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Visiting Toronto on a student budget.

Hi ontariohounds, I'll be visiting the magnificient city of Toronto and I'm Asking for Advice again.

I'll still be staying in East Chinatown near Gerard street, but this time, I won't have access to a car, so I won't be able to travel to Markham to get some delicious Chinese food.

While I have a limited budget(350$ for 5 days?), Downtown isn't that far, and I seriously want to try at least one meal that will represent what Toronto is really about.

Also, Really good cheap eats will be lovely. I have no preference at all, but I rather not eat in a bistro, except if its representative of Toronto,because they aren't that cheap outside of Quebec), or in a deli.

Thanks for your answers in advance!

PS: BTW, how the public transportation in toronto?

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  1. Hanoi 3 Seasons on Gerrard is likely close to where you're staying and pretty good.

    Not sure where you're coming from and what you have available in your area but you might want to try various types of West Indian food. Generally cheap and filling. Let's say Jamaican patties from Randy's (others may say Patty King in Kensington but don't listen to them:) ) or a few other places. Maybe give rotis or doubles a try as well (Island Foods, Ali, Bacchus if you want to stay downtown-ish).


    Hanoi 3 Seasons
    588 Gerrard St E, Toronto, ON M4M1Y3, CA

    1. kaka lucky which is probably right across the street from where you are staying in East Chinatown. On Broadview just south of Gerrard. Very good chinese bbq at great prices. Stick to the bbq though, their kitchen is not the greatest for noodles and rice dishes. However, dinner there is not bad. Also take yourself down to the St. Lawrence market.

      1. Rose Cafe is on Broadview, south of Gerrard on the west side. You can get a decent banh mi there for a cheap lunch.

        You can take the 504 King Streetcar on Broadview going south and get off at King and Jarvis and walk south a bit to St. Lawrence Market and sample the treats in the market (Saturdays are best for this if you go early).

        You can also take the 505 Dundas Streetcar from Broadview and take it to Spadina and Dundas and walk to Kensington Market. Others will be able to provide more detail about what you should try there these days as I haven't been in awhile and I'm sure there's new and interesting things to try.

        You can have a pretty reasonable and delicious lunch/brunch at Lady Marmalade on Queen East at Logan. Cash only. You can take the 504 Streetcar to Queen (and Broadview) and then take the 501 Queen Streetcar east to Logan (or walk if you feel inclined). If you go during the week, it won't be as busy at lunch.

        They have a really nice farmers market at Riverdale Farm on Tuesdays from 3pm to 7 pm. http://www.friendsofriverdalefarm.com/

        Not cheap for a coffee, but reasonable on a budget, if you like good coffee, check out the Rooster Coffee House on Broadview, south of Gerrard, across from Riverdale East Park. Lovely place to sit and watch the sites. Good lemonade and raspberry iced tea also ($3, not cheap though).

        You can eat a lot for a little at Siddartha on Gerrard East.

        ps. The streetcars are great when they do not breakdown and they do not short turn. Make sure you ask the driver when you get on that they are not short turning. It's not always obvious (although the drivers seem to think it is).

        St. Lawrence Market
        92 Front St E, Toronto, ON M5E, CA

        2 Replies
        1. re: pescatarian

          You could also enjoy a great lunch at Negroni on College, west of Bathurst for under $15. They do really simple italian sandwiches really well and they all come with a side salad.

          1. re: pescatarian

            The Rooster coffeehouse is north of Gerrard, between Withrow and Riverdale Aves.

            Riverdale Cafe Restaurant
            304 Greenwood Ave, Toronto, ON M4L2R8, CA

          2. $10-20:
            Folia Grill
            Utopia (southwestern burger)

            Phil's original BBQ
            Terroni (pizza)

            Simple bistro ($35 prix fixe)
            Frida's (skip dessert)

            These prices include tax, tip and a beer/wine where it makes sense to have one. You should be able to do all of these within $350. I'm not saying this is the best representation of Toronto and I know a bistro was included in the list, but if you did these places you would eat well and get a sense of the range available in Toronto.

            2009 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON M4S 1Z8, CA

            274 Parliament St, Toronto, ON M5A, CA

            1. Try some Ethiopian! I haven't been to Dukem on the Danforth, but I hear it's great and it's not that far from you.

              950 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4J 1L9, CA

              1 Reply
              1. re: Whats_For_Dinner

                Dukem is great. Good suggestion. It's near the Danforth and Donlands.

                950 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4J 1L9, CA

              2. If you're in town for Summerlicious, you might want to check that out. Lots of restaurants are offering prix fix meals for $45 or less. There's LOTS of controversy on this board about Summerlicious, but at least you will be able to try Name Restaurants you might not have otherwise.

                1 Reply
                1. re: merlot143

                  Lot's of restaurants have reasonable prix fixe menus without Summerlicious. For example, Sidecar has the $25 prix fix from Monday to Thursday. Delicious food. But if you add tip and cocktails, it could get pricey.

