Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Quebec (inc. Montreal) >
Jan 18, 2002 04:15 PM

Top Cheap Eats of Montreal?

  • w

Coming into Montreal from NYC and would love to know what Montreal has to offer - all cuisines across the board! Coming from NYC I'm used to lots of choice at the low end price range, for all styles of food.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. This won't be easy, there's a veritable plethora of places to get really good cheap eats here in Montreal...
    the first place that comes to mind is a pub, and if you're from the States, the exchange will really make this place seem cheap... It's McKibbon's Pub, on Bishop, just north of St. Catherine (main drag downtown). Another great place is Soup and Noodles, on St. Catherine, around Guy. (sorry, can't remember the address) It serves a variety of Asian dishes including Vietnamese and Szechuan. Really inexpensive, but really tasty.
    I've got a webpage all about Montreal neighborhoods and restaurants at
    Hope it helps!



    21 Replies
    1. re: Lissa
      Nicky Mange Tout

      Hey Lissa ! Those have to be the most uninspired choices for cheap food in any city let alone Montreal. I live in London (England) spend a lot of time in MTL and can vouch for the poor quality of the food at both McKibbons and Soup and Noodles (let alone any cheap oriental food on St. Catherine near Guy) It is virtually inedible. And as the request comes from someone from NYC you should know better !! Just because they want cheap food doesn't mean lousy !
      Try any Portuguese restaurants off the main around and above Mount Royal, smoked meat at Schwartz's ( you will never eat deli in NYC again), the gay ghetto
      ( St.Catherine east of Park Avenue ) and concentrate on lunch deals in the downtown core. They are about 60% cheaper at lunch than in the evening and compete viciously for business - quality seems to be good though it is important to pick carefully. Good variety of restaurants on Van Horne west of Park, some good deals some bad but mostly great food.

      Have fun and post your reactions !

      1. re: Nicky Mange Tout

        I lived in Montreal for 4 years, and New York City for 1 year. I've also lived all over the USA. Surprisingly (at least to most Montrealers), Montreal has NYC beat for good cheap eats, hands down...

        NYC has excellent high end and very expensive restaurants that potentially outshine Montreal, and maybe it's a tossup for entree's in the mid range (ie 20-30 dollar price range). I actually think for cheap eating, though... Montreal was absolute heaven. I never thought I'd say it while I lived there, but I really think its got the best food bargains (price for quality) in North America.

        I agree with most of the suggestions so far, but can't vouch for Soup and Noodles (thought it was awful), but try Le Gourmet Hot and Spicy off Jean Talon avenue and DeCarie. I will probably get crucified for mentioning it here, and I'm not sure why. However, for the price, it beats Chinese food in the same price range in NYC (even if you don't factor in the exchange rate), and its an "a volonte" menu, which guarantees you'll walk out full. I can think of about 12 small hole in the wall places that are under 10 bucks CDN that I would just kill for the chance to eat at again... NYC food is, unfortunately, highly overrated.

        Anyway, I'll gladly trade tips on cheap but good places in Montreal for any comparable finds in NYC. Feel free to email me...

        1. re: Aaron J

          How about those dumpling joints - five for a buck ?
          And the sausage cart up near MOMA?
          And the dosa cart near Washington Square?
          Some kinda tasty.
          As for Montreal, don't forget about the Thai place, top floor, in the Le Faubourg on Ste Catherine Street between Guy and St. Mathieu.

        2. re: Nicky Mange Tout

          I personally really like McKibbin's and don't find their quality to be "lousy" whatsoever.

          1. re: afoodyear

            ehh mckibbins is ok at best. fish and chips were way too heavy..better at brit n chips

        3. re: Lissa

          Forget Schwartz's - go to The Main across the street. Why stand in line when you can get served with courtesy and get smoked meat just as tasty?

          1. re: Tap2009

            What kind of comment is that Tap?
            If something is to your liking why wouldn't you wait for it.

