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Tons of restaurants, crossing cultures, every week



356 College, at Brunswick, 416-500-3852. Formerly located in the Monarch Tavern, Zane Caplansky’s resto brings old-school deli into the 21st century. Though the new joint now features dinners and all-day breakfasts, the artisanal smoked meat – more Southern U.S. barbecue than St. Laurent – remains the focus. Best: smoked meat sandwiches sided with Yukon Gold fries or pickled coleslaw obscenely rich chopped liver cabbage borscht thick with double-smoked bacon potato ‘n’ cabbage knish in buttery phyllo pastry at dinner, pan-fried liver topped with onions caramelized in chicken fat sinewy slow-cooked brisket, both sided with lumpy mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli to finish, Wanda’s retro pie to drink, Verner’s ginger ale several Ontario microbrews on tap. Complete dinners for $30 per person (lunches/breakfasts $20), including all taxes, tip and a pint of Ontario microbrew. Average main $12/$9. Open Sunday and Monday 10 am to 10 pm, Tuesday to Saturday 10 am to 11 pm. Closed Christmas, Boxing Day. Licensed. Access: one step at door, washrooms in basement. Rating: NNN


Gale’s Snack Bar

539 Eastern, at Carlaw, 416-NOP-HONE. Decidedly downmarket and seating all of 18, this 80-year-old east-side spoon has to be the cheapest restaurant in town. Check out these prices: hot liver sandwich with fries and gravy ($3.25), wieners and beans ($2.50), toasted western ($1.25). And that’s tax-included! Best: Sure, the fries and mixed veggies that come with the hot turkey sandwich ($3.70, the priciest thing on the menu) are frozen, the gravy overly reliant on cornstarch, and the bread vanilla white, but the bird is roasted daily in-house, plentiful, and remarkably moist triple-decker turkey club house sandwiches Kresge’s lunch counter cheeseburgers vanilla milkshakes raisin pie à la mode. Complete meals for $8, including all taxes, tip and a glass of milk. Average main $3. Open Monday to Friday 10 am to 6 pm, Saturday noon to 5 pm. Closed Sunday, holidays. No reservations. Unlicensed. Cash only. Access: five steps at door, booth and counter seating, tiny washroom on same floor. Rating: NNNN

Indian Vegetarian


243 Avenue Rd, at Roxborough, 416-922-5415. In an Iskcon temple that used to be an Anglican church, this AYCE café makes a great introduction to the vegetarian cuisine of the Subcontinent. Even better, the spread’s available for a tax-free $8 donation, $5 for students, and free on Sundays as part of its evening festival. Zero decor and no proselytizing. Best: from a rotating lineup, cauliflower, tomato and zucchini sabzi in mild curry gravy plump raisin basmati rice à la biryani mixed greens tossed with sprouts, cucumber and shredded root veg in yogurt dressing to finish, house-made ginger cake slathered in maple syrup icing to drink, fresh apple and peach juice (50 cents extra). Complete meals for $8 per person, all taxes included. Open for $8 ($5 student) AYCE buffet Monday to Saturday noon to 3 pm, and 6 to 8 pm. Closed Sundays, Christmas and New Year’s. Unlicensed. Cash only. Access: 10 steps at door, washrooms in basement. Rating: NNN


Tommaso’s Trattoria

400 Eastern, at Dibble, 416-466-0988. Located next to Rent A Wreck, Tommaso and Bambina Conti’s no-frills Italian cantina does a steady trade with value-minded locals and the nearby film studio crowd. While they can eat in, most do take-away. Best: from the antipasti bar, wilted rapini in horseradish vinaigrette al dente green beans with roasted red peppers in lemon dressing minty fava beans tossed with diced bacon the best breaded veal sandwiches this side of San Francesco $3 pizza slices topped with arugula, ricotta and basil daily specials like fall-from-the-bone veal shank in tomato sauce, chicken parmigiana or gorgeously fatty porchetta sided with roasted potatoes, lasagna and/or manicotti. Complete dinners for $20 (lunches $10), including all taxes and tip. Average main $10/$7. Open Monday to Friday 7 am to 10 pm, Saturday 8 am to 11 pm, Sunday and holidays noon to 10 pm. Closed December 25 to 29. Licensed. Access: one step at door, washrooms on same floor. Rating: NNN



274A Parliament, at Dundas, 416-913-8846. Nuit and Jeffrey Regular’s tiny Regent Park take-away may not be the swankiest boîte in town, but their short northern Thai card is certainly some of the fieriest. The Regulars’ regulars know to order ahead and show up later. Much later. Best: khao soi, slippery wheat noodles with poached chicken in coconut gravy dressed with crunchy deep-fried mein the house’s signature pad thai, a tremendously textured tangle of thick rice-stick, skinny vermicelli and crunchy napa cabbage tossed with butterflied shrimp, scrambled egg, scallion and tamarind chili oil guay tiaw Sukhothai, Thai-twisted pho with rice noodles and sliced beef in an aggressively spiced broth thick with coriander and garlic to finish, nutty cassava cupcakes. Complete dinners for $18 per person (lunches $12), including all taxes, tip and a soda. Average main $9. Open Monday to Thursday 11:30 am to 9 pm, Friday and Saturday 11:30 am to 10 pm. Closed Sundays, and December 25 to 27, January 1 to 3. Unlicensed. Delivery. Access: four steps at door, washrooms in basement. Rating: NNN


Green Earth

385 Broadview, at Gerrard, 416-778-9199. Located directly across the street from the Don Jail, this cheery vegan luncheonette has proved a hit with local veg-heads. Expect Southeast Asian mains filtered through Italian and Mexican sensibilities. December 19 to 27, stuffed tofu “turkey” dinners with all the trimmings go for $17.95. Best: Paradise Sushi, loosely wrapped maki with veggie ham, lightly vinegared rice, carrot sticks, cucumber and avocado Temple Green Garden salad of broccoli, cauliflower, green beans and zucchini in creamy dill dressing Star Delight, a faux chicken breast stuffed with spinach in dairy-free alfredo garden burgers, house-made soybean ‘n’ chickpea patties on sesame seed buns dressed with vegan mayo, lettuce, tomato and pickles to finish, tofu cheesecake. Complete dinners for $16 per person, including all taxes, tip and an iced tea. Average main $8. Open Monday, and Wednesday to Saturday 11 am to 9 pm, Sunday and holidays 2 to 8 pm. Closed Tuesday. Unlicensed. Access: barrier-free, short ramp at door. Rating: NNN

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