According to The Economist rankings from February 2013, Vancouver is the most expensive city in North America to live in. Though foodies consistently rave about the diversity, accessibility, and quality of Vancouver’s culinary scene, the price to experience it is often overlooked. As a traveller and food lover, this fact can be a little disheartening. After booking flights and arranging accommodations, confinement to a diet of Kraft Dinner to keep within your budget would just be a shame! But Vancouver is a charming place; there are secrets and specials for those who seek. And I’ve seeked. I’m convinced that you don’t have to break the bank to enjoy the spoils of the city and I’ve put together this 7-day frugal foodie guide to prove it. Enjoy!
$7.50 Appetizer Sampler for 2 (it’s usually $15)
Kaya Malay Bistro (W Broadway between Oak and Spruce)
It’s what’s they call a “Facebook special,” so all you have to do is mention the $7.50 Appetizer Sampler Facebook post to get the special 50% off price. As you can see, it’s major bang for your buck and you get to try the best of their appetizer items! The roti is my favourite in the Vancouver – perfectly crispy, just a bit chewy, and super delicious with the curry dipping sauce.
Trattoria (W 4th Avenue)
From Truffled Spaghetti & Signature Meatballs to Gnocchi with pesto cream, this $11 special is a savvy way to eat some classy pasta. Trattoria is the sister restaurant to Italian Kitchen on Alberni Street and they share a very similar menu. For pasta details and more menu recommendations, check out last week’s blog post on Italian Kitchen here.
6 Tacos for $9.50 (you normally get 4)
La Taqueria (2 locations: S Cambie, W Hastings)
Hello tacos! If you haven’t yet tried La Taqueria’s soft shelled tacos, you might as well stop by on a Wednesday because you’ll want the two bonus tacos! Jam-packed with flavour, these double-wrapped gems are guaranteed to hit the spot. My favourites include: De Chachete (braised beef cheeks) and the Al Pastor (pork marinated in chilli and pineapple). If you’re like me and love a spicy kick in your meal, go nuts at the self-serve station. There’s a range of salsas, pickled veggies, and jalapenos that will have you panting for more!
$2.25 Bowen Draft
Backstage Lounge (at Granville Island)
I will admit, it’s a petite beer (picture plastic cups at the cafeteria), but hey, the price is unheard of in Vancouver so it’s still a great deal. Start the evening with a burger and beer and hang out ‘til they clear the tables…they’ll have a band or dj and you can boogie the night away!
$19.73 The Mother of all Appy Platters
The King’s Head (by Kits Beach)
Okay so this monster of a platter is an everyday thing on the menu, but what better day than Friday to pig out with your pals? The platter has: chicken wings, deep fried pickles, beef sliders, poutine, nestled in a bed of nachos…and it’s only $19.73! Everyone is winning with this one.
35 cent wings and $5.25 pints
The Eatery (W Broadway)
Order ‘em by the dozen, these crispy, well-seasoned wings will have your tastebuds cheering. When it comes to chicken wings at The Eatery, it’s all about the Salt & Pepper, but I’m a fan of the honey garlic as well. If you’re visiting this eclectic landmark in Kitsilano, I encourage you try one of their many sushi “creations” like the Captain Crunch ($5.95). It’s a unagi-mayo california roll with a quirk: the whole thing is deep-fried, tempura style!
Boozey Brunch – the last Sunday of every month (make a reservation!)
Fable (W 4th Avenue)
Started by previous Top Chef Canada competitor, Trevor Bird, Fable isn’t usually a spot I’d recommend for frugal foodies. But every now and then, a foodie’s got to splurge…and I think Fable is a worthy place to do so. On Sunday, you’ve saved so much from deal-finding during the week, it’s time to kick back and live a little! The draw at Fable on the last Sunday of the month is their “Boozey Brunch,” where they feature their premium bevies (mimosas, caesars, etc) at cost price. Deal! Pair this with Pulled Pork Johnny Cakes ($12), a Halibut Benedict ($14), or the best French Toast ($12) of your life (I swear!!) and you’ll be dancing for the rest of the day.
So there you have it: 7 days of Vancouver eats that will keep your pockets (and belly) full! If you’ve got a frugal foodie find of your own, let us know! We’ll be back soon with more frugal foodie tips!