Visiting Montreal on Easter weekend - ideas?

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Well so do I. So where's my Moroccan Jewish resto, eh?

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Capitalism betrays Montreal yet again.


You mean if I demand louder, I'll maybe get some supply?


There are a number of Moroccan restaurants that have popped up on our stretch of the Danforth here in Toronto.  I wonder if any of them serve Moroccan Jewish food?  We haven't been to any of them yet because the few times we do go out, we have a couple of favourite places we always frequent (an amazing Mexican restaurant where we got married, and a couple of bistros).  We keep meaning to go to one of them, or to one of the Ethiopian places that have also found a home in our neighbourhood. 


I believe there is one that does, but it is farther north- think it is somewhere on or near Eglington. I don't think it is kosher.

There is not the great difference between Maghrebi Jewish foods and those of the Muslim majority as there is between the Jewish cuisine of Northeastern Europe and the Christian majority, simply because the dietary restrictions are very similar. In North Central and Eastern Europe, there is a sea of pork (of course, when there was abundance of anything). There are of course a few differences; for example there will be no butter or smen in a couscous containing meat, but Jews can openly consume wine and spirits (of course not all Muslims were or are devout about this restriction). There are also some dishes seen as of Jewish origin, but which have usually spread to the general gastronomic patrimony. (Sorry, I had to write that).


Oh, I forgot, my favourite dim sum joint:

I've only been to the one in Chinatown (1111 St-Urbain), and it's a 10 minute walk for you.

But it'll be a 20 minute walk back. <chortle>


St Viateur rules for bagels. Get an everything bagel yummy then get some triple cream cheese hmmmmm

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

I second Unionist's endorsement of Kam Fung (again, the Chinatown location).

Mostly I came in to say that Fairmount Bagel is infinitely superior to St-Viateur. Anyone who tells you otherwise (say Maysie or Bacchus) is simply being a trouble-maker. The only thing St-Viateur has going for it is that it is across the street from Arahova.

*insert Homer Simpson moaning noises at the thought of Arahova, wipe drool off of keyboard*


Poor poor delusional bagkitty, so sad to see the mind go.


St Viateur rules though in a pinch, fairmount works as an ok substitute



Dirty little secret: They're both incredibly good.

But I'll swear by St-Viateur (and at Fairmount) every time!



Hee hee.  That's always true about the walk back from a good restaurant being twice as long as the walk there!

So how offensive am I going to be with my grade 9 French from 25 years ago?  (Oh lord, I just realized, it's actually 26 years ago. I'm getting old.)  I wonder how much vocabulary I can cram into my brain over the next two weeks?  :)

Gawd, I really do need to learn French.  I keep saying I'm going to work on it...


You won't be offensive at all.

I met Maysie and her sweetie! There was a launch of a book on women's self-defence stories (lagatta played a word-worrier part in that) at an utterly beautiful lecture hall in Mile End Library, which is located in a converted Anglican church. The little hall has a huge stained glass window with THREE depictions of a disturbingly blond Aryan Jeebus and his equally Waspy friends and fambly. This hall must have been the choir. Through glass, it looks over the main body of the library, with another big stained glass window at the other end. It is a lovely place to read.

Hope they are having, or have had, a wonderful time here despite our nasty Equinox snowstorm. Maysie, a year ago the student protests were in full swing and they took place in t-shirt weather starting from March, and the snow had all melted even up in the Saguenay!

You will weigh in with a little trip report. Mile End Library is also EXTREMELY close to the bagel places. It is one of the libraries with a multilingual vocation - there are many books in the main languages spoken in the vicinity (besides French and English). It is also the closest Mtl city library to my house, though I live in Petite-Italie in the Rosemont - Petite-Patrie district, not the Plateau district (which includes Mile End). Fortunately, my district (arrondissement) is building a community centre and library which will be close indeed, and include a swimming pool and other fitness facilities.

By the way, the Anglican congregation sold the lovely little church due to a declining number of members, but bought a nearby triplex with a storefront where they set up the Mile-End Mission. Despite gentrification, there are still many poor people in the area and the mission provides many services to all (whatever their creed).

