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Mar 3, 2010 01:40 PM

cheap and cheerful around Main and Danforth

Just wanted to ask if anyone could recommend a cheap and cheerful spot at Main and Danforth? Seeking a lunch spot. I have no particular cravings. Just need to be in the area and then attend to a personal matter after lunch on Saturday.

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  1. Bistro Camino does lunch that day and usually has lunch specials around $10. Not much to look at, but good value.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Marimba

      No kidding good value. The chef/owner trained as a French chef in Japan and worked and worked in Osgoode Hall , the York Club etc. and cooks without a reduction in the standard. He is at Danforth and Main because he owns the building. See previous posts.
      The decor has no glitz but is quite OK., even for a celebration.
      The salmon, liver, yakitori are particularly recommended.That's three different dishes. Comes with soup or salad.
      See previous threads.

      1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

        It is a great everyday place but it is not a celebration type location IMO.

        1. re: JennaBean

          I guess it depends on the celebration. If the requirement is very good food in a comfortable setting (excellent pricing being the bonus), then its a celebration location for me. The location is not that central, but its an easy walk from the Main subway station. We had a classmate reunion at Bistro Camino to unanimous raves recently.

          Bistro Camino
          2750 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4C1L7, CA

          1. re: JennaBean

            Actually I've found Bistro Camino and excellent place for a celebration. We had our staff Christmas party there last year and plan to do so again this year. The staff were very accomodating, the price was shockingly good value and the food was fabulous.

            Bistro Camino
            2750 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4C1L7, CA

        2. re: Marimba

          Bistro Camino is excellent. Just a heads up - they are closed for the month of January 2012, opening again on February 1 (looking forward to it!)

        3. There's a great little European deli called Grumbels on Main just south of Danforth on the west side (290 Main St) where you can get tasty sandwiches and I believe hot meals as well. They have a sit-down area in the back.

          (on the board, this place is referred to sometimes as Grumbles so I'm just adding that to aid searches)

          9 Replies
          1. re: JamieK

            Grumbels or Len Duckworth's fish and chips if you're willing to shell out a bit more.

            Errr..... that's about it for Main and Danforth. Everything else in the area is either chain (KFC, Pizza Pizza, Popeyes) or sub par on the quality scale.

            2638 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4C1L7, CA

            290 Main St, Toronto, ON M4C, CA

            1. re: somewhere4

              You're joking right?

              There are a whole host of places that, while nothing to look at, largely because the operators are feeding a new immigrant clientele, dish up some good food. The New Kabab house is great, particularly the Chili Chicken Kabab. Excellent and inexpensive. Anondo dishes out good, basic Bangledeshi. The paratha's alone are worth going for. And Agni does reasonably good Hakka. Again, a good inexpensive meal.

              A bunch of small Bangladeshi places have sprung up recently but I haven't tried them.

              1. re: kmacd

                Fair enough. I was being more literal in my geographic interpretation of "Main and Danforth". The New Kebab House and the other Bangledeshi places are well to the east of Dawes Road, which I consider to be "Vic Park and Danforth".

                1. re: somewhere4

                  Isn't there a shwarma place right on the corner at Vic Park & Danforth? Has anyone tried it?

                  1. re: Otonabee

                    There is one at Main and Danforth. I go all the time - falafels are good if you customize your toppings. They also have foul.

                2. re: kmacd

                  I tried Anondo today. A funny little place which reminded me of traveling in India. That's a compliment in my books.

                  When we arrived there was only one other customer. We could hear some voices in the back but no servers seemed to be in the front of house. Soon a young man appeared with a huge steaming plate of rice and other goodies for the only other customer. He promptly disappeared back into the kitchen. Ten minutes later a few yells got him to come back out. He seemed a bit confused by our presence.

                  "Can I help you?"
                  "Yes, we want lunch, do you have a menu?"
                  " I'll bring you Kacchi Biryani"

                  It was excellent. A whole egg, bright orange as if it had been pickled in saffron, about 1/2 lb of the tenderest beef (like a pot roast) on a huge mound of delicately spiced saffroned rice and a whole potato served with lemon wedges, raw onions and cucumber.

                  Lunch for two, $20.

                  1. re: hal2010

                    Just for clarification, does this mean that there is only one set dish on order for every customer? Sounds great except for the egg.

                    1. re: Zengarden

                      I dunno, they didn't give us menus. There was a specials board but maybe that was for dinner time. I liked the egg.

                      1. re: hal2010

                        The place is like that. Run a bit like a roadside India restaurant. Whatever they're cookin' that day, they're cookin' that day. They do have a menu but the specials board rules the roost. Not for everyone but if you trust the cook, you trust the cook. ONe of hte best meals I've had in my life was at a little grotto like place in Cadaques (Costa Brava). Walked in,m sat down and the owner/chef said "Welcome, you'll have this , this and this; the lady will have this, this and this." I was amazing.
                        Sometimes you've just gotta go with it.

            2. Another good place - Hakka Chopsticks, between Dawes and Vic Park on Danforth. Loving the Bombay Chicken and Hakka House Fish.

              2 Replies
              1. re: kmacd

                agreed on Hakka Chopsticks. House fish, Manchurian paneer, crispy beef. Nice range of tastes. Didn't blow my mind but was really good and a nice alternative to the Gerrard Chinatown cantonese.

                1. re: boywonda

                  recently started trying this place. not worth a trek to come here but if nearby, definitely worth checking out. i enjoyed their food.

              2. I went to Agni today. $4.99 for a can of pop, egg drop soup, a small spring roll and a huge plate of Chicken Manchurian and rice!

                The inside is pleasant. The t-bar ceiling sags a bit and has a few stains but they've done up the seating area fairly well. Mostly Chinese decorations, but one wall has large white wheels in relief, which reminded me of the Indian flag. Jesus and Mary watch over the debit machine.

                The food was fresh, hot and tasty. The spring roll could have been forgotten and that may have improved my impression. It was about 2" long and 1/2" in diameter and looked rather lonely on the plate. Tasted like it was mass-produced and frozen. The Chicken Manchurian was crisp with a nice dark sauce laced with crunchy coriander stalk. Service was prompt and friendly. I'll be back to try their Chili Chicken.

                1. Has anyone tried Mélange at 172 Main St just north of Gerrard? They have their work cut out for them if they're going to compete with Grumbels AND Camino.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Googs

                    Not to mention being disadvantaged by being next door to the shudder-inducing filthy eyesore that is Bill's Fish & Chips, even if it is no longer in operation.... or is it, I can't tell - it looks the same except more decrepit than it did 20 years ago.

                    1. re: Googs

                      I can't be certain but I think they might be run by the Cool Runnings people as I saw a mention of Melange in Cool Runnings awhile back.

                      1. re: ultimobailey

                        Melange has the same owner as Cool Runnings. Better days may be ahead for Bill's. It's undergone extensive renovations on the inside and is waiting for the right tenant.

                        1. re: hal2010

                          If I can force myself to walk past Grumbels, I'll check Melange out next time I'm at that intersection.