Where to find the best meals for $10 or less in Parkdale
Toronto has one of the best food scenes in the world, but with the cost of, well, everything rising these days, it’s getting harder to take advantage of it. We’re all trying to be a little more cautious of what we spend our money on (have you seen the price of vegetable oil?!), but there are several restaurants where you can still find a delicious breakfast, lunch or dinner for $10 or less. For this new online series, we’re scouring the city—neighbourhood by neighbourhood—to find the best budget-friendly, belly-filling meals at independently run kitchens. First up: Parkdale.
There is absolutely nothing like a plate of Loga’s Tibetan momos, fried ($7) or steamed ($6), filled with chicken, beef or veggies, and served up with their famous house-made hot sauce. Note: Hit up an ATM on your way—your plastic’s no good here.
More budget bites: potato balls ($1), beef noodle soup ($6) and paratha ($6).
Tsering Phuntsok’s menu includes hits from Tibet, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. Of course, there are momos ($8 for steamed, $9 for fried), but we’re here for the $8 Tibetan breakfast combo, which includes a fried or scrambled egg, a choice of bread (puri or roti), aloo dum (a potato-based curry), chana (saucy chickpeas), some salad and chutney.
More budget bites: Ngo Tsel Tofu, cubes of tofu tossed with veggies in a garlic-ginger sauce and served with rice ($9).
This long-standing Parkdale pizzeria (owner Diana Huynh took the business over from her parents a few years back) spins out classic New York–style pies with thin, regular or thick crusts, all topped with house-made tomato sauce and a signature three-cheese blend. Pay a visit in person for the walk-in special: a large one-topping pizza for just $9.73.
More budget bites: Slices starting at just $4 and a baked one-topping calzone ($9.73)
Islas is known for their kamayan feasts—fixed-price Filipino tasting menus—but they also offers a great wing deal every Wednesday, when they serve up their sweet, sticky and crispy lechon wings for just $8 a pound.
More budget bites: Supremely savoury bagoong shrimp paste fried rice ($8) and skewers of either BBQ pork or chicken thigh ($7 for two).
Tucked away on Springhurst Avenue off King West, this neighbourhood diner moved in when Harry’s Charbroiled moved out. Gone are the kitschy coloured Christmas lights, vintage beer signs and mounted deer heads, but the menu is still full of no-frills diner fare that costs less than a tenner, like a classic BLT—arguably the perfect sandwich—for just $7.50.
More budget bites: There’s a fish sandwich ($10), Italian sausage on a bun ($7) and, of course, their Original Burger ($6).
Every neighbourhood needs a reliable spot to grab a satisfying (and affordable) breakfast on the go. AM Bagel checks that box for Parkdale with its menu of budget-friendly bagel sandwiches, like the AM Sandwich, a double-egg creation (just think of the protein) topped with bacon and havarti on a choice of buttered bagel ($8).
More budget bites: The East Coaster, a bagel take on a donair ($8).
Speaking of breakfast, Gold Standard—the second of the Federal’s two little sister sandwich shops—also makes a mean morning English muffin ($7 to $8.25), but our heart belongs to their Telway Burger ($7). A smashed beef patty grilled in mustard and onions and topped with pickles on a smooshy potato bun, all of which arrives wrapped in gold foil like a little treasure.
More budget bites: The Gold Standard Breakfast Sandwich—scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese, pickles, aioli, hot sauce, and a choice of bacon or kale on an English muffin—or the Bulldog Butty, a bacon sandwich available only at the Queen Street location, topped with bulldog sauce, kewpie mayo, onion and hot sauce ($7).
This cute and cozy café close to the corner of Queen and Roncesvalles serves up a menu of soups, sandwiches and baked goods, all made in house using locally sourced ingredients. A chalkboard menu lists daily sandwich specials, including the Bravo Melt, which layers brie, avocado and pear on a baguette slathered with spiced maple butter ($8.40).
More budget bites: A reuben with corned beef, sauerkraut, swiss cheese and house dressing on toasted rye ($7.95) and a Mediterranean wrap stuffed with roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, zucchini, goat cheese and olive tapenade ($7.74).
Substantial sushi for less than ten bucks? Believe it. The menu at this sushi counter at the bottom of Roncesvalles (yes, that’s still Parkdale) lists a few basic six-piece rolls, like avocado, yam tempura and their K-Bulgogi (marinated beef and cucumber), all for $6.50 or less.
More budget bites: Pork, veggie and K-Bulgogi gyoza ($6 to $7.50), chicken karaage ($7.50), and all kinds of inari, stuffed and deep-fried tofu pouches ($2.50 to $4.20).
This family-run neighbourhood favourite—a Roncesvalles fixture for more than 30 years—is the place to go for homestyle Polish dishes just like babcia used to make. An order of six house-made pierogies ($8) may not sound filling, but all that dough, cheese and potato would beg to differ.
More budget bites: Beef goulash ($9).