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15 Min from O'Connor and Donlands

pescatarian Feb 29, 2008 05:58 AM

I'll be near my soon-to-be new home tomorrow and I need a place where I can stop with my Mom for a quick lite lunch. I want it to be under 30 min type of meal and relatively healthy choices. I know a few places I like on the Danforth, but they are too busy at that time. Any suggestions closer to O'Connor from say Pape to the west and St. Clair to east?

  1. a
    alichow Jan 25, 2011 04:21 PM

    Hi there - I know the post is really old but things do change... I was wondering if anyone knew of any good finds in the East York area? I am not necessarily limited to a 15 minute drive or 30 minute lunch... I live at Coxwell and O'Connor and just recently started working at Don Mills and Overlea - very convenient! I thought I'd share the places that I find interesting:

    - Remarks Bar and Grill, which replaced Hollanger's has very cheap lunch specials. Their burger is home-made and good, and their sweet potato fries are really nice. I also like their fried wontons but they are a tad salty. They also have a large space and were very accomodating when my Mommy group was looking for a place to lunch, that also had room for strollers. We also hosted an infant first aid course in their basement party room, for which they also offered their prix fixe special lunch menu.

    - Beverly's Cafe replaced Sweet Indulgence and it's not as interesting - haven't tried it much. We did see a tiny ad for catered Christmas Turkey dinners which we tried but it did not work out. The turkey was dry and thickly cut, and the portions were all wrong. Way too much veg and cranberry sauce, just enough meat for the numbers of people for which we ordered, and just enough potato... The potato was good... that's about it.

    - On the other end of the spectrum Glow restaurant at Don Mills and Lawrence is very nice, and provides a nice atmosphere with light, interesting meals

    - Bamiyan Kabob on Overlea provides a nice meat/rice/salad option that is quick, if you don't mind a bit of lining up

    We love La Grotta and Danforth Pizza house for pizza, and are still looking for a good Chinese takeout/delivery in the area.

    Bamiyan Kabob
    62 Overlea Blvd, Toronto, ON M4H1C4, CA

    Danforth Pizza
    920 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4J1L9, CA

    East York
    1039 Pape Ave, Toronto, ON M4K3W1, CA

    1 Reply
    1. re: alichow
      cheesymama Jan 25, 2011 05:22 PM

      You can get a good breakfast at Sammy's on O'Connor near Pape. Folia Grill on Pape is worth checking out, really like their chicken gyro, they've gotten great reviews on this board. Check out wing night (Tues and Thurs) at the Wally, corner of Donlands and O'Connor, I like their wings so much I haven't tried anything else on the menu but friends say their nachos are great.

      Folia Grill
      1031 Pape Ave, Toronto, ON M4K 3V9, CA

    2. JamieK Mar 7, 2008 01:46 PM

      Just for the heck of it, I timed my drive from the Donlands/O'Connor intersection to Sultan of Samosas today --- 8 minutes. That was before rush hour and snowfall of course.

      Not suitable for your original request, I know, but might come in handy to know once you move to your new home.

      Sultan Of Samosas
      1677 O'Connor Dr, Toronto, ON M4A, CA

      4 Replies
      1. re: JamieK
        pescatarian Mar 7, 2008 04:01 PM

        Thanks, Jamie. I'm sure that will definitely come in handy!

        1. re: JamieK
          kwong May 4, 2008 12:54 PM

          Donlands and O'Connor is so close to Simba Grill that I would never go to Sultan of Samosas. I like the Samosas at Simba Grill are so much more (mainly because they are meatier, but also because I find them tastier).

          1. re: JamieK
            Westwardho May 7, 2008 09:12 AM

            Sultan of Samosa is my go to - The best place to stop anywhere along O'Connor IMHO. The Chicken samosa is my favourite. The "vegee" is a little starchy so I get the lentil version. The Pakoras if you can get one fresh. Owner is a lovely lady of very few words. If she gets to know you and you order by the dozens she will always throw in a few extras.

            1. re: Westwardho
              JamieK May 7, 2008 12:21 PM

              I heartily agree. Potato-cheese is my fave. And only that delicious green sauce for us, please. I get the freebies in the bag and a few to chew on while I'm waiting as well. I usually order a dozen or two so they have to fry em up while I wait. They re-heat quite well (oven not microwave) and are handy to have on hand when marauding groups of starving teenagers occasionally descend on our house.

