Canadian Mac & Cheese


Vancouvers has one of Canada’s best dining scenes. This coastal British Columbian city is home to a variety of types of food and styles of cooking, ranging in budget for all to partake. For every high-end restaurant there are dozens of budget alternatives. Here is a list of eight the best cheap eats Vancouver has to offer.

Lucy’s Eastside Diner

If you are looking for the ultimate comfort food breakfast on a budget, head to Main Street. This neighbourhood favourite is one of Vancouver’s few 24-hour eateries and generously proportions their value breakfast. Slide onto a counter stool and dive into a plate of eggs cooked to your liking with a side of bacon. This local 50’s diner is also home to incredibly well-priced burgers, made-from-scratch soups, and the best milkshakes in Vancouver.

Price: Get a filling meal all for under A$10.

Kintaro Ramen Noodle

Kintaro Ramen Noodle is among the oldest Japanese restaurants in Vancouver. This bustling ramen spot fills up quickly, so arrive off-peak and get a seat at the counter. The open kitchen allows diners to view the massive, bubbling pots filled with traditional broth used to flavour the ramen bowls. Vancouver gets extremely cold during the winter and one of the best ways to warm up is with this Japanese noodle dish served piping hot and loaded with your choice of toppings.

Price: The Miso ramen is highly recommended, or customize your order for no more than A$10.

Hamburger 2.85

Vancouver has one of Canada’s biggest food truck scenes, but as many locals know, simply because it comes from a truck does not mean it comes cheap—but that is where Hamburger 2.85 comes in. Named after the price of its staple offering, the delicious teriyaki-sauced patties, crispy lettuce, thick tomato slices and toasted buns are most definitely worth more than the price suggests.

Price: Order a side of fries, and your meal will still not cost over A$5.

La Taqueria Pinche Taco Shop

La Taqueria Pinche Taco Shop is considered an authentic Mexican eatery located in downtown Vancouver. Order four soft tacos from a menu of meat, fish and vegetarian varieties, and you will be full and extremely satisfied in no time. Considering their tacos are made from traditional recipes with local, organic and sustainable products, the budget-friendly cost is unexpected and hard to come by.

Price: Enjoy a Mexican meal all for under A$10 at this taco shop.

Fritz European Fry House

Fritz European Fry House is a quick-serving fry shop specializing in poutine and hot dogs. Poutine is a traditional Canadian dish made of French fries, gravy and cheese curds. At Fritz’s, all of their fries are hand cut and freshly prepared using Canadian grown potatoes. Their local ingredients and low prices are not the only things Fritz is well-known for. This local favourite is open until 4 am on the weekends, so visitors can munch on late night snacks on a budget.

Price: Get your true taste of Canada with authentic poutine for only A$12.


This Chinatown joint specializes in Currywursts—hearty gourmet sausages slathered in thick curry sauce and served on a crispy bed of fries. Often thought of as a food truck with a permanent home, this is one of the city’s best budget-friendly hangouts. This German-inspired eatery serves up wine and beer and is open seven days a week, until midnight on Friday and Saturday, and is even available for brunch on the weekends.

Price: No matter when you venture to Bestie, your meal will not cost you more than A$9.

Nelson Seagull

This café is a hotspot for locals to sit down, lounge awhile and enjoy their coffees and home-made treats. Start the day with poached eggs on house-baked toast and you will soon return for a typical ploughman’s lunch which comes with a hefty variety of chutneys, cheeses, crackers and vegetables. Sitting at the counter is a sure way to fit in with locals, or drop by for Nelson Seagull’s weekly evening yoga classes—just A$25 gets you an organic dinner after your downward dog.

Price: Order any meal of this menu and this eatery will never run you over A$11.

Save on Meats

Save on Meats is located in a former old-school butcher shop. The Downtown Eastside diner is a great place to slide into a booth for some of their all-day breakfasts or choose from the menu of comfort food favourites like chicken pot pie or mac and cheese. Definitely, do not leave this eatery without a giant cookie for the road. Save on Meats is not only budget friendly, but also community friendly. This restaurant sells food tokens you can hand out to the poor that can be redeemed for a meal at Save on Meats rather than giving out spare change.

Price: Whether you choose a hearty breakfast or satisfying comfort food, their menu items do not cost over A$14.

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Image courtesy of Flickr user Geoff Peters; cropped from original.