The first thing visitors notice about Yale dining halls is how amazing they look: chandeliers, wooden tables and chairs, wood-paneled walls, stained glass windows, and fireplaces abound at each of Yale's 12 residential colleges (think Harry Potter). The dining hall staff are very friendly and know many of their students by name. They are always willing to take a tray or help locate the soy milk.
Dining hall food is extremely diverse. There are always a lot of vegetarian, vegan, and ethnic options. All serveries have a hot dish bar, salad bar, sandwich-making station, fruit selections, cereal bar, and coffee bar, as well as special stations (like blenders for smoothies, soft serve dispensers, or cappuccino machines) that vary with the college. While the college dining halls have regular hours for each meal, Commons is open from 7:45 a.m. to 9 p.m. all week in case students need to grab a meal between their busy schedules.
Yale dining hall food is full of variety and specializes in organic and sustainable ingredients. However, it's important to remember that since someone else is doing the cooking, you don't always get to choose what you want to eat. Be prepared to eat Indian food when you want a baked potato, and don't be afraid to take advantage of the cereal selection when you need it. Students with more selective palates (picky eaters) may have a hard time trying new foods and flavors, whilst other students complain that the food is too bland.