          2. pescatarian Mar 1, 2008 07:10 PM

            We ended up going to Jawny Bakers. I have heard they have a nice patio in the summer and I would go back and try it for a couple drinks and maybe some apps, but overall I wasn't impressed with the food. I can see how it would be a reliable family restaurant, however, it smacked of chain resto food (I know it's not a chain) a bit too much for my liking. The best of the food we ordered was the sandwich my sister ordered - nice multigrain bread, chicken, peameal bacon, etc. The bread they served as an appetizer was nice also...enjoyed the chewy crusty texture. However, we didn't really understand why they served it with strawberry jam and garlic butter?? I was going to get the smoked salmon sandwich, but on the spur of the moment I decided to get an omelete - with spinach and feta cheese. It was fine, but it reminded me of egg beaters. The potatoes were on the verge of being cooked properly, but not quite. They needed some salt and pepper and some crispy edges. Again, the bread was good. I'd be interested to know where they get their bread. The service was very friendly. We were a bit rushed and they handled it well.
            Maybe part of the problem is that I still have in my mind, the delicious BLT I had at Marvelous Edibles about a month ago (on Laird) or the decadent (but feeling healthy) vegetarian club I had at Mocha Mocha a couple weeks ago.

            4 Replies
            1. re: pescatarian
              millygirl Mar 1, 2008 07:17 PM

              Mocha Mocha is excellent...the best chicken quesadillas in town!

              1. re: pescatarian
                Googs Mar 2, 2008 04:47 AM

                Do try the ME on O'Connor next time you're in the neighbourhood. It's well worth the squish.

                1. re: Googs
                  pescatarian Mar 2, 2008 06:34 AM

                  I will for sure next time. I couldn't tell where it was at that corner and we were in kind of rush. So we saw Jawny Bakers and it was convenient.

                  1. re: pescatarian
                    Googs Mar 2, 2008 08:54 AM

                    (Stating the obvious so please don't take offence, she said) JB's is right at the corner of O'C & St C. If you proceed about 2 very short blocks east on St. C you will see ME on the south side of the street in the inevitable strip plaza. It has a gold striped awning out front when its open.

              2. JamieK Feb 29, 2008 08:43 AM

                Right on Donlands, there's the Ritz Restaurant about three blocks south of O'Connor, a diner with Filipino items on the menu (owned and operated by a Filipino couple). It was used for a film shoot a couple of years ago but I don't know what movie. Reviewed glowingly in the Star last year -

                and here's a comment on the board -

                Also on Donlands closer to O'Connor, another diner with the usual fare - club sandwiches, all-day breakfast, hamburgers, soups, etc. Popular for breakfast with the boys in blue, judging by the cruisers often parked out front early in the morning.

                310 Donlands Ave, Toronto, ON M4J3R9, CA

                Donlands Restaurant
                417 Donlands Ave, Toronto, ON M4J3S2, CA

                1 Reply
                1. re: JamieK
                  millygirl Feb 29, 2008 01:59 PM

                  I second Donlands Restaurant. Peter, the owner, is quite the charachter and has been in the business close to 40 years. Back in the '70's he used to own a family style restaurant at the corner of King and Yonge - the name escapes me at the moment - but he still has the menu kicking around. The food is always reliable. It's one of our regular weekend spots.

                  Also love Marvellous Edibles on Laird. Really good omelets, BLT's and frites. Love the aioli dipping sauce that comes along side. YUM!!!

                2. pescatarian Feb 29, 2008 08:12 AM

                  Thanks everyone, this is all very helpful.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: pescatarian
                    embee Mar 1, 2008 11:52 AM

                    Some good suggestions here. I agree with most of them.

                    - Jawny Bakers isn't special, but it's comfortable, reliable, and has a huge menu.
                    - Sweet Indulgence on Coxwell has good sandwiches and decent pastries that I believe are housemade.
                    - The Ritz on Donlands is a greasy spoon and is only open for dinner one or two days a week. They have some very good food at extremely low prices and some interesting Philipino dishes. Good milkshakes too.
                    - I have actually eaten at Marvelous Edibles on St Clair, though not recently. Their place on Laird is very good.
                    - Earth Grounds on Coxwell has good coffee and atmosphere. Ed is a great host and a very interesting guy. (They close at around 4:00 and aren't open on Sunday.)
                    - Many people recommend Paul's Spaghetti on Cosburn as a good neighbourhood place. No personal experience.
                    - There's a San Francesco franchise on Coxwell. Sandwiches are not nearly as good as they were for many years, but are still satisfying. Yummy olives. Crappy pizza.
                    - La Grotta on Pape near Mortimer is another good neighbourhood spot. Decent mains and good small pizzas.
                    - Hollinger's was a popular neighbourhood hangout for years, but I've heard awful things about them recently. They are trying hard to revive it since their makeover, complete with live music. I've no idea whether they are succeeding.

                    1. re: embee
                      JamieK Mar 1, 2008 12:01 PM

                      all good points, but just in light of OP's question about a lunch spot, I'm fairly certain Paul's Spaghetti is only open for dinner. No website (that I know of) so not 100% sure.

