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Foodies in Montreal

My husband and I are planning a trip to Montreal in October. I've read a lot about the Jean Talon market and can see us making numerous trips during our stay (and bringing back as much cheese as our luggage can handle.)

Are there some nice boutique hotels nearby that anyone would recommend? In browsing online the Nelligan looked very cool and also seems like it has good dining, but I think it's about 2 miles from the JTM. But any other hotel recommendations that would be foodie-friendly (i.e. great in house dining options and/or close to lots of restaurants) are appreciated! We definitely plan on Au Pied du Cochon and I'm sure I can find other dining recommendations in threads here. I just like the idea of walking out of our hotel and heading to the JTM for breakfast or lunch!

Thanks, Chowhounds!

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  1. That's not a very hotel-y area (though maybe someone knows of something) but you may be able to find a B&B. Suggestion: why not stay at a boutique hotel in Old Montreal (if that's your thing) and just hop on the metro to the Jean-Talon stop, right near the market. Our metro system is quite efficient and it'll get you there in about 15-20 min. Or have breakfast at the wonderful Olive et Gourmando or Le Cartet in Old Montreal and then head up to JTM for lunch/snacks.

    http://stm.info/english/metro/a-mapme...

    And you may want to read this fast and perhaps make a note of anything useful, as hotel questions are off-topic and I bet this whole thread will be removed soon.
    :-

    )

    Have a great trip!

    1. I don't think the Little Italy area is known for hotels, but JTM is right near a metro station and even if you stay downtown it is not a long trip.

      I have seen people advertising apartment rentals around Jean Talon, but of course cannot recommend specific ones without previous experience. However, apartment renting has been our preferred type of accommodation for big cities now. It is affordable and brings you the comfort of home. There is always risks, but we are OK to take it.

      If I were traveling, I would perhaps stay at a little bit the core of the city instead. I know most "nicer" hotels are in Old Montreal (where Nelligan is) and there is pretty good restaurants there; but I find that area a little bit isolated in terms of access to the rest of the city. I also find the sidewalks of Old Montreal in winter unbearably icy.

      There are also a tremendous number of Bed and Breakfasts in the Plateau, where you might have access to the smorgasbord the neigborhood offers, but I don't know any of them specifically.

      1. Chowhound aims to have a razor sharp focus on where to find delicious food To maintain that high signal to noise ratio, we do not allow general travel advice, extensive neighborhood "safety" discussion , or suggestions on which hotels to stay in. We ask that that those questions be answered on the many general travel websites that do an excellent job at that.

        Do feel free to ask if a certain neighborhoods are foodie-fabulous, and perhaps use that as a basis to choose your hotel. Lots of luck, and please everyone - keep it on the chow.

        1. I second that suggestion. I recommend the Hotel Place d'Armes or the Hotel St. Paul. Both have very good restaurants (Aix and Vauvert). Both are very close to stations on the orange line. Both are near many fine food options in Old Montreal.

          3 Replies
          1. re: rcianci

            Chowhound team, I agree. But there are some fine rentals around JTM. I have seen relevant advice at Lonely Planet, and I believe at SlowTravel - hope Chowhound doesn't mind me mentioning general travel sites - I have often referred travellers from those to Chowhound for foodie advice.

            My neighbourhood is in the old north end - not downtown. But I know people who have happily rented or stayed in b+b's around here. Please ask the question at travel sites, and with luck we will be able to answer!

            As rcianci says, if you are on the orange line, it is simple to get here.

            1. re: lagatta

              But keep in mind that October isn't exactly prime market season - depending on whether it's early or late in the month - all of the local fruits and many of the local veggies are long gone from the market by then. And JTM does tend to lose a bit of its character once it's been enclosed for the winter and all the seasonal vendors are gone.

              Boutique hotels are mainly clustered in Old Montreal, where there are many dining options, and it's walking distance or a reasonable taxi (or metro) ride to others. You'll find many good restaurants mentioned on this board, so search away, and feel free to ask questions once you've started narrowing down your choices!

