Nothing breaks up the workday quite like a good lunch date. The prospect of great food, good company, and a blissful hour away from the office can make any Monday bearable. And aside from these obvious benefits, mid-week lunch plans are a great way to fit in time to catch up with friends amidst your busy schedule.
Everyone might be looking for something different out of a weekday lunch meet-up; maybe you're hunting for great specials, in need of a place that can serve you quickly, trying to fit in an outdoor picnic, or just looking for a new, fun dining experience.
Whatever your needs may be, trust that this list has a little bit of everything. Ultimately, when it comes to a lunch date, we all just want somewhere we can relax, recharge, and forget about the workday for a little while.
1. Dinette Triple Crown
We've given this awesome restaurant tons of love in the past, and honestly, it's well deserved. Dinette Triple Crown serves incredible Southern soul food, and perhaps what makes them most popular is how they pack takeout into ready-made picnic baskets, complete with checkered blankets and all.
This feature alone makes Dinette a top lunch date choice, especially on those warmer days where you want to enjoy the sunshine. Authentic fried chicken, good friends, and a picnic - there is truly nothing better.
Before you protest that Sa-Fran is ridiculously expensive, and thus not fit for a quick lunch stop-off, let me tell you: the lunch options at this upscale Japanese spot are much more affordable than the dinnertime fare.
Falling on the spectrum of cheap lunches at expensive restaurants, Sa-Fran serves up truly delicious sushi and other Japanese specialties. I personally think sushi is the perfect lunch option; it's light, fairly healthy, and won't leave you feeling sluggish for the rest of your work day.
Healthy Mediterranean food, a relaxed atmosphere, and a steady lunch crowd: Omnivore will not fail you, trust me. Between the delicious taouks, fresh hummus, and expertly crafted salads, you'll feel great about taking your lunchtime break at Omnivore.
If you live or work in the Plateau, Omnivore should be a go-to spot when you're planning lunch dates.
4. L'Entrepôt Mont-Royal
Trying to do a lunch date on a tight budget? Same. The good news is, this restaurant serves everything at $5, and the portions are huge. No, I am not trying to fool you - a super filling lunch for five bucks exists in this city, and it's at L'Entrepôt Mont-Royal.
Also, if you take your workday lunch with a little booze (which is how we all should be doing it), L'Entrepôt also has a great, lively bar. Although the alcohol isn't as cheap as the food, what you save on your lunch can certainly be recirculated for a cocktail or two.
5. Wilensky's Light Lunch
I think it's safe to say that Wilensky's is a bonafide Montreal Institution. And lunch is in the name, so really, need I say more? Head here for an authentic, historic experience of Montreal.
A Jewish deli by tradition, Wilensky's serves up amazing grilled deli sandwiches, which are obviously the perfect lunch option. People also love the old-school sodas, and the incredibly friendly staff behind the counter. Choose Wilensky's and you'll be satisfied beyond belief.
6. Ramen Ya
If you're in a bit of a hurry, ramen in general is always a great go-to; it's made quickly, packed with flavour, and will leave you feeling perfectly satiated.
In light of this, keep Ramen Ya in your arsenal for a quick lunch date. They have awesome lunch specials, with a bowl of ramen and some side dishes running you between $12-15. Easy, fast, delicious and cheap - a combination made in lunch date heaven.
7. Olive et Gourmando
This place is essentially a foodie paradise; artisanal baked goods, handcrafted sandwiches, and salads that are so meticulously crafted you almost don't want to eat them (but you will, believe me).
The type of fare served at this trendy spot is ideal for lunchtime, so it should really be a no-brainer when you're in the area, looking for somewhere to grab a bite. The desserts and baked goods here are also unreal, so treat yourself once you're done your meal - no regrets, just cake.
8. Arepera du Plateau
Another stellar option if you're on a budget, a full lunch at this cozy Venezuelan place will run you no more than $15-20; potentially lower depending on your order.
The service is super fast here, so if you're tight on time for your lunch break, consider a delicious Arepa at this authentic eatery.
9. Vua Sandwichs
I have to give my boyfriend credit for this one, because he eats here pretty much every day for lunch. That might sound excessive, but when a huge sandwich stuffed with deliciousness only costs about $4, you really can't blame him.
Vua is super close to McGill, so if you're a student and looking for a quick (but not boring) lunch option, this spot is where you need to be. From traditional Vietnamese and other Southeast Asian delicacies, Vua blends the lunch option we all love - sandwiches - with traditional Asian fare that will keep you coming back every week.
10. Lola Rosa
I'm way too obsessed with Lola Rosa, but regardless of my love affair with this vegetarian comfort food restaurant, their merit as an incredibly tasty eatery is all too deserved.
Both locations can get pretty busy during dinnertime, so going during lunch will give you a better chance of not having to wait in line to try all the amazing dishes Lola Rosa has to offer. Also, if your lunch date is just a party of two, get the large nachos to share - you will walk away dreaming about them for years to come, no joke.
11. Cartel Street Food Bar
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Although Cartel is a little more on the upscale side when it comes to a lunch date spot, the creative, delicious dishes are just too amazing to pass up. If you're looking for a little bit of a classier, trendy setting for your lunch break, Cartel is an ideal option.
From Mexican to Southeast Asian cuisine, Cartel serves inventive and exciting food. It's perfect for a lunch date, because you'll want someone to share different plates with so you can try as much as you can from the menu.