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Cheap Lunch in Bay & Bloor Area

Office just moved from Queen & John to Bay & Yorkville and I am already missing my old lunch spots...

Is there anything in the area for a quick takeout lunch that tastes good and not expensive?

Only thing in Cumberland Terrace food court that tastes half decent is the Turkey at Roasty Jacks but this time of year the last thing I want is Turkey!

Looking for Korean (like a Ho Su) and little chinese, thai and greek places like the Queen street market...

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  1. i used to work up there. these are the places that i miss most:

    on the street level of cumberland terrace is esther's soup kitchen. amazing soups and other items like chili, beef stew, and chicken curry. a great thing that they encourage is the mixing of soups. btw, for a treat, check out the dessert lady across the street, outside on cumberland.

    on charles street between balmuto and yonge there's exotic tandoori. meat wrapped in a naan, both piping hot straight from their tandoori oven. very inexpensive. i usually get two. they also have a buffet hot table which i have never tried because i usually go there during off peak hours so it doesn't look that fresh.

    and i like the new yorker deli on the west side of bay just north of charles. their cabbage borsht is very beefy. a large one with a toasted bagel is under 6 bucks.

    two not that cheap options, but not too bad for a once in a while takeout, and it's super quick: pussateri's for their amazing sandwiches, and whole foods for their buffet selection. both are closer to the $10 mark not including a drink.

    1. There's a lot of good stuff in Roy's Square (enter either on Bloor just east of Yonge or on Yonge just south of Bloor) like the Salad House (salads, soup, wraps, etc., all well under $10), Ritz (Caribbean; the jerk special is $3.99), Biryani House (daily lunch special for <$8) and a few other places I haven't tried (Chinese, Thai & Greek places, I think).

      If you want organic/vegan food try Camros on Hayden (just east of Yonge, south of Bloor). If that food's not your thing, it's worth going just to pick up a brownie or some amazing carrot cake for dessert.

      7 Replies
      1. re: ltdan

        Roy's Garden chinese food (in Roy's Square) is fantastic. Best to call in an order, though. It gets busy at lunch. And it's more a takeout place, than an eat-in, even though they have a few stools by the front window.

        1. re: sierramum

          Roy's Garden is *a* choice but I would hardly call it fantastic Chinese food. I live near there and finally decided to give it a try. Typical Canadian-Chinese stuff which is only passable in a city renowned for the quality and variety of Chinese cuisine. Unless for a quick lunch take-out, that place is only for those whose palate hasn't evolved pass chicken broccoli with pork fried rice and an egg roll.

          Biryani House and Ritz's, on the other hand, are great. Can't go wrong with Ritz's $3.99 lunch special with jerk chicken, rice and beans, gravy, and coleslaw. For a complete different change, go back to Biryani House for dinner where there is a regular menu with a more restaurant-like atmosphere. The channa masala (stewed chickpeas) is spicy and complex.

          Crepes a GoGo on Yonge and Yorkville has a huge variety of yummy savoury crepes, and sweet ones if you so incline. The place is owned by a charming French woman who hires a mostly French staff.

          1. re: ah123

            Well, my (caucasian) husband just adores this place. When he worked at Bay & Charles, his (Chinese) co-worker would call in orders, so I'm guessing she was able to get the 'good' stuff. Their soups are pretty good.

            1. re: ah123

              Roy's Garden serves Canadian Chinese food as well as authentic dishes, you just need to know what to order from their huge menu. For example, chicken in cream corn sauce over rice is a typical Hong Kong fast food dish. And when I feel unwell I would have the chicken and pickled veggies vermicelli soup.

              1. re: Teep

                Went by this place today it was packed but I did not want to try and decipher their menu and wait for the food to be cooked.. I just wanted a quick in and out and took a peek at their steam table.. It was very small and nothing on it looked appetizing... I left and went to Ritz and had a Roti for $6. All I can say is I miss being down at Queen and John.. The roti was not bad but it also was not good. I would not return for one... unlike the amazing Rotis in the Grange food court... Island Foods???

