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Photo: Kim Wiens.

I’m sure we can all agree that one of the biggest issues we face as students is trying to figure out what and where to eat. Of course, we could always just cook our own meals at home, but that option isn’t always the most convenient.

So, in this spirit, here are some tips and tricks in how to eat out on the cheap.

Know the best daily food deals

Daily food deals are a gift to every student, since they allow you to eat out at a fairly cheap rate. Although menus are always changing, here are a few daily food deals that you will definitely want to check out.

If you’re looking for somewhere quaint and quiet to grab a bite to eat, I would suggest Smoque Shack. They have a different food special every day (averaging $4-10) and a great selection of rotating craft beers.

If you’re looking for somewhere a little more high end for an inexpensive date night, you should try dressing up a bit and check out Sidedoor’s happy hour special (4:30-6:00 p.m.). You can get two gourmet tacos for just $7.50 and they also have a drink special during that time.

Lastly, try venturing over to Sparks Street and check out the daily deals at D’Arcy McGee’s. There they offer half-priced appetizers and $5.50

Take advantage of larger portions

Most restaurants in Ottawa dish out pretty big portions, with joints like The Black Tomato, the Fox & the Feather, and Chez Lucien being particular standouts.

A lot of the time these portions are so generous that I am usually able to split one meal between two people. I’ve been doing this for years and it works great.

Don’t worry if you’re still hungry afterwards, you can always make a snack at home.


Don’t be shy to ask the wait staff to pack up your leftovers at the end of a meal. Sometimes we feel embarrassed taking home a small portion of leftovers, but when bed time rolls around and you’re looking for that midnight snack you’ll be thankful.

Contrary to popular belief, you can even accomplish this with fries. Just add some seasoning salt and pop them in the oven for a few minutes.

To summarize, you don’t need to have the big bucks to eat out. You just have to do a little research beforehand and be smart about your purchases. Food deals, leftovers, and sharing will all help decrease your bill when eating out and leave you feeling like you just got away with highway robbery.