Best Montreal-style cuisine on a budget
I'm be in Montreal the week of the High Lights festival for a computer class, and I'd like to sample the local favorite digs, where common folk like me go. I'd like to try the fries with gravy, seafood, the smoked meats, a bakery or two.
If you like poutine, head for La Banquise on Rachel St. For smoked meat, Schwartz's is a no contest, on St-Laurent. As for bakery, it all depends on where you're located. Première Moisson is a chain but delivers solid goods, much better than Au Pain Doré IMHO. For burgers, you could try La Paryse on Ontario near St-Denis or Meat Market on St-Laurent between Marie-Anne and Mont-Royal. I'm also so fond of the mexican food a la Nacion on St-Catherine West near Guy. All these are quite affordable.
You might want to visit Wilensky's Light Lunch at the corner of Fairmount and Clark. Get a Special, a half sour and a chocolate egg cream. After that you can go get a Bagel, a few doors down.
Remeber to read the rules before ordering.
If you're in the Plateau, get some egg tarts (pasteles de nata) at one of the Portuguese bakeries around Duluth/Rachel/Saint Laurent. Specifically, there are 2 awesome bakeries on Rachel between Saint Dominique and Saint Denis: Romado's and Notre Dame <de something>. The tarts are less than $1 each and a great way to satisfy the afternoon snack craving. (I live right near by, and eat them all the time.)
Not to be a killjoy, but have you been there recently? I agree a few years ago I had some nice meals there. But honestly, I went to L’entrecote St-Jean with a friend in from NY and one from Ottawa 2-3 weeks ago. It was central to hotels, easy to meet after Thursday 5-a-7, and it needed to be a fairly early dinner.
I was actually embarrassed to have brought them there. The service was OK only. We were seated close to the door so were cold bc it was the only table available. Less than 5 minutes after being seated – before our wine arrived and our 3rd person – another table was free and we asked to move. Basically we were told it would be just as cold (I doubt anywhere was as cold - next to the door).
The food? Forget it. The soup was watery (cream of broccoli). The steaks were not great cuts but more over, the medium were absolutely well-done (not even close), and my medium-rare was medium at BEST. The fries were undercooked and bland. Not a bad price but not great food. The ambiance is ok - busy bistro, but not notable. Definitely not returning - it may have been the worst steak frites I’ve had anywhere in town.
For two Montreal classics, you might want to try Chalet BBQ's Montreal-style" barbecue chicken with gravy (we call it "sauce") and Cosmos for a classic greasy-spoon breakfast and a relaxed and friendly Montreal (NDG) vibe. Both have been around for ages (Chalet BBQ since 1944!), are incredibly reasonably priced, and are unique Montreal institutions not to be missed.
Chalet BBQ - 5456 Sherbrooke St. West (between Decarie & Girouard)
Cosmos - 5843 Sherbrooke St. West (corner Draper