5 places to eat great Italian for less than $15

By: Jim Bamboulis

I love to eat out a lot without spending a lot of money. And although many restaurants in Toronto can be pricey, there are tons that make delicious food and still manage to have reasonable prices.

That includes Italian spots. Sure, some have been around for generations. Family-run, theylove making dishes for others to love too. And some newer ones do a great job keeping that old-world tradition alive and well.  you’re eating in Grandma’s kitchen.

The 5 places listed below are all affordable, delicious and overall awesome. They all feel like you just dropped in on Grandma and she has an entire meal ready for you to devour. Go to these restaurants. Eat. Be happy. Let’s go!

Primo Veal

This place consistently delivers quality. On top of that there’s a real community feel here. Everyone knows Mike, the Owner. A great guy who people have come to love and trust. There’s something to be said about a place located in North Scarborough, in a strip mall, with little to no advertising outside. It turns out, there’s no need. The place is jammed all the time.

How much?
Veal/Chicken Cutlet – $7-$8

Where is it?

Franks Pizza House

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Family-run since the 60s, Franks Kitchen has built a reputation of consistent quality. They don’t make them like this anymore, which is all the more reason to hit this place. The food comes from the heart and what goes into the pizza is made in-house, from scratch. Fresh and delicious pizzas, big portioned calzones, consistently voted tops on many best of lists. It’s in Little Italy on St. Clair Ave. West. If you’re not in this area, make your way to it. It’s worth the trip.

How much?
19 varieties of pizza ranging from $13.50 – $14.95
Calzones start at $8, toppings are $1 each

Where is it?

Bitondo’s Pizzeria

Courtesy: BlogTO.com

Toronto is a city where restaurants are generally on major streets. If a restaurant is on a side street, it rarely succeeds. Unless of course it’s Bitondo’s Pizzeria off College Street in Little Italy. Packed all day, this place is as old-school as it gets (it has a Pac Man arcade game inside) and it’s been attracting pizza lovers for generations for a reason. The ingredients, the freshness, the size and the price all make it a go-to. For many, Bitondo’s is known to make the best pizza in Toronto.

How much?
Slices go for between $3.50-$4
Panzo’s start at $6.50 and go up from there depending on how stuffed with ingredients you want it.

Where is it?

San Francesco Foods – the original

Courtesy: BlogTO.com

This place is right across the street from Bitondo’s. Talk about staring down at the competition. But it’s not like that at all…at least I don’t think it is.

This place serves up inexpensive, consistently delicious Italian veal and meatball sandwiches. It doesn’t get the hype California Sandwiches (see below) but for generations, San Francesco has brought people back time and again dating back to the mid-50’s! As long as it’s open, it will keep doing just that. The proof is in the quality and the execution. The food packs a punch.

How much?
The famous veal sandwich starts at $7.50 and goes up depending on how stuffed with stuff you want it.

Where is it?

California sandwiches – the original 

Courtesy: BlogTO.com

You wanna talk about classic? The last time I was here, the cashier answered the phone and started yelling at the person on the other side. It wasn’t a customer, it was her kid. I get it, sometimes you have to yell at your kid…in front of other people. Feels like home.

But in reality, the staff here is amazing. You order your sandwich with the toppings you want, Grandma makes the sandwiches in the back, you take a seat in their dining area, your name gets called and you pick up your order. Along with your sandwich, they give you a stack of napkins 1 inch high. You’re going to make a mess because of the size of the sandwich and the amount of sauce that they smother it with. Dependable, consistent, delicious!

How much?
Sandwiches start at $7.00- $7.75 and go up from there.

Where is it?

Did we miss one? Shoot us a note and tell us about your favourites. Happy eating!


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Derk says:

    damn man, I don’t trust much lists about the best places to eat in the city but you really hit it on the head with this one. Save for Primo Veal (too far outta the way) and San Francesco (loyalty to Cali Sammies runs deep) I agree with everything you got listed. Frank’s Pizza House is hands-down my favorite pizza place in the city.

  2. travelmammal says:

    Hey Derk, thanks so much for stopping by and reading the post. Yes, I agree with you that 5-lists are something to be skeptical about. Everyone has an opinion but that’s the great thing about this…the city is too big and suggestions from readers like you really help expand the scope of what restaurants and food to try. Thanks again and keep coming back.

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