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Taking on Student Life : Montreal Edition

Written by: Jacqueline Greaves

Shopping, cooking and eating in Montreal: Leading the student life

·      Marketing and cooking together is an amazing and fun way to unite family and friends.

In the last five years because our daughter Caterina, otherwise known as Cat, decided to go to school in Montreal, Canada became a part of my life. Otherwise for me it was part of the Commonwealth or our neighbors to the north. I am a Europhile, so trips to our neighbors was not first on my agenda. Then Cat moved there. Not saying I went a lot, but when I did, I cooked for her friends. Shoes and clothes are not my thing, but markets and grocery stores definitely are. My recent last trip was bittersweet as Cat was preparing to return to live in New York. Her friends were anxious that she was doing so, and there were other emotional bits and pieces that were going on as well. So in that case I cooked even more.

Montreal is a pretty cool place to eat if you are a student, and even if you are not. It’s a really fantastic multiethnic city with fabulous restaurants to choose throughout. There are many all you can eat sushi, Korean grills, poutine locales and of course ladies’ night where as long as you each pay $20 in food you can drink endlessly it seems from the provided list of cocktails and wine for approximately 7 hours straight. It even has the one place in the world where I beg to be taken to eat a salad! These types of places did not exist to my knowledge in New York during my student days. Then like my group of college friends, Cat’s really like a home cooked meal and share whatever they have, with one bringing salad, another wine, rice or pasta, vegetables or cookies, etc. One of Cat’s Montreal friend made pizza for us with the incredible tomatoes and eggplants she picked up in the market. It’s all about cooking together and sharing an incredible meal.

With my arrival, we went shopping and I had the best time with our little multicultural group of ladies from varying countries exploring the Jean-Talon Marché in the Italian section of the city. Cat, Lucrezia, a friend from Rome, and I were busy jabbering away in Italian, and were stopped by an Italian vendor who pointed us in the direction of the local Italian supermarket for pasta and other ingredients to go along with the amazing plum tomatoes I had picked up for a truly ridiculous price. I roasted them in the oven (tossed them in my spaghetti and topped it off with toasted fresh breadcrumbs), along with deliciously scrumptious carrots, eggplant, peppers, zucchini and golden squash. I adore roasted vegetables of all types with fresh herbs. So easy to fix and to clean up at the end. We even went to an olive oil store to pick up Italian oil. Cat was, “Why?” My point of view is that we were cooking Italian so no other oil would do. If you are cooking Spanish, then Spanish oil is the right choice, and that goes for other olive oil producing countries and their cuisine as well. I am the same way with books. If I can read it in the original language, definitely. Otherwise it is a different book for me – a sort of “lost in translation.”

Montreal musts:

1.     Markets

Jean-Talon Marché

7070 Henri-Julien Avenue


Atwater Market

138 Avenue Atwater


 2.     Salad

Mandys Salad Bar

2067 Rue Crescent

3.     Coffee and Pastries

Clementine Café (Turkish/Mediterranean)

1490, rue Sherbrooke O

4.     Restaurants

**Restaurant Le Passé Composé

1310, boul. de Maisonneuve E

**Lawrence (British)

5201, boul. St-Laurent

(514) 503-1070


Santos Tapas Bar

191, rue St-Paul O