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The 40 best cheap eats in Montreal for $10 or less

Dig in: From snacks and full feasts, lower prices don't mean lower quality with the best cheap eats in Montreal.

JP Karwacki
Written by
JP Karwacki
&
Sebastien Helary
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UPDATE, July 13 2021: To keep you fueled up as you enjoy the reopening of the city, it’s more important than ever get big bangs for your buck with the best cheap eats in Montreal. Some of our previous top picks have had to depart the list, however, with some classics raising their prices past our price point criteria. No worries, we’ve done the research—waistlines be damned—to bring you even more place to eat for $10 and under before taxes.

Montrealers have an ongoing love affair with their city’s low cost of living alongside its high quality of life, and the best cheap eats in Montreal are among the strongest supporting arguments for that. It’s a daily gift to hit up just about any corner of the island and find food that’s equal parts fulfilling and frugal, from Italian restaurants and Chinese restaurants to some of the best poutine and bagels in Montreal. We can’t promise some of these aren't popular, so enjoy the line-ups at these popular student haunts and local legends—but there are a few hidden gems we've decided to share.

RECOMMENDED: Complete guide to the best restaurants in Montreal

Cheap eats at Time Out Market Montréal

  • Restaurants
  • price 2 of 4

Eating quality doesn't mean you need to pay a pretty penny. If you're looking for cheap eats that wouldn't skimp on quality in the slightest, then you'll need the best chefs in the city. Downtown in the Eaton Centre, Time Out Market Montréal has orders of karaage from Marusan, the whole menu of Casa Kaizen with vegan tacos, flautas and more, imperial and spring rolls from Le Red Tiger, malangra accras and plantains from Paul Toussaint, and Caesar salads and veal meatballs from Il Miglio—and each of those dishes mentioned are under $10!

Best cheap eats in Montreal

There are many, many Indian restaurants in Montreal selling bang-on thali—rounded platters of food—fit for any time of day. Few compare in price to Pushap, however. Their simple yet delicious choices of either chickpea or lentil curry and fried or baked bread, plus rice and salad, all goes for a beautiful song here. It's the most substaintial option on the menu here for a single dish, but if thali isn’t your thing, no worries: Everything here is cheap and delicious, brimming in spices, and under $10.

A small shop specializing in Spanish croquetas in the Plateau-Mile End, La Croqueteria keeps things keep by serving up single croquettes at $2.45 a pop (that's for pickup, $2.95+taxes for delivery with apps), but the chef here doubles down on the concept by making over three dozen varieties (and that includes sweet options) all the same price, allowing for some delicious mixing and matching. From smoked meat and tomato-basil to boudin or garlic shrimp, they're all crispy and delicious bites that sit heavy in the stomach despite their small size. Bonus: You'll be eating at Canada's first-ever croqueteria!

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There’s only one option here, and it’s all you need: Soft gnocchi coated in a homey red sauce and piled into a Chinese take-out container, with a handful of pecorino Romano for buck extra and shakes of red pepper flakes for a spicier touch. The result is a meal straight from nonna’s books that sticks to the ribs and hugs you tight. That's what the Calabrian family here has always done and will do, along with selling jars of highly coveted tomato sauce and imported olive oil.

Ronen Baruch and Saleh Seh's Mediterranean fare is the foundation which built this neighbourhood institution worth the ride out to the edge of Lachine. We've got mad love for theor equally cheap sabich with its runny egg and roasted egglplant and meatless takes on shawarma and shishtaouk by using shiitake in lieu of chicken, but the namesake falafel—crunchy chickpea balls, veg and sauce stuffed until brimming in a warm and fluffy pita bread—is our current favourite here. Never mind the time it'll take for a central islander to get out, this place's food makes it a home away from home.

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The $4.74 Wilensky Special at Wilensky’s Light Lunch
Photograph: Alison Slattery

5. The $4.74 Wilensky Special at Wilensky’s Light Lunch

The Wilensky family behind this iconic deli is so sure about their 86-year-old sandwich recipe, they’ll charge you extra if you order it sans mustard. Let the noshing begin: Saddle up at the lunch counter for the special, an all-beef salami and bologna sandwich served on a pressed Kaiser roll that’s lined with mustard. The price you're seeing here is the with-cheese options, a mere 50 cents extra, and that gets you a choice of either a Kraft single or a slice of Swiss; worth it for the extra flavour factor.

