There are plenty of fast, cheap-eats venues in Mississauga for those on-the-go, but if you want to linger over tasty food, enjoying the ambiance and your randezvous of the moment, and still eave with a bill that’s about $40 for two (ok, maybe in some cases without the HST/tip), check out these cool restos.

El Sombrero
35 Brunel Road, Britannia Neighbourhood

Hola! A taste of colourful Mexico right here in north Mississauga!  El Sombrero is a small, cozy restaurant with Mexican décor to make you feel like you’ve gone away on a vacation down south with your date.  The most expensive dish on the menu is the enchilada for $15.99.  Warning:  the portions are huge!

Papa Giuseppe’s Pizza & Pints
26 Lakeshore Road East, Port Credit

As you might have guessed from the name of the venue, this is an Italian joint.  A little snug in cool weather (you might get to know all about the guests at the tables next to you), but the patio in warmer weather adds more intimate space and pizzazz.  Speaking of pizzazz…their authentic stone oven pizzas are the best value deal – most are under $16, with the more exotic ones topping out at $18.

Grano Ristorante
285 Enfield Place, City Centre

Want an atmosphere conducive to hand holding with your date, looking into each other’s eyes and whispering sweet nothings (ideally, in-between bites of whatever Italian dish you’re devouring)?  Grano’s dimmed lighting and intimate tables, set like those in a fine dining restaurant, will let you do just that, while enjoying one of their $13-pastas.

Chelsea Restaurant
7 John St South, Port Credit

This restaurant in a historic house in Port Credit serves up hearty Canadian fare on tables set with white linen.  Although some items on the menu reach the $35 range (i.e., the prime rib), you can stick to your $40 (plus HST and tip) for two by choosing dishes like Steak and Mushroom Pie, Chelsea Curry or Chicken Parmesan, for about $19 each.

Astoria
1970 Dundas St East, Dixie and Dundas

Opa!  Love Greek food?  Many of Astoria’s entrees offer smaller versions of their huge authentic Greek dishes, for between $14 and $18.  The roomy restaurant is fashioned after an authentic Greek taverna… but, you may be disappointed to learn, without a dedicated spot to indulge in that time-honoured Greek tradition of breaking the dishes…

Indian Cuisine By the Lake
56A Lakeshore Rd East, Port Credit

Set up more like a contemporary bistro with an open kitchen, Indian Cuisine By The Lake offers exactly what its name promises:   Indian cuisine by the lake (Lake Ontario, that is).  A variety of authentic curries, kormas and kishimiris are priced at around $16, while vegetarian entrees range between $12 and $16.

Leao D’Ouro
920 Dundas St East, Dixie Neighbourhood

Leao D’Ouro is a Portuguese restaurant with white tablecloths and an air of sophistication. While many items hit $20+ range, opting for chicken dishes such as Frango Assado Na Braza (BBQ chicken) or Peito De Frango Assado (chicken breast stuffed with sundried fruits) will keep your bill down to about $18 per entrée.

Congee Queen
800 Boyer Blvd, East Credit Neighbourhood

Chinese fare in a grand style at Chinese food prices!  This isn’t your typical Chinese take-out joint!  Congee Queen surprises with palatial interiors, but prices and dish assortment similar to those on any Chinese take-out menu you are familiar with.

Spice Lounge and Tapas
52 Lakeshore Rd East, Port Credit

Latin-romantic to the core, the dimmed and intimate Spice Lounge may make you want to do the flamenco after the meal!  Most tapas range from $8 to $10, but if you want to indulge in the more expensive seafood or meat tapas, the price goes up to $19 or more for such items as the 10oz grilled AAA Angus striploin sliced over roasted veggies.

If you’re watching your budget but are not willing to give up at least a semblance of fine dining, these restaurants are just the ticket—great food and an awesome ambiance without a big hit on the wallet.