                2. Here are some suggestions for cheap eats and treats within walking distance (or at least what I would be okay with walking to):

                  Kensington Market:
                  - Salsas for taquitos (3.99 for 3 + drink)
                  - Jumbo Empanada for empanada (3.99, I like the beef. I also heard they make good humitas)

                  I like King's Noodle's BBQ Pork & chicken rice dishes - however I've heard that there's a place on Dundas & Huron (Hong Fatt BBQ) that does a better job. Can't say anything from personal experience though

                  South of Dundas:
                  I've enjoyed sandwiches from Fusaro's Kitchen for under $10. Great for lunch - lines are huge but it moves quickly!
                  Next door is Jule's Bistro - I had a good French Onion Soup there and in general, I've had nice dinners on their little patio

                  You're also quite near Baldwin Street - you can find good eats there at Konnichiwa (noodles), Wah Sing (Black Bean/Ginger Lobster - with a rice/veggie dish you'll be paying maybe $30 if I had to guess? And have lots of leftovers...so maybe not ideal if you're exploring solo), Hana Korea (cheap bibimbap at lunch, I think Wednesdays are a bit cheaper but I can't say for sure). Baldwin is good for a meal, but I can't think of any place that stands out tbh. Yummy wraps can be found at Sage Cafe on McCaul and Baldwin though - their salmon wrap is delish not I don't remember it being pricey

                  Going a little further - maybe a 20 min walk
                  Ghandi's Cuisine for good roti (Queen and Bathurst)
                  Little India for Indian buffet (University and Queen)

                  Public transit is okay downtown, depending on where you want to go. You can hop on a streetcar on College quite easily and ride to Little Italy (or just walk maybe 25 min for certain restaurants like Negroni, Sidecar, Dolce Gelato, The Fish Store). Worth hopping on the TTC for might be St. Lawrence Market for a veal sandwich at Moustachios and general wandering around...maybe picking up some good fresh produce to munch on while you're exploring the city.

                  You're in my hood so I can go on forever about where to go eat...haha. ENJOY! :)

                  Spadina and Queen - Ackee Tree. Yummy sweet potato fries and jerk chicken

                  Little India
                  255 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V1Z4, CA

                  Dolce Gelato
                  679A College St, Toronto, ON M6G1B9, CA

                  Jumbo Empanadas
                  245 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2L8, CA

                  St. Lawrence Market
                  92 Front St E, Toronto, ON M5E, CA

                  31 Baldwin St, Toronto, ON M5T, CA

                  147 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5V2L7, CA

                  The Fish Store
                  657 College St, Toronto, ON M6G1B7, CA

                  Wah's Restaurant
                  23 Simcoe Plaza, Terrace Bay, ON P0T2W0, CA

                  Ackee Tree
                  170 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2C2, CA

                  Hana Korea Restaurant
                  45 Baldwin St, Toronto, ON M5T1L1, CA

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: ekim256

                    The OP said they are staying at Chinatown East near Gerrard, not Chinatown downtown. Now, I would walk to some of those places, time permitting, but I am known to walk for hours. All of those are good suggestions, but the OP will most likely need to take public transit to most of them.

                    1. re: pescatarian

                      Oops! Thanks for the correction - I didn't realize that tehre was another Chinatown.
                      Around Gerrard and Broadview, places that come to mind are
                      - Tropical Joes for goat and chicken roti
                      - Collegiate for a burger

                      Dangerous Dans is also down the street...and The Real Jerk but I haven't tried either of those places..
                      If you walk north...Messini's for gyros, Athens Pastries for loukamedes.

                      Dangerous Dan's
                      714 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M1H2, CA

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

                      1. re: ekim256

                        And don't forget the spanokopita at Athens! Delicious stuff, and only $3 for a HUGE piece.

                        1. re: TorontoJo

                          oh ya? I tried the Spanokopita at Messini's the other day, and I liked it. A little oily for my taste, but I have no other frame of reference. Maybe I'll give Athens a try!

                          445 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K1P1, CA

                          1. re: ekim256

                            Yes, please do! The Athens version is the least oily version I've had. Really tasty. There is also a cheese-only pastry and a meat-filled pastry, but I liked the spanokopita the best.

                            1. re: TorontoJo

                              Athens is the best for sure, but you should order a Gyro from Messini's, possibly the best in the city!

                              445 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K1P1, CA

                  2. I've heard some pretty amazing things coming from some friends about The Black Hoof. I wonder what you Hounds think about it?

                    The Black Hoof
                    928 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: vanierstudent

                      It's awesome and you should totally go. BUT... there are some items like raw horse meat sandwich, and tongue on brioche, butter-poached brains, etc that might deter the less adventurous eater. Here are some menus, from most recent to oldest:


                      That being said, The Black Hoof is one of my favourite restaurants in the city and is probably my top recommendation to anyone, for almost anything, except a vegetarian rec :) I post about it and the The Hoof Cafe far too often.


                      http://www.foodpr0n.com/ -- food. is. love.

                      The Black Hoof
                      928 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                      1. re: jlunar

                        charcutrie, Tongue sandwich, blood cake, sweetbreads AND butter-poached brain? Sounds like a good gastro-pub, which is kinda lacking in Montreal. its going on my to do list FOR SURE.

