to the York campus to serve as a favourite for sit-down Japanese and Chinese cuisine, and it doesn't hurt that York students are offered 10% off their final bill (though just for dinner). All-you-can-eat sushi during lunch at Oishi is also a budget-friendly $9.99.

Underground YorkUnderground
The main York spot for major nightclub events and the like, there are actually some decent eats to be had at the Underground during the day. With its own executive chef, the Underground offers main dishes such as grilled teriyaki salmon, spinach and ricotta stuffed pasta, and 8oz sirloin steaks. Of course, you can also get your nachos, chicken fingers and fries, and burgers here too

Absinthe YorkAbsinthe Pub and Coffee Shop
More a pub, really, than a coffee shop, Absinthe is the last of the student-owned and operated. In the basement of Winters College, the Ab (as it is known by local patrons) offers all of the standard pub fare at pretty decent prices, as well as baked goods, salads, wraps, and milkshakes. This is the place of dart tournaments and theatre majors on their third pints.

Thai Bamboo
Perhaps a bit far to walk but only a short drive from campus, Thai Bamboo at Steeles and Keele has a stellar reputation. That's probably why the wait during lunch can be nearly impossible. Pad thai and curries are the main attractions here, dolled out in generous portions at reasonable price points.

Bamiyan Kabob
Bamiyan Kabob has several locations throughout the GTA, and lucky York students have one right by campus. The prospect of beef tenderloin marinated in spices for 24 hours might motivate one to sit through class--or else, seduce a little hunger-related hooky.

Grad Lounge/Cafe
Would you like an explanation of the socioeconomic benefits of shade-grown coffee with that cup? You can probably get that here. The Grad Lounge on the York campus is one of the few places in the area to get a cup of fair trade coffee, as well as dishes that have a little more to them than the typical fingers 'n fries. Chana wraps, vegan chili, stuffed bell peppers and quiche are just a few of the offerings at the Grad Lounge, as well as wraps that are ready to go, cookies, and other snacks.

Berries and BloomsBerries and Blooms
Berries and Blooms is a haven from the over-processed, beige-coloured foods normally found in abundance on campus. The York Lanes restaurant and catering company offers smoothies on the cheap, as well as fresh (key word) fruits and vegetables, salads, and sandwiches. In short; no beer batter here.

Mangia MangiaMangia Mangia Italian Eatery
Another York Lanes spot, Mangia Mangia doesn't look like much, though it offers the best Italian you'll likely find in or around York University. While I've only had the pleasure of tasting its pasta, Mangia Mangia makes pizzas, salads and espresso drinks, and even features its own juice bar. Almost good enough to make you forget you're on barren land.

What did I miss? Add your favourite spots to eat in and around York University to the comments below.

Photos by Scott Snider



M / October 22, 2011 at 12:39 pm
Nino D'Aversa Bakery at Keele and Toro is an authentic Italian bakery/deli. They'll make you a nice sandwich over the counter. They have hot food as well. Worth checking out.
Stevie / October 22, 2011 at 12:43 pm
Mangia has $10 pitchers on pub night! Good memories...
Kineezy / October 22, 2011 at 12:52 pm
No hoops?!? Wow Half price wings tues/thurs!
and you forget Fox and Fiddle too!
Vic / October 22, 2011 at 01:17 pm
Another one in your "slumming it" series of neighborhood reviews? You totally missed out on all the corporate owned restaurants on campus, serves better food than the "mom-and-pop" type eateries on campus....Ha ha, but really it's pick your poison. I'm not sure how you will top this; where will the dispatch come from? A garbage dump in Michigan?
Etienne / October 22, 2011 at 01:22 pm
There was this Caribbean food place in Strong college, I think... I was there 4 years ago but that spot was hands down the best place for good food on campus. Is it still there? Completely forgot the name.
Etienne / October 22, 2011 at 01:23 pm
It's called Orange Snail and it's in Stong... not Strong college. Amazing hot sauce.
Antoine / October 22, 2011 at 03:00 pm
Diamond Dolls!
jerome / October 22, 2011 at 03:19 pm
You forgot the ever-so healthy Pita Pit! I love it there.. I always get falafel and it's right beside Bamiyan Kabob.
Beatrix / October 22, 2011 at 03:54 pm
Mangia is appalling. Their $10 pitchers are cheap because they're mostly water. That's not the real issue though - this place consistently fails or maringally passes safety inspections. Every single report from the city's health inspectors gives them a 'c' for food contamination (meaning the issue is critical). This is easily the worst place to eat on or around campus, not to mention a health risk.
dc / October 22, 2011 at 05:18 pm
I either eat before I trek my ass back uptown to that dump or if I'm hungry, I just suck it up and starve myself. The entire campus is a complete joke, and the food is aweful - fast food doesn't even taste like it should.

On cold winter days I go out of my way to Centre Street Deli on Centre Street just east of Dufferin to make my school days shorter, and more jewish, BEST deli by far in Toronto and GTA, love the people, owners, and all servers, great place.
Dick / October 22, 2011 at 05:51 pm
Blueberry Hill used to be a blast! Gourmet burgers and pints circa1992
artson / October 22, 2011 at 06:50 pm
I second the shit about Mangia Mangia Mangia. The sanitation is awful (and I know people who worked there). And the food is terrible. Terrible like "makes East Side Marios look like exquisite gourmet" terrible.

Most people don't know about the executive dining room in Schulich, which is actually a large, formal white-tablecloth space with gourmet food.

