Where to find the best meals for $10 or less in Weston Village
Including Somali shakshuka, Bahamian conch fritters and Greek souvlaki
As the price of, well, everything continues to climb, our hunt for the city’s best budget-friendly, belly-filling meals presses on. This time around, we’re visiting Weston Village, a diverse neighbourhood in Toronto’s west end where you’ll find a bunch of independent and BIPOC-owned restaurants serving up all kinds of food at affordable prices. Here are 10 of our favourite spots.
Chicken in the Bag, a golden-brown chicken leg served with crispy fries and fresh pico de gallo ($10), is a favourite Bahamian street food. The dish gets its name from the way it’s served at chicken shacks all over the Caribbean island—in a brown paper bag, of course. Here, though, it’s wrapped in foil (but Chicken in the Foil doesn’t have the same ring to it).
More budget bites: Conch fritters, tender nuggets of conch meat, deep-fried and served with a kicky, creamy house sauce for dipping (pictured above, $8).
Since 1970, this family-run Greek diner has been keeping the neighbourhood well fed with its signature souvlaki, corned beef sandwiches and hearty bacon-and-egg breakfasts. For something affordable and filling, get a pita stuffed with pork souvlaki and veggies, all smothered in tzatziki ($8, fries not included).
More budget bites: The P&M Special Sandwich, bacon, egg and cheese on a kaiser topped with mayo, lettuce and tomatoes ($10).
For plant-based comfort food, try the Malai Kofta bowl—crispy veggie balls made with cashew, cheese, carrots and potatoes in a creamy tomato-based sauce ($7 to $9)—from this family owned Indian kitchen. And, for something sweet, there’s the gulab jamun, sold by the pound.
More budget bites: Vegetarian thali or biryani ($10 each).
Every day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., customers at CQJ’s Lawrence West location can get a takeout container filled with chicken (jerk or crispy), vegetables and a choice of rice and peas or white rice for the unbelievably low price of $5. (And that includes a drink!)
More budget bites: The breakfast special, which includes a choice of breakfast—like ackee or callaloo and saltfish—served with porridge, yams, and dumplings or banana ($7.50).
Pastable’s $10 BYOP (build your own pasta) bowls come with three free mix-ins. Guests can choose from seven pasta shapes, six different sauces and 17 fresh mix-ins, including various veggies, cheese and—wait for it—Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. For anyone cutting back on carbs, there’s a juicy buffalo chicken sandwich finished with ranch dressing and pickles ($7).
More budget bites: The Mac and Chicken lunch special ($5).
This family-owned halal restaurant offers up a Toronto take on NYC’s Halal Guys—right down the red and white sauces. The best bet is the chicken (or lamb or beef or all three) over rice topped with tomatoes, shredded lettuce and lots of sauce ($9 for the regular size).
More budget bites: A chicken (or lamb or beef) pita filled with lettuce, tomatoes, and your choice of additional toppings and sauces ($7).
Sylvio Rodriguez moved to Toronto in the ’80s as a refugee from Argentina and opened El Almacen as an ode to his birthplace. This is his second location of the café and empanaderia (the original is in Parkdale). A couple of his baked or fried empanadas—like classic ground beef and olives or sweet corn and caramelized onions—make for a mighty fine meal ($3.50 each).
More budget bites: The vegan grilled sandwich with house-made black olive tapenade, spinach, avocado, tomato, roasted red pepper and sun-dried tomatoes ($9.50).
The thing to get here is the breakfast sandwich, specifically the one that loads an over-toasted English muffin with an egg, bacon, cheddar, mayo and Dijon mustard. And, no, that muffin’s not burnt—the slight charring is intentional ($8).
More budget bites: The veggie version, which swaps out the bacon for tomato and basil ($8).
The trios of excellent tacos at this Jane and Lawrence taqueria are a bit out of budget (and for good reason). But the equally delicious cheese quesadilla—a half-moon of cheesy, deep-fried goodness finished with shredded lettuce, queso fresco, crema fresca and a choice of house hot sauce—rings up to $10.
This Somali kitchen serves a hearty breakfast combo of shakshuka—which here looks more like a spiced, tomato-saucy omelette—with veggies and a side of anjera or malawah for scooping ($10).
More budget bites: Beef samosas ($2 each).