Cheap eats near University of Toronto
Hola, I am the son of a frequent Chowhound poster, and this is my first one... My girlfriend and I are going to Toronto on vacation for a few days this weekend, and I am looking for suggestions of cheap places to eat, maybe a few nice, reasonable restaurants, and/or nightspots for two college kids to enjoy... We are staying on Augusta Street, right near the University of Toronto.
Please let me know, thanks a lot!
Can you provide more detail on:
food ethinicity you would like to sample?
will you be eating all meals (breakfast/lunch/dinner) out?
what kind of night spots you are interested in? type of crowd? dress codes? type of music? (budget matters here too)
And out of curiosity: son of who?
BTW - This weekend is Caribana. You may want to check it out and sample some Island food.
Well, to answer your questions...
I would like to eat cheaply, but I am willing to have a few nice dinners if the food is worth it. I will eat pretty much any ethnicity, but I especially like pan-Asian cuisine of any sort, sushi, etc. Since we are gonna be so close to the market, we will probably pack a few lunches, but we will mostly be eating out. As for night spots, something fun and casual would be nice, music a must, I like to dance... Somewhere people my age would hang out. Club/House/Hip-hop music. I am the son of Susan Hoffman from Philadelphia, I am not sure what her posting name is though. That answer your questions?
Since you're going to be close to Kensington you might as well check out Supermarket. It hasn't been getting rave reviews on this board about the food but it is a pretty good night hang out spot for people your age and maybe a bit older. There is dancing, and the type of music you asked about.
There is also another skinny bar down Augusta a bit on the east side though the name alludes me at the moment. It's quite chill, good music and vibe, though no dancing.
Kensington is truly fabulous so really take advantage! A Saturday coffee (closed on Sunday) at the corner of Augusta and Kensington (I think) is a real treat.
About 20min walk is the Entertainment District.
Here you will find many clubs (expect a cover) that don't start hopping 'til around 10 or 11. There you will find Burrito Boyz, Fortune Cookie (friends recommend but never tried), CityTV (very unique TV station with a comment booth), among others.
May I suggest a walking tour that will give you plenty of food and entertainment possiblities:
Starting at Augusta and College
Go south on Augusta ("Supermarket" & many small unique shops)
East on Baldwin (Jamaican, among others)
South on Kensington (vintage clothing, food)
East on St. Andrew
South on Spadina (chinatown, vietnamese subs, dim sum, Kings Noodle, Goldstone)
East on Dundas (chinese bakeries, Asian Legend)
South on McCaul (AGO - art, a unique piece of architecture)
East on Queen (shops, korean all you can eat bbq)
South on Duncan
West on King (theatres, fortune cookie, many restaurants)
North on Peter (clubs, burrito boyz)
East on Richmond (more clubs)
North on John (CityTV)
West on Queen (clothes, shopping)
North on Spadina (more chinatown)
West on College (free times cafe - jewish sunday brunch)
I would append that walking tour to do more of Queen St. west of Bathurst to Dufferin and to check out either Saving Grace on Dundas west of Bathurst or Aunties and Uncles on Lippincott just north of College for brunch....at the beginning of the walking tour!
For more fab brunch places check linked website.
There are several inexpensive restaurants around Augusta (Kensington Market), Chinatown, College St (Little Italy, Little Portugal)... just read the menu before sitting down at table and see if there is anything good on the menu.
245 Augusta, at Baldwin, 416-977-0056
When Irene Morales first dished out her authentic Chilean street food 10 years ago, she did so from a vending cart located on a sidewalk in Kensington Market. Now that she's moved indoors to modest digs a block away complete with awning covered curbside patio, the savvy cook is Toronto's undisputed queen of the Latin American turnover. Want proof? She supplies several local upmarket cantinas that simply heat them up and sell them at nearly twice the price. Best: two-fisted empanadas over-stuffed with either chicken (with red pepper, black olives and hard-boiled egg), beef (as above but with the addition of raisins) or veggies (spinach, red pepper, mushroom, onion and basil pesto); vegetarian tamale-esque humitas filled with mashed corn and onion, wrapped and tied with corn husk; take-home specialties like the houses relish- like homemade hot sauce and caramelized sugar-crusted pastel de choco, fabulously sweet upside-down pie of cornmeal mush thick with chunked beef, chicken, black olives, hard-boiled egg and raisins. Complete dinners for $15 per person, including all taxes, tip and an imported beer. Average main $6. Open Monday to Saturday 9 am to 8 pm, Sunday 11 am to 5 pm
Biryani House (Yonge & Wellesley
biryani rice and naan bread!!
