Vancouverites typically aren’t big buddies with fine dining. We can do it no problem, but on the whole we like things cheap, cheerful and delicious with little fuss and absolutely no pretension. Here are ten of our favourite cheap eats for your ranking consideration (psst…if it’s noodles you’re after, we’ve got you covered here).
MEAT & BREAD | 370 Cambie St. | GASTOWN | 604- 566-9003 | www.meatandbread.ca | There are few edibles more comforting than a big, fat sandwich on a grey Vancouver day. When the clouds draw near, slip in for one of their famous Porchetta or Meatball sandwiches. ($9)
FIVE ELEMENTS | 1046 Commercial Dr. | THE DRIVE | 604-559-5938 | www.fiveelementscafe.com | No frills spot successfully fiddles with flavours from across Southeast Asia with prices that are hard to fathom. Hot soups are just $4 each. Think electric Tom Yum with tofu, aromatic Tom Kha Gai with chicken, and gut-sticking wonton!
DUFFINS | 1391 E 41st Ave. | EAST VAN | 604-325-5544 | www.facebook.com/Duffins-Donuts | What do you do when you want papusas and a Boston cream doughnut at 4am but your friend wants greasy chow mien and a bacon cheeseburger? You go to Duffins. Legendary for its seemingly endless menu and dirt cheap prices.
DOCK LUNCH | 152 E 11th Ave. | MAIN STREET | 604-879-3625 | wwww.facebook.com/DockLunch | This charming, day-time only joint conjures up beautiful and totally random home-cooked meals every day. It could be Bahn Mi and key lime pie one day and shrimp gumbo with peach cobbler the next. Open for dinner on Friday nights.
DINESTY | 1719 Robson St. | DOWNTOWN | 604-669-7769 | www.dinesty.ca | Though the menu is deep and exploration is encouraged, this place is all about the xiao long bao, or steamed pork soup dumpling. Hot and juicy, they are the stuff of flavour legend. One bite and they explode across the palate. $5.95
BUDGIES | 44 Kingsway | MAIN STREET | 604-874-5408 | www.budgiesburritos.com | You’ll never miss the meat in this excellent vegetarian joint. Their large burritos can be an all day project for some Try the “Johnny-O” with rice, beans, cheese, chipotle sour cream, guacamole, jalapenos, salsa and lettuce. $7
BAO DOWN | 12 Powell St | GASTOWN | www.baodown.ninja | The wagyu beef sandwiches with pho broth for French dipping are outstanding, but the signature lemongrass fried chicken bao buns are still tops and a crazy bargain at $6 per. They also do a fried chicken sandwich of note. Pounce either way.
CAMP UPSTAIRS | 1020 Main St. | MAIN STREET | 604-484-6018 | www.campagnolorestaurant.ca | This charming speakeasy hidden above Campagnolo is a restaurant industry cantina with counter service cocktails and the best burger in the city. Don’t be fooled by the Dirty Burger’s diminutive size. It’s not kidding around.
BESTIE | 105 E Pender St | CHINATOWN | 604-620-1175 | www.bestie.ca | Beer and sausages are always a solid combo and these good folks have brought a corner of Germany to the center of Chinatown. From fat little currywursts to soft pretzels with “stinky cheese sauce”, you can be sure es schmecht sehr gut.
PAZZO CHOW | 620 Quebec St. | CHINATOWN | 604-563-1700 | www.pazzochow.com | Daytime-only Pazzo Chow is pretty adorable, and it has an Instagram feed to drool over. The abrupt menu consists of thoughtfully paired salads, pastas and surprises. Bonus: spaghetti & meatball dinners on the last Friday night of the month.
Did we miss your favourite cheap eat? Let us know via @scoutmagazine