              1. re: cherylmtl

                ITA agree about October being the not best time for the market. So I might even suggest OP to not worry about staying so close to it.

          2. My husband and I are also going to Montreal, but in late August after taking our son back to school near Albany. We are staying at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth. I know they are right above a subway station and near to many things in walking distance. Any suggestions as to where and what? We will have four nights there and were hoping that one day to take a bus tour to Ottawa. Thanks.

            1. Hi,
              While I can't give you any hotel recommendations for the JT area, I can tell you about a few great eating spots around the market. Rather than spend your time tasting the foods that are directly inside of the market, venture out into Little Italy just a bit.

              There is a pastry shop/deli called Motta that is located just across the street from the health food store that is in the market. While not far away from the market, many people miss this great shop. Motta serves homemade Italian food buffet style.

              Also, if you are in the mood for pizza, make sure to check out Bottega. Bottega is relatively new to the JT area, but the pies there are true Napolitan style. Another favorite that was around long before Bottega is Napoletana (both great pizza joints).

              While in the market, try a few different things from the counter at Capital Butcher -- homemade arancinis are fantastic.

              I'm not sure where you are coming from, but I want to warn you about the Mike's restaurant that is located just outside of Little Italy. Recently, this bad chain has changed their sign to read: "Trattoria di Mikes" -- don't be fooled! :)

              Hope this helps with the food portion ;)

              1 Reply
              1. re: fraisefatale

                Also near the market is Petit Alep on Jean-Talon that is really great for syrian food and not very expensive. I heard good things about Basi right across the outdoor lot at the market. If going to Nopolitana, I strongly recommend you have a canolli at Alati-Caserta bakery just a few steps east from there on Dante St. Or you could go the ice cream way at Havre-aux-Glace at the market, one of the city's top joint.

              2. Thanks for everyone's responses, and my apologies to the Chowhound Team for the "irrelevance" of my post. I figured, who better to recommend the best places to stay if you're a foodie and want to be near all things foodie-fabulous?

                I regret that we cannot make our trip sooner; I don't have vacation time until October and some great fares just came out on AA so we jumped on them. Due to some of the comments here I think we'll focus on Vieux Montreal to stay, but is the market still worth a trip? It sounds like the surrounding area is very appealling - and aren't there supposed to be great bakeries and cheese places that will still be open?

                16 Replies
                1. re: chefwannab

                  Please don't miss going to JTM! There will be plenty of fall produce & October can be one of the best times of year to visit & if you happen upon Indian summer you will be seriously happy. Alternative is Atwater market; closer to where you plan on staying, but overall has less variety than JTM & not as "fun".

                  1. re: chefwannab

                    Don't apologise - just go to some more general travel sites (I mentioned a couple, and thanks to chowhound for not deleting them - I guarantee I have referred many travellers to you) if you are interested in a rental or b+b. Some good ones around here, depends on the kind of trip you want to do. Or in-between, on the Plateau.

                    Everything mentioned is an extremely short walk from the market, if not in it. There is even a very good tiny Vietnamese resto very close by, Nhu Y (search this board for threads on that place). There are several threads about Jean Talon Market, Little Italy (or Petite Italie, Piccola Italia) Villeray, Petite-Patrie etc. Glad to help.

                    And don't forget Kitchen Galerie!

                    1. re: lagatta

                      There are tons of B&Bs in the Plateau and some small hotels (e.g. Auberge de la Fontaine) and that is an area FILLED with restaurants. For zillions of walking distance delicious dining options, it's where I'd want to stay. I'd recommend somewhere near the Mont Royal metro.

                    2. re: chefwannab

                      Don't know if you going in early, mid, or late October. I would say the market is worth a visit but the earlier in the month, the better. My friends and I spent a few days in Montreal early last October. We stayed in an apartment hotel and did our own cooking and were plenty happy with what we found at JTM.

