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Cheap, TTC-accessible eats in Toronto

I'm a high-school student in Toronto, and for the first year this year (grade 11), I have spares around my otherwise-ridiculously-short (40 minute) lunch break.

What this means is that I can go out for lunch. My school is around Bloor & Spadina, and as previously discussed on this board several times, there aren't a lot of options other than Pizza Pizza and the wonderful Nataraj around. But it's very close to the subway, and I have almost two hours for lunch...

So my criteria are this: preferably under ten dollars for lunch, fairly fast service or takeout, not too formal, and not a long walk from a subway stop near-ish to Spadina or St. George. I'm willing to make a hike out to anywhere near the subway, but I'd really rather not go to Finch station. So ideally downtown.

As for my food preferences, I'm up for anything, though I'm not a big fan of Asian cuisine (which is a shame because it's often the cheapest food available). I am partial to Indian though, and delis.

Currently my list of places to check out include Harbord Fish & Chips, Dooney's Café, Country Style Hungarian, and Black Camel. I'm looking for some mid-day adventure, so don't feel like you can't send me to some hole-in-the-wall. I'll bring a friend, and a map, so don't worry about me. =P I'd rather go somewhere interesting and unusual than somewhere boring but more convenient.

Sorry to make this so long, but one specific thing I'm looking for: a bakery that does sausage rolls and shepherd's pie and scotch meat pies and that sort of thing. Ideally more TTC-accessible than the intriguing-but-not-TTC-accessible Brick Street Bakery. Thanks so much!

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  1. Where are you going, UTS? Anyway, take a 10-minute ride east to the Danforth, and you will have a plethora of options. Indian, Asian, veggie, and of course, Greek, plus to fit your criteria, some places like Joe Allen will have lunch specials in your budget.

    While I was at U of T, I also had about 2 hours for lunch, and spent a lot of time on Spadina at College (of course I liked Chinese food, and there was also Mother's subs, now long since gone), and would sometimes venture down to Baldwin St, which has a number of interesting spots (Gaston's, alas, is also no more).

    1 Reply
    1. re: KevinB

      Good guess. Yeah, I go to UTS. Thanks for the suggestions! I'd not even really considered the Danforth, but thinking about it, there are certainly a lot of options there.

    2. i applaud your adventurous spirit at such a young age! i'd take a stroll west on bloor to markham, just west of bathurst, and head south to the Butler's Pantry and the Victory Cafe. take advantage of patio weather while you can!

      1. In about 15 min by foot (less on the subway), you can be in Koreatown, with all the cool food that entails. No sausage roll though.

        1. - You could probably walk to Kensington in about 15 minutes... Jumbo Empanadas is great, quite filling, and very inexpensive. Papusas from some of the latin grocers are also very tastey (they make them in-house on little hotplates while you wait).
          - Also in Kensington, you can also find a Caribbean bakery (on Baldwin, I think) with Jamaican patties and wonderful baked goods (black rum cake... fantastic).
          - Momos on Harbord is not-too expensive and good for Middle Eastern.
          - And Ghazale is a cheapie legend (again Middle Eastern) - right in the Annex.
          - For deli, I like the New York at Bay just south of Bloor (they roast a turkey every day, so the turkey sandwiches are great). Huge, fresh salads too. You're also close to Mel's on Bloor for all-day breakfast.
          -Fresh (Juice for Life) is a great health foodie resto in the Annex - although you may have to watch your pricing a bit.

          1. You could hop on the streetcar to Spadina and Dundas and have a plethora of options. Banh Mi, Chinese bakeries, dumpling houses, etc.

            I also second Ghazale, great place for a cheap falafel or two.

            1. Go to Baldwin Avenue, there are whole plethora of choices there!

              1. at some point, you might want to head over the Church St south of Wellsley and check out the hot table at Reithers (a german deli). I love the meatloaf there, as well as the schnitzel, meat patties, knakwurst, thin sliced roast beef for sammies. My husband likes their shepard's pie (personally, I don't care for the dish so I am not a good judge of their version).

                You could take the harbord bus over to Wellesley station -- mgiht be faster than the subway but maybe not much faster than walking. It's under 5 minutes from Wells station though.

                2 Replies
                1. re: orangewasabi

                  What are the prices like at Reither's?

                  1. re: xtal

                    pretty cheap - $5-6 for a meatloaf or schnitzel sandwich (you pick the bun from the fresh breads). $3ish for a meat patty or knack. I sometimes get the knack, sauerkraut and perogies for under $8 and roll away. You can leave there stuffed for well under $10

                2. I ditto the Danforth suggestion. Good lunch options there include Messini for authentic gyros and Athens for spanakopita and honey balls... both are a couple minutes' walk from Chester station.

                  If you head west along the Bloor line, the Koreatown stretch between Bathurst and Christie has some interesting finds including Ajuker Fried Chicken (Korea's answer to KFC) if you're craving something greasy and spicy. Grab a half-dozen walnut cakes from the nearby bakery for dessert while you're at it.

                  445 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K1P1, CA

                  5 Glen Cameron Rd, Markham, ON L3T, CA

                  Hodo Kwaja
                  656 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6G, CA

                  Athens Pastries
                  509 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K, CA

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: tartiflette

                    At Bloor and Euclid there is Maroli. Try the Malabar chicken. Everything else is good, too (at least what I've had).

                    A little further west - on the west side of Christie Pits (next to Banjara) is Sarr-E-Rah - a Pakistani place. The chana masala was the one memorable dish we've had from there - very different from other places. It's only a month or so old, so you may want to wait a while until they're finished their growing pains...

                  2. Albert's Real Jamaican - take the subway north from Spadina to St. Clair West station, it's within walking distance west of the station.

                    Ritz Caribbean in Roy's Square at Bloor St. station - jerk restaurant with daily specials under $5. (there is also a salad place in Roy's Square, forget the name).

                    Here's a thread you might find helpful for places around Yonge & Bloor -

                    Esther's Soup Kitchen in the Cumberland Terrace (Bay station) - big portions of really really good soup for under $6.

                    Banjari restaurant, just west of Christie station

                    Albert's Real Jamaican
                    542 St Clair Ave W, Toronto, ON M6C, CA

                    Ritz Caribbean
                    606 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4Y1Z3, CA

                    Esther's Soup Kitchen
                    2 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M4W3E2, CA