The top 10 new cheap eats in Toronto
The top cheap eats restaurants to open in Toronto so far this year know how to keep your belly full and your wallet too. They’re inspired by memories of nonna’s meatballs, eating bagels for breakfast in bed, taco binges, simple meals in exotic places, and of course, that long-standing cheap go-to: the ubiquitous sandwich.
Here are my picks for the top new cheap eats to open in Toronto so far this year.
This humble restaurant near Yonge and Davenport doesn’t attempt to compete much with the ultra-fancy Yorkville restaurants nearby. Instead, they serve restaurant-quality home-cooked Greek specials here like roast leg of lamb and chicken or pork souvlaki for around $15 with sides like Greek salads and roast potatoes.
Tacos at this Eglinton West joint are just $3.75 or three for $10, a far cry from the usual Taco Bell or bar fare, these reasonably priced snacks are presented with the flair and artistry of any downtown pub, but with fresher ingredients, like shrimp, cod, pork, and organic pineapple.
Lechon is the name of the game at this family-run restaurant at Bathurst and Wilson. Whole lechon chickens are just $10 and more than enough to feed an entire family especially when doused in a homemade Filipino dipping sauce. Lechon baboy (pork) is sold by the pound.
An homage to the local red sauce joints of Toronto like California Sandwiches and nearby Nonna’s, this place bumps up expected prices for deli sandwiches but drastically lowers them for items like fresh made pastas and salads with house mozzarella, making for a cheap lunch or dinner option in Bloordale.
At this hidden gem in the middle of knot of huge office buildings and hospitals around University, build-your-own salads are only $2.10/100 grams. They also have cheap DIY sandwiches ($9.75), poke bowls ($10.95), and pastas ($4.50 - $9.50).
Entrees under $20 at this Junction casual spot consist of mash-ups of island and other cuisines in humongous portions, including items like jerk shrimp pesto fettucine, jerk mac n’ cheese, and jerk tacos.
One of the most popular snacks across the Middle East is the humble manaeesh, a flatbread sandwich usually stuffed with cheese, meat, and/or veggies. These typically don’t go much over $5 at this West Queen West cafe, same with knaffeh, cheesy dough pies topped with sweet orange blossom syrup.
Montreal bagels are available at this St. Clair West shop that cold smokes all its own salmon right before your eyes. To get in on the sweet lox you may have to pay $8 for it on a bagel with cream cheese, but a plain chewy bagel is $2 and $4.75 with just yummy cream cheese.
Panini made to order using ingredients like tangelo, fresh ricotta, truffled honey, beet, gorgonzola and mascarpone hover around $10 at this Junction cafe, with salads like potato and octopus or cantaloupe and prosciutto for $8.
The Montreal-style bagels cooked on-site authentically in a deep wood-burning oven at this spot on the Danforth are only 95 cents each and come in over a dozen flavours like poppy seed, pumpernickel, chocolate, and blueberry with spreads in various flavours clocking in at just around $2.
Hector Vasquez at Fat Lamb Kouzina
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