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Affordable Eats in the Financial District

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  • jayseeca Apr 28, 2006 02:16 PM
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This summer I have a job in the Financial District, and am looking for any recs for a good lunch that won't break the bank... if its possible. I'm working very very close to Bymark, but obviously not looking for places to lunch like it. I am willing to travel about a 15min walking distance. Last summer I worked at Yonge-Bloor and was spoiled with all the different ethnic foods at great value.

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  1. I work in BCE and try to find the healthiest lunches for the cheapest price, here are some of my staples

    HSBC building food court (wellington + university) - Ruffage..sandwich and soup/salad for 5$..probably the best bargain around IMO

    BCE place food court - Marche Lino (downstairs)...curry chicken..not maybe the most authentic, but definately tastey, and a huge portion for only 5$!

    My coworker lives off Union Station pizza, I think its like 2 slices for 2$...and apparently its really good

    Soup Nutsy in TD Bank...yummy soups with bread and fruit for $6.80..if you bring your bag back you get 25cents off

    Jaclyn

    1 Reply
    1. re: Jaclyn

      Japanese Teriyaki in most food courts downtown are around the $5. (My fave is Edo Japan in BCE)

      Faruma, as aready mentioned have buns stuffed with all sorts of goodies for $1-$2 each.

      Union Station has Jamaican Patties for under $2.

      Santorini Cafe (FCP), by Epicurian has a decent shredded chicken pita (under $6, I think) Their schnitzel with rice, potato, and salad is good too( under $8, I think).

      If you wait until after 3pm (I think), Bento Nouveau sells their sandwiches for 2 for 1...I don't trust their sushi.

    2. i've trekked to st lawrence market on occasion ..

      street dogs are good -- i miss streetdogs so much, now that i'm no longer working in the core ..

      there's the soup nutsy under TD Center (right under E&Y Tower) ..

      there's Furama chinese bakery at FCP (cheap simple eats, not great, but better than mcd's for less than a dollar) ..

      there's new wok new wok in the FCP 2nd floor -- while not great, their noodle soups do me good when i have a craving for fish ball ho-fun noodle soups ..

      1 Reply
      1. re: moo

        Soup Nutsy has some decent stuff sometimes (I normally wouldn't be so hard on 'em, but I had a raging craving for some chowder last week and the batch was just awful) but at $10 a soup I wouldn't call them cheap.

        Mercatto's in the TD Centre concourse beside the Post Office has bargain soups - $2.50 to $3.00 includes crackers - and a nice selection of hot and cold foods all priced by weight. Dirt cheap self serve coffee as well.

        Hotdogs are standard low cost downtown fare - the woman in front of the Commerce Court/CIBC building on Bay/King has tasty dogs and sausages cooked to order and will give you a mint for after the meal.

        Fionn MacCool's on the Esplanade has a free oyster bar on Fridays starting at 5:00 with the purchase of a Guinness if you're looking for a cheap way to celebrate the end of another week on Bay Street.. ;)

      2. I work a bit further north near Exchange Tower. I go to a great chicken place in the "Richmond Adelaide" food court. It's the one under the Keg on York St and has a Starbucks near the food court.

        The place is called Le Poule and it's near the Subway subs. Really nice grilled chicken cheap and I often get a chicken greek salad or lately they have spinach salad with fresh fruit and a yummy dressing with chicken on top. SO good, huge portions around the $5 mark.

        1. Spices on Temperance at Yonge for good Indian food under $10, $6 meatloaf special on Friday at Petite Marche (Uni and Wellington) and Burrito Boyz of course at Adelaide and Simcoe.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Del Monte

            Can someone tell me where Burrito Boyz is? I thought it was on Peter Street. Many thanks,
            FoodieGirl

            1. re: Susan

              218 Adelaide West, at Simcoe, 647-439-4065
              120 Peter, at Richmond, 416-593-9191

            2. re: Del Monte

              I've eaten at Spices twice for lunch --- first time ordered butter chicken that was completely flavourless, as well miniscule portions and payed around 12 bucks --- I thought i'd give the guy another chance and went back 1 more time and got the lamb vindaloo, same experience, joke portions and will not go back. I eat indian alot and can definately say you should give this spot a miss.

