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Mar 18, 2014 03:28 PM

Cheap, healthy food? Plateau? In general?

Hey Chowhounders -

I've been living here for several years, and I still can't stop missing Whole Foods. I can always rely on WF to have whatever I want, healthy, for under 10$ - they have pretty much everything (amazing sandwich with cheese, avocado, aioli, roast beef, arugula... for like 6.99). Since I don't have time to cook at home, I rely on restaurants and cafes to eat, however Montreal just doesn't have what I'm looking for (the closest thing I can think of to Whole Foods in the prepared food department is Premiere Moisson. Westmount's 5 Saisons is abominable and pretentious, while small health food stores like 3 piliers are just obnoxiously expensive and small-portioned). Perhaps it's because the city isn't well connected to yelp and the internet, but can someone give me a list of reliable, affordable, healthy, and delicious places (any and every cuisine) on the plateau? It'd be awesome to compile something like that.

I've come to realize that MTL is a mid-priced-meal type of city - not that many 100$+ p/p places and nothing great for 7$ either. I hope you prove me wrong!

PS - Where can one get a decent salad around here?! Mandy's is good... but it's like 15$ for a salad!


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  1. I don't live on the plateau but what comes to mind:

    *Have you tried Rachelle Bery? Sounds expensive to me but then again Whole Food's nickname in the US is "Whole Paycheck" so I guess it could be in the same space (I don't go there myself)

    *For inexpensive healthy food I recommend trying Aux Vivres, le Santropol and maybe La Panthère Verte?

    3 Replies
    1. re: CaptCrunch

      I second Santropol. Not outrageously expensive and I love going there in spring and summer when the back garden is open.

      I have said in other threads....WF will never open here until they change their business model to have smaller stores.Their demographic is not in the places where big box stores reign, it is in the inner city where rents are high and store sizes are small. It seems all the big spots in the city get taken up by IGAs and Provigos (witness the news about Claremont and de maisonneuve and cote st. luc near girouard). Perhaps there is a chance they will go into the new area near Bluebonnets but I don't think that community will fit their demographic either. So the OP will just have to make do with local options (thank goodness).

      1. re: CaptCrunch

        I would recommend Aux Vivres and La Panthère Verte too. Also, Trip de Bouffe for salads, hummus, muhammara and pita.

        1. re: Glaff

          Trip de bouffe is great! I love their pita; it is head and shoulders above all others (even Abu Lafia, which is much better than the dry kinds).

      2. There is also the Lola Rossa on Parc. I also like some small Vietnamese restaurants for inexpensive, healthful food.

        There is probably also a different mentality here. I don't know anyone, not even very busy, hardworking people, in Montréal who couldn't find time to wash and assemble a salad.

        2 Replies
        1. re: lagatta

          Yes, it is amazing how you find time to eat healthy, among other enjoyable things, when you start enjoying Montreal's pace of life instead of trying to conform to America's. Seriously, who doesn't have time to cook at home - ever?

          What the hell does "not connected to the internet" mean!? There's TONS of yelp and other food listings. Maybe the OP just can't figure out how to look things up in French, lol

          Lastly, if you can't find lots of great stuff for $7, you haven't looked around much.

          +1 on Panthere Vert, though. Not my idea of a cheap pita, but it's very tasty.

          1. re: Shattered

            The OP makes me think of my husband (which i love so this is not an insult). He opens the fridge and looks for the becel margarine tub. When he can't find it, he complains we had no margarine. If he had really looked at what was there instead of looking for what wasn't, he would have noticed the big tub of Lactancia margarine staring at his face.

            This is just an example, but OP: Montreal is on yelp but there is also a big community on urbanspoon which might help fill your needs for "connected".

            As for cafe sandwiches: you live in the Plateau so of course you will not find groceries with large prepared meals isle. Instead, you will find a ton of little restaurants and cafes. You need to look past the chain brand names (ie Premiere Moisson) and look at the independent shops. Some of them are very good and being small and low-key, they have good prices.

            PS: Eating healthy doesnt necessarily mean salads and organic food. An organic poutine is still junk food.

        2. That's odd, I once made a list of inexpensive meals we grab around here and my list came to about 25 places. Lots of people grabbing good baguette sandwiches at Copain d'Abord if that's what you are looking for? Empanadas at La Chilenita, a chicken sandwich with salad at Romados or La Poule Mouillée is less than $10. Tau and Rachelle-Bery have good organic produce. I tend to make my salads easily at home with a basket full of freshly picked lettuce, tomatoes, sprouts and micro-greens from Lufa. I thought we didn't bother with Yelp here because Chowhounds are so much better? Good luck!

          1. I feel you Zowpow5, I've lived here almost 10 years, am leaving in 2 months and can't wait to get back to the range of prepared food places awaiting me. I would call your want as "healthy-deli food" which I have found predominant in the west- I don't find much of it here in that "take-out" form, but there are a few places you can go. Cheap eats here tend to be more along the steamy/ poutine/pizza variety unless you are in the plateau, which I am not and therefore am not-too familiar.

            There are some exceptions:
            Jean Talon Market-some great take-out- varying prices
            Atwater Market- more great take-out at a variety of prices
            Clafouti- 2122 Drummond, Montréal, QC H3G 1W9
            (514) 842-0388
            Tropical Paradise (Carib food 5208 Boulevard Décarie, Montréal, QC H3X
            Marche Adonis- downtown by Atwater & St. Catherines
            Akhavan grocery- 6170 Sherbrooke W.
            Montreal, Qc
            H4B 1L8

            Sadly, most inexpensive restaurants don't carry very good salads in MTL IMHO, but you can try the Greek places like Arahova, or the groceries I listed. Aux Vivre is amazing, and fairly cheap, but other than that I'm drawing a lot of blank. Montreal eating has many strong points but pre-made salads really isn't one of them.

            1 Reply
            1. re: LBeth

              Sadly, i think you will leave that town without knowing it really. I dont know where you were living in those 10 years but in no way Montreal is a steamy / poutine / pizza cheap take out town.

              Maybe there is not that much "healthy grocery type" of take out (and maybe for good reasons) but there is plenty of place where you can find good and healthy food.

              You had name some, i can add :

              - Tripe de bouffe
              - Al-Baghdadi Pastry
              - Boucherie Abu Elias
              - Chez Apo
Beyrouthe Yerevan
              - Boulangerie Mamie Clafoutis
              - Café Prague
              - Ruby Burma
              - etc...

              I might not know what is healthy, but there is also good dumpling places, decent thai, iranian kebab, a lot of great sandwiches in bakery all around the town, ...