04/05/11 – By KATLYN-ANNE FLEDDERUS
What tastes better than a good meal? How about a good meal for a reasonable price? Luckily, finding a reasonably priced place to eat in Bloordale isn’t hard at all; you simply have to decide whether you want to go left or right.
Vena’s (1263 Bloor St. W., just east of Bloor St. and Lansdowne Ave.) boasts homemade cooking and is subbed the ‘Best Roti in Town’. The owner, Mashud Siddique, has run the location for 13 years, while previously running it out of Queen & Bathurst Sts. for 14 years. Siddique says all the food at his restaurant is good and favourable, selling mostly goat and shrimp. Open 7 days a week, Vena’s has a chicken with bone on rice and peas meal for $5, with a water bottle included.
Just a block east, if you’re looking for something more mild and laid-back, there’s the Holy Oak cafe (1241 Bloor St. W.). This small cafe, open from 8 a.m. – 2 a.m., is popular for its coffee, teas, beers, and mixed drinks. It also has sandwiches, such as a stuffed naan for $5.75, as well as muffins, brownies and other pastry’s, all of which are made in-house.
Owner Justin Oliver says his cafe is more of a coffee/bar restaurant, without the table service. “It’s a good neighbourhood, busy with traffic, good culture and friendly people. When I opened [two years ago] there was nothing really around like this. So it was a good business and made sense,” said Oliver.
BRISA Do LIZ
A few more blocks east from the Holy Oak is Brisa Do Liz (1147 Bloor St. W, across from Bloor Collegiate Institute), a Padaria Portuguesa Bakery. Open for 16 years, walking into this bakery certainly awakens the senses. Manager Clara DaSilva says the store is always steady, and people come mostly for their Old-Fashion homemade and other breads. Along with the breads, their big seller is the hamburger and fries with a pop for $5, as well as the hidden gem of custard tarts. Items like the panzeratto or beef patties-in-a-bun are hot ticket items during lunch and will cost you less than $4 with a drink.
Walking back a few blocks west, Dosa Mahal (1262 Bloor St. W) is a city-renown haven for cheap eats . This South Indian restaurant has 3/$1 or o10/$3 of Vege Samosa, Pakora, and Mango Vaiipen. The menu also hosts spinach lentil soup for $3.50, Chai Mosala for $1.99 and homemade Chutney for $1.25 or $2.50. If you don’t believe this place has good food, look at all the newspaper clippings posted inside the store window raving about the restaurant, or take into account the store owner was too busy for comments.
CARIBBEAN QUEEN OF PATTIES
A few shops east of the south corner of Bloor and Lansdowne (1279 Bloor St. W.), lies the Queen of Patties herself. Basked fresh daily, the Queen’s patties will run you $1.50 each. Also, don’t forget to check out the daily lunch special which usually consists of jerk chicken, ox tail or curried goat over rice and beans with coleslaw for $3.99.
Finally, the hidden gem of Bloordale: Chito’s Pizza (1308 Bloor St. W., right at Bloor and Lansdowne). This tiny sliver of a restaurant has any 2 slices of pizza with a pop for $3.50, falafel sandwiches for $2.99 and dinner plates for either $2.99 0r $4.99, and 10 wings for $4.99. But most popular, and most delicious, is Chito’s shawarmas for $4.29 (with pop). “It’s the best shawarma in town,” said Pete Deleevw, who has been eating there constantly for the past three weeks.
If you’re up for a change from the shawarmas, you can also try the shawarma pizza, which is just like a shwarma, but with pizza slices substituted for pita bread. Each slice, with chicken shawarma will run you $2.
An employee of the fast food stop, who wishes to remain anonymous, also had nothing but good things to say about his employers business. “Anywhere you go on Bloor, this is the busiest, and this is the cheapest. If you walk in you see it’s clean; everything’s fresh and you get the real picture.” He also noted how Chito’s has no need for advertising because business is always full, sometimes too busy to handle. “We get people, honestly, from Markham and Brampton. We get high school kids who walk here, and you know how hard it is to get them to walk.”