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Chowish neigbourhoods for living in Montreal?

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Me and my partner will be moving to Montreal this summer. I will be working at Concordia downtown campus and he will hopefully go to grad school at McGill. The neighborhoods around our work/school seem boring, almost Times Squarey. We are looking for a place that is abundant with casual chowish restaurants (we eat anything) and quality food shopping (being around CSA drop location is a plus). It doesn't have to be too close to campus as long as it is a reasonable subway commute (<30 minutes, if that is reasonable for M). We won't have cars. We don't want to drive. What are our options? Thanks in advance.

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  1. There is always the Plateau but you might want to consider the up-and-coming NGD and Westmount annex. It's quaint, easier to access downtown because unlike the Plateau there is a good network of public transportation and there are some really nice and interesting restos and food stores. Very multicultural, not to mention less expensive than the Plateau.

    1 Reply
    1. re: swissfoodie

      just to clarify for ya, it's NDG, not NGD.

      My SO and I don't drive either, and we like the west as well. In NDG, just be sure not to look below the tracks, where things get a little sketchy. Look for Monkland Village, and Sherbrooke St. area between Victoria and approx. Cavendish. There are upper duplexes for rent everywhere on the side streets, and some decent apartment buildings.

      Also very nice is little Italy. St. Laurent St. up near Jean-Talon. Extremely close to the Jean-Talon Market, and close to the metro Orange line.

      As a non-car person, I'd definitely suggest being close, or at most one short bus ride away from the Metro. It's a very fast and efficient way to get around.

    2. For the sake of proximity to downtown, definitely the NDG-Westmount area is good, Sherbrooke between Victoria and Cavendish having some great Indian restaurants and a fantastic middle eastern grocery (Akhavan), and the Monkland village definitely having some charming restaurants. The Westmount restaurant/grocery scene is considerably less interesting.

      I would still recommend the Plateau/Mile End area (having lived in NDG and worked in Westmount for many years), as there is much greater variety. I now live in the Eastern Laurier neighborhood near Papineau and am always finding new discoveries. Downsides are that depending on the part of the plateau it takes considerably longer to get to downtown, and depending on how east you go, if you do not speak french it can be a bit challenging. I think CSA drop locations and delivery options are relatively easy to find in all these areas.

      1. The Plateau is the hippest 'hood and has the highest concentration of restaurants. It's also, in certain blocks, way romantic and ineffably Montreal -- a point driven home to me last week when I walked down St-André Street. Prices are accordingly high -- assuming you can find a flat, that is. While there are some interesting food stores -- Laurier East between Christophe-Colombe and Papineau is the hottest spot -- it's not a district I often find myself making special shopping excursions to. Still, for pure *bohème* it's hard to beat. Ability/willingness to speak French is, I'd think, pretty much de rigueur.

        The district I *am* constantly trekking to is the area around Jean-Talon Market. Not only do you have the farmers, green grocers, bakers, butchers, cheesemongers, fishmongers, eateries and other resources at market, which many foodies characterize as the best in North America, there's the stores, bakeries, restos and cafés of Little Italy, a cluster of excellent Asian markets on Jean-Talon and St-Denis and some Latin/South American shops and restos on Bélanger just east of St-Denis. Downsides? Although it's served by the metro, it's at the upper limit of your commute time to downtown; the closest decent liquour store is on Beaubien, which is a schlepp; and like the Plateau, it's a neighbourhood much in demand, so flats, especially affordable nice ones, are hard to find.

        Mile End/Outremont is worth a look, provided you're willing to take the bus downtown. Lots of excellent albeit pricey merchants (Anjou-Québec, Yannick cheesemonger, etc.) and eateries (Milos, La Chronique, etc.) but also lots of affordable options (Marché P.A., Latina supermarket, Chez Vito the butcher, Nouveau Falero fishmonger, the bagel factories, etc.), restos and bars aplenty along the Bernard, Laurier, Van Horne, St-Viateur, St-Laurent and Park Ave. strips, and the city's top brewpub and one of its best wine stores. A wide range of housing styles and prices, proximity to the mountain, the Plateau and downtown, an appealing mix of ages and ethnicities, and the overall cool vibe make this a good bet.

