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Feb 15, 2010 04:01 PM

"Cheap and Cheerful" Steakhouse in TO?

Hello fellow chowhounders,

Well, like the title says, I'm looking for a good "cheap and cheerful" steakhouse in TO. I'm looking for something that's better than the generic chain stuff, ie. keg, canyon creek, but not poncy and pretentious. Ideally, I'd like recs for restaurants that care more about the quality of meat than the decor.

I look forward to all the replies, thanks!

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  1. if you want cheap and good, these guys butcher thier own steaks and where else can you get a 16 oz new york dinner for around 12 bucks, i will admit, it is a greasy spoon type of place but it is open 24/7.

    T-Bones Sizzling Steaks & Burgers Drive-In Restaurant
    2540 Eglinton Avenue East, Scarborough

    1 Reply
    1. re: youdonut

      I immediately think of the Tulip Steakhouse, where you can get a ~24 oz. Porterhouse for about $28, but be sure to add a side of half-and-half onions and mushrooms. Eating there and observing the clientele is also an interesting sociological experience.

    2. For a nice atmosphere and steak frites which on a good night is as flavourful as anything you'll find in the city, sliced and sauced, with home made fries, all for $29, try Le Petit Dejeuner on the S side of King E, 2-3 blocks E of Yonge just opposite George Brown.
      BYOW if you want for reasonable corkage.

      At SE corner Pleasant Blvd (at Yonge, 1 block S of St Clair) there is an upstairs joint, Eddy's place called Senior's - frayed carpet but a warm welcome, Greek salad, garlic toast, potato and veg all included at around $30-35 - no pretention whatsoever. Inexpensive wines, good deals.

      Both of these places will welcome you in a t-shirt.

      1. Thanks guys!

        I've been doing the searches on this board and Tulip keeps coming up and I'm really tempted to go - but I haven't been able to read any recent reviews on this place. Could some one please post a recent review? From the dated posts I have read, it seems like Tulip has started to slide, can someone confirm or deny this?

        Senior's come up often too - again no recent reviews (last 6-months), can some one please post something?

        T-Bones sounds interesting and it's the first I've seen it recommended. Is there a review or can you please review it?

        Thanks guys!

        11 Replies
        1. re: excel

          I think the Tulip is great for a dinner style location. However, personally it just doesn't beat the value for money + quality equation of the Keg. If I want good cheap steak the keg really tends to be my go to place even over the Tulip.

          1. re: JennaBean

            Thanks for your suggestion....I was really hoping for an alternative to the chain type places - not to be snobby, but I'd really like to support some of the more local independant places.

            Jenna - have you been to the tulip lately? would you mind a short review of the food?


            1. re: excel

              The last time I was there for steak was with some friends back in November. It is in my hood but when I go it is usually for the cheap breakfast.

              The steaks are ok. They do their own butchering which is most likely how the save money on the product. The steaks are cooked to order consistently and I've never had anything tough. However, I just don't think they have great flavour. Heck I don't even think they put salt on the steak sometimes before they fry it.

              That's the other thing to keep in mind - no grilling at the Tulip.

              My SO is a chef and neither of us are fans of chains so I understand your desire to stay away from that if possible. But again for me, the butter goodness of a grilled baseball sirloin from the keg always hits the spot for a cheap and cheerful steak that I didn't cook myself!

              1. re: excel

                I will give it a go, since I suggested the place.

                I generally pig out with the big porterhouse (~24 oz) with the half-and-half onions and mushrooms. I skip the bread, potatoes and veggies. It is not steakhouse trimmed beef: there will be fat and gristle around the edges, but the meat is flavorful and the onions and mushrooms with it make the experience great; the price makes it better. I recall having tried a few other dishes in the past - pork chops once that I remember and it was quite good too. The portions are generous.

                Atmosphere? It's at Queen and Coxwell, and reflects the neighborhood. if the "Beaches" continues to creep westward with its gentrification, the Tulip will look even more run down, and I suspect its interesting mix of clientele may change, but I like it the way it is.

                1. re: excel

                  I went to Tulip within the last 4 months. I didn't love, but I've had better meals there too. Just make sure you stick with the steak if you do go. It's got your standard diner atmosphere, but I don't think it's anything special. Cheap yes. Good... well, I'd rather put the money toward a nice cut from the butcher...!

