Something about eating food that didn't cost you half of your savings account really just makes your heart warm doesn't it? A lot of the time, there's a stereotype that the cheaper the food, the worse it is. Well, think again my friends. Kingston actually happens to have one of the highest restaurants per capita in the city, translation? We got options when it comes to where to go to get our grub.
Kingston is a student hub, from Queen's to SLC and RMC in between, the 613 knows that cheap eats means more customers because honestly? Students are cheap AF (for good reason, I just dropped $400 on textbooks I'm not paying $12 for a salad). And even if you're not a student, I'm guessing (unless you're a distant relative of the Kardashian clan) you're down to save a couple bucks on food. So get out and get your grub on because these eats are NOT to be missed!
1. Sima Sushi // 66 Princess St.
Kingston has a lot of options when it comes to getting your sushi fix, so where to go? Sima Sushi always stands out in the crowd for their creative rolls (try the Pink Flower or deep fried K-Rock) and unparalleled quality.
What to get: Their lunch special Maki A or Sushi A is only $7.95 and comes with 4 pieces of sushi and 6 rolls.
2. Southpaw Cat Cafe // 749 Bayridge Dr.
This is really the definition of a win-win situation, food and cats. This Kingston cat cafe in the West End not only wants to find every cat in the cafe a loving home through the Kingston Animal Rescue (that's right, they are all up for adoption), but they have an amazing menu of sandwiches and snacks all for $7 or less! Bonus, they are celebrating St. Patrick's day with
Bonus, they are celebrating St. Patrick's day with happy hour for the entire month of March. Monday to Friday between 8:30-11am and 4:30-5:30pm buy any $3 dessert and get a free medium coffee or tea for free.
What to get: try the grilled cheese with poached pear, brie and caramelised onions ($7), or the Jalapeno & Blueberry bourbon slow roasted pork wrap with rice pilaf ($7). Or you can try them all out, realistically that's what we're thinking.
3. Parfait // 268 Princess St.
The gourmet yogurt bar that has been taking Kingston by storm is ready to take on your taste buds. They make their fro-yo in-house daily and the self-serve style means you can really go wild with the toppings and treat yo'self. They also have a full coffee menu that serves up hot drinks, as well, you can make your parfait into a smoothie to switch it up. Free wifi and vegan options are offered as well!
What to get: yogurt, duh, build your own using rotating flavours like tart greek yogurt, chocolate hazelnut (and MANY more) then top it with things like peanut butter chocolate chips, fresh fruit, reeses pieces, granola, and other delicious goods. And if you're there on Wednesdays? $5 Belgian waffles all day long.
4. Sally's Roti Shop // 203 Wellington St.
With owner's coming from Trinidad, delicious homemade Caribbean food coming in huge portions, and a price that doesn't break the bank? It's not a surprise that this shop is a hidden gem that is known for making you feel like you're eating food straight from the island. Bonus, all meats are Halal.
What to get: Curry Chicken ($7.50), comes with a choice of curry potatoes, and rice and peas. For the roti, it's safe to say you'd enjoy any one (all except the lamb are under $8) but some highlights include the Curry Shrimp ($8), Chickpea Roti with potato ($5) or Curry Goat ($8). You can also get some Phulorie (crispy seasoned dough balls) for only $2.
5. The Small Batch Cafe // 282 Princess St.
If you're looking for a filling meal that feels home cooked (without you having to do any of the work of course), head here. They make every single thing they sell in their shop fresh daily in the kitchen (right down to the mayo they put on sandwiches), and the intimate, cosy cafe vibe will make you feel like a VIP without the price tag. Selection varies because of what produce is available locally, so make sure to snag one of their creative desserts while you're there because they change daily!
What to get: Try the Breakfast Sandwich with bacon, Havarti, herbe de Provence infused aioli, tomato, lettuce, served on a focaccia baguette ($5), or the Croque Monsieur on sourdough ($6). Finish off with a decadent dessert (s'mores brownies? homemade skor bar perhaps?) And if you're still hungry? Grab a delicious pesto pasta salad ($5.50)
6. Peter's Place Restaurant // 34 Princess St.
Home-made desserts, classic diner food, and a refreshingly simple atmosphere in our crazy world made this place a local favourite easily. A lot of the time with cheap food, basic means boring, but they've found a way to make simple dishes like hash browns taste like gourmet dishes without the nonsense.
