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Interesting things to do around Jean Talon Market?

My wife and I will be in Montreal this weekend (July 4-5-6) and we are trying to avoid the areas we have been to in the past (i.e. Old Montreal and the downtown). We will arrive late Friday night and go straight to hotel near airport. Then on Sat. we have an 8 am appointment and then we are free for the day. Planning to head to Jean Talon Market. And the day will essentially end at Joe Beef for a 6:30 reservation.

So, is there enough around Jean Talon to keep us busy and amused all day? Also considering Notre Dame to check out the antique shops and it is near Joe Beef.

We don't need any food recos (Have lots if we get hungry!) But what other interesting areas are there to check out? I know that is pretty vague. (No museums, churches, tours) + we have a car.


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  1. You could climb mount royal if you havent done that already or go and see the botanical gardens.

    1 Reply
    1. re: kpaxonite

      Thanks kpaxonite, we have done those in the past. We have never been in Montreal together but have both been many times in the past separately. So we have done most all of the "attraction" type things.

    2. Conductorchris, there are already several threads on the board about the Jean-Talon market area.

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9711... Jean-Talon market and area 2014

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8916... Previous year

      And if you just search "Jean-Talon" on the board you'll find many more. Remember that it is a very long street, but most of the searches involve the market + Little Italy area or the South Asian "Little India" area a bit west of here, basically from avenue du Parc to Acadie.

      Here is a fairly recent search for a good restaurant in Villeray or Little Italy (Petite-Italie): http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9655...
      Villeray is the neighbourhood just north of Jean-Talon, so even the popular Syrian Petit Alep is in Villeray, as is the very good boulangerie Le Pain dans les Voiles on Castelnau at the corner of Drolet (one short block north; if you are parked at the market don't bother driving there).

      I may be able to answer any specific questions; of course I find plenty to do around here in a day, but that also involves work, seeing friends, buying cat food and other mundane aspects of everyday life.

      1. Another possibility is to visit Atwater Market instead, which is close to Joe Beef. You can walk or rent a bike or take a Bixi and cruise the Lachine Canal stopping in the Old Port, Atwater Market, and Terrase Ste-Ambroise...just take a relaxing day along the canal...even detour up to Notre-Dame...and end the day at Joe Beef. Of course Atwater is no Jean-Talon but it's still nice.

        1. A whole day at the market ?

          Nope; 1 or 2 hours, yes, if in no hurry and eat your way through the different food vendors and go in the different shops and wanting to go on St-Laurent blvd (for Milano, Caffee Italia, ...)

          3 Replies
          1. re: Maximilien

            Thanks Maximilien, foodinspace & lagatta

            How about the Metropolitan Flea Market or St. Michel Flea Market? We like antiques and vintage stuff (pre 80s). Are these flea markets mostly new discount items?

            Couple of other questions:

            Beer: Cheaper at Costco than regular grocery stores?
            Maple Syrup: What the going price for 500ml?
            Creton: Where is the best? To take home.

            1. re: Conductorchris

              Flea markets? I would flee....

              For regular beer? maybe costco is cheaper (I don't costco myself)
              Good local beer; go to "Marché des saveurs" at JTM for a good selection of local/provicial micro breweries beer.

              Maple Syrup:I've not look at it recently, but a regular can should be around $8-$10

              Creton: I get my cretons from Au Cochon Tout Rond (still at JTM).

              1. re: Conductorchris

                Skip the Metropolitan Flea Market. The St. Michel one has many vintage treasures but few bargains. Fun to browse if you're into that kind of thing.

                For beer, as Max says there's Marché des saveurs, but a couple of doors west is La Grange du marché, which has an equally good if not better selection. Check both, as they don't overlap completely.

            2. Yes, I don't see you spending a whole day there. If you are saying you already walked around mont-Royal/St-Denis streets, then I would combine the Jean-Talon Market with a walk in the mile-end, it has some nice, lively streets (Bernard, St-Viateur-Fairmount, up to Laurier), between St-Laurent and Parc. It's walkable from the market, and you can end up at Laurier Metro to go to Joe Beef (orange line), but since you have a car, I'll let you figure this out.

