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Aug 21, 2009 10:06 AM

Good eats at or around Marche Jean Talon?

I want to include Marche Jean Talon as part of my visit to Montreal and I plan to go on a Sunday morning. I have never been so I'm not too sure what to expect. Would I be able to buy breakfast at the market or should I eat before going? Any good eats for lunch at or near the market? I may be carrying bags filled will goodies so I would rather not having to walk too far. I'll be taking the metro or bus.

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  1. Hiya, eating at and near the JTM has been discussed here:

    Jean Talon Market

    Brunch near Jean Talon?

    Jean-Talon Market Area 2009

    My personal choice for brekkie would be crepes at the crepe stand - go early to avoid the crowds!

    1 Reply
    1. re: kpzoo

      Thanks for the links kpzoo! Mmmmm crepes for breakfast sounds fabulous! I'm excited!!

    2. There are lots of food options at the market itself: crepes, fried squid and fish, sausages, bhajis, ice cream, Polish donuts, baklava, cheese, nuts, juices, fruits, breads, etc., etc. There are also several cafés around the perimeter: Hamel cheesemonger, Le Tartarin in the new extension, Walter sausage maker, Frite Alors! fries and sandwiches, north African butchers that sell merguez, méchoui and other sandwiches, etc., etc. Other options can be found within a block or three of the market: Caffe Italia espresso bar (has pastries and sandwiches), Café International (pizza, panini, pasta, espresso, alcohol), Motta bakery (pastries and light meals), La Ligne Rouge (gyro and souvlaki, near the Jean Talon metro), Zaatar (lahmadjoun, etc.), phô places on St-Denis, etc., etc. Unfortunately, the best lunch spot in the area, Le Petit Alep, is closed on Sundays. Not to worry: your problem will be a surfeit of options, not a lack of them.

      11 Replies
      1. re: carswell

        Thanks for the list carswell! Looks like I won't be leaving the market hungry. Do you have any favourites?

        1. re: jorgep18

          I personally find it really hard to leave the market if I haven't made a stop at Havre aux Glaces, the ice cream shop. Try the oyster mushroom ice cream and the burnt maple caramel flavour as well. Also hard to pass up are the fried smelt at Poissonerie Aqua Mare (north east corner of the market..

          1. re: mainsqueeze

            What about fried smelt ice cream? Just a thought...

            Frankly, I don't think I'm ever going to actually need to visit this market in person. Just reading about it fills me up.

          2. re: jorgep18

            As usual, mainsqueeze is right. Harve aux Glaces is unmissable. The mushroom-maple combo is indeed special but, for me, has been overshadowed by a reignited love: sugar cone with a ball of vanilla ice cream topped with a ball of cassis sherbet. Wawel's paczki, prune-filled donuts, are also worth seeking out.

            For espresso and kin, skip the market and head to Caffè Italia. For pastries, wander down to the east end of Dante, where you'll find the Alati-Caserta (think about crossing the street to eat your sweets in the small park).

            Back at the market, Le Tartarin and Hamel are both fine for sit-down cafes. La Depense has delicious vegetable bhajis; you buy a token at the cash, exchange it at the back and sauce your treats just outside the front door.

            Recent bylaws (or recent enforcement longstanding bylaws) have forced the north African places to stop grilling their sandwich meats on the spot, stripping them of much of their allure. As a result, I've turned to Volailles et gibiers du marché (just south of Havre aux Glaces) and Walter for sausage sandwiches with sauerkraut and mustard. Frite Alors! is often a great spot for fries (fried in tallow). And several stalls are selling boiled corn on the cob grown on the operator's farm (unfortunately, no one's yet had the bright idea of grilling it).

            Zaatar's flat breads are very good (the bakery's on Casgrain and de Castelnau, a block north of the market).

          3. re: carswell

            The only drawback I see to grazing at the market is that most of the picnic tables available near gourmet alley are dreadfully uncomfortable - hard for many people to get their legs under the table (not talking about morbidly obese people, but just that it is a difficult manoeuvre for many). Many wind up sitting the other way, away from the table. I know they have to put out something that is difficult to steal, but the picnic tables in nearby Jarry Park are a much better design, as are those in little Parc Dante (the park opposite Alati-Caserta).

            Very close to la Ligne Rouge, you'll also find great Vietnamese sandwiches both north and south of Jean-Talon on St-Denis!

            1. re: lagatta

              I agree that those picnic tables at JTM are horrid.

              1. re: mainsqueeze

                ...putting a new spin on your name, mainsqueeze! ;)

                Is any particular day preferable for visiting the market? For example, is there something special that is not available on a certain day or conversely, around just for a single one only?


                1. re: aliris

                  In general, there are more outdoor vendors on weekends.

                  1. re: aliris

                    I don't recommend going on a Saturday afternoon unless you love walking at a snail's pace behind dilly-dallying shoppers who insist on stopping short every few seconds to inspect produce, oblivious to the fact that there are people behind them who need to get by. Not to mention maneuvering precariously around strollers and granny carts while the crowd threatens to engulf you.

                    If you must go on Saturday or Sunday, I recommend going first thing in the morning, especially if the weather is nice.

                    1. re: mainsqueeze

                      Second that.

                      Tuesday may be the least interesting day to go, however. Not only are the weekend-only vendors not around, at least a few vendors -- the wild mushroom people across from Havre aux Glaces, for example -- come every day but then. Which isn't to deny that there's still tons of appealing stuff to choose from...

                      1. re: mainsqueeze

                        I go very early - most of it is open farmers' hours, but the people at the northernmost organic stand along gourmet alley (the easternmost) sometimes arrive later. Boucherie du marché has impossible queues by 10 am on a Saturday.

              2. No one mentioned the fresh fried fish and scallops with tartare sauce at Atkins! So yummy!

                I agree with Mainsqueeze's recommendation of the fried smelts at Aqua Mare. A very rare treat, you don't see it at many places, and their version is very good.

                I also really like the chip-like thin slices of fried potato served in paper bags at the place that also does the bison sausages and various game products, next to Atkins.

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