It's no secret that Montreal is home to a lot of restaurants. This means that, no matter what cuisine or price point you are interested in, there's a restaurant out there for you.
Sometimes, between paychecks, you want to eat out, even though you know you probably shouldn't. This list is for all of those days — days when you want to compromise on price but not taste.
And, sure, you can step in to any café and order a cheap sandwich, but I want to make this list about more than that. All of these retaurants are places where you can sit in and eat a proper meal for less than $20 before tax and tip, because I don't know how much you like to tip (though it should be at least 15%, and probably closer to 18%, ahem).
TL;DR Below is a list of tried-and-true restaurants that will give you great value for you money, and where you can order a plate of food for under $20.
Le Warehouse is a chain of bars that are known not just for their great cocktails but also a really good selection of snacks and meals. Everything on the menu is priced at $6, from onion rings to sandwiches. This is independent of whether or not you're drinking (though you should definitely try their cocktails). If you're feeling peckish, split a few snacks between friends. If you're really hungry, grab a meal! I recommend the pieroggies.
Pho Bang New York
This restaurant is one of the best places to grab pho in the city. Their bowls are huge and only $8.50. They even have vegetarian options! The best part is the piping hot free tea you get as soon as you sit at one of the long, communal tables.
Another bar with cheap eats, Cinko is a Plateau favourite. This restaurant offers plates at $5.50 if you order a drink. Portions are generous and the fare is very creative!
The well-known poutine joint offers so much more than the classic Quebec dish. They have fantastic, cheap burgers and great French onion soup. Not to mention that everything on their breakfast menu is fantastic. Breakfast poutine? I think yes. Also, shoutout to the uber-friendly staff that is nice to all of the drunk people getting food after a night out on weekends.
Lan Zhou Noodles
Featuring fresh, hand-pulled noodles, every dish on this restaurant's menu is fanstastic. Some of their best dishes include their noodle soups and dan dan noodles. Stop by at the specialty grocery store right next door after for some fun treats you can't buy anywhere else.
Bocadillo's specialty is their areperas, Venezuelan sandwiches made with corn bread. The sandwiches are served warm with a variety of fillings and a side of fries or a salad. They'll only set you back around $12, which makes it an all-around win. I highly recommend the Pabellón.
Many of the plates here will get you very close to the $20 limit, but if you head over to this authentic Lebanese restaurant with a few friends, you will make it work. All of the plates are meant to be shared, so split a few between friends. One of the most delicious and filling meals on the menu is the Fatteh Hummus. So. GOOD.
Dumplings are usually a good option for those of us who are on a budget. However, cheap food doesn't mean bland food, and Qing Hua goes to show that. Their two locations have a pretty extensive menu. Because their menu is so reasonable priced, at around $11 per plate of ~15 dumplings, you can enjoy an super filling meal at a great price.
This is hands down the best ramen place in the city, and I will fight anyone who thinks otherwise. Try one of their gigantic ramen bowls that won't set you back more than $15. Vegetarian friendly!
If you haven't tried this gem of a café, head over there RIGHT NOW to try one of their amazing sandwiches made with thick slices of homemade bread. Almost everything on the menu is vegetarian, and dishes like the Chaucer sandwich will convert even the most tofu-adverse amongst us. You even have the option to combine a smaller soup with half a sandwich, if you can't make up your mind between the two. Do yourself a favour and add the carrot cake to your bill, which will bring you to just under $20.
Located in the Golden Square Mile, this restaurant is a great place to grab a quick bite to eat. Their falafels are famous across Montreal, with tons of options for under $5.
You can't just walk by Parma without grabbing a heaping plate of pasta. This popular haunt serves up classic Italian dishes at super reasonable prices. Most items should ring in at under $10. Grab a slice of pizza next time you pass by!
El Rey Del Taco
This Mexican restaurant serves up fantastic fare. The Mile End favourite serves everything from quesadillas to tostadas. And nothing on the menu costs more than $15, which leaves you with enough to buy churros, too.
Located in Little Italy, this bistro serves up the best Québécois fare around. Most items on the menu are less than $10, which means that you can even buy two comfort food items.
Bombay Mahal is a great place if you're in the mood for authentic Indian food. They serve a variety of dishes, my personal favourite being the Palak Paneer. Their lunch specials only cost $10.50, for which you'll get to sample a few different dishes along with rice and naan. Not to mention that the restaurant is BYOB, which makes for even more savings.
Speaking of BYOBs, this list is not complete without a mention for this great Italian place. The cozy plateau restaurant serves amazing Italian food. And their portions are huge, so a little money really goes a long way.
Thali Cuisine Indienne
This eatery, which is another great Indian restaurant, is located by Concordia. They have great options for vegetarians and non-vegetarians, alike. And their meals, which come with naan, rice, salad, and papadam, cost a little over $10.
I've already mentioned Bocadillos earlier in the article, but a place should be reserved for this other great Venezuelan restaurant. Located in the plateau, they have a more expansive seating area. And vegan options!
This restaurant may look very fancy, but this is not reflected in the cost. This Old Port eatery serves Polish food an an awesome price. You won't find a nicer place to eat in the Old Port!
Rounding off the list is a great, raunchy Plateau bar. Their food is classic bar food, but taken to the next level, and compliments their great selection of wines and beers that they serve alongside their meals. Try their tartare!
Happy eating, Montreal!