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philly chower in montreal next weekend

Hi All,

So there will be 3 of us roadtripping to Montreal from Philadelphia for the first weekend of September and we're looking for some great foodie places to try. There are a few things we would like to try to find in your lovely city (and this is like a starting-from-scratch list, so if our search for something is futile, please just tell me!):

--weekend farmers'/ outdoor market -- we try to stay local in our purchased in philly so would love to see what you have to offer
--awesome local beers/gastropubs/bars
--best place for chocolates
--good indian for dinner
--best brunch and/or best breakfast pastries
--best meal for under $10 (any cuisine is a welcome suggestion)
--local food gifts (if any)
--anything that you think is a must try

I don't know where we're staying yet so please try to keep any suggestions to downtown-ish walking distance or reasonable public transportation distance.

Thanks so much!

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  1. A good place for Indian downtown is Le Taj on Stanley Street.

    Farmer's Market downtown is the Atwater Market but Jean-Talon is better and not too far from downtown(in my opinion).

    Good chocolate is everywhere! A good bet is Juliette & Chocolat (3 or 4 locations). Their hot chocolate is amazing. You'll find good chocolate at Marché Jean-Talon as well.

    Schwartz's is a good bet on Saint-Laurent for smoked meat or turkey sandwiches. It's a Montreal institution.

    For under 10 dollars a person you can try Kazu on St. Catherine St. West for wonderful Japanese food or Qing Hua Dumpling for Chinese dumplings on Lincoln Street (also downtown).

    Bring back some St. Viateur Bagels! Cinammon Raisin + Sesame are tasty and delicious.

    1 Reply
    1. --Farmers Market : Go to either either Jean-Talon Market or Atwater Market. Both are great, Jean-Talon being bigger.
      --Beers: go to a microbrewery. My favorite is Saint-Bock, which has many local brews but also a thick menu of bottled imported beers. Excellent ambiance. Other notable mentions are L'amere a boire, Benelux, Brutopia, Cheval Blanc...
      --Chocolates: most bakeries will sell a local artisans chocolate. Juliette et Chocolat specialises in chocolate, Marius et Fanny has great ones. Avoid Laura Secord (not real chocolate), Godiva and Leonidas. The latter two are OK but their fillings are made to last longer, meaning less cream or syrups, more nuts.
      --Indian: Le Taj
      --Brunch: Chez cora, Tutti Fruitti or breakfast only places. For more upscale look at at the ITHQ.
      --Best meal under 10$: don't over plan this one just eat where-ever you are :)
      --Gifts : Maple products or Ice Cider (alcohol), buy at the farmers market.

      Jean-Talon Market
      7075 Avenue Casgrain, Montreal, QC H2S, CA

      1. (I will let you google for exact links)

        Markets : Jean-Talon Market
        Beers : Dieu du Ciel
        GastroPub : Sparrow (foodwise, not certain about the beer/booze part of it)
        Chocolate : Genevieve Grandbois
        Indian : ...
        Brunch : Sparrow, "Le Réservoir"
        Pastries : ... olive & gourmando ?
        under $10 : ...
        local food gift : (not really local but could be hard to find in Philly), but some French products from "Gourmet Laurier" or some local cheeses (Hamel cheese store) and/or charcuterie ("Cochon Tout rond").

        Every place are easily accessible by public transport and/or walking, get a week-end bus/metro pass.


        Jean-Talon Market
        7075 Avenue Casgrain, Montreal, QC H2S, CA

        1. I second:

          Market - Jean-Talon
          Pastries - Olive & Gourmando (Old Montreal)
          Brunch - The Sparrow. Get there at 9:40 to get a table, they open at 10 (Sat & Sun only). ***Totally worth the slight trek by bus or cab ride.*** For your other day, you could try something completely different at Cocktail Hawaii right downtown, on de Maisonneuve near Guy - amazing fruit crepes spread with achta (Lebanese cream) and fruit drinks of various sorts.

          I also suggest:

          Indian - Moti Mehal or Bombay Mahal (both L'Acadie metro & both BYOBs)

          Under $10 - loads of suggestions in the "best $10 thread here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/615050

          Local food gifts - Marché des saveurs at the south-east corner of the Jean-Talon Market - huge assortment of made-in-Quebec goodies: http://www.lemarchedessaveurs.com/

          Have a fabulous trip!

