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Cheap but GOOD steak in TO?

Any suggestions for restaurants/pubs that offer a good tasting steak that doesnt come with a steakhouse price tag?

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  1. I haven't been yet, but I've heard Tulip in the east end is good and affordable.

    1. I second the Tulip. I was there a while ago and quite enjoyed their steak.

      1. Hmmm...I guess I'm the dissenter in regard to the Tulip. We've eaten there a few times back in the '90's but I never really understood what the hype was all about. We always thought of it more as a cheap breakfast place. The only time we went for dinner was actually the last time we were there. I had ordered the steak, and it was awful! I like my steak medium-rare. They brought it out beyond well-done and it was pretty much tasteless by then! I didn't eat it...but believe it or not, the lady diner at the next table took it "to go"!

        4 Replies
        1. re: sierramum

          Never understood Tulip either 5 years ago or last year...

          But I do love the $29.00 steak WITH sides offered at Corner House. Awesome deal in my opinion.

          If you want better than average and not steak house expensive, one should try Banknote. Mind you I only had the steak there once because Banknote isn't on my "list of places", but it really was great. Black Angus if I am not mistaken. One thing for sure, you will now get a throng of ChowHounders barking disapproval if it isnt good, so dont go by me with regard to Banknote. Do try Corner House.

          Also, I think there were previous threads of some great affordable steaks at some french restos.

          1. re: bestandworst

            Where is Corner House?

            And anyone ever been to House of Chan on Eglinton? People used to rave about their steak. Go figure.

            1. re: ognir

              Here is a link to Corner House. http://cornerhouse.sites.toronto.com/
              Their Double baked milk chocolate cheesecake wrapped in phyllo pastry, berry compote is AMAZING!!

              House of Chan is very good steak still....but it isn't cheap! The fried battered onions are a great add on. Honestly I never think of going there though...always head to Harbour. For Steak and Lobster together - House of Chan is a must. Get both the fried onions AND the potatoes.

              1. re: bestandworst

                I've seen that place a million times but never been in. It's good?

        2. Try Senior's at Yonge & St Clair. They've been around since late 1960s. Very old-school kitsch. I was there two weeks ago. $30 got me a very nice, large boneless ribeye with fried mushrooms. Price included salad, baked potato, garlic bread, pickles, olives, cottage cheese and taramasalata. Great value. They don't ding you for the sides, they just bring them. My gf and I got out of there for $140, including a bottle of Wolf Blasster Yellow Label, a shared dessert, and tip.

          Enter through the side door off Pleasant Blvd and go upstairs.


          1. Yeah I would agree on Seniors. The filet is a bit more expensive ($40 I think) but as Ognir mentioned you get all the trimmings. I regularly get one filet to take out and share between two of us.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Aardvark

              Do they give you all those sides with takeout??? I've only eaten in.

            2. Le Biftheque (sic) in the Sheraton Centre is a huge touristy outpost of a Quebec-based chain. I believe they have a few other GTA locations. It has no soul, but the steaks are decent quality, usually accurately cooked, and come with rolls, salad, and veggies. It's cheaper than the Tulip and much better. Figure low-mid $20s for a meal. They sometimes advertise specials that are even cheaper, but are not mentioned unless you know to ask. The also serve a decent rack of lamb at a good price. It's no Harbour 60, but it's good.

              I haven't been to Seniors in several years, but it had been consistently good for a few decades and still was on my last visit.

              I had a great rib steak - perfect, actually -- with lovely frites, at Joy Bistro on Queen East last week. This place has just returned to its neighbourhood roots following a summer experiment with a fancy executive chef and very high prices. I can't promise consistency here, but this steak made me very happy. It was about $28.

              Whitlock's in the Beach has decent steaks for around $20.

              There's a pub on the north side of Queen between Logan and Carlaw, just east of Value Village, called Velvet. It's dark and I find it somewhat gloomy, but the food here is all homemade and surprisingly good. I've had decent steaks of various sizes for $10-$15.

              I'll never understand the Tulip's enduring acclaim as a steakhouse. I think people used to get a steak there to celebrate a big score at the nearby racetrack. It's a diner with very low prices and food that would be good if they didn't ruin the gravy with too much garlic salt. Go for a cheap hot beef sandwich (assuming you like garlic salt) with mashed and a slice of cake or pie. Why spend almost $30 for a very plain supermarket quality steak with buttered Wonder bread, unripe tomatoes, crappy wine, diner decor, and a lineup?

              2 Replies
              1. re: embee

                Its actually not supermarket quality. Both recent and old owner used to go to the butcher every morning to pick the cuts of beef. And i whole heartedly disagree that the Tulip is over-rated. Its pretty damn good at what it is: a good quality cut for thats very affordable.

                And who cares that its a diner? really, how well-to-do are you people? Sometimes..actually most of the times...the best places to eat are mom and pops hole in the walls.

                1. re: goodcookiedrift

                  The Tulip is a great diner. A great steakhouse not so much. YMMV.