            By the way I like main more than schwartz. I find it less salty

            1. re: Tap2009

              Plenty of courtesy at Schwartz's, actually, they just keep their feet moving. I order the make-your-own sandwiches plate when I usually go to Schwartz's. I eat and take more time than the people I'm with. Their plates get cleared first, but we've never felt rushed in dozens of occasions, plus they always accommodate my request to wrap my last sandwich or two in wax paper for later.
              Schwartz's is fast-paced and crowded, but never rude. If you think otherwise, it's because, as you admit, you don't go, or maybe you walk in with assumptions and they treat you in kind.

              Anyway, second Schwartz-hater comment you've posted in threads just tonite... we get your point. But the rest of the world lines up cause it's the best, hands down.

              1. re: Shattered

                i'd hardly say that the main treats patrons with courtesy
                when that place is packed forget getting a water refill, or the coffee you've ordered

                1. re: celfie

                  Like any other place when it's packed. Restaurant business is really hard and I'm happy to eat and not serve in one. So I'm indulgent when it's hectic in a packed place.

                  One trick my friend does as he told me. To make sure he gets the best service staff, he lets them know that they will have a great tips way above 15% if they treat him like a prince. Does it work? don't know but it would get my attention.

              2. re: Tap2009

                I like The Main much better too......and they are open until 5 am, great place to go if you have the late night hungries.

                1. re: MISTER_C

                  do you really think the smoked meat they're serving at 4 am is better than what schwartz's serves all day long?

                2. re: Tap2009

                  I have tried The Main once or twice as a possible alternative to Schwartz's. My opinion: not even close. I stand in line or else plan to go to Schwartz first thing in the monrning when they open or mid-afternoon. Some things are just worth it and nothing comes anywhere near close to Schwartz. I have noticed the last time I was there (I go on a pilgrimage a few time a year) that the "medium" smoked meat had much more fat than in the past. I used to scorn ordering "lean" but may have to change my mind. As for the lack of courtesy - it's part of the experience. Snap back at the boys behind the counter, while grinning. They don't mind.

                  1. re: The_Moo_37

                    My thoughts exactly, except one point - there's no lack of courtesy. They're friendlier than most places, especially off hours when they have time to chat. But it's a salt-of-the-earth friendliness, and unfortunately in alot of people's (read: tourists') minds, when they think legendary dining joint, they think it must be all faux-leather menus, starched collars and ties.

                    p.s. I noticed the medium started getting fattier a couple years ago, too. Dunno what that's about, but I ordered lean once and regretted it - it had virtually no fat. Take your chances with medium.

                    1. re: The_Moo_37

                      Off course they're not even close, they are two different kind of smoked meat with different flavors and textures.

                      As I mentioned before I find the schwarts smoke meat to salty for my taste. Last rumour I heard was that neither make their own smoke meat anymore, Which might explains the changes.

                      I once went to main and my sandwich was like rubber, they apologised and gave me another sandwich that was up to part with my taste buds. Guess it wasn't steamed properly.

                      That's why smoke meat is not good to eat the next day if left it in the fridge overnight. It needs to be steamed.

                      I tried the one on bernard called Lesters and I literally had heart burns and also the one on st-hubert le Roi du smoke meat gave my stomach the same results.

                      There's so may style of smoke meat out there from commercial with all to chemicals. Wonders who still serves a real Old Fashioned style sandwich in 2011 other than the 2 on the main??

                      1. re: maj54us

                        I know people who work in Schwartz's kitchen; I can assure you they make their own, right on the property in the back. Always have, always will. Where did you hear this rumour otherwise?

                        1. re: Shattered

                          From a competitor ;) No it was last summer we were at a friends house and he mentioned that. The process to make smoke meat is too much time consuming and some companies make a similar smoke meat now. As I said it's a rumour since he wasn't involved in the field..

                          I even saw a video he had about Main, it's a documentary showing the process of making smoke meat.

                          Schwartz's Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen
                          3895 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Montreal, QC , CA

                          Main Deli Steak House
                          3864 Boul Saint-Laurent, Montreal, QC H2W1Y2, CA

                        2. re: maj54us

                          Quebec Smoked Meat on Center does pretty good in-house smoked meat. Alas they are not a restaurant, so do not offer sandwiches nor hot meats...