        Lastly, let me put in a good word for my 'hood, Côte-des-Neiges. Quick and easy access to western downtown (i.e. Concordia) via the 165 bus and to the Jean-Talon Market via the metro, some excellent food stores (butchers, green grocers, pastries though short on fishmongers), plenty of affordable eateries (though few high-end ones) and a large ethnic presence with the wealth of food options that brings.

        1. I love the eastern plateau, East of St. Denise, becuase it is so French, which means it is alive and fun. Mount Royal and Papineau is a great area, jam packed full of restaurants, bars, little fruiteries and you can practise your French. It is young and fun.

          1. I agree with bitetoeat but the commute from Mount Royal/Papineau will probably be longer than 30 minutes, as it is a good ten minute walk to the metro with irregular buses.

            I love love love my neighborhood, very close to the Jean-Talon metro, with the market, tons of Vietnamese choices, sushi restaurants, middle-eastern choices, and Asian grocery stores. Since I moved here from Mile End and then Snowdon, I could lower my food budget because the neighborhood has so many affordable places to eat. I can get to Guy-Concordia metro in about 25 minutes and McGill in about a half hour.

            Mile End was great for food but relying on the 80 bus drove me batty. Others will probably disagree but I found the area a little inconvenient.

            Hope this helps...

            1 Reply
            1. re: Keramel

              Just to clarify about the commute thing. I live in the Papineau area and take the bus on the corner of Masson/Papineau at 8:05 and I'm at work dowtnown at 8:35. It as never taken me more than 30 minutes except for the occasional service interruption.

            2. Have you looked into Verdun? Formerly a very poor area with a bad name, and I stress FORMERLY. However, now very much on the uprise, as the proximity to downtown is great (15-25 minutes) depending on which end of Verdun you are in. Rent is very, very inexpensive and GREAT chowish gems at very reasonable prices. I would look into it if I we're you. P.S., the core area of Verdun (1st-6th avenue) as well as the D'leglise/Lanouette area is still a little schetchy...stay anywhere on the outskirts and you'll love it !

              1. I'm pretty bullish on the Plateau/Mile End area myself, and second the Jean Talon Market area (right around Atwater market might be good, too, and that's by a major metro station). NDG is pretty, and has a few terrific spots already mentioned here (dont' forget Tehran!), but I'm not sure it has the legs to keep your interest for ages. I do find it a bit far from downtown, unless you're beside a metro station.
                As for travel distances, I've found that walking from the Plateau over the mountain to downtown from the Plateau takes about the same amount of time as public transport and is so much nicer. I live near Mont Royal metro, and it's a half hour tromp to McGill. Prices in the 'hood, alas, have risen quite a bit...

                1. Another area not listed above is around Little Burgundy/Pointe St. Charles. Close to the Atwater Market, some good restaurants on Notre Dame st. and easy access to bus/metro. have to choose your street carefully though. Probably rents are not expensive either.

                  1. I live in the Petite-Patrie sector of Rosemont, which is adjacent to Little Italy. I love it here. The selection of restaurants and food stores is pretty astounding. The streets are beautiful and the people are really friendly. I'd probably be happier if I were closer to JTM, but I don't have to deal with the parking issues around the market either. I lived on the Plateau for 13 years and I don't miss it one bit. I find the Plateau alienating since the McGill students swooped in. Anyway, it's two metro stops or twenty walking minutes away, so I don't miss out on any of the good aspects of the Plateau. I live next to a bike path which takes me downtown in around 20-30 minutes. It's really the best way to travel around town.

                    So here's my countdown of Montreal neighbourhoods in case you care.

