Pour Girl can be a great place for cheap and delicious eats close to the University of Toronto.
Though I would recommend almost any student to eat here, I must caution you to not “get too crazy” with the menu. There are a few winners and a couple of losers too (do NOT get the sandwiches).
Overall Recommendation: If you’re low on cash (and I do mean cash because they are cash only) and hungry, definitely a good place to satiate the study munchies!
Price: $7-10 per person. I usually end up paying $9.50 for my food with tax incl.
Portion Size: Ideal for the single sitting and then some. You won’t have enough to take back with you but you’ll be full until your next meal!
Service: A-. The girls serving you are really nice however they can be a little spacey. They have mis-ordered my food about 4x now and that’s not including my friends. (Does the word gnocchi sound like penne?)
Value: B. Don’t get me wrong here - this place has a great value proposition for the food it sells but it has tough competition from all the other local U of T joints offering incredibly cheap and yummy lunchtime specials (for example, next door Top Sushi offers an entire sushi lunch for $7.00 flat if you pay cash - and that’s including the tax!). I also demoted it because it’s a strict cash only policy which isn’t great value for my time.
My dear little sister (Michelle) and I are renting a small 1+1 condo in Liberty Village that is already jam packed with way too much stuff. So naturally we have to make very conscious choices about the things we buy for fear that we’ll eventually look like hoarders. The other day, we ran out of paper and so we daringly decided to go to Walmart to buy a ream of paper. Unfortunately, the paper was (somewhat, kind of) next to the Christmas decorations department!
So we did what most rational human beings would do in our situation: we hesitated from buying any decorations… for about ten minutes. Instead, we walked out with a 3.5 foot Christmas tree! YIPPEE! We were conflicted over which one to get but settled on the cheapest one ($15) and bought a couple bottles of canned snow ($2/each) to flock our little tree. This is a great tip if you’re not looking to pay the $39 for that pre-flocked (snowy) Christmas tree! We then proceeded to Dollarama where we bought a few more trimmings for the tree. I thought we’d share our final result:
Call it a moment of weakness but I like to think of it as a moment of strength since I didn’t walk away with this giant $20 teddy bear… #ftw!
Mmmm, dim sum might be one of Chinese peoples’ greatest inventions and New Treasure is one of the most authentic Chinese restaurants we’ve frequented in Toronto so far. Don’t let the dinghy establishment turn you away, the food is great and the atmosphere is genuinely cheery!
Overall Recommendations: A big fat yes if you are looking for some yummy authentic Chinese dim sum at low prices! Portion sizes are standard for dim sum - four pieces of shu mai, three deep fried shrimp balls, small plate of spare ribs, etc. Service was quick and the staff were extremely polite and friendly! (Probably helps that Ash went by just a few days ago).
Price: $15 with tax between two people (5 dishes total)
Portion size: Standard for dim sum - four pieces of shu mai, three vermicelli beef noodles, small plate of spare ribs, three deep fried shrimp balls, and that other dish… well we know what it’s called in Chinese but, not English - sorry! See photos for details.
Service: A+ Very friendly wait staff, got us everything we needed.
Value: Well worth your money. Dim sum is one of those meals that gets you very full, very fast. Keep in mind the saying “Your eyes are bigger than your stomach” whenever you order dim sum. This place is no different. Five dishes filled both Ash and I for a good while and cost us basically nothing!
Pleasant perks: If you’re in to Sriracha, go crazy. Not sure if their hot sauce is homemade but, that stuff is on another level. Absolutely delicious, especially if you grew up on it like we did.
Here are some photos! (:
Rice noodle w. beef and soy sauce (bottom); shrimp balls (top)
Shui mai (bottom left); spare ribs (bottom right); pork and veggie in tofu roll (top)
I was over at one of my best friend’s houses recently and she pulled out this weird ugly pink bottle and offered me some of what was inside. The only reason I even considered touching the bottle was because it was Alanna and she knows every single new make up item known to Sephora so I knew I could trust that it was a quality product. And I was seriously stunned. It not only smells great but it is the most hydrating moisturizer I have ever used.
It’s not oily or watery, it’s just… restorative? It just feels like my hands are back to their summer selves.
