suggestions for a vegetarian Torontonian coming to Montreal for an extended weekend
I will be in Montreal in mid May for a conference in the Mont Royal area and am staying at the W hotel. I am looking for good vegetarian friendly dinner spots in either of these areas. By vegetarian I mean that I don't eat meat, dairy or eggs....but do eat seafood and fish.
I will be dining alone....so I'm ok with both casual and something a little nicer...but I don't need super luxe this trip.
Some of the places I've looked at are Pintxo, Pushap Fair Du Monde and Aux Vivres.
What do you think of these and what would you recommend?
You can check out Yuan (http://www.yuanvegetarian.com/index2.html). It's a Chinese/Asian vegetarian place that serves relatively good and tasty food. It's probably within your area as well. It's pretty tasty and even though I'm not vegetarian I found the food pretty tasty!
There's also Chu Chai on St. Denis street (http://www.chuchai.com/) which is more Thai cuisine. I haven't tried the food there but I've been told the food is decent though the price is a bit high (but still affordable).
If you want to pick up some mock meat/vegetarian meat to cook on your own, try this quaint grocery/tea store on Duluth as well called Tiende Sante (279 Duluth Est).
I havent tried Yuan yet but Chu Chai on St Denis is great! probably one of the better Thai restaurant int Montreal. I am not a Vegitarian and I like Chu Chai alot. I dont understand how they make the "chicken" or "Duck" taste so similar. The peanut chicken with cripsy spinach is quite popular. As are their salads and soups. I remember the spring rolls being really good and not too greasy. I found it quite afforadle.
I would also reccomend trying the Restaurant AUX VIVRES on St Laurent BLVD cross st St Joseph. well between Villeneuve and st Joseph, There is always a line up when I go but its worth the wait. Everything is really fresh. They have interesting sandwiches and salads, Vegitarian Chili. etc soups
I'd head to Chu Chai or Chuch (bistro version next door) but I'd hesitate before going to Yuan. I really didn't like it when I tried it - big mishmash of vegetables with overly sweet sauces.
If you do eat seafood and fish a whole other world of possibilities opens up .. sushi places like Tri Express, Pintxo for sure, a tuna or salmon tartar at Marché 27 maybe, or head the Jean Talon market and get some snow crab for yourself. You could have dimsum at Maison Kam Fung and focus on shrimp offerings, get a seafood crepe at Restaurant 5000 Ans. Lots to eat everywhere, really.
Well, good grief, Le Commensal of course. I would go 100 miles out of my way to eat there and I'm not even a vegetarian. 1) There are several branches; check phone book on arrival. 2) Casual. You take what you want from vast, staggering buffets and they weigh your plate. Reasonable in price. 3) The cold buffet is the most splendiferous salad bar of your dreams. 4) The hot buffet has EVERYTHING from moussakas and lasagnas and real mashed potatoes to a boeuf Bourgignon that hasn't really got any boeuf in it but you won't notice the difference. Just now I googled Le Commensal and found lots of hits and reviews and even pictures.
I would avoid Pushap La Faim du Monde... it's probably the most tasteless experience I've ever had in a restaurant... and it was the same for everyone at the table. Aux Vivres on the other hand is pretty good... the BLT for a quick lunch is really good.
Crudessence is a great experience too... the carrot/orange "cake" is amazing. Everything is raw and vegan as mentioned by dmarg.
I've also heard lots of good comments about Fuchsia but haven't been yet. http://www.epiceriefleur.com/
Thanks for all your super suggestions!!
What about nil Blue? Do love good ethiopian food and its super veggie friendly! I have heard bad things about the service...but i do find that this is the case in most ethiopian places. At least that's the case in Toronto.
Has anyone been....and if so what do you think?
So, out of the three you mentioned (AV, PFDM, Pinxto), definitely Aux Vivres...Bombay Banana Shake + BLT on chapati....mmmmm, winning combination!!! Been there many times.
Have to agree with Glaff regarding Pushap Faim Du Monde. Maybe not as severely, but it wasn't anything great when I was there a few years back. Used to go to the Faim Du Monde when it was on Duluth, and also the Pushap at the Jean-Talon location (which, I only now just discovered to be closed!!????!! What happened?).
You mentioned Pinxto. I had a great time at Pinxto with a bunch of friends one frigidly cold winter night. We shared each others little bites for variety. But, I found the pinxtos quite inconsistent in terms of quality and tastiness. Some were **extraordinary** while others were pretty disappointing. Great ambiance, definitely a more high end atmosphere than any of the others on this list, and very nice and friendly service. I liked their wine, too.
