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Recommended lunch restaurant near University and King?

  • p

Looking for a restaurant to have a good lunch near university and King, preferably around $25 an entree. Should I just look at the chains? The boss wants to take us out but I've been given a limited budget to work with and I'm not sure there's anything decent to be had at that price.


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  1. Volos at Richmond & York? Wherever you go, get a reservation quick. Everything's getting booked solid.

    Estiatorio VOLOS
    133 Richmond Street West, Toronto, ON M5H 2L3, CA

    1. Are you willing to walk a little or take the TTC up a stop? If so, then Nota Bene would be a good upscale business lunch. My personal pick, though would be The Gabardine for a more casual atmosphere but yummy food.

      And honestly, $25 an entree should get you in pretty much anywhere for lunch, even upscale like Canoe, Jump, etc.

      1 Reply
      1. re: TorontoJo

        iirc Gabardine doesn't take reservations.

      2. great suggestions, thank you.

        1. Bymark and Vertical would both fit the bill for a $25 lunch entree!

          1. Ditto all of the above

            Just be aware, Bymark would be tough to get $25 entrees. They are closer to $30

            1. Modus, at King & York, has lunch entrees at that price point. It's a fairly new place but has received some glowing reviews.

              1 Reply
              1. re: AverageJo

                nice to see something new so closeby. I'm going to have to check that place out for sure.

              2. The Gabardine is close and is loved by many on and off this board.

                1. I realize reviews of Luma haven't been as strong as the reviews of some of the other O + B restaurants. I've enjoyed the food I've ordered at Luma. My most recent visit was last night. Nice burrata.

                  +1 on Jump. Also like lunch at Le Select, Rodney's by Bay, Mercatto on Bay, Epic and Khao San Road.

                  18 Wellington St. West, Toronto, ON M5L 1G4, CA

                  Le Select
                  432 Wellington St W, Toronto, ON M5V1E3, CA

                  100 Front St W, Toronto, ON M5J1E4, CA

                  Rodney's By Bay
                  56 Temperance Street, Toronto, ON M5H 3V5, CA

                  Mercatto On Bay
                  330 Bay Street, Toronto, ON M5H 2S8, CA

                  330 King St W, Toronto, ON , CA

                  Khao San Road
                  326 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1P7, CA

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: prima

                    Does Rodney's have whole fish?

                    I went to Mercatto and the food quality was poor. Then my colleague told me their chef left so I'm not sure if that had something to do with it.

                    Maybe we'll go back to Blowfish for lunch.

                    We were really hoping for some grilled whole fish though.

                    1. re: chowinDownTO

                      I had a good supper at the Mercatto on Bay, about 6 weeks ago, some time after Doug Neigel arrived as the new Exec Chef. Maybe it depends on what you order?Or maybe I was lucky? I had ordered the fried calamari (generous portion for the price- as generous as a Danforth restaurant would be, if not more generous. I'd guess the order of calamari was 5 x the amount of fried seafood served in the fritto misto at Malena, for roughly the same price, a few weeks later) and the Bucatini all'Amatriciana. It's quite possible that I have relatively low expectations when it comes to Italian food at a relatively inexpensive price point in the Financial District.

                      You might want to try Modus or Carisma if you're looking for better quality Italian downtown. I'd think they have some daily fish options, possibly whole, grilled fish options.

                      I wasn't a huge fan of the food at Blowfish, so I haven't been there for years.

                      I don't remember seeing whole grilled fish at Rodney's by Bay (on Temperence), and I haven't been to the original Rodney's (on King West of Spadina) in a few years. I do remember both offering market fish, but I don't know if they'd be offered grilled & whole. They would have some sort of grilled fish option on the menu.

                      I have ordered whole grilled sea bream at Starfish, but most of their fish options wouldn't be served whole & grilled. Volos should have some whole, grillled options.

                      Carisma Restaurant
                      73 King St E, Toronto, ON M5C 2V8, CA

                      1. re: prima

                        We ordered a couple pizzas and fritto misto at Mercatto last week and everything was so salty that you couldn't even eat the food. The portions were big but the quality was poor.

                        I've been to Modus. It's really good really expensive for pasta. I guess that's what you have to expect to pay downtown for italian food. I just have a fundamental problem paying mid to high $20s for dishes that don't cost more than $2-3 dollars to make.

                        I stick with sashimi at Blowfish. My colleague and I are the only people in the place every time we go so who knows how much longer it'll be on bay. The sushi is way better at Nami but the environment is way too tired for us. Yuzu is a happy medium but a little farther than we like to go for lunch.

                        I'm going to call Rodney's, Starfish and Volos and see what's up.

                        1. re: chowinDownTO

                          Good luck! Let us know where you end up!

                          Sounds like it was an awful experience for you at Mercatto. Too bad.

                          100 Adelaide St E, Toronto, ON M5C1K9, CA

                          1. re: chowinDownTO

                            I don't mind paying higher prices for a pasta dish if the pasta is fresh made, not dry pasta. Yes the cost is still low to buy fresh pasta ingredients but it's very labor intensive and I could not easily do it at home. Not to mention I don't have time to make a good tomato sauce to go with it.

                    2. the hilton has a xmas lunch buffet for $31-a bit over your budget but maybe scrooge will spring for more....

                      1. I'd like to thank everyone for their replies. I was going to go with The Gabardine but my co-workers were'nt comfortable not having a reservation and having to be sure we went early. So instead we went to Modus which was incredibly convenient (a very short walk via underground) and extremely good. I had the tuna tartare app and tenderloin steak entree and both were fantastic. The server seemed inexperienced and service was a little slow, but the food was excellent, my co-workers all thanked me for selecting Modus. I'd go back for a special occasion, or anytime I wasnt paying. :) I'll have to check out The Gabardine sometime though, the menu sounds great.