I have a terrible habit of moisturizing every part of my body EXCEPT for my hands (don’t ask me how this happens… though I am pretty certain it’s the combinant result of over-washing my hands, refusing to buy the overpriced tiny bottles of moisturizer for my bag, and hating the feeling of slippery hands when I’m trying to write) and so my skin had almost reached the cracking point (literally). After only using a tiny amount at Alanna’s my hands were moisturized well into the next day! Anyway, I’ve now used it three - four times since buying it two days ago (yes I bought it the next day) and my hands are in great shape already!
I can’t say enough wonderful things about this stuff. Also, it’s really not all that expensive compared to so many hand lotions out there. The large size was on $10 at Shoppers Drug Mart which seems a little steep until you realize that everywhere from the Body Shop to Bath and Body Works prices very similarly and with products far inferior to this one.
Also, interesting little surprise: It’s actually more expensive in the states ($12 for the large bottle at Sephora). WIN! :)
Excuse me as I go hunt down my bottle right now. If only I could buy this stuff by the tonne. I think someone should make a bulk barn for cosmetic products… anyone think a Dragon would want in on this deal? Kevin’s my favourite :)
214 King Street West
416 977 2855
The food will not disappoint you here though I don’t have too much to say - maybe I just don’t get excited by Italian food? However, they do claim to be one of the Top 10 Italian restaurants in Toronto (Zagat rated) on their website.
However I do feel robbed of an experience as I have just learned that they are a chain… how disappointing.
Overall Recommendation: I’d recommend paying this place a visit if you are catching a show or concert in the entertainment district. It’s certainly convenient. The food is fresh and well presented. I probably won’t go back any time soon just because I like cheap and flavour packed meals (aka not a big fan of Italian restaurants that aren’t Pizza Nova).
Portion Size: Perfect size for the single sitting (although I do recall my pasta being particularly filling though it didn’t look like that much on the plate).
Speed: B. Average for Italian.
I haven’t any perks or warnings. Food was good, experience was very average and typical. But I do have photos!
Linguini Pollo Pesto, $18.00
Okay, this was actually pretty good. Definitely order it if you like pesto and chicken.
Cannelloni Formaggio, $18.00
Chris (Bee) had the cannelloni. I never tried it so I can’t speak to its flavour but great presentation and I recall he enjoyed it :)
70 Fraser Avenue, Toronto, ON
Holy smokes School’s brunch is ridiculously scrumptious and probably the best breakfast meal I have had in years. However, I must warn you that you probably should not frequent this place more than once every couple weeks… AT MOST! The menu is ridiculously heavy and you’ll pay a pretty penny too.
Nonetheless, you all must go! If only just once :)
Overall Recommendation: Definitely pay a visit if you’re into novelty brunches. The decor is great, the menu is filled with unique dishes and the chefs execute every dish beautifully. The service staff is also friendly.
Price: $16 - $30
Portion Size: Perfect for one sitting - you’ll feel a bit stretched after finishing off your meal. Then again, the guy next to us did get two dishes… for himself.
Speed: B. The wait for a table can get long on the weekends. I recommend going in a party of two as they have far many 2-seater tables! Otherwise you’re looking at about a 45 minute wait time for larger parties. Food speed was average - not too fast nor too slow.
Service: A-. Our waitress wasn’t the friendliest but koodos to the amazing hostesses who did all they could to make our 45 minute wait more comfortable.
Value: A-. You get what you pay for. Your meal will be delicious and you will pay a bit extra for it. I gave it a ‘minus’ because the drinks are supremely overpriced; $5.50 for a very small glass of orange juice is not my style.
Cheesy Omelette Soufflé with Bacon, $18.00
… and worth every penny. The omelette literally has a soufflé texture. It’s light and fluffy and actually resembles the texture of a cake more than an egg. They actually bake the omelette in the oven. It’s stuffed with delicious cheese and bacon (I don’t even like bacon). It’s extremely fresh and I would highly recommend anyone try this dish though it doesn’t look very special on a plate!
I would avoid or try to sub something else for the pumpkin seed salad. I really disliked it. For some weird reason, it’s spicy and didn’t really impress anyone in my party.
Light and fluffy!
Apple & Brie French Toast, $18.00
My friend Faye loved this dish. I thought it was pretty great too however I personally liked the omelettes more.