But you might consider others...
(note: unless otherwise mentioned, these are all either vegetarian or vegan)
I second Lola Rosa - great food, though haven't been back there since I'm not in that area as much these past years anymore, but I used to be a regular.
Cruddessence was mentioned - I've had good fresh smoothie there but haven't tried the food. Anyone have any comments about this place? The restaurant is supposed to open back up again end of April - has anyone been there yet? Is it it open now? I found prices a bit steep if I can remember correctly, but I guess you pay for organic and specialized food. Perhaps the new space will be different, but the old one seems more of a lunch spot rather than dinner spot (so I realize this might not apply so much to this post).
105, rue Rachel Ouest
I enjoy Chuch Chai too, but generally choose to go to the other, less pricey/casual side called "Chuch". Nice to know - it's BYOW. Still would go for Aux Vivres over this one, but for ambiance, Chuch Chai beats AV any day.
Here's some more not yet mentioned:
Spirite Lounge (1205 Ontario E; 514-522-5353
)Organic. Still haven't been here yet (have been meaning to try it out for a long time, out of curiosity). The menu changes daily. If you don't finish your order then you are penalized either $2 or banishment, depending on the severity of your crime (I think there are small and large portions you can order). LOL! Friends tell me the food is extremely delicious, so I wouldn't be scared off by that. Reservations recommended.
Also more upscale, but not overly so, I'd suggest Rumi as perhaps towards the top of the list. 5198 Hutchison Street. 490-1999. On the corner of Hutchison and Fairmont. Closed Mondays. Really good "silk road" cuisine. It's not a strictly vegetarian place, but I've been there with vegan and vegetarian friends, and the restaurant accommodates them very well. Also good for just a cup of fresh mint tea and a dessert, or some of their tasty little dishes for a snack or light late dinner. There's also a casual version of Rumi called Rumi Grill, at 4403 St-Laurent. Though I suppose at first glance it would seem to people to feature meat-centered food, the veg. options are great. I still would choose to go to original location if it was a destination place, but prices are different.
Maybe a bit off topic since this organic-vegan location is not all that close to you:)
Bonnys (1748 Notre-Dame St West, Two streets west of Guy
I haven't been there, but was wondering if others have tried it out. That stretch of Notre-Dame is also nice enough to warrant going out there for a stroll anyway (antique shops, etc.
Apparently Divan Orange is supposed to be good on the vegan too: 4234 St. Laurent, just north of Rachel, (514)840-9090. It's more of a bar/concert space.
Cagibi (used to be Pharmacie Esperanza)
5490 St. Laurent, at the corner of St. Viateur, (514)948-3303
More of a cafe style, but food here too.
L'Escalier (552 St. Catherine East, near Berri Uquam metro, Métro Berri-Uqam; 514.670.5812, http://lescaliermontreal.com/
Been there once last summer, and found it nice for a light lunch, but wouldn't make it a destination place.
Have a great visit!
Re: Spirit Loundge - I agree, the food is great.. but the owner is quite something! It's right by my place, and I really enjoyed the food, but was so fed by his discours and blah blah (and the stress of finishing my plate) that I never went back. (actually not true- went again with a friend that wanted to try it - food was still lovely). It's really better to book ; maybe not my first choice to go alone (the place is something, very weird.... I would like to have someone to share that with me!!!)
L'Escalier would be a good option for a quick bite - more on the bohemian side too, but have a home feeling to it...
Also, Santropol Café , although I don't think that can be qualified as at a walking distance anymore...Unfortunately for a good vegetarian place there's not much choice downtown (pretyy touristy area)
Not exactly within walking distance, but I was introduced by some coworkers to a vegetarian place this week. Bonny's in St-Henri / Little Burgundy.
It's a vegetarian / vegan place that uses mostly organic and whole foods. The mains range from bean or lentil burgers, lasagnes, sautés, to salads and sandwiches. I had the Bonny Plater, which featured a tofu and kale empenada, multicoloured corn chips and a zippy salsa, along with various salads, such as beet and walnut, carrot, and mesclun. Everybody's plates also looked quite good. The food was all well prepared and they aren't afraid to use a little bit of spice to add a hint of zing. A pleasant surprise, I thought. Kinda funky / rustic decor with slate floor and birch tree branches and so forth. Closed Sundays. Georges-Vanier metro station and a bit of a walk.
It appears they have a website:
1748 rue Notre-Dame Ouest
Montréal, QC H3J 1M3