What are the best unique shops in Montreal?
May 15, 2011 10:11 AM   Subscribe

What are the best unique shops in Montreal?

I'm going to Montreal for the first time ever next week. Please tell me either shops or streets that have cool shops with unique items. Think: Queen Street West in Toronto.

Items that interest me: tea, artisanal food, jewelry, shoes, bags, handmade stuff and stores that have unique items perfect for holiday gifts.

I'm already planning on going to a few food markets.
posted by hazyspring to Shopping (13 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: And, I have seen this question: http://ask.metafilter.com/145868/What-to-buy-in-Montreal
posted by hazyspring at 10:13 AM on May 15, 2011

Lustre on St-Laurent is great for clothing and home-made jewelry.

posted by chrillsicka at 10:32 AM on May 15, 2011

I liked Perfide near Station Place Saint-Henri - really neat handmade bags, shirts, jewelry, and art. It's more like a shop you'd find on West Queen West though, not the outdoor shopping mall that is Queen West these days.
posted by Gortuk at 11:21 AM on May 15, 2011

La Table Rond (122, rue Saint-Paul E, Montréal, QC H2Y 1G6, Canada
+1 514-393-4680) for medieval clothes.
posted by musofire at 1:33 PM on May 15, 2011

Best answer: For tea: you want to try Camelia Sinensis, for something more traditional, in a meditative, peaceful eastern-like atmosphere. (in the Quartier Latin area*). for something more modern, try David's Tea, which is a bit more on the gift-boutique side, that on Mont-Royal st., east of Saint-Denis.

For food: I don't know if you're talking about restaurants or gift items.... The french macarons I mentioned in the foot note make great gifts though. For restaurants it would be long to write since I don't know your taste and budget but if you specify I'll be happy to make suggestions.

Jewellery, shoes, bags: you'll find some original and nice stuff on st-denis st. (Scarpa comes to mind - but I'm biased since I've worked there before), since a lot of shops are local. The mile-end is also great for indie design: walk around Saint-Viateur and Bernard. (mile-end is about the area between Saint-Laurent, Van Horne, Saint-Viateur and Bloomfield. Google this to see the area approximately: H2V 4H2) L'Arterie, Local 23 and General 54 come to mind but the streets are full of little shops. In that area on St-Laurent you'll also find independent international designers at boutiques like Unicorn or Les étoffes, and you might come across a vintage pop up shop. If you're in the Mile-End DO STOP FOR A BAGEL :) I'm in the Fairmount bagel camp, but let's not start that war here. :)
Also, for lunch time, SoupeSoup is very good (they also have a cafe downtown, on Crescent if I'm not mistaken)

Also, if you're downtown (on St-Catherine), make the effort to continue past Guy St. (Concordia university) and you'll find good little shops like Onze, 1861 and Razberry.

If you have money and you're in Old Montreal, I'm crazy for Rooney, Reborn and all the little art galleries/clothing stores over there (I'd say mainly on Saint-Paul). Oh and if you want funky glasses you want to go at Le Bar à Lunettes.

You didn't ask about going out or venues, but just so you know the FTA will be on next week (if you like contemporary theatre or dance, don't miss it!!)

And if you want, you can rent a Bixi to see all this :)

*while you're there, after, you can then go all the way up Saint-Denis street. All kinds of local shops, cafes and local restaurants. If you like the area, you can turn on Mont-Royal St. to the east, and see similar shops and restaurants (if you like french macarons, Point-G is pretty good; the palm for that treat goes to the Europea macarons, though, which you can buy downtown, at the Birks cafe- they come in boxes and make lovely gifts. also, they're the ones I've tasted here that are the closest to what I've tried at Ladurée in Paris). If you turn west on Mt-Royal, you can get to saint-laurent blvd if you'd like, or if you're in for a little trek (about 20-30 min I'd say), get the the mountain. You'll also pass in front on Maskarad, on Mt-royal st, just before getting to Saint-Laurent blvd, which is a beautiful shop. Vintage lady-parlour -like decor (think red velvet curtains, upholstered chairs and old mirrors and dressers), with vintage and independent designers clothing and accessories.

