Sometimes you want to eat out, but aren’t too keen on having to take out a loan in order to do so. When austerity calls, check out some of Montreal’s best cheap eats and drinks.
Lunch at Wilensky's
Walk by Wilensky's around lunch time any day of the week and you will see the place packed with people chowing down on fried salami and bologna sandwiches at the counter. You can add either Swiss or cheddar cheese to yours if you like, but know that it is only served with mustard otherwise, and it is never cut in two. That’s just the way it is done, and has been since 1932. Oh, and don’t forget to ask for a pickle on the side, and a cherry cola to wash everything down. Even with the add-ons, lunch will be well under $10.
Bagels at St. Viateur or Fairmount
Bagels are the epitome of cheap eats in Montreal and are perfect for using up any spare change you might have jingling around in your pockets. For a slightly doughy, less crusty version, check out St. Viateur. That being said, if you prefer your bagels on the sweeter side, Fairmount is your best bet, not to mention it also sells bagel-like pretzels that are liberally sprinkled with coarse salt and are guaranteed to fill you up.
Bread at Joe La Croute
Artisanal bread is rarely cheap, but compared to other bakeries in the city, the prices at Joe La Croute are very, very reasonable. A baguette will only set you back $2.10 and its croissants are less than $2 each. You can even buy half loaves, so you can get only as much as you need. For those looking for something more decadent, try Le Romeo, a chocolate swirl bun with pears and almonds.
Wine at Buvette Chez Simone
The cheapest way to drink and eat out in Montreal is to pick up a bottle of vin at the dep (Montreal’s version of a corner store) and head to the nearest BYOW restaurant, but inexpensive drinks at Buvette Chez Simone are an equally great option. Its wine list is extensive and most wines only cost $7-$9 per glass. Plus, it has plenty of charcuterie and cheese options for you to nibble on while you sip (or gulp, depending what kind of day you’ve had).
Poutine at Greenspot
Of course, poutine is one of the cheapest options you can come by in Montreal–except that at most places nowadays, it isn’t actually that cheap. Greenspot Diner in Little Burgundy is a clear exception to that. Whether you are looking for cheap, filling poutine or a good, greasy burger, it’s the place to go to that feels like the prices haven’t changed much since it opened decades ago.
Produce at Jean-Talon
Jean-Talon market defies all expectations of exorbitantly-priced local farmer’s market produce. Come summer, you can get baskets of eggplant, pints of cherry tomatoes, and all of the varieties of zucchini you could possibly imagine for only a couple of bucks a pop. I challenge you to go in with only a 20 dollar bill and see how much it gets you. I promise, it will be the best $20 you ever spend.
Street Food at Camion PDC
Dinner at Martin Picard’s Au Pied de Cochon will definitely lighten your wallet a tad more than you might think. So, if you are in a gluttonous mood and want something at a much lower price point, check out its food truck, Camion PDC. You can find it roaming the streets of Montreal or at various events throughout the year.
Quebec has some of the cheapest (and best) cheese in the country. It doesn’t matter whether you go to the grocery store or your nearest fromagerie, you can find dangerous quantities of top notch cheese to fit any budget. Grab a baguette to go with your fromage, head to a park, and you’ve got one of the most inexpensive lunch options in the city. You don’t even have to tip!
Macarons at Rhubarbe Patisserie
If there is any sweet treat that is certainly not known for its low price, it’s the beloved macaron. Usually averaging $2.50-$3 per piece, it’s hard to leave a pastry shop without dropping some cash on these dainty sandwich cookies (especially because it is impossible to eat just one). Yet, at Rhubarbe Patisserie, they are less than $2 each. It may not have the biggest selection of flavours, but its praline and grapefruit macarons definitely lend themselves to a nice little sugar fix.