One the preferred hangouts of Pointe-Saint-Charles' cognoscenti, owner Frank Servedio spun his grandparents’ famed Boulangerie Clarke into this little sandwich shop on Centre Street in 2018. Hats off to their serving products of a superior quality at a reasonable price point while remaining deeply rooted in Italian tradition: Servedio's spot makes a mean panino served on house-baked bread with your choice from an array of traditional salumi as well as grilled vegetables, tuna, Montreal smoked meat and the like, but the real show stopper is the breaded chicken cutlet sandwich that hits all the right notes.

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Otto Yakitori can be credited with single-handedly introducing the city of Montreal to Japanese yakitori, single skewers that feature different parts of the chicken, and we're talking all parts of the chicken—from skin to hearts to oysters. Normally you'd drop into this restaurant to order up tons of these sticks, but if you need to keep it cheap, you can do that: Just drop in for a few sticks—we recommend the thigh and green onoin brushed in a dark soy—and you'll be good for an afternoon.

Tony Campanelli has been slinging New York style pizza by the slice in St-Henri since 2015 at Adamo, a mainstay of the neighborhood that's serving up oversized, thin crust wedges to the delight of the neighbourhood. The shop has a no bullshit policy: no delivery, none of those pesky apps, and closes down every Sunday for a well-deserved day of rest. Easy enough: $4.50 gets you a satisfying slice of 'za. Add a shake of chili flakes and a drizzle of spicy oil and grab an ice cold Brio from the fridge while you're at it.

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Hidden away in the food court below the Scotia Tower downtown, the team at this basement Japanese counter are equal parts easy to miss while not worth missing out on. Squeeze into its long lines during their restrictive Monday-Friday lunch hours and order any one of their made-to-order donburi bowls or Japanese curry, from beef and chicken to the fancier grilled eel option. The price we've listed is for a large portion, so go for something smaller and spend your change on an equally cheap miso soup, bento box or croquettes.

Made from 100% AAA, never frozen, Canadian beef, your choice of toppings, top secret Uniburger sauce and served on a genuine Martin’s potato roll, these bad boys pack one hell of a punch. An Impossible Foods version is also available for vegetarians (but the buns contain dairy, vegans) and the simple menu is rounded out by fries, poutines, and milkshakes. Franchises have been sprouting up all over town, but if you’re feeling particularly lazy, delivery through your preferred app is also an option. 

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Trip de Bouffe—Québécois slang for usually drug-induced munchies—also happens to be one of the most vibrant oases of freshness and deliciousness on the cheap in the Plateau. Opened in 2012 by a Lebanese family, the hybrid Middle Eastern épicerie fine, caterer and takeout counter offers a wide variety of goodies with TLC always as the core ingredient. Think the absolute finest kaftas and kébbés, moussaka, tabbouleh with avocado, a Lebanese riff on Greek salad with halloumi, fattoush salad, and house-baked pitas, baba ganoush, and hummus galore. The menu's main (and cheap) attraction are over a dozen different types of manakish, all for $5.95 or less; just make sure to pay the extra $2 to upgrade to a wrap with garlic sauce toppings like fresh mint, green olives, pickled turnips, tomatoes, and red onions.

Lloyd Tull, founder of Lloydie’s, always dreamt of bringing Carribean food to the Montreal masses, so in 1987, he put together a small catering operation which eventually grew into a full-fledged production facility, primarily pumping out tasty Jamaican patties. Now, Lloydie’s now counts three locations throughout the city with some of the finest Carribean grub on the island, but you can never go wrong with a hot, flaky, perfectly seasoned, and a tad spicy, patty in your choice of beef, chicken, or veggie.

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Build-your-own-burger spots have never been so delicious or cheap, and that’s just the cost of a double burger. What makes these burgers a step up—hell, two or three steps up—from your average fast food joint is because of the patties. Made from an exceptional marinated beef recipe, they get sandwiched between buns that are glazed on the outside and crisp on the inside (they won't tell us where they get them from) and it makes for a irreplicable package. While the cheese will only put you back an extra 65 cents, the basics of sauces, tomato, lettuce, pickles, onions and slaw are on the house.

The $9.95 pound of char siu at Epicerie A. Lam Kee
Photograph: @helaryous / Instagram

14. The $9.95 pound of char siu at Epicerie A. Lam Kee

If you’re in Chinatown on a budget, Epicerie A. Lam Kee is where it’s at with no-frills, takeout only, top-notch Chinese BBQ. The sweet, savory and fatty Char Siu pork is our go-to—you can also opt for duck if that’s more your thing—but what truly differentiates Lam Kee from the competition is their other, less common, meat offerings ranging from ribs by the rackful to crispy roast pork. Trade secret: The glazed chicken wings are mind-blowing too. 

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They're a saving grace for downtown sandwiches on the cheap for students looking for studyin' fuel, and that goes double for when they've been out all night and looking for a snack after pounding back rounds of beer nearby on Crescent. Joe's keeps things consistent, making as many as 18 different kinds of paninis for takeout for all preferences, from the Philly Cheese Steak to the BLT and tuna options. Best of all, they've always kept it cheap, and you could easily sub (no pun intended) out your grocery bill for three square meals here a day for a week and still save cash.

Sandwiches, burgers, salads and breakfasts are the name of the game at this convenience store-turned-diner. Among those choices at bohemian-friendly prices like grilled halloumi and a breakfast sando; meanwhile, only fifty cents more gets you the vegetarian pulled 'pork' with BBQ sauce, pickles and chipotle mayo that's all fit between a halved Portuguese bread roll and topped with a colorful slaw and hot peppers. There's also a veggie version that can additionally be made vegan. If that doesn’t grab you, grab any one of their other sandwiches for a buck or two over the $10 mark, but it's always worth it.

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Found in several locations across the island, Sue has been making bahn mi sandwiches that knock the usual hangs you're used to out of the park. Every sandwich is worth a try—ginger or curry chicken and lemongrass tofu have received shout-outs before—but the classic char siu with Chinese five spice and topped with cucumber, daikon, carrot and cilantro is rich, filling and worth the trip. There's just something about their bread—a big 'n' fluffy take on typical baguette—that really makes it stand out.

You know what they say: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day: A perfectly cooked fried egg with melty American cheese, posh Boston lettuce, tomato, house mayo and mustard, savory smoked ham, and proper pickles on a warm and pillowy brioche bun. If you’re looking for a compelling reason to get out of bed in the morning, then you’ve just been served. The joint also boasts one of the city’s strongest coffee games.

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The only thing more popular than Nilufar’s bargain falafel pitas might be the woman behind the counter. Nilufar Al-Shourbaji, the restaurant’s namesake and co-owner, is a Shaughnessy Village icon thanks to her benevolent presence and her vegan, halal, and budget-friendly Middle Eastern fare that's got students flocking there on the reg. For a savory twist on a Quebecois classic, order the “falafeltine,” fries dressed with falafels, hot sauce, and Nilufar’s popular tahini sauce. Heck, pick up a bunch of stuff—it's easy to put together a meal for under $10 here.

What began as a hole in the wall using little more than George Foreman grills has grown into a Oaxacan family institution in the neighbourhood of Saint-Henri. Their arrival heralded a renewed interest in tacos in Montreal, and they're proof that tacos on the cheap were not only in demand but could be irresistible. We can vouch for any one of Tacos Frida’s nine taco varieties, and that being said, you really should just order three at a time and enjoy.

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From their original location in the Faubourg to their current spot farther downtown, Bangkok has kept their spicy and cheap menus consistent (minus a few hikes here and there), and that already makes them a winner in our books. Most of all, however, is that they make exceedingly cheap Thai food in the city, and they do it well. The biggest winner is their vegetable pad Thai that makes for a mountain of food that's—gasp—good for you. One trip's all it takes to hook an aspiring nosher.

Earning its street cred by selling damn fine shawarmas every day and (late) night, this shawarma shop makes some of the best chicken and beef wraps in the city despite their massive increase in locations on and off the island. Above all, it’s the jampacked Creation that you should order, a one-with-everything sandwich that tops beef with tahini and garlic sauces, every vegetable they can provide and a spoonful of garlic potatoes wrapped up tight in a pita and baked.

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Like the name implies, this Indian counter service restaurant makes a point of thalis being their go-to dish, but a closer look at the menu reveals something else worthwhile: Naan wraps of spicy kebabs of savory meat—or chicken, or our favourite with slices of paneer and potatoes—covered in raita and iceberg lettuce. It’s a burrito-like choice that, frankly, we don’t understand why it isn’t more of a thing anywhere else.

An NDG-based institution that's been running for over 35 years, neighbours love it and farflung locals fall in love with a single bite. You can grab subs here for even cheaper than the above-listed price, but we like to go all out on the 6-inch supreme, a miz of sausage, steak, pepper, tomato, lettuce, onion, mushroom, cheese & hot sauce. It's a study in the classic Quebec submarine style where they like to lay on the fresh topping on top, making the whole dish this try-to-fit-it-in-your-mouth challenge, and if that's not a sign it makes for a filling meal, we don't know what is.

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Locals have known for decades that if you want some of the best the Caribbean has to offer in this city, you come here for the roti, packed to the brim with aromatic curries and stewed meats. Among the cheapest options is the chickpea curry option, filled to brim until it's practically bursting. One is more than enough to keep you satisfied, and if you like your cheap eats spicy, this is definitely the place for you: They'll pack in as much heat as you like.

The $6 bahn mi at Marché Hung Phat
Photograph: Marché Hung Phat

26. The $6 bahn mi at MarchĂ© Hung Phat

Find fresh foot-long baguettes filled with pork liver pâté or grilled chicken, a house mayo, cilantro and pickled daikon and carrot here, and don't let anyone tell you they know a better place. This Vietnamese grocer and sandwich shop based in Villeray is the leader of the pack in town, and if that's not proof enough, remember that folks from outside of town—as far away as Vermont and Nunavut, they say—will order in and have them shipped out by the box. Lucky you, you have easy access to them right here in the 514.

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One of the finest French pastry shops in Montreal, Nicholas Henri’s traditional Breton cake is a stack of blissful bites encapsulated within layer after layer of butter and dough that's coated on all side with with caramelized sugar. One bite immediately gives newcomers and returning Montrealers the idea of buying up a whole pie of the stuff. “Vive la France”? More like “Vive la Bretagne, Vive les Bretons”! (Pro tip: Their croissants are also a serious competitor in both price and quality; you can grab one and still keep the price tag under $10)

Folks looking for Greektown delights will argue that Tripolis, Panama or Village Grec have they goods they need for garlicky tzatziki and meat wraps with tomato, lettuce, red onion and a dusting of Greek oregano. Our money’s on Marven’s, where a princely sum gets your hands on a mouth-watering gyro that's doing it right. There's just something about their spice blend that we've got a preference for, and we won't apologize for that; the souvlaki option (pictured) gets even cheaper by a buck, and if you're bringing a friend, pool your resources and buy up a plate of grilled quail for under $20.

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The adapted rotisserie chicken tradition in Quebec gets no more down-to-earth and delicious than this spot in NDG. What began in 1944 continues to deliver to this very day: A cut of chicken—leg or breast—comes with a heap of fries, brown gravy on the side, a toasted roll and a cup of slaw. It was an old standby back in the day, and it’s a standby now in—apart from the quality—they've kept their prices ridiculously low while keeping portions consistently big.

Banh mi elements meet the North American cold cut sandwich tradition at this lunch counter located inside of a dépanneur in the bottom commercial floor of Le Cartier Tower downtown. A warm baguette is lined with mustard, mayo, shredded iceberg lettuce, tomato and a sizeable range of different meats that reach from bologna and roast beef to smoked chicken and crab meat. They’re so popular that they make up over 70% of this dépanneur’s sales.

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Smack dab in the middle of the Mile End, surrounded by some of the city’s fiercest culinary competition, a quaint and unassuming Greek cafe has been humbly dishing out delectable, crispy, and flaky phyllo treats for ten years now. The spinach and feta Spanakopita is as classic as can be, but we highly recommend opting for the feta and ricotta Tyropita. Vegans and sweet tooths can rest assured that the leek and potato—as well as vanilla custard with cinnamon sugar—is also up for grabs, and worth it to boot. The portions are generous and one pie should keep you satiated until your next meal.

For Montrealers seeking a Philly cheesesteak experience in the 514, look no further than this Old Montreal spot. Showing up on the scene just as the pandemic began picking up speed in 2020, the establishment weathered the ensuing storm with warm rolls in your choice of 5 or 10 inches filled with juicy rib eye (or Beyond Meat), caramelized onions, melted provolone, and the customary hefty drizzle of Whiz sauce. They’re miles off from anything you can find in Philadelphia, but still filling, ever-so-satisfying, calorie-laden, and full of stick-to-your-ribs goodness.

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A jiaozi standard both in Chinatown and beyond, the dumplings here come by the steamer-full and are made to order. Perfect for plucking one at a time, biting slightly at the edge and sucking out the broth before popping them in your mouth whole. Order them fried for a buck and a half more, and mix ‘n’ match flavours for only 50 cents more. Our favourite’s the pork and coriander, of which you'll get a big plate of 15. It's one of those cheap eats in town that's light on the stomach while still being filling.

Neatly tucked in the heart of NDG’s Monkland Village is one of the city’s Szechuan masters, chef Andy Su, and his homey restaurant Gia Ba. The menu features the usual suspects—General Tao chicken, beef with chinese broccoli, fried rice—but chef Su’s genius lies in his more adventurous offerings like Ma Po tofu and Yu Xiang eggplant, stir fried green beans with copious amounts of spicy chilies, or melt-in-your-mouth slow-braised pork belly. The menu’s real hidden gem, however, remains the Dan Dan noodles with thick Chinese noodles and a few garnishes, swimming in the most unbelievably aromatic and unapologetically spicy broth. Be prepared to sweat profusely and, as in any self-respecting Szechuan dish, numbness will ensue from the lavish amounts of Sichuan peppercorn.

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It’s not technically a meal per se, but screw it, everyone does it: Drop in to order a half-dozen bag of poppy seed, sesame seed or plain bagels (mix 'n' match if you want!) that are fresh out of the oven and just chow down, right out of the bag. The quality and price of this bagel bakery that helped put Montreal-style bagels on the map will be demonstrated with just one chewy, sweet bite.

Most Montrealers would likely think of the small chain Al-Taib when looking for their manakish, but this Lebanese café that's new to the Plateau is knocking the Middle Eastern snack staple out of the park. Using a 1.5-tonne oven they've sourced straight from Lebanon, they're doing the traditional dish more than justice by making it street food style and street food prices. We love one of the priciest ones the most which is covered in ground meat, but you can easily buy two of their za'taar or cheese options for under $10 as well. Whatever you pick, it's delicious and filling AND cheap.

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The string-cut fry poutines and slider-style burgers this corner diner pumps out at breakneck speed are both delicious and overwhelmingly popular. Best of all is the patatine, a poutine topped with fresh cut veggies for a more refreshing take on the Quebecois classic that normally can weigh someone down after they eat. Either squash yourself into a spot at the counter and order up a pitcher of beer with the money you saved, or order it to go and eat in the park in seasons warmer than winter.

Montreal isn't exactly bursting with Eastern European farein general, but those that have set up shop do it well. That goes double for the relative newcomer Baba Yaga in Saint-Henri, where $10 nabs you six perogies to chow down on. Some may say that's not enough—likely testament to how addictive they can be—but we'll take however many of them we cna get. Baba Yaga likes to keep things interesting as well; we've seen specials like sweet potato with maple sour cream or rosemary potato for Thanksgiving.

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Venezuelan eats don’t have nearly the kind of rep they should in Montreal, but arepa joints like this one are changing that. The sandwiches here are thick corn flour buns stuffed with meat and topped with a mound of queso, hearty foodstuffs that are rich and saucy on the inside, crunchy on the outside. Nearly every option on the menu's under $10 per sandwich, but if you need a suggestion, go for one of the beef options for a real South American classic. Pro-tip: Ask for your arepa to be deep-fried.

The $9.25 three-choice plates at Shi Tang
Photograph: Courtesy Tram L.

40. The $9.25 three-choice plates at Shi Tang

Look to Chinatown West, where student-friendly eats are found in spades, primarily catering to the population of Concordia University. This address, however, has one of the best bangs for your buck: A choice of three dishes from their steam table like stewed eggplant or pork with carrot and mushroom are served with non-stop rice and tea. For a lighter meal, ask for a couple of their wonderfully filling baos. (Can't find it? Look for 1622 Boulevard de Maisonneuve Ouest)

Keep it cheap in the city

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