Tuck into an eggplant parmigiana hero sandwich at Red Sauce.
Red Sauce 50C Clinton, at College, 416-792-6002, redsaucetoronto.com, @RedSauceToronto Does what's left of Little Italy really need another old-school Italian trat? It does when the results are this delicious, the one-time temple to gastronomy Acadia transformed into a budget-minded caffe that runs from late in the morning till even later at night. All that's missing are checkered tablecloths and candles in Chianti bottles! Best: garlicky deep-fried pigs' knuckle sandwich with simple tomato sauce, creamy fior di latte and fresh basil on crusty kaisers or sub-sized hoagies; eggplant parmigiana platters sided with Buffalo-style cucumbers in hot sauce, peanuts and blue cheese, and spicy sautéed broccolini with roasted garlic cloves; retro clams casino in Mornay sauce with bacon; takeout-friendly house-made tagliatelle with all-beef meatballs; to drink, boozy Popcorn Floats. Complete dinners for $35 per person (lunches $25), including tax, tip and a tall-boy of Old Milwaukee. Average main $12/$9. Open daily 11 am to 2 am. Closed some holidays. No reservations. Licensed. Access: two-steps at door, washrooms in basement. Rating: NNN
District Oven 842 College, at Ossington, 416-901-7717, districtoven.com, @DistrictOvenTO The crew behind long-running Middle Eastern bistro 93 Harbord transform a ginormous Portuguese sports bar into a sexy chandelier-lit resto-lounge worthy of the slick King West strip. Best: from the large gas-burning oven that gives the resto its name, cracker-thin Lebanese pizza topped with fresh figs, halloumi cheese and mint leaves; juicy beef 'n' lamb kefta burgers garnished with arugula, fig jam and molten Brie, a basket of crisp Yukon Gold frites dusted with paprika and oregano on the side; duck legs à la tagine with apples 'n' apricots; baked cauliflower in sumac-scented chili oil over a creamy risotto of Israeli couscous; to finish, poached pears with sour-cherry reduction. Complete dinners for $55 per person, including tax, tip and a glass of wine. Average main $20. Open for dinner nightly 5:30 to 10:30 pm. Late-night menu Friday and Saturday till midnight. Bar nightly to close. Closed some holidays. Reservations accepted. Licensed. Access: one step at door, washrooms on same floor. Rating: NNNN
Rose City Kitchen 406 Queen W, at Cameron, 416-603-8102, rosecitykitchen.com, @rosecitykitchen Another week, another new resto named Kitchen - in this case a student-friendly takeaway with an inexpensive lineup of Mediterranean-inspired pita-pocket sandwiches and salad combos. Owner/chef Shontelle Pinch of Gourmet B1tches food-truck fame hopes to have three Kitchens by year's end, one in the downtown core, the other at Yonge and Eglinton. Best: house-made pita halves stuffed with hummus, tabouleh, shredded carrot and iceberg lettuce and drizzled with cherry-infused harissa; kale with Moroccan chickpeas, couscous, slivered almonds and apricot, all with either freshly made falafel, grilled chicken, halloumi or Middle Eastern-style ground steak kebabs; gravy-free poutine topped with tabouleh, tahini and crushed falafel. Complete meals for $12 per person, including tax, tip and a bottle of water or pop. Average main $4. Open Monday to Thursday 11 am to 9 pm, Friday and Saturday 11 am to 10 pm, Sunday 11 am to 8 pm. Closed some holidays. No reservations. Licensed. Access: bump at door, no washrooms. Rating: NNN