Toronto is one of the most expensive cities in the world and there’s no question why. Between the high-priced rent, steep bills, keeping up with designer fashion trends and attending lavish parties every other weekend, your paycheque disappears faster than you have time to even think about how you could spend it.
One thing’s for sure, you don’t have extra cash to blow on fancy lunches every day of the week. Sometimes in order to survive in the city, you have to pinch a few pennies and save a few dimes to get by. One way to save a couple bucks is by hitting up some of these spots for cheap eats. But fear not, you won’t be sacrificing quality for price when it comes to the food at these places. Here are 13 of the best cheap eats in Toronto for $5 or less.
4 Elm St.
If you’re really hungry but don’t want to spend a lot of money on food, head over to Patties Express. Two patties and a can of pop will cost you just $4.39. The spicy chicken is a must have and is sure to satisfy your cravings, and your wallet.
Banh Mi Boys
Deemed the unofficial Subway of Vietnam, everyone has to try Banh Mi Boys at least once. The banh mi is awesome here and they also serve tasty bao, like the pork belly bao for just $3.49. Topped with a specialty spicy sauce and pickled daikon, this is some delicious eats for under $5.
994 Queen St. W
This cute diner has great, cheap breakfast and what they call “Toronto’s best burgers.” While you’ll have to dish out an extra dollar to try their classic burger, menu items like the Super-sized Hotdog and Western Omelette Sandwich are under $5, with many other items just $5.95. There’s something for everyone at Frankie’s!
538 Queen St. W
Comparable to its counterparts – El Furniture Warehouse and Queen Street Warehouse – consider The Dime their older, cooler cousin. These premium dive bars host $4.95 meals all day, every day. Although the drinks come in at a normal bar price, this is one of the cheapest bars for good food in Toronto.
This Vietnamese spot offers a whole menu under $5 and they have three locations in Toronto. Everyone raves about the dumplings and steamed buns. We suggest an order of the pork & shrimp dumplings which has a price tag of just $4 for four – be sure to ask for their dipping sauce!
61 Kensington Ave.
If you’re in the mood for some cheap Jamaican eats, Rasta Pasta is the place to go. Try their jerk chicken or pork lunch meal with both vegetables and rice for only $4.95 between 2 and 5 pm
875 Danforth Ave.
Square Boy has been a fixture on the Danforth since the 1960’s and brought Toronto the first square-shaped hamburgers. With burgers starting at $3, a combo of burger, fries and pop for $5, and assorted hot sandwiches starting at $4, this spot has something for everyone’s taste buds and budget. Oh, and did we mention they have a patio, too?
Gale’s Snack Bar
539 Eastern Ave.
This old school diner may be tiny, but its food is BIG. Gale’s Snack Bar serves sandwiches in a low-key, throwback atmosphere with no frills. Try a club sandwich for just $2.50 or a hot turkey sandwich with fries for just $3.75. But don’t worry, you’ll pocket enough change for dessert where a slice of homemade pie is only $1.25.
Goldstone Noodle Restaurant
266 Spadina Ave.
Nothing fills your tummy quite like a bowl of meat and rice, and that’s exactly what you’ll get at Goldstone Noodle Restaurant in Chinatown. Don’t let the BBQ animals hanging from the window scare you, this restaurant serves up some of most delicious Asian-style BBQ in the city. A small, yet filling bowl of Soya Sauce Chicken or BBQ pork on rice will cost you just $4.95, and wonton soup and a variety of dim sum dishes are all under $5.
Rose City Kitchen
36 Toronto St.
Rose City Kitchen serves up some of the most delicious Mediterranean sandwiches in the city. Their halloumi cheese sandwich is a must have where you choose from a variety of toppings including the Moroccan (harissa dressing, couscous, shredded lettuce, red onion, apricots, almond, chickpeas) or the Egyptian (eggplant, red onions, chickpeas, dates, cabbage, lemon juice, olive oil). Half sandwiches are just $5.
552 King St. W
This King West gem is known for combining great value with amazing taste. Wilbur Mexicana’s tacos come in at $4.25 ($3.75 for vegetarian options) and there are over 100 types of hot sauces to kick your meal up a notch.
245 Augusta Ave.
If you love Chilean food, Jumbo Empanadas is the place to go when you’re eating on a budget. The empanadas start at $4.50, but the portion size is worth every penny. Don’t worry, $5 is sure to fill you up here.
90 Ossington Ave.
Located on Ossington, Oddseoul is a blink-and-you-might-miss-it sorta spot. The small restaurant has limited seating, but once inside, their snack menu features delicious items like Bulgogi Cheesesteak, Steamed Bun, Spicy Scallion & Avocado Slaw for just $5. Our favourite dish is “The Loosey,” their take on the Big Mac, made with juicy short-rib, kimchee, processed cheese, pickles, mayo and ketchup on a sesame challah bun.
Did we miss any of the best restaurants to score a meal for $5 or less in Toronto? Let us know in the comment section or tweet us at @ViewtheVibe.
She is a lover of good books, Sunday brunches and running around the city with her girl gang. She's your basic Blair Waldorf in a world of Jenny Humphrey's. You can follow her on Twitter @BNeustaeter.
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