              1 Reply
              1. re: sweettoothMTL

                If you haven't yet been to Mile-End and you don't mind walking, then this is a nice suggestion. Mile-End is a little more intimate, lively, and walkable than the neighbourhoods that border JTM. The exception is Little Italy, which you would pass through while walking between Mile-End and JTM anyway.

              2. Just to complicate things slightly, weekend parking in and around JTM and most side streets is awful, sometimes essentially impossible. It's rarely easy elsewhere, but that area is particularly tough. Suggest you consider leaving the car at the hotel, if possible. This would also make it more feasible to go exploring on foot without having to backtrack to your car.

                (And if you are unfamiliar with Montreal street parking be sure to take the time to decipher the restrictions wherever you park...vacant unmetered spots look tempting but are usually reserved for permit holders.)

                3 Replies
                1. re: Mr F

                  Parking is a nighmare on the side streets but far from impossible to park on premises, take your car and park in the outdoor section on rue Casgrain (there's an underground section on the other side (Henri Julien Street) which I think I've only parked in once), it's very convenient and you pay on your way out so you don't have to worry about meter time running out. Two hours of parking will run you about $3-4 (cash only). Depending on what time you show up you may have to wait no more than 5 mins to enter the parking lot. I'm there every weekend and I think I once in 10+ years waited 10 mins. The last few weekends have been smooth sailing with no line ups to enter the lot but do use the outdoor parking I think it's less hectic. I think peak time is around 11 am to 2 pm, I know after 2pm it's not as crazy. You are then a 5 minute drive away from the other neighbourhood suggestions with easy meter parking.

                  1. re: JerkPork

                    I rarely drive to the market (only if driving for other errands and/or on my way out of town), but a couple of times lately I've seen the line for the outdoor lot backed up all the way down the street to Poisonnerie Shamrock. Must be just dumb luck or bad timing, since you obviously do it often and fare better.

                    Still, on a Saturday I would try for the underground garage on Henri-Julien before that one.

                    1. re: Mr F

                      It's possible that I miss prime time as I mostly get there later in the day (around 2-3pm). My other observation is that seedling season and then peak peak harvest season (late Aug/early Sept) gets really nuts. July to early Aug seems to be a tad less busy.

                      But I do suggest OP get there early if they can.

                      I like sweetooths's plan, JTM then Mile-End (Bagels, Kem Coba for ice cream, great coffee at Caffe in Gamba)

                2. Things to do around JTM:

                  Walk around Jarry park (just a bit north of Jean-Talon off St-Laurent).
                  Check out the shops on Little Italy stretch of St-Laurent (gelato time)
                  Go to Alati Caserta at 277 Dante for the best cannoli in Little Italy
                  Walk west down Jean-Talon street and browse the Indian and Pakistani groceries. Grab lunch there. I recommend Halal 786 at 768 Jean-Talon Ouest.

                  I don't know if that's enough for a full day, but that's enough to keep you busy for most of the afternoon, at least.

                  4 Replies
                    1. re: Shattered

                      If you do go to Jarry Park (which is not our most spectacular park; it is mostly playing fields for different sports, and of course the tennis facility), then walking east there are a few interesting places on Villeray St. There is a nice little espresso bar, café Vito, just east of St-Laurent, open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

                      Very close by, at 171 Villeray, is Frite Alors! with Belgian-style frites (with a large choice of sauces) and snack bar foods, including Belgian varieties.
                      Farther east (still an easy walk), at 500 Villeray, Chez Vincenzo also makes espresso, but is above all a destination for gelato: https://fr-fr.facebook.com/ChezVincenzo http://www.chezvincenzo.com/ Nothing but the contact info at the website so far. There are also boutiques along this street selling jewellery, clothing and other things by local artisans.

                      Jarry Park does have a nice corner in the southeast, from Faillon up to Villeray, where there is a semi-artificial pond and a gazebo, many trees, and picnic tables. Since I live nearby we often picnic there. The pond is "semi-artificial" as it was originally a marshy area, but it has been dug out more and is fed water from below. There are ducks and aquatic plants.