                      1. re: embee
                        hungryabbey Mar 1, 2008 02:03 PM

                        - jawny bakers is good for what it is I guess. never had a bad meal, but its really just a nice family spot.
                        -I went to Pauls Spaghetti recently and just loved it. Great little neighbourhood spot for pasta. And yes , its open for dinner.
                        -La Grotta is also lovely, have had some delicious thin crust pizza there and the service is really attentive
                        -Hollingers I actually visited recently and had a fairly good experience. You can definetlly see how they are trying their hardest. Honestly, there was some minor thing forgotten on one of the dishes and it seemed as though when I mentioned it the owner was going to cry. I felt really bad for her as we were the only ones in the place. But since its in the neighbourhood I will try it again since we had a fairly good meal for cheap and apparently they have jazz starting on sundays now.
                        -also LOVE sweet indulgences, I visit for lunch at least once a week. All the pastries are lovely (especially like the pumpkin tarts, sausage rolls and banana brulee tarts) and the sandwiches are made to order. And yes, I went downstairs to use the washroom once and saw all the baking supplies and equiptment so I can assure you everything is house made.

                        1. re: embee
                          neighborguy May 4, 2008 12:24 PM

                          Driven by The Ritz for years and finally went in for (Philipino) breakfast. Very oldeskule yet very clean. Looking forward to returning for dinner. This is definitely a CHOWFIND.

                          1. re: neighborguy
                            dory May 5, 2008 01:31 PM

                            Based on what we'd read on this board we too stopped at Ritz, the day of the TTC strike. Went at lunch time. I had the Philipino breakfast. A real deal for $4.95....choice of marinated sliced beef, fish or sausage, with garlic rice, a bit of salad (it appeared to be the bagged type) with a vinagerette, dipping sauce for the meat and coffee/tea/juice with two fried eggs! A nice change from the traditional breakfast I thought. My son had the French dip beef (au jus) with side fries and salad. He loved it but he's 11; but that said has pretty grown up taste. My husband tried the pork and chicken adobo with rice. He enjoyed it but thought the chicken was a tiny bit salty (maybe that's authentic, he's never had it before). Next time I might go for the eggs with bernaise sauce and smoked salmon. It was busy when we arrived at 1:00; they sat us at the counter where we ordered and moved us to a table before our food was ready. Kinda kitschy diner decor, relaxed neighbourhood spot.

                          2. re: embee
                            skordo Apr 22, 2010 09:34 PM

                            I second the RITZ!! BEST EGGS...they buy them directly from a farm outside the city.

                        2. JamieK Feb 29, 2008 07:05 AM

                          Thought of a couple of more (can you tell I live in the area?). If you go north along Donlands, north of O'Connor and cross the Millwood Bridge to Laird (five minutes), you'll find a few tasty spots where it's possible to have a relatively quick meal, with healthy choices -
                          Marvellous Edibles

                          Olde Yorke, believe me they have way more than fish & chips on the menu (however no website), it's not just a take-out place, nice restaurant.

                          Mikado -

                          Leonards (closer to Eglinton), a family restaurant

                          Marvellous Edibles
                          120 Laird Dr, Toronto, ON M4G3V3, CA

                          Olde Yorke
                          96 Laird Dr, Toronto, ON M4G3V3, CA

                          114 Laird Dr, Toronto, ON M4G3V3, CA

                          220 Laird Dr, Toronto, ON M4G3X2, CA

                          10 Replies
                          1. re: JamieK
                            Googs Feb 29, 2008 09:18 AM

                            Mmmmmmmmm Marvelous Edibles. Love it. That's the wrong location though. The one on St Clair one block east of O'Connor is:
                            Marvellous Edibles
                            2781 St Clair Avenue East, East York, ON M4B 1N1
                            Telephone : 416-285-6505

                            1. re: Googs
                              pescatarian Feb 29, 2008 09:22 AM

                              I've actually been to Marvelouse Edibles and I agree...it's awesome!

                              1. re: Googs
                                JamieK Feb 29, 2008 09:36 AM

                                To clarify, the location on St Clair is basically their bakery (yum cakes), not a restaurant. There are maybe two stools along the front window for coffee and snacks/sweets. No tables.

                                The location on Laird is the actual sit-down restaurant, holds up to 30 people seated -

                                1. re: JamieK
                                  pescatarian Feb 29, 2008 09:45 AM

                                  oh, thanks. I've been to the restaurant on Laird, not the bakery - yet

                                  1. re: JamieK
                                    Googs Feb 29, 2008 09:46 AM

                                    Having lunched there many times I can assure you there is a small supply of small tables & chairs. It isn't simply a bakery. They have wonderful, hearty, delicious meals during the day. I wouldn't take a party of 20 there, but certainly the OP and mom can have a very healthy lunch.

