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Eat & Drink

5 restaurants with cheap wine in Toronto

Posted by Derek Flack / June 14, 2013

Cheap Wine TorontoCheap wine lists in Toronto are not something you'll find in abundance, but with a little digging there are deals to be had various restaurants around the city. Truth be told, if you're really looking to save on wine costs, it's best to take advantage of a free corkage deal — of which there are plenty to choose from. That said, sometimes one wants to choose from a restaurant's list, which often feature wines that aren't stocked by the LCBO. In such instances, the restaurants below are a good bet. While I'd say that only one has a truly cheap list altogether, the others offer weekly specials that are worth taking advantage of.

Le Paradis
It's a French-only thing, but Le Paradis' wine list is a rarity in Toronto: it's both cheap and full of excellent wines. Your best bets are wines from the Languedoc region (there's usually a decent bottle of Minervois to be found), but offerings from the Rhone are also worth a look. The "house wine" runs $6.50 for 5oz and ain't half bad.

Gusto 101
Gusto's wine list has plenty of bottles to choose from in the $40 range (which isn't too bad for Toronto), but it makes this list for it's wine on tap. At a buck an ounce, it's one of the best deals in town. If you like the sound of that, you can also find it at Rock Lobster Co.

Globe Bistro
Globe does wine well. Along with the fantastic selection of Ontario wines, the restaurant offers 50% off all of its general list bottles on Sundays. This is a great way to try to some hard to find wines at bargain bin prices (at least relatively speaking).

Gladstone Hotel
The Gladstone also offers half-priced wine, but on Tuesdays. And although it's not the longest list out there, you'll find plenty of worthwhile New World offerings. Quick math: the cheapest bottle on the list is $45, so you're drinking that for $22.50 on Tuesdays (I only did up until grade 10 math — be proud of me).

Czehoski
Czehoski gets in on the fun Wednesdays, with the much-loved 50% off special. It's an eclectic little list here that's worth trying. Come for the excellent steak frites, stay for the wine — or, really, vice versa.

BONUS

Enoteca Sociale
Enoteca often runs a 50% off deal on their Enomatic wine selection on slower days (Mondays), but it's unpredictable when this deal will be on, so let me tell you about another one. You'll have to arrive early, but between 5pm and 6pm, the restaurant offers $4 wine, beer and cocktails. Hmmm. Is it completely unreasonable to think that I could get 10 drinks for 40 bucks? That's six minutes a drink. Easy!

Know of a good deal on wine in Toronto? Let us know in the comments.

Photo by *Lemur* in the blogTO Flickr pool.

Thanks to the New Listerine UltraClean for sponsoring our wine-soaked adventures.

Discussion

25 Comments

karen / June 14, 2013 at 11:13 am
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If the Gladstone can sell the same wine bottles for half-price on Tuesdays, it shows how ridiculous the markup is on wine in this city. The cheapest bottle on their list is $45? Ripoff. I never order wine in a restaurant anymore... would rather drink at home and put that $45 into the mortgage.
Lauren / June 14, 2013 at 11:38 am
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Like everything that is business related. If you don't make a markup you will go out of business. The reason for such markups on alcohol products is because they don't make a large markup on food. Restaurants have to pay for staff, rent, insurance, marketing, cookware, replacements for the glasses that you break and stuff that you steal. These are just a few of the costs of running a business. Don't be shocked that buying your wine and drinking it at home is cheaper. You are paying for the experience when you dine/drink out, not just what's in your glass.
Gloria / June 14, 2013 at 11:40 am
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+1 to Lauren. Just don't drink.
Shirrrrrazzzzzzz / June 14, 2013 at 12:13 pm
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I love red wine.

District in Riverside. BYOW Sundays, no corkage fee.

Now that's called drinking responsibly.
thislittlepiggie / June 14, 2013 at 12:37 pm
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Union also has 50% off wine on Monday nights. And some damn fine food to go with it.

+1 Lauren
winelush / June 14, 2013 at 01:30 pm
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tundra bar in the hilton downtown has $7 wine specials everyday from 7pm to 11pm....i can look like i'm drinking the expensive stuff in nice surroundings!
nardl blarn / June 14, 2013 at 02:59 pm
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Further to Laurens point, the cost of a bottle of wine might not be directly related to just the bottle of wine. If you buy a bottle and a desert and then spend 45-60 minutes after your meal enjoying this the restaurant is losing out on an hour usage of that table, so 2 or 4 covers. The reastaurant has to make this up somehow so they might end up needing to make as much on the bottle of wine and desert to make offering this service worthwhile. Add to that the cost of the wine itself is often more than you would pay at the LCBO (licensed premises often have to pay more), the time taken to select and "curate" (i normally hate that term but think it's actually appropriate here in the terms of caring for a product) the wine and the storage space and conditions required to maintain an appropriate number of those selections in stock. You end up looking at a much higher cost than would be involved if you just bought a nice bottle of red and drank it at home. It makes perfect sense for the gladstone to charge half price on tuesdays, traditionally one of the quietest days in the hospitality. The restaurant which might be fully booked up on fridays or saturdays might not have those worries on the tuesday, so charging a price marginally above their cost price for a bottle of wine (remember, this won't be the same as your cost price if you were to buy the same at the LCBO) will still make them a marginal profit and as there probably isn't a horde of people waiting to sit at yoru table and order a more profitable meal they aren't losing out in that respect. It makes more sense to reduce the cost of the bottle of wine rather than the meal because someone who is price-sensitive enough to make a point to go out on a tuesday for dinner will probably object to buying a bottle of wine anyway.
Dean Tudor / June 14, 2013 at 05:18 pm
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earth Bloor has half-price wine by the glass Tues - Sat, 4PM to 6PM. Happy Hour, with a buck a shuck Malpeques, half-price apps, half-price draught beers. Free corkage on Wed for dinners.
Victor / June 14, 2013 at 06:52 pm
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reply to Lauren - restaurants don't make a large markup on food...really ??? What would you call a restaurant that charges $24.00 for four tortellini. Or $27.00 for three scallops. That's robbery. The food cost on that would be less than $1.00. Wake up.

