12 Local Lunches for $5 or Less – Fill up without turning to fast food
They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch, but $5 will get you a deliciously fresh meal in the rolling hills of Headwaters. And we’re not talking chain or fast food establishments, but rather local and delicious flavours spanning a multitude of countries and taste experiences. So break open the piggy bank and arrive hungry, because that pocket change can elevate your lunch hour into a gourmet outing.
Euphoria is great for the vegan or health-conscious crowds. Salads are $5 and include the bean and quinoa, a veritable flavour explosion, and the soba noodle, which comes with lots of veggies, including shredded carrots and edamame. Cheap and healthy too!
At Soulyve you can get two delicious Trini doubles, which are curried chickpeas in a bara bread bun with tamarind sauce for $3, and the savoury concoction will keep you full until dinnertime. Or try the Power Patty for $4. It’s a Jamaican patty elevated to new heights with the addition of cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and Cajun mayo.
Landman Gardens & Bakery
Pretty much everything at Landman Gardens & Bakery is drool-worthy, but in keeping with the lunch theme (sadly, cinnamon rolls do not qualify) the homemade sausage rolls at $2.25 a pop are a good bet, and made with Landman’s own farm pork. Two of those make for a satisfying and scrumptious lunch.
The Tin Roof Café
Everybody loves the iconic grilled cheese ($4), and this one is done right, oozing with loads of aged cheddar and a satisfyingly crispy exterior. The Tin Roof Café also makes a great yogurt parfait with homemade seasonal fruit compote and the house special granola, complete with chia and local maple syrup. What a fabulous way to eat healthy for only $4.50.
Tintagel’s Tea Room
Call it elevenses, call it lunch – we’ll eat freshly baked scones anytime, especially served with Devonshire cream and homemade preserves for $4.90. Or if biscuits aren’t your favourite, a cup of their delicious soup will only set you back $3.95.
This old-school coffee shop is billed as “the place where friends meet” – and after devouring their homemade cheddar cheese bagel with cream cheese ($2.85), you’ll see why. There’s also the Sante Fe, a bagel topped with scrambled eggs and bacon along with homemade Tex-Mex cheese sauce and seasonings ($4.95). The laidback retro style is perfectly genuine and it’s a warm and friendly place to stop for a while and imagine life the way it used to be.
There is something so ridiculously satisfying about crunchy, crispy spring rolls. As this is a dish that not many are likely to cook from scratch at home, why not indulge in three delicious spring rolls from Bolton Thai, stuffed with glass noodles, mushrooms, cabbage and carrot. Light and summery.
Mondays at Symposium are all about the $5 burger or sandwich deal (must be purchased with a beverage, but that’s a sacrifice we’re willing to make). At this GTA-area franchise, choose from the 8 oz beef burger (veggie option too), grilled chicken sandwich or grilled fish, and prepare for belly-satisfying goodness. A side Caesar or garden salad is also under $5. And then there’s the 2-for-1 cake slice deal on Sundays – not technically a lunch, but how could you pass up literally having your cake and eating two?
Heatherlea Farm Shoppe
The newly opened Heatherlea Farm Shoppe has an amazing breakfast sandwich, featuring a Heatherlea sausage breakfast patty, farm-fresh egg and three-year-aged cheddar. At $4.95 a pop, it’s an affordable indulgence, as is the homemade soup of the day brimming with fresh flavours, for $5.
Spirit Tree Estate Ciderhouse Bistro
This gorgeous cidery was constructed following environmentally responsible principles. Drink in the view (along with the cider) and enjoy a bowl of the bistro’s fresh-cut fries ($5). Of course, if your sweet tooth is begging for attention, that $5 could also be spent on a mouthwatering cookie or tart. Lunching with a crowd? Enjoy the home-baked bread, fruit, meats and cheese on a sampling board meant for sharing ($34).
Sushi makes for a wonderfully light lunch (as long as you avoid the all-you-can-eat buffet or tempura everything). The maki rolls (6 pieces) at Inaka Sushi are flavourful and divine, as well as being the easiest to eat. Five bucks will get you your choice of California roll, salmon skin, avocado, cucumber or asparagus (hello, veggies!). You’ll leave feeling pleasantly satiated, with taste buds satisfied.
These slices of homemade ’za are the furthest thing from fast food. Made with flavourful, local ingredients, one slice will ring in at only $3.50, leaving you with change for a drink (or dessert). It’s rumoured to be the best pizza in the GTA – we think it’s the best pizza this side of Italy.
There you have it – all the delicious morsels that $5 can provide. Who needs the city when you can eat like this in the hills?
Did we miss your fave $5 lunch?
Share your picks for the best cheap and delicious local lunches in the comments section below.