                                    1. re: Googs
                                      JamieK Mar 1, 2008 11:44 AM

                                      Just an update. I was at the Marvellous Edibles outlet on St Clair today. There is a wooden bar along the front window, six high stools along the bar. No tables. There was one tiny plantstand-sized table squeezed into a corner, unused and with no suitable chairs available.

                                      I've travelled along the Donlands-Millwood-Laird route almost every day for more than 10 years and I can tell you with certainty that it's four minutes from the intersection of Donlands & O'Connor to the ME Laird location (this of course is driving time only, not time spent looking for parking, walking, etc).

                                      Today I timed the drive from Donlands & O'Connor to the ME St Clair location -- 6 minutes.

                                      So yes the St Clair location is within the OP's time paramater and a relatively healthy lunch is available (sandwiches, pasta salads, pastries). However, there are no other options nearby if all the stools are taken, for instance. The Laird location is a tad closer, takes reservations and there are other dining options in the neighbourhood if necessary. Plus it's a sit-down full-service restaurant (and licensed to boot -- just my little bonus point ;-> )

                                      When you walk into the St Clair location, the coffee bar is to your left and the rest of the space is taken up by a large cake/pastry counter behind which are industrial ovens and preparation areas for what is their bakery and catering business.

                                      1. re: JamieK
                                        Googs Mar 1, 2008 02:24 PM

                                        Where did they put the picnic style tables that were there?

                                        1. re: Googs
                                          JamieK Mar 1, 2008 03:05 PM

                                          I think I've seen small bistro-style tables and chairs there around Christmastime when they used the window bar to pile on gift baskets. No more than two tables though, there isn't really that much room.

                                          1. re: JamieK
                                            smr714 May 6, 2008 10:34 AM

                                            Anyone try Gonzo's mexican on O'Connor and St. Clair?

                                            1. re: smr714
                                              Musta Apr 23, 2010 06:28 AM

                                              Gonzo's is now closed, drove by last night the new sign up reads the "four brothers restaurant". Don't know what type of food or when they are opening.

                              2. JamieK Feb 29, 2008 06:57 AM

                                On Coxwell just south of O'Connor is Hollinger's. I've not been there, always seemed just a bar to me. But apparently since its make-over, it is appealing to a broader clientele, still pub fare but salads, pita, etc, on offer. See this thread -

                                Also further south on Coxwell at Sammon, kittycorner from the hospital is Last Drop Cafe, which serves soups, salads, sandwiches, etc. It's a small place though.

                                Last Drop
                                549 Sammon Ave, Toronto, ON M4J, CA

                                1026 Coxwell Ave, Toronto, ON M4C3G5, CA

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: JamieK
                                  JamieK Feb 29, 2008 08:07 AM

                                  forgot, also on that little stretch of Coxwell just south of O'Connor - Sweet Indulgence, little cafe/bakery that serves sweets of course, but also things like sandwiches, salads, quiche, meatpies, etc

                                  Sweet Indulgence
                                  1040 Coxwell Ave, Toronto, ON M4C, CA

                                2. t
                                  torontogal Feb 29, 2008 06:33 AM

                                  We love Thai Fusion (I think thats the name!) at the corner of Coxwell and O'conner (north east corner, just south of LCBO). Inexpensive relatively healthy meals, and very, very tasty. I think their combos run from around $7.00 which include mango salad or hot & sour soup and spring rolls, and your choice of mains. I love their green curry beef on rice with mango salad. Delicious!

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: torontogal
                                    pescatarian Feb 29, 2008 09:46 AM

                                    Good to know there's a decent Thai restaurant nearby.

                                    1. re: pescatarian
                                      embee Mar 1, 2008 11:33 AM

                                      I can't agree. I heard good things about this place and am in the area regularly. Everything I've tried there has been very sweet and not spicy. Been there several times. Not going back.

                                      1. re: embee
                                        neighborguy Mar 2, 2008 04:51 AM

                                        Not surprising what embee reports regarding the sweetness (and I personally think he knows his stuff.) I drive by TF almost every day and wonder about giving it a try but now I don't have to.

                                        Agree with the other posts on Sweet Indulgence. Great soups there too, if you are into it.

                                        On the same stretch of Coxwell, Eden is very typical Chinese Canadian -- not bad but not fantastic either.

                                        The one time I was in the Pho place across from TF I liked it and I will return.

                                  2. JamieK Feb 29, 2008 06:31 AM

                                    Right at St Clair & O'Connor - Jawny Bakers. A 30-min meal is do-able and they have salads, soups, sandwiches, etc. Cheerful efficient service.

                                    Jawny Bakers
                                    804 O Connor Dr, Toronto, ON M4B2S9, CA

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