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Best of Toronto

The Best New Cheap Eats in Toronto, 2011

Posted by Robyn Urback / January 11, 2012

Cheap Eats TorontoThe best new cheap eats in Toronto in 2011 were all across the board. While in previous years we've see trends sway in favour of the gourmet burger, the burrito, or the hot pile of poutine, this year it was a healthy (well, I'm not sure if that's the right word) mix of a little bit of everything. Whether it speaks to the diversification of our communal taste or simply the fact that we've grown tired of gourmet burgers at every block, I'm not sure, but the variety of quality cheap eat options has certainly diversified for the better.

This list reflects the best of Middle Eastern, Turkish, Mexican and more than can be had without breaking the bank, with a vegan option, fish n' chips, and meatball-focused option tossed in too. And yes, there is one gourmet burger spot--this is Toronto, after all. Here is the list of the best new cheap eats in Toronto that opened in 2011.

See also:

The best new cheaps eats in Toronto 2010
The best new cheap eats in Toronto 2009
The best new cheap eats in Toronto 2008

Dr. Laffa

Dr. Laffa

There are few better cheap eats than falafel and shawarma sandwiches, and Dr. Laffa near Dufferin and Steeles does them amazingly well. While the business jumped from a loading-dock-turned-restaurant to an actual restaurant in the fall, the recipe for success stayed the same. Fresh ingredients, laffa made on the spot, and single orders big enough for two. More »

Off the Hook

Off the Hook

Fish and chips is typically a pretty reliable bang-for-your-buck lunch option, but Off the Hook amped it up in 2011 with its generous portions and delicious platters. The Broadview restaurant uses organic or gluten-free flour to batter its fish, offers plenty of signature sauce options, and will even deep-fry a Mars bar for you for dessert. In short, cholesterol levels skyrocketed in the area in 2011. More »

Hey Meatball!

Hey Meatball!

A haven for meatball lovers as well as “meat”ball lovers. Hey Meatball went, uh, balls-out with its summer 2011 opening, rolling out veal, beef, pork, and veggie balls to hungry patrons not afraid to order at the counter. There’s salad too, but as they say, you don’t make friends with salad. More »

Holy Chuck Burgers

Holy Chuck Burgers

A tender, juicy burger is made even more wonderful when it is given a punny name. Holy Chuck Burgers understands this principle. Opened in the former home of Retro Burger at Yonge and St. Clair, Holy Chuck slings fries, patties, and shakes for typical customers, and a the odd behemoth six-patty, bacon grilled cheese burger for the adventurous. It’s not exactly cheap ($20), but boy, you’ll eat. More »

Hot Beans

Hot Beans

Hot Beans brought a menu of excessive quotation marks to Kensington early in the year. The Mexican vegan restaurant quickly attracted area herbivores with its burritos, tacos, slaw, and rice and beans, all of which would inevitably be followed by a homemade lime and coconut donut. Cheap, delicious, and nagging conscience-free. More »

Pidza

Pidza

No, that is not “pizza” with a typo. This is Pidza, a Turkish takeout spot that emerged in Bloordale in 2011, serving fresh lahmacun, which (okay) is sort of like pizza. The thin, round flatbreads are probably large enough for two, smothered with toppings including feta cheese, ground beef, spinach, Turkish sausage, and beef pepperoni. More »

Discussion

24 Comments

Bill / January 11, 2012 at 12:39 pm
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Off the hook is great! Cheap? Not really...
HUNGRY GOD DAMN IT / January 11, 2012 at 12:45 pm
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Holy Chuck isn't cheap but I'm glad to see it on the list.
Mike replying to a comment from Bill / January 11, 2012 at 01:24 pm
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I also really like Off the Hook and I frequent the place, but I would never call it cheap, either.
Martin / January 11, 2012 at 01:41 pm
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Not my definition of cheap but I guess it's all relative...
Dr.Fever / January 11, 2012 at 01:44 pm
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Story title: "The Best New Cheap Eats in Toronto,2011"

Pull quote from Holy Chuck Burgers: "It’s not exactly cheap ($20), but boy, you’ll eat."

FAIL.
Dan / January 11, 2012 at 02:05 pm
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Cheap would be 499 jerk chicken or curries right next door to off the hook or 2 falafels for 4 dollars at Ali baba around the corner. 12 dollars isn't expensive but it isn't cheap. Particularly for fish n chips
gee / January 11, 2012 at 02:09 pm
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Really? This "Cheap eats" list is sort of sad. Although I've only been to 2 of the places you listed here, Off The Hook and Holy Chuck - which isn't considered inexpensive or cheap.

I'd suggest Caribbean Dutchpot, next door neighbours to off the hook), which has a lunch special of $4.99 ice and beans, and a choice of curry or jerk chicken...which is more than filling and costs less than $10. I'm just saying there's better choices in the city for cheap eats!