                    Petite-Patrie close to JTM
                    Villeray just north of JTM
                    Little Italy
                    Laurier East in the Plateau
                    Mile-End
                    Outremont
                    Cherrier Street/Parc Lafontaine/Lower Plateau
                    Sherbrooke Street in NDG
                    Monkland Village in NDG

                    BTW, there are a lot of condos getting built around Little Italy. The one on Belmont looks interesting and has the advantage of being a little bit out of the way. That whole sector north of Beaubien between Parc and Saint-Urbain looks very promising.

                    1. I'd say for cutting edge chow, Petit Patrie is the winning choice right now. Lots of affordable places to dine (like what I imagine the Plateau used to be before the expensive places all took over) great grocers and an awesome liquor store. Plus one metro stop to JTM and a quick ride to downtown.

                      1. Thanks everyone!

                        1. The best foodie neighbourhood is near Jean-Talon market (cheaper than Atwater). There are many other foodie places nearby - a knot of Chinese, Vietnamese, Cambodian etc shops on St-Denis around Jean-Talon, many Maghrebian and Middle Eastern shops on Jean-Talon between St-Denis and St-Laurent, and just a bit to the west, the many South Asian groceries and cheap restaurants in Parc-Extension.

                          It is getting harder to find a place close by Jean-Talon or Beaubien métros, which you would want to do as your commute will be too long otherwise, when it is not bicycle weather.

                          Definitely buy cheap city bicycles for your stay - people of all ages cycle everywhere when the snow is gone, but don't leave an expensive touring bike out, or it will be stolen just as in any other major city.

                          There are two small SAQ (wine and spirits) outlets right by - in the market, and on St-Laurent at the corner of Mozart 5 minutes from there. Fine for everyday use. And really the large Beaubien outlet for a more extensive wine selection isn't such a long walk, and I'm probably older than you are.

                          You can walk to MgGill - it is rather a trek to Concordia - if you live in the southwestern part of the Plateau - St-Laurent in that area used to be a wonderful foodie area and there are still some good locations, though alas many of the old delis and bread bakeries have given way to trendy clubs and purveyors of consumer dross. You might just luck into a good deal around there - perhaps a sublet through campus electronic bulletin boards.

                          1. As you can see, Montrealers can be pretty loyal to their respective hoods! As a transplanted Montrealer that has lived around town, here's my 2 cents on the areas I have lived in:
                            -St-Henri - near Atwater Market, this is a neighbourhood in transition, half working class and half new habitants with great renovated pads. Atwater is a great market, the canal is lovely for biking, rollerblading, walking, and the Lionel Groulx metro puts you less than 10 minutes from McGill and Concordia. Some neat little restos and new ones opening all the time as the area develops.
                            -Downtown Guy/St.Catherine - on the doorstep of your office, you'd be central and could walk to work rather than worry about public transportation. There are some interesting take-out joints in The Faubourg (a kind of food-mall nearby), and a few OK cheap Asian restos (Viet and Thai), but nothing too interesting.
                            -The Village- I can't believe no one has mentioned this neighbourhood yet! My favourite neighbourhood that I have lived in this city by far, the Gay Village truly feels like a little village within the city--whether you are straight or queer, people are friendly and there is a real feeling of community. Loads of cafés and a few good restaurants, you are only minutes from downtown on the metro and also within walking distance of Old Montreal. I had only lived there a few weeks when I was invited by my neighbours I met at the park walking the dogs to a dinner party--not something that you see often in the city. Great neighbourhood!
                            NDG- We currently live here, and while it is charming and has some nice little shops and restos, after living in the other neighbourhoods in the city, it feels like the suburbs to me. Not directly on the metro, you would have to take a bus (not my fave form of transport), and rents are starting to climb.
                            We are currently looking to buy, and are looking at the Plateau, for its proximity to downtown, great food, parks, and a groovy vibe.
                            Good luck--and bienvenue! No matter where you choose, you are sure to love it here!

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: foodismyfriend

                              "NDG- We currently live here, and while it is charming and has some nice little shops and restos, after living in the other neighbourhoods in the city, it feels like the suburbs to me. Not directly on the metro, you would have to take a bus (not my fave form of transport), and rents are starting to climb."

