The Red Lounge Restaurant and Café is the perfect spot to hit for cheap food while shopping in Kensington Market. After an early morning of vintage shopping I decided to take my out-of-town family to The Red Lounge for some ‘cheap eats’ to fuel our bodies for further afternoon shopping.
Located just south of the busy College and Spadina intersection this hidden gem seemed a little hard to detect at first, but a sign decorated with painted lily pads marked the spot for this great lounge.
After battling our way through the many street venders of China Town we were happy to take refuge in The Red Lounge. Compared to the many Chinese restaurants of the area this lounge had a very different kind of décor. From the outside The Red Lounge looked very bland with its name in small red writing hidden in the corner of the lily pad canvas. But, on the inside of this dimly lit restaurant were old bookshelves filled with Shakespearian anthologies and a collection of mismatched lamps. This venue was very charming with its contrasting knickknacks in what I would refer to as ‘Granny Décor.’
When looking at the menu our stomachs were tickled with joy when we noticed sections titled ‘pasta’, ‘entrees’, and ‘specials’ all priced around $7. The only dish we found priced at $10 was a very jam-packed nacho dish. Even the alcohol was cheap with pints of beer for $5 or glasses of sangria for $5.25. So we decided to cool ourselves off with a refreshing pitcher of sangria for $14.50.
To start, my mom decided on the Avocado Salad for $4.75. This salad was very basic with diced red onion, cucumber and tomatoes. However, it was the buttery avocado that made this dish memorable. They also put the balsamic vinaigrette on the side allowing my mom to monitor the amount of dressing on her salad.
Rebecca grabbed the Greek Salad for $4.25. It was your regular Greek Salad laced with cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, olives, and feta cheese. Unfortunately, the dressing didn’t resemble a Greek dressing at all and tasted more like a salsa that comes alongside their nachos. Luckily the garlic bread that accompanied the salad made up for the unusual dressing choice.
Kenny picked one of the best looking choices on the menu, the Avocado and Brie Sandwich for $4.95. The title sells itself with lettuce, onion and tomato accompanying the avocado and brie. Kenny chose to have it on pita bread and picked the spinach salad as his selected side. The avocado was perfectly ripe and the texture of the brie made this sandwich the winner of the afternoon.
I decided to go for pasta and picked their Rotini with shrimp in a white wine cream sauce for $6.95. The pasta was filling and the cooked peppers in the pasta were great. Truthfully the sauce could have been thicker and richer in flavour, but come on; shrimp pasta for under $7 is unbeatable.
Unsatisfied with her Greek Salad Rebecca enjoyed her main selection, the Chicken Quesadillas for $5.95. Grilled on a nice tortilla, filled with cheddar cheese and chicken, the quesadillas came with a hefty side of salsa and sour cream fully satisfying Rebecca.
To accompany her avocado salad, mom also chose the Udon Vegetable Stir-Fry for $6.75. This plentiful portioned stir-fry was composed of thick rice noodles with choice of chicken, shrimp or tofu. My mother was happy with the vegetarian friendly selection and chose the tofu. She also enjoyed that the stir-fry was not too spicy.
When all was said and done we were very satisfied with our find of The Red Lounge Restaurant and Café. It was amazing to be able to sit down at a restaurant where every plate was under $10. The environment was very relaxed in this spot so don’t expect the servers to be overly attentive like many other restaurants in the city. But, if you are in good company and want to experience a charming sit-down atmosphere with cheap and tasty food you will definitely want to try The Red Lounge. Until recently this spot only took cash but now also takes debit for those of us who rather carry around plastic. So, next time you are in Kensington Market and you need a pit stop, keep your eyes open for the restaurant with the lily pad sign and try some ‘cheap eats’ at The Red Lounge Restaurant and Café.
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