Eating on the cheap should never be a struggle, especially not in a city like Montreal where every block boasts a new place to eat. Sure, the city has its fair share of expensive restaurants, but there are many more that you can enjoy for well under $20.
Now, we're not talking about Dagwoods or places in food courts. We mean real, sit-down restaurants where you can have a meal without tons of random people walking right by you.
Of course, finding these legit, affordable restos can be a bit difficult, that's why we've done the work for you. So get your bellies full while also keeping your wallet robust in our list of 20 Montreal restaurants to eat at for under $20 below.
Photo cred - cinko
It's all in the name at this Latin Quarter restaurant, as CINKO only serves meals for the incredibly affordable price of $5. And don't think you just get a couple of fries and a morsel of meat on a plate, as the portions at CINKO are pretty generous and the various dishes are quite creative.
Photo cred - entrepotmontroyal
Another "$5 for everything" restaurant, this Mont-Royal eatery is a favourite among thrifty folks for their insanely large portions. Focusing more on comfort food from various cuisines, L’Entrepôt is also just a really cool bar, but beware, their alcohol isn't quite as affordable as their meals.
Photo cred - mapoulemouilee
Ma Poule Mouillée
969 Rachel E
Move over Romados, because Ma Poule Mouillée has the best Portuguese chicken in town, at least in my not-so-humble opinion. Even though this Rachel-street spot isn't quite a legit sit-down restaurant (there is seating space, mind you, just no servers), I had to put it on this list for the mass amounts of deliciousness you get for the price. You simply can't go wrong with Ma Poule Mouillée's plates, nor their epic poutine, made with chicken and chorizo sausage.
Photo cred - @beth_poutine
Despite being a bit small, Patati Patata certainly delivers when it comes to affordable meals any time of day. Whether it be breakfast, lunch, or dinner, Patati Patata has a dish that will satiate your hunger cravings. Be sure to try the poutine, because it's arguably one of the best in Montreal. Plus, seeing the staff cook meals so speedily is like watching art in motion.
Photo cred - nishat rahman khan
Thali Cuisine Indienne
Anyone who lives in the downtown area near Concordia knows how this Indian restaurant is one of the best-bangs-for-your buck in the area. Which is saying something, because the Guy-Concordia 'hood is full of cheap-and-delicious food spots. Order either the veggie or non-veggie thali dinner, and you'll have an amazing meal for well under $20. For folks further north, the lunch specials at Bombay Mahal make a solid alternative.
Photo cred - hofkeslten
Perhaps the best bakery in all of Montreal, Hof Kelsten also makes for a great spot to grab an affordable lunch, as any of their amazing sandwiches will only cost you around $10-$12. Heading to Hof Kelsten for brunch on the weekend is an even better idea, with all of their delicious breakfast fare priced below $15.
Photo cred - areperamontreal
Arepera du Plateau
4050 du Bullion
Even though I personally prefer Bocadillo when it comes to delicious arepas, Arepera is much more of a legit sit-down restaurant, and is arguably just as good when it comes to the classic Venezuelan dish. Order almost any of the restaurant's wide array of arepas and you're almost certain to have an end-bill below $20. Major bonus for some: arepas are entirely gluten-free.
Photo cred - @IAteMontreal
5400 Saint Laurent
Go for lunch and you’ll get a set price for an authentic Peruvian meal including a starter, main course, dessert, and a drink for $8. You can choose between meat, fish, or veggie, and while the variations on the menu are pretty sparse, you just can’t beat that price. Dinner is much the same, only it costs $15.
Photo cred - piyato
1441 St. Mathieu
As I've already mentioned, many of the eateries in the Guy-Concordia area can be included in this "under $20" list, but Kim Ramen tends to be a fan-favourite, and for good reason. Boasting homemade noodles dishes all priced well below the $10-mark, Kim Ramen makes for a slurp-tacular meal.