                              I currently live there too. Having not lived in the other chowish neighbourhoods mentioned in this thread, I can't compare. However, depending on where you are, it's not necessary to take a bus per se. I'm a few minutes walk away from Vendome metro. Personally, I like my hood. I work downtown, and it's take about 15-20 mins for me to get to work (from door to door). Heck, I work near McGill campus, so I can attest it's an easy commute. As for NDG being chowish, sure. I live closer to the NDG/Westmount border, so the places near me tend to be trendier and more yuppish. Still, all in all, I would recommend it.

                              1. re: Chai Latte

                                Yup, I agree if you live within walking distance of Vendome the commute downtown is more than do-able. We are in the Monkland Village area, and so bussing is the norm--yuk.

                              2. re: foodismyfriend

                                About the St-Henri area, I agree it's a budding area waiting to be transitioned, with a reasonable location (you can walk/bike to the St. Catherine West strip in minutes, weather-permitting). I'm learning to like it myself.

                                The area itself doesn't have that many food choices though, 'cept the Atwater Market, which I find is overpriced (my doctor confirms that he personally knows some grocers who operate in both markets, but charge extra at Atwater).

                                1. re: tarteaucitron

                                  As a real estate agent, I can confirm the area is in transition, rapidly gentrifying, and the services in the area will probably improve as a result. However, right now, the food options pale in comparison to other areas in Montreal, and I agree the Atwater market is overpriced, compared to Jean-Talon. People who live there LOVE it though, so there must be some appeal to it!

                                  1. re: Keramel

                                    Good to know!

                              3. Hey!

                                I've never been on here before, but my friend linked me to this article because I'm also moving to Montreal this summer. I will be a grad student at McGill, like your beau.

                                I'd like to thank everyone for the great suggestions. I'm leaning towards living in the Village because I was never able to live in Dupont in DC. I stayed there when I visited before and really liked it.

                                Good luck to you and feel free to email me if you want to me up sometime.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: AxelDC

                                  I moved to Montreal from London 2 years ago. In London I lived in Islington/Highbury which is very 'chowish' to use your expression.

                                  Through sheer good luck I ended up in a place mentioned in these replies - the corner of Laurier east between Parc Laurier and Papineau. It's *fantastic* and I couldn't recommend it highly enough.

                                  Here's a Google map link: http://tinyurl.com/3yzxfv

                                  The area around McGill is known locally as 'McGill Ghetto' - with good reason ;-)

                                  1. re: uncompressed

                                    Axel, I lived in that little northeastern corner of the Plateau for years, just as it was starting to develop a foodie culture. An excellent Italian fruiterie/greengrocer's made it a liveable area back in the 1970s... Indeed, there are lovely boulangeries, other food shops, and even the Métro supermarket in that area is exceptionally well-stocked. Moreover you are close to the Jean-Talon market, the livelier - but noisier and sometimes dirtier and rowdier - parts of the Plateau - and the new small restaurants over on Masson in Rosemont. I lived right opposite a little park on Laurier, just east of Papineau, between rue de Bordeaux and rue Chabot.

                                    The only problem there is that you are not particularly close to the métro station and the bus on boulevard St-Joseph doesn't operate very frequently. The ride up from Papineau (on the same line as McGill) is rather long. I cycle everywhere during the good weather but it could be a bit of a haul for McGill students during the wintertime.

                                    1. re: lagatta

                                      I live in this neighborhood, and agree it is a treck- it takes me about 15 minutes to walk to Laurier Metro, and from that point 30 minutes to downtown. But what a perfect walk it is, a great way shift gears after a long day. The 47 Masson bus is always an option to get to the metro as well on stormy days.

