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Awesome Supermarkets (and why)

I know of Sakaris (4393 Saint Laurent) and their awesome meat counter, very competitive prices and great produce.

I know there are fans of PA here. But why PA? I know there are fans of Segal's, but beyond price, why Segal's? And more importantly, are there any awesome grocery stores/supermarkets that are not on the Plateau?

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  1. PA (Fort) for me is awesome cause it's just a stone's throw away really. Checkout is also insanely fast since they tripled the lanes. After all the years shopping there I got to know some of the employees too. They get good prices, good variety and usually high quality. Sometimes when I'm bored I'll just go there late at night and buy something I've never tried before.

    2 Replies
    1. re: denpanosekai

      I agree.. Im always amazed at how many people shop at the provigo around the corner. At PA the selection is great and the prices are good. The cheese section has the best prices around by far. It isnt the place to go for tp/paper towels/processed food though.

      1. re: denpanosekai

        Same for me. The produce and the seafood, at regular price, is much cheaper than at chain supermarkets. They have crazy specials on dairy products/soy/almond beverages sometimes.

      2. When I lived near there I went a few times and found it dirty and the produce subprime.

        1 Reply
        1. re: kpaxonite

          Assume you mean Segal's? It's disgusting. I pinch pennies as much as anyone, but I went there once and would never go again.

        2. PA Fort is great for everything.

          Adonis on Cote-Vertu is awesome for meat, produce, nuts, cheese and various middle-eastern stuff. They also have great specials. And they get a lot of love from me because of they they have the best selection of turkish candy bars.

          Fu Tai on Côte-des-neiges is an awesome Asian supermarket. They have things I've never seen anywhere else.

          Hawai on Marcel-Laurin is the best Asian supermarket in the city, has great selection and pretty well priced and good quality meat

          Kim Phat in Brossard has terrific fish and meat sections, great produce as well as good Chinese BBQ.

          Both Jang Teu locations are perfect for Japanese and Korean stuff, plus they have ready to eat food, kitchenware and various trinkets. They have a good selection of Korean dumplings which are the best store bought dumplings anywhere. Their house made kimchi, various banchan, dumplings and soon dae are very good.

          Supermarche Bonjour on Maisonneuve is awesome because of their ready to eat food and house made dumplings.

          1. Yes, i think the plateau PA (at least the old one) was vastly inferior to the PA on Fort. Far less selection and far more cramped. Maybe this has been resolved in their new space.

            I'm always amazed by PA. Lowest prices on that side of the city, great cheese, decent selection of most other things (even some imported stuff that's hard to find at provigo/metro). Basically, it's just more interesting!

            Segal's is cheap. C'est tout.

            1. Well, I've only been to PA du Fort a couple of times, when working at conferences nearby (usually at Concordia). PA Mile-End isn't "right around the corner" for me, but it isn't far, and after the move is a few minutes by bicycle and I don't have to ride on Parc, which I find dangerous. I have several friends close to there.

              I'm intolerant of cow's milk, and can always find goat's and ewe's milk cheeses for a good price at PA. Of course I can find those much closer by at Milano or at JTM, but they are generally far more expensive. Of course in season I do most of my produce shopping at the Market, but I couldn't resist the romaine on promotion for 50 cents at PA this week.

              I think there is more choice at the new location, but I haven't shopped at PA du Fort enough to compare them.

              As for Segal, yes, mostly because it is cheap, and sometimes very, very cheap. And is cheap in particular for natural and organic shelf groceries. I don't like their produce, and it certainly isn't the cleanest grocery in Mtl.

              I'm glad to have Milano close by. Yes, not a cheap supermarket by any means, but in the wintertime, often the fruit and vegetables are cheaper there than at chain supermarkets, and they are always good quality.

              Speaking of expensive supermarkets, if you live or work near either 5 Saisons, do check out their weekly promotions. Not long ago I bought a small organic chicken there, Voltigeurs, for 2.99 lb/ 6.59 kg, cheaper than when they are on promotion at PA. I've seen other good promotions on rather "upmarket" foods there.

              I've only been to the Acadie-Sauvé Adonis, evidently others are better, but quite far except for the Atwater one (not close, but easy by métro). And only to the Saint-Léonard Hawai. I'll try to get to the St-Laurent one soon. I'm looking for Indonesian groceries - tempeh and sambas.

              6 Replies
              1. re: lagatta

                Definitely worth going to the Ville St-Laurent Marché Hawai for a big aisle of good sambals and excellent tempeh in the freezer. I haven't been to the other one but am told it doesn't have the same selection of Indonesian products. You've been planning to go for a few years now, hey? Stock up while you are there!