MOST IMPORTANTLY: have fun and I hope you enjoy your first time in Montreal! :)
posted by kitsuloukos at 4:58 PM on May 15, 2011

ps: I've never been to Toronto (well only when I was 6) so I don't know how my suggestions relate to the areas you've mentioned, but I hope you,ll find something you like!
posted by kitsuloukos at 5:00 PM on May 15, 2011

Best answer: kitsuloukos really hit the nail on the head. i was coming here to say all the same stuff. also, if you are going to be in town for May 25, you REALLY need to see Little Scream play at Il Motore. Here's her facebook page.

the 'mile end' has a sort of brooklyn feeling to it (st viateur and bernard). the 'plateau' feels sort of a bit more european (you can check out mount royal (between about papineau and st urbain) or duluth, from parc lafontaine to st laurent. walking along st laurent from sherbrooke up to st viateur, you'll see a ton of cool stores. also st denis from ste catherine up to about laurier has lots and lots of great stores.

i definitely recommend renting a bixi for the time you are here. montreal is small enough, and if you're in the plateau or mile end, FLAT enough, that bike riding is really a good way to get around.

if you get a bagel, make sure you get a HOT bagel. they'll give you a sesame seed bagel right out of the oven.

don't be afraid to ask people on the street if you get lost. most people are super glad to help.
posted by andreapandrea at 5:36 PM on May 15, 2011

Best answer: Good streets to stroll on that match your criteria: St. Denis from St. Catherine to Mount Royal (traveling north) and Mount Royal from St. Laurent to a few blocks east of Papineau (traveling east). These were already mentioned above, but worth reiterating. You could do it all in one day, with good shoes and a few pit stops.
posted by Simon Barclay at 7:06 PM on May 15, 2011

Response by poster: Oh, thanks everyone. And when I say food, I do not mean restaurants ... more shops for artisanal foods. I have the restaurants staked out. But I am a huge fan of cooking and kitchen shops.

posted by hazyspring at 8:54 PM on May 15, 2011

For food you might want to get to Jean-Talon market and check out Le Marché des Saveurs du Québec which has lots of local foodstuffs. Also at the market I like the cold cuts from Les Cochons tout ronds but as your profile says you're in the U.S. you may find this may be a kind of product you can't take back across the border.

Both the Jean-Talon and Atwater markets are wonderful spots for food stuff generally. There's a Camellia Sinensis on Casgrain near the J-T, which is recommended by kitsuloukos above.

Near the market is the Quincaillerie Dante (6851 St Dominique, at Dante), which looks like a small undistinguished local hardware store until you get inside and find it's about six times bigger than it looks and crammed with kitchen equipment and gadgets of every possible kind. People also speak well of Les Touilleurs on Laurier and I've also found wonderful kitchen tools at Arthur Quentin on Saint-Denis.

One shop that has a great selection of food stuffs is Le Fouvrac at 1451 Laurier East. That may be a smidge out of the way, but if you do get over there and want an interesting nosh, I recommend the Byblos at 1499. Persian food. Nom.
posted by zadcat at 9:03 PM on May 15, 2011

If you go to the Atwater market, try wandering down along rue Notre Dame West too, there are some interesting shops. One you might like is called Fait Ici (Made Here)
I went on holidays recently and found quite a lot of nice things from here, to take as gifts. And, as they name suggests, they are all made locally!

Along this stretch there is also a cupcake shop (Itsi Bitsi - note I do not recommend the cupcakes) but they have some cards and gift-y sorts of things as well.

But overall I recommend just choosing one of the above mentioned neighbourhoods and going for a wander - there are lots of stores on the Plateau and in Mile End that suit your criteria!
posted by unlaced at 10:56 AM on May 16, 2011

posted by oulipian at 1:38 PM on May 16, 2011

Food-wise, I second the Jean-Talon market, if not for produce then for cheese (the guys at Qui Lait Cru? are always super friendly and knowledgeable) and tourtière (most of the butcher shops in the market sell them -- they're all different, but all delicious!), as well as the Quincaillerie Dante (bought my pasta maker there).
posted by Eee at 4:14 PM on May 16, 2011

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