Where to find belly-filling meals in Vancouver that won’t break the bank

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      More and more people may be priced out of Vancouver’s housing market, but at least there are still affordable options when it comes to eating out. Below is just a handful of places offering budget eats. You may not have a million dollars, but at least you can have a full belly.

      Find cheap and filling veggie eats, like pita pizzas, black-bean chipotle chili, and Thai noodles, at the Naam.
      The Naam


      Two West Side dining establishments have stood the test of time with their decent prices and portions. Come for the sushi shooters and stay for the zany décor at the Eatery (3431 West Broadway), where the menu is massive and the vibe unpretentious.

      Only at the Eatery can you get yam fries in a roll with cucumber and spicy tuna (the Japanese Fortress) or breaded and deep-fried bacon (Bacon Striptease). You’ve also got donburi; udon, soba, and yellow-curry dishes; sushi bowls, sashimi, and salads… The list goes on and on. (You can even pick up a G-string emblazoned with the resto’s signature expression—look it up.)

      Make sure you’re not in a rush when you visit the Naam (2724 West 4th Avenue). Not known for its speedy service, it offers vegetarian fare like pita pizzas, black-bean chipotle chili, stir-fries, burritos, Thai noodles, a “steak” platter featuring a veggie-nut patty with miso gravy, and burgers made with tofu, soy protein, marinated tempeh, or brown rice and toasted nuts.

      Using fresh inredients, Donair Dude makes some of the best donair in the city.
      Donair Dude

      Damn fine donair

      There are plenty of places to find slabs of meat around town, but Donair Dude is one place that does it right.

      With three locations (including one recently opened on Lonsdale Avenue in North Van), it offers your usual choice of slow-roasted ground meats—beef, lamb, or chicken—with a wicked selection of toppings, including pineapple, shredded purple cabbage, and tangy pickled turnip.

      You get your pick of wrap, too: grilled pita or tortilla. The Dude—also serving falafel, samosas, and other hefty stuff—brings in fresh veggies from local farms daily.

      At Russet Shack, you can design your own baked potato or choose from a menu of ethnic-inspired options.
      Russet Shack

      Hot potato

      Splurge on spuds at the recently opened Russet Shack (288 Robson Street), the city’s first and only baked-potato takeout spot.

      The Thai version comes topped with sweet chili sauce, roasted eggplant, string beans, and fresh basil; the Japanese one, meanwhile, has teriyaki tuna, cucumber, and ginger. Broccoli stars in the Canadian jacket potato, which also has mozzarella cheese, tomato, and hot sauce.

      You can design your own baked potato or go crazy and build a meal using sweet or baby potatoes.

      Choose from a variety of creative fries offerings at MeeT on Main and the recently opened MeeT in Gastown.
      MeeT on Main


      Do you love your carbs? Does the “paleo” diet sound completely unappealing to you? Well, luckily for you, there’s no shortage of spots where you can fill up on all things starchy.

      Check out the steamed buns at New Town Bakery and Restaurant (148 East Pender Street), plus locations in Richmond and Surrey), stuffed with everything from spicy pork to Chinese sausage.

      The fries are superfine at MeeT on Main (4288 Main Street) and MeeT in Gastown (12 Water Street): there’s the version topped with house-made almond satay sauce and chipotle mayo; the Hocus-Pocus comes with onion rings.

      Fresh pasta made daily by hand takes the spotlight at Verifood (1795 Robson Street). Spinach and ricotta ravioli come in a buttery sage sauce, while the carbonara version of their tagliatelle is full-on with bacon, eggs, and Parmigiano-Reggiano. There’s risotto, gnocchi, and tortelli too, the latter being potato-filled dumplings smothered in meat sauce.

      Feed your taco cravings with protein-loaded dishes from La Catrina Tacos.
      La Catrina Tacos

      Make it Mexican

      Build your own burrito at the friendly Hungry Guys Kitchen (988 Granville Street), with pinto or black beans, brown or white rice, and a choice of grilled chicken or steak, organic tofu, or pork carnitas.

      When you order enchiladas at Bandidas Taqueria (2781 Commercial Drive; closed for renos until May 24 and soon to be open 24 hours), you get three corn tortillas filled with black beans, organic squash, or sweet chipotle tofu.

      Tacos take centre stage at La Catrina Tacos (1187 Denman Street): try some with beef tongue in green salsa, slow-cooked beef cheeks, or mole chicken. Other dishes include roasted poblano pepper and papas Mexicanas with parsley and drizzled cream.

      Follow Gail Johnson on Twitter @gailjohnsonwork.