Five Vancouver Restaurants for a Cheap Meal

burger

Although the winter holidays have come and gone, many of us are still feeling the effects of holiday spending on our wallets. Stricter budgets and careful spending might mean less fun during the first few months of a new year.

While you may not have the cash to go enjoy a fancy meal out, that doesn’t mean you can’t chow down on some cheap—but tasty—grub. Here’s a list of restaurants in Vancouver that offer inexpensive meals that will fill you up.

Hamburger 2.85

This business is technically not a restaurant. In fact, you’ll have to stand outside to eat if you don’t plan on taking your meal to go. Hamburger 2.85 is a food truck parked near the corner of Granville and Pender streets downtown. Unlike many of Vancouver’s other food trucks, however, the food at this one is cheap. These guys do one thing, and one thing only: cheeseburgers (or hamburgers, if you don’t like cheese), and a flavourful teriyaki-glazed patty with the works will set you back a whopping $2.85.

The Warehouse

This cheap and cheerful restaurant chain has a few locations downtown, and they’ve been growing over the past few years thanks to a menu where every item rings in at $4.95. Don’t expect small tapas-style plates here. For less than a fiver, diners are served hefty burgers, beer-battered onion rings, tacos, and more. On Mondays, they even run a bottomless pasta promotion for the same price. The Warehouse tends to turn into a bar with rowdy nightlife after dark, so if you’re looking to have just a cheap meal out, consider going for lunch or an early dinner.

Toshi Sushi

This East Van sushi joint always has a lineup out the door, and for good reason—the fish here is not only delicious, but it’s inexpensive too. Find all the Japanese restaurant classics here, from salmon and California rolls, to gyoza and tempura. While most dishes ring in under $5, Toshi doesn’t skimp on quality. In a city with as many sushi restaurants as there are coffee shops, this one’s a gem.

Bon’s Off Broadway

If you wake up hungover and you’re craving a greasy-spoon meal, get yourself to Bon’s Off Broadway for a breakfast that’s heavy on portions but light on your wallet. In the $2.95 all-day breakfast at Bon’s, diners will be served a plate piled high with two eggs, two pieces of toast, hash browns, and sausage or bacon. Sure, it might not be the most high-quality, organic, free-range, farm-friendly meal you’ve ever eaten, but a greasy spoon is a greasy spoon, and this one does the job.

Gain Wah

This Chinese restaurant in Chinatown has been around for decades, and their prices haven’t really changed over time. If you’re looking for classic Cantonese fare at seriously low prices, this is the place to go. Pork won-tons in a noodle soup or a hefty helping of barbecued pork over rice won’t cost you more than $7 (and you’ll likely have leftovers to take home if you don’t have a huge appetite). Throw in a side-dish, such as Chinese broccoli or spring rolls for an extra $4. People don’t come here for the ambiance—or for the service for that matter—but it’s fast, consistent, and above all, inexpensive.

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Hot-Ticket Stadium Concerts in Vancouver to Start 2015

BCPlace

Sure, it’s cool seeing live-music shows in intimate venues, but there’s something to be said about the collective energy of thousands of people in stadium settings. Here are the hot-ticket concerts taking place at large arenas in Vancouver during the first half of 2015. Some of the shows are already sold-out, but you can look for tickets on Kijiji.ca.

Sam Smith (Rogers Arena on February 4)
The British singer-songwriter is best known for his 2014 breakout hit, “Stay with Me” and now he’s taking his debut album, In the Lonely Hour, on tour. He’ll be playing over 15 stops across North America before he heads back to Europe to perform some more. Expect this to be an emotionally packed show with fans of all ages out to hear Smith’s powerhouse vocals live.

Fleetwood Mac: On with the Show (Rogers Arena on April 4)
Fleetwood Mac, better known as the band everybody can’t get enough of, is embarking on a 36-date North American tour this spring. This is the first tour to feature the full band, including Christine McVie, in more than 15 years. Hear hits from the band’s nearly 50-year career at this show that’s bound to be a good time.

U2 Innocence + Experience Tour (Rogers Arena on May 14 and 15)
Bono, The Edge, and the rest of Dublin-based rock band U2 are heading out on the road again, playing indoor arenas for the first time in a decade. The tour kicks off with two nights in Vancouver before continuing across North America and into Europe the latter half of the year. Of course this tour comes on the heels of the band’s latest album, Songs of Innocence, landing in everyone’s iPods in 2014, thanks to a deal with Apple.

