My Thoughts on The Cove
For all of those who live on campus (dorms) and want a quick snack or even just a cup of coffee, there are a few things you should definitely know about The Cove dining hall and its many food stations.
The Cove has many stations for all types of food, diets and even delicious personalization and frankly, in my opinion, there are a few hits and misses.
In this, I have broken down the best stations for lunch and dinner meals in the main dining facility, AKA the Cove.
The Grill station
The best station for a quick and delicious meal that is filling is the Grill station.
I strongly believe that the Grill has saved my neck at least a dozen times as it comes in clutch for a quick bite between classes.
My guilty pleasures have to be the chicken strips with fries or the 50/50 burger with fries as they go down so smoothly. The burgers are Halal approved and that is a small detail that is very inclusive for those who follow the Muslim faith.
In contrast, one thing that does not really fit the bill has to be the poutine as there is something off about it in my opinion. I don’t know if it’s the gravy or the vegan cheese but something just doesn’t quite sit right.
Hot Entrees & Carvery
The best station for a filling sit-down meal is the Hot Entrees & Carvery.
They have a rotating 3-week menu where they make more international dishes.
For example, butter chicken, pork chops and a few other delicious dishes make me salivate.
The only major downside is the time window of service as it closes at 7:30 pm, even though most services stay open until 9:30/10 pm.
The best station for comfort and/or tasty food is the Pizza bar, which has a great repertoire of pizza variants.
The three-cheese pizza is awesome as it’s rich in flavour, and the Mediterranean is more of a classic rich pizza with lots of veggies.
Another awesome pizza is the meat lovers pizza as it has more variance of meat than most pizza parlours off campus.
A special thing to note is the cheaper prices of the slices, as they are worth the price because they are pretty big slices.
The one major downside of the Pizza bar is that the pizza can be quite greasy and messy as they are always freshly baked and ready to take!
Sandwiches & Wraps
The healthiest station has to be the Made-to-Order Sandwiches & Wraps.
The Sandwich Bar is probably my second favourite as it’s very personal and made to make your sandwich or wrap perfect.
From the bread types to the cheeses to the veggies to the meat and sauces, they have such a massive selection of ingredients that you probably will be there for a good five minutes just perfecting your breaded masterpiece.
There are also alternative options, like bannock/frybread, wraps, and gluten-free and diet-friendly options.
The only major downside to this station is that they may be out of ingredients and that can be a headache to adjust your sandwich.
Greens & Stir Fry
The most dietary-inclusive stations are the Greens (plant-based offerings) which are Vegan and Vegetarian friendly as well as the Stir Fry Bar which has options for allergens and nutritional meals.
I love getting a salad from the Greens station as it’s a delicious splash of healthy in my gut from all of the starches and lack of veggies in many of the food products from other stations. The sauces are awesome and bring a splash of flavour to your meals.
The only real downside to the Greens station is sometimes the foliage can get a bit stale and be a weird texture when you chew your meal.
As for the Stir Fry Bar, they have a killer selection of dishes and dietary inclusions. If you are a pescatarian, Paleo, Keto or other reputable diets, this is your station to hit up.
I do not often use this station as it’s always super busy, or out of certain ingredients as this station is so popular.
The only downside to this station is the prices as when you come up to pay, they weigh it to get a price and that can get a bit pricy.
Port Cafe & Cove Express
For the best study-friendly stations, they have to be the Port Cafe & Espresso Bar and the Cove Express.
We all have that day, that week and even months of “the academic grind” but thank your lucky stars there is the Port Cafe and the Cove Express.
The Port has “locally roasted coffee + baked goods” which are killer good in flavour and hit right when you need that caffeine hit. I personally think the Vanilla latte with Soy milk is such a great wake-up drink to have while studying or doing assignments.
On the food side, my guilty pleasure has to be the Vanilla Lemon Whoopie Cookie! I do not know what kind of magic they imbue into that thing but every bite makes me so excited for the next and makes me motivated to do my work.
The Port has some other killer drinks and snacks, so do not hesitate to branch out sometimes. 🙂
Conversely, the only two downsides to the Port have been the long lines and closing at 3 o’clock?!
For those who want a caffeine hit, you better come early as the lines can get pretty big and the wait time can be longer than you expected, so if you are gunning for a coffee before class, I would recommend going 15 mins before to guarantee the “fuel”.
The other downside is closing time. The Port closes at 3 pm and doesn’t operate over the weekend which is unfortunate as sometimes you have that late nighter and a cuppa would help.
The other section has to be the Cove Express as it has “grab & go, packaged items, sushi, drinks”.
The sushi is from Bento which is already a delicious brand. It’s a quick meal to buy and dash back to your busy workload. Frankly, your best bet is to buy some food in the morning or when you have a quiet moment and come down to the Cove Express and save it for later.
In my opinion, the Spicy California Roll is their best product as it has that kick and healthy ingredients to motivate you to work.
In contrast, there is one con to the Cove Express. The prices can be a bit high. Some of their energy drinks are four-plus dollars and that can hurt someone’s wallet if they are your average broke university student.
Unfortunately, there is one station I have no say on as it is perpetually closed or no one serving at the station when I come in for a meal, Shawarma.
It is my understanding that the Shawarma station does not have enough people to attend this station as it requires a lot of precise focus.
My peers that have managed to get served at this station tend to say it is pretty good but could have a bit more spices in the meat. I trust their words, but I hope to eventually get my mitts on a meal.
In summation, The Cove has so many excellent choices for food and inclusionary meals for everyone. If you are hungry, this place is for you.
My opinions are my own, you are free to make your own conclusions.