                  1. re: excel

                    I just hate tulip, I'm sorry for all the tulip lovers but I hate the place. The steak taste like they bought it from Broadview or something lol. U can say i'm closed mind or maybe say i've only been once. i've been there several times. The only thing i liked there was mash potatos and roast beef. Thats it, Everything else on the menu tasted terrible. Low quailty.

                    I saw the Tbone thing, i'm very curious about it, might give it a shot in a few weeks.

                2. re: excel

                  I haven't been to the Tulip since this summer when I moved, but I've been delighted with every single visit. I get the small sirloin, the cheapest on the menu, and it is hands down the best steak I've ever had. It's $17 for a 12oz steak, with the fixins (not the mushrooms and onions though) and I can hardly ever clean my plate.

                  I've also sampled the steak sandwich, the peppercorn cream sauce and several of their sandwiches and have never been let down. The ambiance is a winner as well.

                  1. re: precia

                    Dang, I like the Tulip for what it is, but if that's the best steak you've ever had, that makes me want to take you out for a REAL steak dinner.

                      1. re: JennaBean


                        Mind you, my mother cooked steaks by putting them in the oven for about 3 hours, so I'm not a huge steak person. I'd generally rather get a burger. The Tulip might not do the best steaks in the world - or even in Toronto - but they're still damn fine pieces of meat. The price point is what encouraged me to try their steak, and I'm really glad I did.

                        As for dinner, I'm free Thursday. ;)

                  2. re: excel

                    We went to Tulip back in December and it was ok, but nothing special. We cook steak at home in a cast iron skillet and it didn't taste any better. It's not bad though, just ok.

                  3. Thanks guys for all the reviews! I think I'm going to take the plunge and try Tulip tomorrow night.

                    So what cut of meat should I get there or to put it another way, what's their signature cut/dish?

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: excel

                      The best value is the porterhouse. If it's too much for you, they will give you a doggie bag. To reheat without extra cooking use the defrost setting on your microwave for about 10 minutes.

                      1. Went to Tulip last night and here are some of my thoughts

                        I really didn't know what to expect going there, as the reviews seemed to be very mixed. For me, the place is ok/good.

                        Atmosphere: After reading some of the reviews, I was expecting a "hole in the wall"/greasy spoon kind of place, and it's not. It looks like an ordinary 80ish dinner style restaurant, with banquets and tables. It's not exactly spotless clean, but it's not health hazard dirty either. just a "normal" restaurant.

                        Food: I ordered the porterhouse, but was told they didn't have any more so, I got the T-bone instead. It came with, a side salad (with either Italian or French dressing - I ordered French and it tasted like Kraft), mash potato, 3 pieces of broccoli, a raw onion slice, and a raw tomato slice. I also ordered a side of the 1/2 mushroom, 1/2 fried onion. For dessert, I ordered the chocolate cake. I found the potions to be big, not huge.

                        The steak is pan fried and I believe in butter. I ordered med-rare, but it was more on the rare side (not a big deal to me, I rather it be under done than over done). I can't say that it was the most tasty piece of meat, but I'm not going to say it was bad either. To be honest, it tasted like a steak you'd get at any supermarket. I found the quality of the steak to be good/ok but, the kind you could get at any generic supermarket. The mash potato was dry so, I ordered a side of gravy. The gravy was overly garlicky (is that a word) and I would not order that again - it just masked whatever it was on. The mushroom and onion was good - nothing special, just "what it says on the tin". The chocolate cake, was a bit dry/stale- it tasted like a McCain cake (not necessarily a bad thing).

                        *My friend had the Certified Black Angus® N.Y. Cut 12 oz. Said it was cooked perfectly and tasted good.

                        All in all it was an ok/good spot. I wouldn't necessarily hunt this spot out again, but I wouldn't be against going back either. The food is of the same quality and taste you could get if you went and put a meal together from a Longo's, Metro, etc., except you save yourself the labour and time of cooking and cleaning. There's definitely better steak, but there's worst too - hahah

                        Hope that sheds a bit of light on the place.

                        Thanks for all the recs and help guys!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: excel

                          Yep that sounds about right but I've never noticed the butter flavour on the steak. Maybe I've just been over buttered for so many years by the Keg I can't tell if it isn't swimming in the stuff!

                          All in all it is an ok place but I still think when it comes to vaule for money the Keg remains my cheap and cheerful option.