Where to eat on a budget near Vancouver's postsecondary campuses

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      If you’re a student, chances are you’re living lean, settling into the semester with Champagne tastes on a beer budget. Luckily, Vancouver’s halls of higher learning are surrounded by places that offer satisfying, cheap eats that will keep you fuelled right through to finals.


      Perch Restaurant didn’t make it, and perhaps it’s no wonder: the prices were suited to the parents of starving students, not starving students themselves.

      Aside from the various food outlets on campus, the doctors, engineers, and teachers of tomorrow have the nearby Sushi Gallery (3772 West 10th Avenue) to go to.

      The menu is straightforward, with prices from 50 cents apiece for vegetarian nigiri (steamed yam, eggplant, shiitake or enoki mushroom, kimchi, and so on) to $12.95 for 14 pieces of assorted sashimi (spicy tuna, salmon, snapper, tuna, surf clams, and octopus). Miso soup (including a vegan version) is complimentary.

      Al Basha

      The multigrain-rice option comes with brown, black, and quinoa rice. Sun Sushi (4512 West 10th Avenue) offers all the usual rolls and cones as well as teriyaki rice bowls and udon starting at $6.50, among other dishes. Check its website for coupons. (Until December 31, you can get a free California roll with pickup orders over $20 or 10 percent off an order with a day’s notice.)

      There’s absolutely nothing fancy at the Diner (4556 West 10th Avenue), which is every English grandmother’s Union Jack–adorned dining room, but homesick students will appreciate its cozy, cheery vibe. It features British comfort “fayre” like bangers and mash ($10.95) and a traditional English “fry-up” breakfast of toast, eggs, fried tomatoes, fried bread, baked beans, sausage, and hash browns ($9.90).

      More demanding diners can head a little farther east to Al Basha (3143 West Broadway, with other locations in Kits and Richmond). Its Middle Eastern cuisine includes robust chicken shawarma ($7.60) as well as falafel wrap ($6.50) and donair ($7.60).

      Kita No Donburi 

      SFU Harbour Centre

      Aside from this facility, SFU has others downtown, including the Charles Chang Innovation Centre, SFU Woodward’s, and the Segal Graduate School of Business.

      Hungry intellectuals and entrepreneurs can cram their brains and their bellies at Kita No Donburi (423 Seymour Street), known for its traditional bowls (like ten don, with tempura prawn and yam, for $8.95) and less typical items like Cozy Salad, a mix of lettuce, cucumber, apple, avocado, papaya, almonds, and cashews ($6.75).

      La Taqueria Pinche Taco Shop (322 West Hastings Street) is a no-brainer: four meat tacos for $10.50, with options including braised beef cheek or tongue, achiote-and-pineapple marinated pork, and free-range mole chicken. (Vegetarians get a foursome for $8.50.)

      Bonus: the house-made horchata, made with Ceylon cinnamon, comes highly recommended.

      Jang Mo Jib Korean Restaurant (1575 Robson Street) offers personal-size soft-tofu hot pot served in traditional clay dishes for $9.95, with the Kim Chee Soon Doo Boo containing the restaurant’s signature kimchi along with beef, egg, radish, and green onion.

      Big bowls of traditional, handmade Korean noodles, including Bee Bim Naeng Myun—ice cold and chewy in a hot chili-paste sauce—also come in at under $10.

      Gringo Gastown

      Vancouver Film School

      With its largest campus on Water Street, the school is surrounded by great restaurants—many out of students’ financial reach.

      But along with sleeves of local lager for $3.75 and “cheap-ass” bourbon and Scotch, Gringo (27 Blood Alley Square) offers tasty corn-tortilla tacos (three for $8) as well as veggie chili for $5 and an all-beef Mexi hot dog with bacon, cheese, pickled onions, and avocado cream for $9.

      Guu Otokomae’s (375 Water Street) Peking-duck-style pork-belly stew, spicy agedashi tofu, and slow-cooked beef gristle all come in under $9, while students can get a full day’s worth of veggies for less than $7.

      Along with other locations around town, this one carries the Hot Stone Bowl Sweets, a stunner with coconut ice cream, custard sauce, and baguette slices in a—you guessed it—hot stone bowl.

      For full-meal deals, it’s still hard to beat the Old Spaghetti Factory (53 Water Street), where $10.65 gets you green salad or minestrone, sourdough bread, spaghetti with marinara sauce, spumoni ice cream, and coffee or tea. (The same with spaghetti and meat sauce is $11.85.) Try to grab a table in the authentic streetcar for the signature OSF experience.

      Dosa Hut

      Langara College

      Head to Dosa Hut (7233 Fraser Street), where you can get an appetizer, bhel puri, and a plain dosa with lentils for the price of a McDonald’s meal, or cauliflower gobi Manchurian with onion, bell peppers, spring onions, cilantro, ginger, and garlic for $8.99.

      Au Petit Café (4851 Main Street), with fresh French bread, serves up various banh mi for $4.65 and comforting wonton soup for $5.75, while New Novelty Restaurant and Sweets (6669 Fraser Street) has a full-on lunch buffet for $9.99 and a takeout butter-chicken dinner with jasmine rice and naan for $6.49.