                                2. I lived for a few years in NDG, Sherbrooke St and then Monkland. It was ok in the summer but in the winter wasn't so great, since the streets were empty as soon as it got dark. Decent grocery options, for sure, but relatively limited in terms of restaurants, casual or other. For the same money I always found I would have better ambiance, food, service at places more centrally-located. Basically, I spent a lot of money on cabs (not a fan of bus/metro after dark - how often do you go out for dinner while it's still light out?!). I also felt like I went into hermit mode the second it was a bit cold or dark - no one around, not too many coffeeshop options etc. Kind of far to go meet others downtown/plateau on a weeknight if just for a few hours. Just a little too family-oriented for me at this stage.

                                  I now live near Sherbrooke metro and love that I can basically walk wherever - be it to/from the office downtown, or various small fruit/veggie places, cheese, butcher, bakeries, etc on St-Laurent, Parc, St-Denis, Roy, Mt-Royal, etc. I find the basics close by, but when I want "special" ingredients, I don't mind making the trek (by bus, metro or cab, say up to Laurier or Jean-Talon) - it's part of the process of making something special.

                                  It's also fantastic that I can leave home about 10 minutes before most dinner resevations and be there on time (on foot). Many great places even less!

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: Abendschein

                                    Hi again everyone,

                                    Thanks for all your suggestions. We basically looked for multiple apartments in different neighborhoods and picked the one that gave the best convenience for the buck. Anything up north of Laurier was a little to much of a commute for our plans, but we came across fantastic pads and neigborhoods. Mile End was perhaps our favorite in terms of the vibe, but we weren't sure about the bus only commute. Plateau on the other hand was nice but a mixed bag in terms of what we coukd get. We realized that since the area is in such a high demand, the landlords were able to rent flats that are in horrible shape for ridiculus amounts, just because it was very centrally located and perhaps the students didn't mind.

                                    But, this situation also made us very lucky because we also found some landlords that were willing to negotiate the rent since they realized that their newly renovated places will be occupied by some responsible and grown-up tenants instead of drunk students that will hang bedsheets on the windows and scratch all of the kitchen counters. In the end we ended up renting a fantastic apt a little north of Sherbrooke metro. On a sunny day, it is a nice walk to school, or at least to UQAM which saves us from a train transfer. We are also projecting lots of cab fare savings because the apartment is so centrally located.

                                    When it comes to buying, we won't be able to afford a place in this neighborhood unless we buy a dump and renovate; or suddenly inherit a huge sum of money from a long lost aunt. In a few years we will possibly go up north to the Petite Patrie (which will probably be much more expensive than today) ; but while we are settling down we can have a taste of the bohemian bourgeois lifestyle of the lower Plateau.

                                    The only downside is that we seem to be dangerously close to some of the top chow locations that are mentioned on this board. It almost feels gluttonous.

                                    Thanks again. Can't wait to walk around the neighborhood and chow.

                                    1. re: emerilcantcook

                                      That is wonderful. I used to live near Sherbrooke - couldn't afford it any more unless I luck into a co-op opening... Very close to Carré Saint-Louis, as a matter of fact.
                                      You are very close to good food places remaining on St-Laurent - yes, many have become clubs, but there are still good butcher's and cheese shops, and a Pain doré outlet for decent bread and croissants. Don't worry about the Jean-Talon market as it is a very convenient métro ride from there, and you can walk or ride a bicycle to anywhere higher up in the Plateau or Mile End.

                                      That is also a really nice walk, bus (24 Sherbrooke, or avenue des Pins for upper McGill campus) or bicycle ride to McGill, and you are close to lots of nice terrasses. Don't worry, you'll be too busy with your research to overdo the food.

                                      Yes, there are a lot of overpriced dumps on the Plateau, and there is too much renovation needed for a tenant to bother, and people who buy there have to put a lot of money and time in not only cosmetic but structural repairs. There is a lot of seepage from adjacent Mt-Royal, and I know a lot of horror stories afflicting friends who have bought around there. I think Québec students might find places there too expensive, but perhaps US and overseas students still find them relatively inexpensive. Yeah, that can mean a lot of wear and tear...