Chili ‘N’ Chip Omelette, $14.00
Another win! Delicious omelette. I hate breakfast burritos and this omelette certainly reminded me of one except that this one was highly enjoyable. Definitely recommend trying this special dish! The tortilla chips were surprisingly tasty as well.
So it seems as though my sister and I have been paying visits to rather unpleasant restaurants lately. I had a hankering for some pad thai the other day and was intent on going to my favourite place on Yonge St, the Friendly Thai. To my dismay, my favourite staple restaurant for many years has closed!
Still craving my pad thai, I persuaded Michelle to come with me to Spring Rolls. Man, that was a mistake. The server was quite miserable and pretty awful at her job and the pad thai was the worst I have ever had… including the one that Michelle and I made a few months ago.
Read on for full details!
Overall Recommendation: Personally, I would never recommend any of my friends or family go to Spring Rolls as I liken the experience to eating at a McDonald’s for Asian food. Honestly, it would just be too insulting because good Asian food is pretty easy to come by in Toronto. Spring Rolls as a chain is pretty overpriced and I was very disappointed to learn that the dim sum menu consisted of only about 5 items! However, based on the food I received, I would advise people against coming to this location in particular. My dining experience was probably best characterized as over paying for poor service and truly awful pad thai.
Price: $10-$20 ($15 for all you can eat)
Portion Size: You can probably chow down on half of your entree and take the rest home!
Speed: B. Not fast, not slow.
Service: C. This server really hated her job and it showed. She was miserable and all her interactions were painfully forced. Also, I asked for a “little” extra pad thai sauce and somehow I instead got a bowl of noodle soup with rice noodles. (This is hard to explain so you should probably refer to the photos below.) Besides that, she did her job. Everyone is entitled to attentional hiccups and bad days, right?
Value: C-. Spring Rolls is way overpriced for the quality of food you’re getting- it’s kind of a glamourized McDonald’s really. To get any form of protein with the pad thai will cost at least $2 extra - making it the most expensive pad thai I’ve ever found in Toronto. (I opted for veggie for that very reason). Also, for lunch, most Asian restaurants will give you free appetizers like soups or salads therefore depressing the value of my meal even further.
Vegetable Pad Thai, $9.99
The sauce in this pad thai was both far too sweet and acidic at the same time. Basically, I was left very confused (definitely way too much lemon juice). Of course none of this was helped by the fact that I was given way too much pad thai sauce and essentially received a soup noodle bowl.
Here is a closeup of the soup catastrophe:
This was actually quite good! I really liked the hot sauce however they automatically mixed it with mustard. I didn’t mind. I liked the flavour combination but Michelle was displeased with the unwarranted imposition of two flavours.
A little overpriced but mouthwateringly yummy nonetheless :)
Switching it up - I know it doesn’t seem like it but I like food other than sushi. I also occasionally get worried over my mercury levels…
Canteen is one of Toronto’s famed Oliver and Bonanacini’s restaurants. I was initially persuaded to go because a former co-worker of mine pronounced her great love for the restaurant’s food quality and also price range. Well, I was disappointed to find that her ideal price range turns out to be much higher than my own.
In any case, Michelle and I were determined to go star (celebrity) gazing for TIFF and so we decided to grab a bite to eat there (it’s attached to the TIFF Bell Light Box). As I was waiting for my sister to arrive, I started reading reviews on Yelp etc to get an idea of what I should order. To my surprise, I found a whole SLEW of angry reviews saying the food was over priced and quality was unacceptable. I began to regret my decision and almost left but decided I couldn’t be that rude and the food couldn’t be THAT bad for an O&B restaurant. And I was right, the food is good, the location is great. What have I decided? Angry people write reviews and well-fed happy people don’t. I am one of those well-fed happy people and for me, the only reason why I hesitate from encouraging people to go right away is that, in the entertainment district, I am positive you can find better & more unique food for the same price range. The food is good but it’s really just above average.
Overall Recommendation: If you’re seeing a movie at the TIFF Bell LightBox, you may as well pay a visit since it’s convenient. Get the Mac & Cheese!
Price: $16 - $25 per person.
Portion size: Just a bit more than perfect for a single meal. No leftovers, though so you may feel a bit stretched if you polish off the plate.
Speed: B-. It’s pretty busy here so it might take you a bit longer to get your food.
Service: A-. People wrote such terrible things about unfriendly servers but I found all of the staff to be very nice. And my water glass was always full.