                      1. re: lagatta

                        Jarry Park also has a pond at the lower east corner near St-Laurent and Faillon streets bordered by tree-dotted lawns. There's a large treeless lawn in the middle of the park where cricket is usually played on weekends. It's a good spot to just sit down and relax between walking around, and maybe quietly crack open a beer (cans only!)

                        1. re: Shattered

                          Yes, the cricket pitch is a great innovation. Mostly gentlemen of South Asian origins, in crisp whites.

                          Technically, one is allowed to drink wine or beer only with "meals" in Mtl parks, but nobody would bother a spectator for cracking open a beer at a match.

                          Shattered, I corrected "southwest" to read "southeast". Of course the Tennis stadium is at the southwest.

                    2. In a different direction from most of the other recommandations, who did a good job at covering the proximity of the market, you could get in your car and go to Parc de l'Ile de la Visitation, which is close to Papineau and Gouin. It's a pretty big and nice riverside park which has a lot of older buildings, settled in the 1800s. It's probably a 20-30 minutes drive from the market, and if you want to grab a quick bite, there is bistro du moulin there who have one of the nicest terrasse in Montreal (and often overlooked, as it is out of the way).

                      As for parking around the market, if you go before noon, parking in the market won't be a problem. If not, a hidden spot is around park Dante (just 2 minutes of walk south of the market), where parking on the street is mostly free and there is normally a fair amount available, unless there is a wedding at the church.

                      2 Replies
                        1. re: Conductorchris

                          Yes, Parc de la Visitation is a lovely place for a picnic. Unless there is a lot of traffic, it shouldn't be more than 20 minutes' drive; I've done it by bicycle several times (there is a bicycle path all the way) and it doesn't take terribly long. There is a beautiful old church nearby; I know you weren't interested in visiting churches or museums, but you can just look at it driving by.

                          I didn't know about the Parc Dante parking tip; however on a Saturday in the summertime there probably will be weddings.

                      1. Trip Report

                        Hello again and thank you to everyone that commented on this thread. Here is what ended up occurring the weekend we visited beautiful Montreal. Due to the Jazz Festival going on we were hoping to skip the downtown. And we have been to Montreal many times and wanted to see some different parts of the city. We had amazing weather.

                        Friday night we drove straight from Toronto to Montreal.

                        Saturday we had an early morning appointment to pick up our new car. Once that was all done we had a short drive over to Jean Talon Market. The sun was shining and we were eager to check out the market for some delish treats. We started out along the north corner where there are permanent shops. We sampled some fantastic Creton and bought a few containers. We then moved eastward and into a large cheese shop where we bought curd (a childhood favourite of both my wife and I), some extra old cheddar (which is not as dry and crumbly as I am used to but more rich and smooth on the tongue, yet very tangy) and some unpasteurized goat cheese. We continued on picking up some other great things to take home with us (4 pack of mixed maple syrup, multi-hued radishes, and fresh garlic). One other stand we stopped at of note was at the eastern corner. It was a little cheese stand selling two types of goat cheese. One very fresh and soft that looks like cream cheese and another slightly aged. These were mind blowing! A local woman told my wife she starts her day with some of the soft on a baguette and a little raspberry jam. Well, my wife has been having that daily and commenting every time that it is the most delicious and decadent way to start her day.
                        We left Jean Talon and drove over to St. Viateur Bagels on Rue Saint Viateur and each bought a fresh, hot bagel. MMM We moved on to Rue Clark and Ave. Fairmount. Had a special in Wilensky’s Light Lunch, which was good! Checked out the little shop Mercantile which is kitty-corner from Wilensky’s and picked up some cool items to take home. We then went down Ave. Fairmount to do a taste test of Fairmount bagels. We are most decidedly St. Viateur fans. Upon arriving back at the car we found we had another unexpected souvenir from Montreal, a nice red and white ticket for $53 (parking in a spot reserved for a pass holder). So, what we saved on lunch at Wilensky’s, we paid in another way. Oh, well!