              2. I have been 'forced' to eat at biftheque on many occasions with the extended family. Honestly, I have never had worse steaks anywhere. The chicken and ribs are also lousy. Chicken was not fresh tasting and the ribs are mushy. The steak is the lowest quality steak sterved anywhere. I order the roast beef when I go because it is the only thing normal tasting.

                Joy Bistro on the otherhand has very good food in general. I have enjoyed several meals for brunch and dinner. Very nice. It is my opinion that they try very hard and it works.

                4 Replies
                1. re: bestandworst

                  Interesting. I used to like the roast beef at Biftheque, but they don't seem to actually roast it any more and I find it tastes weird. I agree with your opinion about their chicken and ribs. However, I've found the rib steaks decent for the price. The strip loins I've found boring, but not actually bad.

                  1. re: embee

                    Yes that is true. The last time I had the roast beef it did taste off but I thought it was probably the one time. Well like I said my in-laws like the steak too. I find the grilled steak to be so juiceless, not even dry, just grainy and without juice. I once demonstrated what I meant. I had a piece of medium rare steak that I was never going to finish and I tried to 'wring it out'...honestly, and not a drop of anything came off of it. It was like fake meat. So so weird.

                    1. re: bestandworst

                      Biftheque is on the way out, .. no one likes it, but clueless tourists that do not know where to go. Ugh.. It USED to be good...

                    2. re: embee

                      I agree with embee about the 'weird' taste of the prime rib at Le Biftheque. I've been once, a couple of years ago, but never again.

                  2. I've found that the only way to get a decent steak in this town is to grill it yourself.

                    Get a decent grill.

                    Buy steaks from Cumbrae.

                    There is no shortage of sources which will teach you how to grill a steak well.

                    It'll cost you as much as one of those terrible steaks from Outback or Le Bifteque, but at least it'll be good.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: ascendance

                      Without question. But make that a charcoal grill! I switched back to charcoal and will never go gas again.

                      1. re: bestandworst

                        Definitely charcoal. And I find all you need for a good charred crust is a hot flame and a liberal dressing with sea salt right before you put the steak to the grill. Then sea salt for the other side just as you flip it over.

                        But if it's winter, do a salt-fry (taught to me by my father-in-law):

                        Dust a well seasoned cast iron frying pan liberally with sea salt. Heat it until it's very hot. Add your well-marbled steak -- I like ribeye, but tri-tip works surprisingly well.

                        The key is blistering heat.

                      2. re: ascendance

                        It's not the ONLY way, but it's a damned good one.

                        Get a Woodflame grill from Quebec and fire it with mesquite and hickory chunks. (Yes, of course you can use charcoal or even gas. It'll be good, but not AS good.)

                        Go to Cumbrae's and ask for a well marbled, well aged (say 45 - 60 days) rib steak on the bone about 2" thick. Get a piece well away from the loin end. Contrary to mainstream Ontario opinion, the "less desirable" end tastes better.

                        Get two commercial products: Lester's Steak Spice (available at most Jewish and high end stores - this stuff is magic) and Char Crust (I found it at Nunzios) in your choice of flavour. Don't read the ingredients - just trust me once. These things ain't "all natural".

                        Unwrap the steak and set it on a rack in the fridge. Let it dry overnight or longer. Then sprinkle generously with the Lester's on both sides and leave it at room temp for a few hours.

                        Heat the Woodflame to about 1000 F. This will take about 3 minutes at high speed. Meanwhile, sprinkle Char Crust lightly and evenly all over both sides.

                        Cook to your desired doneness, turning only once. I cook about 5 minutes per side. Then I rest it until it reaches about 135 F - rare but not blue.

                        Slice against the grain and serve.

                        The steak should cost around $35 and will serve two reasonably normal appetites.

                      3. Char Crust! I own the complete box set!!! Don't care what's in it. Everything I bbq comes out nicely crusted outside and juicy inside. I get mine at Instant Caterer in the St. Lawrence Market. Must try this steak spice you mention. When oh when will regular grocery stores catch on to this stuff?

                        1. Bishop and Belcher (Church and Hayden) - Tuesday Steak Nites! (It's my little secret, but I'm sharing it all with you)

                          For 9.95, you get: (/ = or)
                          french onion soup/salad
                          baseball sirloin (this one is better)/striplion
                          mashed potatoes/fries/sweet potato fries (get this)
                          mushrooms/fried onions/peppercorn sauce

                          It SUCH a good deal.

                          If not, I go to Mad Monty's (www.madmontys.com) because they serve well-aged, organic beef from the Butchers across the street.

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: qtxniki

                            I asked friends of mine who went (who have relatively similar foodish standards) and found the steak inedible having to leave almost half uneaten. They knew they weren't expecting much but the edible quality was simply not there...

                            1. re: artificialard

                              Did your friend go to mad montys or bishop and belcher?

