Dining on a budget — no matter how tiny — doesn’t have to mean dashing through drive-thru. Here, the city’s finest meals for under five bucks.
Bánh Mì Now: Nguyên Hu’ong
The Damage: $2.25
The tiny Chinatown shop serves the city’s best bánh mì — French-style baguettes stuffed with chunks of fried tofu (or pork), thinly sliced daikon, cucumber, carrots and cilantro and mayo. Add a spring roll and soda, and lunch is still under $5. 322 Spadina Ave., 416-599-4625
Feel-Good Falafel: Mystic Muffin
The Damage: $4.20
Elias Makhoul — owner, chatterbox, one-time mayoral candidate — keeps customers coming back with his sincere charm and fresh, carefully prepared falafel sandwiches. First-time customers receive a free slice of the world’s best apple cake. 113 Jarvis St., 416-941-1474
The Deep Pocket: Jumbo Empanada
The Damage: $3.99
This Kensington market beef empanada — dough, packed with ground beef, chopped hard-boiled eggs, raisins and olives — is a piece of Latin heaven in your hand. 245 Augusta Ave., 416-977-0056
Vegan Co-eds: Hot Yam!
The Damage: $4.00
Every Thursday, this student collective serves a local, organic, vegan — and surprisingly delicious — lunch at U of T’s Cumberland House. Best of all, it’s open to non-students. 33 St. George St.
One-Buck Breakfast: Ikea
The Damage: $1
To compensate for the fact that you always spend hundreds of dollars more than you intend here, the Swedish bargain king rules breakfast, with scrambled eggs, sausages and home fries. 1475 The Queensway, 1-866-416-4532
Budget Buffet: Chinatown Centre Food Court
The Damage: $4
Adventurous diners should make a beeline to this oft-overlooked food court, overflowing with noodles, dumplings and more. 222 Spadina Ave., 416-599-8877
Did we forget any cheap and delicious eats? Let us know by commenting on this story!
Image courtesy of Jslander.