There is one canteen at the University of Mannheim, the Mensa. They serve lunch every week day from 11.30 to around 14 o’clock. There are two different menu choices featuring meat and one vegetarian option, salad buffet, grill and wok meals as well as schnitzel to choose from. The meals cost between 3 and 4 euros. It is possible to form a meal from the small 0,90€ side dishes of potato, vegetables and salad combined to for example the schnitzel (2,20€ with one side dish). Drinks are not included in the price, and as they only sell bottled drinks, most of the students take their own drinks with them. As payment methods, only (pre-loaded) student card and cash are accepted.
The apportioned meals are generous in size. In my experience, asking for a smaller portion does not affect the portion size at all. This is a shame since I don’t like to throw food away, but often cannot finish the entire meal. The issue is aggravated by the ratio of pasta or potatoes to the other ingredients on the plate – let’s just say that it’s more than the recommended one third of the meal. What comes to the quality of the food, the small sweet or salty soups are delicious but otherwise, the food is less tasty than what they serve at Aalto Uni.
I find the food at Cafe EO a bit better quality. Besides coffee, bagels, sandwiches, cakes, muffins and fruit, they have a pay-what-you-eat lunch buffet (10€/kg). However, the selection there does not seem vary that much, which is why I’m happy to cook for myself at home most of the time. Eating out is more affordable in Mannheim than in Helsinki, so I imagine many students taking advantage of the lunch prices in the various restaurants.
To conclude, the food at Mensa is decent. In a busy day of lectures back to back, I would eat either there or at Cafe EO. But if I had more time at hand, I’d rather cook myself.