Montreal is literally bursting with ethnic restaurants. In fact, you can try a huge range of ethnic delights from over 80 different countries and regions, and more often than not, you can fill up for less than $10!
Here are my top five choices for cheap ethnic eateries for under $12
Tibetan: Ôm Restaurant
Even though Montreal’s Tibetan population is relatively small—only around 130 in total, there are four Tibetan restaurants in the city. Ôm has been open since 2003 and offers a range of Indian and Tibetan dishes. Their house specials? Stir-fried beef and the famous momos (steamed dumplings stuffed with meat or cheese). Several vegetarian options are also available.
Insider tip: The Tibetan dal (lentil soup) is absolutely scrumptious! When I asked the owner what the difference is between his Tibetan version and classic Indian dal, he told me: “Well, it might sound a little kitchy, but it’s the love my wife puts into it that makes it so good.”
4382 St-Laurent Boulevard, Montreal, QC, H2W 1Z5 (514) 287-3553
Open Tuesday to Friday: 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Tuesday to Sunday: 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Closed on Mondays
Average bill per person for lunch (before tax, alcohol and tip): $10
Turkish: Antep Kabab
When I met with the members of Chowhound, they highly recommended this new Turkish fast-food resto: Antep Kabab. The owner, Ethem Kalkan, is originally from Antep, where rumour has it, they make the best kebabs in all of Turkey. I can’t really compare since I haven`t tried the competition, but I can certainly vouch for the fare served at Antep Kebab. Indeed, it is amazing. The meat is cooked over a charcoal grill and the plentiful portions come with two mouthwatering skewers served with barley, tomato sauce, and a salad. Plus, the restaurant was packed with Turkish people, which is always a good sign!
Insider tip: The home-made bread, served while still warm with a nice crunchy crust, is an added bonus, especially compared to similar restaurants in the area.
1626 de Maisonneuve West, Montreal, QC, H3H 1J5, (514) 903-7979
Open every day from noon to midnight
A kebab sandwich is $5 and a kebab platter is $12
Vietnamese: Pho Bang New York
Montreal’s Chinatown is literally overflowing with Vietnamese restaurants. One of my all-time faves is the Pho Bang New York, featuring ‘pho’, the famous Tonkinoise rice noodle soup. The secret to their success is the succulent broth, simmered with stewed beef bones, ginger, shallots and fresh coriander, explained the owner. The charcoal-grilled beef strips are particularly tasty and lend extra depth and hearty flavor to this Asian classic. A new addition to the menu includes vegetarian springrolls. To die for!
Insider tip: Try the Vietnamese drip coffee. It’s strong and sweet and will have you buzzing all day. It’s like an espresso served in a glass with a thick dollop of sweetened condensed milk, stir it up with ice, and you have a Vietnamese iced coffee, also known as café sua da.
Pho Bang New York
1001 St-Laurent Boulevard, Montreal, QC, H2Z 1J4, (514) 954-2032
Open daily from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
One large bowl of soup is only $7.50, tax included
Mexican: Chipotle & Jalapeño
Despite the sizeable Latin American population in Montreal, sometimes it’s hard to find a decent restaurant with good quality regional cuisine and a nice décor. Chipotle & Jalapeño is definitely an exception to the rule. In addition to typical fare such as enchiladas (that will make you drool with delight), there is also a healthy choice of fish and other more elaborate dishes. Don’t miss out one of the house favourites: tortilla soup made with a tantalizing broth and, of course, toasted tortillas. It doesn’t get much better than this!
Insider tip: Just above the restaurant, there’s a grocery store/café where you can sample an array of tasty desserts including tre leche reversant (a cake made with three types of milk).
Chipotle & Jalapeño
1481 Amherst, Montreal, QC, H2L 3L2, (514) 504-9015
Open Sunday to Wednesday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Extended hours from Thursday to Saturday: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The lunch special is a modest $11.50
(cookies and three milks cake at Chipotle & Jalapeño)
Armenian: Le Petit Alep The Petit Alep is a modest bistro version of its sister restaurant, Alep, which is right next door, across from the Jean Talon Market. They offer a choice of pita roulés, with either shish taouk, sausage, or marinated lamb as the filling, all rolled up in a pita sandwich for $7, or a full-sized platter, served with salad and rice for a whopping $10. The usual suspects, humous, mouhamara, and other Middle Eastern classics are also on the menu and are equally divine.
Insider tip: Don’t hesitate to try the vegetarian platter, even if you’re a carnivore. It makes a great appetizer to share with your friends and includes eight house specials that will give you a chance to taste a little bit of everything.
Le Petit Alep
191 Jean-Talon West, Montreal, QC, H2R 1S8, (514) 270-9361
Open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. from Tuesday to Saturday
Closed on Sundays and Mondays
A pita sandwich is $7, a full platter with salad and rice is $10
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