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Cheap(ish), Fun Eats in King West Area

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Any recommendations for fun, funky and relatively inexpensive restaurants in the King West area? Entree up to $15. Any genre.

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  1. Lack of response seems to indicate that "King West" and "relatively inexpensive" are mutually exclusive. I tend to lean in that direction.

    That said, I'm not sure where you want to be on King Street West (Yonge to Landsdowne is about 5 km), but assuming you want to be not too far from Spadina or Bathurst, I think you're looking at pub food. I prefer The Foggy Dew over Fionn Mccolls or The Banknote, but I'm not sure I'd run a yellow light to go to any of them. My friends like the fish and chips at the "Dew", but I am not convinced.


    1. Coco Rice is relatively cheap, especially at lunchtime.

      5 Replies
      1. re: LissyDee

        I took all the Chowhound recommendations seriously, and went to Coco Rice for lunch. The chicken pad thai (one of five or six pedestrian-sounding specials) was practically inedible. I won't be going back.

        1. re: estragon

          Sorry to hear that. I have had the pad thai when others have ordered it there. I have never found it to be great, but also never disgusting...just average. I would have to say TOO many restos prepared pad thai poorly. To me it is one of the riskier dishes to order however silly that may sound for a thai resto. I enjoy their Tom Yum soup and special pumpkin they often serve. I think their wonton soup is surprisingly great. The green curry chicken is always enjoyable. But what I really go there for is the Thai Grilled Beef and the Asparagus dish. The beef flavour is outstanding IMO - I ask them to prepare medium well as it can be overdone without asking. Even at that the beef quality/tenderness varies from visit to visit, but I am always satisfied.

          1. re: deelicious

            Thanks. Perhaps I'll give them another chance if I'm in the neighbourhood. Interesting point about pad thai being one of the riskier dishes to order - this had never occurred to me, but I'm sure you're right.

          2. re: estragon

            I think it's important to take most CH recs with a grain of salt. Not everyone who posts on CH is a true 'hound, especially on this Ontario board. I've learned that the hard way, too! I wish more people would post details about their food, not just "go there" or "it's great" statements.

            1. re: Food Tourist

              That being said, a true hound will visit a resto for one specific dish even if the 'pad thai' sux. Thats why it is helpful for posters to explain why they feel the way they do about what.

        2. Its the fun and funky part mixed with inexpensive that makes it difficult on King West.

          Coco Rice is really good and well priced too but I wouldnt call it fun nor funky. The Dew is just OK unless you love pub food. BankNote is like a Cara operation.

          The Drake fits the bill IMO but it is on queen. Terroni on Queen is a good bet too.

          For Your Eyes Only is fun funky but the food isnt all that great - or so they say...

          1 Reply
          1. re: deelicious

            Banknote is SO grim. If you're ever forced to go there, the cheese-and-sauce pizza's not offensive. The steak is just sad :-(

          2. If you can mosey up to queen west shanghai cowgirl certainly fits the bill. You can also go to the lunch buffet for 9.95 at bombay palace where the tastes are absolutely divine. the lunch buffee at Kama india http://www.kamaindia.com/buffet.html is also very reasonable

            you can also hit the st. lawrence market where there's a ton of options inside during the week all fresh, local and reasonably priced.

            1. I'm not sure what fun and funky means to you, anzie - sitdown or takeout, trendy or family, Sneaky Dees or Habitat..........?

              Regardless, here's a few possibilities - I don't know exact prices but they're in your ballpark:

              - Bento Sushi on the south side of King at Portland is reasonably priced and has great butterfish etc.

              - Siddharta is a good Indian spot on the south side of King just west of Bathurst; they have a decent buffet.

              - Hop up to Queen and Bathurst to Johny Banana, a Latin American place on the east side of Bathurst a few doors north of Queen. It's gotten mixed reviews but *shrug* I liked it, and I'd call it funky.

              - Lalot is across the street. It may be slightly more expensive than you're wanting. Good drunken chicken and green beans. It's Laotian IIRC.

              - Cinquecento is a little Italian spot on the south side of King, a door or two west of Siddharta. The service can be a little inept, but the food's pretty good and reasonably priced, and it's a comfortable place to sit and yak with friends.

              None of these places are barnburning fabulous, but I'd call them cheap and cheerful, reasonable everyday neighbourhood spots.

              1. Its true. It is impossible to know what fun and funky is to YOU.

                Personally the closest one to fun/funky out of those suggestions would be Cinquecento. The food can be fantastic and it is a "cute" place. On an aside, I would reco Toshi over Bento Sushi.

                3 Replies
                1. re: deelicious

                  (Further aside: deelicious, as recently as a few months ago I'd have agreed with you about Toshi, but my last couple of visits have been just a bit rough - nothing outrageous, but some fibrous fish, and some starting-to-fall-apart fish. Plus they started charging extra to put the spicy mayonnaise on the side, which just struck me wrong. So these days I'm liking Bento more.)

                  1. re: spigot

                    Thanks a lot for the update! I have been so anamoured with Japango that I have almost exclusively switched. I still need to get up to Sado.

                2. Was at Bandido's a couple weeks back and the owner had me in stitches; my face hurt from laughing and smiling so much.

                  So, it was fun. And the food was really good; in the price range you're talking. It might've been just "good" if I had less to drink.. I do intend on going back to find out for sure before they close due to condo development in the area apparently.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: NovoCuisine

                    Jalapeno at King and Niagara has reasonable Mexican food, although I wouldn't call it funky.

                    1. re: jamesm

                      Yea its great food, but not funky - true.

                      1. re: deelicious

                        What did you eat at Jalapeno that was "great"? I found it mediocre.

                        1. re: Food Tourist

                          Sorry to hear that. The chips are made in-house and although sometimes salty, they are very good as is the spicy salsa in the selection.

                          I enjoy the Pork in Banana leaf for its bite and depth of flavours. The chicken breast with green mole is always good but on some visits it is particularily well made. That being said, I find the fajitas to be bland and uninspired.