                        We then drove down to Rue Notre Dame to check out the antique shops. Very nice to browse around but very expensive. With the sun beating down on us we decided to stop for refreshment at Drinkerie, and sat on the patio under umbrellas. Recharged, we walked south/east through the neighbourhood and enjoyed walking along the canal and a stop at Parc de al Stelco. (Great little park) We really enjoyed this neighbourhood and could imagine living in this area quite happily.

                        Since we still had a couple of hours before our reservation at Joe Beef, we jumped back in the car and drove to Nuns Island. Using the GPS we checked out every road and street over there. A very beautiful enclave. It struck me that there was a great amount of planning that came together in this are to make a beautiful, mixed neighbourhood of older condos, newer condos, townhouses (new and old) and multi-million dollar single residences.

                        Still with some time on our hands we decided to go check out Olympic Park. So across town we went. Once we arrived at Olympic stadium it started to rain. It was such a fierce downpour there was a bit of flash flooding and thousands of people on the streets were hurrying for any kind of cover. We just stayed in the car and drove around. We will come back to this area another time in the future. It was time to head back to Joe Beef.

                        Joe Beef
                        We were happy to get reservations only a couple of days prior to our trip because we had heard that it is booked up quite a bit in advance. We were seated and directed to check out the extensive menu on the chalk board wall. I liked the idea, but I was sitting facing the menu so I could see it fine, my wife was sitting across from me with her back to it. And even if she turned around she could not read it looking straight up. Also, everyone had to come stand behind my chair all night to look at the menu. The waiter suggested to them to take a pic on their phone so they could sit down. SO, Joe Beef guys, I get it! The menu changes daily depending on availability of ingredients and your chefs cooking whim. But, it’s too hard to read on the wall when you have 30+ items and a wine list of 80-100 bottles also on the wall. Surely, you could print it on a sheet of plain paper. That would alleviate all of this commotion around the wall menu and stop the straining of necks to see it. Btw, I tried numerous times to take a picture of the menu with an iPhone and with the sun setting outside, and reflection of lights inside it became impossible to get a clear picture. People could take the menu home to recall their beautiful meal. It will also give you space to put English translations of some terms. My wife and I are not native French speakers but we get by quite well. I lived in France for a year. I could translate 99% of the menu, there were a few things such as the French name of a fish that tripped me up. Anyhow, rant over, back to the food.

                        We started with some drinks. A Gin + Tonic for the missus and a Caesar for me. She said her drink was wonderful. My Caesar was quite a creation. Served in a canning jar it had a big piece of celery, a piece of seafood which I think was calamari, tiny gherkin and olive which didn’t seem to have the traditional flavours but where pickled in a slightly different flavour. And to top it off, an oyster on the half shell! The jar was rimmed in (likely) Joe Beef Montreal Steak Spice. It was stunning to look at. But I have two problems with it. First: the straw is too short! It would fall below the rim of the jar, and I had to keep fishing it out. Secondly: I love a Caesar and like them spicy. So in that way it was good. But here is my problem, and I know it’s me. I like Clamato and I am used to Caesars being thick. But when you get a Caesar at an upscale place (like many I have tried around Toronto and elsewhere) they may make their own ‘clamato’ from fresh tomato juice and real clam liquor. This typically makes a juice that is the consistency of water and usually only slightly reddish. And it just isn’t as strong as Clamato. So I find that these high-end Caesars taste like the remnants left in the bottom of your glass after the ice melts. Watered down. Anyhow, that is just me and I just need to stop ordering them if I don’t like them that way. Not to mention, $18 is pretty steep for a drink in my mind unless it has been aged years and years.
                        We then ordered two each of the four oysters they had on offer, which was a nice way to start out our meal! For starters my wife ordered the cold, smoked tomato soup and I ordered the ½ double down. Her soup was excellent, chilly cold and thick..(like a Caesar should start out! Ha ha) Very flavourful! And my Double Down made with two pieces of Fras Gras battered in a KFC type coating with bacon in the middle was SO full of flavour!! But boy, am I glad I only got the ½ order. So rich and you just know with each bite you are losing days off the end of your life, but worth it!