              1. re: Del Monte

                that petite marche on university (east side) is a pretty good find. For $5 the gal STACKS you a selection of healthy food (brown rice, mix veg's, bean salad, chicken, perog's, dandilions, etc) I've been eating there for lunch regularly for about 2wks now and am pretty impressed that i can get healthy food for so cheap in such large volume. The meatloaf by the way is Tues or Wed and it's pot roast on Friday.

              2. I like Mercatto on Bay for a sit down cheap cheerful Italian lunch. It not fabulous but it fresh, fun and cheap. Pizza, pasta and sandwiches.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Mila

                  One of the best deals that I found at Mercatto (assuming they still have it and it is not sold out) is their eggplant parma which usually provides a good sized portion for under $6. Ask for extra sauce though. I found that the sandwiches are quite good but they are usually around $8 per... I always got takeout from the Victoria Street location so I can't recall how it worked at the Bay Street one.

                  1. re: Mila

                    Second Mercatto on Bay, sit-in is moderately priced but for cheaper, the best deal is the takeout counter, with hot & cold selections. It's pay-by-weight, and you can get food court price with superior quality.

                  2. check out Fast Fresh Foods in Commerce Court West. TYou select all the ingredients and then they grill the sandwich for you panini like. Good selection of breads (Ace) and really good ingredients and spreads. Their salad bar is also vey good. Same idea, you choose the salads/vegetables and dressing, they mix it for you. IO hear that they opened a burrito place at the TD center. Have not been there yet.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: waldburger

                      I have tried the burrito place in TD...I think it's called Fresh West Grill. A regular chicken or steak burrito wrap is about $7 including tax. IMO, it's a big burrito and its loaded with your choice of toppings! I like the rice, beans and corn.

                      Also in the TD foodcourt, I would recommend a place called Tabouli. They have a good chicken shwarma for only $5 including tax! I enjoy the taste of the chicken and all the toppings you get to choose to put in the pita.

                      In the HSBC foodcourt, I would recommend a place called Sautee. You can choose your own pasta and toppings (cooked on the spot) with garlic bread or salad for about $6 including tax. Many toppings to choose from and always delicious!

                      1. re: pocky

                        Another place for a chicken schwarma pita is Villa Madina in ScotiaPlaza. I find the toppings to be much better than Tabouli.

                        For just the sandwich, it comes to $5 including tax and it's a good size too!

                        1. re: sasgirl

                          I really like Madina in the ScotiaPlaza. Pretty authentic Lebanese fare -- if you order the shish taouk plate (or whichever plate) you get it with the proper fixings, just like in Montreal. Very good quality for a food court. Across from it is Thai Express for some good grub as well, and you take it away in their funny little boxes.

                          I like Mr. Souvlaki/St. Cinnamon/Fast Fresh Foods as well, and Fit for life makes a really good lentil soup and tasty sandwiches. Szechuan Szechuan's crispy ginger beef is some kind of addictive.

                          1. re: Chester Eleganté

                            Madina is great! I get the chicken sandwich with the pink pickle and garlic sauce...delicious!!

                            And if you just order the sandwich, the price is less than $5. ;)

                      2. re: waldburger

                        i agree, fast fresh foods is great. check out their website at www.fastfreshfoods.ca

                      3. Thanks for the recs!
                        I have to say that in the TD Centre Food Hall, I get my cheap, vietnamese fill from "Thai Island". They have decent vietnamese bun and various noodle soups which are fast, tasty and large!
                        Also I found a Greek place which is DELICIOUS compared to Jimmy the Greek. It's called Mr. Souvlaki, and it's in a food court around the Standard Life Centre, near a Saint Cinnamon (that sells chicken/beef roti) and the Bloor Street Diner. The guy that mans the cash register is also extreeemely nice and friendly. Last week I went to Bloor St Diner, and got a delicious 6oz burger and fries for $7 that was vastly different than any other burger place around here (McDonalds, Wendy's, Harvey's, Hero Burger)

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: jayseeca

                          I found a real gem at TD Centre's food court. It's called MB&Co and it's a cross between a kiosk and a sit down restaurant. You order your food, pay at the checkout and then they bring it to you. Excellent food -- sandwiches, salads, etc.

