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downtown lunch?

After years of working from home in the plateau & mile-end, I find myself, to my surprise, working out of a downtown office tower, on the corner of University & de Maisonneuve.

It's been years since it ever occurred to me to have lunch downtown, and I am sad (but not surprised) to find the the culinary wasteland of downtown appears not to have changed all that much.

So I'm wondering, chowhounders, what are your favourite places for reasonably-priced lunches in the downtown area - say btw sherbrooke & rene levesque; crescent & bleury.

The only decent place I can think of is Osaka on Bleury (but that's really on the outside edge of dt).

any great suggestions?

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  1. Off the top of my head, there's Access Asia on Sherbrooke just west of McGill College (although it's been pretty bland the last few times I've been there), Java U at Sherbrooke just east of University, Art Java at University and President Kennedy, Lola Rosa on Milton. There are way way more places around Concordia, but all west of Crescent, unfortunately, so a bit of a hike from University. Chez Gautier on Bleury at Milton (can be hit and miss), Mangia at de Maisonneuve and Peel. And of course all the food courts - the one below Simon's is the best of them IMHO. The Indigo Cafe is a great place to hang out on a sunny afternoon, although their sandwiches are not in the same league as Art Java or Java U's (nor is their coffee).

    1 Reply
    1. re: cherylmtl

      Mangia is great! Healthy yet tasty altogether. I used to work there and all the salads and sandwiches are made fresh daily. Reasonable prices too!
      The downfall is that all the salads are by weight, which can get pricey especially if one orders mushrooms or potatoes.

    2. I like the Chinese place, Chee Chan, at the Eaton center food court. It has pretty good General Tao's chicken that you can order spicy. Just outside your boundary limits is Amelios Pizzeria. Very good pizza. MBrgr has a lunch special, although you may not find 14 for a burger, fries and drink reasonable. Bofinger on University just south on Ste. Catherine could be an option. Not a great as BBQ in the southern US but is quite good for Montreal.

      1 Reply
      1. re: stephlovestoeat

        There is also an Acess Asia in the Sunlife building, same owners as the one on Sherbrooke.
        Soupbol is not too bad (across the street from the Bay), and the pizzeria place a few doors down from it (the name escapes me right now). Both are very busy places so you have to get there a bit before 12 if you want a table. I've also heard that Grand Comptoir (inbetween Soupbol and the pizzeria) is good, but I've never been so I cannot vouch for it.
        For a good hamburger, I go to either the Old Dublin or the Keg... yes, they both have quite good ones at about $10 pp (fried included of course).

      2. I just started working downtown too. I like the food courts of Centre Eaton and Place Ville Marie for cheap and variety. I Just tried Tandoori in Centre Eaton today, was impressed that a fast food place could have pretty good tasting curry butter chicken. I have tried some of the restaurants on street level around there haven't found one where I didn't feel like $20 for a mediocre lunch was a rip off.

        2 Replies
        1. re: MTLNY

          There's an ok sushi place on de Maisonneuve, near Peel (south west side)... the name eludes me. Nippon?

          Also, I like Basha's vegetarian plate - but don't go to the Basha on Sherbrooke near University: it's truly awful. The one under Simon's is good but the top one is the one on St-Catherine (it's the one next to the Sport Experts).

          1. re: MTLNY

            The food court has a grilled sandwich place that is pretty good, name escapes me - it's on the right side, coming from the escalators.

            But having worked at that corner too, I don't think anything round there is that great for the price. Save yourself $40-50+ a week and pack a lunch, mackinaw. Your waistline will thank you too.

          2. There's a Santangelo's on de Maisonneuve east of university.

            1 Reply
            1. re: mainsqueeze

              Comptoir du Chef, on Metcalfe, east side, close to Sherbrooke, they make a fabulous grilled sandwich, it's a take out place though; if you have a mw at the office, you could also pick up a main dish of your choice under $10.

              The Bay still has La Soupière, which has a choice of hearty soups and breads. It's on one of the upper floors.

            2. thanks for all the responses! ... but, ug, by the looks of things i was right: still pretty dismal downtown. what gives? i guess rents are too expensive to offer good food at reasonable prices.

              it's been ages since i've been to la soupiere, so i'll have to get back there.

              @Shattered indeed I need to plan my day better to make my own lunch.

              1. The Dominion Pub on Metcalfe just south of Ste. Catherines can be a bit up and down. They are known for their pigs feet, but they do some decent specials that are not expensive during the week.

                Recommended with reservations.

                1. The best place for a gourmet lunch at a reasonable place is Europea - superbe food quality for the price and much cheaper than what you would pay for dinner there.

                  As for cheap and cheerful I like
                  Cafe Presto - decent but cheap cheap italian in a tiny place behind the windsor hotel
                  Thai Express in Simon's food court
                  Il focolaio makes excellent pizzas - Phillips square
                  Grand comptoir - decent bistro food
                  L,entrecote St-Jean - a classic steak frites joint
                  Mangia has good salads but I find them overpriced for a counter style place
                  MBco has great sandwiches but the horrendous service keeps me away
                  Chandelier on De maisonneuve has some good salads at lunch and a nice terrace in the summer

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Lachapelle

                    Thai Express in Cours Mont Royal is the best! They are actually REAL Thai people who own the place and cook the food. I find the other Thai Express, especially in regards to the one in the Eaton Centre sucks because they're not even Thai, they're Chinese.

                  2. I enjoy the salads and sandwiches at Dame Nature in the Gare Centrale food court (cajun chicken panini is especially good)

                    Otherwise as it's been mentionned, the food court under simons offers a good variety and good places (fiore express for pasta or a more hearty meal like lamb shanks, torino for grilled chicken..)

                    1. Anton and James on Stanley + Ste Catherine makes terrific sandwiches for take-out or eat-in. I especially like the chicken chipotle and the wild mushroom.

                      Vasco de Gama on Peel and Maisonneuve serves up fresh salads and some pretty good sandwiches as well.

                      Zenya sushi on Ste Catherine is great for lunch and very reasonably priced.

                      For coffee, definitely Cafe Myriade on Mackay. They also serve up St Viateur bagels and Premiere Moisson pastries.

                      MBurger can be fun for lunch, as well as Europea. Europea espace boutique also delivers great lunch specials to the downtown area.

                      1. If you are willing to head out on the metro for a stop or 3, then Restaurant Oui and Oui in De maisonneuve just next to the Guy metro station is inexpensive, delicious and fast. Or Cuisine Szechuan, they do very filling lunch specials, very spicy if you want (muy caliente!), it is a lot of food for about $10 plus tip.

                        Unfortunately, the places closer to your work are not so exciting, and I would tend to favour packing lunches most of the time and occasionally walking or metroing to the Guy-Concordia area, much more high yield.

                        1. Cafe Ferreira is pretty good.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: theproo

                            Yes, it is very good, but I don't think this would totally qualify for a reasonably cheap lunch. And it would be pretty rich food, not so light....