                        For our main, my wife ordered the Lobster Spaghetti which she had seen on Instagram and just had to have. She was not disappointed. 1 ½ pounds of lobster on top of spaghetti. She couldn’t finish it of course. And I had the Steak Joe Beef Monsieur. Not to be confused with the Cote de Boeuf which is for two people. I could not tell you how many oz this steak is, but it is over a pound. I am a big eater and I can not remember ever taking home a doggie bag. Well…I did that night, including one for my wife with half of her lobster spaghetti. Huge portions. Fight food coma on the drive back to hotel, passed out for the night.

                        Start off at Orange Julep for their famous shake and bagel (not so famous) for breakfast. We thought the Orange Julep drink was ok, and the bagel was bad. Not even a Montreal style bagel, more like a dried out Tim Horton’s bagel. But we were happy to stop. We will try it again another time but later in the day and skip the bagel.
                        St. Viateur Bagels in DDO to load up for home. Meet Vince the owner and have coffee with him. Great guy and fantastic bagels.
                        Then around the corner to Costco to load up on beer. There was a pretty good selection but light on Quebecois breweries. End up buying over 300 cans/bottles.
                        And finally stopped at Smoke Meat Pete’s in L’lle Perrot for lunch before heading back down the 401 for home. OMG, you could smell the smoking meat from across the street at the Dairy Queen! For those who have not been it is completely different atmosphere than the Delis in the city. This is a road house that has Blues music playing and big murals of Blues greats. The sandwich was fantastic. I am so glad we stopped. 10 out of 10 / Five Stars A perfect place to eat before leaving Quebec. CAUTION: by Brockville I NEEDED coffee!
                        Again, thank you for your info before. I wish I had the time to compose this a little better. But you get the idea of what we did. We had a great time and look forward to returning soon.

                        10 Replies
                        1. re: Conductorchris

                          Nice report, don't tell me you skipped Kem Coba right next to Fairmount bagels.

                          I'm a St Viateur fan too, they just taste better IMO.
                          $18 for a Caesar? I understand it comes with seafood but that's insane and hence why restaurants probably hate me, other than a beer here and there I refuse to order booze in a restaurant.

                          That small cheese place at JTM you are referring to is obviously Buckland Cheese, sooo good.

                          1. re: JerkPork

                            Yes, great report. I haven't grazed the Orange Julep in years. Is a Julep and a bagel the new 'go to' at the OJ?

                            1. re: blondee_47

                              No blondee_47, I doubt it but that is all they pretty much searve first thing in the morning. We were after the Julep

                            2. re: JerkPork

                              Hmm, not familiar with Kem Coba, will have to research.
                              Would Buckland be the seller of the soft cheese? Thanks alot

                              1. re: Conductorchris

                                Yes, Buckland makes, and sells at least two types of goat cheese, a soft, uncured one and another that is aged somewhat. They make more than those two types, but don't always have the others at JTM:


                                They also have a gîte rurale (farmstay). http://cassisetmelisse.com/

                                1. re: lagatta

                                  The cured hard cheese Buckland sells is Tomme.
                                  I had no clue that the Julep served bagels, I haven't been there in a few years. I think an order of really greasy fries is in order though. :)

                                  Glad you skipped Schwartz and went to Pete's instead.

                                  You missed out on Kem Coba big time and were so close.

                                  1. re: JerkPork

                                    I imagine Orange Julep does better fries than their bagel! lol
                                    Pete's was great. We wanted to switch it up and hit all new places. Some day I'll return to Schwartz, but need to try all the rest first.

                                    Kem Coba is on the list for next time.

                                    1. re: Conductorchris

                                      Dont bother with Julep fries... I actually kind of like the drink they serve but everything else is way below La Belle (which isnt very good) in terms of quality in my opinion

                                      1. re: kpaxonite

                                        There's something about those greasy fries though.