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6 Places to Eat on a Budget

Ever wonder where to eat without breaking the bank? These are some of the best (affordable) meals in the area

by Cassandre Cadieux

Eating out is generally considered a luxury, but sometimes with our busy schedules and lives on the go, it can become a necessity. Between having to find a place to grab a quick meal and discovering a new location to meet a group of friends, people are always looking for inexpensive places where they can get quality ingredients without having to eat unhealthily or from a chain restaurant. Here is a list of six places in East York where you can enjoy the atmosphere and the food without spending over $12 a plate.

California Pub and Grill
(914 Pape Avenue – 416-461-1251)
This pub has a little bit of everything, catering to any kind of palette. They serve breakfast until noon, including three eggs, meat, home fries, and Texas toast for only $4.95, and French toast for $7.95. If something a little heartier is what you’re after, there are multiple inexpensive options like a sandwich and fries for $7.95, and a Banquet Burger or Fish & Chips for under $9. This location is not just great for a greasy spoon meal; if you’re looking for something a little nicer, they offer special dishes like a Vienna schnitzel with potatoes and tartar sauce for a reasonable $14.95.

Mocha Mocha Café
(489 Danforth Avenue – 416-778-7896)
This café has nothing on their menu over $12 and serves a wide variety of food, including crepes (of both the sweet and savoury assortment), all-day breakfast, sandwiches, salads, and even a pasta-of-the-day. One of their most surprising menu items consists of a smoked salmon plate for only $9.80 with slices of smoked Atlantic salmon, mixed salad, half a boiled egg, onions, capers, and organic whole wheat toast. Although the restaurant is small, it promises a friendly and lively atmosphere.

Katsu Sushi
(572 Danforth Avenue – 416-466-3388)
Sushi is not usually a type of cuisine that allows for a customer to leave with a full belly and a full wallet, but Katsu offers an all-you-can-eat lunch menu for only $9.99 Monday through Thursday ($10.99 on weekends) and dinners that range from $14.99 to $18.99, depending on the day. Although the dinner can get a little pricey, the all-you-can-eat lunch menu provides a variety of Japanese specialties that will satisfy any sushi-lover. The price really can’t be beat anywhere else in Toronto.

Jean’s Vegetarian Kitchen
(1262 Danforth Avenue – 416-778-1388)
Although this little gem is a little farther east, closer to Greenwood station, it is worth the trek for the quality of the food. Their short menu consists of only vegetarian food, but meat-eaters will appreciate this family-owned Thai-Malay restaurant, which doesn’t serve anything over $10. Some of the appetizers come highly recommended, including Jean’s Pumpkin Soup and the Papaya Salad. A lot of the dishes are curried but several items also contain imitation meats to imitate other Asian restaurants, and you could never tell by the taste that you weren’t eating real meat.

Folia Grill
(1031 Pape Avenue – 416-424-2800)
This restaurant is quite tiny but don’t let its compact size fool you; the food is delicious. Folia specializes in Greek food, but unlike many places in the area, it is both inexpensive and of high quality. It has an even smaller menu than Jean’s, but everything on it is under $12, including an 8oz. New York Strip Loin steak. If Greek fries and a pork souvlaki pita is what you’re craving, then look no further. But here, everyone is talking about the romaine dill salad for only $4.75.

The Family Thai
(785 Danforth Avenue – 647-977-6439)
This is my one exception to the rule, because although The Family Thai has a clever name you will probably never leave with a bill under $12; although their entrees range from $7.99 to $12.99. They offer everything a diner could want, as well as a good delivery reputation, which is convenient for those days when you don’t feel like cooking or leaving the house.

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