The little church was far better preserved in its new use than the huge B'Nai Jacob synagogue nearby, which is now a building of the Collège Français, alas its impressive front was almost destroyed. People liked "modern" stuff in the 1960s whem the place of worship became a school building. Nowadays there is more respect for original architecture:

The lost façade: I think there is an error in the text; I don't think the private high school "Collège français" is Catholic, there are students of all backgrounds and creeds, and certainly no shortage of Jews or Muslims.

As for Mtl tourism, I see that the NDP convention will be here very soon, in April - Yes, of course we can provide travel advice. The Convention Centre is in the oldest Chinatown and very close to Old Montreal as well, and it is very easy to access most of the places we've been talking about by métro, bus or Bixi bike.



I spent a pleasant Friday in Montreal as a result of an impromptu daytrip yesterday. We had lunch at Chuch, supper at Aux Vivres, with some wandering and window-shopping in between. And of course there was the obligatory stop at Fairmount Bagel. Mmmm...


That sounds like fun! A restaurant near me, Le Petit Alep (Syrian) has a great vegtarian plate (though it is not a veg restaurant - it is a good meeting place for vegetarians and "obligate carnivores") and many other vegetarian items. It is also the kind of place one can get a full meal or just a sandwich, salads, mezze things... On Jean-Talon, just opposite Jean-Talon Market.


Thanks, I'll have to file Le Petit Alep away as a possibility for next time. We had also considered Yuan Végétarien, but I didn't think it was wise to hit a buffet before embarking on an afternoon of walking. And then by supper time we were in a different neighbourhood.


Yes, I'm glad you mentioned the demo, because I didn't want to speak in your name - that particular one did not end in mass arrests - it was protesting those.

After our fun meet-up, I had some more errands to run on my bicycle and I espied, in front of a nearby supermarket, a big pickup truck with Ontario plates, and the following bumper sticker: marriage = (man symbol) + (woman symbol). Of course I left a note under jerk's windshield wipers, "ticketing" jerk for bigotry and homophobia, and asking why he hated my gay friends?

It was a very busy corner right by the Jean-Talon métro, so I wasn't really afraid of jerk swinging a punch at me.

I'm not very tall - had to stand on tiptoe to ticket jerk for homophobia, bigotry and general jerkdom.

It is snow crab season now and there was a lovely marine fragrance in the air at the market...

I'm a real public transport nerd too - in Toronto I'm quite capable of taking streetcars just to enjoy that transport mode, which alas we no longer have and have been trying to bring back.

Michelle and RR were staying in the same area where the NDP Convention will be, by the way - right next to our oldest Chinatown, and just north of the old city.

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

Nice to meet up with you as well lagatta!

We hung around the Jean Talon Market for quite awhile after you left...we grabbed some more iced cider and I put together a sampler pack of Dieu du Ciel of which I'm "sampling" while I write this post!

Haven't been in Montreal for about 20 years...made a lot of trips there in the 1980's...mostly union conventions and conferences and that kind of thing.   So most of the time didn't get too much out of the downtown area.

I think the Metro has expanded somewhat since I was last there.    Don't recall the "blue" east-west line and I don't recall the orange line going so far north.   But that could just be fuzzy memory on my part.

On that "transit nerdy" side of things the buses don't seem to be connected to GPS yet and so there isn't the automated computer voice calling out the stops, but I suppose that will come.

It was cool running into a demo upon our arrival in town.   Made us feel at home!



The only really recent addition to our métro system is the extension of the orange line up to Montmorency in Laval. That has proved extremely popular (there was a myth that the suburbanites up in Laval were wedded to their cars, but they've been taking the métro into Mtl in droves - and vice-versa). Alas that positive development means that the métro is always standing room only by the time I board it if I'm going to work at a conference at rush hour. We need parallel lines, and the best way to assure that (failing another métro line, far too costly now) would be a couple of parallel tramlines.