          Jean-Talon Market
          7075 Avenue Casgrain, Montreal, QC H2S, CA

          Moti Mehal
          1024 Rue Jean-Talon Ouest, Montreal, QC H3N, CA

          1. Market: No question - this has to be Jean Talon. Its supposedly the largest outdoor market in North America. I live near Atwater Market, and while it is a nice place, it is expensive and I find the produce quality is often not great...

            Beers/gastropubs: My favourite local beers are both heavy stouts (St. Ambroise Oatmeal and Peche Mortel from Dieu de Ciel). St. Ambroise Stout you can at lots of great bars (such as Reservoir and I think Sparrow), but it might also be pleasant to walk west down the lachine canal (if you end up at the Atwater market) and stop in at the St. Ambroise brewery terrace (open just till 9pm). Peche Mortel you'll have to try at Dieu de Ciel itself.

            Chocolates: I agree that these are readily available in Montreal..

            Indian: Hit and miss in Montreal, IMO. India Beau Village is a favourite among my friends who know Indian food well, but its all the way up at Jarry and L'Acadie and is a 15-20 minute walk from the L'Acadie or Parc metro stations. Good food, terrible ambiance (though pretty "authentic"), and an out-of-the-way location... I think I'd aim for one of the wonderful non-Indian places discussed on this board if you'll only be here for a short time, but its up to you!

            Brunch: s.. Both Sparrow and Reservoir are both excellent as bars and for weekend brunches. Also, I haven't been to Chien Fumant for brunch, but I'd still recommend reserving a spot there for one of their Sunday seatings, as it is a really great, laid-back place (though very small). Griffintown on Notre Dame West is also excellent for their crabcakes and heuvos rancheros, but perhaps not as good as they once were.
            Pastry-centric breakfast/brunch: I'd also go with Olive + Gourmando, now that Bouchees Gourmandes is closed again.

            Under $10: I'm addicted to Kazu, though for $10 you might leave hungry at dinner. At lunch they have less selection, but most things are around $10. I recently had great take-out Vietnamese sandwiches for like $3 near Jean Talon market. There are places for this both above and below Jean Talon Blvd. on St. Denis and they are clearly advertised from the street. The one N of JT is called "Banh Mi Hoang Oanh". Get em spicy!

            Gifts: Definitely cheese if you can get it home... go tasting at one of the 2 market if its not too busy, though on a weekend it will likely be a bit hurried. Unpasteurized will be the most unique, though be sure to store/transport it appropriately. Otherwise, some good quality maple syrup or Quebec beer??

            Must try: Many have found that it has been a bit off lately (maybe kitchen staff/equipment problems), but try to get into Au Pied de Cochon. Others may debate this, as it now almost seems cliche to recommend it, but PdC is still a very unique experience that visitors should experience.
            Also, fresh, warm St. Viateur bagels from one of their locations on St. Viateur are absolutely necessary (sesame, of course!). Take them across/down the street to the corner of Waverley for Olimpico coffee and eat them on the terrace.

            Enjoy the city! I think you'll have a blast..

            1 Reply
            1. re: Fintastic

              Thanks for all the recommendations! I was wondering about whether Indian was worth it or not...might not bother with it.

              And thanks for the cheese selection! That sounds like a great souvenir!

            2. I'm sorry but I would not recommend Le Taj at all. Indian is best had in Little India, a strip of Jean-Talon between Parc and L'Acadie (walkable from the market). Moti Mehal, Bombay Mahal, and India Curry House are all neighbours and equally as good. (I'd give a slight nod to the latter). I have a friend from NYC who prefers these restaurants to anywhere at home, for what it's worth. Also not to be forgotten is the Indian they serve Scratch Kitchen style at Copacabana on St-Laurent. It's not for everyone because it's a student-style bar (good for hockey watching) but the food is pretty good.

              Jean-Talon market is more fun than Atwater, though if you like cycling, nothing beats taking a Bixi from the Old Port, biking along the canal, finishing at Atwater Market, and grabbing an ice cream at Le Havre aux Glaces.

              Patati-Patata and Qing Hua dumplings are my favourite cheap places. The <$10 thread linked to above has other great recommendations.

              For beer, without question, is Dieu du Ciel. It is, literally, my favourite beer in the world. L'Amere a Boire is my second choice in MTL and their lamb and rabbit burgers are pretty good too. Benelux is a good stop if you're around McGill University.

