The best places to fill up for $10 or less

Where to Eat Cheap

The best places to fill up for $10 or less

It’s been almost seven years—and one global pandemic—since our last feature on Toronto’s best, most affordable bites. A lot of things have changed in the interim, chief among them how hard it has become to find a meal (or anything, really) for $10—but it’s not impossible. We scoured the city’s new takeout spots and discovered 20 delicious ways to fill up for less. We also rounded up our all-time favourite budget-friendly bites and asked Toronto’s top chefs where they eat well on the cheap.

Satay beef and scrambled egg in pineapple bun from Good Luck Hong Kong Cafe
Satay beef and scrambled egg in a pineapple bun

Good Luck Hong Kong Cafe, 5533 Yonge St.,

1 This North York chaa chan teng (“tea restaurant” in Cantonese) specializes in belly-filling comfort food, including bowls brimming with noodle soup, baked rice dishes and thick wedges of brick toast (think a half-loaf of bread, hollowed out and filled with things like cheese and alfredo sauce). For something just as satisfying that doesn’t induce a food coma, we recommend the Hong Kong–style satay beef and fluffy scrambled eggs on a pineapple bun—which, for those who don’t already know, neither tastes like nor is made with any of the actual fruit. $10

Cevapcici pita from Somun Superstar
Classic cevapcici sandwich

Somun Superstar, 998 Kingston Rd.,

2 This popular Upper Beaches bakery and restaurant has been churning out cevapcici since 2019, but their value-driven sandwich-only menu is a new addition. For just a tenner, they’ll fork over one of their pillowy house-baked somun (think pita that’s a bit extra) stuffed with their signature springy sausages, which are a mixture of beef, veal and lamb. Some raw white onion and tangy kajmak cut through the richness of the meat. $10

Friday Burger from Joe Friday's Friday Burger Co.
Photo by Marc Santos
Friday Burger

Friday Burger Co., 162 Danforth Ave. and 81 Bay St., 4th floor, 416-425-9881,

3 It’s no surprise that a North Carolina–born chef who has a fine-dining background and—get this—spent three years tasting more than 250 hamburgers all over North America has managed to produce a perfect patty. For his eponymous Friday Burger, chef Joe Friday tops a smash burger with American cheese, lettuce, tomato and—the stars of this single-patty show—house-made pickles, crispy onions and signature sauce. $10

Related: Toronto’s best burgers under $10 right now

Conch fritters from Old Nassau Authentic Bahamian Cuisine
Photo by Daniel Neuhaus
Conch fritters

Old Nassau Authentic Bahamian Cuisine, 2047 Weston Rd.,

4 This Bahamian fast-casual kitchen in Weston Village offers a protein that’s unique in these parts. Andros-born chef-owner Kaylandra Edgecombe cooks up all things conch, including the classic conch salad and—our favourite—conch fritters, in which the mollusk is diced, battered and deep-fried, then meant to be dunked piping hot in the creamy house sauce, a spicy mayo amped up with a bit of scotch bonnet. $8

Dave's Salad Fries from Sunnyside Provisions
Dave’s Salad Fries

Sunnyside Provisions, 287 Roncesvalles Ave.,

5 Like a blessing in disguise, this Roncesvalles grocery store with a takeaway counter hides a pile of guilty pleasure fries under a colourful riot of mixed greens, diced tomatoes, pickled banana peppers and onions two ways (pickled, crispy) in a delightful vinaigrette. Mix it all together for variety in every bite, or finish the salad first before enjoying your french fry reward. (At its core, it’s a vegan dish—but for a few extra bucks, meat-eaters can ask to tack on some turkey confit, pulled pork or sloppy joe.) $6

Vegan shawarma wrap from Eat Nabati
Vegan shawarma wrap

Eat Nabati, 160 Baldwin St., @eatnabati

6 Most of the pitas on the menu at Kensington Market’s vegan Egyptian kitchen cost less than $10, but the Mama Shawarma pita—stuffed with strips of soy-based “chicken,” organic tomatoes, lettuce, pickled turnips, cabbage, onion, hummus and a deluge of lemon tahini—is the thing to get. It’s satisfyingly filling for a plant-based sandwich. $9