                I'm also cow intolerant and get interesting cheeses at Vieille Europe. They've always got a cool brébis on sale. Segal always has cheap packs of raclette de chevre which is also handy. Adonis has started cutting their ground lamb with beef which is a huge drag but maybe shows the effects of their new ownership. There's beef in most of their merguez too which is also annoying.

                1. re: Plateaumaman

                  Yes, I go to Amsterdam (for work, and no, nothing to do with ganga) more often than I do to Ville St-Laurent! Of course in the meantime I've gone to the Saint-Léonard one, which I can reasonably cycle to. They do have some Indo products, but not the same choice.

                  Milano's "Tuscan sausage" and probably also its merguez, that used to be all lamb are now cut with beef, and I saw beef as the first ingredient in the tuscan sausage this week.

                  1. re: lagatta

                    I used to stock up on ground lamb at Adonis on our way back from Marche Hawai (easy loop to do in a car and when you've got a massive bag of rice, worth it, much closer than A'dam!) but they didn't have it the last few times. Luckily Intermarché on Mont-Royal sells pretty good ground lamb for burgers. Sakaris had a long explanation for why they don't have lamb which I didn't pay much attention to, but I got some lamb shoulder steaks there that I am scratching my head over tonight. Not quite sure what to do with these.

                    1. re: Plateaumaman

                      Sakaris often has lamb, in some incarnation (shoulder, or stew meat). I don't have a car or easy access to one.

                      That Mont-Royal and Boyer Intermarché is a good supermarket - I presume you are referring to that one and not the one farther east near Papineau or the Portuguese one farther west (which has good cheeses and other interesting Portuguese groceries). I think it is pretty much in the heart of La Petite vieille France; they have a lot of French imports, and their produce is always good.

                      1. re: lagatta

                        Yes, the one at Boyer. It's much improved over the years, that's for sure. They have 7 different brands of coconut milk.

                        1. re: Plateaumaman

                          When I can, I go there to get the produce and other fresh things I want on sale at Intermarché. The Intermarchés on Beaubien at the corner of Garnier and on Avenue du Parc between Bernard and St-Viateur are both closer to where I live, but in general produce is fresher at the Boyer Intermarché.

              2. Has anyone been to Marché Park? What are your opinions?

                1. Interesting thread. I'm curious as to what you like about Sakaris' meat counter. I go there sometimes but have always steered clear of the meat (for no particular reason).

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: stak

                    As I wrote here
                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9794...

                    Because they carry three or four types of feet. Combined with the various other offal, the whole rabbits and the chorizo made by them.

                    Added to the fact that they are all regular stock in the meat counter, and not something that needs to be special ordered.

                    It makes me think that it is very much an anomaly (in a good way) from other meat counters in supermarkets.

                    1. re: EaterBob

                      When I go to Sakaris I like to get their cubed pork shoulder to makes curries and stews, also their chicken thighs are very tasty for stocks and chicken soups. They regularly have whole rabbit or turkey legs as Eaterbob mentioned already. Good prices, fresh, and they are very aware that their clientele doesn't want to pay a fortune.

                  2. For ethnic I like Byblos for the smaller scale compared to adonis,

                    They are on sauvé street and have great shish taouk and lebanese sausages.

                    1. Hello @eaterbob

                      For my part, I like to go to PA on fort because they often have products I cannot find elsewhere (I found 40% cream there that wasn't as expensive as Fromagerie Atwater's product and it was the first place I found Fever-Tree tonic water)

                      Other places I like to go are Marché Mourelatos (I always like to browse their selection), Marché Louise Ménard (I'd like to have that IGA near me!) at Complexe Desjardins and Adonis near the Atwater metro.

                      I also go to "ethnic/caribbean/middle-eastern" boutiques for really hard to find stuff (like Paneer).

                      Of course, Atwater market is near where I live so I go there often.

                      Oh yeah... I don't have a car so I don't go on the south shore or east/west end.

                      10 Replies
                      1. re: CaptCrunch

                        Mourelatos has been closed for a while...

                        I agree about PA tho..they sell bagged pork rinds which no one else side this side of dt.

                        1. re: kpaxonite

                          Damn! Forgot about it.

                          Its been part of my route for so long. Soon I'll be saying "at first I stop at the kitchen store on the corner of Saint-Catherine and Guy and then I stop at Mourelatos" and everybody will look at me like an alien.

