Food kings in the Queen City
Six student-friendly restaurants you have to try
In Regina, Greek restaurants are a dime a dozen. You can’t walk anywhere in this city without bumping into some kind of Greek steakhouse, bar, or seafood joint. There are a few standouts, but in my opinion the best of them all is Tim’s Souvlaki
Tim’s has developed a strong reputation among south-end residents as offering some of the best take-out food in the city at prices that won’t make your wallet cry.
The Golden Mile is a depressing sight at times. It’s an ancient mall in bad need of some rejuvenation. I only set foot in there for two reasons: banking and Tim’s Souvlaki. There are many more like me. One look around the food court and you can plainly see almost everyone is munching on the homemade goodness Tim’s brings to the table. Employees from every shop in the mall migrate their way to the Greek take-out kitchen. It’s troubling to think of what would happen to the Golden Mile if it didn’t have the steady flow of hungry customers bursting through the doors to chow down on some Tim’s.
Tim’s Souvlaki offers a wide range of traditional Greek favourites like souvlaki, sandwiches and gyros. In addition to the classics, Tim’s offers some Canadian favourites such as chilli fries and poutine.
Like all restaurants worth their weight, Tim’s follows the cardinal rule of cooking: fresh ingredients, homemade when you order them and not a moment sooner. It’s no wonder it has collected a massive following during its 21 years in operation.
The service at Tim’s is friendly and welcoming. The business is family run, and on any given day the owners are there to great their regular customers, work in the kitchen and dish out samples of new menu ideas to anyone willing to give them some feedback. It’s nice to walk up to the counter and be greeted with a smile and a few jokes.
The prices at Tim’s are just what students are looking for. Only one or two items on the whole menu eclipse $11 and the majority cost $7 or less. The food is affordable, delicious and the service is excellent. There is no reason why you shouldn’t give this place a shot next time you are in the neighbourhood.
Love Thai food, but eating on a budget? Then Siam is your place, serving authentic Thai food for sensible prices. Thai cuisine is extremely common in the Queen City – the success of Viet-Thai and Thai Garden is testament to that. However, Siam provides a quality and value that exceed even the most popular options for Thai cuisine.
To start things off, Siam has a wonderful lunch buffet, where less than $10 gets you a massive selection of Thai favourites like Pad Thai and Panang Beef in limitless supply. Buffets are not uncommon for Asian restaurants, but the same problem always crops up when serving out large quantities of food and letting it sit – the quality falls through the floor. It is incredibly difficult to produce high-quality food and keep it that way while it sits in the buffet as the flavours dry up, never to be tasted again.
Fortunately, Siam avoids this problem. I don’t know if they change the food more often than other places, or if the endless streams of starving customers who pack the house come lunch time simply don’t let food sit around long enough to drop in quality. However they do it, the food at Siam’s buffet is excellent, and you would never know it came from an all-you-can-eat offering.
Aside from the great food, Siam is also very friendly to your wallet. The buffet comes in at under ten dollars, which seems like highway robbery considering the quality. After the lunch buffet ends, customers can purchase any item off of their massive dinner menu for fewer than ten dollars. The portions are more than generous for what you are paying for, and the seasonings and flavours are enough to keep you coming back again and again.
The only downside to this place might be how busy it is. The restaurant is always packed, a reservation is almost a must and this problem is compounded by the small space that Siam has to work with. But that’s hardly reason enough to not check it out.
If you love Thai cuisine and are working with the all-too-restricting limits of a student budget, than Siam is something that you cannot afford to pass up. Amazing prices with friendly service and fantastic food – it’s a homerun.
Leave it up to the Cathedral area to create a vegan restaurant so good it can even make carnivores like myself think meatless cuisine is a great idea. The 13th Ave. Coffee House provides a cheap way for anyone to enjoy the best vegetarian offering Regina can muster.
If the idea of vegetarian cuisine makes you turn and run, you’re not alone. Regina is known as a fairly hostile city as far as vegan restaurants are concerned. If there is one thing this city loves, it’s the flesh of slaughtered animals.
This is where the Coffee House goes against the grain, and does it with a cosy atmosphere, welcoming service and, of course, excellent food. The creative dishes and level-headed prices will have even the most diehard meat-eaters realizing vegetarian food can be a spectacular alternative to the usual routine of burgers stacked on top of steaks, wrapped in bacon, finished with gravy.
If you are a vegetarian, you were probably already aware of what the coffee house can offer. If you didn’t, shame on you.
The quaint restaurant is located in a renovated house on the corner of 13th Ave and Garnet Street, and offers a cosy – but somewhat cramped – inside dining experience and the option to sit outside and enjoy the wonderful cathedral atmosphere. Takeout is also an option, but if you decide to stay inside, you will be greeted by a welcoming staff that provides good service.
The menu is unique and well executed. They offer homemade meals, made with healthy, fresh ingredients. They offer a wide variety of appetizers, soups, stews, rice bowls, salads, sandwiches and, of course, their renowned veggie burger. Most of the items on the menu are very student friendly – ten dollars or less.