What to get: $4.95 will get you a no-nonsense meal of two eggs, served with toast and their legendary homefries, and you can get three pancakes with bacon, ham or sausage for only $7.95. They also have lunch and dinner options, aka, make sure you come back for the pork souvlaki in a pita ($5.95) or the baklava ($3.95).
7. MLTDWN // 292 Princess St.
Cheap, carb loaded, cheesy and oh so satisfying; no wonder this is a favourite in the hub for students and hungry locals alike. Whether it's a pre or post night out, or just another weekday, with the creds of it being featured on, "You Gotta Eat Here", you seriously need to try one of their mouth-watering grilled cheeses!
What to get: Besides the insane features like Lasagna grilled cheese (on the pricier side), it's all about the customization if you're looking to get the best bang for your buck. The base rate is $4 and your price goes up as you add more toppings! (Beef brisket, KD, House BBQ sauce are just some of the options.
8. Bread and Butter Bakery // 1530 Bath Rd.
Is it a bakery or a dream come true? You can go into this family run operation and taste for yourself! Obviously, anything that tastes this good has to be made fresh daily. They even go beyond your typical pastry selection and offer savoury dishes like beef pies (a single serving is only $7.95), mac and cheese, chicken pot pies and more.
What to get: you can't go there without trying their cheddar scones ($2.85), no-bake chocolate peanut butter cookies (for the small size you get 6 for $3.95), or their eclairs ($3.95).
9. El Asador // 375 Princess St.
It's the ultimate dive/hole in the wall, but don't let it's run down exterior deter you. The friendly owner is the former Chef at Curry Original, meaning you get some creative Mexican food that's fused with Indian cusisine. (Korma wrap anyone?)Don't let decor steer you away, this small spot is a crowd favourite for good reason.
What to get: if you're craving spice get the Madras wrap ($5.75-$6.50 depending on the meat you get), the chicken burrito is a classic ($4.50) or be adventurous and ask for the midnight special.
10. Pasta Genova // 234 Wellington St.
If you get anything out of this post, take away this tip - get the focaccia here. People from out of town still rave about its taste, and the rest of the menu lives up to it too. They sell high quality ready to go Italian products and some of the freshest pasta you may ever taste. Cash only!
What to get: this may go without saying but get the cheese sticks (made only on Fridays) or focaccia (0.75$), freshly made pasta servings ($3-4), and huge sandwiches (served on focaccia for $6).
11. Wolfe Island Bakery // Various Locations
Unlike shoulder pads, Wolfe Island Bakery is something from the 80's that we're happy to see back again and again. They have a seasonal store on Wolfe Island but also offer their fresh baked goods at their booth in the Kingston Market downtown in Market Square (Tuesday, Thursdays, and weekend 8:00am to 4:00pm) and at the Queen's market (Wednesdays 8:00am to 4:00pm)
What to get: the cookies are the size of your face, so an obvious buy, and their butter tarts and cinnamon buns are unreal.
12. Stone City Ales // 275 Princess St.
This is the local brewery that's been bringing innovative food and, duh, amazing craft brews up to the 613 and beyond. Make sure to head here for cool vibes of a place that makes and sells their beer within a 20m radius of each other, that's top notch quality.
What to get: some of our favourite dishes under $8? The Jamaican Patty, Bao Bun (and for dessert? the PB + J Bao), shaking beef, and pretzels - sorry we need a minute to wipe the drool off.
13. The Original Bubba's Poutine & Pizza // 249 King St. East
We just had to include this Kingston staple. They're known for their poutine, just ask any single person who's ever been for a night out in Kingston and odds are they ended their night at Bubba's. It's got options like pizza, burgers, subs and pitas that'll fill you up and satisfy that grease fix we all need once and a while! f
What to get: their poutine is legendary. Choose from the Greek, Italian, Quebec or onion ring poutine (all under $8 for a large) and soak in the beauty of that gravy.