Also, the best food is in the cafeteria-style places in various residence buildings, not York Lanes or the food court.
yt / October 22, 2011 at 09:35 pm
mangia mangia is awful in every way.

i like the wraps at indian flavour - they use naan.

also, orange snail needs to be on here too (as others have mentioned).
KC / October 22, 2011 at 09:46 pm
As others have said, avoid Mangia Mangia.
Diana / October 22, 2011 at 09:53 pm
Is there one for Ryerson??
Jenny / October 23, 2011 at 12:06 am
Mangia Mangia is perhaps the biggest food nightmare you can experience in your life. Do not spread the word that this is ITalian cuisine, this kind of stuff can start a war.
Michelle / October 23, 2011 at 05:08 pm
I had my first felafel at Felafel Hut Village at York Lanes many moons ago. Still my fave. It was the only food place I'd go to in York Lanes or the student centre food court. Sorry to hear the situation is still the same. Someone already mentioned this but the better food was in the college cafeterias. One of them had a great salad bar back in the day.
Maegan / October 23, 2011 at 11:06 pm
Oishi also offers student discounts for takeout orders!
? / October 24, 2011 at 09:29 am
Shouldn't this read "Where to get assaulted or killed around York University"?

Would seem more timely.
Joseph Ledoux / October 26, 2011 at 02:41 am
There are a lot of foods and beverages in york university. A plenty of different kinds of foods and it is so yummy. I'd like to eat and drink there together with my friends. But suddenly I've noticed that I gained a lots of fat to my body. So, I planed to work it out. Would any body else to help me. I really like to eat.
iSkyscraper / October 26, 2011 at 11:26 am
It's just so sad. A huge new university on a blank slate of land -- could have been an astonishing, fantastic campus had it been properly done. Unfortunately, being born in 1965 has its downsides (even Princeton, Yale and Harvard have wrecks of buildings from that era) and the bad location, disastrous master plan, cheap Canadian wallets and insistence on suburbanization and winterization sunk the place. The issues with food are only a metaphor for the entire environment, which will take a century to fix. Poor York.
Andrew replying to a comment from Etienne / December 6, 2011 at 11:04 am
You are talking about the Orange Snail, which is still going strong (

I would point out that better Italian food can be found in the basement of Atkinson College. Ask the manager for an espresso. He knows his stuff. Grad Lounge is pretentious and in any event, as I understand it, is no longer open to undergrads. Absinthe offers great atmosphere for pints.

andrew replying to a comment from Andrew / December 6, 2011 at 11:20 am
I would point out that the cafeteria at Atkinson even makes potato pizza.
Andrew / December 6, 2011 at 01:44 pm
This post is making me nostalgic for the far too many years I spent at this campus. Another option if you don't mind spending a bit more money is the Executive Dining Room at Schulich:

Lunch isn't super expensive and can be a nice way to drag out a student afternoon.
bee / December 7, 2011 at 11:15 am
If you only had the pasta at Mangia Mangia and think that's good enough to make this list, there is clearly something wrong with with the standards of compiling these lists and your taste buds. That place is awful and the pasta sauces are always watered down and running, ALWAYS. If your looking for Italian food, Mangia Mangia is the last place to go!
K / October 3, 2012 at 09:04 pm
MANGIA MANGIA MANGIA is the worst place ive ever been employed in. I worked there a couple of years back and these were the worst employers ever. The old lady that is running the place with her family is a crook. Shes very nice to all the customers, but she treats her employees like crap. The old crooked woman cheated me out of just over a thousand dollars after i worked there for 3 months. she paid me for the first 2 months, she wasnt giving me my cheque bi weekly and was trying to convince me that she already paid me when she obviously didnt for a whole f-ing month. then she claimed that i was stealing alchohol from them thats why shes not going to pay me. The family is like a bunch of rats. The food quality was very poor, one time the old man cut his finger while opening a can of tamato sauce and some blood dripped inside the sauce, and he looked back at me and said it was ok. These people should never be granted a license to operate any business that involves food. Their daughter misha is a stuck up b..... all crooks.
Sharon / November 6, 2012 at 11:21 pm
Have you tried the Mac's Sushi up in the Student Centre? Great fresh sushi and bubble tea as well.
Davis / February 6, 2013 at 11:47 pm
The Absinthe! The food is gross and it's a dirty, dirty bar! Won't go back there again...
Sofia / January 11, 2014 at 10:41 pm
Hey you missed this cool place called DESI VILLAGE i am hooked on to there butter chicken and chicken tikka platter. Much better food than Indian flavor inside the campus. Desi Village also offer 10% discount to students that show their YU CARD. I've also had too much bamiyan so it's nice to have another option near YORK UNI.
maria / September 13, 2014 at 12:14 pm
Thanks for recommending desi village, I will definitely check it out. Some places I would recommend as cheap eats:
1. The various pizza pizza places, u can get a slice of pepperoni or cheese pizza for $3.45 tax included
2. The tim hortons on campus also offer chicken wraps for $1.99 each. Great as a small snack.
For students with monthly metro passes, good deals can also be found right outside the campus, if you have time between classes:
1. There's a little plaza on finch and keele (with the current construction, you can take bus 106 then 36)
2. There's a pizza pizza there as well if you want to take advantage of their spc special.
3. There is also a vietnamese place in the same plaza where you can get a bowl of chicken soup for about $6. Place is called pho lien hung on 1300 finch w. They also have daily specials for $8.5.
4. There's a new caribbean place that just opened there as well called caribbean heat. Most of their menu is about regular price, but they currently have an opening special of 25% off of $10. They also have an all you can eat lunch buffet mon-fri 11 to 2:30pm for $8.7 + tax
East Orange electronic door locks / January 25, 2016 at 04:05 am
Ironically maybe
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