John in TO replying to a comment from Victor / June 14, 2013 at 08:06 pm
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Umm, what about the labour and other costs of doing business? Surely all of that goes into the price of the food. On the other hand, it takes very little effort to buy wine and sell it.
Lauren / June 15, 2013 at 07:00 am
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Hey Victor, go eat some more craft dinner. If you don't appreciate good ingredients that cost more due to supporting local farmers and conscious wise seafood, just keep supporting your pre packaged microwaveable food. As someone who used to be in the industry for 13 years, I think I am awake with the real cost of things. But thanks for your input.
Lauren / June 15, 2013 at 07:04 am
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And yes I realize it's Kraft. Just in case you are just a troll who likes to stir things up.
Nic / June 16, 2013 at 10:48 pm
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For anyone in 'Sauga we here at Ten Restaurant do 1/2price wine every Monday, $5 glass of house all the time and $1 oz as well also lime to mention Mogette Bistro apart from doing fantastic French cuisine does $2 corkage monday through thursday.
Daniel / June 17, 2013 at 01:00 pm
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Skin+Bones in Leslieville offers 50% off all bottles of Sparkling Wine every Sunday night from 5pm till close.
Janet / October 10, 2013 at 10:41 am
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Lot st. 685 queen st west.......has half price wine every Thursday !!!!! The decor is really cool, food was finger licking good!!!
KZ / January 19, 2014 at 07:53 pm
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Two great Bloor West Village places: Dr. Generosity has cheap corkage on Mon, Tues & Wed nights ($1, $2 & $5) and The Good Fork has cheap wine night on Wednesdays ($5/glass, $20/bottle).
Ommy's Regular / January 19, 2014 at 08:09 pm
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Tomny's at Greenwood and Danforth let's you bring in your own wine, so long as the owner doesn't see it.
Josh / January 19, 2014 at 08:33 pm
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House wine in a half-litre carafe. It usually runs around $16-$18 at most places, so you're paying around $25 a bottle. More bang for your buck.
Eddie / January 20, 2014 at 09:18 am
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Reply to Victor
First where are you finding 3 high quality large scallops for $, not in the world I operate in as a purchaser. Secondly your food cost also has to include, Rent,Staff Costs, Utilities,Insurance,Linens,China, Equipment etc. It should also include a return on investment for the owner. If Restaurants were as profitable as you would think we wouldn't see them struggling to survive. It's an industry with one of the highest closure rates most years. Add in most higher price restaurants will buy higher grade more expensive local products than you likely do at home (in fact some of them will be unavailable to the home cook)
maybe you should learn something before you troll
jennsanerd / January 20, 2014 at 10:20 am
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Sambuca on Church charges $30-something for a litre of their house wine!

And it doesn't taste like fermented Welch's.
Cassandra / January 20, 2014 at 10:40 am
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Fishbar on Ossington has a happy hour Fri-Sat from 3:30pm-5pm and Sundays 3:30-10pm.
$4 beer & $5 wine plus a happy hour menu and discounted oysters!
David / January 20, 2014 at 11:05 am
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Le Select Bistro has a great wine list that isn't exactly cheap, but they are great values in that the wines are often the same price or fairly close to what you'd pay at the LCBO. So they are a bargain for the quality of wines that they serve.
Ferd Burful / January 20, 2014 at 03:56 pm
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How about some balance in the restaurant biz. Up the price on food & drop the price on alcohol? $8.00 side of mushrooms with your steak at Baton Rouge? $400 bottle of wine or anyone of their $125 bottles, to go with your $14.00 grilled cheese sandwich or $33.00 Steak Frites( most expensive item on their menu), at Reds? Empathy for restauranteurs, but there is so much bad food, crappy service, & over pricing in this city. Have some empathy for the poor bugger paying the bill
Stephen van Egmond / January 20, 2014 at 04:04 pm
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It'd be a shame not to mention the Yukon in Parkdale. Half price bottles before 10 on Tuesday.
Melissa / April 4, 2014 at 09:04 pm
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Correction the the comment above, Yukon has half bottles on Thursday. Great place!

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