Ahhh, young love. You got someone you’re interested in and you want to take them out somewhere instead of just chilling in your dorm room as your roommate obliviously third wheels. Luckily, UW Dining has several options to take your date out for the first time for just the low cost of a couple meal swipes. However, with so many dining halls, featuring sumptuous options such as comforting fare from 1849 and saliva-inducing pizza from Capital City, how do you know where to go? Luckily, we have the definitive ranking of which dining halls are the best for a first date.
The Lowell dining hall is stuck between a rock and a hard place. It’s too far away to feasibly bring anyone to, unless you live in the hall. In that case, who wants to go on a date where they already live and frequently eat at? Not to mention it’s a stone’s throw away from Greek Row. Do you really wanna risk drunk frat guys yelling and shouting while on your post-meal walk?
Often regarded as the worst dining hall on campus, it was difficult for Carson’s to climb to even second-to-last place on this list. It’s a tiny dining hall with not much sitting available, although not a huge deal since it’s fairly empty. But the food selection is where it can bite you, just like the roaming mice. You better hope your date likes one of the three options Carson’s is serving that day. You could consider the cockroaches running across the floor as meal entertainment though.
While not a terrible dining hall, Rheta’s is just too small for a good romantic meal. First, you have to be lucky enough to find a seat, then extra lucky to find a seat for your date. Everyone’s voices and conversations are bouncing around the room, making it near impossible to have your small talk. Then when you get up to refill your date’s drink, you’re gonna trip and faceplant right in front of them within the crowded labyrinth that is Rheta’s.
4. Smith Starbucks
A coffee date is always a good bet. Overall a low risk option– the choice of venue isn’t going to ruin it. Sometimes the safe choice is the best one.
Just like Smith, Liz’s Market is another safe choice. It’s free from all major food allergens, so you don’t have to worry about accidentally poisoning your date. It can be a little cramped at some times, but that’s the price you pay for no peanuts. After your meal, you can also gaze upon Lake Mendota while sitting on Observatory to end your date or testing if the blue light button actually works.
The most popular dining hall on campus, serving nearly all of Southeast, but has the space to hold everyone (usually). Often regarded as the best dining hall with many, many options to choose from, you don’t have to worry if your date is a picky eater. Sure, it can get loud sometimes, but you just have to find a more secluded spot. Better yet, use those Ticket-to-Takeout tokens and move the date over to Walgreens or the Amazon Package Center!
1. Four Lakes
The best dining hall for a first date is none other than Dejope’s Four Lakes Market. Not as big as Gordon’s or as many options, but it makes up for it in other ways. Although busy during the dinner rush, this line stays inside the dining hall, unlike Gordon’s. You also have the choice of sitting near the bunch of TVs if your date doesn’t want to miss the big game (just ignore that red flag) or breaking news about a celebrity death. Otherwise, you can sit by the giant windows to gaze upon the nearby scenery. It may even inspire them to continue the date with a nice walk down Lakeshore path.