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Aug 31, 2009 03:16 PM

Downtown student restaurants


I'm a new arrival in Montreal - starting at McGill law school this week. I would like to compile a list of inexpensive, good-value restaurants within easy lunchtime biking distance of McGill's downtown campus. I expect I will both poor and busy for the next few years, so price and convenience will be paramount concerns. Though this is my first Montreal post, I have been reading a lot of your recommendations and have already tried several restaurants with great success. To get the ball rolling, I'll start with 3 downtown(ish) restaurants I have tried that meet my criteria:

1. La Maison du Nord - I had the pork sandwich and tend to agree with the prevailing notion that the pancake was perhaps a little too heavy, but I wouldn't hesitate to eat it again and I'm excited to try the dumplings.

2. Cuisine Bangkok - I was a little sceptical when I found it in a food court but was really impressed by the chicken pad thai and saw dozens of other things on the menu that looked interesting.

3. Schwartzes - I will be a regular...

Other things I would be interested to find include but are not limited to: sandwiches, kebab/shwarma/falafel, chinese bbq, burgers, wings, pho...

If you have any other recommendations that would be helpful for a student (coffee, for instance), they would be appreciated.


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  1. Next to the new John Molson School of Business building at Concordia on de mainsoneuve is Antep Kebab with I found to be very good quality and quite inexpensive!

    1. Hiya, here are some great threads on cheap eats downtown. Luckily your options are wider than ever before! My personal faves: Boustan (Crescent & de Maisonneuve) for shish taouk, and Tapioca Thé (de Maisonneuve & Pierce, near Guy) for Szechuan. Welcome to Montreal!

      Delivering our daughter to McGill

      Chinatown 2

      Specific restos:

      thali - new indian downtown

      Tapioca Thé?!

      BUNS, minimal hamburger joint on St Catherine

      Picks vs. BUNS: Burgers

      Antep Kabab: 1626 Maisonneuve (the place bigfellow just mentioned

      Not limited to downtown, but still worth a look:

      Best $10

      Top Cheap Eats of Montreal (see the more recent posts - thread is old

      1 Reply
      1. re: kpzoo

        pick up FREE montreal mirror , weekly community paper everywhere including in different levels of la cite boutiques etc (before thursday when new edition comes out) as CURRENT EDITION has student survivor guide including restos and cheap eats, health food stores, breakfast/brunch, vegetarian restos, ethnic foods, all-night & late night eats, student-friendly cafes, etc has addresses, telephone numbers and comments on all their listed suggested places. Also has lists of everything else you could possibly need to survive student life in Montreal. You will enjoy strolling through chinatown especially on Sundays, Bejing on far Western side is a favourite, I go there for ginger lobster but they have lots of choices.

        the current edition is online but i dont know for how


        Here is a thread about hidden gems in the Concordia area.

        1. don't forget AlTaib and boustan for good lebanese food

          13 Replies
          1. Agreed. Boustan or bust... I just wish their potatoes would be fresher and not reheated in the microwave on Styrofoam. Although Medina in the Cathedral isn't bad either. I really like their cabbage salad.

            1. re: The Chemist

              "I just wish their potatoes would be fresher and not reheated in the microwave on Styrofoam"
              I know, it always makes me think that weird chemicals are being absorbed by the potatoes but I dare not say anything. Although the owner is super friendly and always smiling with me, I think any such commentary on my part will dissolve our good relationship.

              1. re: hungryann

                The owner can be kind of odd though. One time he asked me if I believe in god. This struck me as sort f wired. Try Medina though, not for the sandwich, but for the plate. get the cabbage salad =D

            2. I find the manakish at Al-Taib or Al-Taib Express to be fine. And cheap.

              I do not like the food at Al-Taib Grillades.

              1. re: mainsqueeze

                Mainsqueeze, I am with you on the manakish. I quite like that thing, and its price cannot be beat. I can't comment on the rest of their offerings, as all I have had there is the manakish.

                1. re: moh

                  to grillade al taib's credit, they throw in a pickle with their chicken pitas which doesnt fit at all but at least it's a decent tasting pickle

                2. re: mainsqueeze

                  I've tried Arouch a couple of times now and I think it's better than Altaib for manakish.

                3. well granted the only thing i ever eat there is a slice of pizza, which beats double pizza and those that taste like carton in that area, i never ate anything else there except for the manakish, which is good.

                  1. re: mak2k

                    their pizza is too doughy and the pizza tastes like nothing

                    1. re: celfie

                      anyone have any pizza recs that meet the above criteria?

                      1. re: pudgymillions

                        Pizza at Amelio's on Milton (especially the pizza bianca) has its fans, and McGill Pizza (also on Milton, but right next to campus) makes a slightly greasy but decent pizza, which they now sell by the slice at $2 per (and they make a more than acceptable club sandwich, too).

                        1. re: cherylmtl

                          People knock McGill Pizza but when you order it fresh, it's not bad at all.

                          1. re: The Chemist

                            It's certainly better than the slices they sell at the Engineering cafeteria...

                4. I like the Vietnamese restaurant below Cheap Thrills on Metcalfe; it's near McGill and has decent offerings. Cuisine Szechuan is a short-ish walk away and I always have leftovers... And you have to go to Myriade for coffee.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: TheSnowpea

                    That would be friends some times go there although it's not the best Pho they've had. If you have enough time, going down to Chinatown is a good bet. I usually go to the Concordia area for lunch with my friends (I used to go to McGill too - I just graduated :D). There's a good pizza place near The Bay - Pizza Il Focolaio. Used to go there all the time until my schedules didn't allow me to. Wood stove thin crust pizzas...yum :)

                    For Korean...I've tried Chez Bong in Chinatown (1021 St Laurent), and that was pretty good although some of my other friends have said otherwise. There's also Towa on St-Catherine closer to St-Mathieu in the Concordia end.

                    Grillades Bizou on Bishop is good usual, near the Concordia area

                    1. re: TheSnowpea

                      We went to Saigon a little while back, and thought it was really ordinary, expensive (considering), and very bland. Perhaps it was just what we ordered (I think I had a tom yum soup, can't remember what hubby had) - perhaps we were there on a really bad day, but I don't plan on going back. Does anyone else have any feedback on it?

                      1. re: TheSnowpea

                        Did you try Ba-Le on Mackay near Concordia. They have the best vietnamese sandwich. They also server other traditional vietnamese food as well. I come there very often to get my sandwhich for lunch. I tried their PHO soup several times. I love it too. Ask for beef sandwich, I think that is one of the most popular choice on their menu. If I remember well, they also have a lot choices for vegeterian, but never try.