Salad King (Yonge and Gould
near Eaton centre
BackAlley Woodfire BBQ (188 Augusta) review:
Kuni Sushi Ya
(all you can eat Japanese menu=
$17.99 per person plus tax
20 Baldwin Street (near University),
*make sure to eat every speck of food or the server will charge you regular price for uneaten portions*
Sushi King (all you can eat Japanese menu)
15 Hayden Street (near Yonge & Bloor)
Mariko (all you can eat Japanese menu)
551 Bloor Street W. (between Bathurst and Spadina)
*make sure to eat every speck of food or the server will scold you for leaving food on the plate*
if you can't eat some of the food- just hide it in napkins
For a nicer (but still moderately priced) dinner, try Harbord Street. There are a variety of places to choose from and you shouldn't have problems just walking into any of them now that Summerlicious is over. To give you some ideas, the Boulevard Cafe has excellent Latin American food, and Kensington Kitchen has middle eastern fare, with a great roof top deck to boot. There's also MoMo's middle eastern restaurant for a cheaper lunch. All the places (with the exception of Splendido, which is very expensive) are generally affordable and pretty casual.
You'll be in Kensington Market and Chinatown, so there is lots to explore! I've eaten at Supermarket, which is a lounge/nightspot on Augusta that has decent, though not excellent, food. People rave about Kensington organic ice cream, which is on my must-try list. There's also plenty of cheeses in Kensington Market if you want to take a picnic to Queen's Park. You can get a reasonable meal at Lee Garden on Spadina, or for a bigger splurge, try the dim sum at Lai Wah Heen in the Metropolitan Hotel. I also like the szechuan shredded beef at Chung King on Spadina. Chinatown is known for its Vietnamese food, too.
On College St., Pony offers a reasonable prix fixe menu, but I haven't tried it yet. Greg's Ice Cream isn't too far away at Spadina/Bloor and has great, unique flavours.
re: Food Tourist
For Kensington market picks, I suggest La Palette on Augusta as a French but funky place. They did have a prix fixe last time I went, although I preferred to get my dessert at the organic ice cream place (who actually supplies a special flavour - apple? - to La Palette). This review is old but gives a general idea. You can make an evening of it in Kensington by checking out one of the bars after you eat.
If it gets too hot in the city, get picnic stuff in the market and take the ferry to Ward Island - bring your swimsuit.
I'm not sure how close to Augusta it is though it shan't be too far is Gandhi on Queen St. between Bathurst and Spadina. Serves up inexpensive ($10),massive, delicious, Indian roti. You can take out or eat in (recommend out).
There's also Chippy's for some high end fish and chips... between Bathurst and Spadina on Bloor.
Right on Augusta in Kensington is Big Fat Burrito which recently opened to mostly positive reviews; though I prefer the original Burrito Boys on Peter St. just south of Queen.
quite a few friends recommend Sushi on Bloor -- on Bloor, about block & a half west of Spadina ..
Koreatown isn't much further, and there's $5 ramen + pop @ Double Happiness just west of Bathurst on Bloor ..
Chinatown is right by U of T, Vietnamese Subs available at $1-$1.50 each ..
When in Korea Town, make sure you try Korean walnut cakes, which are unusual but tasty little desserts (and very cheap). I tried the ones at the bakery right beside Sejong restaurant (walnut and red bean, mashed potato and red bean, and mashed potato and walnut). I also tried their madeleines, which are basically buttery pound cake fingers.