THE BEST 25 CHEAP EATS UN­DER $10

Af­ford­able, must-try dishes, rec­om­mended by the staff of Toronto Life.

Where Toronto - - CONTENTS - By alex Baldinger and Re­becca Flem­ing pho­tog­ra­phy by Dave Gille­spie

After spend­ing a year scour­ing the Greater Toronto Area, from Bay Street to the burbs, the edi­tors at Toronto Life mag­a­zine as­sem­bled a list that proves the city’s food scene is a source of amaz­ing bar­gains. Here are their top 25 must-try dishes un­der $10. For 75 more bud­get-con­scious culi­nary won­ders, check out toron­to­life.com/ food/best-cheap-eats-in-toronto

1 Deep Dish Slice Dou­ble D’s

This is no floppy, un­ful­fill­ing slice. This is Chicago-style deep­dish, a dense wodge of but­tery crust, cheese, fill­ings such as pep­per­oni and Ital­ian sausage, more cheese, and a sploosh of crushed tomato sauce, baked in a metal pan thicker than a crime novel. One parm-dusted slice is more than enough for a mid­day munch, and it comes with a drink. 1020 Ger­rard St. E.; 1256 Dun­das St. W., dou­bled­spiz­zas.com

2 The Spicy Clas­sic P.G Clucks

This is the year fried chicken sand­wiches sur­passed burg­ers for bun-fill­ing bril­liance on a bud­get. This per­fectly crunchy, cayenne-in­fused slab of Nashville hot chicken, doused with but­ter­milk ranch dress­ing, fer­mented chili sauce and tangy coleslaw, is as messy as it is habit-form­ing. $7. 610 Col­lege St., pg­clucks.com

3 Smoked sal­mon and cream cheese bagel The Bagel House

It fig­ures that the place that makes the best Mon­treal-style bagel in Toronto would know how to han­dle a proper lox and cream cheese sand­wich. The schmear is spread thick, flecked with red onions and ca­pers, and lay­ered with smoked sal­mon, and here’s the best part: it’s avail­able 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for all your

mid­dle-of-the-night nosh­ing

needs. $6.99. 1548 Bayview Ave.; four other GTA lo­ca­tions, the­bagel­house.com 4 Meat roti Qual­ity Bread Bak­ery The “short eats” (that’s the Sri Lankan term for “snacks”) at this Scarborough bak­ery are kind of like Hot Pock­ets—if Hot Pock­ets were de­li­cious. Spicy dried mut­ton is tucked into a plain roti that’s then folded up into a palm-sized treat that can’t be beat for a bit more than a toonie. $2.50. 1221 Markham Rd. 5 Mapo tofu Sichuan Gar­den For this clas­sic spicy dish, the Chi­na­town restau­rant tosses ten­der cubes of tofu, ground pork and bean paste in a fiery pool of chili oil dot­ted with crushed Sichuan pep­per­corns. The rice pro­vides some respite from the numb­ing heat.

$5.99. 359 Spad­ina Ave., sichuan­gar­den­toronto.com 6 Half chicken with rice Chur­rasco of St. Clair In the city’s west end, you can’t throw a rock with­out hit­ting a chur­rasqueira—and that’s not a bad thing. But this no-frills Por­tuguese chicken shop on has been turn­ing out gold­en­brown, bud­get-friendly birds since 1986. Their combo

No. 3—half of a char­coal-grilled chicken served with sea­soned rice—is a no-brainer. $8.75. 679 St. Clair Ave. W., chur­rasco.net 7 Dirty duck fries Wvrst King West’s pop­u­lar beer hall is a seven-day-a-week sausage party, but it makes some pretty great Bel­gian-style taters that are dirty in the best pos­si­ble way: fried in duck fat and buried in roasted pep­pers, jalapeños, sautéed onions and Wvrst’s ad­dic­tive spe­cial sauce. $7.25. 609 King St. W., wvrst.com 8 Egg­plant tramezzino Forno Cul­tura It doesn’t much mat­ter what goes on the sand­wiches at this King West bak­ery: the bread— oh, that bread—is the main at­trac­tion. But the top­pings on this par­tic­u­lar herbed fo­cac­cia con­coc­tion are ex­cel­lent, too: del­i­cate sheets of roasted egg­plant and zuc­chini with fior di latte, arugula, baby kale and a creamy aïoli. $8.50. 609 King St. W., fornocul­tura.com 9 Cheese pu­pusa Tacos El Asador Th­ese corny, doughy discs at Kore­atown’s long-stand­ing Sal­vadorean spot are stuffed with queso, and sided with tangy pick­led onions, cab­bage, car­rots and beets, and a teeny pa­per cup of kicky tomato salsa. $3.75. 689 Bloor St. W.

12 Cur­ried veg­etable samosa Sul­tan of Samosas

The samosas at this North York take­out shop come in al­most a dozen dif­fer­ent flavours, but we like the cur­ried veg­etable one. Each teeny triangle is packed with potato, car­rots, green beans and corn, all tossed in a se­cret blend of north In­dian spices. $1.10. 1677 O’Con­nor Dr., sul­tanof­samosas.com

13 Tofu stew Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu

No mat­ter the sea­son, the win­dows at this Kore­atown favourite are al­ways steamed up. The rea­son: mini-caul­drons of soon tofu, a spicy Korean stew of kim­chee, tofu, pork and a freshly cracked egg that cooks in the boil­ing, roil­ing mess. On the side: a stone bowl of sticky pur­ple rice. $8.85. 691 Bloor St. W.

