10 things under 10 minutes from Jean-Talon metro station

Mayssam Samaha

Mayssam Samaha is a food and travel writer and blogger and the founder behind the blog Will Travel for Food. She travels the world in search of the next culinary discovery. From Iceland to South Africa, she’s already visited over 30 countries and there’s nothing she enjoys more than wandering around a farmers’ market in a foreign city. She is also the founder of the SAISONS intimate dinner series highlighting Québec products and chefs.

Jean-Talon station, which connects the blue line to the orange line of Montréal’s metro (subway system), is at the heart of Little Italy. In this post, we feature 10 activities under 10 minutes from this station. 

The must: Jean-Talon Market

Walking time: 4 minutes 

Ask any Montrealer what’s of interest around the Jean-Talon metro station, and the first thing that comes to mind is the Jean-Talon Market. The largest open-air market in North America has been around since 1933. At this heaven on earth for any foodie, you’ll find spice and olive shops, butchers, artisanal sausage makers, fish and cheese mongers, bakers, restaurants and cafés, and, of course, fresh produce from local providers. Eat your way through the market, or shop for some edible souvenirs. 

Relax: Parc Jarry

Walking time: 10 minutes 

Once you’re at the market, buy yourself some cheese, Italian salumi, a nice baguette, and some fresh fruits and veggies, and head over to Parc Jarry where you can sit on the grass or at a picnic table and enjoy the view of the fountain with its ducks. During the month of August, you can watch a tennis match or two at the Rogers Cup at the IGA Stadium on the park grounds. 

Shop and eat: Little Italy

Little Italy is just a couple of blocks west of the Jean-Talon Market. The Italian community has been calling La piccola Italia home since 1900. Walk down some of its streets, and enjoy the scenery of shops, cafés, exaggerated hand gestures, and passionate Italian conversations. Shop for Italian products at Milano or international spices at Anatol. In the summertime, there are quite a few festivals happening here that relate to food, fashion, Vespas, and, yes, Italian cars, from vintage Fiat 500s to the latest Lamborghini. 

Drink coffee: Ferlucci

Walking time: 4 minutes 

There’s nothing more Italian than espresso! Coffee shops abound, and popular ones include Caffè San Simeon, where you can enjoy the Malibu, a house specialty, Café Larue & Fils and its hip crowd, Café Ferlucci and its vintage Italian vibe and Café Vito and its excellent iced coffees. Sit down, do some people watching, or listen to the regular Italian patrons squabble in their native language. 

Shop: Quincaillerie Dante

Walking time: 9 minutes 

Quincaillerie Dante, on the corner of Dante and Saint-Dominique Streets, has been a staple in the neighbourhood since 1956. Part kitchen supply store and part hunting store, this unique shop “c’è tutto per tutti” (has everything for everyone). There are pasta demonstrations by famous local cook Elena Faita every Saturday afternoon and a cooking school run by Faita next door. At Quincaillerie Dante, you’ll find the best Italian products, whether you’re a hunter or a cook. 

Gourmet stop: Impasto

Walking time: 10 minutes 

Impasto is one of the best Italian restaurants in town. It serves authentic regional Italian specialties as well as creative seasonal dishes based on the Jean-Talon Market produce. Order a platter of its homemade salumi and don’t skip dessert. Chef/owner Michele Forgione is a pastry chef, and his sweet treats are remarkable.

Gourmet snack: Les Givrés

Walking time: 5 minutes 

One of the best ice cream shops in Montréal is a short walk north of the metro station. Les Givrés has garnered a great following since its opening. On hot summer days, line-ups for the artisanal frozen treats are long but well worth the wait. Try its soft serve with rotating flavours or grab one of its enormous ice cream sandwiches.

Must see: Notre-Dame-de-la-Défense Church

Founded in 1910 and recognized as a historical site by the Government of Canada in 2003, the Notre-Dame-de-la-Défense Church is at the centre of Italian community rallies. The fresco inside is beautiful, and you have a great chance of witnessing a wedding on any given Sunday in the summer. Buy yourself a cannolo from the Alati Caserta bakery across the street and watch the festivities, or enjoy your treat at the quaint Parc Dante across the street. 

Have a drink: Miss Villeray

Walking time: 10 minutes 

A hip neighbourhood bar, Miss Villeray is a great place to grab a drink and get to know the locals. Open since 1960, it’s seen many incarnations, the latest of which is terrific. It’s a great place for a “5 à 7” (Québec’s very own version of Happy Hour) or to lull the night away in a fun and electrifying atmosphere. If you’re a beer fan, head to Brasserie Harricana, a popular spot that brews many artisanal beers and offers well executed bar food.  

Eat mezzes: Le Petit Alep

Walking time: 10 minutes 

Le Petit Alep has been offering the tastes of the Middle East for the past 20 years. Aleppo cuisine blends the best of Syrian and Armenian fare for a unique dining experience. Mouth-watering mezzes (small dishes meant to be shared), divine grilled meats, delicious sandwiches, luscious desserts, and a great wine list are all part of the experience. Vegetarians and carnivores alike will become instant fans of this beloved little restaurant.

The area around the Jean-Talon station is booming with interesting, highly recommendable small businesses. Here are a couple more for you to discover, both within a 5-minute walk from the metro station. 

Comptoir Sainte-Cécile: For exceptional lunch or weekend brunch as well as fine products and one of the best Québec wine collection in town.

Le Super Qualité: For delicious Indian street food and regional specialties in a colourful ambiance.

Mayssam Samaha

Mayssam Samaha is a food and travel writer and blogger and the founder behind the blog Will Travel for Food. She travels the world in search of the next culinary discovery. From Iceland to South Africa, she’s already visited over 30 countries and there’s nothing she enjoys more than wandering around a farmers’ market in a foreign city. She is also the founder of the SAISONS intimate dinner series highlighting Québec products and chefs.

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