TheCritic / January 11, 2012 at 02:16 pm
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Asking someone at BlogTO.com to come up with a real list of cheap eats is impossible. "Cheap eats" is the food you buy at No Frills NOT some trendy list of places that didn't make some other trendy list. As was said, cheap is the two shawarma chicken sandwiches for 5 bucks down the road in the Muslim neighborhood on Danforth. Hopefully the genius elite staff of BlogTO.com can direct us to cheap hotel packages at the Trump Toronto next. Typical Pinko Media Fail. Even the yobbs who hand out the BlogTO nightly newspapers are elitist (t.o.tonight) Try again, commies.
hazcat replying to a comment from TheCritic / January 11, 2012 at 02:20 pm
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You weren't hugged as a child. We get it, dude. Jesus.
Huuk / January 11, 2012 at 03:28 pm
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Goody's is fantastic, great to see it high on the list. I go regularly and its the best value diner in the city, bar none. Every sandwich and burger is amazing, highly recommended, but check their hours closely before heading there, no weekends or evenings.
Ramona / January 11, 2012 at 04:19 pm
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I've read the reviews and some of these places seem really good but I agree with some of the people who've stated that these are not cheap eats.. most are about $10-$12 for a burger. There are great places with food for under $6, mention those.
Derek replying to a comment from Ramona / January 11, 2012 at 08:43 pm
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Ramona – yours is the type of comment I see often on this site, so I propose a little challenge for you. Given your confidence in these great places with food under six bucks, name a few for me. And, remember, they have to have opened in 2011. To be honest, I find it strange that you didn't offer them in the first place.

I understand the comments regarding the relative cheapness of this list, but the designation is meant to cover places that won't make our best restaurants of 2011 list because they offer a pared down dining experience & cheaper food. The idea is not to roundup the places with the absolute cheapest food. Think of it more as bang for your buck in and under the $10-$20 range and you're there.
Shawn / January 11, 2012 at 11:14 pm
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Holy Chuck is pretty good and greatly underrated (comparable to the overrated, yet still very good, Burger's Priest) but I don't think they're all that cheap. A decent burger and a combo is about 15-20 after tax.
Dan replying to a comment from Derek / January 12, 2012 at 08:27 am
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Then call it bang for buck. You guys over extend yourself with these lists some times. I offered two close to me that opened in 2011 (granted one is a chain) dutchpot and Ali baba at Broadview and danforth. Those ones are close to me. I'm sure there are 8 or 9 others across our huge city. She should either try harder to find cheap eats that opened in our city in 2011 or call this list the bang for buck 2011 because as you can see by the comments no one agrees that $15 is a cheap eat which it sounds like these places all basically are.
Holly replying to a comment from Derek / January 12, 2012 at 10:42 am
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Ok, Derek.... Ramona might not be able to but I can give you a list of good food to eat under $10.

Parkdale: Island Foods - $9.50 Roti w/drink
Corktown: No Bull Burger - $6 (ish) Quinoa veggie burger. But frankly if you want the most bang for your burger buck and you like beef you should head-on out to Dangerous Dan's - no $15 burgers here.
Little Italy: Bitondo's $3.50 slice (huge!!)
Various Locations: California Sandwiches $7.00 - $12.00 depending on choices and add-ons
Koreatown: Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu you can eat a lot of food there for $10
Dufferin Grove/Little Italy: Phil's Original BBQ - Lunch menu Pulled pork Sammie $7.00
Koreatown: Tacos El Asador - Crispy Tacos Under $4 Burritos $4.50
Chinatown: King’s Noodle House
Multiple locations: Burrito Boyz - Sm Chicken burrito $6 - don't let it being called "small" fool you
Holly replying to a comment from Holly / January 12, 2012 at 10:43 am
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oh dear... the only one on my list that opened in 2011 was No Bull. The rest are just delicious cheap eats.. num num
Pinteresque / January 12, 2012 at 11:08 am
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Good list, but I would call it 'Cheaper Eats' instead of 'Cheap Eats'. Thanks for the other list, Holly
AA / February 18, 2012 at 12:07 pm
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I get it that this review is for places that opened in 2011, but the Holy Chuck Burger recco is by no means cheap. For the price, I would rather pay a bit more and get a steak dinner at Senior's across the street. If you're looking for a great cheap-eats burger, try Square Boy or Detroit Eatery on the Danforth. Neither place opened in this century, but, thankfully, their prices are also stuck in a time-warp.
Rick replying to a comment from Holly / February 18, 2012 at 12:57 pm
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So you came up with one place. Well done.
COSPLAY / September 26, 2012 at 10:10 pm
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Goody's is fantastic, great to see it high on the list. I go regularly and its the best value diner in the city, bar none. Every sandwich and burger is amazing, highly recommended, but check their hours closely before heading there, no weekends or evenings.
www.freephpwebsitehosting.com / October 20, 2012 at 06:58 am
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This is like my third time visiting your Blog. You should write more please, this information will help me and others. Try proof reading a couple of times before publishing. Keep writing though.
bancdeswisstest.com / November 8, 2013 at 07:30 am
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some great places you have selected. I am fond of hamburgers, so my choice should be easy :)
bestespilleautomater.org / November 8, 2013 at 08:20 am
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Love the beans concept, that's the place I am going after!
bitcoincasinowin.com / January 20, 2014 at 08:58 pm
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I don;t feel like these establishments are the real deal on the cheap or accessible side on prices. But sure they are well worth what you are paying, I used to go out to the hot beans place, its pretty nice in there.

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