Located in the outer reaches of Toronto—seriously, Pioneer Village is next door—the York campus feels sprawling, unwieldy and isolated. So with several dining options from which to choose, we go with the first one we can find (and the one that looks the busiest)—the food court within the Student Centre. Students tell us York Lanes is another good choice, which at first confuses us because we think they’re inviting us bowling. (It is, in fact, the York Lanes Retail Centre Food Court, a United Nations of North American fast-food outlets including Falafel Hut Village, Indian Flavours, Popeye’s Chicken, Taco Villa, Mangia Mangia, and Blueberry Hill.)
Inside the sunlit atrium of the Student Centre Food Court, there are two levels for dining, yet more people seem to be clacking away on laptops than are eating, which is perhaps a good thing when faced with options like KFC (even though the chicken is thoughtfully halal) and Taco Bell.
Though we try to keep things on the healthier side, this is basically a fast-food review: the baked potato from Wendy’s is like a trial by tuber, the cheese sauce more like cheese soup; the broccoli soft and sulfuric. The potato itself is lovely—best to go plain next time. The vegetarian special from Pagoda Tree($3.95)is silken tofu stirred into a thick “Asian flavoured” sauce, which is rather tasty if you like silken tofu(which I do), but horrid if you don’t. It’s sided with pea and carrot-flecked fried rice that’s none too flavourful.
A guilty-pleasure spring roll is heavier on the guilt than pleasure. But Jimmy the Greek is Jimmy “the Man”: for just $3.45 the small salad is more big than small, and generous of iceberg, kalamatas, tomato, a touch of feta and good creamy vinaigrette, and Jimmy’s wallet-sized spanakopita is jammed with spinach and feta.
Finishing off at Treat’s, the Swiss chocolate chunk cookie tastes like 1986 all over again.
Bonus: you can add a KFC drumstick to your Taco Bell combo for cheap.
— Amy Rosen