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Top 10 Most Iconic Montreal Cheap Eats

They say that Montreal has the highest ratio of restaurants per capita in North America. The choices are certainly endless so where does one go when looking for the best cheap eats in the city? We’ve rounded up the top ten most iconic and affordable bites.

1 / 10


Nothing quite compares to biting into a piping hot bagel, fresh out of the wood-burning oven at one of the two most beloved bagel spots in the city – St-Viateur Bagel and Fairmount Bagel. The crunchy, charred and slightly smoky exterior gives way to a dense yet melt-in-your-mouth interior – no cream cheese or butter required when it’s this fresh. The only catch? You won’t be able to stop at just one.

(Photo: Mayssam Samaha)

2 / 10

Smoked Meat

Probably the most iconic of Montreal cheap eats is the Schwartz’s smoked meat sandwich. The seemingly endless line-up is part of the tradition and shouldn’t deter you from trying this delicious delicacy at least once. Skip the lean option and go for a medium fat or, if you’re feeling adventurous, full fat cut of meat.

3 / 10

Wilensky’s Light Lunch

Wilensky’s, a family-run lunch counter, has been serving the same exact thing since it opened in 1932. Order a Wilensky’s Special, a salami and baloney sandwich with mustard, served grilled. A word of warning: Do not attempt to change or substitute any of the ingredients. It is what it is. Order a side of sour pickles and a cherry soda and enjoy your meal on one of the rickety bar stools.

(Photo: Mayssam Samaha)

4 / 10


No trip to Montreal is complete without indulging at least once in the greasy concoction of French fries, gravy and cheese curds that is poutine. Late night spots like La Banquise will help soak up an evening of bar-hopping, but a local favourite is the brisket burnt end poutine at newly-opened barbecue joint, Blackstrap BBQ.

(Photo: Mayssam Samaha)

5 / 10


When it comes to bakeries, Montreal has come a long way in the last twenty years. Some of our artisanal bakeries are now on par with anything one would find across the pond in Paris. Baguettes, croissants and various flaky, crunchy pastries can be a great choice for a delicious and low-cost breakfast or snack.

(Photo: Mayssam Samaha)

6 / 10

Gibeau Orange Julep

That big orange ball on the side of the highway has become one of the most iconic symbols of the city since it was built in 1945. Designed as a drive through (complete with roller-skating waitresses), this orange sphere’s specialty is the Gibeau Orange Julep, a creamy citrus concoction that pairs perfectly with the greasy grub served here.

(Photo: Mayssam Samaha)

7 / 10


No, not real beaver tails! This Canadian delicacy is a flat, beaver tail-shaped piece of deep-fried dough that can be topped with an array of sweet stuff, from Nutella and bananas to a mixture of sugar, lemon and cinnamon that’s sureto have you asking for more.

(Photo: BeaverTails)

8 / 10

Vietnamese Pho

Ask any Montrealer where the best pho in town is and you’re sure to get a different answer every time. However, a few names will keep coming up. Pho Tay Ho, Pho Bang New York and Pho Lien are all impressive and a welcome choice on a cold Montreal day.

(Photo: Mayssam Samaha)

9 / 10


Whether you’re chasing down the Grumman taco truck at one of the city’s outdoors events or sitting down at Maïs, the latest hip spot in town, tacos are always a most satisfying and wallet-friendly option.

(Photo: Mayssam Samaha)

10 / 10

Pulled Pork Sandwich

Pulled pork may be a bit overrated these days but a good pulled pork sandwich, if done right, always hits the spot. One of the best pulled pork sandwiches in the city is served at Dépanneur Le Pick Up, a few blocks away from the Jean-Talon Market, the largest open-air market in North America.

(Photo: Mayssam Samaha)