An offshoot of North York’s Artisan Noodle, this Dundas St. joint packs in cool cafeteria vibes (cube-shaped Lucite stools! Striped chipboard tables!) along with a menu of nicely priced Northern Chinese eats perfect for splitting or enjoying solo. Diners on a dime should look no further than the Chang An combo, which gets you a jia mo sandwich packed with juicy, carnitas-like roast pork, plus a sizeable bowl of spicy cold noodle salad and a soda, for $12.
122 Dundas West, at Bay, 416-599-3189, instagram.com/artisannoodleplus
The sandwiches at Bergham are cheap and cheerful (and halal).
Montreal’s halal diners and cheap-eat connoisseurs can agree on one thing: Bergham is delicious. The franchise set up shop in Toronto in spring of 2019, bringing a menu of wraps, burgers and stout submarine-like sandwiches. The latter, dubbed “Berghies,” come with toppings like marinated chicken or burger patties. They go for around $5, and if you want to make a combo with an ample serving of skinny fries and soda, it’s an extra $2.99. The best part might be the sauce bar, where you can drizzle all manner of mayonnaise-y delights over your meal.
482B Queen West, at Augusta, 416-901-9095, bergham.com
It’s a wine bar in the heart of Queen West, it’s got enough trees and string lights to decorate an entire hipster Richtree, and the pizzas are just $10? It may seem too good to be true, but the pies at Bar Poet cost just a little bit more than a single slice at some other nearby places. Plus, they go way past your standard pepperoni, with options like mortadella and pistachio or smoked whitefish and capers. Also, Skee-Ball!
1090 Queen West, at Dovercourt, 647-340-1090, instagram.com/barpoetbar
Colombian Street Food
If you’ve ever been by Market 707 at Dundas and Bathurst (Toronto’s OG shipping container market), you likely know Cookie Martinez, she of the bug-laced treats and tasty empanadas. Martinez recently moved on up to this café space in the Junction Triangle, where she has the kitchen space to offer a broader menu of Colombian delights like arepas ($7) and empanadas ($3). Don’t worry – the cricket brittle is still there, too.
1565 Dupont, at Perth, 416-573-5817, cookiemartinez.com
Elvy and Flo
Chinatown East has its share of banh mis and pastry shops already, but this newly minted café brings something new to the table. Its sandwiches and baked goods are made with ingredients grown on a rooftop garden down the street. In addition to the requisite coffee, you can also snack on a peach galette or baked-egg sandwiches topped with mortadella, turkey or BBQ tofu ($6.50).
713 Gerrard East, at Broadview, 416-469-1477, elvyandflo.ca
The founder of this old-school joint, David Brown, was once chosen to work the grill at a party held by Julia Child, if that tells you anything. A number of the eats at his new shop – breakfast sandwiches with peameal or Montreal smoked meat, six-ounce Angus burgers, a Nathan’s chili cheese dog – ring in at the $6 mark. And though this place is basically a shrine to animal products, they’ll also happily whip you up a Beyond Meat burger.
884 Kingston, at Pickering, 647-484-4488, fearlessmeat1.com
Ooshee Mediterranean Oven
If the closure of Mana’ish at Spadina and Adelaide left a flatbread-shaped hole in your heart, head to this Lebanese spot for piping-hot man’oushe with a variety of toppings. You can get yours topped with zaatar, cheese, veggies and spiced beef (and different permutations thereof), all for roughly $5 a pop.
9 Charles West, at Yonge, 647-748-4411, ooshee.ca
The menu at this St. Clair West café-restaurant runs toward homey, filling eats – mainly pastels, the Brazilian answer to the empanada. Classic versions like dried, shredded beef or ground beef with egg and green olive clock in at less than $10, and the owners periodically make new flavours available. For something a little more filling, the sandwiches, piled onto crusty Portuguese rolls, are equally well-priced. Don’t skimp on the housemade sauces.
1646 St. Clair West, at Caledonia, 416-652-2000, instagram.com/samba_eatery
Still hungry? Check out our Toronto cheap eats coverage from 2018 and 2017.
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