What's on the Menu? A Guide to Food and Drink at University of Victoria

Time to read: 6 minutes

Date: November 18, 2023

As a new student at the University of Victoria, you might be wondering about the variety of food and drink options available on campus. After all, maintaining a balanced diet is just as crucial to your studies as attending lectures or hitting the library. Let's embark on a tasty journey from cafeterias to cafés, healthy eateries to gourmet restaurants, and discover the culinary delights that await you at the University of Victoria.

The Variety on Campus

At the University of Victoria, the food and drink scene is just as diverse as its student body. Whether you're after quick bites between classes or a delightful dining experience, you'll find an array of options here.

Diverse Options - Food and Drinks 

Stepping onto campus, you'll encounter a wide range of food options, from authentic international cuisine cooked up in food courts to tasty snacks available at the various cafes. You can expect a mix of comfort foods and healthier options, vegetarian or vegan meals, and dishes catering to different dietary restrictions.

Mystic Market

Located in the University Centre, Mystic Market is a food court par excellence that features multiple food stations, each offering a unique culinary adventure. Here, you can savor a hearty Italian pizza at Villaggio, taste the distinct flavors of Japan at Wok on Rice, or dig into mouth watering rotisserie chicken at The Roost.

The BiblioCafe

This on-site cafe within the McPherson Library is a popular grab-and-go spot for students seeking a quick snack or drink between study sessions. It offers a range of hot beverages, fresh sandwiches, pastries, and other quick bites which can even be enjoyed in the welcoming seating area.

Special Dietary Requirements Catered For 

The University of Victoria understands that every student has their preference or need when it comes down to food. That's why the campus eateries ensure that they cater to special dietary requirements - be it allergen-free, gluten-free, or vegan options. Students need not compromise on taste or nutrition, regardless of their dietary needs. 

Halal Shack

Understanding the specific dietary needs of its Muslim students, UVic presents the Halal Shack. This eatery offers certified Halal meats in meals that integrate American culinary trends with traditional halal foods - ensuring a unique delicious experience while honoring dietary preferences.

The Pet Café

Focused on health and sustainability, Pet Café in the Petch Building serves organic, fair trade and locally-sourced foods. It boasts a comprehensive menu with vegetarian and vegan options, as well as gluten-free goodies, making it an excellent choice for those with special dietary restrictions.

Now that you have a general idea about the culinary diversity on campus, let's look specifically at some popular spots to satisfy your taste buds. 

A Peek at the Grad House Restaurant

The Graduate Student Society's Grad House Restaurant is one of the unique dining experiences on campus. Set in a historic farmhouse, a cozy atmosphere meets mouth-watering eats.

Overview of the Restaurant 

The Grad House Restaurant is not just for graduate students. Everyone from undergrad students to staff members is welcome to enjoy a meal here. The relaxed vibe of the restaurant has made it a campus favorite for casual meet-ups and light studying over a coffee.

What's On the Menu 

Offering an array of affordable meals, Grad House presents a rotating menu that always keeps things fresh. Think delectable sandwiches, soups, salads, and shareable appetizers, all created with locally sourced ingredients. Bonus - they've got some fabulous vegetarian and vegan options too!

Exploring the University Club of Victoria

The University Club of Victoria is more than just a dining spot - it's a haven for cultural and culinary delights combined.

Introduction to The University Club 

Think of The University Club as your premium dining option on campus. Catering mainly to faculty, staff, and alumni, this venue thrives as a social hub for many discussions and dazzling events.

Food and Event Options to Enjoy

On its menu, you can expect a sophisticated mix of local and international cuisine, from classic fish and chips to gourmet salad bowls and decadent desserts. Alongside standard dining, the club also hosts numerous special events, including themed buffets, holiday dinners, and wine tastings. These events provide an excellent opportunity for you to mingle and make connections.

With that said, don't feel left out if you're yearning for a more casual dining experience. Next, we'll uncover what the cafeterias and food courts have to offer.

Cafeterias and Food Courts

For more casual, everyday meals, university cafeterias and food courts are your go-to. These hubs offer a range of easy and quick meal options tailored to fit every palate and budget.

