In a city renowned for its vibrant food scene and culinary talents, finding an affordable yet delicious Montreal restaurant should theoretically feel like a daunting task. But in reality, knowing and discovering the bountiful cheap eat spots across Montreal is everyone's favourite food-related pursuit — including Montreal's top chefs, six of whom have revealed their hidden gems for a satisfying meal in Montreal under $20.
Considering our vast repertoire of must-try eateries, there is a little bit of everything for everyone, and while it may not feel as if there are delectable cheap eats and inexpensive bars in Montreal, there are more than you'd think.
From cozy neighbourhood bistros to laid-back eateries, these culinary maestros reveal the wallet-friendly foodie spots that continue to thrive in Montreal, proving that exceptional flavour doesn't have to come with a hefty price tag.
Chef Christian Ventura has taken plant-based cuisine and made it a Montreal staple. The culinary expert is the mastermind behind countless vegan Montreal restaurants including Sushi Momo, Bloom Sushi, Casa Kaizen, Bvrger and Napolito — allowing Montrealers to discover the delicious world of plant-based cuisine, where every bite is a sustainable and compassionate choice for our planet (and belly).
MTL Blog reached out to Chef Ventura for some top cheap eat spots across the city, and Chef Ventura delivered. The cuisinier is a huge fan of Thali Cuisine Indienne on Rue St Marc feet away from Guy Concordia metro. "You can eat a big Thali veggie plate for under $15," he said.
For those looking for something a bit nicer but still affordable, Chef Ventura recommends the table d'hôte at Pizza 900 during lunch or after 9 p.m. for $18. They've also got a mean marinara for $11.
As for some other Montreal restaurants, Chef Ventura said a few of his faves that won't break the bank include Thali plates at Pushap, the falafel pita at Falafel St-Jacques, the chickpea roti at Maison du Cari or the veggie tacos from Taco Frida.
Chef Mike Lafaille is the culinary genius behind Kwizinn, a Caribbean restaurant in Verdun. As someone who has eaten at Kwizinn a handful of times, if there's one person I'd trust my life with when it comes to food, it's Chef Lafaille, so there's no denying I needed to know his affordable eat options across Montreal.
The chef vouched for the banh mi sandwiches at Sandwicherie Sue, as well as Dobe & Andy for "quality Chinese food," Lafaille shared. And for those looking for an after-work or post-night-out moment, Chef On Call is a spot Chef Lafaille recommends in the city.
Chef Paul Toussaint
Chef Paul Toussaint certainly knows how to bring his passion for his Haitian heritage and love of food to the forefront of Montreal's foodie scene. The culinary artist is the brains behind Kamuy near Place des Arts, which celebrates the Caribbean islands’ rich eclectic culture all while incorporating Québec’s culinary influences. Chef Toussaint is also behind the microbrewery Belle Gueule and American BBQ at Montreal's Time Out Market.
When asked which restaurants across Montreal are his favourite for a cheap bite, Chef Toussaint mentioned Time Out Market as a go-to. Considering the food court is home to so many delicious spots with many dishes under $20, you're bound to find something that will tantalize your palate. Toussaint also highlighted Dobe & Andy in Chinatown, where you can grab traditional Chinese dishes such as dumplings, BBQ duck & wonton soup.
Chef Kimberly Lallouz is a name you might recognize in Montreal, considering she's the powerhouse behind Montreal's Monsieur Café et Vins and Miss Prêt à Manger. When asked about affordable restaurant options across Montreal, the chef made it clear that if there's a place that knows how to do cheap eats, it's Montreal. "The truth of the matter is, we're lucky in Montreal," said Chef Kimberly Lallouz. And she's absolutely right.
When asked about her favourite spots for less than $20 Lallouz didn't disappoint.
Pushap for vegetarian Indian food was a standout spot, as was Hoang Oanh Sandwich on Boulevard Saint-Laurent where you can get a few of their must-try spicy chicken and marinated veggie banh mi. Yet another sandwich spot Lallouz highlighted was Wilensky's in the Mile-End. I mean, slices of all-beef salami and bologna with mustard smooshed into one? C'mon. How could you not? And for less than $5.00, too.
For a healthier option, Chef Lallouz recommends Rejuice Nutrition for a smoothie and a wellness shot, which will hit the $20 mark but it's worth it to reap the benefits. Lallouz also mentioned Lester's Deli for a smoked-meat sandwich, which the chef declared as the "best."
Meet the boss of Bossa: Daniel Lomanto. With a sandwich empire that started off in Verdun, Lomanto is now showing off his culinary talents at three locations across Montreal.
The Montreal chef shared with MTL Blog his top picks for cheap eats across the city and Chef Lomanto had plenty of love to go around. The Bossa mastermind gave a shout-out to their new neighbour: Welldun Pizza where you can grab a mean slice of 'za for about $5 to $6.
The "Spicy Tan Tan" ramen at Sansotei is a must-try according to Lomanto, which runs for $18.50. The chef also highlighted a few Mediterranean restaurants in Montreal. "For Lebanese food, my girlfriend put me onto Café Chez Teta," he said. The two grab the "Lahem Bi Ajin" which goes for less than $10.
The $15 Classico Sandwich from Mano Figa is also on Lomanto's list, as is the "Buck Burger" from Dilallo's in Ville-Émard and Pizzeria Nino, where Chef Lomanto's grandfather worked for nearly 50 years. "Without this place [Pizzeria Nino] and my grandfather, Bossa might not exist," he said.
This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
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