                                      Do get a couple of old city bicycles (yes, that IS foodie advice, as it is the best way to access the many offerings in the Plateau and Mile-End, and even farther afiield). Don't leave an expensive touring bicycle out on the street. Montréal is a safe city, but there is a lot of bicycle theft, and people who train or tour have two bicycles. Hope you have a wonderful time here.

                                      1. re: emerilcantcook

                                        In the summer you can walk to the McGill campus from where you are, and Concordia would be only 5-10 more minutes.

                                        I live in the McGill ghetto and I like being close to 2 supermarkets. Ever since I lived accross the street from a "super" Safeway in California, I have to be near a supermarket.

                                        The city of Montreal has a few condo "projects" where they can help with money in some ways.

                                    2. I love the Plateau. Lots of restaurants and many interesting small food shops (Folie en Vrac and Maison du Roti come immediately to mind). In particular, I recommend the East of St-Denis and North of Duluth (it's an awfully big area and there are distinct regions). The character of the Plateau is a large part of its charm for me, so I'm not just judging on the food available. It's conveniently located, not many sketchy bits, and has a very vibrant culture.

                                      1. I am reviving another old topic again. I've been thinking about this a lot lately since I am househunting. I hope I don't turn this into the real estate board, but I need some opinions.

                                        First, I should give some update, and extend my thanks again to the peeps here. With the suggestions here, and out of some luck as well, we have ended up in a flat in the lower Plateau, and I love the food opportunities here. I have pretty much access to everything, and all in walking distance: Spanish hams, Portuguese pastries, roast chicken, sushi, bread, cheese, butchers, decent produce, a Provigo, a 24 hr grocery store, a bulk health food store... many more. On a good day, I can walk as north as Jean Talon and as south as Chinatown to hunt for food. On a bad day, there is plenty of public transport. If I want good deals, there are stores like Segal or Sakaris; if I am looking for something special I have millions of specialty shops and orgiastic little stores like Vieille Europe. I can eat downscale, midscale and upscale, and again walk to everywhere. I can decide to go out on a whim, and if I can get reservations I am at my restaurant in at most half an hour. Once it took me 3 minutes to go to my dinner reservation.

                                        The only thing I have yet to find in the hood is decent fish, and that has been discussed many times. If you have a car or live close to a few decent fishmongers in town you can get fine fish in this city, but not in this neighbourhood. And I really don't want to take the 55 bus on a summer afternoon with a sea bass in my hand. Not that I have manners and I don't want to disturb people with the smell, but it would be disrespectful to the fish.

                                        The problem is that it all comes with costs. First, some parts of Plateau is alienatingly hip. I once made the mistake of walking on the lower Main past midnight on a weekend and I couldn't believe the crowds (and the flesh) that had lined up in front of the buildings that I once thought were abandoned stores. I am also worried that some places I dearly love, like Coco Rico or Chilenita will disappear eventually by the hands of some condomonger or club manager. More importantly, while it is pleasant to "eat" here or walk around the streets, it is not always easy to find an affordable place that also appeals to our middle class sensibilities. Really nice condos exist, but they are too expensive; and if you have to buy or rent an old building, you better have some handyman skills to maintain and insulate the place. We have seen it the hard way when our walls started cracking, our ceiling started dripping and to top it off, when our heating bill arrived (thank god we are renting).

                                        I realized that if you want to be around affordable food, and live affordably at the same time, the best place is still the areas around JTM. Fancy restaurants are scarce, but that you only do this once in a while. The most important thing (i believe) is the cheapish chow you eat every day and access to quality raw materials; that is plenty in that area. The problem is that is is getting impossible to find a good deal these days, nobody wants to sell their place (and I can understand). You can buy and renovate an old flat, but we don't have much courage after our Plateau experience. Yes there are new condos, but they are either overpriced (with monthly fees reaching 300 dollars sometimes), or at some industrial spot that has little human contact and lacks that desirable residential/commercial mix that makes Montreal so special.

