The Sainte-Marie sector of Centre Sud, a rather bleak stretch of the city between the Jacques-Cartier Bridge and the Hochelaga railyards, is certainly not a hot destination for Asian food in Montreal. It’s more known for its auto shops, cigarette factory and the rather ominous-looking Sûreté du Québec headquarters. But it does have one little gem that few Montreal neighbourhoods can claim: a dépanneur with a full-service pan-Asian restaurant menu.
Dépanneur signs are not always the most honest. The uninitiated should take neon lettering announcing “charcuterie,” “fromage,” “café” and “fruits et legumes” with a grain of salt. Dépanneur Idéal’s claims to having “metscuisinés,” however, are perfectly legit. The establishment at the corner of Logan and Iberville serves a delightful array of Asian food from a counter behind the cash. Their pad thai makes for a satisfying lunch or late-night snack with options of chicken, shrimp or veggies. What’s more, it costs a paltry $7. Add on a couple of $1.25 egg rolls and you’ll have a real feast. Other Thai items include the pad sew, spring rolls and peanut chicken. Chinese items like wonton soup, fried rice, General Tao chicken and beef and chow mein are also offered. They even have a pho!
There are two stools next to a widescreen TV playing live sports if you want to eat in. If you live within a few blocks, you can also order delivery (don’t forget to add all of your regular dep delivery items like beer and smokes to the bill!). All menu items cost less than $10, and one dish will feed all but the most famished.
Like most dépanneurs, this one has also got you covered for basic grocery needs. They’ve got 25-cent candy, chips, lottery tickets and the standard selection of beer and wine. It’s also well kept and tidy. But it’s the Asian food that keeps locals here in Montreal coming back. If you’re not in the area, it’s worth a trek to Frontenac metro to check out a Montreal dep that actually serves decent food. It’s places like Dépanneur Idéal that shine a warm hopeful light on the less well-served areas of town. ■
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