                          1. re: porker

                            There's no place to sit, but they did make a couple smoked meat sandwiches for me and some friends in February. We were on the street to get sausages at Charcuterie Wayne, and spied this place afterwards. The sandwiches and pickles were great!

                            1. re: vermontreal

                              Thanks. I thought so(they make hot smoked meat sandwiches).

                      2. re: Tap2009

                        true that plus i really dont like schwatrzs so overrated

                    2. Ah well,

                      Pandora's box has been opened and tempers are flaring...

                      - Rotisserie italienne, Ste-Catherine near Fort: italian almost home cooked, cafeteria service, v. good, v. cheap;

                      - le Grand Comptoir, Phillips Square (south of Ste-Catherine, east of University): french bistro, packed at weekday lunch, poor ventilation, good food, good price;

                      - le Petit Extra, can't remember address (Ontario East?, someone please help...). french, packed, v. good;

                      - Portuguese places on St-Laurent mentioned above for grilled everything. Cheap and good...;

                      - Asian: not my strength, but see posts below. Generally good quality/price though maybe not at NYC level;

                      I now pass the baton to the next hearty soul...

                      In any event, we await a detailed critique of your experiences.

                      Happy hounding.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: François

                        au Petit Extra information:

                        (Restaurant) au Petit Extra - 1690 Ontario E (ave Papineau, Papineau metro Bus 45) - 514/527-5552, ( - French bistro foods such as tomato and basil soup, oyster-mushroom and escargots feuilleté, mackerel salad with peppers, linguini carbonara, citrus stingray, ray with vanilla sauce, ham and endives gratin, tarragon calf liver with French scallions, salmon filet in saffron sauce, duck breast with pears and red wine, indulgent praline, Catalan custard cream, royal chocolate cake - Chef Nathalie Major, sommelier Andre Major - $$, 2-course table d'hôte L, 2-course table d'hôte - M-F L>1130-1430h, M-W D>18-2200h, Th-Sat>18-2230h, Sun>1730-2130h

                      2. 6 years later
                        MARVIN'S (greek) corner of Ball/Wisemen for about 10 to 20$ (tips included) YOU'LL BE FREAKING FULL!!!!and food is EXCELLENT!

                        Main or Schwartz BEST SMOKED MEAT (go to Main if you dont like it ULTRA dry, there is also less customers at the Main)
                        Main is about 12$ (tips included), Schwartz is a bit more expensive for the same thing
                        Main has better fries too.

                        Romados on Rachel, a few blocks east of St-Laurent 6$ for chicken 1/4, salad, rice & fries & bread YOU'LL BE FULL!!!

                        i've been to a few cheap nyc restaurants.. and its not good at all... but chinese in NYC is better than montreal
                        San Francisco FOOD IS EXCELLENT! around 10 to 25$(tips included) its awesome...

                        1. How can nobody have suggested Chalet BBQ (5456 Sherbrooke St. west in NDG near Decarie, 514-489-7235)? Their wings, roasted chicken, fries and coleslaw are as tasty as you can find anywhere, and there prices and friendly service can't be beat. Plus the dining room and the staff give you the impression nothing has changed in 40 years.

                          1. Euro-Deli Batory

                            Polish deli and supermarket with 2 tables. Offers amazing polish food and very low prices.

                            We tried it for lunch.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: shibl

                              Choose carefully or use deals at lunch, late evening or share dishes (egchinese VIP st. laurent) you will experience montreal on a happier note and your trip will be more memorable than doing it on the cheap. However you can have good shishkebabs and other specialties (BABA GHANOUSH was delicious, with pomegrante; all the dishes we tasted had enhanced flavours, nicely spiced) at this cafe on st. laurent, the mother restaurant is in Mile end area and prices are reasonable and portions generous, atleast they were when we went a couple months ago

                              oops just noticed we are answering a request from 6 years ago a phantom request!