Fave Five: Cheap Eats

While we do enjoy luxury and decadence up here on the fourth floor, we also know it’s important to stick to your budget. So when it comes time to pinch our
pennies, we try and make the best of Toronto’s sky high cost of living with
it’s delicious bargains abound. From ramen noodles on Dundas east to tacos
on St. Clair west, this city is overflowing with multicultural
delicacies that won’t break the bank. Although it’s a pretty tough task,
we set out to find our favorite five cheap eats.

North of Brooklyn Pizzeria

Relatively
new to our great city, North of Brooklyn Pizzeria has all the right ingredients
to make a great slice. Located at 650 1/2 Queen Street West,
owners Josh Spatz, Alex Potter and Frank Pinello set
out to make high end pizza at a low end cost. With fresh, never frozen
ingredients, patrons have the choice of five different slices all under $5.00.
Just one bite of this Neapolitan delight and you’ll be hooked.
Banh
Mi Boys


The
boys have returned with a vengeance and in our humble opinions, they’ve never
tasted better. With line-ups out the door, these sammies are not to be missed.
For just $5.99 you can delve into Braised Beef Cheek, slow cooked and topped
with onion chutney and if your feeling extra hungry top it off with a side of
kimchi fries.
Santouka Ramen 

Have
you heard? Ramen is all the rave. Toronto is packed with great noodle joints,
but here at rock-it we’re particularly fond of Santouka Ramen, located at 91 Dundas St. East.  For just $11, 
Santouka’ s mix simmering pork broth with
delectable chewy noodles, making the perfect winter food to warm your belly.


Albert’s Real Jamaican Foods

Especially in the winter, nothing hits the spot like a warm, spicy Jamaican dish. A small jerk chicken is just $7.50 and comes with rice, peas and coleslaw. Or if you want to be more authentic, a traditional Jamaican oxtail dinner, also with rice, peas and coleslaw is a mere $10. If you’re really scrimping, a beef or vegetable patty is just $1.35. Dem’s cheap, delicious eats. 


Tacos El Asador


Right
in the heart of Koreatown, you can find some of the best tacos north of the
border, and they were cranking out delicious, authentic tacos long before the current taco craze hit the city. With a smorgasbord 
of options all under $10, Tacos El Asador is a great place to grab a quick bite
or take out for more intimate dining experience. We went on many a student date here, but it still lives up to standards now that we’re all grown up.



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Yum Yum: Banh Mi Boys, The Big Fish and #Beastwich

Lunch time on the fourth floor has taken a turn for the delicious. Our little corner of the city has seen a slew of new restaurant openings. So, in the name of research, we decided to check them out and decide the hype for ourselves.

Banh Mi Boys – @banhmiboys
392 Queen St. W.



After a longer-than-expected renovation, Banh Mi Boys is finally open again. The shop, owned by the three Chau brothers, puts a modern spin on the Vietnamese banh mi sandwich. Banh mi offerings range from the traditional – grilled pork ($4.99) – to the innovative – duck confit ($7.49), crispy squid ($5.99). They also offer steamed buns (bao, $3.49), tacos ($3.99) and, our personal favourite, kimchi fries ($5.99; fries, kimchi, scallions, pulled pork, mayo, ZOMG). Deservedly, the place is super busy so be prepared for a bit of a wait. Also, we suggest doing take-out as we smelled pretty greasy after eating in.

The Big Fish
406 Queen St. W., open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Friday; 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday. Closed Sundays. 416.603.8102.



Grilled fish sandwich – yummy!


A few doors down from Banh Mi Boys is The Big Fish. As the name implies, their menu offers a great range of seafood items but they’ve also got lamb, beef and sausage burgers (all organic meat from Rowe Farms; from $8.85). During our visit we had fish on the brain, so tried out the basa (similar to catfish) grilled fish sandwich ($7.75) and the English-style haddock fish and chips ($9.50). The grilled fish was covered in a cornmeal and flour coating, which gave it a nice, unexpected crunch. 



One of our favourite features of The Big Fish is their vinegar spray bottles – both white and malt vinegar, naturally. Another fave part is the sheer amount of food served; we were stuffed at the end. They currently have a patio out front, and will be replacing the fence soon. Keep your eyes out for a white picket fence on Queen Street!

We agree, Big Fish. We agree.


Beast’s Beastwich Take Away Lunch –
 @BeastRestaurant #Beastwich
96 Tecumseth St.


Beast is known for their delicious dinners and weekend brunch, but as of last Friday they’ve introduced a new take-away lunch called the Beastwich. Available each Friday from noon until they run out, Beast will offer a sandwich, side and dessert for $10. Each week’s sandwich will be based on a different theme and will come in a meat and vegetarian version. We checked out the inaugural #Beastwich last week, with their Jamaican theme. They offered a pulled Jerk chicken sandwich, with a delicious white bean side salad. 


This pretty little bean salad was awesome.

The whole operation is very efficient – meals are bagged and ready for you when you get there, making it ideal for working lunches. Our only complaint was that our bread was a bit soggy by the time we settled in the park to eat. That didn’t stop us from eating the sandwich so quickly that we forgot to take a photo. It was a Good Friday indeed.