You’re hungry and want something eat, but eating out can be expensive and you probably don’t want to break your piggy bank. For myself, as a teen on a tight budget, this is a problem I deal with all the time. I know there are cheap places to eat, but are they really any good? To answer this question, my friends and I bused around all of Vancouver with a meal budget of 10 dollars. We checked out five restaurants known for offering affordable food, to see if you can really get a decent meal for under $10. These are the results we got, organized from worst to best.
5. BON’S OFF BROADWAY
Bon’s off Broadway is a casual, dine-in breakfast style foods. When looking for a cheap food option I would go for the house special breakfast that comes in at an impressive $2.95 plus tax. The meal itself includes two slices of toast, two eggs, hash browns, and strawberry jam. If you’re careful when ordering, you can stick to a budget of 3 to 4 dollars. But, if like me, you add extras like bacon and a glass of orange juice, the price could come out to around 8 dollars. This restaurant can also get very busy right before lunch, so I would recommend getting there anytime between 9:30 and 10:30. Overall, I would probably not go to Bon’s again because of the unsafe feeling atmosphere. Caused by the rough area that the restaurant is located in, unusual decoration put up and cracked or distressed surrounding chairs and tables, a grumpy and rude impression from the waiter, and it’s misleading pricing.
- Location: 2451 Nanaimo St
- Pricing: $2.95 breakfast
- Overall Rating: 👍👍 ⅖
4. BUDGIES BURRITOS
Budgies Burritos is a cheap eat-in or take-out restaurant that offers a variety of homemade authentic Mexican-style foods. Budgies also provides kids options and tacos for a price of $3.75 that are vegetarian and vegan. Their vegetarian taco is made on a corn tortilla and has fresh lettuce, sour cream, cheese, brown rice, and slow cooked vegetables. I would go back again to get their vegetarian taco. It was very filling and for the price, you can tell that they did not cheap out on quantity. Aside from the food, the place itself had a bit of an off-putting odor but the longer you were in the restaurant, the more you got used to it.
- Location: 44 Kingsway St
- Pricing: $3.75 for a taco on a 6-inch tortilla
- Overall:👍👍👍 ⅗
3. BASIL PASTA BAR
The Basil Pasta Bar is an affordable, authentic Italian cuisine restaurant. It offers a build-your-own-pasta option for $9.95. You start by picking your pasta, sauce, protein or veggies, then you can add an extra (what they call a “garnish”) for $1 to $1.45. I had ordered the linguine pasta with marinara sauce and chicken. The portion size was enough for one person, and the pasta was similar to what you would get at a Cactus Club or Joey’s, nothing special. You could tell that all the ingredients were fresh and not pre-made, and the place itself was clean and had fun colours going through it.
- Location: 636 Davie St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2G5
- Pricing: $9.95
- Overall:👍👍👍👍 ⅘
2. THE FAMOUS WAREHOUSE
The Famous Warehouse is a well-known restaurant in Downtown Vancouver on Granville Street and has another location on Hastings Street. It is famous for it’s “all day everyday special menu” that includes all of it’s dishes for $5.95 and sides for and extra couple of dollars and drinks for varying prices. I went with friends for a quick snack and we got the nachos to share. The dish included classic nacho chips, cheddar cheese, roasted corn salsa, jalapenos, tomatoes, green onions, fresh salsa, and sour cream. To our surprise the portion size was so big that we had enough for all three of us to eat. The place itself was pretty clean and had a biker bar type vibe. My friends and I felt safe and comfortable eating here.
- Location: 989 Granville St
- Pricing: $5.95
- Overall:👍👍👍👍👍 5/5
1. NERO BELGIAN WAFFLE BAR
Nero Belgian Waffle Bar is a great cafe to grab a bite for your sweet tooth, and though it’s more of a dessert, it’s still a big enough meal to fill you up. They have a variety of sweet and savory waffles to choose from. The waffle that I chose was called Heaven. Heaven is a Brussels waffle covered with fresh strawberries, real whipped cream, and a house-made berry coulis for a total price of $8.75. Their pricing for all their sweet waffles are under 10 dollars, which is great! Not many dessert places serve waffles for under 10 dollars that are reasonably sized and delicious. The only negative thing about the cafe was that if you were to eat in, it was small without much seating area. And the location of the cafe is a little hard to get to and locate.
- Location: 1703 Robson St
- Pricing: $8.75 Heaven Waffle
- Overall:👍👍👍👍👍 5/5
After going to these places I’ve found out that you don’t have to spend big bucks to get a decent meal. Yes, there are some sacrifices that comes with eating with a budget, like dealing with a bad smell, or being in a rough neighborhood, but you are still eating at a restaurant, getting a warm and good-sized portion. Overall, I would definitely go back to the Basil Pasta Bar, the Famous Warehouse, and Nero to grab a quick bite with friends.
What’s your favorite place for a cheap meal? Let us know in the comments!