                          Another good option at TD Food Court is Lettuce Eatery.

                          In the First Cdn Place market, I like Naturally Yours. This is a health food store and vegetarian takeout place with both hot and cold dishes.

                        2. Jayseeca, where/who sells roti? The Saint Cinnamon? Or the Mr.Souvlaki?

                          I could definitely use one!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Olivia

                            Olivia, it is Saint Cinnamon that sells the roti. The last time I saw (last year), it was on Wednesdays. Never had it though.

                            1. re: pocky

                              Thanks Pocky! I just checked it out; packed a lunch today, so could only peruse...

                              Holy crap! They have West Indian food just about every day--jerk chicken, roti, oxtail, curries, and then chicken biryani on Fridays.

                              The woman at the counter told me they have roti everyday, which is confusing as hell since it's listed as a Wednesday special.

                              Here's hoping it's good...

                          2. Best thread in a long time, people actually chiming in with lots of good recs! A few places I'll need to try. Some recs and comments

                            The pizza place at Union Station is surprisingly good for cheap pizza, but they've recently forced you to buy a pop with the pizza...so 1 slice + pop = $2, 2 slices + pop + $3. Still a pretty good deal (they are located across from the LCBO)

                            Have to second Saute, great little place that I used to hit alot until I moved to BCE place and it's JUST far enough that I seldom go there.

                            Maxim at FCP has a daily special that is around $6 which includes soup or salad. I like that place alot, usuallly the specials are things like veggie lasagna, mac and cheese, etc. Good portions and a good deal.

                            FCP also has the market in the PATH which the name escapes me, but you can get some BBQ thighs for .80 I believe? Obviously small thighs, but not bad.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Wil

                              Lots of good recs here. Some of my fave picks if you're trying to eat more vegetables and cut back on starches (a real challenge in the food court) and still keep it cheap:

                              The New Wok (Chinese): upper level FCP. Better-than-usual Chinese food court fare for quality and price. I appreciate the wide selection and wide range of customization (i.e. instead of forcing a set combo on you like most places (e.g. rice or noodle + 2 items you don't want), you can mix & match and even order JUST an item with no rice or noodles!). They also have one of the better noodle bars in the food courts.

                              Ho Shim takeout counter (Korean): lower level FCP. Tasty and substantial. Best deal is the vegetables on rice (comes with egg). You can ask for brown rice instead of white on any selection, there may be a slight extra charge.

                              The Lettuce Eatery: TD Centre food court. If you choose carefully, you can build a great salad with (vegetarian) protein at the basic price, or upgrade for meat & more adventurous choices. You customize everything and the choices are wider and more interesting than many salad places in the King & Bay food courts. Kitchen Table in lowel level FCP has a salad bar based on weight. It's OK but the choices are ho-hum and always seem to come out to more $ than you think. I think Lettuce Eatery is better value & quality.

                              Second on the Soup Nutsy in TD. Quality and choice can get pesky after 2pm, but is an OK deal if you only need the medium (small) size, remember to reuse their bag for the discount AND use their frequent buyer card. If you don't mind slim pickings you can save $ with the 2 for 1 in late afternoon (I think after 3 or 4 pm. Put one in the fridge & reheat for the next day).

                              1. re: Wil

                                I think the FCP market is the Open Kitchen. Those chicken pieces are pretty tasty.. they sell the two-part leg for $1.49. Over at St. Cinnamon, the curry/roti/oxtail/jerk are all now available every day. I tried the oxtail on (supposedly) spicy rice and quite enjoyed it. They put lots of gravy on, but the meat is kinda fatty. Fresh West Grill has good burritos if you don't want to take on the lineups over at Burrito Boyz. Soup Nutsy - $1 for your second soup after 3pm.