Value: B+. I gave Canteen a bump from a B- to a B+ because they actually source local food and also because their menu is pretty interesting if you have the extra cash to splurge. Also, they made their own ketchup so they get bonus points for effort.
Mac & Cheese, $16.00.
It was delicious! They use some sort of white cheese and it’s just great. I’ve never had a better mac and cheese.
I am sorry, apparently the lighting blew out our photo so you can’t actually see the mac and cheese (like I said it was white). But here is a lovely picture of Michelle with a nondescript plate in front of her.
O&B Burger, $16.00.
A little pricey for a burger if you ask me but it was really good. You can definitely get a better one (cheaper) at Burger Priest though!
Ps. I swear I am not a hipster. I wear those glasses because they’re the only ones large enough to cover my (very wide) face!
It is with a heavy heart that I write a bad review for a sushi restaurant however I feel compelled to warn people against dining at Raaw Sushi in Liberty Village (especially when there are other great sushi places just a few steps away). It is not only the most expensive restaurant I have been to in the area but was also quite simply one of the worst dining experiences I have ever had and so I apologize in advance for sounding harsh.
Here is a little backstory for you folks. I just moved into the Liberty Village area and (of course), I made sure to research all the nearby sushi restaurants. I saw the usual suspects (InJapan, Koja, etc.) and also this place: Raaw sushi. Almost every review I saw raved about the portion size and had generally pleasant things to say. I was certain that it was a hidden gem and I was dying to try it! I honestly have no idea what happened to this place since those awesome reviews because the Raaw Sushi restaurant I visited a few weeks ago with my sister was nothing similar to the ones I read about. Chalk it up to either change in management or cost cutting measures (who knows?) but I would NEVER recommend nor take a friend to this sushi joint! Here is why:
**UPDATE: The last reviews posted on google review were at least nine months ago.
Overall Recommendation: Do not come here if you…
Price: $10 - $15 per person (before tax + tip).
Portion size: Smallest portions I have ever seen in a sushi restaurant in Toronto.
Speed: Very slow.
Service: C-. They were not blatantly rude but not too friendly either. Their service was slow and highly negligent. We had to wait until we were done eating to even get someone’s attention for a refill of water.
Value: F for sushi. B+ for bento box.
6pcs Spicy Salmon Maki, $6.00
Worst spicy salmon roll I’ve ever had basically because there was no salmon (let’s face it, I paid $6.00 for an avocado roll). The rice was undercooked and each roll was about the same size or less than the size of the face of a Canadian quarter.
3 pcs Salmon Sashimi, $5.00
Smallest sized sashimi I’ve ever encountered. Fish was OK. If you’re a sashimi fan and want the good stuff, go to Koja (biggest, best cut, and most delicious) or InJapan (best value).
Let’s take a closer look!
Spicy Salmon Maki
Salmon Teriyaki Bento Box (Lunch Special), $10.00
The salmon teriyaki was actually very good. Also, getting salmon teriyaki here for the lunch special is cheaper than getting it at InJapan (not sure about Koja) so if you’re in the mood for just cooked food you may consider coming here.
This place is great and has all you can eat as well as a-la-carte options. Grab a lunch special. It’s worth two meals and for half the price of a regular dinner!They also have a great salmon lover dish that is great value for sushi, sashimi, and maki rolls :) Always my dinner staple.
Overall Reccomendation: CHEAP, FRESH, and GENEROUS PORTIONS. You should go now.
Price: < $10 per person. (Unless you do AYCE).
Portion size: A+++. Great portion size! Perfect if you want to take a little something home. They’re not so large that you can’t eat it gracefully (Big Sushi - down the road is kind of guilty of this. Then again, can you ever be guilty of giving your customer too much sushi?)
Speed: A. Great speed (especially for a place that does all you can eat).
Service: B-. They are very nice but can sometimes be a little spacey. You’ll need to speak up to be heard in this place so don’t be afraid to approach (or remind) them - they might not come back to you for a while.
Value: A+++. That’s all.
6pcs California Roll + 4pcs Salmon Sushi (Lunch combination), $6.95
DELICIOUS and filling.
Consistent across time, this was from two days ago:
Chicken Katsu Bento Box (Lunch Combo), $6.95
It was great. - Michelle.