                        2. re: CaptCrunch

                          Which "ethnic/caribbean/middle-eastern boutiques"?

                          1. re: EaterBob

                            My local one is called "marche al-raji" near charlevoix metro on the corner of centre and charlesvoix. They usually have classical indian ingredients ( paneer, ghee, spices) with some Caribbean (ginger beer, plantain banana), asian (tamarin paste and concentrate) and midfle eastern (halal meats and yoghurt drinks). There is some dust on some boxes and you have to look at expiration dates but everything is usually ok and cheaper.

                            Another classic is La branche d'olivier in verdun and saint-henri for spices and pulse grain.

                            http://www.yelp.ca/biz/branche-d-oliv...

                            1. re: CaptCrunch

                              You should be able to get those at Akhavan, where the stock tends to move. And prices are good. That's my go-to place for buying paneer.

                              1. re: cherylmtl

                                Yes, if I lived in your area I'd go to Akhavan. It is simply too far from here (and poor public transport connections) unless I need specific ingredients for Persian food. It has a good turnover.

                                1. re: lagatta

                                  It also caters to many food cultures, you can find some different items at Akhavan.

                                2. re: cherylmtl

                                  Thanks! I'll keep that in mind. Looks like a bit of a trek for metro users (I don't often go in NDG) but its nice to know!

                                  FYI: La Branche d'Olivier's stock tend to move a lot more and is cleaner than "Marché Al-Raji" on the average. Although I'm sure it moves a lot more than I tend to think. We seem to have a good indian presence here (enough to keep a sari store open!) and a lot of ethnic diversity. I rarely fall on bad stuff, its just my typical tendency to prefer things sterilized that plays tricks on me (my friends make fun of me by saying I am secretly japanese).

                                  I also forgot to mention another store I go to: Épicerie Coréenne et Japonaise near Marché Atwater corner Sainte-Catherine W and Chomedey (ish). Its a great place for (ding ding!) korean and japanese stuff. And this one is clean clean japanese grade clean.

                                  1. re: cherylmtl

                                    I like to plan my trips to Branche L'Olivier on weekday mornings because it can get really crowded. I am picky about a lot of things but their products are always very fresh and clean. The people working there are very knowledgeable. The place is pretty small, but they have a TON of stuff.

                              2. I really liked the Cash and Carry near the Atwater marker. It is a baker's haven. I was quite surprised on the weekend by the renovation that took place at the Fruiterie 440 in Laval. It has been updated and I found some great produce, some different varieties of vegetables at a great price. Store had displays of all kinds of kitchen items, sauces, spices, and some groceries. It is too much stimulation for a foodie, I had to avoid the entire walkabout as I would have put impulse items in the carriage. Perhaps too off Island for you?
                                I also like to go to Maynard's on the 40 when I need to stock up on canned items, such as Italian tomatoes, and jarred strained tomato sauce. I have bought ground beef there and cheeses and was very happy with price and quality.

                                9 Replies
                                1. re: Ruthie789

                                  The problem is that I don't think the métro goes there yet. I have clients and work meetings near métro Montmorency and I'm there faster than downtown, but as soon as one gets farther away from the métro stations, it is a much longer trip.

                                  When the lift is open at Jean-Talon station, except in the depth of winter, it will be far easier to cycle to many other Laval detinations. (I have large Dutch bicycle bags).

                                  As for Mayrand, it is easily doable from chez moi (Petite Italie) by bicycle, and the google itinerary sorts out the dodgy stretch near the destination.

                                  Do note that they are also open very early in the morning!
                                  http://www.mayrand.ca/

                                  1. re: lagatta

                                    Mayrand is by no means a chi-chi place in terms of ambiance but the Italian products are amazing in terms of quality and price. I buy the Mutti bottled strained tomatoes and all of my canned Italian tomatoes there. The ground beef is very good as mentioned previously. It is very busy there. I liked the Cash and Carry for baking items, they have very good quality baking chocolate that I have seen at food boutiques for a much higher price. Apparently if there is a specific item you are looking for the owner bends over backwards to try and get it for you.

                                    1. re: Ruthie789

                                      Which brands of baking chocolate?

                                      1. re: hala

                                        I tried to google Cash and Carry but don't find one in the Atwater area. Are you talking about Aubut, (cash and carry = wholeseller) or is it another store?

                                        1. re: hala

                                          Aubut would be considered a cash & carry even though they now accept cards and offer grocery items in non-wholseale sizes. I'm about 99% sure Aubut is the place Ruthie789 is talking about.

