5 inexpensive eateries to visit in Toronto

Local restaurateurs share their efforts to maintain their brand

With food prices having risen, it’s getting more expensive to feed yourself at home — so when you go out to dine, you may want to save on your food budget. Some local restaurateurs are responding by keeping their menus affordable.

Here are five inexpensive eateries in Toronto to try this week:

The sour cherry pie is the house specialty. "My customers always ask for an extra slice, i've converted the non cherry lovers," Beaver said.
The sour cherry pie is the house specialty at Wanda’s Pie in the Sky. “My customers always ask for an extra slice, I have converted the non-cherry lovers,” Beaver said. (Krystal Reynolds/Toronto Observer)

Wanda’s Pie in the Sky
Niagara native Wanda Beaver says her passion for baking and pastry began 30 years ago at OCAD University. “I distinctively remember preparing desserts for a restaurant manager and everything else fell into place,” she said.

On Thursday, about 50 customers gathered for the lunch-time special “mac & cheese,” along with desserts, at Wanda’s Pie in the Sky on Augusta Avenue in Kensington Market.

Being an entrepreneur does not come easy, Beaver said. “I have gone to other bakeries and they’re very expensive,so we’re trying to give the customers value for their money.”

Rasta Pasta's most popular menu item, "The Vatican" contains : jerk chicken, seasonings and coleslaw.
Rasta Pasta’s most popular menu item, “The Vatican” contains jerk chicken, seasonings and coleslaw. (Krystal Reynolds // Toronto Observer)

Rasta Pasta

Approximately four years ago, Magnus Patterson and his business partner created their Jamaican take-out shop, Rasta Pasta, on Kensington Avenue.

Patterson’s secret to maintaining the customers interest includes a good price point and freshly cooked meals.

“Our lunch specials are five dollars,” he said. “The most costly item is the large jerk chicken for 10 dollars and oxtail for 12 dollars.”

Fresco’s Fish and Chips

Michael Fresco, who started the business six years ago, said it has been a pleasure seeing people enjoying his food at his fish and chip place on Augusta Avenue.

The most popular item is the extra crispy, haddock and chips . "It's less expensive than the halibut," Freshco said.
A crowd favourite is the extra crispy, haddock and chips at Fresco’s Fish and Chips . “It’s less expensive than the halibut,” Fresco said. (Krystal Reynolds/Toronto Observer)

Fresco did not have time to slow down, nor did he seem to want to, as the lunch-time rush streamed in.

This local eatery caters to friends, families, professionals and students.

“Service is very important and I always greet people with a smile,” Fresco said. “When people are eating they’re happy.”

He credits his location for his thriving business.

“I picked Kensington Market because there is a lot of walk by traffic and not many places in Toronto offer fish and chips for a low price and I don’t have to go very far for produce,” he said.

“To be a good restaurateur, you have to make a lot of sacrifices,” Fresco said.

All of the ingredients at the Saffron spice kitchen are fresh. "We've used ginger, turmeric and garlic to give the food additional flavour," Phinehas said.
All of the ingredients at the Saffron Spice Kitchen are fresh. “We’ve used ginger, turmeric and garlic to give the food additional flavour,” Phinehas said. (Krystal Reynolds/Toronto Observer)

Saffron Spice Kitchen

The family business on Queen Street West offers an authentic Indian cuisine.

“We started cooking at a young age and I wanted to bring our own ethnic curries to the downtown core,” said Johnne Phinehas, manager of Saffron Spice Kitchen.

Phinehas says joining the restaurant business can be challenging.

“It took me three years to become manager, if you are willing to work hard then you will succeed,” Phinehas said.

Greek Grill

Greek Grill is a local eatery on O’Connor Drive in East York, owned and operated by Dimitrios Mantziouras.

“I grew up in the restaurant business,” Mantziouras said.

His customers’ experience are top priority to him

“That’s one of the reasons why I make homemade meals, never lie to them and maintain a low food cost,” Mantziouras said.

“You have to know what you’re getting yourself into, don’t expect millions to come, ever. You work everyday for very little profit, just for the sake of making sure it keeps running,” he said.