Where Toronto’s Michelin-recognized chefs eat cheap: Ryusuke Nakagawa of Aburi Hana

Although inflation has caused the cost of dining out to soar, there are many standout restaurants in the city with quality food at reasonable prices. And when it comes to restaurant recommendations, who better to trust than a chef — and a Michelin chef to boot!

Executive chef Ryusuke Nakagawa, recently awarded a Michelin star for Aburi Hana, an upscale Japanese restaurant serving up a traditional Kyō-Kaiseki tasting menu, recently gave us the goods on his favourite affordable restaurant in Toronto where two can dine with wine for under $100. Read on to find out which spot he selected.

Chef Ryusuke Nakagawa wants to eat at: Little Sister

“The dishes are very shareable, and there’s lots of variety, which was good because I went with one of my chef friends, and we like trying many different things,” he said. As far as a standout menu item, chef Nakagawa says that the babi kecap — a dish comprised of grilled braised pork belly, sweet star anis ginger soy sauce and pineapple ($21) is a must-try. ‘It’s a very flavourful and memorable dish for me,” he said.

Little Sister

Dutch-Indonesian fare can be quite hard to find in Toronto, and after opening its doors for the very first time in 2014, owners Mike van den Winkel and Jennifer Gittens successfully opened a second location on Portland Street. All of the dishes at both locations shine a light on foods that are enjoyed in the Indonesian islands. The menu is expertly divided into satay skewers, snacks and sides, most of which can be eaten with one’s hands (street-food style). The Sumatra-spiced beef croquettes and the babi guling (a crispy Balinese pulled-pork lettuce wrap), for example, are perfect for sharing, whereas larger, traditional dishes like the udang kari (a turmeric coconut shrimp curry) make for a hearty main. Although grilled meats like chicken and beef dominate the menu, Little Sister has plenty of vegetarian options on offer as well, like the kol goreng nano nano (crispy Brussels sprouts, sweet and spicy tamarind sauce and crispy onions). 2031 Yonge St. and 102 Portland St.

If you want to know where celebrity chef Rob Rossi of Osteria Guilia eats cheap, click here.  And to find out where chef Masaki Saito eats cheap click here.

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO