Sep 14, 2009

Neighborhood nosh: a few Montreal restaurant tips

by Fiona O'Connor
With all that's been going on in the world of visual arts recently, I'm feeling a little guilty for not keeping you up to speed on the Montreal food front. After all, the city has at least as much, if not more to offer in terms of culinary diversity as it does art, often making the decision of what to eat and where seem overwhelming.

I myself was confronted with this dilemma the other night, when the inspiration to cook lost out in the battle against post-Saturday lethargy (aka the hangover), and I was forced to choose among the copious array of restaurants, both cheap and delicious, available in and around my Little Italy/Rosemont neighbourhood. Do I walk 3 minutes up to St-Zotique for some Salvadorian pupusas and a pitcher of horchata from the popular La Carreta? Or do I stick to my default merguez sandwich from my closest chicken joint, the curiously-spelled Poyo Loco on Beaubien?

In the end, it was my hankering for sweet and spicy comforts that was rewarded with a classic chana masala, a hearty butter chicken and perfectly puffed naan from Punjab Palace, one of the many Indian restaurants located on Jean-Talon in Parc-Extension (Parc-Ex). Though my dining companion and I had first set our sights on the celebrated Bombay Mahal, when we arrived to find the kitchen had just closed we weren't hard-pressed to find a satisfying alternative. With its Greek heritage and myriad immigrant communities - African, Latin American, Caribbean and South Asian among them - Parc-Ex is considered the city's most culturally-diverse neighborhood. One of its main commercial thoroughfares, Jean-Talon reflects this diversity in its abundant restaurants, clothing shops, deps, and beauty salons.

Deps done right: a Jean-Talon corner store adds legumes in bulk to its typical sundry stock... well as a smorgasbord of sweets!

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