September marks many beginnings for first-year students at the two main university campuses of UBC and SFU: new courses, new friends, and—let’s not forget—new food and drink options. When frosh want to venture off-campus, who better to ask for direction than current students in the know about the most popular spots?
“I want somewhere that’s affordable for students and has a friendly vibe,” explains Maya Zwang, a fourth-year UBC psychology major and student coordinator for Jump Start, an orientation program for international students.
During a phone interview, Zwang says she is a fan of Sun Sushi (4512 West 10th Avenue), where, for $6.95, you get a tuna, yam, and California roll, as well as miso soup. She also dines at Burgoo (4434 West 10th Avenue) for tomato soup with gooey grilled cheese ($17). Her dessert stop is True Confections (3701 West Broadway), where she dives into something chocolate-y, like the devil’s food cake ($8.75 per slice).
Zwang says the Bimini Public House (2010 West 4th Avenue) is hopping on its Wednesday College Nights ($5 wings, $4 beers, highballs, and shots), helped by the fact that the pub sends a bus to campus to pick up students (see its Facebook page). The Coppertank Grill (3135 West Broadway) is a student destination for its nachos ($15.99) and cheap drinks.
Over the phone, Emily Neufeld, president of UBC Sororities and fourth-year microbiology and public-health student, talks about how she canvassed sorority and fraternity members about their preferred eateries. They go to Elwood’s Restaurant Kitsilano (3145 West Broadway) for its $2 beer on Thursdays, and to Local Public Eatery (2210 Cornwall Avenue) for its tacos ($5 each) and caesars, which are $6 on Sundays. Also popular are eggs, hash browns, and toast ($4.25) at Evelyn’s Café and Grill (2176 West Broadway) and comfort food, such as the shepherd’s pie ($13.95), at the Diner (4556 West 10th Avenue).
Elysse Bell, a fifth-year student in English and visual arts, and food columnist for the campus newspaper the Ubyssey, gets her carb fix at Trattoria (1850 West 4th Avenue) on Tuesdays, when all pastas are $11. She likes the Cove Pub (3681 West 4th Avenue) for its cocktail prices ($5.50 to $8.50) and Japolo Sushi & Pho (2807 West Broadway) for noodle soup ($8.95 small). Over the phone, she says cafés for studying include the 24-hour Calhoun’s (3035 West Broadway) and Benny’s Bagels (2505 West Broadway), which stays opens until at least midnight daily. And, of course, the Naam (2724 West 4th Avenue), also 24-hour, is a classic UBC student haunt.
Students on the hill at SFU’s Burnaby campus also seek out the cheap and the happening. During a phone chat with Shirley Low, an SFU alumna and manager of Student Central, the welcome centre on campus, Low says she informally polled student information assistants about restaurants. Sushi California (501 North Road, Coquitlam) and Sushi Town (5935 Hastings Street) are recommended, the latter noted for its deep-fried California roll ($3.95). They also rave about X-Site Grill & Bistro (4625 Hastings Street, Burnaby) for mains under $10 (New York peppercorn steak $9.95), and Anton’s Pasta Bar (4260 East Hastings Street) for massive portions.
Escaping the fog at SFU, Dion Chong relishes the comfort food at Soup Plus (1102 Austin Avenue, Coquitlam), an unassuming spot run by a husband-and-wife team. Over the phone, Chong, minute-taker for the Simon Fraser Student Society and fourth-year student in international studies, suggests getting the mushroom soup ($3.99 regular) and Louisiana barbecue beef po’ boy ($5.50 regular).
He also warms up with soup from Pho 99 (302–403 North Road, Coquitlam). “They’re open late and are decent quality. You can’t go wrong,” he says. Pho selections include a version with eye of round steak, fatty brisket, soft tendon, and tripe ($8 small). As well, he’ll head to Triple Coconut Tree (4124 Hastings Street, Burnaby) for its steaming bowls of pho ($7.75 small).
Chong studies at Coffee Monster (6–405 North Road, Coquitlam), where he enjoys its Spanish latte with condensed milk ($4.50 medium) and cheesecakes in Mason jars (classic for $6.50).
For another sweet treat, Chong likes the sundaes ($5.50 regular), with toppings like hot fudge, at Glenburn Soda Fountain & Confectionary (4090 Hastings Street). “It’s a good post-exam celebratory spot,” he says.
Chong also points SFU students in the direction of the microbreweries in Port Moody. He visits Moody Ales (2601 Murray Street, Port Moody) for its Intrepid Matcha Saison ($5 glass), and Yellow Dog Brewing Co. (1–2817 Murray Street, Port Moody) for its Shake a Paw Smoked Porter ($5 glass). He’s counting down the days until the anticipated fall opening of Twin Sails Brewing (2821 Murray Street, Port Moody).
First-year university can be daunting, especially for those away from home, but once students get to know where to eat and drink around them, they’ll know exactly where to go to find comfort.