                                        We seem to have an opportunity to get a condo at a decent price at Laurier east, but I am concerned that the area is skewed towards upper mid range restaurants and specialty shops. I am worried that I will feel deprived of the cheap eats I have access to right now. God, I will miss Segal and its filthy floors!!! The posts above somewhat suggest that it is not a "standalone" chowish neighborhood to live in. It is good if you live on bread, cheese, charcuterie and Maison de Kakao brownies, but I will die of that diet before I reach 40. What about other stuff? There is a Metro, but it seems small. Are there places in the side streets that could make the area a "standalone" chow-hood for day to day eating, places that one could do their food shopping quickly on those really snowy days? All thoughts are appreciated.

                                        8 Replies
                                        1. re: emerilcantcook

                                          If you're looking to buy, the Little Italy/Petite Patrie/lower Villeray area is going to be your best bet, especially in terms of food. I can't think of any other neighbourhood with such variety that still has such reasonable housing prices.

                                          1. re: KT MTL

                                            Yeah, even though my area is far more expensive than it used to be, it is still cheaper than the Plateau, including the Laurier east area. That area does have excellent bread, a good fruiterie just east of Papineau, and other places down on Mont-Royal, a short walk. And the traditional apartments in Villeray tend to be in better repair than in the Plateau. But there are problems with some of the new condo buildings, that aren't in a very nice environment - these claim to be "lofts". There is a development of new condos that looks nice in terms of quality of life, just south of Parc Jarry - hence an easy walk to the Jean-Talon market and Little Italy, but also to the Loblaws and Park Ex shops in the other direction. I have no idea about availability, costs or fees.

                                            From here it is easy to get down to Segal "the stinky store" taking the 55 the other way.

                                            Some local people swear by the Greek fishmonger on Beaumont, between Clark and av du Parc. Good fish seems to be a problem everywhere.

                                            1. re: lagatta

                                              "But there are problems with some of the new condo buildings, that aren't in a very nice environment - these claim to be "lofts"."

                                              Yes, that is what I am talking about. Lots and lots of development, but no commerce to support a good quality of eating. Not even a depanneur in sight. The newly developed area north of the Laurier Park is the same. I just saw Patisserie Pagel, next to the St Urbain "Lofts". I wonder if other commerce will follow and the developments become a little bit human-scale and more importantly chow-friendly.

                                            2. re: KT MTL

                                              Would have to agree that for food/cost of housing ratio, your area is pretty solid. Might be the best compromise area in the city right now. I do wonder though about the cost of housing and the quality of place you can get. The nicer places will still be expensive, and a lot of the less expensive places will need work. The cost of renovations and the difficulty of finding competent responsible people to the the work makes renovations a very unattractive proposition right now. All the good contractors can charge a very high fee, or are completely unavailable as they have bigger better jobs to do. Having just had major renovations done to our condo, I can tell you that the bite was big... We're still bleeding profusely! BUT if you are handy and organized and can do the renos yourself, you will save a tonne of money... In that case, get a fixer upper and go to town. You'll probably turn a major profit when you sell in the future, as I think that area is quickly gentrifying too. But I can't argue about the food choices in that neighbourhood. So great!

                                              We are in Mile End, and I love the area, but the prices have gone up for condos like crazy here, so good deals for real estate will be harder to find. The mountain is a really nice bonus, so very pleasant to walk there. There are a lot of high end food places, but as Carswell points out, there is also a fair amount of good "normal people" food too. I have been blown away by the quality and prices at PA, as well as the selection. They have great produce, as do the Fruiterie Mile End and the store next to it. Love the bagel accessibility, and of course, our dear Cocoa Locale. Plus if you like fresh challah and rugelah, their are some great kosher bakeries here. Coffee shops are abundant and excellent, cheese is plentiful and excellent, there is Vietnamese and Thai (though the Thai is expensive, have to truck out to Fauberg for reasonable prices with great quality). Chinese is lacking, however. Great access to greek products (including that small olive store next to PA, he sells great olive oil and my favorite Kalamata olives, I can sit and eat his Kalamata for hours...) I love the butchers at Chez Vito, they are very helpful and accommodating. St. Viateur is dotted with small inexpensive cafes with lunch specials and variety. I just had a great veggie chile at a funky cafe on the corner of St. Viateur and St. Laurent. It is a lot of fun exploring this neighbourhood on foot, and there are a lot of great food choices. And it is a beautiful neighbourhood as well. Plus, it is an easy bike ride/walk in good weather to St. Laurent and St. Denis and the Plateau, which expands your food world mightily. But the housing prices make me think that Little Italy/Petite Patrie area might be more realistic depending on your budget. But I would definitely consider looking at a few places around here, as there are still some bargains to be had! Good luck house hunting!