                              2. Wow, I worked in the PATH for 6 years and just discovered the Standard Life Foodcourt. Lots of good options.

                                Now I need to know why there was 40 /50 people lined up at a place called Modern Wok!

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: Mila

                                  is that the one that has the Korean place across from the copy shop?

                                  if so, I really like their veggie dish -- it's got great glass noodles, the brocolli has a nice sesame oil tang, and if you smile and say please they load up the fresh kimchi (which is really more like spicy cabbage since it's really fresh, not at all fermented). It also comes with egg, cucumber, carrots and maybe something else. For some reason, the glass noodles there are totally addicting, I've never found any quite the same.

                                  1. re: orangewasabi

                                    No, it is further along if you're moving south. There is a Tim Horton's diagonally across and the steam table and specials definitely looked Chinese.
                                    They had a huge selection of regular items and specials.

                                    Maybe I'll go back and interview the line-up to find out what's good. And I saw the Korean place and will definitely check it out. I feel like found ChowFoodCourt.

                                    1. re: Mila

                                      cool, I'll have to do a tour

                                      1. re: orangewasabi

                                        ya i think that's the food court with the st. cinnamon. the curry chicken roti is pretty big and yummy.

                                  2. re: Mila

                                    Modern Wok has different specials everyday. One of my faves is a dish of green beans that is fried with some ground beef or pork and I think there are sometimes olives and possibly pieces of dried shrimp (something salty/fishy anyway). Sounds like a bit of a strange mix, but I really like it. They seem to have it about once a week. I really like their beef and Chinese brocoli too. Huge lineups, but they move you through quickly.

                                    1. re: midtowngirl

                                      Probably not olives but fermanted black beans. This is a common Chinese dish, called something like "dry-fried green beans" (coz it doens't have a sauce), usually made with pork.

                                  3. is there a kroean place anywhere in fcp or bce or cc?

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: watermelon

                                      not in BCE or CC. I haven't been to FCP in awhile, but last time I was, there was no Korean. I'd love a good Korean takeout though for any of you entrepreneurs out there.

                                      1. re: watermelon

                                        There's a kind of korean/japanese place in FCP, near the Starbucks called Ho Shim. It has a take out counter, with hot dishes, bulgogi with sweet potato noodle and all that, as well as sushi and tempura, and a sit down restaurant (Acko). I know nothing about Korean food, so I can't vouch for the authenticity, but I like the take out every once in a while (although not the tempura).

                                        (And now that I review the thread I see it has been mentioned a couple of times, above.)

                                        1. re: Minnow

                                          I've had Ho Shim for Japanese, but it's terrible. I can't imagine the Korean food is any better.

                                          1. re: pescatarian

                                            I certainly have much experience with Korean food and i can tell you that Ho Shim is definitely nowhere near authentic.

                                            I had ONE decent Korean takeout in the financial district - about 2 min walk away from the Ho Shim area, and I can't remember the name. That place is certainly not authentic either (not that it's not cooked by Korean people but they make food to appeal to all people) but it was pretty decent in taste.

                                            Would love to see some great Korean takeouts/restos in the F district.

                                            1. re: exquisite

                                              IIRC, if you go in and have a sit down meal, the food is better than the takeout. Though I haven't been there in years.

                                      2. I would work my way over to St Lawerence market for some varied and tatsy options , lots of cheap , quality grub to be had .

                                        1. Noodle King - located in the Food Court underneath the Sheraton just before you hit The Bay. Huge lineups but you get a fantastic bowl of noodles for around $5. Pick your type of noodle, and what kind of meat you want. Fresh, fast and cheap. I can eat at that place multiple days in a row and never get sick of it.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: landonfolz

                                            Yeah I like noodle king too. Nice bowl of slurpy noodles in a a decent broth, add a bit of the spicy broth too to liven things up. The wonton noodles at $3.95 is a great deal especially with the nice veggies alongside. St. Lawrence mkt has good places too if you can make the trek, i like the pasta place, churrasco chicken sandwiches, busters for a fish sandwich.