                Still looking for good takeout ...

                1. re: OnDaGo

                  Next time you go by Roy's Garden, grab their take-out menu. It's got everything on it. All the dishes in the menu with Chinese characters are authentic. I usually just call in my order, then go in and pay; the kitchen is always busy so that's the best way to go. I never have anything from their steam table.

                  1. re: Teep

                    Ditto on the steam table. They actually do prefer you to take a menu and then call in your order. So yummy when it's fresh!

        2. I work in the area...we usually go for lunch at BBQ Express, or there is the Parkway Deli on Yorkville by the parking lot for little sandwiches, soups adn small hot dishes even, they are very friendly adn cheap, but not open after 3 pm on Saturdays.

          Falafel King on Yonge, Anything in Roy's Square (Yonge and Bloor) If you want a sit down meal and don't mind spice, there's a Mexican place just north of Bloor on Yonge (opposite the reference library). There's a Mega Wraps under the Nike store on Bloor (accessible from Yorkville park), the foodcourt you went to I usually got ot heRoast beef place, they have good cheap hot lunches...Roasty Jacks has stuff other than Turkey but I don't really appreciate their food...if you walk in a bit further, there is a little place on the right. I don't know the name, but it is like a little pub and you can get cheap stuff there too....if you come up with anything else please let me know because I would love to....

          OH!! And there's a breakfast place/diner on Yorkville Avenue called Flo's...it's on the N side of the street...very nice place..family friendly...a co-worker usually takes her 2 year old there...they give the kids balloons! And fairly cheap with good service adn a fair bit of food.....hope it helped a bit.

          6 Replies
          1. re: BuggySer

            Thanks for the responses but I try to avoid soups and deli as I find the salt content too high... was hoping for a hidden chinese gem... but I guess not...

            Any Greek in the hood?

            1. re: OnDaGo

              Roy's Square has Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese and excellent Indian. Actually Yonge St, just south of Bloor has many Asian options that will offer more than just soup. I usually go to the Banana Leaf (Viet) or Biryani House (Indian) in Roys Square. In the summer you can sometimes get an outdoor table as well.

              It's a good place to go when you are with others and you can't agree on what type of food you want.

              1. re: OnDaGo

                I used to work in that area too... I don't know if Avenue Road and Davenport is too much of a trek for you, but there's a fantastic Thai restaurant called Bua Thai. Pretty Authentic, family owned and run... They're thai, so if you don't see something that you want on the menu... you can ask them if they can make if for you! They have different daily lunch specials so it's a little easy on your wallet!

                There's also a chinese restaurant south of Davenport... I can't for the life of me remember the name of it! Their Dim Sum is supposed to be great, but I always stuck to the lunch specials too! Pretty cheap for the Yorkville Area. I think the outside was painted pink... I'm scratching my head

                Hope this helps a little!

                1. re: YYZtoSFO

                  Tried this place today - Pink Pearl. There was only one other table of two when we walked in at 12:20 and one other person showed up the whole time we were there.

                  The menu is small Seafood, beef chicken & Pork / veg sections with 4-5 dishes under each. Many had the same preparation ie Honey & pepper chicken / Honey & pepper beef / Honey & pepper pork ...
                  Each came with rice & soup or spring roll all between 8.95-9.95

                  The only other option was Dim Sum for two which we chose. The first sets of dishes were about a 4/10 deep fried greasy wonton skins, some sort of flaky pastry thing.. a shrimp and noodle mold... The steamed dishes were OK but not great. for two this was $19.50

                  Will not be going back...

                  1. re: OnDaGo

                    I've eaten at the Pink Pearl a few times...never had the dim sum option though.

                    I usually get the shrimp and broccoli combo and it's pretty good. Co-workers have ordered the honey/pepper chicken, sweet&sour chicken, etc. Given the other choices in the neighbourhood, it's not that bad.