Sausage, egg and cheese by Emmer
Photo by Daniel Neuhaus
Sausage, egg and cheese

Emmer, 61 Harbord St.,

7 At Emmer, Philip Haddad’s three-years-in-the-making Harbord Village bakery, all the usual sweet and savoury suspects are present: flaky croissants (the twice-baked pistachio is next level), boules of tangy sourdough, fruit-filled danishes and freshly made pies. Go before 11:30 a.m. and you can also get a pretty amazing breakfast sandwich. A house-made (of course) English muffin comes stacked with a thick sausage patty and a fried egg, all blanketed with melted cheddar and dripping in house hot sauce. $10

The GOAT taco from Vasan's Tacos
Photo by Daniel Neuhaus
GOAT taco

Vasan’s Tacos, 7179 Brimley Rd., Scarborough,

8 Toronto’s taco scene has many an al pastor and carne asada to offer, but in a city like this one, cultural cross-pollination is inevitable, and we’re the lucky beneficiaries. Vasan’s South Asian spins on taqueria fare are pretty special. The mutton taco is known as the GOAT for good reason. House-made naan is loaded with mutton curry, dressed with a refreshing cilantro-lime cream and finished with hickory sticks, so there’s a little Canadian crunch to every bite. $5.50

Related: The best budget-friendly tacos in Toronto

Jamaican patty from JunePlum by Patois
Smoked brisket oxtail gravy patties

JunePlum by Patois, 796 Dundas St. W.,

9 Okay, $9.75 may not sound cheap for a Jamaican patty, but hear us out. It takes the team at Patois three days to make what could be Toronto’s most indulgent artisanal Jamaican patties, which chef and owner Craig Wong sells at JunePlum, his restaurant’s sister retail shop next door. For the filling, Wong crams each pyramid-shaped pastry pocket (so you get four crunchy corners) with smoked brisket that’s been braised for hours in a rich oxtail gravy. You’ll never look at a Gateway-procured patty the same. $9.75

Chicken shawarma from Sumaq
Chicken shawarma

Sumaq Iraqi Charcoal Grill, 1961 Lawrence Ave. E., Scarborough, and 3920 Eglinton Ave. W., unit 25, Mississauga, @sumaqbbq

10 From both the original Golden Mile location and their new Mississauga spot, the Al-Ameri family serves up tastes of their homeland in the form of tender chicken shawarma (or veal shawarma or herbaceous falafel), swaddled in pita (or, for an extra buck, pleasantly chewy house-made tanoor bread) and spread with tahini, garlic sauce and quite possibly the city’s best hummus. $9.50

Jian bing crepes from Corner Crepe Co.
Photo by Lindsay Lauckner Gundlock
Jian bing

Corner Crepe, 267 College St., unit 5, 416-506-0316

11 From their teeny-tiny takeout window at College and Spadina, Corner Crepe Co. doles out jian bing, a popular Chinese breakfast made of thin crêpes layered with eggs and other add-ins, like crunchy deep-fried wonton crackers, green onions, cilantro, lettuce and house sauce. We suggest mixing in some sausage or potato, which—in a surprise twist—is a sort-of-spicy, sort-of-sour shredded tater salad that adds just the right amount of tang. $7

Related: Toronto’s best bowls of noodles under $10

Chili dog from Nasir
Photo by Lindsay Lauckner Gundlock
Chili dog

Nasir, 3665 Lawrence Ave. E.,

12 There’s no shortage of hot dog carts in the city, but this Scarborough vendor stands out for his top-notch street meat and sublime toppings. Nasir Alhuttam has run his halal stand from the parking lot of a mosque on Lawrence East for more than 15 years. Our favourite is his chili-topped sausage, for which he doubles down on the cow, with an all-beef wiener cradled by a soft toasted bun and slathered in beef chili that his wife, Muna, makes daily. $8

Tibetan momos from Loga's Corner
Tibetan momos

Loga’s Corner, 1407 Queen St. W., @logascornerto

13 Parkdale’s pre-eminent momo parlour has been serving its famous-for-a-reason dumplings at its teeny Close Avenue location since 2014, but it was joined last year by a larger sister restaurant on Queen West. Amazingly, an order of 10 steamed momos—pockets of dough filled with lamb, beef, chicken, pork, potato or veggies and perfectly pinched—still rings in under $10. They’re delicious on their own but even better topped with the kitchen’s secret weapon: an electric-orange hot sauce made in house by Loga and his wife, Dolma. $9

