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Aug 21, 2008 06:06 PM

Two New York City foodies in Montreal looking for suggestions

We're two NY jews willing to enter the NY vs. Montreal bagel debate, and looking for other great, low-cost suggestions.

We both love spicy SE Asian food, fish, ice cream/sorbet, chocolate, banh mi, fresh fruit, wild-food, and other tastiness. I'd especially like to find Khao Soi, a northern Thai curry noodle dish that I blog about.

I saw the recs on this post
and we'll definitely try the bagels, Cafe Saigon, Pied de Cochon, and Jean Talon.

Any other suggestions?

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  1. with your introduction as "jews" and wanting to go to "Au Pied de Cochon", I assume you are not really following the rules about not eating pork products !!! :-)

    If you're into wines, I suggest you go to the smaller wine bar/bistros like Bouchonné, 3 Petits Bouchons, Justine, Pop, ... they offer things that are interresting for reasonable prices (if you keep a close watch at the wine prices).

    1. Welcome to Montreal! Love the fact that you have a blog devoted to one specific dish. No idea if this is findable here in Mtl (we don't have that many Thai places) but maybe someone else knows.

      While you're at the Jean-Talon market, check out Havre aux glaces for ice cream.

      Havre aux Glaces: the thread

      Also check out:

      Ice Cream!

      For "wild food" (if it's what I think it is!) and you have access to a car, you might want to check out La Table des Jardins Sauvages, described by its chef, Nancy Hinton, as "a woodland table specializing in wild plants and mushrooms just outside Montreal." You can also check out Nancy's blog here: (she sometimes posts here, also as "soupnancy."

      La Table des Jardins Sauvages

      There is also Fuchsia epicerie fleur, which features edible flowers in its cuisine - closed til Sept. 1:

      Though you didn't mention it specifically, you *must* check out Cocoa Locale for incredible chocolate-chai cake/cupcakes, vanilla cupcakes, red velvet cake, and other delectable goodies made by our beloved Reema. Go early for best selection. Closed Mon & Tues.

      For chocolate, check out places like Juliette et Chocolat, Les Chocolats de Chloe, La Maison Cakao. I can't recall a comprehensive thread about our chocolatiers, but here is one about hot chocolate where some of them are mentioned:

      There's also this one:

      Looking for the Best Chocolate in Montreal!

      Some other good suggestions in these threads:

      The Ultimate Montreal Experience

      Quintessential Montreal

      And in case you'd like to follow in the footsteps of some more of your compatriots, you might want to check out:

      NYer's Montreal Itinerary

      Boston hounds need help for Montreal visit

      Inexpensive places not to miss

      Have an amazing trip and please consider reporting back!

      1. Great! We are two Montreal foodies who are radically in love with NYC (for the city, the vibe, the people, but mainly for the endless offerings of great food). We just can't get enough, and chowhound has been quite useful in our choices for our last visit in July, so it's a pleasure to give back to fellow foodies.

        Bagels: you might want to try both Fairmount and St-Viateur (as you will see, there is quite a debate about which of the two is the best), but if you are ready for a battle between NYC and MTL, I'd vote for Fairmount. Amazing. The best we've tried (including NYC's) :)

        SE Asian: You seem to love Thai food (we do too and we'll make sure to try a couple of places you wrote about on your blog on our next NYC visit this October!). Unfortunately, we don't have a lot of Thai restaurants in Montreal and those we tried (Chao Phraya, Thai Grill, Thailande, Bangkok, Cuisine Bangkok at The Faubourg) really can't compare with Sripraphai in Queens.

        Banh Mi: Cafe Saigon has GREAT Banh Mi. Probably a little smaller but "jucier" than the ones we had at Saigon Bakery on Mott St in Manhattan's Chinatown. Different but equally delicious! You can see a couple of our other favorite dishes in the post you mentioned.

        Jean-Talon Market: A must! We couldn't live without it! The hazelnut ice cream at Havre aux Glaces is pretty good. We also love the kefta sandwiches from Boucherie Al Nasr on the south side of the market. Incredible selection of cheeses at Hamel, great bread from Premiere Moisson, pretty good fried seafood from the little stand at the fishmonger on the northeastern corner, cones of belgian fries with mayo at Frites Alors!...We could go on and on! Just make sure you get there hungry!

