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Sep 13, 2008 08:57 AM

The $20 challenge (Toronto)

Where can you eat an amazing Chow-ish lunch or dinner within a 5 minute walk of a subway station or streetcar stop (not bus) and leave only a $20 bill on the table? (Must include tax and tip and meal for one person so likely the total menu price wouldn't exceed $15.) Some restaurants only have a few Chow-ish menu items - if so, specify what to order. Must have eat-in table service, not a strictly take-out joint. Quality of service and atmosphere don't matter. Food must be memorable, not mediocre.

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  1. Since you mention only quality and not quantity, I'll go with Relish Bar & Grill. But that's probably cheating...

    2152 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4C1K3, CA

    5 Replies
    1. re: Googs

      Thanks Googs! Never heard of it! What dishes adding up to $15-$16 would you say are most filling and tastiest?

      1. re: Food Tourist

        The only dish I've had there that disappointed was the blue corn tortilla with chicken. You may mix and match for your pleasure at your leisure.

        1. re: Googs

          How many dishes does it take to fill up two people?

          1. re: sugarcube

            Relish is pedestrian and bland. way too much stuff on their menu, most of it not the freshest.

            1. re: nyctransplant

              You say pedestrian. I say comfort food.

    2. If you walk fast and the traffic lights are working in your favour, you could get to Caribbean Bistro (2439 Yonge south of Erskine) from Eglinton Station in 5 minutes. I love their pholourie, chicken roti, doubles and plantain. Could easily order 1 app, 1 roti and a drink for less than $20.

      1. easy.
        broadview and gerrard.

        we had pho tonight plus veggie spring rolls. bill came to $15.

        for under $10: go to Rose's. get 2 meatball subs ($4), a spring roll ($2) and rice with black eyed peas for dessert ($2). you can finish it with a vietnamese hot coffee, full of yummy condensed milk ($2) or you can walk to Phoenix and get four pineapple buns (2 for $1)

        1. Island Foods at Dufferin and King: a roti and a ginger beer with tamarind balls for dessert would cost well under $20.

          Ethiopian House on Yonge a bit south of Bloor: lunch is cheaper than dinner, but even dinner should be within your range.

          1. Lalibela - Bloor just east of Ossington station.

            9 Replies
            1. re: Cat123

              Second Lalibela - You can probably feed 2 for about $20.

              Second Island Food too. It has tables for dining in, but it's self serve style.

              You can also get off either Bathurst or Christie subway stop & get some Korean food. Thumbs Up or Seoul (on south side of Bloor west of Palmerston) has a variety of home style meals; restaurant across the street (next to Kaji) offers good tofu hotpot as well as buy-2-get-1-free sushi rolls; Joon's has table top cooked chicken (min 2 portions). (Joon's has another location on Yonge north of the Sheppard subway station too.) iNoodles in that area is another option if you are in the mood for noodles.

              Real Korean BBQ in Koreantown is probably out of your budget, but the HK style Korean Grill House (Queen west of University) is a good option if you are in the mood for lots of meat.

              Close to St Andrew subway on north side of King west of Simcoe, you can get a lunch buffet at Kama Indian restaurant. Of course Lahore on Gerrard in Little India (along the Carlton street car) and Ghandi Roti on Queen West at Bathurst are good choices too for Indian food.

              How about the various options in Chinatown & Kensington Market (along the Spadina street car). Pho at Pho Hung, various Chinese rice & noodle dishes at King's (esp roast pork with crispy skin & pork liver congee) & Goldstone, Jumbo Empanadas, Mother's Dumplings, etc.

              Another interesting ethnic food choice is New Bilan on Dundas East (east of Jarvis). They serve a basic solid Somalian meal for about $8 per person.

              For more sit down restaurant experience, Terroni's (Queen subway, Queen West street car & St Clair subway) can be an option.

              I think $20 is pretty generous for a good 1-person meal, esp. if you are open to ethnic options.

              1. re: Orange


                I've enjoyed sit-down meals at New Bilan, King's Noodle, Mother's Dumplings, Joons, etc. in the past and most are consistently good.

                For the purpose of this thread, I wouldn't include Gandhi, Jumbo Empanadas, or any other self-serve or take-out place.

                1. re: Orange

                  "I think $20 is pretty generous for a good 1-person meal, esp. if you are open to ethnic options."

                  Make it $10 and it starts to get interesting. $5 and now you got a challenge!

                  1. re: szw

                    Start naming names! Where should I go with my $10 or $20 bill for a really tasty meal near TTC?

                  2. re: Orange

                    I seem to have the worst luck at Terroni Queen West. Today's specials were ridiculously bad. Peach arugula salad had way too much vinegar, and so-called truffled duck tortelloni seemed to lack both truffle and duck flavour.

                  3. re: Cat123

                    There's TONS of places by Ossington station. La Bella Managua is there, so's Mexitaco, and of course all the Ethiopean places.

                    Oh, and I recently went to Saving Gigi, that new(ish) coffee place on Bloor and Roxton. Great coffee, lovely ambiance, and the food menu sounds lovely - goat cheese tartine with cherry preserves?? YUM.

                    1. re: piccola

                      I have been to Mexitaco (once), Banjara (pretty good), Rikishi (pretty bad)...but never La Bella Managua. What should I order there?

                      Which station is Roxton near? Please report back once you try the food. Is Saving Gigi a full service restaurant or self-serve?

                      1. re: Food Tourist

                        Roxton is close to Ossington station.

                        1. re: Food Tourist

                          I'm vegetarian, so there are only a couple options I can try at Managua, and I usually stick to the beans and rice combo. But my omnivore friends rave about the tamales and the yucca with crispy pork.

                          Gigi is a coffee shop, but they serve sandwiches and soups and various baked goods. I'll head over for food soon and report back.