Over the years we’ve all heard urban myths about insane schemes that students concoct to make mealtime as easy and as cheap as possible. There’s the old standard about a house of frat boys from Western (or was it Trent?) who consumed nothing but Kraft Dinner and Coca-Cola for a semester before falling ill with scurvy. Then there’s the one about some dude’s sister’s boyfriend’s pen pal who swears he used to know a guy whose lazy roommate joined NutriSystem—not because he was overweight, but just so he could have meals delivered to him every day. And who could forget that great yarn about the poor kid whose cheap Dad wouldn’t buy him a meal plan but instead sent him to res with 300 cans of tinned dehydrated food he’d bought off some nuclear holocaust survivalist website. The following guide is meant to keep you from becoming an urban legend, and to help you bust out of that meal-plan monotony.
Aunties and Uncles – 74 Lippincott St.
Walking into Aunties and Uncles is like taking a step back in time to someone’s kitchen circa 1955. The quaint, eclectically-furnished joint is usually packed with students and blue-collar hipsters (bipsters) who’ve figured out that everything on the menu could define the word delicious. Deserving a special mention is their Dijon-anddill potato salad and their default use of challah bread for toast.
Maggie’s – 400 College St.
Anyone can fry an egg, and at Maggie’s they know that achieving breakfast greatness is all about the context. A standard three-egg breakfast comes surrounded by toast, bacon, their amazing garlic infused French fries (great for yolk-busting), and a generous helping of fresh fruit. All that and cup of coffee will only set you back $8, if you get there before noon.
Insomnia – 563 Bloor St. W.
Four words can describe the prime reason to visit Insomnia in the a.m. hours: Best Hollandaise Sauce Ever. If you’re a fan of eggs Benedict (or any of its permutation like eggs Loraine, eggs Florentine, or eggs Isabelle) this is the place to go. Seriously. Their breakfasts come with a side of scrumptious roast-potato home-fries coated in a blissful BBQ sauce plus a delightful green salad. Oh, and FYI: their pancakes are actually cakes in the literal sense, and despite taking a longish time to make (25 minutes, they warn you) are the perfect birthday- morning treat.
Future Bakery – 483 Bloor St. W.
Hey, you’re a student, so you likely can’t afford to drop mad bills on breakfast everyday, which is why Future’s will hook you up for cheap on weekdays if you flash your student ID. For $3.99 you’ll get a full English fry-up plus coffee, tea or O.J. What inevitably lacks in quality is made up for in quantity, price and prompt service. While not the classiest feast, Future’s still remains an important student mainstay.
Sarah’s Falafel – 487 Bloor St. W.
There are a lot of Falafel joints on Bloor Street, but Sarah’s is by far the best. Their unique process of putting the finished product in a heat press for a few minutes makes the pita bread warm and crunchy. Fresh ingredients including beets and halal meats make for a delicious and religiously permissible falafel or shawarma. Be sure to complement your sandwich with a side samosa, grape leaf wrap, or fruit nectar.
Massimo’s – 302 College St.
The quick walk from campus to College and Robert Street is totally worth it for Toronto’s Best Pizza slice. $3.75 will buy you a massive slice of margherita (tomato sauce, cheese, oregano and oil) or pepperoni pizza. Don’t forget to wash it all down with a can of San Pellegrino’s Aranciata or Limonata.
Roti Palace – 744 Bathurst St.
Nothing cuts through the cold Canadian winter like some spicy island cuisine. If you want the place that does it right, visit Roti Palace, located on the west side of Bathurst, just south of Bloor. Their chicken roti is savory and spicy perfection, but make sure you spend the extra buck or two for their boneless style, and chase it all with a cool bottle of Fanta.
Chippy’s – 490 Bloor St. W.
Chippy’s fish batter is so addictive I’ve heard people swear they sprinkle crack on top. This is a lie, the secret ingredient is actually Guinness beer, but the overall point is still valid: Chippy’s kicks ass at fish and chips. On the chips front, their fries are made from hand-cut Yukon Gold potatoes, and go great dipped in their delicious homemade tartar sauce, which is totally worth the extra 75 cents. For the perfect complementary drink, add a Coke that comes in a classic green glass bottle. Score!
Pauper’s Pub – 539 Bloor St. W.
When it’s in season, Pauper’s rooftop patio offers up one of the best views to eat and drink by in the Annex. Take advantage of their afternoon half-price apps, or chow down on any one of their top-of-the-line pubgrub entrées—especially their beer battered chicken fingers.
New Generation Sushi – 493 Bloor St. W.
There are about fifteen sushi restaurants tucked into the Bloor strip between Bathurst and Spadina, and New Generation (“New Gen” to the initiated) is the best of the lot. Sporting both lunch and dinner menus, New Gen offers up tasty tempura, glorious gyoza, marvelous maki (try their yam and avocado roll), and California rolls that will leave you craving more. Plus, all dinners come with complimentary green tea and red bean ice cream.
Fresh by Juice For Life – 326 Bloor St. W.
This corporate looking vegan resto is also a great destination for nonveggies just looking for healthy eats that are still tasty as hell. While their smoothies might be a little on the pricy side, ordering up a fruity “First Kiss” for your beau is sure to impress. The rest of the menu offers lots of tasty tofu bowls and sandwiches. For a nice treat, order their yam fries with mayo dipping sauce.
Red Room – 444 Spadina Ave.
Right off the bat you should be warned: unless you’re the only person in the place you’ll probably need to build a time machine to get prompt service at this notorious student hangout. That being said, when your food finally does arrive it’ll probably be half decent. Their pad thai is probably the best thing they make, but their chicken breast sandwich, and avocado and brie sandwich, (both served with fries) are also decent fare.
Sneaky Dee’s – 431 College St.
No guide to student eats would be complete without a nod to Sneaks. This College Street punk-rock eatery has mastered the art of Tex-Mex and applies it to tasty dishes like their famous nachos, sizzling hot DIY fajitas (half price on Tuesday nights!), and their always satisfying breakfast burrito, the Burro Favorito.