Affordable yet decent dining downtown Toronto?

Good to see many of those whose posts on Chowhound I found very helpful in making dining decisions. I need to host a visitor to dinner on Friday. She’s staying at the Sheraton Centre. I haven’t been to restaurants in years. Im now shocked that appetizers can be $20. I understand why, my own grocery costs and overheads have skyrocketed too. But my income has taken a dive. So i need a place to have dinner that is downtown (or reasonably adjacent), QUIET, (ive already consulted the quiet list post) and where prices are not going to absorb a 2 month grocery budget. Any ethnic food is fine but has to be downtown. Suggestions would be most welcome.

Would Restaurant Pompette work budget-wise for you?

If that doesn’t work, perhaps look at DaiLo, one of the more interesting restaurants in the area in my opinion and the room is never loud, esp. if you ask for a booth seat.

Another option might be Le Baratin, solid neighborhood bistro feel, and probably more budget friendly than Pompette. But for the price, you could do a lot worse than Le Baratin.

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Thanks! Great ideas. Been interesed ih Dailo. Anyone else been there?

I should have replied to the OP. Sorry, @ipsedixit.

Restaurant Pompette is quite expensive. Mains are in the 40s. I haven’t been yet because of the cost. I have enjoyed Bar Pompette and the Pompette Bakery.

Second Le Baratin.
I recently enjoyed brunch from Le Baratin. It’s cheaper than most bistros.

For Italian, I still like Enoteca Sociale. The prices are similar to most upper mid range Italian restaurants. Pastas in the $20-$30 range.

Not downtown, but midtown: Zezafoun, which I like for Syrian food.Takeout and Delivery in [Toronto] - #162 by Phoenikia

Maybe consider Taverne Bernhardt.

Most places should be hopping on a Friday night downtown - if not, then their survival is in question.
The top places will already be booked (and/or are very expensive). On a weekend, I typically book at Le Baratin over a week in advance - similarly at la Pompette.
But, considering the location, there is a good alternative (I typically eat there on a wed or Thur, haven’t been on a Friday) - Peter Pan Bistro (corner of Queen & Peter). Their food has been pretty good recently and they also have a couple of patios (I prefer the upper one). Unspectacular, but solid, food. Reasonable wine list - and walkable from Sheraton.
And, most importantly, reservations still available as I type this!

Could you set out a parameter for how much you would spend on a main course?

I think a non-trendy , ethnic spot, or a decent spot that has been around so long it isn’t too popular on Friday nights might be the way to go.

The $20 app and $40 main are pretty much par for the course downtown these days. Maybe consider the Hothouse at Front and Church - unpretentious, not too expensive and not loud. Also a nice patio (when it’s not covered in dust from the city’s interminable Wellington St construction projects).

Quiet and cheaper is a tough combo to find downtown. A quick check shows the following options having availability:

Little India - fairly quiet, decent Indian food (go for the fish curry)
Pizzeria Libretto - not quiet
Rosalinda - not as cheap, not too loud, vegan
Sud Forno - quieter on the patio but not inside
Sap - mid-level noise, food is OK
Aanch - fairly quiet
Ardo - not as cheap, though it depends what you order; mid-level noise
Planta Queen - cheapish, mid-level noise, vegan
Dova - prices similar to Ardo, not quite downtown, patio is less noisy
Wynona - not as cheap, not quite downtown
Bar Piquette - not as cheap, not quite downtown, not too noisy

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…OR, you can go Chinese ( Cantonese )?

"Moon Palace, Atrium on Bay ". Order two protein ( meat or seafood ) dishes, one vegetable dish and rice. They offer complimentary dessert at the end. All for less than $100 before tax. Nice ambience.
Attached take-out menu for reference.

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Great recommendations. I think I’ll try and steer towards Chinatown. Or Taverne Tamblyn in my neck of the woods. Thanks so much everyone for your recommendations. The $20 appetizer is a new high? A new low too. I’ll never eat out again after this except at cheap ethnic places. Its not worth the indigestion worrying if the bill means i can’t pay the gas company.

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Charles, I’ve missed your posts since Chowhound closed. Good to hear from you. Anywhere on Spadina that you’d recommend?

Swatow for cheap-ish and semi cheerful Chinese on Spadina, no reservations needed.


Hello Chowfriend!
Long time no hear!!
After Chowhound closing, I have formed a Facebook group ’ chow-toronto ’ with a couple of foodie friends including Suresh Doss…

Second PedroPero on Swatow…for food only though since the place can get noisy and busy!..after all it’s a pseudo hole-in-the-wall.

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I like Chop Chop on Dundas W of Bathurst. Not too far from Chinatown.


The one on University is generally pleasantly un-quiet.

The one on Ossington is generally pleasantly not un-quiet.

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It really depends on what time of day, and which day you visit the Libretto on University. It has not been loud the 5 or 6 times I’ve visited. Usually before opera or late lunch. I haven’t been on a Friday night. I haven’t been to the one on Ossington in close to 8 years.

Little Anthony’s has usually been quiet, compared to most restaurants downtown. The food is good. Volos has also tended to be quiet.

Opus on Prince Arthur has been quiet when I dined there, pre Covid, but mains are in the $49-$90 range right now.

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Little Anthony’s is a bit more quiet, though also not quite inexpensive. Same with Estiatorio Volos.

Cheap ethnic places can be quieter. They are mainly not in the downtown core, close to the Sheraton, I assume because of the steep price of leasing property there. On the Danforth you can try Herby for Persian, Rendezvouz for Ethiopian, Sher-e-Punjab for Indian.

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Just looked at Little Anthony’s menu on line, and they’re as expensive as Scaramouche.


I haven’t been since 2019.

The owner (the son of the founder )of Volos and Little Anthony’s is an Ivey MBA :slight_smile: haha

In terms of quieter restaurants downtown, Adega was quiet whenever I went (prob same price range as Little Anthony’s), although it has been a long time. Same with The Queen and Beaver and Barberian’s, but again, it’s been a long time.

Queen Mother is close the Sheraton, no idea how quiet it is lately since I haven’t been in 15 years, but it’s relatively cheap.