                    1. re: OnDaGo

                      I've only eaten there once, for dinner. I had a number of dishes, all of which were good, but the honey pepper steak/beef was fantastic. I remember it to this day

              2. I know you didn't ask for Italian, but I really like the scaccia (kinda like a calzone, bigger and cut into squares) at Scaccia in the basement of the Manulife Center, They have one with rapini that was good; also sausage and peppers. They are about $5. If you go around the corner towards Bay Bloor radio, you can buy a bottle of blood orange juice at another little deli and enjoy them together.

                I am also a fan of the roast beef, arugula, and caramelized onion sandwich on focaccia from the to-go counter at Bloor St. Diner, upstairs. About $6. The sandwich suffers a bit from being pre-made and wrapped in saran, but the beef is house-cooked and absolutely delicious. They have other good sandwiches too, but this is my favorite.

                1. New York(er?) Deli (Bay across from the Manulife) - very fantastic.

                  It's not fancy, but if you want a good bowl of chicken noodle (mazzo balls?), turkey sandwich (real, roasted turkey), or a ruggie... this place is perfect lunch. This is where I take my dad (unless he wants dirty, pub-y wings).

                  Nothing will be carmelized - but they do bake their own apples.


                  1. Okonomi House at Charles and St. Nicholas for Japanese crepes and Foccacia on Heyden just south of Bloor off Yonge for Italian sandwiches. Crepes A Go Go at Yonge & Yorkville now that Wanda's is gone.

                    1. On Da Go - I'm now living at Bay/Bloor and after reading all the posts, can share in what I assume, is our mutual frustration. After going through all of the above, I got excited about nothing - which is sad as this is supposed to be the 'area' to live and work in in Toronto. With all the money here you'd think that we could at least have a handful of great spots to eat at! The restaurants around here are nothing special - absolutley nothing to write home about, and will no doubt, it will be tough for you to find a good lunch every day of the week. I was surprised that no one recommend the thai place Green Mango on Yonge - I have no desire or interest to eat there, but it's always packed. Beside it, just a bit north, is a place that does have really good middle eastern food. The taboulleh is fresh, healthy and tasty. The fallafels (sp) are excellent - add hot sauce. And the roasted peppers are delicious and done on site. I also want to eat their Baklava (sp) but am off sugar since Dec 31st so can't touch them! Other than that, there is zip around here worth trying. 7 west is dirty, dingy, has lousy food and service and what I consider a 'dark dump' that I would never recommend. I had breakfast at the New Yorker deli and the only good thing was the fresh grapefruit juice. The Bloor Street Diner just plain stinks - it's so ordinary and oh how I'd die to have an Earl's or Cactus Club from Vancouver in there! (I'd be 20lbs heavier however!).... what else have I found.. I totally agree with Pusateri's - nothing is bad there, and the choice for lunch items is endless. Everything I have tried at Scaccia was tastless. No one mentioned Dinah's Cupboard - they have a few tasty take out items.. some better than others - the soup is usually very good, and she does a nice salad for 5 or 6 bucks - delicious homemade dressings for it as well (raspberry vingetrette) sp... what else. Stay away from Okanomi House.. again, can't belive they are even in business. Holt's Cafe I went to and did not like it - very showy and the food was again, nothing worth going back for. However, if you go to Holt's take out/ sit down in the basement, the cold curry chicken is VERY good. The Holt's Cafe is actually kind of odd now that I think of it. Rabba on Charles near Bay has really really great chicken schnitzel in the deli section.. some Eurpoean lady is making this in her house and it's fantastic! So much garlic and flavour.. it's unreal and really tasty cold! I get a few pieces each week to savour. Hmm... I'm on a roll.. Remy's on Yorkville for your Friday team-out lunch has the best salad with chicken satay's.. it's like 10 bucks and comes with so much flavourful grilled chicken that you'll wonder how they do it for the cost! That with a beer and you're set. Ok.. I hope this was somewhat helpful. Let me know what you think. Derek

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Derek

                        Derek, what do you have against Okonomi House - the food or the premise? While it's sort of dingy and totally lacking in ventilation (when I was last there) I believe the Okonomi they serve is authentic japanese fare.