        There are a lot of other great (and pretty inexpensive) spots near the market you could investigate. For incredible Syrian/Armenian food, try Le Petit Alep (191 Jean-Talon E). They're open for lunch and dinner and have a nice little front terrace. For great cold pizza and the best cannoli in town, go to Roma (6776 St-Laurent) in Little Italy (closed on Sunday). A nice 5 minute walk from the market. Kitchen Galerie (60 Jean-talon E), local produce oriented restaurant, has been getting quite a buzz lately, but we haven't tried it yet...

        A couple of suggestions:

        An "Only in Montreal" favorite: Smoked Meat from Schwartz's (a true classic, don't miss it!)

        Great value BYOW Afghan restaurant on the Plateau Mont-Royal:

        Leméac: a beautiful and classic French bistrot with terrific food and nice terrace (great 22$ after 10 PM deal

        Au Pied de Cochon, for the crispy PDC salad and the confit lamb shank with Dupuy lentils,

        Dim Sum (we haven't tried dim sum in NYC yet): we love the selection and freshness of those offered in the carts at Maison Kam Fung
        1111 St-Urbain (2nd story


        Hope you enjoy your stay in Montreal!

        1. Wow, thanks for the amazing flood of excellent suggestions! Here's where we wound up going:
          Restaurant Boustan lebanese- pretty tasty veggie plate, my friend didn't like the chicken Shwarma so much. The owner was from Astoria, Queens where he used to have a restaurant as well, which was pretty funny!

          Fairmount bagels- excellent bagels, though their sesame was a little TOO sesame-y, tasted like a dim sum sesame ball, IMO. Strangely we ran into the only 2 people we know in Montreal at 1 AM here and spent the rest of the weekend with them!

          Schwartz's- my friend liked the smoked meat, and we were pleasantly surprised that the ketchup and soda had no high fructose corn syrup in it and tasted much better. Is this illegal in Canada, as it should be in the states? We stocked up on soda to bring back to the states! I'm a vegetarian, so all I had was a pickle (which was fine), but was bummed to find out they neither had knishes nor even knew what they were!

          ice cream place right across the street from Schwartz's (can't remember name)- pretty good lychee and mango sorbets

          Aux Vivres vegetarian cafe- excellent Mekong (pseudo bahn mi) sandwich, which I'd been hoping to get from Cafe Saigon but it was closed when I went there.

          Jean Talon market- excellent all around,
          great cupcakes right near the front,
          Havres' amazing blueberry chocolate, mango, raspberry, and chai sorbets
          Great pastries from Premiere Moisson
          Sausages my friend went crazy on that we can't get in the states
          Good tropical fruit we can't find in the states as well- grenadilla, yellow pitahaya/dragon fruit
          Maple syrup popsicles
          Fresh corn
          Cheap, excellent white peaches
          We feasted there!

          And the garden of the senses in the Botanical garden is really great for foodies! We had a stevia leaf/chocolate mint sandwich, spicy nasturtium flowers, spicy oregano, and much more.

          Thanks again for all the recs, and let me know when your in NY if you need suggestions aside from the Thai places. you can contact me via my blog comments. I guess there's no private message function in chowhound. I don't regularly read all the NY boards.

          1. From one NYC Jew to another, there is no bagel debate. Smaller and tastier,Montreal bagels are far superior to NYC bagels.

            Fairmount vs. Viateur? They are neck-and-neck.
            Viateur has a more crunchy crust.
            However, Fairmount are slightly tastier, and Fairmount's are always fresh, 24 hours a day. (Viateur doesn't have fresh bagels late night.)
            Fairmount is a slight win, for me.

            Get whatever is fresh out of the oven, usually sesame. Lox and creme cheese on it will cost only $5. Wow!

            2 Replies
            1. re: bravura

              «Viateur doesn't have fresh bagels late night.»

              Don't know about that. Earlier this summer, biking home on a Saturday at around 2 a.m., I detoured to St-Viateur and got a half dozen sesame just out of the oven. I also associate crust more with Fairmount -- in fact, that, the sweetness and the surfeit of seeds (setting aside abominations like cinnamon raisin and blueberry) are why I continue to rank them below St-Viateur's (tho' well ahead of any NYC bagel)..

              1. re: carswell

                Let me restate:
                I have NEVER been to Fairmount and gotten a cold bagel.
                I was at Viateur a week ago late night (maybe 3am) and got the coldest, most unpleasant bagels. There were none in the oven. I lost my appetite. Maybe it was a fluke.

                Also, my personal preference is that I like the sweetness and surfeit of seeds. But to each his own.