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Toronto - best cheap gourmet eats on the go?

I will be visiting Toronto from NYC for 3 days in July.

One of our fav things to do in NYC is to explore and try unique/famous cheap delicacies - ie Levains cookies ($4) , Bouchon Bakery sandwiches ($8), Laduree macaroons ($3), Calexico quesadillas ($6), Zabars ham and cheese croissants ($4) etc.

We are looking for some suggestions for cheap gourmet eats to try on the go in Toronto - not really interested in sitting down in a restaurant but rather cut cafes/stalls. We are looking for gourmet/best you've ever had items rather than best bang for your buck type portions :).

Please let me know if you have any suggestions? We are staying by the harbor and don't want to go somewhere too too far out of the way. Esp interested in any mexican, french, milkshake, dessert/pastry options, no seafood (allergic!)

Thx in advance!

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  1. I mean *cute cafes/stalls

    1. Chocolate truffles at soma
      Porchetta and Co sandwich
      Pistachio Gelato at Boreal Gelato
      Chocolate chip cookies at Le Gourmand
      Poutine at Poutini's
      Salted Caramel macaron at Nadege
      Lil big Mac at County General
      Burger/shake/fries at Burger Priest

      Edit - didn't see the restriction on location - but nothing is really down there. If you want to do this, you'll have to wander.

      5 Replies
      1. re: justxpete

        I'm going to have to disagree completely with the Poutini's recommendation, after my experience there last night. Not having been there in over three years, I brought a friend from out of town there and it was just gross. We shared a small layered and would not finish it. Soggy fries, medium-warm gravy, no melting curds.

        There are far too many other joints serving poutine, these days, and it's really not worth the trip there. To the OP, your best and closest bet for poutine is to order it off the truck at Nathan Phillips Square. Sneaky Dees is pretty traditional for Toronto too, and ask for your fries well done.

        1. re: dlw88

          I've not been there in a few months, but can't imagine it's degraded that significantly - however I have noticed their hiring practices to be suspect. Did you mention anything to them?

          1. re: justxpete

            I left in a hurry. I did ask for the fries well done. The request was acknowledged but the end product was far from golden.

        2. re: justxpete

          Agree, Harbourfront is a bit of a restaurant wasteland.
          I agree with kwass, it's best to walk/taxi/TTC towards Kensington or St Lawrence Market.
          At SLM, I recommend Sausage King's sausage on a bun, the Bifana sandwich (a spicy pork sandwich) and pasteis de nata from the Portuguese place. Maybe not gourmet, but cheap and tasty.
          Re:French
          I guess Petit Thuet would be an option for a place downtown selling French snacks.
          Maybe Jules on Spadina near Queen. Most of the French options near downtown are full service restaurants, rather than places that would sell $4-$8 French snacks-to-go.
          Le Select is a decent French restaurant within a 20 minute walk of Harbourfront, but it's not especially cheap.Le Paradis is cheaper, but further, so you'd be paying for a taxi or ttc token. There's also Le Kensington bistro in Kensington Market, which is decent, and not too expensive.
          Re: Mexican
          Check out El Trompo, also located in Kensington Market, as well as the Latin American stores in the Market.

          1. re: prima

            I agree Portuguese custard tarts are a must for the op but I picked some up at SLM recently and the pastry had gone totally soft. To me a big part of the appeal is soft custard encased in flaky pastry. But yeah, op will need to get away from the harbour and really, the downtown core.

        3. You should check out Kensington Market or St Lawrence Market.

          2 Replies
          1. re: kwass

            2nd this! Especially Buster Sea Cove! Possibly the best seafood take out that is freshly made in front of you.

            1. re: Nevy

              The OP is allergic to seafood!

          2. You should check out the food truck scene in toronto as well. Here is a link:

            http://torontofoodtrucks.ca/trucks