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CDN Chinese Favourite Rises From the Ashes With New Location

Aunt Dai goes downtown

Aunt Dai

Good news for anyone hungry for Sichuan cuisine: Côte-des-Neiges Chinese restaurant Aunt Dai has opened up a downtown location, just a few months after its original location was destroyed in a suspicious fire.

The five-alarm fire in October took both Aunt Dai and neighbouring pizza restaurant Pizza Way off the map, causing $300,000 in damage. Aunt Dai had a relatively new Anjou location at 6381 Roi-Rene, but let’s be honest, that’s not the most convenient location for a chili oil beef or mapo tofu fix, at least for many Montrealers.

The restaurant announced its new location via social media: it’s on Saint-Mathieu, right near Concordia University’s downtown campus, with the slightly dark observation that it’s conveniently located across from a fire station: “hope this will give people peace of mind!”

The restaurant owner also commented that he had attempted to reopen in Côte-des-Neiges but couldn’t find an appropriate location, hence the move downtown.

Aunt Dai moves into the same building housing Lebanese restaurant Saj Mahal, and is no longer a BYOB restaurant (they’re in the process of acquiring alcohol permits).

One of the highlights of Montreal’s Chinese food scene, Aunt Dai’s menu isn’t necessarily all authentic — the menu consists partly of Westernized dishes like General Tao chicken or even decidedly un-Chinese pad thai. Those dishes are good enough, but the highlights are the Sichuan options — crispy fish with lip-numbing Sichuan pepper, spicy lamb hot pot, and more.

Perhaps the most engaging part of Aunt Dai is the fact that the owner has added comments to every menu item, in a slightly sardonic and rather blunt tone. They’re also pretty helpful for making a selection. Of the lamb hot pot: “Only good for those who don’t care about the lamb bones.” Or the stir-fried squid in oyster sauce: “it sounds like it’s prepared for the customers who are afraid of sizzling hot plate and like a good squid dish.”

STATUS — Aunt Dai is open at 1448 Saint-Mathieu every day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Aunt Dai

1448 Rue Saint Mathieu, Montreal, QC H3H (514) 340-0088 Visit Website