Bette Midler (Rogers Arena on June 2)
The Divine Miss M is turning 70 years old later this year, but that’s not stopping her from heading out on tour for the first time in a decade. Expect theatrics and surprises at this show, as well as good old sing-alongs to popular hits like “Wind beneath My Wings”, “From a Distance”, and “The Rose”. Sure, this tour announcement was a bit out of the blue, but wouldn’t it be neat to get to say, “Remember that time we saw Bette Midler?” years later?

One Direction (BC Place Stadium on July 17)
The hype for this show has been building for what has felt like years. Expect to hear the shrill screams of thousands of tweens and teens when this popular British boyband finally arrives in Vancouver. In less than five years, the quintet has produced four albums of upbeat bubblegum pop mixed with falsetto-laced power ballads. Hear all the hits, including “What Makes You Beautiful” and “Story of my Life”, at this hot-ticket show.

Enjoy Dine Out Vancouver 2015 on a Student Budget

RestaurantPlate

The Dine Out Vancouver Festival is taking place January 16 to February 1, and this 17-day food and beverage festival is actually a great time for students (or people with student budgets) to take advantage of restaurant dining.

Over 275 restaurants across Metro Vancouver participate in Dine Out, offering set-priced menus at $18, $28, and $38. While the latter two categories might be a bit of stretch for most people living on a low budget, restaurants with $18 menus are worth a second glance. At the following restaurants, $18 will get you an appetizer, main course, and dessert. With an alcoholic beverage plus tip, one can enjoy a nice meal out for less than $30.

Here’s what looks good.

Chutney Villa
This East Van restaurant is known for its South Indian cuisine, and its Dine Out menu is good value. To start, diners will be able to choose between three options that include spicy fried cauliflower and steamed ling cod tossed in chillies. For the main course, a vegetarian and non-vegetarian platter is available, each with four different items offered. Enjoy okra curry and homemade lentil dumplings in curry off the vegetarian main dish, and peppery lamb and Tamil Nadu fish curry amongst the meat options. Desserts that include mango ice-cream, sweet gulab jamun, and halva-style cream of wheat help cool the palate.

The Bottleneck
If you’re headed to a live-music show at the Commodore Ballroom one night or planning on partying it up on Granville Street over the weekend, stop by The Bottleneck (tucked under the Commodore) for some sustenance first. For $18, their Dine Out menu includes duck confit croquette or roasted beet salad to start, followed by a hefty bacon-cheddar burger or margarita pizza as main dishes. Just one dessert—a chocolate terrine—will leave you feeling full and satisfied.

The Reef
This Caribbean restaurant has two locations in East Vancouver, both offering a Dine Out menu. Enjoy flavours from the south with jerk balls or plantain chips to start, before digging into the jerk-marinated fried fish, Guyanese garlic pork, or Jamaican-spiced veal as your main course. Three desserts look equally enticing: chocolate cream pie, orange cinnamon crème brulée, and coconut jelly.

Max’s Restaurant
Dine Out is a good chance to try something new, so why not test your tastebuds with cuisine from the Philippines. At Max’s, the Dine Out menu includes classic Filipino dishes such as beef salpicao and inihaw na liempo (grilled pork belly seasoned with a spicy, tangy sauce).

Bella Gelateria
There’s always a lineup outside this Coal Harbour gelato shop. During Dine Out indulge your sweet-tooth with an $18 dessert platter, which includes a black forest gelato cake, tiramisu, as well as a coconut and chocolate gelato cookie.

Street Food City IV
While the majority of events are upwards of $50 a ticket, Street Food City is a celebration of Vancouver “street food” and thus, priced at food-truck prices. You’ll likely only need to shell out $10 to $20 for a hefty portion of snack ranging from grilled cheese, to meat pies, to tacos, and more. Find food trucks congregating on the north side of the Vancouver Art Gallery from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. from January 19 to 23, and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on January 24 to 25.

Gym alternatives to help you get fit in 2015

running shoes

It’s a well-known fact that gym memberships soar in January. Getting fit is one of the most common new year’s resolutions each year. There’s so much more to exercise, however, than hitting the gym, which can be over-crowded for the first few months. Here are some alternatives to gyms for Vancouverites looking to get—and stay—fit in 2015.

Try a spin class

Spin classes are growing in popularity (again), and in the past year, a handful of studios dedicated to the activity have opened in Vancouver. Eastwood Cycle Sanctuary, Ride Cycle Club, and Spin Society all offer indoor cycling classes set to fun soundtracks and dim lighting. This high-intensity workout will improve both your strength and endurance. All studios offer specialty footwear rentals required for the bikes, but you can bring your own cycling shoes with SPD clips too.

