Arguably North America's largest public market with vendors peaking in the 300 range come Montreal's warmer months, Marché Jean-Talon is nothing short of remarkable, my favorite of Montreal's public markets, a foodie phenomenon where orange cauliflowers, purple carrots, black salts and raw milk cheeses compete against wafts of grilled merguez and wild boar for your attention. And appetite. Fancy a white eggplant? Ever tried a speckled watermelon plum? The often locally-grown produce selection is outstanding. And a handful of stands make sure you know it, confidently laying out free, freshly-cut samples of their perishables so you can taste it for yourself.
Wine and spirits, assorted fresh herbs and flowers, rare spices and oils, meats and marinated fish, truffles, cashews the size of thumbs, Middle Eastern pastries, ghost peppers, organic free range eggs, tacos, samosas, crepes, fried calamari, foie gras, rare mushrooms, corn on the cob... name a food item and chances are this Montreal public market has it.
And if you spot sheep feta with a bay leaf slapped on top of it? Think of me. That feta right there is the savoriest I've ever had. And if you stumble on maple smoked salmon nuggets with a glazed finish? They're not cheap but BUY THEM. I've seen New York foodies who thought they'd tasted it all squeal with orgasmic delight biting into those babies. And if you've got a sweet tooth, see if you can score a locally produced honey wine infused with rose petals. Match that with a sharp, nutty cheese, a bean or sprouted salad, a nut bread loaf and some fresh berries and you've got yourself an elegant picnic to go.
Pro tip: the Jean-Talon Market is packed on weekends, sometimes to the point of sensory overwhelm. The upside is that peak hours tend to feature the most cooking demos, free samples and free tastings. But if you really have your heart set on exploring the market's every nook and cranny without feeling herded, then either show up before 11 a.m. on weekends or at any time during the week. The pace at those times doesn't feel quite so hectic which makes it easier to strike up conversations with shop keepers, vendors and producers to learn a few tricks of the foodie trade. Also note that Marché Jean-Talon has more fruits and vegetable vendors in the summer and fall since the market expands its indoor space to include outdoor stands topped with awnings.
Jean-Talon Market's Opening Hours
Marché Jean-Talon is open Monday to Wednesday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday and Friday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Jean-Talon Market tends to stay open on statutory holidays with the notable exceptions of Christmas and New Year's Day. Note that hours are subject to change without notice.
Getting to Jean-Talon Market: Public Transit and Parking
I prefer reaching the market by foot or public transit (by way of either Jean-Talon Metro or de Castelnau Metro), but if coming in by car, note that free parking during peak hours is not easy to come by. Rather go round and round in circles for 10 or 20 minutes, consider Marché Jean-Talon's underground parking. Rates are reasonable, either the same as or cheaper than metered street parking in Montreal.
Jean-Talon Market Contact INFO
7070 avenue Henri-Julien
Montreal (Quebec) H2S 3S3 MAP
Tel: (514) 277-1588 or (514) 937-7754