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Jul 8, 2007 08:40 PM

12 days to sample montreal neighbourhoods!

my partner and i have been coming to montreal at least twice a year for short visits for the last 8 years. but thanks to an apartment swap, we will be there for almost 2 weeks! we are very excited, and look forward to a more leisurely pace this time around. we're fairly familiar with the montreal high-end restaurant scene, and will of course spend much time at Jean Talon market for our groceries. what we do need help with is those little tacked away neighbourhood treasures - it could be a romantic patio that's the draw, or where you get the perfect canoli, anything really that you think we should not miss to get a real feel for the area. we will be walking all over town, but will be located on 4th avenue at masson, so suggestions for that area would be most appreciated. i promise i will write back a full report upon my return.

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  1. Fortunately that area has improved in foodie opportunities in recent years (M sur Masson obviously comes to mind). You are also walking distance from the strip of good bakeries, cafés etc on Beaubien - the strip ends about due north from your place and goes west to about Iberville, and to the northeastern part of the Plateau - Laurier east and surrounding area. I'd suggest you bring or borrow bicycles, as that will increase youre range greatly while giving you more for a feel for areas than driving. Easy cycle to Jean-Talon - there is a bit of a hill for you going there, better than a hill coming back or to the rest of the Plateau and Mile-End, Outremont...

    7 Replies
    1. re: lagatta

      There's a Polish bakery on Rosemount & 7th Ave. Their paczki (donuts) may not be the best in town, but they're fine (and if you've never had any, you won't know the diffrence). You can also get fresh rye and cold cuts.

      1. re: RomanW

        thanks. i'm actually polish so i'm well familiar with them and am looking forward to wawel's paczki (better than most in toronto). having easy access to rye bread will make my mornings in montreal almost like at home:)

        1. re: Kasia

          Yes, you'll find a Wawel branch at marché Jean-Talon (excellent dense rye bread - the coriander rye is exceptional, sliced very thin) - the original Wawel is on Ontario, near métro Frontenac (a rather forlorn neighbourhood). There used to be a small Polish community there; I think many have migrated northwards to the area around Rosemont-St-Michel where there is also a Ukranian community. (Neither very large - there are far more Poles and obviously far more Ukranians in Ontario and on the Prairies).

          However, here as elsewhere there is a "new" Polish immigration and the big Polish church at the corner of St-Urbain and St-Viateur (the one that looks like an Eastern Orthodox church or a mosque) has plenty of parishioners nowadays. You will find a Polish bakery and a small Polish restaurant (casual, almost snack-bar type) nearby.

          Wawel also makes very good brioche, which would be good with fresh fruit in the summer.

          Première moisson makes an 100% rye bread on the weekends - it is somewhat different from the Central and Eastern European varieties.

          1. re: lagatta

            There's a polish deli on Masson. I'm not sure of the address, but it's a block or two east of M sur Masson. They sell baked goods from Wawel, including paczki, as well as other goodies. They have a lunch counter with a small menu of polish standards. I haven't tried it, though.

            1. re: SnackHappy

              That's the deli that used to be on Beaubien & 9th.

            2. re: lagatta

              Wawel also has a location on Belanger around 30th Ave. A bit of a haul from Masson & 4th, but it's closer that JT market. One idea would be to combine it with a walk through the Botanical Gardens. Not sure if there's an exit onto Rosemount Blvd. (hopefully someone here knows), but if so, you can enter through the main gate at Pie IX & Sherbrooke and wind your way up to Rosemount, then Belanger and you'd be at Wawel's!

              BTW: there's a Polish church on Laurier around 13th Ave., but I don't think it's the usual RC denomination

              1. re: RomanW

                Yes, there is an entrance at the back (Rosemont) - this is a great picnic spot.

      2. As one poster said, Laurier east is not too far. There, you'll find Café Byblos that serves really good iranian breakfast, they're closed on monday though. It opens at 9 am every other days of the week. Next to it, I like Truffert which is a neighborhood bistro. Not too expansive with a three course meal ranging from $24 to $26. There's also Maison Cacao on Fabre just south of Laurier which sells really good chocolates. Also on Laurier, Les Saveurs du Plateau is a small pastry shop that delivers solid baked goods. I particularly like their croissants be it regular, almond, chocolate or choco-almond. If you keep walking west, you'll see Le Fromentier which is probably the best bakery in the area if not in Montreal. In the same business place, you'll also find la Queue de cochon where they sell sausages and various cold cuts. Their bacon is to die for. Le Maître Corbeau is also a pretto good cheese shop. If you care to keep walking west. There's also Fou Dessert that sells great pastries and chocolate.

        You're also pretty close to a restaurant I really like, Le Jolifou, located on Beaubien on the corner of Cartier, an easy cab ride or a nice walk (about 20-25 mins.). Great french and mexican fusion cuisine with local ingredients and simple presentation. The service is always nice and friendly and if you care to dine at the bar, you'll get to chat with the chef. They offer a 3 course meal but if you eat at the bar, you can pick the amount of course you want. Prices are decent. I was there friday night and got to talk with everyone in the kitchen, truly amazing and the food was delicious.

        There's also Le Petit Coin du Mexique on Jean-Talon just west of Iberville (on the corner actually). Simple and authentic mexican food and very affordable. If you care to venture out east, don't miss the canolis at Alati italian bakery on Jean-Talon on the corner of Dollier street.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Campofiorin

          I think it is actually just called Le Coin du Mexique, and I agree that it is great. It is in the basement on the corner, located at 2489 Jean Talon E. I recommend making reservations - the wait can get pretty long.

        2. thanks for the suggestions, everyone. they're exactly what i was looking for, and will make our visit more fun and tasty. i will report back with my impressions of these and hopefully any new finds.

          1. I would suggest Jurancon,on St-Zotique near Christophe-Colomb, delicious food, start
            with a glass of Jurancon...had possibly the best soup I've ever had and lamb shank with
            white other current favorite is Le Margaux on Park ave near Laurier, just
            superb...neither one is cheap but a good "rapport qualite/prix....but speaking of cheap
            Bombay Mahal on Jean-Talon near L'Acadie will serve you a feast for a few dollars and
            you bring your wine....

            4 Replies
            1. re: papilles

              Bombay Mahal? Good to know - I only knew the Punjab Palace as a byow among those super-cheap South Asian restos in Park-Extension - Kasia, that is the neighbourhood due west of Villeray/Little Italy - going under a viaduct, passing the big Loblaws store.

              Also very glad to hear about Jurançon, not far from my place and very close to a client's office. I knew it wasn't cheap, (not super high-end either) but wondered if it was worth it for a special occasion - it is a VERY small resto, very cute.

              1. re: lagatta

                Jurançon does a really nice brunch, too. I've already mentionned this in the winy wine thread, but Jurançon offers wine at 3$ over the SAQ price, at lunchtime.


                Le Jurançon
                1028 Rue Saint-Zotique E, Montreal, QC H2S1N2, CA

                1. re: SnackHappy

                  That looks quite lovely. Please note that there is a very nice vegetarian choice at noon (haven't read the evening menu yet) : Tarte fine, chèvre, tomates séchées et herbes fraîches. Salade 11.00$ Good to know if you are in a group of colleagues that includes vegetarians.

                  1. re: SnackHappy

                    The Jurancon is closed from July 14th to Aug 14th... FYI