The blue line was completed in 1988, so it is 25 years old, but I could see that it wouldn't be on your radar if you weren't, say, attending a conference at Université de Montréal or going to the hospitals and such in Côte-des-neiges. It is very much incomplete as it was planned to extend eastwards to Ville d'Anjou, through St-Léonard, but alas, those funding problems (and some of the funding ending up in paper bags exchanged in cafés and engineers' offices...) There are plans to extend it westwards to the airport, but that would be very expensive. Different routes are disputed. There is far more transit use through NDG than in the more suburban, car-dependent areas towards the airport, but it is a story in itself, that. In the east, St-Léonard and parts of Anjou are densely populated and have high public transport use, as does Montréal-Nord.

Along with expansion, there is a need to retrofit stations to improve accessibility. There are lifts now in Berri-UQAM, Lionel-Groulx and Henri-Bourassa as well as all the new Laval stations, but so far none in the other two corresponding stations, Jean-Talon and Snowdon.

I don't see a GPS system, at least for public use, though there may be one to ensure better security for bus drivers.

Glad you've enjoyed your cider and beer.

As you can see, I'm suffering from a bout of that horrible early-morning insomnia, but I'm getting sleepy again and will be able to get a couple more hours' sleep. I turned in early, so I won't be sleep-deprived.


We're back!  Wow, we missed a lot of news when we were gone - we stayed pretty disconnected during our trip, I guess.  We just found out about Peter Kormos late this morning - terrible news - sorry to all who knew him. 

So, we took lots of suggestions from here and had a nice time.  Gee, sorry to have missed you, ODA!  :)

On Friday night when we arrived around 8:45, there was a demonstration in full swing in the square (and then intersection) right outside our hotel!  (At Jeanne-Mance and Ste-Catherine).  We had no idea what it was all about, but of course we wandered over to see what we could figure out.  There were a few people holding a large banner (in French of course) and I couldn't figure it out.  One of the guys holding it informed us in a stream of very fast French what the protest was all about, and of course, RR and I looked like deer in headlights until he got to the end of his explanation and we caught the words "police" and "violence".  At the same time, RR and I both went, "Ahhhh!  Okay!" as soon as we caught those words, and the guy laughed and said, "Oh...English!  Okay!" and explained it in English.  We told him we were from Toronto and could empathize, since we went to the G20 protests against police violence as well.

So we hung around the protest for a bit, but then we had to go eat because we were really hungry.  And since we'd been driving all day (stopped at my mom's place on the way), we were tired, so we did the boring thing and just hit a steak house (chain restaurant) near the hotel because it was open and easy.

By the time we were done supper, the protest had dispersed.  (We hoped it dispersed without violence - we haven't heard one way or the other since.)

The next day, I called lagatta bright and early, because we'd e-mailed on the Friday and decided to get together on Saturday at Jean-Talon market.  So we made plans to meet in the early afternoon.  In the morning, RR and I walked east along Ste-Catherine just to get our bearings.  It was between 9 and 10 a.m. and almost nothing was open yet.  But when we saw a SAQ, we had to check it out.  It was fun browsing the Quebec section of ciders and wines, and we ended up buying a bottle of iced cider.

We got back to the hotel around noon and then set out to meet lagatta at the Jean-Talon market.  It was so great to meet up after over a decade of reading her posts on babble!  She showed us around the market, and we went to her favourite cheese vendor and veggie/fruit vendor, and then sat for a while in a little cafe there and chatted.  And then wandered a bit more.  After lagatta was on her way, RR and I decided to give the market another walk-through, and one store had a tasting of Dieu Du Ciel! biere.  So of course he was game for that and ended up buying a six-pack, which he then got to lug back to the hotel on the Metro.  :)

Got back around supper time but we were tired and ended up zonking out - accidentally for a little too long because we woke at 9 p.m.!  So we thought, okay, we'll find somewhere close to eat.  We went to Chinatown, thinking that was probably our best bet for a late supper (it certainly would be in Toronto!) but unfortunately, pretty much every place there was either closed or getting ready to close by the time we got there between 9:30 and 10 p.m.  We figured that probably the other restaurants that were suggested to us would be closed by the time we got to them as well, so we decided to take a walk west on Ste-Catherine.  Then went back to the hotel and ate at the restaurant there.  It was surprisingly good!  (Often hotel food is kind of bland.)

