There’s so much to do, see and eat in Toronto, but with inflation hitting your wallet harder than usual, it can be difficult to enjoy yourself in the city knowing what your bank account will look like when you get home. We’ve rounded up some of the city’s best (and worst) kept secrets when it comes to deals, bargains sales and even free stuff to make everything from shopping to nights out painless. Here are the best places to get great food, groceries, kitchen equipment and more for cheap in Toronto.
Melrose on Adelaide
Wine Wednesdays at this intimate cocktail bar offer half-price wine bottles all night long. If you’re looking for the perfect pairing, Melrose on Adelaide is renowned for their incredible charcuterie boards, offered in four varieties. 270 Adelaide St. W.
The Good Son
With a wood-fired oven as the heart of this kitchen, stop by for a quick bite, a delicious pizza and some half-price wine on Sundays at the Good Son. 1096 Queen St. W.
This neighbourhood watering hole is the perfect place to “wine down” after a weekend of fun. Chase off those Sunday scaries with half-price wine and buck-a-shuck oysters every Sunday and Monday. 388 Richmond St. W.
ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT DIM SUM
If you haven’t visited an all-you-can-eat restaurant recently, you’re completely missing out. Not only can you eat to your heart’s content without a care in the world, but in terms of bang for your buck, it really can’t be beat. Rosewood Asian Cuisine offers all-you-can-eat options for dim sum and Cantonese dishes, with choices ranging from dumplings to congee. 463 Dundas St. W.
Tap Phong Trading
Whether you’re a restaurateur or a home cook, top-quality kitchenware, cookware and tableware are a must. Chinatown’s Tap Phong (pictured left) carries an extensive range of products, from blenders and bread makers to cocktail shakers and porcelain plates, priced well below the expected range. 360 Spadina Ave.
For the last 38 years, Nikolaou has been providing gourmands and foodies alike with restaurant appliances and equipment. And if it’s good enough for the kitchens of renowned chefs, it must be good enough for the rest of us. 629 Queen St. W.
WHOLE FOODS FOR A WHOLE LOT LESS
White Lily produce boxes
Owners of the White Lily Diner purchased a farm in Uxbridge last year, and now White Lily is offering weekly produce boxes for $25, featuring in-season produce. These sell out fast, so snag one while you can!
You’d be hard-pressed to find a shopper who wouldn’t choose to buy local — but it’s usually more expensive than it looks. Fiesta Farms near Christie Pits is the largest independently owned grocery store in the city that carries a wide array of organic, local, ethical, gourmet, artisan and traditional fare at accessible price points. 200 Christie St.
Specialty stores are usually known for two things — high-quality products and even higher prices. But Lady York in Toronto is a vibrant Italian grocery store offering reasonable prices on regional food favourites, like pasta, olive oil and cheese, plus Lady York has a fully stocked deli and a dessert and hot table as well. 2939 Dufferin St.
Ambrosia is a one-stop shop for organic fruits and vegetables, natural cosmetic products, supplements and more, which they buy in bulk to give their customers the lowest possible price.
Thanks to places like Seafood Depot, lobster doesn’t just have to be a special occasion affair. This 25,000-square-foot retail space is home to a massive selection of water inhabitants available fresh, frozen or live, as well as imported grocery items at competitive prices. 81 Aviva Park Dr., Woodbridge
Just in time to finish the workday, Oretta’s cocktail hour begins at 4 p.m. and wraps up at 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Offering $6, $9 and $11 food and drink specials, you’ll find favourites there like rosso, bianco and prosecco for $6, as well as rosato, Aperol spritz and Peroni for $9. 2131 Yonge St.
This popular Bloordale spot offers up tasty Mediterranean mezes, wine, cocktails and craft beer with plenty of space to unwind on their sprawling back patio. The restaurant offers happy hour drinks and food deals from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily, where you can grab a few of their fancier cocktails for a steal and pints for $6.75. 1226 Bloor St. W.
With a long list of tequila offerings, Añejo is Toronto’s go-to spot for all things tequila. Specializing in Mexican cuisine, the menu presents delicious handcrafted recipes, perfect for pairing with a $6 margarita during Añejo’s famous #halfyhour. Daily from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. until 12 a.m., Añejo offers $6 margaritas and beer, half-price tequila and classic tacos. 600 King St. W.
FREE HAPPY BIRTHDAY FINDS!
Join the email list of Forest Hill’s popular Hotel Gelato and get served a free portion of the shop’s scintillating gelato on your birthday. Because everyone likes free stuff on their day of birth. 532 Eglinton Ave. W.
Host your next birthday bash at Wish Restaurant with six or more paying guests and receive a free dinner! It’s time to splurge on that 12 oz. steak! 3 Charles St. E.
Having a birthday brunch? What a Bagel offers six free bagels with the purchase of six bagels (that makes a dozen!) on your birthday at any WAB location.
If you register with Chatime’s rewards program (for free!), visit any Chatime location on your birthday for a free beverage of your choosing.