cheap lunch toronto

The top $5 lunch in Toronto by university campus

The top $5 lunch by university campuses in Toronto are quick and budget friendly. These meals are definitely not the healthiest type of sustenance for your brain as you struggle through homework and exams, but just a reminder student debt is as real as your hunger pangs. 

Here are my picks for the top $5 lunches in Toronto by campus.  

Ryerson
Pattie’s Express

This tiny Jamaican pastry shop on Elm Street serves beef, chicken and veggie pockets two at time plus a drink for $5. They also have patties stuffed in sweet coco buns for just $3.39. 

Banh Mi Boys

The Vietnamese sandwiches here may be a few cents over budget, but tacos with fillings like kalbi beef and squid are just $4, and tasty steamed baos with popular fillings like the 5 spice pork belly are only $3.75.

Pita Land

Just steps away from Pitman Hall, the food from here is unexpectedly decent and for just $4.99 you can get a falafel wrap that doesn't skimp out on veggies and sauce. 

Ginger

A two second walk from the SLC, this cheap Vietnamese spot offers bahn mis for $3.99 which you can get with chicken, beef, pork, or tofu atop surprisingly soft bread. 

cheap lunch university toronto

Cora Pizza and neighbouring rival Papa Ceo offer U of T students cheap slices. Photo by blogTO. 

U of T (St. George Campus) 
El Furniture Warehouse

Everything on the food menu at this noisy spot is just $5.95, so you don't have to feel like the only broke kid since everyone is paying the same amount as you. Portions aren't huge but aren't itty bitty either; decent options include The Works burger with bacon. 

Tasty’s

Not far from the Field's Institute, this Caribbean spot has small sides of veggie dishes like channa, plantain and pumpkin for $3. Greasy, filling doubles are $2 each, and side orders of rice and and soup run under $4. Couple some of those options together and you have yourself a meal.

Papa Ceo and Cora Pizza

Separated only by a Subway shop, these two pizza rivals have been duelling it out for the U of T student dime for years. Cora runs its slices for $3.99, while at Papa Ceo $4.50 gets you a king slice and a pop for $4.50

River Tai

There's tons of options that cost $5 and under at this family-run Chinese restaurant, but their daily special menu steals the limelight with 10 different meals for just $3.99 each. Portions here don't skimp out: grab a filling fried noodle with beef or curry chicken on rice. 

Innis Cafe

Stay healthy with cheap options from this juice bar. Veggie or lean burgers are just $4.25, and burritos and quesadillas are prepared quickly by friendly staff, costing just $5 and under. 

cheap lunch university toronto

Helena's Magic Kitchen is one of many cheap spots in the Grange food court. Photo by Casey Cunningham. 

OCAD
Karine’s

You can get filling all-day breakfasts here that come with 2 eggs, toast, bacon or sausage, fries, and salad – all for just $5. They've also got veggie wraps, soups, and french toast, all for the same price. 

Manpuku

Nearly the entire menu at this Japanese eatery is under $5. They open at 11:30 a.m. every weekday, so if you have some time to spare, brave a potential line and try their small but tasty dishes of curry udon, soups, and onigiri. 

Tasty Chinese Food

As the name implies, food like noodles and egg foo young are all on the menu here, but a bit higher than your price range, so opt for cheap options from their Canadian menu like burgers and breakfast with coffee for just under $5. 

Souvlaki House

Greek food is almost always filling, but coupled with $5 and less prices are especially satisfying. Nearly everything here costs less than a Sir Wilfred Laurier, including lamb gyros burgers, meat ball subs, and veggie moussakas. 

Helena’s Magic Kitchen

Hearty meals are the staples at this unique Ukranian-meets-Korean food spot, where you can get quiches, stuffed chicken and large salads for just under $5. 

cheap lunch university toronto

Islands' lunch special of a patty and coco bread is affordable for York students. Photo by Islands Caribbean.

York University
The Islands Caribbean Restaurant

The food court in York Lanes is where you'll find a majority of York's cheap eats, and where you'll also find patties for $1.55 each. Islands lunch special is pretty good – a patty and coco bread with a can of pop for just $3.32. 

Falafel Hut Village

The nighttime lineups at this place say it all: cheap. All meat wraps cost just $4.15, with options like chicken shawarma and beef shish kabob in wrapped in pita bread. 

Berries & Blooms

Food here is as fresh as its name sounds. An all day breakfast platter is big and costs $5 for egg, tuna and salmon salad served with your choice of bread or bagels. Sandwiches for $5 come with deli meats, grilled veggies, portobello mushrooms and tomatoes. 

Masala Cafe

Right next to Fountainhead Park, this strip mall South Asian spot isn't great for dining in, but cheap dishes like plain basmati rice for $3.25 and string hoppers for just $3 are worth takeout.You can get a selection of dosa for $4 and under. 

Tin Tin Congee

Just a walk away from the York University Go station, small soups like hot and sour and egg drops are $3.25 and under, plus there are tons of one-sized congee options like lai wan style and pork liver congee for $4.75. 

cheap lunch university toronto

European Delight in St. Lawrence Market has cheap bites like latkes and perogies. Photo by blogTO. 

George Brown (St. James Campus)
 
Patrician Grill

Lots of choices at this classic diner actually run in the double digits, but toasted sandwiches are for the win, with a few options like cheese and tomato and fried egg sammies going for $4.95. 

Nari Sushi

This convenient little counter at King and Sherbourne is one of the most reliable sushi takeout spots in the city. It has a variety of maki for just $4.95, like California rolls and salmon maki which come in six to eight pieces.

Paddington’s Pump

Take advantage of campus' near proximity to the historic St. Lawrence Market and order satisfying sandwiches like their grilled cheese with bacon or ham or a classic hamburger for $4.95. 

European Delight

This lower level Ukranian deli in St. Lawrence market offers homestyle perogies offered by the dozen for $4.25, or massive cabbage rolls stuffed with rice and your choice of meat or veggies for $3.25 a piece.

Yianni’s Kitchen

Greek classics come in all types of sandwiches, with bifteki on pita ($4.25) and roast pork on a bun ($4.99) being all equally cheap and filling options. 

Mystic Muffin

Hearty meals are the specialty at this classic spot on Jarvis. Veggie sandwiches with ingredients like eggplant, lentils and hummus are $5 after tax, as are the meat sandwiches which come with toppings like tuna salad and cheese.  

cheap lunch university toronto

Tatsu's Bread has some healthy meal options by Humber's Lakeshore campus. Photo by Jesse Milns.

Humber (Lakeshore campus)
Snack Shack 

Incredibly affordable and stocked with fun bites, this eatery on Lakeshore West does single patty burgers of half brisket and half chuck for $4. Chicken or steak banh mis come on sesame buns for $4.50 each. 

Tatsu’s Bread

Head to this artisinal bakery for your fix of coffee and cheap sandwiches. Smoked salmon comes on delicious fresh bread for $3.50, and hearty soups like broccoli ($4.25) and tomato ($3.95) will be sure to give you the finals week sustenance you need. 

Ducky’s Roti

If you're stuck studying on a Saturday, this roti house on Lakeshore West has a breakfast option after 9 a.m. for $4.99 that comes with two pieces of sada roti or fried bake with two options of sides like saltfish, smoked herring, eggplant or pumpkin. 

Super Burger

Burgers at this Lakeshore West joint range from $3.89 to $4.49 and hot dogs combos that come with fries and a drink are just $4.78 . Toasted chicken cheese subs are $4.50, and if that's not enough, you can also get a beef gyro for $2.86 and souvlaki subs for $4.05 and less. 

Lead photo by

Jesse Milns at Patties Express


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