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High End and Veg Friendly

Hi All,

I'm a lacto-ovo vegetarian and occasionally find myself with people who want a high end French or Bistro experience. I've had great veg meals at Chez L'Epicier (they may or may not have veg items on the menu but if you call ahead they really do it right) and it's usually my first call. But I'd like some more options.

Au Pied du Cachon was sympathetic but the best they could do was a combination of appetizers.

L'Express looks too meaty and I never tried it, and alas, Les Chevres is no more.

So, what other French-ish high-end places will accommodate vegetarians well but allow meat eaters the full-on experience?

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  1. I know you have probably checked out www.vegdinig.com, under Montreal. Also as a vegetarian you probably have heard of Gary Null.
    On one f his radio presentations, he had a complete 7(not 6) course meal at a classic Frrench restaurant, in Paris that was not vegetarian.
    The posts suggestions should be keys to the right door!
    Brunoise, Lemeac, Toque, Petit Extra, L'Express, Yo Yo and many others, will make a vegetarian service as attractive and enticing as their more cholestorol based fare. All or most have veggie entrees. And of course everyone serves a nice cheese plate an wonderful salads.
    Of course you can't go wrong with the traditional French resturants in Downtown.
    fare. Also the name of a restaurant should give you a hint about the cuisisne(APC!!!!!??????)

    1 Reply
    1. re: tombombadillo

      Hi Tom,

      Actually, vegdining.com is new to me, so thanks.

      FWIW, Au Petit Extra has been disappointing on the veg front every time I've been there. Excessively greasy pasta with a tomato-based sauce (my carnivorous spouse also thinks it's overrated so I take some comfort there, though the service is always great). The French bistro on Parc by Milton is the same story. Which is why I asked.

      I'd also never heard for Gary Null (talk show host and alternative medicine guy?), and looking him up, I'm not sure what he's got to say about which French restos cater well and kindly to vegetarians. So perhaps I have the wrong Gary Null?

      Best,
      --JES

      1. www.chowhound.com/topics/405817#2615512

        That said, Au cinquième péché is more mid-range than high-end, more neighbourhood bistro (albeit a tiny one) than fancy resto.

        Your strategy of calling a few days beforehand to see how a restaurant might accommodate you is a good one. You might try it with some of the smaller but classier French-leaning market-driven restaurants like Brontë, Cocagne, L'Atélier and Montée de Lait

        1 Reply
        1. re: carswell

          I'm a vegetarian that appreciates higher end restaurants, vegetarian or just veggie-friendly. On a friend's recommendation I tried Au Cinquieme Peche last week. They had two vegetarian salads, a cream and cauliflower soup, and one vegetarian entree (the aforementioned sweet potato gnocci with blue cheese and veggies). They gave us an earthy vegetable lentil pate as an amuse bouche with a loaf of bread. I adored it--and I tend to find bean pate's bland or off-putting.

          For the main course, since I'm not a blue cheese fan, I ordered the gnocci sans blue cheese. The dish was surprisingly bland. The vegetables (asparagus, fiddleheads, etc.) were quite crisp and fresh tasting, but the ratio of vegetables to gnocchi was quite low, and the gnocchi had very little flavor.

          But for dessert...as my non-vegetarian BF put it..."Holy Mary Mother of God, a shortbread served with tomato jam and goat cheese and basil ice cream. For some people, that might sound unholy, but for true believers in fusion like us, this was like manna from heaven."

        2. Jes, when you call ahead to Chez L'Epicier, what do you say? Just that you're a vegetarian and can they prepare you a meal? Or something more specific?

          1. I finally got a chance to try Chez L'Epicier. They didn't have a vegetarian main dish on the menu, but improvised and made me a plate with a number of different items, including roasted chestnuts, roasted artichoke hearts, baby carrots in truffle oil, and a salad with ribbons of zucchini. Although everything was reasonably tasty, I found the plate overall quite boring, a bit small, and overpriced. I wouldn't recommend either of the desserts we tried either, unfortunately.

            1 Reply
            1. re: paperfree

              Sounds like the upmarket version of "our delightful medley of steamed vegetables"... ;)