Now that we have a brand new board to scribble on, let's try and give our exploratory visitors something to chew on.
I've commented on various places over time, and am kicking this off by listing my favourite Chowhound places. Feel free to differ, comment and add your own favourites.
Arbitrarily, I've set a limit of $75Cdn for two ($50 US), all-in including taxes and tip, (most are much lower) and including a couple of glasses of wine/beers as appropriate. As my favourite depends on mood, Ill list alphabetically.
My favourite lunch place. Serves gourmet Panini sandwiches, which I usually have warmed on their Panini Grill. Take-out or sit-down, the price is the same. Cappuccino is under $2. Around $20, more expensive with wine. Location Yonge south of St Clair, west side.
A neighbourhood Bistro-style place with a chef who used to work the fine cuisine circuit and now runs this small place (30 seats) with one waiter and one other kitchen helper. Continental with Greek touches in the evening, typical medium-fast food at lunch. The prix-fixe at $19.95 (two courses plus tea/coffee) is a bargain, but splurge for the asparagus appetizer (best preparation Ive ever had). $75 including wine. Location Mount Pleasant south of Manor Road, east side (next to the cinema).
Harbord Fish & Chips
Torontos best fish and chips. Huge portions and almost tempura-like batter. Really a take-out, but has 4 stools inside and picnic tables outside. $20 including soft drinks (not licensed). Location Harbord west of Spadina, south side.
Unbelievably low prices and open until 2 am. The menu is patchy (too many choices) but the Hot and Sour Soup is (was?) the best in town (I know Ill get competition on that see post below!). And another must is the sesame biscuit (its a northern dim sum item, but you can order it anytime). Make sure you ask for the sesame biscuit to come at the same time as the soup, and eat them together. I usually order the Moo-Shu pork here as they have 6 pancakes (other restaurants typically give you 4). Although Im not an eggplant fan, others rave about their eggplant. If youre down to your last $5 the hot and sour noodle soup here is nutritious, filling and tasty. Around $20 including beer! Location College east of Bathurst, north side.
My favourite Indian. Often line-ups, but usually moves quickly. Mildly offputting as owners appear to be Chinese, but they were born in India. Tandoori Grill, but many of the dishes are cooked in a cashew paste, which is a little different. Very respectable tablecloths and always crowded. Best Onion Bhajia in town too (share one order between two, its huge). Around $45 with beer. Location Bloor at Brunswick, north side.
New York Subway
Mainly take-out but about 5 tables. The name is a misnomer as the standard fare is wraps. Choose from regular spicy and an extensive vegetarian menu. Everything cooked to order. Under $20.
Peters Chung King
All around the most versatile Chinese in town. Predominantly Szechuan, but all dishes are well prepared. For a first visit, stick with their specials, then experiment. Wonderful green beans. Kids (of all ages) love the crispy rice dishes. Definitely the venue for groups as theres something for everyone. Even has tablecloths so Mum will feel comfortable. If its not the best on any dish (see Jing Peking), then its still in the top 5. Great choices include szechuan shredded beef, spiced chicken with peanuts, orange shrimp etc etc. $30-35 including beer. College just west of Spadina, south side.
Sri Lankan food at bargain prices. Excellent choice for vegetarians, but good selection for meat lovers too. Excellent dhosas. Go exotic with String Hoppers. More conventionally try the Thali. Décor is minimal. No tablecloths but all food is freshly prepared. Outside patio in summer. Lunch is a buffet. $20-25 with beer. Wellesley east of Parliament, south side.
Quite simply a University (Ryerson) hang-out. Packed all the time. Great Thai food at bargain prices. Line-up to order and they cook it fresh and call your number. In and out in 30 mins (plus line-up time). Unless you are very brave dont go above *** (they really ration their hotness stars). Orders include rice. Closest recommendation to downtown, being close to Eaton Centre. $20, including pop (small selection of beer). Although it has a Yonge St address, the entrance is around the corner on Gould (1 block north of Dundas, east of Yonge).
Thai Shan Inn
Noted for the worst décor in town and that was after the repainting. Plastic table covers. Youll probably have to share a table. Pretty good Thai food, but notable for the best Tom Yum Goong (Spicy shrimp/mushroom lemongrass soup) in town. Make a pretty good green mango salad too, although a little sweet for some, and always serve orange segments to finish up. Bargain priced for the quality, but dress very casual for this one. Or, even better, call and order the Tom Yum Goong as a take-out (large size essential, no delivery). $20-25. Located on Eglinton West a few blocks west of Dufferin (south side).