Cheap Eats in Montreal

Poutine, sandwiches, tacos and grilled chicken are some of Montreal’s staple cheap eats. Montreal might be home to some of the best restaurants in North America, that doesn’t mean all of them are unaffordable - thanks to a thriving artist and student population, the city has a surprisingly large quantity of no-frills yet tasty and quality menus to offer to budget-strapped travelers.

3721 Rue Notre-Dame Ouest, Montréal, QC H4C 1P8, Canada
Better than Momofuku’s—there, I said it! Everything they make here is delicious! Ready my full review here:
969 Rachel Street Est
Portuguese grills have really popped up everywhere in Montreal in the last couple of years, thanks to the ingenuity of chef Tony Alves, who is also behind the successful and all-time-favorite cheap eat Romados. Ma poule mouillée (literally, “my wet hen”) is a little more polished than its equivalents, with a modern decor in shades of metal and reds. But, thank god, the taste hasn’t changed one bit. Nor have the prices. Where else in Montreal can you get such a succulent ENTIRE chicken for just $13? The chicken doesn’t have anything to do with the usual North American stuff; this is the real deal. A rich flavor, tons of spices, and a hint of hot sauce make everything at Ma Poule Mouillée completely irresistible. Thumbs up to the quirky menu with original options that include “all the damn taxes” (that’s a direct quotation). And kudos to their Portuguese poutine—with Sao Jorge cheese, grilled chicken, and chorizo bits. Yum and yum.
34 Avenue Fairmount O, Montréal, QC H2T 2M1, Canada
Wilensky’s is sort of an institution in the Mile End. Family-owned since its opening in 1932, the place is famous for its extremely cheap snacks, no-nonsense approach, and retro decor. Pressed tin ceiling, Kik Cola clock, ring-up cash register, old-fashioned soda fountain—this place sometimes feels like a time warp or, at the very least, a museum. Perhaps what makes Wilensky’s so special is, incidentally, the Special ($3.90): “All-beef salami with all-beef baloney grilled to mouth-watering perfection on a tasty roll with a hint of mustard.” But don’t try to change anything in it—the owner, Ruth, will not have it. The Special is what it is, and no amount of money will make Ruth change it. Hell, she even wrote a poem about it: When ordering a Special, you should know a thing or two. It is always served with mustard; it is never cut in two. Don’t ask us why; just understand that this is nothing new. This is the way that it’s been done since 1932. Amen to that.
5439 Boulevard Saint-Laurent
This newcomer to the Montreal restaurant scene has nothing to envy of others. With chefs like David Schmidt, William Cody, and Gil Macnutt, diners are in good hands. The menu is a mix of tacos and other Latin-inspired fare, most of which are gluten-free or vegetarian, but also, and most importantly, quite cheap. Tacos range between $3 and $4.50. And they only buy from the best local, organic, and sustainable producers. Sounds heavenly, no? Quality food for a fraction of the price. And the creations are surprising and original. A must try!
4631 Saint Laurent Boulevard
What started out as a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it hole in the wall became a full-blown hype restaurant where masses gather to celebrate the joys of vegan cuisine. Thanks to the savoir-faire of brothers Michael and Liam Makhan, eating healthy can be its own reward when the food tastes so good. They use only local ingredients, according to the seasons, to create flavorful dishes that aim to once and for all destroy any myth about vegetarian or vegan food being tasteless. They are famous for their chapati sandwiches, which are cooked to order.
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