Jean-Talon Market Area 2009
Openings, closings, changes and finds at and around Jean-Talon Market, in nearby Petite-Italie/Petite-Patrie/Villeray.
Starting this off with a new café-restaurant just southwest of the Market in Petite Italie:
Zitto e Mangia is a café-restaurant just opposite Parc de la Petite-Italie, at the southwest corner of St-Zotique and Clark. It is run by a Salvadorean/Italian couple and at least one of their daughters, and occupies a pleasant corner space in a locale that seemed destined to become a café. Open in mornings for coffee, breakfast or snacks, except for Sundays, when it opens at 4pm for now. There is a reasonably-priced lunch and dinner menu with Italian and Latino items, and you can bring your own wine. The décor evokes the Mediterranean or Latin America without being overdone, a bit like the nearby La Carreta.
Definitely worth checking out. A likely space for local events such as poetry readings, book launches etc.
Zitto e Mangia
6660 Clark, H2S 3E7, phone: 514.544.9397.
Just wanted to point out that Trattoria Nonno's (corner St-Laurent and Mozart) has become a byow. It is just opposite the Petite-Italie SAQ.
That must indicate business problems for such a place, but it is interesting to keep in mind. (This is a good place to watch sporting events).
A friend and I have had good squid and octopus there, though I know reviews are mixed and it seems uneven in terms of food.
I go to Zitto e Mangia out of convenience but it isn't my favourite in terms of food. I had a tamale there that was a big disappointment. It arrived to the table in a mushy, falling apart state. But when I was there 2 weeks ago, it was no longer on the menu. The appetizers are definitely work it. Last time I was there I had a pupusa and a tostada for a total of $6 dollars and I was filled. But I am a little hesitant to venture into their main courses since they are predominately $15+. Are there any main courses that you can recommend?
I know the thread is about new places in the area but if you can recommend any other restos that have vegetarian options, that would be greatly appreciated. I really enjoy Depanneur Le Pickup and Itacate.
And have also tried Taco Miendo, El Amigo, and Napolitana (usually to crowded to enjoy a meal there anyway), which are all okay but nothing special.
I've been to La Carreta a few times recently and thought it was really delicious. I've had chicken fajitas, tamales, and pupusas. All were excellent, and the other folks I was with enjoyed their dishes as well. (Except for one taco which had a filling that was too thin/runny to eat comfortably with one's hands.) The atmosphere is pleasant, too - much cozier than El Amigo as someone mentioned in a long-ago thread. Prices are extremely reasonable and service is decent.
350, rue Saint-Zotique E corner Drolet
Edit: forgot to mention that there are a number of vegetarian options here, including cheese and bean pupusas, tamales, and more.
If you want vegetarian fair try Alep (or it's sister restaurant Petit Alep) on Jean-Talon and De Gaspé. They have quite a few vegetarian options. My favourite is the mixed vegetarian platter and I'm not even vegetarian!
It's always a sure bet near the market, don't hesitate to go to Alep if there's a line-up at Petit Alep, it's the same menu from the same kitchen.
Other good options in the area (though not all vegetarian): Kitchen Gallery, Bottega, The vietnamese place on the west side of St-Denis below Beaubien, The café on St-Zotique and St-Dominique (great sandwiches and breakfasts).
As you can tell I'm not very good with names!
Finally made it to La Carreta. The portions are large, 2 of us shared the bean enchilda combo with a pupusa and fried yuca for $11.50, and the owner was extremely friendly. It will definitely be a regular spot in the area.
I also passed by Itacate and noticed a sign in the window one store away from their original restaurant stating that they will be expanding.
The Tibet Libre location is for rent, if anyone reading is interested in starting up a small food-related business.
I can scarcely see it being worth Itacate's while to shut down their present place to move to the place two storefronts east - those places are all about the same size.
jelly belly, I prefer their appetizers as well. A couple of their very good, non-greasy pupusas and perhaps a salad really fills me up. I mostly see Zitto e Mangia as a place with great potential, for the welcome and the space as much as the food, and hope they work out their shortcomings.
Itacate is an adorable little place. I don't like Taco Miendo, even for the type of place. Have you tried Mogador, the Moroccan place on Beaubien near Drolet? They have vegetarian options, and they are pretty good.
I can't remember the name of the Vietnamese place on St-Denis south of Beaubien either; sorry, I'm really tired. Another great hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese (which is a byow) is Nhu Y on Jean-Talon, between St-Urbain and Waverly if I recall. You'll find other threads on it searching this board.
And don't forget La Cornetteria, for cornetti (Italian croissants) and very good espresso, cappuccino etc, starting very early in the morning. Younger crowd than Caffè Italia. On St-Laurent between Beaubien and St-Zotique, west side.
A bit farther north and east on Faillon, corner Berri - Chez Apo, the great Lebanese wood oven savoury baker. You won't eat lamajoune, but their zaatar pizzas and spinach pizzas are lovely, and inexpensive.
Has anyone been to Le Tonkin, St. Laurent just north of Beaubien? When it comes to delivery, it's the only place in the hood that tastes like actual food. Their ginger chicken and house soup have curative powers over many illnesses! i've never actually eaten in the restaurant. Because that area is such a no-mans-land, I'm terrified it won't succeed.