Become a dancer

Pick up where you left off as a child. Adult dance classes for all levels are taught across the city. At Harbour Dance Centre downtown, drop-in classes are offered in ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop, and more. Ballroom styles, such as salsa and tango, are also a great way to break a sweat while meeting new people. If you’re convinced you have two left feet and can’t dance, try a Barre Fitness class, which combines basic ballet technique with core exercise.

Join a running club

Rather than make it a goal to “get fit”, why not commit to training for a running race? Whether you’re months away from a 5K, 10K, half-marathon, or full marathon race, there’s a challenging distance that’s right for you. If you’re the type of person who commits more to a workout when meeting up with others, join a neighbourhood running group—the Running Room, Mountain Equipment Co-Op, and Frontrunners all offer them.

Pick up a new sport

We’ve got some of the best ski and snowboard hills here in B.C. and mild weather all year round for activities of all kind. Make 2015 the year you finally purchase a pair of skates and learn how to ice skate, or join an outdoors club for snowshoeing. If you prefer the comfort of being indoors, meet a friend for tennis or squash, or make a commitment to spend more time at the swimming pool.

Fun in the Kitchen at these Cooking Classes for Hobby Chefs

Cooking

With the rise of celebrity chefs and cooking shows on the Food Network, improving one’s skills as a hobby chef is more popular than ever. It’s one thing to dine out at restaurants all of the time and call yourself a “foodie”; it’s another to actually know how to make many of the dishes you are eating.

In Vancouver, a growing number of culinary schools are offering evening and weekend classes for amateurs. Here are some fun classes to try. Even if you don’t become the next Food Network star, you’ll at least host the best dinner parties.

The Dirty Apron

The Dirty Apron Cooking School & Delicatessen is a popular spot for gourmands. Located near Gastown, the school offers a range of classes, whether you’re looking to sharpen your knife skills or plan an unusual date. Their “Mamma Mia” class explores the rustic and rich flavours of Italy, and attendees will learn to prepare a three course meal that includes ravioli, grilled lamb and gnocchi, as well as panacotta for dessert. The “Hawaiian Nights” and “Ocean Potion” seafood class will help those with the basics covered expand their repertoire. If you’re looking to take date-night off the beaten path, why not sign up for a couple’s class, where pairs will cook a romantic dinner together to enjoy afterwards?

Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts

The Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts has a well-earned reputation as a school for culinary and pastry professionals; however, the Granville Island-based school also offers an array of courses geared towards home cooks. Technique classes, which teach all of the basics over the course of eight weeks, are good for building a solid foundation in the kitchen. The school also offers more specific classes, including those for macaron making, Scandinavian cuisine, cooking a Christmas feast, and cake decorating. Of course, these casual classes can also help you decide whether you’re cut out for the professional program and a career in the restaurant industry.

Quince

This Kitsilano cooking school is a café, shop, and commercial kitchen by day. At night and on weekends, hobby chefs are welcomed into Quince’s well-equipped kitchen for classes in various aspects of cooking. A two-hour classic in Classic French Bistro will have you feeling like Julia Child in no time. Learn to make a menu that includes goat cheese soufflé, roast chicken with French green lentils, and a dark chocolate tart. With Spain’s rise as a trendy culinary capital, those interested in Spanish cuisine might want to learn how to throw together a proper paella. Hobby bakers can spend a Saturday perfecting how to make Madeleines paired with lavender lemonade.

The Pastry Training Centre of Vancouver

Learn to bake your own breads and make awe-inspiring cakes at the Pastry Training Centre of Vancouver. The East Van school has classes for bread-baking newbies, where students will learn all of the basics—including whole-wheat bread, baguettes, and rolls—to more advance course, where artisan breads, like rye and focaccia will be taught. If your love of carbohydrates is directed towards sweets, learn to make pies, cheesecakes, cream puffs, tarts, and more in one of the many pastry classes.

Well Seasoned

Well Seasoned is part-gourmet food store, part-cooking school in Langley. It’s a great place for home cooks from across the Lower Mainland to refine their skills in the kitchen. Many of the classes are demo-type classes, where a chef will show and tell how to make a recipe and attendees get to eat all of the goods, while others are more hands-on. Popular classes include learning how to make various ethnic eats, including Indian vegetarian cuisine, hand-rolled sushi, Greek food, and Mexican meals.

Build your dream home kitchen and outfit it with top-of-the-line pieces through Kijiji. Think you’ve got what it takes to work in a professional kitchen? Check out restaurant job postings.

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