Takoyaki from Takoyaki6ix
Photo by Lindsay Lauckner Gundlock

Takoyaki6ix, 160 Baldwin St., unit 5, @takoyaki6ix

14 When Kaori Hisada moved here from Hokkaido, she was unimpressed with the takoyaki. In Japan, there are food stalls dedicated to the art of the wee cephalopod pancakes. In Toronto, they’re often deep-fried from frozen and served at sushi or ramen joints. Hisada’s—made with sous-vide Moroccan octopus and cooked on an imported Japanese griddle—are perfect: not too runny, not too hard and packed with umami thanks to the dashi that’s mixed into the wheat-based batter. $8

Detroit-style pizza from Renaissance
Photo by Joshua Best
Detroit-style pizza

Renaissance Pizza, 809 Dundas St. W.,

15 This new Detroit-style pizzeria in the city’s west end churns out bubbling, golden-brown, thick-crusted pan pies and—the reason we’re here—individual square slabs that are decidedly more satisfying than floppy traditional slices. The pepperoni comes sauced with a simple but bright blend of Californian crushed tomatoes, garlic and—after it comes out of the oven, to prevent the crust from getting soggy—olive oil. It’s loaded with high-fat mozzarella, topped with crispy cups of pepperoni and finished with fresh basil and grated parmesan. $7

Related: The best cheap pizza slices in Toronto right now

Tibetan breakfast combo from Garleek Kitchen
Tibetan breakfast combo

Garleek Kitchen, 1500 Queen St. W.,

16 Tsering Phuntsok’s menu includes hits from Nepal, Sri Lanka, India and Vietnam, but our pick is the Tibetan breakfast combo, which comes with a choice of egg (fried or scrambled), carb (the ginormous puffy puri is the way to go), aloo dum (a potato-based curry), chana, chutney and a tiny ramekin of salad. $9

Korean corn dog from Arirang
Photo by Lindsay Lauckner Gundlock
Stuffed corn dogs

Arirang Hotdog, 5 Byng Ave.,

17 Korean corn dogs are all the rage. And at this North York hot-dog outpost, the trendy snacks on sticks are filled with a choice of pork or—get this—Wagyu beef sausage, plus mozzarella or marble cheese. But what’s on the outside counts just as much: Arirang’s dogs come coated in a crispy-chewy batter adorned with things like chicken nugget chunks, churros, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos or crunchy nacho cheese Doritos. Somehow it all manages to stay on the stick. $7

A pound of wings from Butcher's BBQ
A pound of wings

Butcher’s BBQ, 33 Gunns Rd.,

18 Nothing on the fixed menu at this Stockyards food truck costs more than $10, but it’s hard to find a better wing deal at any of the city’s bars. The crispy smoked wings, seasoned with a house spice blend (salt, pepper, paprika, garlic), are exceedingly fresh: the trailer is parked right outside St. Helen’s Meat, where the chicken is sourced, which means these drums and flats were basically clucking mere hours before hitting the deep fryer. $9.75

Cubano sandwich from Cubano Kings
Photo by Joshua Best
Cubano sandwich

Cubano Kings, 141 Spadina Ave.,

19 Felix King’s 18-square-foot storefront is a sunny little slice of Miami right on Spadina. His classic Cubano layers cooked ham, Swiss cheese and dill pickle slices, all slathered with yellow mustard on buttered soft bread and then pressed on the grill until it’s melty on the inside, golden and crisp on the outside. $10

Related: The best banh mi under $10 in Toronto

Chicken pot pie from Phamilyeats
Chicken pot pie

Phamilyeats, 858 Eglinton Ave. E.,

20 The bad news: at $11, the personal beef pho short rib pot pie from Peter Pham’s stall inside East York Eats, a compact food hall on Eglinton, falls just above our budget. The good news: the equally delicious and dairy-free chicken version—a flaky pastry shell filled with tender chicken and veggies—makes the cut. $9.25

This story appears in the March 2024 issue of Toronto Life magazineTo subscribe for just $39.99 a year, click here. To purchase single issues, click here.