              I would not recommend Chez Cora for breakfast. It's an uninspired chain. Byblos is great for a unique Persian style brunch. I also really like the breakfasts at Toi, Moi, et Café (not quite a chain...just around three locations in the city). My favourite pastries are from Patisserie de Gascogne on Laurier and Jeanne-Mance. I wouldn't necessarily go out of my way to go there, however.

              Enjoy! And do some searching on this board for other recommendations!

              Moti Mehal
              1024 Rue Jean-Talon Ouest, Montreal, QC H3N, CA

              7 Replies
              1. re: foodinspace

                Dieu du Ciel is a really nice micro-brewery, Definitely worth a visit!

                I don't know if i agree with Cora being bad for breakfast. After traveling a lot, spending months at a time outside on Canada, i realized how unique our breakfasts are, including chains. Aren't we taking things for granted?

                1. re: SourberryLily

                  But if someone is coming here for a mere weekend, there are so many better and more unique places to have breakfast in Montreal. Cora may not be that awful compared to other cities, but IMO there is so much better to be had here if you're only in town for a couple of days. Besides, Cora is a franchise with locations in 10 provinces - wouldn't you suggest a visitor go somewhere uniquely Montreal? ;-)

                  1. re: kpzoo

                    Well, it's a matter of opinion. I wouldn't dare say its the best, but my favorite place is a little joint in Laval/Ste-Rose (Coco something.... ) and Allo mon Coco for their potatoes... but not exactly practical for a tourist. But other then foodies on this site, most co-workers, tourists or friends do love Chez Cora and Tutti Fruitti.

                    Since when does it becoming a chain mean it's bad? It wasn't long ago that it was still small. It did start in Montreal, and has, until recently-ish, been a Quebec chain.

                    Just because there are places that are better doesnt mean it's "nasty". That's a bit extreme.

                    1. re: SourberryLily

                      > Since when does it becoming a chain mean it's bad?

                      Well, I certainly didn't mean to say or imply that. Only that if someone is visiting our city for only 2 or 3 days, it feels like such a shame to send them to a restaurant where they could eat the identical food in dozens of other cities.

                      > Just because there are places that are better doesnt mean it's "nasty". That's a bit extreme.

                      I didn't say that.

                      1. re: kpzoo

                        Hehe yeah i wasnt refering to you specifically, but a global reply was easier then to each one :)

                        Sparrow seems nice, though i haven't recommended. If a traveller wants something really special i would go for brunch at the ITHQ, but i'm not sure htey do it every day. Fun and nice though!

                  2. re: SourberryLily

                    Sorry, but Chez Cora is truly bad. I mean their hollandaise is from a sauce mix.

                2. I visited Montreal from Philly last September and had a lot of terrific food.

                  Definitely go to Jean-Talon Market. Grab a freshly cooked ear of corn and sample from the beautiful displays of fruits and vegetables. And be sure to try the awesome ice cream from Les Havres aux Glaces. The market is also a great place to find food gifts.

                  I would also check out Montreal's bagels at St-Viateur Bagel and/or Fairmount Bagel.

                  I loved Au Pied de Cochon. I had the enormous pork chop, which was really amazing. Be prepared for a heavy meal. It has an open kitchen and is a great place to eat at the counter and watch the food being prepared.

                  I also really enjoyed my visit to L'Express and would recommend it for a French bistro experience.

                  And you should really try poutine while you're in Montreal. La Banquise is a good choice for a huge variety.

                  For pastries, Olive et Gourmando in old Montreal is very good. Both Gascogne and Duc de Lorraine have good French pastries. Near Jean-Talon, Alati-Caserta has great cannoli and Italian pastries. Here is a great thread on Montreal bakeries, including a self-guided walking tour: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5228...

                  St-Viateur Bagel
                  231 Rue St-Viateur Ouest, Montr, Montreal, QC , CA

                  Olive et Gourmando
                  351 Rue Saint-Paul Ouest, Montreal, QC , CA

                  Jean-Talon Market
                  7075 Avenue Casgrain, Montreal, QC H2S, CA

                  L'Express Restaurant
                  3927 Rue Saint-Denis, Montreal, QC H2W2M4, CA

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: pafood

                    I wouldn't recommend L'Express - not that it's bad, but it's a bit tired, and there are many bistros that are far better. You can do a quick search of recent threads, but off the top of my head, there are Brasserie T, Lemeac, Holder and Laloux - I'd take any of them over L'Express any day (especially Brasserie T, which is my current favourite).

                    L'Express Restaurant
                    3927 Rue Saint-Denis, Montreal, QC H2W2M4, CA