                                              1. re: moh

                                                The very small area of Little Italy per se (between St-Zotique and Jean-Talon, St-Laurent or Clark and St-Denis - has shot up in price, and Villeray has certainly gone up, but Villeray and Petite Patrie outside that immediate area remain cheaper than Mile End. They will follow it though. A close friend bought a lower flat in Mile End, very close to PA, several years ago (after both her mum and her husband died.... bummer but left her the cash to do so). She couldn't afford to buy it now, but yes, there are ALWAYS unpleasant surprises in old buildings, even in good repair and renovated as that flat was. Like a wall that needs to be redone.

                                                Getting back on food topic, indeed that is a good area not only for gourmet places in Outremont etc but also for "normal" food, and PA in particular often underprices larger supermarkets, especially for food. I don't know anyone around there who buys much actual food at the Provigo - though it is handy for household products.

                                                There are also several supermarkets walkable from here - Métro at Jean-Talon métro (confusing?), IGA St-Zotique east of St-Hubert, and of course the big Loblaws just across the viaduct at Parc. And now a mad rush to build pharmacies - (yes, they do sell some food and household products) - a new Pharmaprix at the corner of Bélanger and St-Denis (where the Jean-Coutu was, but larger than before) and a new Jean-Coutu just above Jean-Talon métro, northeast corner of St-Denis and Jean-Talon - near all the Sino-southeast Asian shops. Just beneath a new subsidised housing building for seniors, comme par hasard...

                                                1. re: lagatta

                                                  "The very small area of Little Italy per se (between St-Zotique and Jean-Talon, St-Laurent or Clark and St-Denis - has shot up in price, and Villeray has certainly gone up, but Villeray and Petite Patrie outside that immediate area remain cheaper than Mile End. They will follow it though. "

                                                  Completely agree. That is why I think it might be a great place to buy right now. But the best deals will likely want renovation, and that is such a pain these days, unless you are lucky enough to be able to do it yourself (unfortunately, we are in no such position).

                                                  Let's face it. Property ownership is a money pit. Sometimes I think renting is such a smarter thing to do. But I must admit, I love our little nest in Mile End. And so close to so much good food and exercise...(the exercise is key now that I have given up on the diet hehehe!)

                                                  1. re: moh

                                                    And you are near the Mountain! I miss living an easy walk from the Mountain - of course I do walk or cycle there, but it isn't right there.

                                                    1. re: lagatta

                                                      When I went out with a group of my friends recently I realized that of the six of us, four of them own five-plexes! Seems to be how many cope with expensive prices ie. get your tenants to pay the mortgage. And they are in Villeray near Jean-Talon market or else in HoMa, ahem, Hochelaga-Maisonneuve where they have a small market and a big Loblaws. And cars or communauto.

                                                      I used to love the food options in Mile End like Moh mentions above but now also depend on the Plateau shops in my hood like Segals and Vielle Europe. Some of my friends live just east of Papineau near Parc Lafontaine and they have a lot of good food options, including a poissonerie on Mont-Royal that I am meaning to try soon.

                                                      Then again, some of those Paris Lofts on Rachel look pretty cool, and you'll know immediately when everyone in the neighbourhood is roasting their chickens! Smoke everywhere.