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Best of Toronto

The Best New Cheap Eats in Toronto, 2009

Posted by Bryce Daigle / January 12, 2010

Cheap Eats TorontoThe 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.

Previously:

The Best New Cheap Eats in Toronto, 2008

Poutini's House of Poutine

Poutini's House of Poutine

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 »

The Grilled Cheese

The Grilled Cheese

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

One Love Vegetarian

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 »

Stockyard's Smokehouse & Larder

Stockyard's Smokehouse & Larder

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 »

Kenzo Ramen

Kenzo Ramen

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 »

Lou Dawg's Southern Sandwiches

Lou Dawg's Southern Sandwiches

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 »

W Burger Bar

W Burger Bar

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

Delica Kitchen

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 »

Rapido

Rapido

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 »

Arepa Cafe

Arepa Cafe

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 »

Tommasso's Trattoria

Tommasso's Trattoria

In a nondescript strip mall on Eastern Avenue, Tommaso's may not be in the best location, but there is some serious culinary competence behind their straightforward Italian menu. This is Italian food as it was meant to be - unpretentious and delicious. More »

Discussion

26 Comments

ds / January 12, 2010 at 09:58 am
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Didn't BlogTO pan two of the featured establishments in 2009?
Talvid / January 12, 2010 at 10:20 am
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Forget food, see what kinda of sausage Lady Gaga stuffs in her shorts when she's in Toronto.
http://wp.me/pIDFN-3Z
cliff / January 12, 2010 at 10:28 am
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ds:

these polls are voted on by readers, so it doesn't have anything to do with how blogTO reviewed the establishments.
pat / January 12, 2010 at 11:53 am
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Burger Bar sucks the big one.
Patrick / January 12, 2010 at 12:19 pm
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Not that I'm complaining, cause I love Poutini's

but is it really "cheap". slight criticism, keep up the good work
Stockyards fan / January 12, 2010 at 01:45 pm
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I am a big fan of the stock yards, but its not what I would call cheap eats by any stretch of the imagination...

A burger with Fries and a drink, while much higher quality than other fast food equivilants, will run you around 17 bucks or more, inclusive of tax&tip... thats kinda pricy for a burger.
Shawn / January 12, 2010 at 03:27 pm
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A lot of these aren't what I'd consider "cheap" or "best"...
jack / January 12, 2010 at 04:03 pm
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none of these is cheap.. crazy
serena / January 12, 2010 at 06:26 pm
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how did arepa cafe end up on this list. their resturant is over-priced and service is terrible. love kenzo ramen.
Tony / January 12, 2010 at 08:14 pm
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agreed...not cheap options.
Burger bar is decent, Poutini's does not live up to the hype at all, very burnt fries when I went there.
Elizabeth / January 12, 2010 at 10:44 pm
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Some of these places are great - some a surprise! But BlogTO readers chose them!!
rapi / January 13, 2010 at 08:07 am
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blog to has enough material to publish a toronto guide to the best...do it!!
red / January 13, 2010 at 08:25 am
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I like the Gourmet Burger on Charles Street E at Yonge they have excellent sweet potato fries
MrPotato / January 13, 2010 at 10:40 am
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Ummmm...How is Reggies on there but not craft burger? They both offer a special combo for $10 And Craft burger is cheaper than Oh Boy Burger...BlogTO readers suck!
anon / January 13, 2010 at 01:10 pm
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aren't you a blogto reader, since you are replying to this?
MrsPotato / January 15, 2010 at 11:16 am
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Oh Boy Burger SUCKS my a-hole. The service is crap, and it's not cheap.

Reggie's is crapola, too.

What kind of 'poll' was this?
Rob / January 17, 2010 at 08:34 pm
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In the BBQ vein (where product is actually smoked vs. grilled and lathered) Stockyard's early success has been their undoing (running out of "staples" like pulled pork/chicken early in the day and consistency was hit and miss) though they have been working hard to remedy that. If they have it, it is pretty darn good. Try their ice tea and the porchetta sandwich. Lou Dawgs is just OK.
MrPotato / January 18, 2010 at 05:58 pm
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Ok...so I guess I missed the point that these are the best new places. Oh Boy Burger & Lou Dawgs are between $15 and $20 if you want something decent. Lou Dawgs has good wings and I really like their brownies but I don't really like much else there. Oh Boy Burger is a disappointment even though I really wished they could pull it off. Reggies is ok and does offer a $10 special combo but have been inconsistent and that is not acceptable when your serving basics like sandwiches, fries and salads.
jon / January 18, 2010 at 09:50 pm
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while stockyards is springin', it's anything but cheap.
eroo / January 19, 2010 at 12:46 pm
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I went on the weekend and it was wonderful. The service was amazing and their house made drinks were so delicious and not too sweet. Great value too. The fried chicken is enough for two. They fry the chicken and the fries separately so if you suffer from a severe allergy such as fish this place is one fo the few out there where you can get your fried fix with no risk.
mitjak / January 19, 2010 at 05:50 pm
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Ok, the Grilled Cheese is awesome but *not* cheap. $8 for a grilled sandwich places it in a slightly more upper range category.
tim / January 20, 2010 at 07:18 pm
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blogTo is the worse site about food I've ever seen, the reviews lack of professionalism and objective points of view, it attracts mediocre people wanting to complain about their own misery. You guys should consider really revising your opinions and format. I am visiting Toronto, and have been to several of the places mentioned and most of them are making a good effort to bring interesting food, and creativity to Toronto. Sites like blogTO are just showing how sad and unhappy T.O can be.
tzatz / January 21, 2010 at 09:25 am
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The Lunch Special at New Sky is the best deal in the city for Chinese food. At $5 it cannot be beat. Remember … you have to ask for the LUNCH MENU or you won't be aware!

However, the South Indian Dosa Mahal on Bloor Street West near Lansdowne has 3 Samosa for $1 or 10 Samosas for $3. These are an incredible buy.

Just two of my favourites.
david / February 4, 2010 at 11:16 am
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I recently tried a new place on St Clair west of Dufferin call La Cucina Italiana-great food and even better prices !!!!
Amanda replying to a comment from tim / March 1, 2010 at 09:38 pm
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Hi Tim,
Sometimes you don't want to read an objective, sterile review but you want the opinion of another regular human being. BlogTO gives you a mini experience of what they had, what they love, etc. As you said--there are many places that give those emotionless reviews: why would Toronto need one more?
COSPLAY / September 26, 2012 at 10:08 pm
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how did arepa cafe end up on this list. their resturant is over-priced and service is terrible. love kenzo ramen.

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