There is no way around it: Toronto has made you poor. Between the high-priced rent, stylish threads and keeping up with your party lifestyle, your credit cards are maxed out. Your paycheck disappears faster than you have time to even think about how you could spend it and you don't have the money to treat yourself to fancy lunches every day of the week.
Basically, you are broke AF. And sometimes you have to pinch a few pennies and save a few dimes in order to get by living in Toronto. One way to save a couple bucks is by hitting up some of these spots for some cheap eats. Trust us, you will not have to sacrifice quality for price when it comes to the food at these places. Here are 14 places in Toronto where you can get a meal for $5 or less if you are broke AF.
1. Patties Express // 4 Elm St
When you don't want to spend a lot of money on food, just stop by Patties Express. You can get two patties and a pop for just $4.39. The spicy chicken and coco bread are must haves and are sure to satisfy your cravings - and your wallet.
2. Food & Liquor // 1610 Queen St W
Do you like happy hour, but does your wallet feel differently? At Food & Liquor, their happy hour will get you a lot of good, cheap eats. They offer five food items and five different beers for $5 each, between 5 and 7 p.m. on weekdays. This is the place to go after work when you are on a budget.
3. Square Boy // 875 Danforth Ave
Square Boy is a must have when in the Danforth area, don't take my word for it - talk to the regulars there. With burgers starting at $3 and assorted hot sandwiches starting at $4, Square Boy has something for everyone's taste buds and budget. There is a reason why this spot is still open after all these years.
4. Banh Mi Boys // 392 Queen St W
Everyone likes Banh Mi Boys and they are lying if they say they don't. Unofficially dubbed the Subway of Vietnam, the banh mi is seriously delicious at this place. Plus, they serve awesome bao, like the pork belly bao (which is only $3.49). Topped with pickled daikon and spicy sauce, this is some serious eats for the price.
5. The Dime // 538 Queen St W
Like its counterparts, El Furniture and Queen Street Warehouse, this spot boasts decent sized meals all at $4.95. Although the drinks are priced normally, this is probably one of the cheapest bars for food in Toronto - and that is how we like it. This premium dive is the spot for good, cheap eats when you are on a budget.
6. Frankie's Diner // 994 Queen St W
This cute old-fashioned diner is the perfect spot to start your day. Frankie's Diner has a great breakfast menu and some would even go as far as to say “the world’s best burgers.” With quality ingredients and some delicious stuff for $5 or less, there is something for everyone at Frankie's.
7. Rose City Kitchen // 406 Queen St W
Rose City Kitchen has some of the most delicious Mediterranean sandwiches around. Although it is temporary closed, this hot spot will reopen in the New Year. Their halloumi cheese sandwich is a must try - choose from a variety of toppings including the Moroccan (harissa dressing, cous cous, shredded lettuce, red onion, apricots, almond, chick peas) or the Egyptian (eggplant, red onions, chickpeas, dates, cabbage, lemon juice, olive oil), all for only $5.
8. Mean Bao // 167 Bathurst St
Mean Bao is a personal favourite of mine and with their whole menu being under $5, it will become a favourite of yours in no time. Everyone in the area raves about the dumplings and steamed buns. Next time you are in the mood for Vietnamese, stop by Mean Bao.
9. 416 Snack Bar // 181 Bathurst St
Okay, so yes their menu is not necessarily meal worthy; their portions are on the smaller side only because they are meant to be shared. But order one for yourself, and it is sure to satisfy your hunger. Everything on this menu, from the $5 Korean fried chicken to the $5 miso kale salad, is super delicious.
10. Rasta Pasta // 61 Kensington Ave
If you love Jamaican food and saving money, this is the place to go. This Kensington Market gem takes delicious to a new level. Try their $5 lunch special, jerk chicken with rice and veggies (pictured above), the next time you are in the area, broke and hungry.
11. Jumbo Empanadas // 245 Augusta Ave
This tasty Chilean eatery offers meat and vegetable empanadas, yummy corn pies and cute sidewalk seating. The food may seem simple, but it is delicious. The empanadas start at $4.50 and the portion size is worth every cent. $5 will fill you up here.
12. South Indian Dosa Mahal // 1262 Bloor St W
The samosas at this spot will actually change your life. South Indian Dosa Mahal boasts the cheapest Indian food in the city, but not to worry, the quality is definitely not sacrificed. Plus, portions are great for the price. Vegetable roti starts at $2.50 and two pakoras and one samosa costs just $1... $5 will go a long way here.
13. Gale's Snack Bar // 539 Eastern Ave
This tiny diner may be small, but its food, both taste and size, is big. Gale's Snack Bar serves stellar sandwiches in a chill, throwback atmosphere for only a couple bucks. This no-frills diner is the place to go to when you are looking to save.
14. The Stone Pizza // 281 Scarborough Rd
This pizza join is a must for pizza lovers (aka everyone). Located a little ways out in the Upper Beaches, this pizza joint is worth the trip. Hand-crafted, personal-sized pies here will only cost you $3.50, even if they are topped with premium ingredients.