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Top 10 Spots for Cheap Eats in Hamilton for 2023

Let’s be real: inflation is hitting hard right now, and many in Hamilton are watching their wallets when it comes to dining out.

Thankfully, the city’s got loads of great spots for cheap eats that are as delicious and satisfying as they are reasonably priced. From cozy lunch spots to hidden gems for dinner, here’s our list of the top 10 spots for cheap eats in Hamilton for 2023!

Classic greasy spoon eats are on the menu at this enduring staple of Hamilton’s International Village.

Jet Cafe is a downtown favourite for affordable breakfast and lunch – think comforting diner-style dishes like bacon & eggs, omelettes, burgers, and sandwiches – served in an unpretentious-yet-inviting setting. Many dishes on Jet Cafe’s menu don’t even come close to topping the $10 mark, making this an ideal spot for a quick cheap bite that satisfies.

Barton Village has been undergoing quite the makeover in recent years, but one spot that has thankfully stayed the same through the past few decades is Duarte’s Supermarket.

This family-owned corner shop specializes in Portuguese fare and grocery items including packaged goods, fresh deli meats and cheeses, and more. But the real standout of this spot is their popular made-to-order sandwiches – many of which come in at around $5 – and their hot counter with all sorts of reasonably priced comfort foods.

Locals are quick to sing their praises for this tiny takeaway spot on Concession Street, known for their affordable made-to-order subs and friendly service.

Speedy Subs has mastered the classic submarine sandwich, with a menu sporting plenty of variety and 12-inch subs ranging from $6 to $9. That’s pretty great bang for your buck, even before you taste this Hamilton Mountain gem’s delicious, fresh sandwiches.

This Portuguese grocer and deli is one of those “if you know, you know” sort of spots.

Located on MacNab Street North, Alves Meats & Variety is a longstanding hidden gem best known for its affordable hot counter where locals can get their hands on bifana sandwiches, Portuguese chouriço burgers, meat dishes, soups, and so much more that are satisfying on the stomach and light on the wallet.

If you ask some locals where to find the best deli subs in Hamilton, a lot would probably say this place.

Glow Variety functions as a typical variety store that’s been around for more than 50 years, but where it really shines is at its deli counter where it whips up some seriously terrific subs that are also incredibly affordable. Fresh toppings including meats, vegetables, cheeses, and sauces are piled onto a fresh footlong bun and most – including the specialty offerings – won’t cost you more than $10.

An eatery, a community hub, and a non-profit charity all in one, 541 Eatery & Exchange is a well-loved and essential piece of Barton Village.

This spot is probably best known for its ‘pay-it-forward’ button system where visitors can purchase a few buttons with their order which then go into a jar and can be claimed by those who may be experiencing food insecurity and need help paying for their meal.

The cafe-style breakfast and lunch bites here are also terrific: made with good quality and local ingredients, and really affordably priced. A classic breakfast sandwich on a homemade buttermilk biscuit is only $5, and other dishes like homemade soups, sandwiches, and salads all range from a mere $3 to $8 at the highest end.

A true Hamilton staple with multiple locations in and around the city, Denninger’s is a go-to spot for European import goods and specialty grocery items.

On top of their grocery operations, Denninger’s also has a great hot counter with homemade salads, sandwiches, soups, and so much more. Expect schnitzel on a bun, burgers, sausages, currywurst, cabbage rolls, breakfast plates, and beyond; all high quality comfort foods that are prices extremely reasonably.

Lineups out the door are still commonplace at this longstanding bakery and deli on Murray Street.

Bonanza Bakery always has plenty of homemade deliciousness on hand including Portuguese tarts, cakes, and pizza buns; but the workplace crowd get in line for their fix of Bonanza’s delicious made-to-order sandwiches on house-baked bread. These babies are wholly satisfying and won’t come close to hitting the $10 mark. Cheap hot food items like chicken parmesan sandwiches or pasta just sweeten the deal.

With four extremely popular Hamilton locations, The Burnt Tongue has become practically synonymous with delicious lunchtime eats.

A seasonally shifting menu of soups, stews, and curries is always filled with variety – including vegetarian and vegan options – but the Burnt Tongue doesn’t stop there: they’ve also got handmade burgers, grilled cheese, sandwiches, salads, and some of the best fries in the city. Best of all, a very hearty lunch won’t set you back more than about $10 to $15.

How many local food spots can you name that are close to 100 years old and still going so strong?

Easterbrook’s Hot Dog Stand is bound to be at least a little busy pretty much any day of the week, with locals lining up for their iconic footlong hot dogs, fries, ice cream, and more classic comforts.

The hot dogs come in a head-spinning number of varieties, from the Tear Jerker with jalapeños, chipotle sauce, and pepper jack cheese to the Wonder Dog with bacon, melted cheese, fried onions, and tomato. Grab one of those footlongs with a generous portion of fries and a drink, and you won’t be paying much more than ten bucks; how can you beat that?

What changes would you make to our list? Let us know in the comments!

Comments 7

  • Brian Mason

    14.07.2023 2:28 am

    Like your list, many a sandwich was ordered and eaten while working at Dofasco especially Duartes and Bonanza . I’m surprised you didn’t mention Starpolskis also on Barton street.

  • Phillip

    14.07.2023 11:59 am

    Andy’s submarines on barton and kenilworth are the best subs in Hamilton and very affordable

  • Sue

    15.07.2023 6:14 pm

    Just wondering where Easterbrooks hot dog stand and onanza bakery are located

    • Randy s Hobbins

      21.07.2023 6:41 pm

      Easterbrooks is on plains rd beside grave yard , in Burlington, and bonanza is on Murray St, right at Catherine St.
      john and Barton area.

  • Gotdon

    20.07.2023 12:47 am

    Been to a few of these and I’m almost certain they paid to be on this list as they’re not at all cheap…. But ok. Still good list, like to see more cheap cheap places tho.

  • Nima Abbasi

    25.07.2023 4:20 pm

    Atlantic Sub… foot long spiced loaf for $3.15. Tell me a better deal!

  • Gamefacelouie

    19.10.2023 8:44 am

    Definitely add Andy’s Subs and Staropolski


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