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Chez Layla
Photograph: JP Karwacki

This Atwater Market eatery from ex-Satay Bros. staff is perfect for cheap Lachine Canal picnics

The summer bistro cuisine at Chez Layla in the Atwater Market is the cheapest and most filling you can get while summer lasts.

JP Karwacki
Written by
JP Karwacki
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Summer's not over yet, Montreal, but there's only so much time before we can enjoy some picnics by the water in some of the city's most beautiful locales for outdoor dining. Better yet, how about a full meal that barely breaks the bank?

Chez Layla is a newly-revamped food stall that's been running since the beginning of the summer, an operation that's flipped its menu since last year's grilled flatbreads. This year, it's all super cheap items where buying up the whole menu is $65 before tax a tip, or $35 to $40 for two dishes, two salads and dessert to round it all out.

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"It's comfort food, it's cheap food. It's hard times right now, so we want to give something that soothes the soul and helps deal with the everyday stress of everything that's going on right now," says the project's chef Chris Rogan, previously of Satay Bros. in Saint-Henri (and located next to the stand at the Atwater Market).

Chez Layla
Photograph: JP Karwacki

Rogan's done a bunch of stints at Italian and French bistros prior to his work at Satay, so he's bringing a bit of a chef's touch to fast casual eating.

On the menu, there are sub sandwiches with basil pesto meatballs or grilled veggies and halloumi, piled plates of grilled chicken, fresh salads of pumpkin seeds and house ranch on slaw, sweet potato wedges with sausage crumble, house-pickled peppers and a lime sour cream—plus hibiscus lemonade and their own strawberry shortcake for dessert.

"It's seasonal with core items. It's our first kick at the can... just trying to keep everything really cheap. People are loving the food, and there's a lot of returning customers."

Chez Layla
Photograph: JP Karwacki

It's definitely cheap. The most expensive thing on the menu goes for $12, and that's one of three plates with either grilled chicken, seasonal vegetable curry or the meatballs used in the subs.

As for new menu items that are seasonal, Chez Layla's always worth corn served on the cob and dressed in crispy rice, mayo, paprika and cayenne oil and seasonings.

There's still time this summer to enjoy it, as all open-air eateries at Atwater are planned to close sometime in early October.

Get it while it's hot.

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