I ate at every iconic uni takeaway in the UK to see which is truly the best
Glasgow doner meat was *not* a vibe
What you eat after a night out says a lot about who you are as a person. If you're part of the sheeple getting Maccies or Chicken Cottage after a night out you're basically throwing your uni city's culture back in its face. If you're not eating anything at all you're probably going to have a really bad hangover and that's on you, pal. If you're having toast or a packet of fucking crisps back at the house you honestly need to grow up.
We've been up and down the UK visiting each and every uni, from the highlands of Aberdeen to the arse-end of Exeter, and have sampled the local post-night out cuisine at each to find out which truly reigns supreme.
Each joint has been given a rating out of five, with one meaning godawful, three meaning we actually finished the food, and five being basically the equivalent of a Michelin star. A mastapiece.
Beholdeth and be transfixed by the results. Or, just scroll down to find your own uni and see whether it gave us food poisoning or not.
Aberdeen: The Langstane Fish and Chips
Okay let me level with you – Aberdeen? Surprisingly good night out. I know – hard one to wrap your head around, given there is no actual reason to go there in the first place.
Anyway the rare combo of onion bhajis and chips in curry sauce was just as surprising, but the curry sauce was cold and the chips were swimming in it. Also FIVE onion bhajis were entirely too many.
Score: 2/5 – Would you like some more chips with your sauce?
St Andrews: Dervish
You have to give it to Dervish, who have the audacity to sell greasy food to drunk St Andrews students after they’ve spent the night dancing to Olly Murs in their chinos and blazers while ALSO operating as a cafe during the day. Good chips, it has to be said.
Score: 4/5 – Respect the entrepreneurship.
By the time I reached Glasgow I had already been liquidised by almost every other uni on this list, so I figured I’d give doner meat a go for the first time. Doner meat, it turns out, is fucking grim – especially with chilli sauce. My burps were so putrid after I’d eaten it that the person talking to me at the house party we subsequently went to kept commenting on it. Made me feel very self conscious.
Score: 1/5 – I think I can still taste it.
Edinburgh: Getting a Deliveroo because that's literally the only option
Edinburgh is a really beaut city, no lie there, but where’s the culture man? Literally nothing stays open beyond, like, 10pm, so you really have no option but to Deliveroo a Chinese which is honestly fine because vegetables are good for you.
Score: 3/5 – Points deducted for inauthenticity.
Liverpool: Harper's Pizza
I saw someone fall into their pizza at Harper’s pizza and she sat in it for a good five seconds. Also one of the people we were with got her purse stolen from right out of her bag while we were waiting.
I didn’t even get pizza, I got wings, which I realised was a bad call when I saw the dude grab them right out of the freezer and lob 'em in the frier looking guiltily at me. In fairness, they were cooked so thoroughly they were practically nuclear by the time I got hold of them.
Score: 2/5 – Good craic at least.
Look, if you’re out in Fallowfield you’re probably too busy chewing various parts of your own mouth to eat anything substantial, but obligatory drug jokes aside you honestly cannot beat a £3 chicken shawarma wrap, and anyone who thinks otherwise is lying through their goddamn teeth.
Score: 5/5 – Three. Pound. Wrap. Bitch.
Norwich: The Olive Tree
I will say this only once. Don’t go to Norwich. It’s where parents send their children if they want to forget about them forever. When they’re not sustaining themselves on whatever £2.75 microwave curry their meagre campus Spar can provide them, they’ll munch here.
Big shoutout to the staff, who are super friendly and liberal with the garlic mayo despite dealing with the crushing reality that they live in fucking Norwich.
Score: 3/5 – Never going back to Norwich Jesus Christ it was weird.
Is there a holier Triforce than Circling, Smack, and Vialli’s? No. No there is not. Anyway, there’s literally nothing bad to say here because the food was peng. Also they have a lovely ticketing system to make sure you don’t end up missing your order. Very Warwick, sure, but undeniably decent food.
Score: 5/5 – You've got to give Warwick something.
Bournemouth: Chicken Station
It's right round the corner from Cameo and you can buy chicken there. What more do you want from it? No don't look at its hygiene rating!!!!
Score: 3/5 – Does what it says on the tin.
Exeter: Sidwell Fish and Chips
After you’ve spent a night being pressed against some sweaty half-naked rugby boy Timepiece you’ll want nothing better than to shove greasy food down your gob and lament how you’ll never be in shape, and Sidwell will sort you out. If there were an online generator for late night takeaways, this would be the default setting – thoroughly unremarkable, but not bad either.
Score: 3/5 – Meh.
King's: Waterloo Grill
Obvs most King’s student just get on a bus, a tube, or an Uber after a night out because they are lame like that. On the rare occasion you’re on your way back from The Vault over Waterloo Bridge and fancy something real, you can acquire some lovely grilled goodness from this place.
Score: 3/5 – You're getting a Maccies, let's be real.
York: Ali G's
I bet you’re thinking “Surely this isn’t named after the Sacha Baron Cohen character? That would be dumb.” Well joke’s on you, reader, because that’s exactly who it’s named after. Don’t you feel foolish? This joint gets extra points for naming individual pizzas after York’s colleges, like the “Derwent Supreme pizza” and.. Erm… the “Wentworth Supreme pizza.”
Score: 4/5 – A rare example of York being fun.
Munchies is your classic takeaway: Kebabs, cheesy garlic bread, chips and gravy. But it’s more than that – it’s a gathering. The perfect place for post Soho scran, everyone who's anyone gathers in Munchies so it’s impossible to go there without seeing at least one person you know.
Despite the fairly intelligent clientele of Newcastle students, this place is like a zoo when they’re shouting out the numbers. You know the scene in Mean Girls by the mall fountain? Total madness. I was scared.