14 Bar­be­cue pork skew­ers Lasa

The grilled pork skew­ers at Lamesa’s mid­town sis­ter spot are mar­i­nated—in true Filipino style—with soy and 7-Up, but they’re a more sub­tle, less sac­cha­rine ren­di­tion of the tra­di­tional dish. Each one makes for a per­fect three bites. $2.50. 634 St. Clair Ave. W., lasaby­lamesa.com

15 Ro­tis­serie chicken sand­wich Flock

Cory Vi­tiello’s sig­na­ture ro­tis­serie chicken is pulled, then heaped on a soft milk bun and decked out with crunchy ap­ple, beet and horse­rad­ish slaw; creamy av­o­cado; crisp onions; and ro­maine let­tuce. $9. 330 Ade­laide St. W.,; plus three other GTA lo­ca­tions, eat­flock.com

16 Dou­bles with cur­ried chickpeas Dru­patis Roti and Dou­bles

Th­ese pip­ing hot pil­lows of dough stuffed with spiced chana are ubiq­ui­tous in Toronto’s Caribbean and West In­dian en­claves, and while ev­ery­one swears by their dou­bles joint, Dru­patis is one of the stan­dard­bear­ers. Or­der them with slight pep­per and some tamarind chut­ney to re­ally savour the spicy sweet­ness. $1.99. 1085 Bel­lamy Rd. N.; three other GTA lo­ca­tions, dru­patis.com

17 Nona’s veal egg­plant Uno Mus­ta­chio

There’s some­thing al­most parental about cradling a hefty sand­wich from this St. Lawrence Mar­ket stal­wart. Each one is a cou­ple of pounds of saucy veal, egg­plant and parme­san. Top­ping it with roasted pep­pers and jalapeños, plus sautéed onions and mush­rooms, is an of­fer you can’t refuse. $9.75. 95 Front St. E., un­o­mus­ta­chio.com

18 Shang­hai won tons Ding Tai Fung dim sum

Tossed in a mix­ture of chili oil and soy sauce, th­ese pork-packed dumplings are equally sweet, spicy and tangy, and they de­serve some of the at­ten­tion usu­ally re­ceived by

the restau­rant’s ever-pop­u­lar soup dumplings. $7.99. 3235 Hwy. 7 E., Markham

19 Hainanese chicken rice Malay Thai Fa­mous Cui­sine

The food court in First Markham Place is full of gems, in­clud­ing this hearty serv­ing of ten­der, bone­less Hainanese chicken and rice cooked in broth, with even more belly-warm­ing broth on the side. Win­ter and sum­mer colds, you’ve been warned. $6.99. 3255 Hwy. 7 E., Markham

20 Three-piece chicken din­ner Chick-N-Joy

Not to be con­fused with the even-more-east-end chain of the same name, this fam­ily-run Les­lieville chicken shop has been fry­ing up fowl since 1977. A three-piece din­ner here in­cludes a trio of fresh­n­ever-frozen coun­try-fried thighs, legs or breasts, a choice of sides, and a roll. Don’t for­get to or­der the fa­mous yel­low gravy for $1 more. $8.05. 1483 Queen St. E.

21 White­fish dumplings Yan Can Cook

This long-time ven­dor in the food court of First Markham Place has a bor­der­line-over­whelm­ing menu of Chi­nese dishes.

A sure bet is the fish siu mai: five mas­sive dumplings loaded with white­fish and drenched in a home­made chili-gar­lic soy sauce. $3. First Markham Place, 3255 Hwy. 7 E., Markham

22 Savoury Chi­nese crêpe Lamb Kebab

Look for the rou­tine lineup at Dun­das and Spad­ina to find the street ven­dor sell­ing lamb ke­babs, stinky tofu and jian­bing, de­li­cious savoury Chi­nese pan­cakes. Made to or­der on a flat­top grill, the pa­per-thin crêpes are cov­ered with egg, painted with two sauces (sweet and heat), sprin­kled with cilantro, green onions and let­tuce, and topped with a cou­ple of crispy crack­ers be­fore be­ing folded up into a tasty multi-lay­ered mess. $5. 492 Dun­das St. W.

23 Chicken mole bur­rito Car­nicero’s

The peo­ple who hand out those free sam­ples of pork belly right inside the main en­trance of St. Lawrence Mar­ket have a hid­den ta­lent: they make a damn fine bur­rito. The rich, smoky chicken mole has a dis­tinct dark-choco­late note, and a few pick­led jalapeños of­fer an ex­tra stab of heat to the bun­dle, which is stuffed with cheese, salsa, let­tuce and sour cream. It’s lightly crisped on the grill be­fore serv­ing. $6.99 for a reg­u­lar, $9.99 for a large. 93 Front St. E., car­niceros.ca

24 The Gober­nador Taco Seven Lives

If you have time for only one taco in Kens­ing­ton (and there are many), make it this one. Dou­ble-shelled to hold the heft of its con­tents, the gober­nador is a de­li­cious mess of shrimp and smoked mar­lin, all glued to­gether with gooey moz­zarella cheese. 69 Kens­ing­ton Ave.

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