At William & Mary you have choices in how you want to use your meal swipes (Sadler, the Cafe, or Market Place?) and your Dining Dollars (OK, so pretty much just Domino’s). At St Andrews the system is a little bit different, the dining halls are within residence halls (at least you get to know your hall mates!) and your portions are, ahem, moderate if you rely upon just the hot dish. During lunch and dinner, you have a choice between three hot main dishes, two meats and one vegetarian, and these portions are fixed. However, there are also four hot vegetable/grain sides available and if you love potatoes then you are in luck because you get them at every single meal. In addition, there is a salad/pasta bar, vegetable soup, fruit, juice, and, most importantly, a coffee machine. Just like anywhere else, at StAs there are the good days (korma chicken, Irish stew, or beef stroganoff) and the bad days (lamb tangine, pork belly, or ‘hamburgers’). Also, a small aside about haggis, it’s often served with something like chicken and I wasn’t a believer until I tried it for the first time last week, but now I would highly recommend it.
Of course it’s also possible to go into town to get food and if you know where and when you can do it affordably. For instance, on Sundays there are often specials for students because businesses know that dining halls don’t serve Saturday or Sunday dinner (e.g. Bella Italia half price entrees on Sunday). And then there are the supermarkets, Tesco and Sainsbury’s, both carry basically your bare essentials and how much you spend is directly proportional to what you are willing to put your body through. 12p Ramen? 60p shepherd’s pie? £1 20 pc. ‘Chicken nuggets’? All are available for us broke uni students, that is if you can deal with the pitiful look that you will get from the store clerk when they are ringing you up. And then again, if you’re in a rush, there’s the meal deal, £3 for a sandwich, crisps and a drink, ideal for a lunch between classes or if you’ll be at sports practice all day.
Another important aspect of StAs’ cuisine is the late night eateries or more commonly known as “drunk food.” Every student who has ever gone out here has a preference, and there will be frequent discussions on why so-and-so goes to Empire, Dervish, Courtyard Pizza (the best one), or Rendezvous. For most, Dervish takes top spot and, indeed, almost every weekend night you will be hard pressed to get your chicken burger in under 20 minutes. On a brief personal note, for me, I would recommend going anywhere BUT Dervish mainly because of my experience there on Halloween. I got into a little bit of a tiff with the proprietor because he refused to serve me the pizza I had paid for (the receipt was in my hand). It’s true I was a little inebriated and dressed as a banana but still I WANTED that darn pizza. But again, no matter what your favorite, your nights at StAs will almost always end at one of those four eateries because what’s better than cheap food after a night out?