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Cheap Calgary Restaurants: Top 10 Must-Try Cheap Eats

February 11, 2019

Expenses can add up quickly for students and young working professionals. For this reason, the funds we put toward entertainment costs like movies, bar nights and eating out is often the first line item in our budgets to get slashed. But this doesn’t mean you should cut all social ties and hide at home until you’re more established. As much as possible, it’s important to find time throughout each week to unwind and reward yourself for your hard work.

For this reason, we put together a list of the 10 best cheap, local restaurants for Calgarians on a budget so you can enjoy a meal with friends without feeling guilty about blowing the bank.

Best Affordable Places to Eat in Calgary

  • Veg-In YYC

     (215 6th Ave Southeast): This cool centrally-located gem serves up vegetarian dishes with an East-Indian influence and provides inexpensive, healthy, and tasty alternatives to classic greasy-spoon eats. Try one of their made-from-scratch veggie burgers like the Manhattan — which features a hand-made patty with beets and vegan cheese made from cashews. If burgers aren’t your thing, there are a number of classic Indian lunch specials like samosas and various curries. Instagram: @veginyyc

  • Pete’s Drive In

    (219 16th Ave Northeast) We deserve a treat sometimes and Pete’s is that greasy reward you’ve been craving all week. A single burger at Pete’s will set you back a mere $4.50 so there’s not a lot to lose, especially considering all their patties are never frozen and made from 100% grade ‘A’ beef. Pete’s features the perfect affordable menu items to correspond with a night in with friends watching a Flame’s game. Twitter: @petersdrivein

  • Pizzeria Gaga

    (1236 12th Ave Southwest) Everyone needs a favourite pizza joint and after trying Pizzeria Gaga this nice, authentic Italian restaurant is sure to make it to the top of your list of the best cheap eats in Calgary. Its affordable prices don’t hurt either. Pizzeria Gaga is a family-run restaurant that serves thin-crust pizza with traditional Italian ingredients like imported olives, prosciutto, and figs. So whether you’re a traditionalist who enjoys a plain cheese pizza, or you’re prepared to try something new with Italian sausage and basil, you’re sure to find some nice cheap eats to suit your post-exam cravings at Pizzeria Gaga. Instagram: @gagapizzeria

  • Higher Ground Cafe

    (1126 Kensington Road + 2502 Capitol Hill Crescent Northwest):  If you’re looking to study and grab a cheap bite to eat at the same time, the Higher Ground Cafe is the spot for you. Their inexpensive menu features all-day breakfast deals and classic cafe favourites like quinoa salad and chicken sandwiches. They even have a ‘fresh and warm’ section on their menu where you can pick from comfort food options like mac and cheese and homemade quiche. Also, you can feel good about your coffee purchases from the Higher Ground Cafe as all of their beans are 100% organic and fair trade. Instagram: @highergroundcafe

  • OEB Breakfast Company

    (3 Calgary locations) The saying goes that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and the chefs at OEB Breakfast Company make that an easy philosophy to buy into. Before your Saturday study sesh begins, grab a group of friends and visit this cozy little cheap Calgary brunch spot that features Instagram-worth aesthetic and innovative menu items like French toast trifle or lobster scrambled eggs. The best part of OEB? There is an entire section of the menu devoted to breakfast poutine. Enough said. Instagram: @oeb_breakfast

  • Eats of Asia

    (1235 26 Avenue Southeast): Eats of Asia is one of Calgary’s best cheap Asian food spots and features inexpensive menu items from a ranges of asian nations. The menu changes daily so there are always new items to try but you can expect to choose from a number of rice bowls, raeman dishes and curries that are all prepared in-house. Instagram: @eatsofasia

  • Waffles and Chix

    (1235 26 Avenue Southeast): In need of some cheap comfort food after an exam or a long week of studying? Waffles and Chix is the spot to go for your comfort-food fix. Their affordable menu features a small selection of waffle creations to suit any cravings. If the standard southern-fried chicken, belgian waffles, and maple syrup isn’t your thing, this cheap Calgary restaurant also servers sweet options like banana, nutella waffles or savoury offerings like cheezy waffle sandwiches. Twitter: @wafflesandchix

  • Butcher and the Baker

    (181- 6 Avenue Southwest): This affordable downtown Calgary sandwich shop offers a variety of tasty soup, sandwiches, and salads made with locally sourced ingredients and homemade condiments. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan there’s lots on the menu like their grilled yam and avocado sandwich. For meetlovers, Butcher and Bakers serves up favourites like meatball subs and bbq pulled chicken sandwiches on housemade bread. For busy Calgarians looking to eat on the fly, the restaurant is set up for guests to take their meals to go. There’s really nothing about Butcher and Baker that isn’t tasty, cheap and convenient! Instagram: @butcherbakeryyc

  • Blackfoot Truckstop Diner

    (1840 9th Avenue Southeast): Our list of the best cheap food in Calgary wouldn’t be complete without one more greasy spoon favourite. Blackfoot Truckstop Diner has everything a diner should: bacon, eggs, pancakes, and of course all the sandwiches options you’d expect like toasted BLTs and grilled and ham and cheese. They’re also open 24 hours a day which is a great option if you’re pulling an all-nighter and need to grab some tasty fuel. Instagram: @blackfootdiner

  • Thi Thi Vietnamese Submarine

    (209 1st Street):  This affordable little family-owned restaurant in downtown Calgary serves the tastiest Vietnamese subs in the prairies. If you’ve never had a vietnamese sub, they’re nothing like their North American counterparts and instead, feature a variety of fancy meat choices from salty beef to peppered chicken and are topped with vegetables like carrots, onions, and green peppers sauted in Asian spices. Once you try a Vietnamese sub from Thi Thi, you’re unlikely to stop in to a Subway ever again.

 

It’s important that we factor in time for ourselves even when school feels overwhelming, and our wallets are as thin as ever, and now you have a list of ten affordable Calgary restaurants to try or rediscover next time you need to unwind after a long week of school but don’t want to break the entertainment budget. Enjoy!

 

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