                                        2. re: hala

                                          They carry a good selection of Belcolade and Cacao Barry chocolate.

                                          1. re: SnackHappy

                                            Thanks!

                                            Yeah, they also have Valrohna :)

                                          2. re: hala

                                            I know that had the Du Barry chocolate and I think I saw some Callebaut. They also carry a prepackaged icing sugar in a plastic bag.

                                    2. +1 for PA (Fort, also new location on Parc = huge improvement!)

                                      +1 Adonis (downtown)

                                      +1 Branch D'Olivier on Wellington

                                      Frutta Si when I was nearby in Lasalle

                                      Occasional visits to both Aubut, and Club Entrepot Provigo in Lasalle

                                      Enjoyed the one trip I took out to Marche Epicure on Pare near Decarie

                                      Sometimes marche Eden in the galeries de Parc for produce.

                                      Always going for a good combo of best quality/price/diversity/convenience/location ... often having to compromise on one or more of those to the benefit of the other.

                                      Great thread!

                                      8 Replies
                                      1. re: lilmsmuffin

                                        Funny how people are - I have friends who live close to the old PA on Parc, and they don't like the new one at all. I find it has a much better selection - and it remains just as chaotic as before! Yesterday I picked up some "halibut scraps" - which sounds like something I'd feed my cat, but they were just smaller pieces that could not be sold as steaks. Cheap and delicious! And a 300g tube of fresh goat cheese for $4.

                                        In terms of lists, I'd never forget the southeast Asian supermarkets either, and not only for Asian foods. Near me, marché Oriental, but also Kim Phat and Hawaï.

                                        1. re: lilmsmuffin

                                          The new PA on Parc is an improvement but every time I go there or the one in Laval, some or several items always scans wrongly in the register and they never offer to credit the amount as per the Quebec law. Also, lots of stuff at the Laval location are past the due date or spoiled. I stopped going after several incidents at the Laval store.

                                          1. re: hungryann

                                            Its not Quebec law... its just a store policy of a couple major grocery stores.

                                            (assuming you mean this one http://www.opc.gouv.qc.ca/en/consumer...) and not the mandatory one.

                                              1. re: hungryann

                                                But not a PA policy. I found you made it seem like they broke a law or a policy.... but as we all know just because one chain has a particular policy doesnt mean all other chains must honor it. Its voluntary.

                                                But I admit those other things you wrote about sound unfortunate.

                                              2. re: kpaxonite

                                                Yes it is. Article 223 of the consumer protection law states that individual items must be labelled with its price. If a store chooses to opt out, article 91 of the bylaw imposes the availability of bar code scanners and the rebate / free item policy in case of a discrepancy between the on-shelf price and the price at the register.

                                                1. re: LordWilmore

                                                  Wow Im sorry,I really didnt think thats how it worked but I was wrong. I really thought that it used to be an association of chains that just decided to follow those rules.

                                                  However many grocery items do not count (basically all produce not prepackaged)

                                                  goods that cost less than $0.60;
                                                  items sold in a vending machine;
                                                  food not packaged before sale;
                                                  unpackaged goods whose price is determined by a unit of measure, for example according to weight;
                                                  goods that are sold at a lower price than the price usually offered at the same establishment, when the current price of these goods is displayed clearly and legibly close to the location where they are sold;
                                                  goods that you can obtain by asking the merchant or one of his representatives for them, for example: goods stored in a closed display case or behind the counter;
                                                  goods that are part of a pack, when the price of the pack is indicated or when the packaging on this pack must be used again by the manufacturer;
                                                  goods that indicate a price that the merchant does not intend to change, for example: the price printed on the cover page of a magazine;
                                                  frozen foods;
                                                  goods that are so small in size that the price cannot be read clearly;
                                                  unpackaged goods that are usually sold in bulk, excluding clothing;
                                                  trees, plants and flowers;
                                                  goods sold in a returnable container.

                                              3. re: hungryann

                                                That's too bad. I haven't had the scanning problem at the new location (and I watch the monitor like a hawk); I did a couple of times at the old one.

                                                One thing that I do like about them is that they have unannounced specials and odd markdowns. At the fish counter they had the halibut pieces (from the neck) that are too irregular to make large steaks. About $8kg. There were a few bones, but it was mostly meat (I boned the pieces as the bones will go in a court-bouillon). Have a couple of small, but thick fillets for tonight with rice and vegetables, and I have plenty to make a fish stew or meal soup tomorrow, for a couple more suppers.

                                                Their produce looked a bit sad today, but in the summer I buy almost all produce at JTM.