I've been to Montreal so many times that I've lost count. At one point I was practically living there and all its cobblestones and random civil protests became the norm. Montreal really worked on my patience. I used to turn into a rod of rage when I missed an exit on the freeway as it meant it would take another 15 minutes to go back into the right direction, but eventually that became an anti climatic mumble of "ahh crap" under my breath.
Eating out in Montreal has always been fun. There are so many restaurants and chefs that one cannot possibility try them all in one stay. Like many other cities, there are raggity places with amazing food and there are places with ambiance of hipster Narnia with too much plate and not enough food. For me, I like to eat my feelings so great food trumps ambiance. And the quality and quantity of food has to match its price because money doesn't grow on trees... Well, technically money is printed on paper and paper is wood yeah I never understood that saying either.
Here are some places I enjoy going to eat my stress or menstrual issues away. The ambiance is not GOOP or Martha Stewart approved but whether your diet is McDonald’s fries and a frosty from Wendy’s to dip them in or fillet minion, you will most likely enjoy the meal. If not, it at least won't break your wallet.
1. La Banquise on Rue Rachel Est
Type of food: Poutine
Montreal -> Poutine. It's just a thing to eat there. This place is known for their poutine and it is amazing. The portions are huge and they have all different types of poutines. Chances are you will probably have some leftovers for the next day.
2. Pho Bang New York on 1001 Boul St-Laurent
Type of food: Pho
One of my pet peeves at pho places is when they give you 70% soup, 20% noodles and little dinky pieces of meat and beef ball bits sized of grapes. This place is the exact opposite. Pho Bang New York does it right and their broth is delicious too.
3. Schwartz Deli on 3895 Boul St-Laurent
Type of food: Smoked Meat
Everyone in Montreal and even people not from Montreal knows about this place. Their smoked meat is classic and this place is always packed. A good time to go would be during a weekday afternoon. Be prepared to share your table with strangers- but don't worry, it's fun.
4. Azteca on 7349 Saint Hubert
Type of food: Mexican, specifically, Tacos
Even though this place may be small, the tacos here are flavorful and they also offer vegetarian menus. Plus on some nights you can even get $1 tacos. Honestly, you can't go wrong with $1 tacos. That's cheaper than Wendy's value menu.
If you are someone who gets offended eating dill pickels and leftovers, or if you have a date that splurge on you... Here are some of the places I enjoyed. Beware, if you're on a date to one of these places he probably expects you to put out after, haha joking. Not really.
1. Au Pied de Cochon on Duluth
The hype is real and it's not that expensive (the mains are between $26-$30). The dishes are flavorful and the pork is so tender. Out of the few times I have been there, the quality of the food has always been consistent. P.S We usually order something from the fois gras and something from the cochon and share, nom nom.
2. Joe Beef on 2491 Rue Notre-Dame O
Joe Beef has been nominated as one of the best Canada's restaurants many times in many different news outlets and it lives up for its name. The food there is great but your wallet might not be too happy- you're looking at spending at least $160 for two there easily. It is best to make a reservation there before going and beware, sometimes it can take up to weeks to get a reservation.
3. Garde Manger on 408 Rue Saint-François-Xavier
The ambiance is amazing and it is right in Old Montreal, so it makes a great walk. The food is good but there's definitely some of that "too much plate not enough food" syndrome going on. Again, you're looking at spending at least $150 for a dinner for two there.
1. Gibeau Orange Julep on 7700 Decarie Boulevard
This place deserves its own category. The building is one giant orange and the orange juice here is phenomenal- some of the best orange juice I've ever had and I can drink it all day, and I normally hate orange juice! The hot dogs are okay but no one goes there for the food. This is definitely one of my favorite places to go in Montreal on a hot summer night.