You might think the dining area at Capilano College’s main campus, nestled in the forested hills of North Vancouver, would offer a feast of first-class views. But while towering windows let in plenty of light, the scenery outside is pure parking lot. The building, heavy on exposed concrete, has all the charm of a hospital cafeteria, with food to match. There’s no mistaking what you’re here for: to stuff your face and get out as quickly as possible.
At peak feeding times, you’ll need sturdy elbows to fight your way through the crowded serving area. That is, except for the salad bar, which was suspiciously wide open. We loaded up, but were soon disappointed. The lettuce was wilted, while the pickled beetroot was barely pickled. Drenched in vinaigrette, it was passable.
Not so the vegetarian pizza. Frankly, anytime toppings include zucchini, artichoke hearts and brittle spinach leaves you’re asking for trouble, but this slice was particularly unpleasant and was quickly discarded.
The Cap College chefs must have got a big order of spinach in, because there were long strands of it in the meat lasagna. It was hard to tell where the pasta ended and the cheese began, but the portion was large and accompanied by garlic bread.
Another featured entree was perogies and sausage. At least that’s how it was billed. The kielbasa turned out to be a grilled hot dog, while the perogies had developed a hard outer shell in the deep fryer. In a food fight, these puppies would be lethal.
Equally sturdy was the football-sized Italian panini. Lots of bread, lots of meat, lots of vegetables and tomato sauce. Pound for dollar, a good deal.
The stir fry, which incidentally drew the longest line of hungry students, was by far the best dish on offer, with a full selection of u-pick veggies, meat, sauces and noodles or rice. We sampled the Thai chili with chicken, which was quite spicy. The noodles were rubbery, but the flavour overcame the texture.
Conclusion: starving students on a budget can stuff themselves if they pick the right dishes. Look for the longest line.