Cheap Eats for the Starving Artist in Toronto

Where to grab grub for $5 and change

Like any self-respecting artist or young professional, chances are you’ve checked under the couch cushions for change more times than you’d like to admit. But hey that’s okay, we’ve all been there (or live there); that’s life living in a city with an outrageous housing market.

For those of you who want to treat yourself but only have $5 to your name, we’ve found some of Toronto’s cheapest eats.

Note: prices are subject to change, as well do not include tax or tip. Please tip your server.

Mean Bao

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Mean Bao has become synonymous with Toronto cheap food. With three locations now, Mean Bao offers a choice selection of the Chinese delicacies for under $5.

Jumbo Empanadas

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Try an authentic taste of Chilean food at this Kensington establishment. You’ll even get change back with a $5 bill, for any of Jumbo Empanadas’ chicken, beef and veggie Empanadas.

Rose’s Vietnamese Sandwiches

The sandwiches at Roses Vietnamese Sandwiches are so under priced it’s criminal. Grab a Bao sandwich for a buck 75, or if you’re feel especially hungry, skip out on Subway and grab a couple of deli sandwiches at $2.50 a piece.

Rasta Pasta

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In Kensington, treat your mouth to a fusion of Jamaican and Italian at the cleverly named Rasta Pasta. Fill your belly (and I mean, really fill) with their signature “Jamaican Mi crazy Chicken” that comes with jerk chicken, rice and coleslaw / veggies at an unreasonably reasonable priced $6.

Square Boy

When you’re talking about best bang for your buck, head to Square Boy on the Danforth. Where else in Toronto can you nab a foot long souvlaki sub for under $8?

El Furniture Warehouse

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El Furniture Warehouse is Toronto staple for starving artists by now and for good reason. Nothing on the menu of this chain dive bar is more than $5. We’re not talking sliders or apps — we’re talking full on meals.


Whenever I plan on hitting up Sneaky Dee’s for a show, I make sure to always hit up Nirvana across the street for dinner. Choose from their sizable menu of classic pub grub from burgers to pad thai under $8.

Java House

All day breakfast, cheap sandwiches, salads and soups are the name of the game at this Kensington Market institution. Not many places in Toronto can you walk in with a fiver, sit down, eat food and not have to ask your buddy for change.



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Right across the street from the Scotiabank theatre lives MELT, the sandwich shop with a bright orange sign. In case you couldn’t put two and two together, MELT is pressing the grill on cheese bread and butter and churning out the ultimate comfort food: grilled cheese. $5 even gets you a healthy serving of the classic American grilled cheese, or add a couple bucks on for something a bit fancier like the ‘Guac and roll’ with avacado, jack cheese adn diced tomatoes.

Image courtesy brndnllee via Instagram>