On Sunday, we spent all day wandering in Old Montreal.  It was beautiful, of course.  We got to the Notre-Dame Basilica just before 11 a.m. (by coincidence), and heard the bells chiming for the Easter Sunday church service.  I teased RR about going to the service, but of course we didn't go.  We went to Chateau Ramezay museum, where we learned a bit about the history of Montreal.  Then spent the rest of the day wandering the streets of Old Montreal, mostly going into art galleries and checking out all the gorgeous paintings we couldn't afford to buy. ;)

On Sunday evening, we went to St-Viateur Bagel on the recommendation of some of you in this thread.  The smell was, of course, heavenly, and so were the poppy bagels we bought.  (Couldn't get sesame because RR is allergic.)  We thought about going to both St-Viateur and Fairmount, but it was raining, so we went with St-Viateur since more people here favoured that one.  That was fun - we took a bus there and back (we took lagatta's advice and got our 3-day l'occasionnelle passes), so we got to ride on both the Metro and the bus in Montreal.  Yeah, I know, big thrill - but I like trying the transit systems in other cities!

Then this morning as we were leaving, we were driving up Parc and I suggested to RR that we try Fairmount Bagel since we were driving right by it practically, and we didn't want to leave Catchfire in the cold. ;)  So we did.  Got blueberry and cinnamon-raisin ones there since we already had poppy ones from St-Viateur (and SV doesn't do anything but poppy or sesame, apparently), plus two New York style pretzels to bring back to my father.  Honestly, I thought they were all delicious, so unfortunately I can't weigh in on the eternal debate on which is better. :)

We never did get to Snowdon or Schwartz's deli.  (We had decided to go to Snowdon on Unionist's recommendation, but we kind of ran out of time.)  Next time!

Thanks again for all the great tips, everyone!  I'll be checking back on this thread the next time we go to Montreal - I'm sure this won't be the last time!


Good for you for "ticketing" that jerk, lagatta!

I was kind of amazed that anyone would try and drive through the tiny streets of the Jean-Talon market anyhow.  It was fun to watch the pedestrians in the street completely ignore them and walk in front of them.


Yeah, the homophobic jerk wasn't in those little streets, though. He was on Jean-Talon, at the corner of avenue du Chateaubriand, a bit east of there, at one corner of the building housing Bell Canada offices and the largest entrance to the Jean-Talon métro.

I do like our "entitled pedestrians".

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Of course you had a good time! You were in Montreal!

So glad you made it up to Jean Talon. It's a such a great market. And Dieu du Ciel's brewpubs is one of my old haunts, so I'm glad you got to taste the beer -- and some cider too! Add the bagels and you could scarcely do better on one weekend for Montreal staples!

Old Montreal is so lovely, especially in nice weather. It's too bad about Chinatown restaurants, though. I used to work at the English-language theatre in Old Montreal and I'm pretty sure we used to hit them up after shows for salt and pepper pork and squid, but I also feel an old nagging complaint rising up when you mention it (I've suppressed most bad memories about the town) so I'm not sure what to think.

Sounds like a great vacation. À bientôt!


Our Chinatown suffered terribly with the loss of much of its (small) territory to Guy-Favreau and Complexe Desjardins. Obviously most people of East and Southeast Asian descent here live and to a great extent shop elsewhere, as in the GTA, though there is nothing as huge as the Pacific Mall in Markham. The largest concentration of Chinese and most Southeast Asian (former "French Indochina") people is in a South Shore suburb, Brossard, but there are also pockets in many areas of Montreal Island.

