The Best New Cheap Eats in Toronto, 2009
The best new cheap eats in Toronto can just about be summed up in one word: sandwiches. Gourmet burger places continue to open all over town, but they're up against some stiff competitors who really know their way around a panini press. That being said, there are a few outliers on the list this year, proving that Torontonians crave a good poutine or bowl of ramen just as much as they love tasty stuff on bread.
There's a notable western hemisphere slant on this year's top spots. Will 2010 see the continuing domination of the sandwich? Will this be the year the gourmet hot dog rises up and takes the crown? Only time will tell. For now, here are the top 15 new restaurants for cheap eats in 2009.
Poutini’s does one thing (uh, poutine), and they do it very well. No tricks, gimmicks, or trendy ingredients here, just homemade gravy, squeaky curds, and fried spuds. They also offer a vegetarian gravy, and baked potatoes for those who enjoy their arteries at least partially unclogged. More »
Grilled cheese sandwiches get the gourmet treatment at this Kensington Market eatery. As the name suggests, their focus is grilled cheese and they don’t stray far from it (they also offer a daily soup, but that’s it). Extended late-night hours and a variety of bread-cheese-topping configurations satisfy both the inner child and the outer drunk. More »
One Love Vegetarian has earned itself a devoted following thanks to its creative vegetarian menu and low prices. Caribbean influence rules in dishes like spiced pumpkin roti and their famous corn soup, though the small space means you may have to fight (lovingly, of course) for a table. More »
Barbeque-loving Torontonians living near St. Clair and Christie had reason to be excited this year with the opening of Stockyards Smokehouse and Larder. Burgers, fried chicken and ribs have drawn rave reviews, but try to go early. Long, slow marinades mean the supply of popular dishes sometimes can’t keep up with demand. More »
Located near Dundas and Elizabeth, Kenzo Ramen has raised the bar for the humble Japanese noodle dish in Toronto. Noodles are made in-house and accompanied by flavourful broths and toppings at very reasonable prices. More »
You can practically taste the sandwiches at Lou Dawg’s before you’re served. The air is thick with smoke, beer and blues music, and the meat lives up to the setting. Cheap pulled pork and brisket sandwiches are served on fresh buns with tangy, sweet barbeque sauce and an array of (smoky) sides. More »
Gourmet burger joints are sprouting like weeds these days, but W Burger Bar at Yonge and College differentiates itself by also offering up some mean chicken tenders and decent poutine. As for the burgers, they’re locally sourced and very tasty. More »
Delica Kitchen owner Devin Connell serves fresh and interesting sandwiches, salads and soups (including some darn good chili) to hungry lunchtime crowds at Yonge & St. Clair. The baked goods, from homemade Oreos to baked donuts, are also excellent. More »
Keeping up with this year’s sandwich/panini craze, Rapido brings in-house roasted meat, fresh veggies and homemade olives to the Bathurst and Dupont scene. Pizza, salads and fresh lemonade round out the offerings. More »
The only thing more inviting than the atmosphere at Arepa Cafe is the delicious Venezuelan food. From arepas (grilled corn flatbreads with assorted fillings) to alfajores (classic South American cookie sandwiches filled with dulce de leche), Chef Carlos Fuenmayor offers some variety and tastiness to Queen St. West. More »