So, I just got back from Montreal and wanted to share my thoughts:
We stayed on rue duluth and st denis, pretty much in the plateau. The first night, we went to l'academie, on rue duluth and st denis (right across the street from us)...I think this place is a good bargain, maybe not the best meal ever, but bang for the buck-wise it is excellent. I got the filet mignon in port sauce, the wife got the steak au poivre, both mains were in the low $20's...The SAQ is right next door, the room is really nice.
Before going here, we walked down duluth and detoured over to brunoise (after reading all the glowing posts here)...it was a bit to "french" for me, (i.e. sweetbreads, pate's, internal organs etc), but I have to be careful about eating too much rich food. If you are up for "real" french food the presentation was fabulous, and the portions were a decent size etc...
on rue duluth, around rue laval or hotel de ville (give or take), there is a nice portugese bar with an outside beer garden. We were there pretty much every day (outdoor seating, cheap beer, pretty waitresses, count me in :-) The burgers were really good, they also have tapas etc...the kitchen is open late (till like 2am or something)...don't remember the name off hand, but if you are on st denis, and walk west on duluth (towards st laurent), it will be on your right hand side, about midway between the st denis and st laurent. You can't miss it :-)
we went to la prunelle, on rue duluth, on the corner of rue drolet. Very nice menu, wife got the mushroom special appetizer and the bison special main (was supposed to be veal, but they must've run out), I got a scallop app (with asparagus sauce) and the wabiti (sp? means venison) main. Excellent food (except for my appetizer), but very expensive, and I was still hungry after eating...
also went to the veitnamese on duluth and drolet, we got the special for 2 ($60 for both). I would go again, but order differently. It was nice, there is an outdoor seating area, and it was packed every time we walked past it, so we figured we'd give it a shot. Other orders looked and smelled fantastic. Ours was good, but others looked better and were cheaper...also, I think it was more chinese than vittnamese, but whatever :-)
Also went to schwatz's on st laurent...If you've ever been to katz's in nyc it is a similar place, what canadiens call smoked meat we call pastrami...I prefer ny rye bread, but the sandwich was less than $5 cdn, whereas katz is closer to $10 usd...But scwatrz's charges for pickles and cole slaw...
DO NOT MISS THE JEAN TALON MARKET! Excellent produce, meats, cheeses etc. Tons of finger foods for less than $3 cdn. Had a lot of fun. Did not try any of the resto's near by, as I was stuffed by the time I left the market.
Excellent hard ice cream at Au Festin De Babette 4085, rue Saint-Denis, (near duluth)...had the chocolate with caramel and crunchy bits, wife had the orange chocolate ice cream...these were in a case and had to be scooped out...lovely place
Last time we were in Montreal we went to Pho 2000 on st catherie and st elizabeth (?), kind of near the electric foufounes place....good, cheap, authentic vietnamese (authentic in that we have similar places in NYC, with similar menus). A bit dirty, but usually these places are :-)
I also recently posted about la maree in the old port, 404 Place Jacues Cartier. Long story short, a bit expensive for lunch, but good food, and a great location.
One other thing, and I know I am going to upset the locals, but don't bother going out of your way for the bagels. We walked to st viatuer bagels, and my wife was very upset. The bagels are small, and the centers are really large (i.e. a large hole with no bread). Also, the bread is a bit bland. and there is not a lot of selection (sesame, poppy and whole grain). They also don't offer spreads (like various cream cheeses, or even butter). You need to buy these separately (they are not even home made, your choice is whatever Philadelphia brand makes). There is no place to sit and eat them either. If you are getting in your car to go, or going back to your hotel then fine, just don't plan on having a sit down meal here. Anyway, this is only my opinion, but I would definitely not do this again.
I hope this is of use for others, I will be glad to followup if anyone has any questions etc....
btw-We love montreal,, what a fun city! In general, I think it will be hard to get a bad meal here, so if you see something that looks interesting, I would just go for it!