Locations and Hours of Operation 

The University of Victoria has several cafeteria locations scattered across the campus. Each one maintains a student-friendly schedule, ensuring you have access to food whenever hunger strikes during your study sessions.

Exploring Different Menus 

From hearty breakfast options to keep you fueled through the morning, to quick grab-and-go sandwiches, pizza, and international cuisine for lunch or dinner, there’s something to suit everyone's taste. The extensive variety ensures that you can eat something new and flavourful every day of the week.

Coffee Shops Around Campus 

Whether you're an avid coffee drinker, a tea enthusiast, or someone in the mood for a cozy hot chocolate, the campus is dotted with inviting cafes and coffee shops.

Overview of Coffee Shops 

With several coffee shops available, you'll always find somewhere to grab a cup of your favorite brew. Many cafes on campus are also excellent spots to get some studying done or unwind with friends.

Starbucks in Bookstore

Who doesn't recognize the green mermaid emblem? Conveniently located in the UVic Bookstore, this Starbucks offers all the classic beverages and snacks you love. It's more than just a place to get coffee - its seating area provides a comfortable spot for a study session or an informal meetup.

Finnerty Express at the UVic Bookstore 

For those looking for a local flavor, Finnerty Express prides itself on serving organic, fair-trade coffee from Salt Spring Coffee Company, a well-loved British Columbian brand. This spot also offers freshly baked pastries, sandwiches, and other snacks, making it an ideal spot for a quick breakfast or lunch in between classes.

Presenting the Coffee Selection 

These coffee spots not only serve your usual lattes, cappuccinos, and espresso shots, but many also have a selection of gourmet and fair-trade coffee to suit refined tastes. Don't forget about the array of pastries, sandwiches, and other treats to compliment your beverage!

Great choice! Now, let’s delve into maintaining a healthy diet while enjoying the food options at the University of Victoria.

Healthy Eating Options

The University of Victoria recognizes the importance of good nutrition for academic success and overall wellness. There's a strong commitment to ensuring students have access to healthy food choices on campus.

Accessibility of Healthy Food on Campus 

Healthy eating options abound, whether it's salads at the Grad House Restaurant, vegan dishes at the University Club, or fresher snack options in the cafeterias. Most dining locations offer vegetarian and gluten-free options, so you can personalize your meal according to dietary needs or lifestyle choices. 

Incorporating Healthy Choices into Your Diet 

Embracing a healthy diet is more than just choosing salad over pizza - it's about balance. Mix up your food groups, keep an eye on portion sizes, and remember Hydration is key. Also, the Centre for Accessible Learning provides resources and information on managing nutrition and diet while on campus.

Making the Most of Your Food Experience at University of Victoria 

From exploring different cuisines to trying out all the on-campus dining spots, the University strives to make your food experience one of the best parts of university life.

Leveraging the Campus' Food Offerings

Experiment with the variety of offerings around the campus. Try the international cuisine days in the cafeterias, the special dinners at The University Club, or the rotating menus at the Grad House Restaurant. By diversifying your eating habits, you also get to understand and appreciate different cultures.

Participating in Food and Drink-Related Events

Food is a significant part of university events, whether it's a meet-and-greet, cultural fest, or an academic conference. Participate in food and drink-related events like wine tastings, cooking classes, and seasonal food festivals. These activities not only make dining fun but also present an opportunity to meet new people and make lasting memories.


The University of Victoria boasts a diverse food and drink landscape that caters to everyone – from the food connoisseur looking for gourmet experiences at places like The University Club, to the student in need of a quick bite between classes at the numerous cafeterias and food courts.

Healthy, allergen-free, or special dietary options ensure that every member of the University community can enjoy a variety of dishes without compromising on taste or nutrition. You have the Grad House Restaurant offering a comfy and historical ambiance, vibrant food courts offering global cuisine, and coffee shops that add a dose of caffeine to your university life.

In essence, the food and drink scene at the University of Victoria mirrors the diversity and inclusivity of the campus – there’s something for everyone!

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