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May 20, 2009 03:27 PM

Montreal Supermarkets--at or near Downtown

I'm returning for Jazz Fest. Last time I didn't get a chance to do something that I really love when traveling--visit a well stock, well priced supermarket. The weather was cold last time I was there so I didn't get to visit markets like Jean Talon. I plan to do so this time of course. But I would like to visit a large supermarket. I'll have a car so I can drive anywhere there's parking, but I was hoping to find one downtown, near Sherbrooke West. Which are great Montreal Supermarkets in that area, or anywhere within a reasonable drive. Also, feel free to suggest any unique Canadian/French products that I should pick up while there. Thanks. I am thinking of buying some Robin Hood Flour to try.

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  1. I don't know what you expect to find "special" in a large supermarket; pretty much the same stuff as in any other supermarket in N.A.

    I suggest going to smaller "supermarket" like P.A. (park av. or du Fort st.) for sometimes weird stuff (greek oriented) or maybe Mourelatos (??).

    Better would be to go to Adonis (for middle eastern stuff) or one of the bigger asian stores (I'm not too familair with those, I think there a big one in Ville St-Laurent and on the south shore).

    Anyway for "Quebec"/Local food stuff, your best best is to go to Jean Talon Market and the "Marché Des Saveurs" store (@ jean talon market).

    1. I understand the appeal of strange supermarkets. Whenever I go somewhere new, I spend so much time just looking at packaging and pointing things out to my interest feigning companions. I feel like a kid in a toy shop.

      IGA Louise Ménard in Complexe Desjardins is one of the better supermarkets in town. You'll find a lot of speciality, gourmet and not so gourmet products there.

      Les 5 Saisons in Westmount is pretty interesting, too.

      Loblaws/Provigo is IMHO the best chain we have here and are usually full of fun finds including the President's Choice house brand.

      150 Rue Ste-Catherine Est, Montreal, QC H2X, CA

      5 Saisons (Les)
      1250 Avenue Greene, Westmount, QC H3Z, CA

      2925 Rue Rachel Est, Montreal, QC H1W, CA

      7 Replies
      1. re: SnackHappy

        I second Loblaws/Provigo for the President's Choice products. For someone who has recently migrated to Canada from US, I can attest that browsing through the unique offerings the brand provides is fun (but then again, I like browsing supermarket isles anywhere). Most other regular supermarkets will offer products that are more or less similar to what is sold south of the border, but PC sometimes goes pretty obscure (especially in the frozen food category). Besides the sheer idea of "premium store brand" idea is intriguing.

        Here is a list to pre-browse so that you can see if this is something you'd be interested in: http://www.presidentschoice.ca/FoodAn...

        Adonis/Akhavan is also a good choice for Middle Eastern leanings. Marche Hawaii is the South-Eastern Asian equivalent.

        1. re: emerilcantcook

          Provigo is not in any way typical of a Montreal supermarche.
          They (St Cath) have practically no meat section and half the store is set up for frozen and ready to heat precooked meals.
          5 Saisons is nice but pricey , but the IGA in Alexis Nihon, realy has the Montreal flavor.
          One can spend a day checking ou the different breads alone.
          Excellent meat section with many things we don't have here in the states, excellent produce and nice cheese section, also a fresh fish section.
          This place is huge compared to NY standards

          1. re: tombombadillo

            I don't think the OP is looking for meat or fish to take to US or just to look at (mmm bavette porn!). My understanding is that s/he is looking for packaged/dry goods to take home, unique ingredients, condiments, etc., not excellent produce or meat that is unfortunately perishable. But I might be mistaken.

            PS: I am not sure if you are aware, but Provigo is a huge chain (under its mama brand Loblaws), not a single store and some of their branches are gigantic. The one on St Catherine/Towers is perhaps one of their most understocked branches. If the OP decides to go to a Provigo, I strongly suggest him/her not to go to this one. It is just one step up from a well stocked Deppanneur with very limited range of store brand items and fresh stuff.

              1. re: Ora

                I would go to 5 saisons on Bernard street or 5 saisons on Greene avenue.
                I also think Adonis has Some interesting items. I would also check out the atwater market. I like the grocery store in la cite it's a Chinese grocery store but they Cary some very good products.
                I also enjoy places like Fressers on dacarie and Malibu on monkland. Some restaurants like olive and gourmando and fromagerie on sherbrooke street west have some cool stuff.

                1. re: Alyson777

                  «I like the grocery store in la cite it's a Chinese grocery store but they Cary some very good products. »

                  It's called Eden and it's Korean, not Chinese.

                  1. re: Alyson777

                    <<Some restaurants like olive and gourmando and fromagerie on sherbrooke street west have some cool stuff.>>

                    Remeber you're sending someone from out of town there - so it would help if you had the name right, so they can find it if they want. It's called La Foumagerie; however I certainly wouldn't send anyone looking for a great supermarket there - they have a pertty minimal selection, and nothing that you can't find for less elsewhere that I can think of.

        2. Fleur de Cel, fiddle head ferns, black and white peppers, confit in a jar(specislty shops)
          British meat pies, and the cookie section has a great assortment of Quebec only treats

          1. Atwater Market - Les Douceurs du Marché is a must visit...

            1 Reply
            1. re: buzz_sapien

              Aside from Atwater market, I do basic groceries at the IGA in Alexis Nihon, I agree with above that it has the best selection, Mourelatos has a bad selection of anything, PA is a little better but it's cramped in there.

              I think the OP would be looking for things like Mapo spread, Whippet cookies, May West cakes,
              typically quebec stuff you can't find in the states. I'm living in Dallas for a few months part time and I find myself missing those things, also pickled beets are inexistent in the states
              and for me they are a basic.

            2. If all the OP wants is a supermarket and they have a car, I highly recommend hitting an IGA, Provigo, etc., in the Plateau or NDG. Less cramped, which means probably more selection, but more importantly, not paying downtown store prices (.30 to almost $1 more on virtually every item adds up).

              Oh, and better chance of finding parking on the street.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Shattered

                Actually, the prices at Loblaws will be cheaper than for the identical item at Provigo (not sure why, but it's almost consistently the case), so the OP would be better off heading further afield to one of the larger Loblaws than staying in Plateau and shopping at Provigo (and they all have parking lots). You can easily combine a visit to Jean Talon market with a trip to the Loblaws in Park Ex (at Parc and Jean Talon).

                1. re: cherylmtl

                  You don't need a car to go to the Jean-Talon/Parc Loblaws: it is built right at a métro station (Parc) and a commuter train. If you do have a car, there is underground parking with an escalator and an elevator, making it very accessible.

                  Very close by, the former Delta has become a South Asian supermarket, BK.