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Jan 9, 2007 10:35 PM

New to Montreal!

Hello Chowhounds,

I've finally found a place where I can some food answers! Phew! I recently moved here and currently living in the Cote des Neiges area. Any recommendations for good restaurants in this area??

I'm also looking for a natural food store, in particular quinoa and food available in bulk bins. I'm also looking for an excellent spice store. I was so spoiled at my food co-op. I am now only realizing it! Any help would be great!

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  1. Welcome to Montreal, calla0413, and also to my neck of the woods.

    While there aren't really any destination restaurantss in CDN, there are lots of affordable worthwhile eateries, especially of the ethnic variety. The following discussion and the links it contains cover many of them:

    You should also try searching the board (use the search box at the top of the page) for terms like CDN and Neiges and specific street names (e.g. Lacombe, Victoria).

    The neighbourhood's only "health" foods store died a deserved death a few months ago. ExoFruits on CDN north of Queen Mary is one of the city's better green grocers and also has some bulk items and a selection of organic produce, dairy products, grains, etc. The closest natural foods stores I know of are in NDG (on Monkland a block or two west of Girouard), the Plateau (Tau, Rachel-Berry, etc.) and, though they're hardly worth a special trip, Mile-End (Park between St-Viateur and Bernard).

    Actually, your best bet is to take the blue line to the de Castelnau or Jean-Talon station and hit the Jean-Talon Market and Little Italy. Besides the wealth of produce, cheese, breads, meats and fish vendors, there's a bulk foods store in the southeast corner of the market and a natural foods store just across from it, not to mention the nearby Anatol bulk foods store at 6822 St-Laurent. The market is also home to the city's best, if sticker-shockish, spice store: Olives & Épices. The other place I tend to buy spices is Gourmet Laurier, on Laurier a couple of blocks west of Park and easily accessible from CDN via the 51 bus.

    Lastly, see if you can put your hands on the Quartiers Gourmands guide. It's sold in most French bookstores (like Renaud-Bray in CDN) as well as many gourmet groceries, coffee roasters, bakeries, cheese shops, etc. By far the most complete (but not exhaustive!) of the city's food shopping scene, packed with pictures, addresses, phone numbers and maps. It's in French but is pretty easy to understand.

    6 Replies
    1. re: carswell


      Okay, on your advice, I went to Renaud-Bray on CDN and tried to get the Quartiers Gourmands guide. I asked one of the associates and they have never even heard of it. They asked me if I had the right title. Is it a book or a magazine? I think I was just in the magazine section, thinking that it was a mag but, now, that I think about it maybe I should of checked in the books.

      Also on your advice, I went to the Exofruit on CDN and AHHHHHHHHHH! I found my quinoa in the bulk bins. Yeah! I also found a lot of other things I would have eventually been looking for. The price isn't bad either. The produce looked pretty great!

      Now, the Jean-Talon Market and Little Italy will have to wait for another day but, I'm much happier for having discovered the Exofruit.

      Thanks to you, I'm going to read the latest Saveur (from Renaud-Bray), make up a batch of curry quinoa and lemon-garlic grilled shrimp tonight! Yummy! Yummy!

      1. re: calla0413

        Am pretty sure I've seen the Quartiers Gourmands guide at Renaud-Bray on CDN but in the cookbook section, not with the magazines. If not there, try Au Pain Doré nearby. If not there, I know I've seen it recently at Toi, Moi et Café on Laurier a block east of Park. Elsewhere, too, but I didn't register where.

        ExoFruits is a great resource.

        And in reference to another message, I'm not aware of any natural food or health food stores in the Plaza CDN area. However, right across from it is Kim Phat, one of the city's top Asian groceries. And FWIW the Kam Shing in the Plaza is my favourite.

        1. re: carswell

          Thanks I will try the cookbook section at Renaud-Bray. I didn't venture too far into Renaud-Bray because I was a mission for quinoa today! Hahahaha....

          Thanks for the info.

          1. re: carswell

            I'M pretty sure I saw the guide at Capitol in JTM last weekend and would bet they also carry it in places like Olive et Épices, La Dépense and Marché des Saveurs. I've also seen at la Queue de cochon in the Fromentier building on Laurier East and it's also probably available at their St-Hubert st. (south of Beaubien) outlet.

        2. re: carswell

          I picked up a copy of the 2007-08 Quartiers Gourmands ($11.95) at the CDN Renaud-Bray today. It looks like they accept advertising from shops they recommend (and they seem to recommend every location of several chains) so I am having a hard time figuring out if it's biased or relatively objective and trustworthy. Even so, it's a great way for non-residents like me to get informative maps of food routes.

          1. re: Food Tourist

            Haven't confirmed this but have also heard that businesses pay to be listed. Either way, I would take any qualitative judgments with a large grain of salt, which is not to knock QG's usefulness as a directory, a way of getting the lay of the land, a one-of-a-kind source for addresses, phone numbers, opening hours and general descriptions of products/services offered.

        3. carswell,

          Thanks for quickly replying to my inquiry. Your information is very much appreciated. I figured that they were a few hidden gems in the bunch.

          On one of my visits here, my husband and I drove around the area to see if we would like the neighborhood, we ended up in Snowden and we stopped for dinner. I saw this cute, hole in the place called Connie Cheung's or Maggie Cheung's or something like that. Thinking only really positive thoughts, I went in without hesitation. It was on one of the worst food experiences I've ever had. So, I'm a little leery of trying "homegrown" restaurants unless I get a recommendation. I was so thankful to find this website.

          Judging by all the literature I've received from the real estate agent, I figured the best place for me to some "real" food shopping was in Little Italy. You just confirmed it for me.

          I am going to take a little walk tomorrow and visit the Exofruit and the Renaud-Bray for the Quartiers Gourmands. I'm hoping that I'll be able to find what I'm looking for at Exofruit. I've had a real hard time finding popcorn and quinoa. We finally found popcorn and now, that I've found it, I'm finding it every where else.

          I'm a little puppy Chowhound in training but, learning fast my friend, learning fast!

          Thanks for the help!


          1. just from memory, there should be some bulk food places north up near the cdn mall - perhaps even a health food store?

            1. celfie,

              Thanks for the info. I haven't actually taken the time to really look at the places in the CDN mall. I did walk through it to get to the Canadian Tire. I surprised by the number of many different dollar type stores. I will have to check on the CDN mall!


                1. re: celfie

                  When you do, don't forget to go on a empty stomach and have lunch or dinner at Kam Shing. ;)

                  1. re: MCMM


                    Now, I read in one of the conversation strings there are two Kam Shings and one is completely different from the other. If I was reading right, there is one Kam Shing IN the CDN mall and then there's a Kam Shing across the street. Which is the good one?

                    1. re: calla0413

                      In the mall and across the street from the mall are one in the
                      same, they moved about a year or two ago to accomodate the
                      crouds of people lining up at the door. There is another one, however it is not on Cote Des Neiges. Try the one IN the mall.