Toronto seems to have its own microclimate in the eating scene where good food is always in season. With everything from hole in the wall hotspots to the highest quality fine dining restaurants, there’s also a healthy array of cheap and cheerful options. Enjoying your edible experiences on a budget doesn’t necessitate fast food or an abysmal ambiance. Many of the best restaurants in Toronto treat their guests to an alluring atmosphere, delectable dishes and dynamic drinks without delving too deep into the bank account. If you’re looking to satisfy your craving for good food while keeping an eye on your finances, you need look no further…
Cardinal rule is that unpretentious, uber awesome West End spot that you’ve been salivating over since you can’t even remember. They’ve got great $9 daily lunch specials, cool twists on your favourite comfort foods, and an exceedingly approachable atmosphere. With some of that change still left in your pocket, you might consider procuring one of the local art pieces that line their walls.
Pizzeria Via Mercanti
I know we’ve been saying it a lot lately, but when it comes to fantastic Neapolitan pizza for the frugal-minded, Pizzeria Via Mercanti is impossible to ignore. A gem of Southern Italian style in Kensington Market, everything that comes out of their kitchen is freshly made and freakin’ delicious!
A sojourn into the sandwich archives that stands alone in Toronto. Arepa Café is a haven for fresh and delicious Venezuelan sandwiches and excellent baked goods. Exposed brick and wood-top tables will have you lounging in cool comfort. Sip on a mojito and stare out their garage door storefront onto the always-eclectic Queen West strip.
With one solitary item above $15 and a substantial effort put in to procuring strictly local and sustainable ingredients, Beast is always at its best. A hip joint with well-priced wine (currently ½ price on Wednesdays) and wicked cool preparations, Chef Scott Vivian is constantly throwing down the bomb shiz!
The pretty personal pizzas that pop out of the kitchen at Pizza Rustica are packed with flavour and the freshest of ingredients. Their menu doesn’t end at the ‘za – huge entrée salads, great appetizers and a lively selection of vino makes this Wellington Street spot one worth walking into!
The always-tempting TUM staple finally cemented themselves at their Ossington Avenue digs back in December and has since been offering some of the most affordable seafood in the city. The vibe is visceral and only serves to enhance the edible experience that you get on each visit.
Revered the city wide over for its $1/oz. house wine, Gusto 101 has a lot of good going for them. They’ve got Tuscan wood fired pizza under $16, fresh pastas, and artisanal ingredients on just about everything – now that tastes good on your palate and your pocketbook.
Glas Wine Bar
Every bottle on the menu at Glas Wine Bar is under $46 – need we say more? Offered in 3oz and 6oz pours, as well, this Leslieville restaurant is ideal for an elegant yet affordable evening. Chef Danny Pantano has worked in Michelin-starred kitchens and brings an exceptional and ever-changing dinner menu as well as a Saturday brunch that’s to die for.
Photo Courtesy of Cardinal Rule’s Facebook Page.