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Originally called Marché du Nord, Montreal’s Jean-Talon Market has been a fixture of the north end since 1933. Like St-Viateur Bagel and the city’s many great poutine spots, the Little Italy neighbourhood market is one stop you HAVE to make during a trip to Montreal.
Check out our list of must-eat and shop spots:
One of several really great cheese shops under the market’s roof, Qui Lait Cru has a tiny sandwich counter at the front of their store displaying about a half-dozen variations on the classic grilled cheese sandwich. Choose your favourite (rotating options include brie with walnuts and egg with ham on brioche) and have it grilled fresh while you wait.
The market’s oyster bar stocks more than 40 kinds of oysters fished from both of the country’s coasts, plus others imported from Europe. If you like oysters, you obviously have to go here. If you’ve never tried them, La Boite Aux Huitres is the place to do it—their expert shuckers will guide you towards the right kind to suit your taste buds.
Mediterranean/Middle Eastern pastry shop Le Ryad Patisserie goes way beyond baklava with its selection of incredible baked goods. Almonds, pistachios, honey, and dates are the star ingredients in each dish so if you’re into those flavours, it’s pretty hard to make a bad choice. The standout pastries are the cigares au miel, though. Do not get one to share—you’ll regret having to hand over half.
Heads up, meat-eaters: Les Cochons Tout Ronds‘ sausage and cured meats are as natural as it gets. Aged for more than a year, they use just salt and time to preserve their pork products. No nitrites or other nasty stuff. Plus their counter staff is super friendly and will let you taste-test before you buy.
For more free/delicious samples head to the market’s perimeter and check out this well-stocked cheese shop. Quebec is known for their cheese (and the best curds in the country) but don’t skip past the other dairy products the shop offers, including Riviera yogurt—sold in tiny glass pots in hard to find flavours like rhubarb and fig. La fromagerie HAMEL is also the place to pick up high-end chocolate and fancy crackers to snack on with your cheese and charcuterie.
The market’s west side is crowded with vendors selling Quebec-grown fruit and vegetables arranged in Instagram-worthy displays. Most importantly, however, this is where you’ll find that sweet Canadian elixir that makes everything from pancakes to smoothies a thousand percent better—we’re talking about maple syrup, obviously. Buy the kind in the cool, vintage-looking tins and it doubles as a condiment and a souvenir.
What: Jean-Talon Market (Marché Jean-Talon if you want to sound cool and local), for all your meat, produce, cheese, fish and baked goods needs.
Where: 7070 Avenue Henri-Julien, in Montreal, Quebec’s Little Italy (directions here).
When: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday 7am-6pm; Thursday and Friday 7am-8pm; Sunday 7am-5pm.
Like this post? Check out Outrageously Good Eats: Montreal Edition and Fall In Love With More Than Just Food At The Montreal Vegan Festival, too!