Rating: 3/5 – Unayyyyyyyyy.
Hyde Park is notoriously dodgy, right? But Crispy’s is a beautiful orange haven in a sea of crime. A haven that puts on a disco for its customers. That’s right, a disco in a takeaway. Lights, disco ball, music – everything. A haven that serves you chips cheese and gravy for just three quid. What more could you really want? Not just out of a takeaway, but out of life? Nothing, that is the answer.
Rating: 5/5 – If only for the vibe alone.
Cardiff: Family Fish Bar
Some takeaways on this list stand out for their location, their food, or their vibe. Fam Fish has all three in spades, but that’s not what makes it special. Behind the counter, you’ll find Abdul, a local legend if ever there were one. From taking pics of everyone to fill up the picture wall, to dishing out chat along chips, to keeping his Insta fresh as fuck, Abdul gives you every reason to pick up a large cod, chips, and curry sauce after a bender.
Rating: 5/5 – Ticks every box on the list.
Durham: Pizza King
All hail Pizza King. This place was so decent, and so beautifully Northern. While waiting for my bizarre order (Special Menu Three or something with an equally nondescript name) there were not one but two debates over whether curry sauce or gravy was the better topping for chips.
Eventually, the elusive Special Menu Three arrived and it was made up of onion rings, mozzarella dippers and deep fried mushrooms. I’ve never seen deep fried mushrooms on any takeaway menu before, so they must be a northern delicacy. Either way – it was amazing. However, not very filling. Walked two metres out of Pizza King and straight into Pizza Base to get more food. Forgive me Pizza King for I have sinned.
Rating: 4/5 Almost perfect, just wish there was more of it.
Maybe to make up for how rancid they are in their everyday lives, Soton students have a sit-down meal after their nights out. Obvs Tariq Manzill himself is a total legend and his undying loyalty to that one Britney Spears album will always be iconic, but what really seals the deal is the curry itself, which is quite literally above average.
Score: 4/5 – It's Britney, bitch.
The staff of Sultans will genuinely call you “friend” as soon as you walk in. Winning right from the get go. Enough to make my drunk self shed a tear. Sometimes when you’re fresh out of the club, drunk off your arse, you just need a random takeaway man to be kind to you. It also offers curly fries, unlike any of the other eateries on this list, so is naturally superior.
Rating: 4/5 for curly fries alone.
Lincoln: King Kebab
King Kebab, ruled over by the actual King of kebabs and don of takeaways, Charlie Brown, is basically an after-night-out sesh. The music is pumping, the cheesy chips are flowing (Lincoln students are mad for them, legit cannot get enough) and the place is packed. The vibe was so distractingly good I didn't have time to notice any negatives. Also, Charlie Brown is absolutely lovely. Bless that man.
Rating: 5/5 – Really can’t go wrong with cheesy chips, can you?
Sheffield: A sad, sad Ristorante Pizza
No takeaways were had in Sheff. After Tiger Works we just bought two Ristorante pizzas and passed out after eating half because Sheffield is just that fucking grungy.
Rating: 1/5 – Woke up hungover as fuck. Ristorante pizza does not cut it.
Coventry: Kebab Rush
How does one even describe Kebab Rush? It’s so busy that the next day when you walk past it, chicken bones litter the street like the outside of a giant's lair. The queue is so long that it needs a ticket system for you to wait for your chicken order. Try to memorise it, or bossman will call out your chicken burger and you’ll be unsure whether it belongs to you or the other 30 people stood in the shop.
Rating: 4/5 – Never lets you down, doesn’t give you food poisoning.
Royal Holloway: Runnymede Chicken and Ribs
The smell of Runnymede Chicken and Ribs wafts down Egham high street, beckoning drunken students from left and right. The fried chicken is unparalleled. Barely any of these places got the magic mixture right, so for this it gets a high score.
Rating: 4/5 – Will need some bubble tea from Imagine to cleanse you tomorrow.
I have spent longer than I care to admit wondering if I’ll ever be as cool as Jamie, the Belfast student who once received a Boojum delivery totally starkers, and have since come to the conclusion that it’ll never happen for me. Anyway Boojum is decent, and wins points for novelty because burritos!!!!
Score: 4/5 – Burritos!!!!
Oxford Brookes: Perrio’s
Perrio’s is everything I expected a Brookes takeaway to be. I ordered a whole pizza (Hawaiian, with pineapple – fight me) and it arrived in five minutes. Within those five minutes I managed to make two new friends and get into a fight. Eventful, social, scrummy. There’s no frills at this place, it just gives you the standard weird English-Italian takeaway food you crave. But it also offers the most important thing any late night student takeaway can offer: Mozzarella dippers.
Rating: 3/5 – Food was acceptable but getting into a fight soured the environment a bit. Mozzarella dippers saved it.
Birmingham: Pizza Land
The mark of a good uni takeaway is seats. if there’s nowhere to sit, the chaotic energy is too much to handle. If there’s too many places to sit, the vibe goes. At Pizza Land, you can wolf down your food on the cosy table as the world happens next to you. And need I say more than a big fat cheesy garlic pizza bread?
Rating: 5/5 – Okay you made me say it: Big fat cheesy garlic pizza bread.
Bristol: Taka Taka
Clifton’s residents think they’re a higher class of student, so it’s only right they get a higher class of kebab. Well, technically, you’re getting a souvlaki wrap from Taka Taka, but let’s not complain about that. I mean, chips! In a wrap! The food is matched only by the sense you’re in the afters for the wedding in Mamma Mia!
Rating: 4/5 for solid Greek vibes. Voulez vous, aha!