Photo cred - sataybrothers
Singaporean cuisine at its finest, Satay Brothers has a menu chock-full of affordable delights. But if you really want a sure-fire win, go for the laksa soup. Priced at only $11.99 (cheaper if you go veggie), the meal-sized soup is everything you could ever want for dinner.
Photo cred - sumacrestaurant
3618 Notre Dame
Pretty much any of the Middle Eastern sandwiches to be enjoyed at Sumac are all set at about $10, but this list is all about sit-down meals, so you should really be enjoying one of the restaurant's gigantic platters. The thing is, each platter is about $15, which sets you dangerously close to that $20 limit. Fortunately, the platters are big enough to share, so if you and a friend/SO split one, you're barely spending ten bucks each.
Photo cred - stashcafemtl
200 Saint Paul
At first sight, Stash Café may seem a bit too ritzy for those of us with small wallets (it is in Old Montreal, after all), but don't let most of the menu fool you. For while the table d'hote may be a tad pricey, some of the a la carte dishes are entirely affordable and totally tasty. With Polish classics like pierogies and potato-crepes priced at around $13, you can enjoy a filling meal at Stash without breaking the bank.
Photo cred - tavernesaintsacrement
Don't expect a quiet, serene atmosphere at Saint-Sacrement, because this bar is almost always buzzing with activity. What you can look forward to, however, is a high-energy ambiance and a dinner that's both delicious and pretty darn cheap. Nothing is above $15 at Saint-Sacrement, which is great, because that frees up more wallet-room for their amazing drinks and cocktails.
Photo cred - juniorsnackbar
1964 Notre Dame W
The seating space at Junior, a filipino eatery in Griffintown, may not be very large (they do have a terrasse once the warm weather arrive, though), but that won't be much of a deal-breaker once you try the food. Serving authentic Filipino barbecue dishes you can't find elsewhere, you'll be taken aback by how fairly priced everything on Junior's menu is.
Photo cred - Pat Campione for MTL Blog
Qing Hua Dumpling
What may be Montreal's premiere dumpling house is also incredibly affordable, which is probably why people love Qing Hua Dumpling. Order a steamed or fried platter of dumplings and you won't be spending much more than $10, depending on the type. But no matter what kind of dumpling you enjoy, it's going to be delicious, a Qing Hua guarantee.
Photo cred - ceviches
Nestled in the Plateau, this Latin American-Caribbean restaurant serves far more than Ceviches, despite the name. Seafood dishes of all sorts graces the Ceviches menu (ceviche included, of course), all of which are fairly priced and big on flavour.
Photo cred - @deplepickup
Dépanneur le Pick Up
A popular spot among the hipster community of Montreal, Dépanneur Le Pick Up earned its reputation by serving high-quality eats at great prices. Vegetarians will no-doubt recommend the meatless pulled pork sandwich at Le Pick Up (which is actually quite amazing), but just about anything is well-worth your taste buds's attention. If you can, try to get a daily special, a fresh creation made by the Le Pick Up's chefs that isn't much pricier than anything else.
Photo cred - yokatoyokobai
I could talk at length at how amazing the ramen at Yokato Yokabai is (oh wait, I already did) but all you need to know is this Japanese restaurant makes what may be the best ramen in all of Montreal. Go try it if you don't believe me, because not only will your taste buds be blown away, but you also won't spend much more than $15 for a giant below of incredible ramen soup.
Photo cred - elreydeltaco
El Rey Del Taco
232 Jean-Talon E
Even though it's kind of a small hole-in-the-wall type of joint, El Rey Del Taco simply can't be ignored when the topic of affordably delicious food comes up. Probably my favourite Mexican spot in all of Montreal, this grocery store-resto combo prepares all of the classic Mexican dishes you know and love at a price that's far fairer than any of those chain restaurants (looking at you, Three Amigos).
Photo cred - cafesantropol
A favourite among vegetarians, Café Santropol absolutely owns when it comes to soups & sandwiches. Order either one (or both) and you're looking at a healthy meal that's filling and affordable. And if your sweet tooth needs a fix, I can attest to the amazing quality of Santropol's carrot cake.