There is vegetarian food, and then there is just great food period. Many people see vegetarian food as watered down renditions on dishes that would be better with meat. The 13th Ave. Coffee House proves with the right amount of skill and creativity, it is possible to make traditionally meat-cantered items, such as burgers and chilli, better than their flesh-filled counterparts.
The 13th Ave. Coffee House isn’t a great vegetarian restaurant; it is a great restaurant period. Well worth the affordable price. You owe it to yourself and your health to check this place out.
Who doesn’t like grilled cheese? How about 19 different varieties of grilled cheese? The Deli Llama does just that, and also offers delicious soups and salads for reasonable prices, even if the portions are not as gigantic as some students would prefer.
The Llama is just what students need: fresh, homemade sandwiches that are quickly made and offer a unique blend of cultural renditions on grilled cheese. Prices range from as little as five dollars to about nine. All of the items on the menu are available a’la Carte, and everything is made fresh to order.
The Deli’s sandwiches range anywhere from the traditional grilled cheese, to more complex – and delicious – variations. Grilled versions of German, Italian, French, American and Spanish classics are all available. They also serve breakfast food all day and, you guessed it, more grilled cheese, this time with ingredients like eggs, spinach, bacon and ham.
All of these unique takes on grilled cheese would fall short if the execution wasn’t there. Fortunately for sandwich fans, the chefs at the Deli Llama do a top-notch job. All of the sandwiches are made when you order them and not a moment sooner. Nothing is prepackaged; all of the ingredients are from local suppliers, allowing the fresh flavours to really come through.
The atmosphere is very chill and quite, making it a great study location for people looking to get away from the noise and chaos of busier restaurants. The staff is cool and friendly. They are willing to answer any questions you may have, or just chit chat with the regulars who swing by.
And there are lots of them. There isn’t a moment during lunch where customers aren’t dropping in to grab a quick bite before running out to get back to the grind. The Llama caters to the needs of busy business people and students alike with speedy takeout and even free delivery within city limits.
The one knock on this place is the portions are not as massive as many students would like. The prices are low, but if you are looking to stuff your face until you can hardly walk, then you will inevitably rack up a huge tab. However, if you are looking for a quick nibble to keep you going, why not try the best grilled cheese in the city?
Hungover or not, everyone enjoys a nice traditional breakfast from their favourite greasy spoon every once in a while. Mr. Breakfast provides one of the best breakfast menus in the city at unbeatable prices.
If you can tolerate eating in what appears to be a trailer cemented to the ground, reading plastic menus and sitting at formica tables, than you will be treated to what is probably the best bang for your buck breakfast wise.
If outward appearances dictated the quality of food, Mr. Breakfast would be hopeless. But rest assured, if you muster up the guts to walk inside, you won’t be disappointed.
The dining space is limited, but Mr. Breakfast still manages to avoid feeling cramped. The food is well prepared, tasty and unbelievably cheap. Adding an extra egg to your meal is just over fifty cents, while adding extra bacon or sausage can be anywhere from $2 to $4 depending on the amount you want.
The waitresses are sometimes friendly, sometimes cold, but they make sure you are taken care of. The owner is a polite and kind woman who loves to help out and work with customers and modify menu items to suit their needs.
Despite the horrible outward appearance, Mr. Breakfast has amassed a large contingent of regular customers from around the city. In fact, I saw Darian Durant there the other day. Come to think of it, maybe he should spend less time eating greasy food if wants to avoid sacks – just a thought.
If you want some good cheap food to get your day started, Mr. Breakfast is a safe bet.
FIVE: Quick suggestions
5 Miso sushi
Miso has all you can eat sushi for 25 dollars a head. 25 bones might sound expensive, but that money can potentially get you hundreds of dollars worth of sushi ordered a’la carte
4 All Souped Up
The pasta salad at All Souped Up is the best that I’ve ever had. Fusilli pasta with a tangy sauce that’s well seasoned, and covered in veggies. The portions are generous and a large order only costs six dollars.
3 The Owl
Everyone needs a little greasy bar food every once in a while. Thankfully, we have a bar on campus. Go get smashed and eat pizza! The owl offers a bunch of flavourful burgers, as well as great pizza and appetizers.
2 Italian Star Deli
Every sandwich lover in the city knows about the Italian Star Deli and its super charismatic owner Carlo. This family run authentic Italian deli serves up some of the best sandwiches you’ll ever eat, for around 6 bucks.
1 Pasta Prima
I need to disclose that I work at Pasta Prima. However, I truly love their food and feel that this is an honest recommendation. I also stand to gain nothing from suggesting their food.
If you are a pasta lover like me, you need to check it out. All the pasta, sauces, dressings, are made from fresh ingredients every day. The food is delicious, and if you go on Monday you can get any pasta on the menu for 11 bucks. Here are five more places worth trying that didn’t make the list. All of the places on this list are chosen because they serve great food for prices that wont break the bank.