Are you a hungry human in Ottawa and appreciate great food at a low price (AKA cheap eats)? If the answer is yes, keep reading this post as we will be making your life so much better. In fact, your life may never be the same once you’ve discovered the wonders in this list. If the answer is no, you clearly aren’t human so that’s a bummer. In this post you’ll find the ultimate list to Ottawa’s best cheap eats food scene!
10. Poutine at Smoke’s Poutine
Canada’s national dish (not really but basically), this place truly makes us proud. A great poutine needs three basic component: great fries, great gravy and St. Albert’s cheese curds (no you can’t just sprinkle regular old mozzarella on top – it’s not the same). Smoke’s takes this to a whole new level and has a HUGE selection of ‘gourmet’ poutines. They have everything from perogy flavour to steak fajita.
Tip: Smoke’s is especially good after a night of hitting up the bars in the Byward Market. Beware – it gets quite busy between 1-2 AM!
9. Shawarma at 3 Brothers
They will make your breath smell like garlic for days. You will be burping garlic for days. But it WILL be worth it. There’s nothing quite like biting into a freshly wrapped chicken shawarma dripping with garlic sauce with a side of garlic potatoes (see why you’ll have stinky breath now?). Again, this is a great meal after going out with friends. Shawarma joints can be found all over the city, but this one, in our opinion, serves the best.
8. Anything on the Menu at El Furniture Warehouse
EVERYTHING on their menu is $5 – say whhhaaaa? You can choose anything from a healthy quinoa salad to a juicy burger (which is to die for by the way). If you’re looking for a place with a great vibe (think hip hop) that makes you feel like the coolest person in the city just for knowing about this place, awesome music (again, hip hop – nough said) and delish food, then this is the place to be. As a plus, they also have a large selection of cocktails and they turn into a pretty lively place after 10PM.
7. Chicken Tikka Wraps at Shafali’s
Om nom nom nom! Though this place is a small little joint in the main market building in the Byward Market, it has some of the best Indian food we’ve ever had. This place also supposedly has one of Ottawa’s top lunches: Chicken Tikka Wraps. These delicious wraps are sure to give your taste buds an awakening. Basically for only $9 you’ll get a freshly made wrap made of tandoori chicken, spicy mayo, crunchy lettuce and naan bread. YES PLEASE!
6. Seafood Anything at Ad Mare Foodtruck
They have salmon burgers. They have fish tacos. They have amazing homemade chips. They change their menu basically everyday. They have great prices. They are a foodtruck. I mean come on. Do we really need to keep convincing you to go there? Just go there. But make sure to get there early since the crowd of public servants surrounding this truck when the weather gets nice is relentless.
5. Pay-What-You-Eat Vegetarian Buffet at The Green Door
If you’re feelin’ vegetarian food (or are an actual vegetarian), then this is the place for you! This place is the cafeteria you wish you had in high school. Essentially you pick up your plate, go through the buffet of amazing and healthy foods and pay at the cash once you are satisfied with what’s on your plate. The cashier will weigh your plate and you pay for the weight of the food you’ve chosen. Our personal favourites are the avocado salad, the green bean salad and the potato kale.
Tip: If you’re trying to keep the price down, avoid getting really heavy foods like the veggie lasagna and stick to salads!
4. Ribs/Barbecue at Smoque Shack
Located on the edge of the Byward Market, this little place has some of the best ribs and BBQ in Ottawa! All prices are quite reasonable, ranging from $5 to $16 per plate depending on what you get. Our favourite is a spread of 1/2 rack baby back ribs ($12), 1/2 pound of pulled pork ($12), a small side of sweet potato fries ($5) and a small side of mac n’ cheese ($5). All of these could be a meal within themselves so it’s up to you to decide how much food you can chow down that day. We usually have enough left over for another meal with this order. For our vegetarian friends, fear not: they do have vegetarian options, from really tasty salads to veggie sausages.
Tip: Pints are only $5 if you come on a Monday!
3. Sandwiches at La Bottega
DIY sandwiches with the freshest ingredients make for the most delicious in the city! Come up to the counter located at the very back of the store (near the cheese/deli) where you can customize your sandwich to your taste buds’ delight. They have a large selection of breads, cheeses, meats and toppings to choose from, all for under $6. Word to the wise: come before/after the lunch crowd during weekdays, especially during the summer months as the line can get really long – but it’s worth it! Our favourite combo is the baguette with Italian ham, mayo, lettuce and tomato, but you can get much more adventurous than that if you’d like. They also have a large selection of drinks nearby and some tasty treats for dessert. Once you’ve gotten your sandwich and paid at the front cash you can wander the lovely streets of the Byward Market for an empty bench to munch on your sandwich. Our favourite spot is the nearby Major’s Hill Park – it has plenty of benches and some killer views!
2. Tacos at Corazon de Maiz
These are probably the most authentic tacos we’ve had in the city. This is definitely the best place to get tacos, where you can select anything between pork, beef, chicken or veggies as your base. Best of all? They have a sweet decor and latin music playing in the background. If you like Mexican food of any sort then this is the place for you. We love getting 3 tacos – chicken, pork and beef (for only $10.50!) to get a little taste of everything.
Tip: Though the tacos come with guacamole, be sure to taste their complimentary salsa! However, make sure to read the spiciness level cause dat shit is haawwwwttttt!
1. Pho at Pho Truc Lien
We may be a little biased here since we have been coming to this place for years (the owner may or may not recognize us when we walk in), it is hands down the best place to get Vietnamese food that we have ever tried. Our favourite thing on the menu is the All-Day Lunch Special (L3 – yep, know the code by heart). For about $15 you’ll get: a bowl of wonton soup, a plate of vermicelli/rice with chicken and a salad, and two spring rolls. Now that’s good value! They also have other great dishes such as Pho (obvi), pad thai, make your own wraps (super messy but so good) and vermicelli bowls. Oh and did we mention they have the best hoisin sauce in the WORLD?! Yea, you’re welcome for telling you about this place 😉
Do you have food envy yet? 😉
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