                        1. re: Derek

                          Hey Derek good to hear your thoughts... Funny thing is that I have lived at Bay and Wellesley for close to 20 years but only recently had my office move to Bay and Yorkville... got to love a 7min commute (walk) to work! But in those years have never had to worry about take out lunch but have tried many places for dinner...

                          Anyway had to mention a couple of things... Tried Sping rolls take out place friday.. the shrimp dumpling was good but I chose the wrong dish when I got the saly shrimp. The chicken dish looked good though..

                          Gourmet Food by Frances at 24 Wellesley St W between Bay and Yonge is a bit of a walk for me for lunch but have gotten some good dinners there on the way home..

                          Green Mango is not bad have not tried them yet for lunch but will pop in soon as my options are dropping..

                          On the main level of Cumberland Terrace there are some ladies doing what seems to be mostly soup but I noticed they also do Roti. As they seem west indian I will take a chance. Has anyone been?

                          One place been to for dinner is Carens on Cumberland just west of the parking garage. They do good food in a wine bar atmosphere.

                          As for your Remys Satay Chicken... don't tell anyone... but I was talking to one of the bartenders and they told me their "secret" was that they DEEP FRY the satay so it cooks quick without drying out :-). Most of their food is over priced and not great. The Spaggetti and Angel Hair pasta are fine but you HAVE to tell them to be light on the sauce or else they drown it. I will be in trouble when it is summer and can sit on their patio each day...

                          Burger and fries from the truck in front of Canadian Tire are very cheap and taste OK but wish they were hand cut instead of frozen fries.

                          Hero burger in Hazelton Lanes is nothing special but has good fries.

                          Had a chicken breast sandwhich at Bloor Street Diner last year I had one half which was fine but when I picked up the other half the peice of chicken was about the size of a looney! Called the waitress over and her response was that "well it all must have been on the other half of the bun"..

                          Guys from work went to the Mexican place on Yonge North of Bloor and said it was the slowest place they have ever eaten at...

                          Still searching...

                        2. Hi Teep - I found the food at Okonomi House to be very bland, and perhaps as I'm no expert on Japenese food, did not enjoy the dark meat that was served (chicken) in tiny tiny cut up pieces, covered in soy sauce. Did I miss something here?

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Derek

                            Was that the teriyaki, not their specialty the okonomi "pancakes"?

                            1. re: Derek

                              I would recommend a 2nd visit and have the okonomiyaki. It should be obvious to anyone to try a dish that is the namesake of a restaurant. It might not suit your palette, but they're 100% authentic.


                              For another Japanese option, try Tokyo Kitchen (20 Charles St E). Pretty decent tonkatsu, udon, soba and ramen. Stay w/ the cooked foods.

                              1. re: aser

                                I've always enjoyed the hamburger steak there. There's not much to it and it's not foodie at all - just a nice sized hamburger patty with this very thick, sweet teryaki sauce. Guilty pleasure.

                                But yes, I agree on ordering the okonomiyaki even if it's just once.

                            2. I'm skeptical, especially when someone calls the Indian 'excellent' in Roys Square. :S Sorry. Anyway, Sister Saigon at Bloor and Yonge is probably the one I would head to. I miss a lot of the places that USED to be at Bay and Bloor. Does that make me OLD? Bloor Street Diner has some pretty decent food but reasonable, NO!

                              1. Haven't been there in years but there used to be a fun place on Yonge Street south of Charles called the Good Life or the Real Life or something like that. They had great cajun chicken. Other than that, the Yonge/Bloor corridor is a culinary wasteland.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Dusty73

                                  Dusty, might you be thinking of the Living Well?