                      1. re: chefwannab

                        Market is still pretty awesome in October! The cheese places, the bakeries, the sausage places, are all still going strong. It will be worth going into a bunch of the permanent stores that surround the market. I heartily agree with Motta rec, lovely little store! If you like pickled Italian eggplant, they sell a store-made spicy version in a jar that is fabulous.

                        It will be apple season, and there will be so many wonderful apple products. Squashes will still be going ok, there will still be a few tomatoes going, and if you're lucky, fresh figs will still be available (well not local, but big lovely juicy ones from greece). There will still be a lot of lovely stuff. It is very easy to get there by metro, so I wouldn't worry about finding a place to stay close by.

                        1. re: moh

                          Oh! Those figs! How could I forget those figs! They were fantastic. We also managed to score some great mangoes from Chez Nino. Small, yellow, very sweet and creamy, as I recall, and not fibrous at all.

                          1. re: rcianci

                            Is it the royal figs you had last year? We had these beautiful figs, they were light purple-green skinned, and when you opened them up, they looked like jewels and were sweet and redolent with honey! I'm really hoping they get them again this year, and that they are just as wonderful! We went through a case a week and could have easily eaten more! Chez Nino had the nicest ones, and had them longer than any of the other fruit merchants.

                            1. re: moh

                              I don't recall the name of the figs, but your description is spot on. I'm in love with the idea of figs, but the ones I buy usually disappoint. Not these babies!

                              1. re: rcianci

                                AGhh! My apologies I've been ignoring my CHowhound friends - been a crazy week. But in case you haven't, the first of the Royal figs are back in town! The season is still early and a lot of the fig palettes have underripe figs, but I think they will be better in a few weeks. I bought a few ripe ones individually, and they are as rich and decadent as last year! When they are really ripe, they are as rich as jam... These are nearly as wonderful as a fig straight off a tree! Fig pig out soon I think. Again, the nicest selection was at Chez Nino, but I think it is worth comparing all of the vendors each week to get best price and quality. I am always willing to pay more for nice fruit.

                                1. re: moh

                                  Thanks, Moh. You are a treasure. Unfortunately work is keeping me in the Boston area for the next few weeks. The next time I will be in town will be towards the end of September. Hopefully there will be a few figs left by then. :)

                              2. re: moh

                                I really love fresh figs as well. Have you tried them grilled with balsamic vinegar and prosciutto?

                                Wish I lived in Montreal !! JTM seems to really have the best.

                                1. re: souschef

                                  Souschel, sorry about the delay! Indeed, grilled with balsamic and proscuitto is heavenly! We also do a variation, with fresh goats cheese.

                                  I don't know where you are located, but the figs will be around probably for the next few months, and they are worth a trip in if you are anywhere close by. These figs are to die for!

                                  1. re: moh

                                    I'm in Ottawa, but get to Montreal often enough. I need to make a special trip for those figs. Really love figs. Had some grilled last weekend with balsamico, and served with seared foie gras; amazing.

                                    Bonus will be picking up some Le P'tit Basque cheese at the same time.

                          2. re: chefwannab

                            Montreal is very compact and the metro system is a quick way to get around. A trip to the market is definitely worth the 20 minute metro ride to get there from Old Montreal. After the market, walk a couple blocks further west to St-Laurent for more of the Little Italy experience.

                            1. re: chefwannab

                              How was your trip? My husband and I have just decided to spend our long American Thanksgiving weekend in Vieux Montreal. We have never been to Toque and are thinking of splurging this time. Is it a must-dine? We also love smaller less fancy places with wonderful food. And any suggestions for lunch and foodie markets nearby would be appreciated.

                              1. re: 3catsnh

                                Some people really like Toque, but I was disappointed. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't worth the hype.

                                There's lots of "weekend in Montreal" type posts, so I'd suggest searching the board a bit to gather some ideas.

                            2. Another hotel option in Old Montreal is the Auberge du Vieux Port. It's in a great area of the city and has numerous dining options within walking distance. Including Olive & Gourmando.