A new development, Swatow Plaza, was built a few years ago on St-Laurent south of La Gauchetière (the pedestrian shopping street) but alas has not really taken off. Most of the shops and stalls remain empty, or just sell tacky cheap stuff on can find on La Gauchetière, not the high-end Asian merch that was planned, and the restaurants and food courts remain empty too. It is very sad to see this modern-Asian style complex almost deserted. Only the basement supermarket seems to do good business. But I don't like that supermarket very much, and had a bad experience there as I bought rancid sesame oil.

My favourite supermarket in the area was the one behind it on Clark Street - it had stellar produce and fish, and products I don't find elsewhere. And it has closed. A mystery, as it was always packed, mostly with Asian people.

Often I'd have a Vietnamese pho if I was working at the Convention Centre, and after the many demonstrations that end nearby, in front of Guy-Favreau, the Hydro-Québec building or the US consulate, we'd tend to wind up at the Deer Garden, an old restaurant on St-Laurent just north of René-Lévesque - I believe that one is usually open late.

I get my East/Southeast Asian staples very close by my place, as there is a little knot of Sino-Vietnamese and Sino-Cambodian shops at the corner of St-Denis and Jean-Talon; Marché Oriental is especially well-stocked, and the supermarket across the street is a bit cheaper and frequented by people from around the world. There are many small Vietnamese restaurants nearby; some are very good indeed.

And I also get South Asian products near here, walking or cycling west to nearby Parc-Extension, home of ... believe it or not ... HALAL bring-your-own-wine restaurants!


It's funny - I've only ever been to the Pacific Mall once, and it was about an hour before closing.  I'd love to check it out again when I have more time to really browse for a long time.  But it's so far away from where I live (and not in a very transit-friendly location) that I never seem to get around to it...


You'd really have to make it a day trip. It would be very interesting, but shopping is shopping, and gets very alienating after a while.

I'm more likely to get to the large T&T supermarket in Ottawa - we don't have a branch here yet. I'm especially looking for Indonesian foods, which are hard to find in Mtl.

Beautiful day here, after some cold nasty temps. I cycled to Loblaws to buy some ground turkey (to make meatballs - I bake them in the oven) and also found tins of sockeye salmon for $1 apiece. It was the no-salt-added type; perhaps that was a failed product but I made a little salad right now and it was very good. Tant mieux. Loblaws is expensive but has odd liquidations and loss-leaders.

I'm annoyed with them as they have DOUBLED the width of the aisle devoted to soft drinks and junk such as chips, with 2-litre soft drink bottles stacked in the middle. And two different small children were bugging their respective parents to buy bags of chips they had "found". Jeeez.

Back to reality, assembling invoices and pay slips for tax time. Fun!


Here is a report by Roger Annis on what seems to be the demo Michelle and RR came across:

Remember, this is for an international audience, which explains strange things such as "the neighbouring province of Ontario".

By the way, my tiny turkey meatballs are very good indeed. They incorporate cardamom, cumin, a bit of harissa, fresh parsley, red onion and dried onion, and other things I've forgotten.

Here is a recipe for general indications: I made mine smaller, forming them with a teaspoon.



kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

You missed Roger's report when it was published on Rabble.


Oh, I thought that was about the demo before which was repressed with mass arrests.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

When I started reading your link I went where I have read that before and then saw that Epaulo had posted a link to the rabble blog on the student protest thread.

My wife was also reading it at the same time and she had not read it before so re-posting it reached at least one new person.


Yes, I noticed that yesterday (the report by Roger Annis on rabble) but didn't get a chance to come onto babble to post it.  Very interesting!

lagatta, yes, the junk food aisles in stores are unbelievable.  And the problem is that it's not just the junk food aisle that has junk food on it.  All the other aisles have tons of junk food disguised as healthy food.  In full collusion with organizations like Heart and Stroke Foundation, who put their "health checks" on all sorts of crap food.


That's for sure. Looking at the flyer for Loblaws' "Blue Menu" line, there are foods as nutritious as the sockeye salmon and the beans tinned with no salt, and all kinds of "ready meals" with disguised sugar and weird transformed fats.