                            2. re: qtxniki

                              Bishop and Belcher.. wow, that IS a deal. Thanks for sharing, qtxniki! But is the quality of the steak jeopardized by its pricing???

                              Anything else thats good there? Are there veggie options as well?

                              1. re: jennjen18

                                I just went went last night skeptically to the Bishop and the Belchers "steak night". It was actually really good for the price. I'm sad to say I've paid a lot more for worse steaks! The baseball steak was done nicely and a good sized portion too. I'd go with the French onion soup vs the ceasar salad. The soup wasn't the best I've had but it definately was tasty esp with the melted cheese on top. Nice roast veg too. The sweet potato fries where frozen I think but hey, I'm not bitchin. Avoid the peppercorn sauce. It tastes like powdered gravy with chokingly whole peppercorns. The fried onions are the way to go in terms of toppings. Enjoy and go with lots of friends. I'm looking forward to their Nacho night.

                                  1. re: hungryabbey

                                    HungryA, the steak night special is $11.00 with purchase of a any beverage. If you don't drink alchohol like me, tea or soda pop will still make the cut for getting the special which is awesome.

                                    1. re: food face

                                      wow that is good. thanks for the tip

                                      1. re: hungryabbey

                                        Anytime friend. Let us know what you think if you go. Enjoy.

                            3. never been but i've heard bills pitt at jane and wilson is a great place.......in a strip mall......total chowhound find.......

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: pancake

                                Yikes. That place was wonderful decades ago. Long forgotten. Has anyone been there lately?

                              2. Had the $22 striploin (organic, Cumbrae) from the bar menu at Czehoski last night. It was phenomenal! Deliciously seasoned, extremely tender, cooked rare. The only downside was the small size and small sides (mashed potato and salad).
                                The sad part about eating at Czehoski bar is that on weekends, they don't allow orders from the dining room menu, so I couldn't try the lamb fries, beef cheeks, veal tongue, sweetbreads, etc. if they were available.

                                I found the steak at Purple Onion at Keele/St. Clair really dull. Now that I've had Ruth's Chris' porterhouse, there's no turning back to non-aged steak.

                                1. Well not 'cheap' but certainly not as pricey as some is "The Place For Steak" in the plaza at the Northwest corner of Bathurst and Sheppard. I haven't been in quite a bit but the late father-in-law used to take the 'family' out about three or so times a year and that's where we went! Has the look of the old Steakhouses of yore and also the (old school)waitstaff who've been around forever...all that being said it was great value, great service, definitely a multi-generational restaurant (lots of Grandparents, Parents and offspring). The Steak always competently done as ordered, they have good Ribs and usually decent Sole (?) ...the complete dinner comes with all the sides anyone could ask for and a rather dismal desert choice. My father-in-law was a great one for getting his money's worth and this Restaurant delivered! Haven't been in a few years but if it's still in business given its 'fussy' clientele...I'd say give it a try!

                                  1. Bungalow Cafe on King West near Strachan offers a 3-course dinner special @ $25.
                                    You get a soup or a salad, a main (3 or so choices, one being steak), and a dessert.
                                    Anyone tried?

                                    1. I like D-Ganz on St. Clair W. Not a big place and not a big menu. But good quality steaks at a really affordable price. Check out this article from NOW. They do it more justice than I ever could.


                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: snackventurer

                                        Cold weather always makes me crave steak, and that combined with the resurgence of this thread left me with little recourse but to go and eat some beef already. Headed up to D-Ganz tonight, and the place is actually a lot nicer than I expected. It's definitely small, and not fancy by any stretch... but you wouldn't feel completely out of place if you just came from work, for example. Think Green Mango-esque decor (something between the Yonge & Bloor location and the Runnymede one).

                                        But the STEAK! Delicious. Actually cooked to what you want, juicy, and flavourful. (I generally like the Keg, but I only have their prime rib there b/c it's always baffled me how a self-proclaimed steakhouse can consistently over-cook every steak I order)

                                        I had the 8 oz. sirloin, which came with 2 thin slices of garlic toast, mashed potatoes, and veggies. Veggies were pretty bland, could use some garlic & salt. Potatoes and toast were nondescript... stuff you could make at home with your eyes closed. It wasn't *bad*, it was just... food.

                                        But $12.95 for a great steak is hard to beat. Sadly, the deals referred to in that NOW article are no more... the 10oz Striploin is $18.95 and the 12 oz. is $22.95. The 12 oz. is the most expensive thing on their menu though, and there are a number of other choices, like the breaded pork tenderloin special with dessert and coffee for $16.95. I was too full to order dessert!

                                        Server was great, really friendly and on the ball (there were only 2 tables there though). Owner came out to say thank you and goodbye... very neighbourhood-y feel. Overall, a great experience and I'll definitely be back.

                                        Thanks for the tip! Nothing warms one up like a nice sizzling steak, in my mind!

                                        1. re: CuriousCat


                                          815 St Clair Ave W, Toronto, ON M6C1B9, CA