Campus Eats: University of Ottawa

Vegan food from Chartwells is affordable but unsatisfying

The 2013 Maclean’s University Rankings includes an examination of the dining on Canadian campuses. We found healthier options than ever, but also a new problem—high prices.

Maclean’s On Campus is continuing the conversation by having students review food on their campuses and showing what it costs to dine. If you’re a student, you can help. Send us a review of the food on your campus. Keep your receipts. If we publish it, we’ll reimburse you.

Chartwells at the University of Ottawa
Two stars out of five
Total cost: $6.60

It’s the Thursday night of reading week and I’ve broken my cardinal break week rule: I’ve ventured onto campus. A student newspaper meeting meant I was stuck at the U of O after 8:00 p.m. A growling stomach led me to the cafeteria where I was confronted by the limited vegan options.

As a vegan, eating in public is generally a challenge, but it’s particularly problematic when your campus eats are dominated by Chartwells, which serves many fried foods.

Strolling past the burger and pizza joints, skipping the overpriced sub and sushi stands, I settle on a falafel. To make it vegan, I swap the the dairy-based garlic sauce for hot sauce. It’s not greasy, even though the reheated pieces of falafel were clearly deep fried, and it includes a serving of vegetables. Still, it was subpar, especially considering that dozens of Sharwama joints around the city offer the same quality for less money.

For a side, I snagged the least bruised Granny Smith on the pile by the cashier, and skipped a carbonated beverage, since I’m trying to kick my Coke Zero addiction. The apple cost an outrageous $1.02. The total price, $6.60, wasn’t bad, but it’s an experience I don’t want to repeat.

The bill:
Apple: $1.02
Falafel: $4.82
Taxes: $0.76
Total: $6.60