                        EDIT: What is the average reaction in Restaurant towards dinning at the bar?

                        1. re: vanierstudent

                          It's more cocktails (I very much like the Pippi Longstocking that's about to fall of the menu unless they make more of the ingredients) and wine vs what one would consider a gastro-pub. There is some beer in bottles/cans and a few on tap.

                          We always opt for dining at the bar if there's space and I've never seen them say no to anyone asking to sit there.

                          FYI: There are a couple of staples on the menu, but the rest change relatively often.

                    2. You mentioned you don't have access to a car; you might want to consider the weekly GTA transit pass. For $52 (which is a tad over $10/day in your case), you get access to all the transit systems in the GTA, including York Region. So you could, for example, take the TTC up to Pacific Mall, where there are literally hundreds of spots for a quick bite and to shop, and then go farther north on York Region Transit to Kennedy and 14th, and then west a few stops to Magic Wok, or go a bit farther north to Hwy 7, where you can try the spots in Markham at Woodbine/7, or a bit farther west in Richmond Hill, where there are dozens of places from Leslie to Bayview.

                      The pass lets you hop on and off with no extra charge, so if you see something interesting, you can get off, check out the menu, and if it's not to your liking, get back on the bus without paying again. The Queen streetcar, for example, might tempt you to get on and off multiple times, regardless of whether you're heading east to the Beach, or west to the Ossington strip.

                      Enjoy your stay!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: FrankD

                        If you stay downtown a weekly student pass is only $28 and an adult one is $36 for unlimited travel on the ttc from Monday to through to Sunday inclusive.

                        That being said, There are some great places to try on your budget.

                        I would add you may want to try a few dishes at Torito in Kensington Market.
                        If you don't get to the Black Hoof for dinner you can try their other place right across the street for a great brunch - Hoof Cafe.

                        If you want a great pizza you might want to try Libretto which is on Ossington but be prepared to wait for a table.

                        Globe on the Danforth is not usually a budget kind of place but they do have happy hour menu on their rooftop patio from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and it is right up the street from where you are staying.

                        276 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2L9, CA

                        The Black Hoof
                        928 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                        1. re: JennaBean

                          I would choose the pizza at Queen Margherita over Libretto (I know many disagree) and it's closer to where the OP is staying. Need reservations. I would recommend the prix fixe. Just go for the pizza.

                      2. I would recommend Udupi Palace at 1460 Gerrard East.
                        Good south indian food and it is very reasonable (6 bucks for a Dosa, 9 bucks for a combination plate)

                        Udupi Palace
                        1460 Gerrard St E, Toronto, ON M4L2A3, CA

                        1. This is my To-do list for now:
                          Thursday: Arriving at toronto at 6, Dinner at Hong Fatt BBQ.
                          Probably late-night snack at Kaka Lucky.

                          Friday: early breakfast at Kaka Lucky ( not much of a choice on this one, this is by far my gramps favourite place in the city)
                          Lunch at Athens pastry on the go.
                          Dinner somewhere in Koreantown

                          Brunch at Hoof Cafe
                          Maybe simple bistro for dinner prix fixe if I can get a seat at the bar.

                          Sunday: Morning congee with my gramps, any good place to chose from in downtown chinatown or east chinatown?
                          Lunch at Konnichiwa,.
                          Dinner ( blank for now)

                          Monday: Lunch Jamaican patties!! haven't decided the place yet.
                          Dinner at Dukem if it's open, if not, Kaka lucky will do the job( this place has a special place in my heart, since this is probably the first restaurant I went to in Toronto that I could remember of, 15 years ago)=)

                          Tuesday: Lunch at the fishstore, after this, i'm leaving Toronto for montreal.

                          I'll post my review back here after I'm done with the trip^.^, all those place could be changed based on your recommendation.

                          950 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4J 1L9, CA

                          31 Baldwin St, Toronto, ON M5T, CA

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: vanierstudent

                            Almost forgot! There's Simon's Wok on Gerrard near Logan. The food is Buddhist vegetarian. The prices are good. Try the soups -- they're huge and tasty.

                            Simon's Wok
                            797 Gerrard St E, Toronto, ON M4M1Y5, CA

                          2. In that area, you should check out St. John's Bakery if you like really well made, hearty old fashioned breads (rye, olive, corn, etc) and awesome homemade baked goods as well. Breads can be a little pricey ($5 per loaf) but are cheaper when day old (~$3) and still fresher than what you get in the grocery.


                            I also highly second the Sukhothai recco.

                            Also, if on Queen West, check out The Prague if you like heavy, Eastern European fare (www.theprague.ca


                            Ed's Real Scoop for awesome, homemade ice cream

                            As well as many good coffee shops down on Queen, east of Broadview such as Dark Horse Espresso, Mercury Espresso, Tango Palace Coffee Co.

                            Ed's Real Scoop
                            2224 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4E1E9, CA

                            Tango Palace
                            1156 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M1L2, CA

                            Dark Horse Espresso Bar
                            215 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T, CA

                            Sukhothai Restaurant
                            11 4th St E, Cornwall, ON K6H2H7, CA